A LANDLORD successfully sought permission to squeeze an extra person into a seven-bed shared house this week.

Also this week, council planners deemed three flats which have been lived in for more than four years, "unlawful" — raising questions about what would happen to the tenants living there. 

Here’s this week’s round-up of the most interesting planning decisions made by Reading Borough Council.

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Unlawful flats in basement

Planners refused permission for three flats on Highgrove Street, near Whitley Street. In total there are seven flats in the building, which was first built four years ago.

When it was first built, developers only had permission for four flats. But they converted the second floor into two one-bedroom flats, and the basement into two flats, without permission.

Developers argued that as the same people have lived in the three unlawful flats continuously for the past four years, they should be granted planning permission. But council planners refused and warned: “The building and the uses it contains are not lawful”.

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Concerns over noise from new extension

A rear extension can be built on the back of house on Donnington Road, near Cemetery Junction. Planners gave permission for the extension despite doubts raised by people living nearby.

Mr Rahman, a neighbour, wrote to the council with his concerns. He said: “In the past, lodgers made excessive noise and threw litter over to my property. Now that an extension is being made, will I hear more noises?

“There was rodent infestation, where rodents were on the roof between my shed and theirs, and I had to get pest control. Will the area stay clean and clear?”

Squeeze an extra person into a seven-bed shared house

Landlords can now squeeze an extra person into a seven-bed shared house on Craven Road, near the Royal Berkshire Hospital. Planners gave permission to increase the maximum number of people allowed to live there from seven to eight.

Landlords told the council: “All bedrooms within the property are considerably larger than the minimum 6.51 square metres single person occupancy and also exceed the minimum 10.22 square metres double person occupancy.”

But only one bedroom, on the ground floor, is planned for two people to share. All the bedrooms have ensuite bathrooms with showers, and the new double bedroom on the ground floor also has a separate kitchenette, with fridge, sink and microwave.