Reading Borough Council (RBC) will be discussing the proposed conversion of 76 Christchurch Road into a takeaway and HMO (house in multiple occupation) at the planning applications committee on Wednesday 11 December. The committee had deferred their decision during their November meeting because they needed more information.
Local residents and Church ward councillor Ruth McEwan had spoken at the 13 November meeting to voice their objections to the proposal. During that meeting, the RBC planning committee had asked what constituted A5 (hot food takeaway) use, what the proportion of HMOs was in the area, and the reasons why an application for change of use of 60 Christchurch Road to a restaurant earlier in the year had been refused. The committee had deferred their decision so that planning officers could find answers.
When is a takeaway not a takeaway?
The planning officer’s report for the 11 December meeting says that only Domino’s Pizza along the Christchurch Parade is actually classified as a hot food takeaway. You can buy hot food to take away from restaurants and other retail outlets on the parade, but RBC does not consider takeaway as their primary purpose.
RBC planning policy sets a threshold of 25% of residential properties in HMO use within a 50 metre radius of the property for which a new application for an HMO is made. The proportion of HMOs in the area only reaches 22% if 76 Christchurch Road becomes an HMO.
60 Christchurch Road
RBC refused a change of use proposed for 60 Christchurch Road from a launderette (A1) to a restaurant (A3) early in February 2019 because that would have resulted in three consecutive units in the parade having a non A1 (retail) use; this was not allowed under planning rules at the time. The rules in the recently adopted New Local Plan are different, and the owners of 60 Christchurch Road made a new application for a restaurant in November 2019.
The council meeting
The meeting will take place at 6.30pm on Wednesday 11 December in the council chamber at the Civic Offices on Bridge Street and will probably be webcast.
|Item 8||Church ward|