The council has picked its side in a dispute between two neighbours over plans to extend a property in Caversham.

A couple who sold the house they owned next door had complained about their new neighbour’s plans to extend the property, which is on Albert Road.

But Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee approved the plan, with one councillor calling it a “pretty standard” extension.

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Steve Gibson submitted plans to RBC for a single-storey extension at the back of the property in June.

Barry McNamara and Judith Dawson own the neighbouring property and until recently owned the house next door before selling it to their new neighbour.

Mr Gibson said he had advised Mr McNamara and Ms Dawson when he bought the house that he planned to extend it.

Minor decisions like this would normally be taken by planning officers, but after Mr McNamara raised concerns to local ward councillor Paul Carnell, the decision was deferred to the council’s Planning Applications committee.

At a meeting on September 8, Mr McNamara raised concerns about the scale and proximity of the one-storey extension, the impact it would have on their privacy and the style of the roof.

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: The proposed extension on Albert RoadPICTURED: The proposed extension on Albert Road

Councillors agreed to defer their decision to make a site visit before making a decision.

The committee met again last night (Wednesday, October 6) having visited both houses.

Planning officers had recommended councillors approve the proposal and councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage, said she agreed with this opinion having visited the homes.

She said Mr Gibson had done as much as he could to be considerate to his neighbours. One of the issues was the type of roof, with Mr Gibson choosing a flat-roof extension and Mr McNamara preferring a pitched roof.

But Cllr Rowland said: “We do not get to dictate what our neighbours build.

“This is not going to be exceedingly overbearing.”

But Cllr Rowland said Mr Gibson had even considered putting in a pitched roof, but it would not have worked.

This was backed up by RBC planning manager Julie Williams, who said she did not think a proper pitched roof would be possible at the property and “it is better to do a good flat-roofed design rather than a mock pitched-roof”.

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Cllr Carnell, who had pre-determined his decision and therefore could not vote, said the extension would be “too high” and would “lack much architectural interest”.

But his Conservative colleague Cllr Jane Stanford-Beale called the extension “pretty standard” and said she could see no reason why the application should be refused.

All but one councillor voted for the plans, with Green Party councillor Josh Williams opposing it as he felt a pitched roof “would better serve the area”.