Plans to build more than 50 flats next to a pub in the town centre are set for the vote next week, with council officers recommending the development is approved.

Archel Homes wants to demolish an office and warehouse on Chatham Street and build a new three-to-five storey building with 54 apartments.

The site – 115 Chatham Street – is next to the Grade II listed Butler Public House and Face Bar.

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Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee will vote on the proposal next Wednesday (July 21).

Planning officers have lent their support to the plan, saying the “substantial and compelling” public benefits provide a sustainable development.

While there is concern about the impact on the setting of the Butler Pub, they said the benefits significantly outweigh this “less than substantial” harm.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURE: The sitePICTURE: The site

Officers said the proposal would provide homes on underutilised brownfield land which has been allocated for housing in the Local Plan, making a positive contribution to the economic recovery of the borough amid and following the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the longer term, they say future occupants of the flats will contribute to the viability and vitality of businesses in the local area at a time where the economic health of the town is a key council priority.

And they have praised the 30 per cent affordable housing contribution, the mix of one to and three-bed flats and the quality of the accommodation, which would include space for home offices.

They also said the development would positively improve the character and appearance of the area.

There are two buildings on the site, a two-storey office building at the front of 115 Chatham Street and a two-storey converted warehouse building at the back.

Sixteen of the flats would be affordable housing.

The flats would be split into:

  • 25 one-bed flats (six affordable)
  • 25 two-bed flats (eight affordable)
  • Two three-bed flats (both affordable)

There would be 17 car parking spaces and 32 cycle spaces.

The Butler Pub has objected to the plan, saying the application will affect its own plans to build a 14-room boutique hotel.

They also raised concern that the residential development would adversely affect the ability of the pub to provide live music and residents have suggested the development could threaten the existence of Face Bar.

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But officers said the developer will have responsibility for ensuring adequate measures are put in place to manage noise coming from the nearby Butler pub and Face Bar.

This would include improved insulation, glazing and high-performance acoustic ventilators for those rooms which could be worst affected by potential noise from Face Bar.