Plans for a new fish and chip takeaway and a shared house in an area plagued by anti-social behaviour hang in the balance.

A decision on the proposal in east Reading was previously delayed after councillors and officers were left “baffled” by the Reading Borough Council (RBC) report.

Local business owner Tony Chima wants to transform the disused Natwest bank in Christchurch Road into a fish and chip shop “or similar” with a house in multiple occupation (HMO) above it.

Why was the vote deferred last month?

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee voted to defer its decision at las month’s meeting on November 13.

Green councillor Josh Williams said he was “baffled” by the report which says there is only one other takeaway on the stretch.

Councillors also wanted clarity on why a similar previous application was approved and the rules regarding HMOs.

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Planning officer Julie Williams suggested a deferral to provide clarity on the application, saying the report is “confusing” and “hasn’t left councillors feeling comfortable about making a decision”.

Is another takeaway in the area a bad thing?

Whitley Park Lane resident Jessica Di Luccio said there are already several takeaways on this part of the road.

She said there is an obesity crisis and another takeaway will not help.

But the latest report explains that only Domino’s is considered a takeaway in planning terms in the area.

The nearby bus stop at Christchurch Green has reportedly been a hotspot for anti-social behaviour, with the university implementing a street warden scheme focused on dispersing students in this area.

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Ms Di Luccio has compiled a dossier of anti-social behaviour witnessed by her and neighbours in the area, including Christchurch Road, over the last two years.

Committee member and local Labour ward councillor Ruth McEwan declared an interest at last month’s meeting so she could speak for neighbours.

She said: “This is a beautiful parade of shops. Locals don’t want it to be destroyed with an increase in takeaway shops.”

Cllr Williams questioned why this application would be approved when similar plans a few doors down were previously refused by the council and again rejected on appeal.

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But the latest report states that this application was refused based on a defunct policy.

Owner of the building Tony Chima says he has many years of experience running businesses and is confident the takeaway – which would open from 11am-11pm – will be a success.

“Not another HMO”

Concern was raised at adding another HMO to this stretch of Christchurch Road.

Robert Cox, who lives around the corner from the development, said many houses on the stretch of road are HMOs and another would “breach the limits”.

The latest report states that although the proposal would “slightly exceed” the council’s threshold for the number HMOs, the property is not in an area where the numbers  can be controlled.

What is likely to happen on Wednesday?

The public will not be able to speak on the application at Wednesday’s meeting as the public already had an opportunity to speak last month.

Instead, councillors will discuss the proposal in light of the clarifications provided by officers in the latest report.

Officers have recommended the plans be approved but councillors will make their own minds up.

The committee will, however, have to give valid planning reasons to refuse the application or risk losing an appeal.