The latest proposal to demolish a ‘fine Edwardian house’ has been postponed by the council.

Original plans for 10 apartments at 39 Brunswick Hill were rejected by both Reading Borough Council (RBC) and a planning inspector on appeal last year.

The latest application was deferred on Wednesday night (July 17) by the council’s Planning Applications commitee meeting to September’s meeting so that councillors can carry out a site view.

Most committee members joined after the previous application was rejected and so have not visited the site near Reading West Station.

Council officers recommended the committee approve the latest application to demolish 39 Brunswick Hill and replace it with a nine-apartment building.

Reading Civic Society (RCS) and the Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee (CAAC) have objected to the proposal.

Richard Bennett, chairman of RCS, said: “The loss of this building is totally inappropriate and unimaginative.

“It is in good condition. The owner has done some really good work redecorating it. It'S not a derelict property. It is really hard to understand.”

The new application seeks to overcome the reasons for refusal given by the council last year.

Planning officer Brian Conlon said the latest design would be an improvement on the design of the existing one and the application would help to meet a need for housing in the area.

RBC rejected the original application in March 2018 for four reasons:

  • Impact it would have on the character and appearance of the area
  • Lack of three-bed apartments offered
  • Lack of access to daylight
  • Failure to offer a s106 agreement which would provide funds for infrastructure.

Planning inspector Patrick Whelan then rejected the developer’s appeal, concluding that the benefit of ten new flats would be outweighed by the cost of a lost heritage asset.

The building, which dates back 1906, was rejected for local listing by the council after a heritage consultant determined that it did not meet the architectural and historical criteria.

Both Reading CAAC and RCS have called for RBC to reconsider.

Evelyn Williams, chairman of Reading CAAC, said: “Although the building was refused local listing we urge that RBC reconsider this decision.

“Reading CAAC feel that a sympathetic extension and expansion of accommodation units in the property would be a more appropriate solution than demolition.

“The property retains many original features which are worthy of a continued useful life.

“As well as retaining a heritage asset, this would also be a more environmentally sustainable solution.

“Whilst this application may address many of the reasons for refusal it still results in the loss of a heritage asset which could be sympathetically extended and retained in use.”