Residential Development in Reading Conservation Area
We helped prepare, management and submit a planning application for the redevelopment of a site in Reading City Centre and Conservation Area. The site was severely constrained, but with our help, ensured that planning permission was granted for the client.
We were approached by an architect to help with a development in Reading. The client had bought a single storey 1950s style building that was previously used as a dentist. The client wanted to demolish this building to make way for a flatted development, ideally of strong contemporary design.
The site was subject to many constraints – It was positioned adjacent to an 8-storey block of flats, with overlooking windows on all four sides, and several Listed Buildings were sited nearby. The site was also positioned within a Conservation Area and contained several trees, which were subject to Tree Preservation Orders. Further to this, policies within Reading protected community uses, such as dentists, and there was a requirement for affordable housing.
So that the client could achieve his development’s ambitions, we assembled a multi-disciplinary team of experts to fully define the site constraints – tree and sunlight and daylight specialists were instructed, along with financial viability assessors. Once the constraints were established, we worked with the project architects to form a building which was angled, stepped and contemporary in design, taking cues from the conservation area.
As the site was positioned between a building of 8 storeys and a two storey semi-detached property, we advised that the development should be a transition building between the two contrasting scales. Furthermore, the Conservation Area was defined by Bath Stone and therefore, we recommended that the proposed materials should be reflect this overriding style.
In preparing a Heritage Statement, we examined historic maps and Conservation Area Appraisals to understand the significance and special qualities of the area and the surrounding Listed Buildings. We supported the application with a Planning and Heritage Statement; and a Transport Statement to argue in favour of a reduction in car parking standards.
The Planning Statement addressed the change of use of the land from D1 to residential. We outlined all other facilities within the area, which offer a similar service, demonstrating that the loss of the dentist would not have any impact on the wider community. The Heritage Statement examined the development in terms of its impact on the significance of surrounding Listed Buildings and the Conservation Area.
Proposals for a part 3, part 5 storey building were granted planning permission, gaining Officer support, support of Reading’s Design Review Panel and support from Reading’s Planning Committee. With the support of the Financial Viability Statement, affordable Housing requirements were also completely removed following negotiation with the LPA. The client has successfully maximised the value of this land, despite its constraints.