Historic buildings which played a part in Reading’s industrial heritage have receive local protection from the council.

The old Reading Gas Works Social Club has now been added to the Local List following a decision by the council’s planning committee.

The buildings which make up the social club, at their oldest date back to 1840, with the Governor House -used for managing gas pressure- being finished in 1903.

The main social club building once had an industrial function before it became the focus of social activities.

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The building has fallen into dereliction since the social club closed.  Glass of the windows have been smashed for years and it has become a popular place for the pigeons of the town to shelter.

Supporting the listing, cllr Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) called it “a landmark along the Kennet” and said it’s place on the river is “remarkable.”

She also said: “Some 100 plus years on, this site remains to be of great importance and interest in the Reading community, it’s one of the sites that surfaces most frequently in my emails as the town’s heritage champion, there’s frequent conversation of it on social media.

“Before I was a councillor, I remember this coming up, and watching how carefully the officers and councillors had worked to ensure the exuberance and interest of the building would be retained, even though it would be becoming larger.”

The main building is still subject to a planning approval in 2016, allowing it to be added to and adapted to provide 20 apartments.

Of those, 10 would be one-bed, nine would be two-bed and one would have three bedrooms.

The plan was submitted by Mulberry Park Investment, which went through submitting further details but has since sold the building.

The local listing does not jeopardise that planning approval, which appears to still be valid.

You can view it by typing  application reference 160378 into the council’s planning portal.

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The decision to add the buildings to the local list was unanimously agreed by the committee on Wednesday, June 22.

But a group of residents want event stronger protections, with cllr Kathryn McCann (Green, Redlands) calling for it to be nationally listed.

Cllr McCann said: “I’ve always loved the Southern Gas Social Club building.”

“With its classic red brick industrial styling, rising dramatically out of the canal, it’s an important relic of the industrial character of that part of Reading.

“I especially love the way its graceful arched windows are reflected in the water.”

A private Facebook group called the ‘We Love the Southern Gas Social Club’ has 126 members.

Some in the group oppose the 20 flats plan.

Matthew Budd, whose family worked at social club said, “I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in the gas club and have many memories of my time there.

“I had my 18th birthday party in there and many other nights.

“It’s such a shame that it has been left to wrack and ruin and I hope that there is a possibility that it can be restored and not turned into more flats.”