Welcome to this week’s planning roundup of the most interesting decisions in Reading, including a new ‘apartment-hotel’ on Oxford Road with an interesting history and a controversial homes plan from the council.

Apartment-hotel plan approved

The accommodation and empty shop at 263 Oxford Road will now become a hotel with four serviced apartments.

263 Oxford Road is currently a vacant unit – most recently Indian restaurant Zafran – with a small three-bed HMO above it. READ MORE: Why the council is planning to spend £1.5 million on two new cremators

Before becoming Zafran, 263 was home to chicken and pizza takeaway Chicken Base, which has since opened up a franchise on Wokingham Road.

Going back even further, the unit was called 236 Club and was found to be a brothel until 2006.

Plans were agreed to turn the next-door fish and chip shop into flats earlier this year.

Council signs off its 46-home plan

Meanwhile controversial plans for 46 affordable council homes were given the seal of approval this week.

The plans to build 46 flats and houses at Wensley Road were met with strong objection from neighbours but were approved by councillors in August.

READ MORE: Controversial plans for 46 affordable homes approved by councillors

Council officers have now completed all the legal agreements and signed off the plans officially.

The plans include:

  • 26 three-bed houses
  • Two four-bed houses
  • Ten two-bed flats
  • Eight one-bed flats
  • Play areas and outdoor gyms
  • Private gardens
  • Parking in the area increasing to 230 spaces

Residents strongly opposed the plans because of the significant loss of public open spaces, loss of biodiversity, and the overpopulation in the area which could lead to traffic concerns, but the plan was voted through six to four.

Bank to get makeover

Finally, Virgin Money was granted permission to create a new shop frontage at its Friar Street store.

New signs and panels will replace the old ones at the 160 Friar Street bank.