THE old post office in Reading town centre will be converted into a medical assessment centre for people claiming disability benefit. 

That’s after council planners gave permission for the now vacant post office to be converted. Also this week, planners approved plans to demolish two car repair garages, despite fears the demolition could move to job losses. 

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

Post office will become a DWP medical assessment centre

The old post office on the junction of Market Place and the Forbury will be turned into a medical assessment centre for the Department of Work and Pensions. The post office closed in May last year and the site has been empty since then.

The DWP expect 21 people to work at the medical assessment centre, who will determine whether people can claim disability benefit. Doctors, nurses and physiotherapists will question people, and possibly examine blood pressure, sight, hearing and movement tests.

READ MORE: ‘Damning report’ questions effectiveness of ethics watchdog

Adam Pyrke, a planning agent for the DWP, said: “The aim is to provide an impartial assessment report which provides a justified medical opinion, about how an individual is affected by their medical condition.

“These reports are one piece of information used by the DWP to decide an individual’s entitlement.”

Two garages knocked down

Planners gave permission for developers to demolish two dilapidated buildings, currently used for car maintenance and repairs, and build one big warehouse with offices instead.

The site is on Loverock Road, on the Stadium Way Industrial Estate, between Portman Road and the railway. One of the current tenants wrote to the council, objecting to the building where he runs a business getting demolished.

READ MORE: ‘Worrying scenes on the roads’ when tips reopen in West Berkshire

Anthony Roe said: “My livelihood is on the line here. If this planning goes through, I will be out of a job. We need these buildings for small businesses to prosper.

“Putting one big building here will mean I will lose my business. I am objecting on the grounds that I will be out of work, plus the four staff [who will be] made redundant.”

Garden room in Caversham

A garden room will be built in a back garden in Caversham. The single-storey annex will be built near to an early 17th-century cottage on Paddock Road, which is a Grade II listed building.

The garden room will be timber faced, and in the far south eastern corner of the back garden. The building will measure 5.7 metres by 2.9 metres, and 3.25 metres high.