The government planning inspectorate has granted permission to Lainston Woodley Arms LLP to build 38 student flats on the site of the Woodley Arms on Waldeck Street. This follows an appeal by the developer after Reading Borough Council (RBC) refused the application (171893) in January this year.
The only further recourse that RBC has to prevent the development is to appeal to the High Court.
In summarising impact on the character and appearance of the area, the inspector stated:
I do not consider that the proposal would result in an unacceptable overdevelopment of the site and would not appear overly dominant, alien or jarring. I appreciate that local residents do not consider that their feedback to the public consultation has been taken into account. However, in overall terms, I am satisfied that the concerns expressed by the previous Inspectors have been addressed.
The decision specifies conditions which include: a construction method statement, an archaeological assessment, details of materials to be used, plans for hard and soft landscaping, parking details and the submission of a student management plan.
The hours of on-site working during demolition and construction will be restricted to 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 1pm Saturday and no work on Sundays or bank holidays.
The decision is third time lucky for Lainston Woodley Arms LLP. Two previous appeals against RBC decisions had been dismissed by the inspector.
The Woodley Arms closed in 2012 and recently metal fencing has been placed around it in an attempt to deter parking and fly tipping on the site.