A closed funeral care store in Reading could be replaced if plans are approved this week.

The applicant, Perfect Property Developments, has applied to knock down the old Co-operative Funeral Care in Southampton Street and replace it with one large, 19 flat apartment building.

The Funeral Care building has been vacant since it closed in 2019, with this plan seeing it make way for a four storey apartment block.

Of the 19 apartments contained within, 11 would have two-bedrooms, seven would have one bedroom and one would have three bedrooms.

Notably, zero car parking spaces would be provided.

The planning agents for the scheme, ALB Planning, stated: “The site, as is in a sustainable location where services, facilities and access to public transport is very good.

“For this reason, the scheme will be car free.”

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The developers do provide 20 cycle parking spaces contained in outdoor storage.

The site is a 10 minute walk from Reading town centre.

Perfect Property Developments have also conducted a viability assessment, which argues providing affordable housing is unviable.

Objections have been raised over the proposed apartment block’s proximity to its neighbouring buildings, such as 85 Southampton Street, which contains six flats, and no. 87, which is currently an office but has approval to be converted into a two bedroom flat (planning reference 220204).

Reading Chronicle: A CGI of what the 19 home apartment building would look like in Southampton Street, Reading. Credit: ALB Planning

Jeremy Butterworth, who owns no. 87, wrote: “Although this building is currently in office use this will result in a severe loss of privacy for the occupants.

“In addition, this will result in substandard flats in the new development which will suffer from constant overlooking and loss of amenity from the office with facing windows only six metres away.

“The likely result is any future residents would have poor levels of privacy and would likely be faced with having to have curtains or blinds constantly closed.”

However, planning officer Matt Burns replied that any overlooking would affect the lower floors the most, rather than the approved two bedroom apartment, which would be located on a additional storey above the second floor.

The lower floors of no. 87 remain as offices.

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Ultimately, Mr Burns has recommended the project for approval, provided a section 106 agreement is reached with the council.

Conditions in the legal agreement include asking the developers to pay the council 50 per cent of any surplus developer profit above 17.5 per cent of Gross Development Value of the development (GDV) to go into funding off-site affordable housing in Reading.

Additionally, the developers have been asked to pay an employment, skills and training contribution of £3,380.

If no agreement is reached, Mr Burns has recommended that it be rejected by the council’s head of planning.

Reading Chronicle:

The project is due to be decided at Reading Borough Council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, September 7.

You can view the application by typing reference 211636 into the council’s planning portal.