Another planning application has been submitted to demolish the Woodley Arms and redevelop the site as 40 student flats.
The latest application 160558 is a slight revision of 150134. The original application was rejected by Reading Borough Council and then dismissed on appeal by the Planning Inspectorate in February 2016.
An application has recently been made for local listing of the building. The detailed criteria for local listing of a building are set out in the Reading sites and detailed policies document (page 62).
Katesgrove Councillor Rose Williams has campaigned against the development and submitted objections to the new application:
The Planning Inspector spoke of the effects on the character and appearance of the area. In conclusion, he wrote “I have not received any substantive evidence of an overriding need, which together with the small benefit of added natural surveillance to the street, would outweigh the harm that I have found would be caused in respect of the main issues.”
On the subject of overriding need, I would like to point out that there is student accommodation in Crown Street, London Street, South Street and Friar Street just to name a few. If there is more need for student accommodation, this is a subject for the University of Reading to address as they have the land and resources to tackle this.
Rose Williams commented that local residents are not clamouring for the pub to be opened again.
The building is basically a four bedroomed house which planning permission was granted for under Planning Application 140524. The size of the present building forms a link between the old and the new when the Spring Gardens Estate was built in the 1970s and deserves to be considered for Local Listing. What local residents do not want is a building that is ten times the size, holding 10 times as many unsupervised young people, in what is currently a quiet little cul de sac .
The number of people who move into and out of Katesgrove each year is very high. 1,900 out of 7,100 registered voters (27%) in the ward were new in 2014/2015. Rose Williams said :
That shows a massive churn of people who are only living here temporarily, probably either as students or economic migrants. This is very unsettling for the local community who just see this as a flood of people who are not interested in the long term future of the area and I believe this new application does nothing to override the planning inspectors’ comments regarding the harm he had found in the previous application .