A VACANT pawn shop will be part-converted into five new flats, while other developers were told their house is too small to convert into two flats.

Also this week, council planners said they were “disappointed” trees had to be cut back to stop interference in a new telecoms mast.

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

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Pawn shop on the Oxford Road

An vacant shop on the Oxford Road will be partly demolished to make way for five new flats. The Money Shop, which has closed down, will have its floor sized reduced by two thirds, and an extension will be built on the back of the building.

There is already one three-bed flat on top of the shop. The new flats will all have one bedroom each.

Designers said a “secure strong room” took up a lot of space at the back of the shop, as well as the security screens. They said: “A small unit will be much easier to rent than the current large unit which has very poorly laid out space to the rear.”

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House too small to convert into flats

Developers were told their house on Mount Pleasant was too small to convert into two flats. They applied to convert the four-bedroom house into a one-bed flat and a two-bed flat.

But planners said houses must be more than 120 square metres in floor space, to be big enough to convert into flats. They also said one of the flats would be too small for people to comfortably live in.

Trees cut back for 4G mast

Engineers building the new 4G network for the emergency services want to cut back four trees that are interfering with a new mast on New Lane Hill, Tilehurst.

The three ash trees and one sycamore tree can now be chopped back by 11.5 metres after planners gave permission. However, a council environment officer said it was “disappointing and unfortunate” that the work needed to be done.

Sarah Hanson, natural environment officer, said: “We are disappointed in the need for the work, which is ultimately the result of poor siting of the mast.”