A new building that will contain four homes and a shop is soaring up on a scruffy unused scrap of land in Tilehurst.

Chesters Place, the development company responsible, is constructing a three storey building which will have a shopping unit and four apartments on land immediately next to the Mad Hatters Pottery and Painting Cafe in School Road.

The apartments will be split into two two-bed and two one-beds, with undercroft car parking facing Downing Road.

Previously, the land was an overgrown grass patch and held JCDecaux roadside signage.

Now, construction is roaring ahead, with most of the building being complete.

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The plan for homes being built on the land have not always proved popular.

Neighbours objecting to the plan argued that there are already parking and traffic issues in the area, which exacerbated by the new homes and shop.

The council’s planning department refused an initial application for the building in December last year.

Council officer Connie Davis stated that the new building “would not maintain the pattern or character of surrounding development”, and called it an “inappropriate overdevelopment of the site”.

Following the refusal, Chesters Place chose to both appeal the decison and submit a revised planning application in January.

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Changes to the plan involved reducing the amount of undercroft parking from four to two spaces, wrapping around the shop frontage to create a more continuous street scene into Downing Road, and moving the building backwards by one metre to allow for planting to the side of the undercroft area.

Neighbours still objected to the second plan, raising fears about the reduced amount of parking and parking issues caused by the shop.

Officer Davis replied that the shop will be close to the Tilehurst Triangle which does have customer parking, therefore those people seeking to use the new shop can park and walk across School Road to get to it.

The planning department approved the revised plan in May, with officer Davis concluding that the changes made the scheme more acceptable and less of an impact on the surrounding area.

But Chesters Place also won the appeal to get the original scheme built, which was granted by planning inspector L Page on September 21.

Inspector Page concluded: “I am mindful that there is an opportunity to put the land to more effective use and delivering the proposal in this case would be a significant enhancement compared to the scrub grassland and illuminated advertisements that currently detract from the character and appearance of the area.”

Reading Chronicle: The building site in School Road, Tilehurst, as it was before work started. Credit: Google MapsThe building site in School Road, Tilehurst, as it was before work started. Credit: Google Maps

Because of the appeal decision,  the developers have ended up with permission for both of their proposals.

A council spokesperson confirmed that the scheme submitted this year is the one being implemented.

You can view both applications using the references on the council’s planning portal below:

  • The first application allowed on appeal – 211276
  • The second application which is being enacted – 220086