PLANS to convert a former business into a community hotspot have been submitted to the council.

Reading Family Church hopes to purchase the former Ultima building on Basingstoke Road and transform it into a place of worship and community space.

It is hoped that the loyal congregation of nearly 600 people will be able to make use of the building, as well as half-term holiday clubs and toddler groups.

A change of use application has been sent to Reading Borough Council (RBC) and a consultation period started on May 16.

Sean Green, senior pastor at Reading Family Church, said: “We are so excited about the prospect of having our own building to be able to better serve our community.

"However, it all hinges on RBC recognising the valuable role that the services we provide play in many people’s lives.

“By supporting our application for a change of use, RBC will be championing the people of Whitley and south Reading who will only benefit from the valuable work that we will be able to continue and expand.

"While this building will act as a place where we can meet as a congregation for 65 days a year, we primarily see this being used as a community space for the remaining 300 days a year.”

Council officers have already indicated that they are happy with the change of use and the lack of noise that will be created by the plans.

Sophia James, Katesgrove councillor, has submitted her support for the application, adding: "I believe that the use of the building is suitable for the area and will provide benefits to the community,

faith group and local businesses.

"That particular area, close to Kennett Island is not well served by community facilities."

Alan Magness, who has forged partnerships across faith and statutory sectors locally for many years, hoped RBC would support the plans.

He said: “RBC have made no secret of their frustration at having to cut vital services due to the nationwide reduction to budgets.

"As such, services that community groups such as Reading Family Church provide have become even more crucial to the daily lives of so many.”