A developer who finally won approval to turn a 'fine' Edwardian house into flats at the fourth time of asking has decided eight flats is not enough.

Permission was granted to convert Edwardian villa 39 Brunswick Hill into eight flats in March, after three previous applications had been rejected by the council’s Planning Applications committee and planning inspectors.

But developer Eric Benjamin has decided enough is not enough and rolled the dice again with another application submitted to Reading Borough Council (RBC), this time seeking to convert the villa into nine flats.

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As well as adding an extra flat, a planned studio flat will instead become a one-bed flat.

Planning consultants David Planning say the differences between this application and the previously-approved one are “minor” and mainly created by re-using the existing building.

The changes are:

  • The existing storage area on the lower ground floor will be enlarged and re-used to provide an additional one-bed flat.
  • The flat will re-use existing openings including windows and doors. An existing small high level window on the front elevation will be slightly enlarged.
  • One flat slightly enlarged to provide a one-bedroom flat as opposed to the previous scheme which was for a studio flat.

The bedrooms would be split into seven one-bed flats and two two-bed flats.

Future occupants of 39 Brunswick Hill will not be eligible for a parking permit and so Davis Planning say parking pressure on neighbouring roads will not be increased.

The recent history of the site

The fine Edwardian villa - another angle

The fine Edwardian villa - another angle

The home, near Reading West station, has been the subject of five planning applications in the past five years.

The first rejected application in 2017 was to demolish the building and construct 10 flats. This was followed by a similar application in March 2019, which was also rejected, for nine flats.

After, in December 2019 Mr Benjamin abandoned hopes of demolishing the building and applied to convert the home into eight flats.

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This was also rejected. Each time a planning inspector also refused appeals against the decisions.

But a new application in December 2020, with changes to the size of extensions at the back of the property, was approved in March 2021, despite opposition from more than a dozen neighbours.

Now, the latest application, submitted on May 19, seeks to increase the number of flats to nine.