At the Reading Borough Council (RBC) planning applications committee on Wednesday 6 March, councillors approved plans to demolish the Red Lion public house and the small cottage next door and build a four-storey block of 11 flats on the site.
Samples of the materials to be used and computer generated illustrations of the finished building were available to councillors on the site visit and also at the committee meeting. Assurances about the acceptability of air quality for future occupiers were also received.
With this information, councillors were more positive about the proposal.
Local ward councillor Rose Williams talked about the three empty pubs in her ward, two of which had planning permission [The Red Cow and Woodley Arms] where development had been slow to start and the recently closed Red Lion.
She said she remained concerned about the air quality for residents, especially the ground floor bedroom at the front, and quoted from guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) about the inadvisability of building near main roads and the need to mitigate poor air quality by trees on the roof and green walls [at 0:46:00].
The committee also considered two other applications in Katesgrove ward, both on the former car park on East Street. The first was a variation to application (182251). The original application had been refused by RBC but was allowed on appeal to the government planning inspector. The planning committee agreed the proposed changes to increase the number of units by five to 108.
The second application (181849) was to replace the approved four storey development with a four and five storey building of 135 student units. This was deferred for a site visit so that committee members could appreciate the impact that the additional height would have on the site and surrounding Market Place/London Street conservation area.