Plans to demolish all or half of a retail park in south Reading, which contains shops such as B&M and Halfords, have been approved.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee approved the flexible plans last night (June 23), which will see either the whole or half of Brunel Retail Park demolished and turned into logistics warehouses.

The developer has not decided yet whether to demolish and replace the whole of the Rose Kiln Lane site, wanting “as much flexibility as possible for the future use of the site”.

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Initially, units 6b-11 will be demolished and units 1-6a will be kept.

Tim Rainbird, the planning agent for the applicant, said the logistics market has been “remarkably strong” in the last 18 months compared to the retail industry due to the increase in online shopping.

He said logistics is “rapidly expanding” while retail is “retracting”.

While Labour councillor John Ennis said: “When I saw this report, I was very refreshed. It’s a report that could be the future.

“More and more young people are going online.

“I think logistics is a really good way of looking at how we mitigate the potential negative impact of the closure of retail”.

The current makeup of the retail park is:

Unit 1: Halfords

Unit 2: Pets at Home

Unit 3a: Vacant

Unit 3b: Next

Unit 4: Go Outdoors

Unit 5: Vacant

Unit 6a: Dreams

Unit 6b: Shoezone

Unit 7: Vacant

Unit 8: B&M

Unit 9: Laura Ashley (in administration)

Unit 10: Subway

Unit 11: Costa

Reading Chronicle: PICTURED: Halfords at Brunel Retail ParkPICTURED: Halfords at Brunel Retail Park

In phase one, Units 6b, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 will be demolished and replaced with a logistics warehouse.

Units 5 and 6a will be reconfigured to accommodate Shoe Zone, Subway, Costa. Units 3a and 3b will accommodate B&M.

Laura Ashley is in administration and is unlikely to be involved in the reconfiguration.

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Mayfair Capital will decide later whether to go ahead with phase two, which would see the rest of the retail park would be demolished and replaced with a second logistics warehouse.

The plan was recommended for approval by officers and was backed unanimously by councillors on the committee.

Officers and residents had raised concerns about noise from security alarms,

In response, an acoustic fence will be extended and a noise plan will be put in place to reduce noise by up to 10 decibels. Testing of security alarms will also only happen at specified hours.

Concerns were also raised by residents about waste being stored near the riverside and HGVs cutting through the Kennet Island residential area.

In response, Mayfair said bins will be securely stored and signs will be put up to warns HGVs about where they are allowed to drive.

Council officers had hoped the developer would include green roofs and walls but Mayfair Capital said green roofs are not compatible with the type of roofs planned and green walls would not be financially viable.

Green councillor Josh Williams called this “disappointing” and said “it would be great to see that kind of thing in the future” but expressed his support for the development and its proposed biodiversity net gain.