A cinema could be coming to Caversham, but neighbours, including Waitrose, have raised concerns about the plans.

The proposal from Hermes for a “boutique” three-screen cinema is part of a wider scheme approved at the St Martin’s Centre in March 2015 for retail, leisure, housing, public space and a car park.

Some of the projected has been completed, including improvement works to shop fronts and public space.

Hermes have now submitted a plan to Reading Borough Council (RBC) for a cinema and offices at 51 Church Street and Archway House, in the St Martin’s Centre in Caversham.

The plans have been both welcomed and criticised by neighbours, including Waitrose.

A Waitrose representative said the company not opposed to a new cinema next door but the proposed entrance to the cinema is located “extremely close” to Waitrose’s neighbouring door on Church Street and “may impede access” and cause “operational difficulties”.

Beverley Bateman, writing on behalf of Waitrose & Partners, said the company is also concerned cinema visitors will take up parking spaces, leaving Waitrose customers frustrated.

The first and second floor – currently a gym – would become a cinema, with the vacant ground floor used for offices.

You can view the plan here.

Neighbour Richard Moore has asked for there to be a stipulation prohibiting the owner from changing the use from a cinema to nightclub in the future.

Also raising concerns, a spokesman for Caversham and District Residents’ Association said a cinema in the Caversham centre is “warmly welcomed” but the “black, shiny brick will create a really jarring note and look seriously out of place”.

They have also called for the gym to be replaced elsewhere in the development.

Environmental group Caversham GLOBE also welcome the plan but criticised the proposed removal and replacement of a “well-established” street tree, calling for tree cover to be increased in line with the council’s climate emergency commitments.

Another cinema is coming to the town centre later this year, although the plans may be affected by coronavirus.