A dispute over a chicken shop near Reading town centre could finally be resolved after neighbour complaints of vomiting and feeling ill due to odours.

Pepe’s Piri Piri opened at the junction of Oxford Road and Zinzan Street back in 2019 after the chicken franchise took over a former Ladbrokes betting shop.

Although the council gave consent for the shop conversion to occur, the operators allegedly failed to comply with rules regarding the kitchen extraction system and the appearance of the shopfront.

Neighbours have complained about the odour, with anecdotes of a pregnant woman vomiting due to cooking odours wafting into her home.

READ MORE: Reading chicken shop in trouble over planning rule breaches 

Now the Pepe’s Piri Piri franchisees have agreed to make changes to the extraction system and appearance, changes which were discussed by councillors at a planning applications committee meeting.

Councillor Karen Rowland, who lives in the neighbourhood, stated that issues with Pepe’s Piri have led to a ‘five year saga’ between the franchisees and the council to come to an agreement on acceptable odour extraction and appearance for the chicken shop.

Cllr Rowland (Labour, Abbey) said: “This has been a five year long saga with this site.

“I was told by a resident at one point that his wife was pregnant and throwing up constantly into a bucket, so you can understand that sometimes this odour has been a bit intense.”

READ MORE: Pepe's Piri Piri in Reading closes temporarily to 'fix issues'

Changes the franchisees Express Team Ltd applied for were divided between the kitchen extraction system plan and the shopfront.

Existing branding will be freshened up and the whole building painted red, rather than the red and grey split currently in place.

Cllr Rowland said: “The shopfront that this application is asking for or saying that they [the franchisees] will deliver is pretty much the same that we have been asking for five years, and this is a quality shopfront with quality materials and quality painting.”

Reading Chronicle: The approved elevations for Pepes Piri Piri at the junction of Oxford Road and Zinzan Street, near Reading town centre. Credit: Architecture & Interior DesignThe approved elevations for Pepes Piri Piri at the junction of Oxford Road and Zinzan Street, near Reading town centre. Credit: Architecture & Interior Design

She added that the council has also been on a ‘four year odyssey’ through the High Street Heritage Action Zone to improve shopfronts along the Oxford Road.

Cllr Rowland said: “I do feel that the applications will help us to keep what is an appreciated business on that corner going and brought into line with what we have been asking for the past five years.”

The changes to the kitchen extraction (application reference 230695) and the shopfront (reference 230579) were unanimously approved at the meeting on January 31.

Cllr Rowland is a member of the committee but did not vote as she had declared an interest in the plan.

Earlier in the meeting, she noted that a planning enforcement notice issued by the council calling for the removal of the kitchen extraction equipment and unauthorised shopfront was served in 2020.

The plans were approved on the condition that work begins within two months of the permission so that the enforcement notice can be complied with.