A persistent couple look set to be successful in their fifth attempt to build extra flats at an east Reading home.

Mr and Mrs Dillon want to demolish the existing garage next door to 42 Bulmershe Road and build a three-storey side extension in its place with three one-bed flats.

They will find out tonight if they have been successful at Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) planning applications committee.

The Dillons’ first application in 2006 – for a rear extension and conversion from a house to four self-contained flats – was successful and built.

But their four subsequent applications to add more flats have all failed to get the go-ahead from RBC.

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Their latest effort has satisfied council officers and, after initial objections, has the approval of neighbours at 38 and 36 Bulmershe Road.

Sophia Bowlby, who lives at 38 Bulmershe Road, said: “The reduction of the footprint of the building, the lack of windows overlooking number 28 and the rear communal garden make the plans more acceptable.”

She said some features of the proposal still concern them significantly

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Neighbours have previously slammed the Dillons for builders “burning refuse very close to the garage which has an asbestos roof”.

They now want the council to make sure the garage is demolished by professionals with appropriate qualifications.

Neighbours have also asked for small shrubs to be planted along the wall shared with number 38, as well as planting in the new communal garden area to make up for the loss of green space.

 “Harsh and uninviting” and “incongruous”: A history of plans at the site

In 2010, they applied to extend and alter the home to add an additional five self-contained flats.

This was rejected due to its “incongruous” design and lack of space for future occupiers.

A year later, they applied to build a three-storey building with five self-contained flats at land next to the current building.

This proposal was dubbed “harsh and uninviting” and thrown out for failing to respect the established building line.

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After a five-year break, the Dillons made a third attempt – in March 2015 – to add more flats to the site, applying to a build a three-storey building with three 2-bed self-contained flats.

This was withdrawn in July 2016.

A fourth application came in later that year in November.

That application – to build three chalet bungalows with basement accommodation next door – was also refused because of its height and “overbearing” proximity to 38 Bulmershe Road.

Fifth time is a charm?

The Dillons were not to be deterred and came back with a fifth application in March 2018, to demolish the garage next to the current building and

A number of issues were raised with the applicant and the Dillons have since made changes to the plans, which have eased neighbours’ worries.

Planning officers have recommended the plans be approved this time around.

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Case officer Alison Amoah said: “Officers have worked positively and proactively with the applicant on this scheme, and amendments have been secured, which are considered to satisfactorily address policy issues and previous shortcomings of earlier schemes.”

The application will be heard at RBC’s planning applications committee tonight at the Civic Offices at 6.30pm  (Wednesday, February 5).