A plan to open a new Greggs in Reading has been shot down out of concerns over the loss of grassland and intensified traffic.

Cube Real Estate had applied to build a drive-through restaurant and hot food takeaway on land in Scours Lane, Tilehurst.

The developers stated that Greggs would take over the facility if approved.

But the application proved unpopular with council officers and councillors, primarily over fears the takeaway could cause long queues at the Norcot roundabout nearby.

Councillor James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) said: “There’s a very tiny amount of road of Scours Lane that leads onto this.

“I can just see tailbacks pretty much immediately as you get a small queue there in the morning or evening and it will go back onto the road and could lead back to the Norcot junction.”

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Council traffic officers did not object to the plan, and were satisfied with traffic projections Cube Real Estate, which predicted a total of 498 arrivals and departures on weekdays, and 1,175 total journeys on Saturdays, and 802 total journeys on Sundays.

But councillors on the committee were unconvinced.

Cllr Tony Page (Labour, Abbey) also expressed concerns that the drive-through takeaway would cause long traffic queues, complaining about the McDonald’s in the Forbury Retail Park  “regularly causing chaos” on Kenavon Drive and the Forbury Road roundabout. 

He said: “It’s not a dissimilar location, the issue there is not an average of demand, it’s those peak spikes that cause the problem.”

The council received 14 letters of support for the plan, which hailed Greggs’ diverse food range and vegan options, and stated that there are no other ‘easily accessible’ Greggs bakeries in Reading Borough.

Reading Chronicle: An impression of what the Greggs would have looked like, and the site it would have occupied. Credit: Urban EdgeAn impression of what the Greggs would have looked like, and the site it would have occupied. Credit: Urban Edge

But cllr Page pointed out that the new drive through could be used for any hot food takeaway, arguing that focusing on the benefits of having a Greggs at that location would be “a bit of a red herring.”

The application was discussed by the planning committee after the application was ‘called in’ by cllr Mark Keeping (Labour, Kentwood).

He was due to speak against the plan but was unable to attend, therefore a letter he wrote was read out by cllr Glenn Dennis (Labour, Kentwood).

Cllr Dennis said: “A majority [of residents] are opposed to it, for the same reasons that the council officers have recommended for rejection: removal of green space, or for the concerns about traffic or both.”

The two councillors held a consultation through the ‘Kentwood newsletter’ with 17 residents opposing it and eight being for it.

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Meanwhile, cllr Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) supported officer’s recommendation to refuse over the loss of the grassland which provides a green link between Reading and Tilehurst.

Cube Real Estate propose mitigating this loss of land by planting 38 trees on site and 81 outside the site boundary.

The plan was unanimously refused by the committee at a meeting on Wednesday, September 7.

The news may be welcomed by Barry Elford, the owner of Barry’s Burger Van, who stated he could lose his small business if the plan was approved.

Cube Real Estate have the right to an appeal.