Decision details

181555/FUL - Grovelands Baptist Church, 553 Oxford Road

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Demolition of existing chapel and church hall.  Redevelopment of the site to provide a three storey mixed use development comprising of community halls and ancillary accommodation at ground floor level, 2 x one bedroom flats, 6 x two bedroom flats and 2 x three bedroom flats at the upper floor levels, all with associated external amenity space, car parking and cycle storage.


The Director of Environment and Neighbourhood Services submitted a report on the above application.  An update report was tabled at the meeting which contained: additional information on questions asked and answered on the site visit; the applicant’s response to comments regarding local listing; additional emails and a petition of support and objections which had been received; and the applicant’s response to comments and officer comments on these.  The update report had appended comments of support (Appendix 1), objections (Appendix 2) and updated drawings (Appendix 3).


Comments and objections were received and considered.


Resolved – That the application be refused for the following reasons:


1.            The proposal has failed to demonstrate that the loss of the Non-Designated Heritage Asset has been sufficiently outweighed/mitigated by a replacement development of a high quality design.  The design is not considered to provide a positive response to the local context as it fails to maintain and enhance the character and appearance of this part of Reading.  The proposal would therefore have an adverse impact on the historic environment and the Oxford Road streetscape, contrary to policies CS7 (Design and the Public Realm) and CS33 (Protection and Enhancement of the Historic Environment) of the Reading Borough LDF Core Strategy (2008, as amended 2015) and paragraphs 189, 190, 192 and 197 of the NPPF (2019).


2.            In the absence of a completed legal agreement to secure:

·         affordable housing of an appropriate tenure - the proposal fails to contribute adequately to the housing needs of Reading Borough and the need to provide sustainable, inclusive mixed and balanced communities, contrary to policies CS15, DM6 and NPPF;

·         contributions towards employment, skills and training - the proposal fails to adequately contribute to the employment, skills or training needs of local people with associated socioeconomic harm, contrary to policies CS3, CS9, DM3 and the Employment, Skills and Training SPD (2013); and

·         6 no. car parking spaces from the site at land between 2-4 Wilson Road - the proposal fails to provide adequate parking provision contrary to policies CS20, CS24 and DM12.

Publication date: 18/03/2019

Date of decision: 06/03/2019

Decided at meeting: 06/03/2019 - Planning Applications Committee

Accompanying Documents: