16 February 2018
The public inquiry in to the proposed Gladman development will be from the 1st to 4th May 2018, starting at 10am in the Council Chamber, Henley Rugby Club, Dry Leas, Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2JA
14 February 2018
CADRA maintains a summary of the significant local planning applications and appeals which is updated each month. Each application listed provides a direct link the RBC website where plans can be seen and comments sent on line. Links to the Planning Inspectorate show progress on appeals. Applications in South Oxfordshire which are significant and close to the border with Reading are also listed.
23 January 2018
Although South Oxfordshire District Council had earlier been expected to recommend refusal of this application, the planning officer finally recommended approval. Following substantial opposition from Parish Councils and individuals in South Oxfordshire, Caversham and Emmer Green, the Planning Committee decided to refuse the application. The developer, Gladman submitted an appeal and the closing date for comments passed in November.
The public inquiry will be from the 1st to 4th May 2018, starting at 10am in the Council Chamber, Henley Rugby Club, Dry Leas, Marlow Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, RG9 2JA. Planning Inspectorate Case
CADRA submitted further comments to the Planning Inspector. Reading Borough Council have confirmed they will support South Oxfordshire District Council in resisting the appeal in the light of the inadequacy of infrastructure and services.
14 January 2018
Hermes the owners of St Martins Centre are preparing alternative plans for the position of the new cinema. The intention is to develop above and behind the Superdrug store which would be retained with some alterations. The proposed building may rise to 5 storeys with the upper levels set back. The entrance to the cinema would be from the new Caversham Square on the car park side. The entrance to the new residential accommodation on the upper floors would be from Church Street.
The proposals for Caversham square with the cinema entrance and a new rear entrance to Waitrose suggest a positive external space. It will be important that the building line and the detailed design of the Church Street frontage is sympathetic and not over dominant and that the height and bulk of any new building are carefully considered. A formal planning application is expected next year.
Now that that the refurbishment of St Martin’s Square is virtually complete, it is expected that work will follow on for the new 5 storey block for a restaurant and flats above, adjacent to Marc Antoni Hairdresser, where permission has already been granted. The work for the cinema and Superdrug could follow on.
CADRA monitors local planning applications and comments on proposals of significance to Caversham. It follows and contributes to local planning policy as it is developed through the Local Development Framework. We publish monthly a list of the current significant applications and their status. Latest Planning List
Planning Permission and enquiries: 0118 937 3787
The Council website provides extensive information on planning applications. Online Register
Tel: 0303 444 5000
The Government Planning Inspectorate decides on planning applications when an applicant appeals against a refusal of planning permission.
Planning department : 01235 422600
The South Oxfordshire District Council website provides extensive information on planning applications.
The National Planning Policy Framework was published in March 2012 bringing significant changes to the planning process. More informtion at: National Planning Policy Framework
A central theme is the presumption in favour of sustainable development. This means that the local plans set out through the Local Development Plans have even greater significance. CADRA has followed every stage of the process to develop the Reading Local Development Framework and the Reading Local Plan, submitting detailed comments and liaising with other local groups. Among other changes, this has secured the protection of many of the open spaces north of the river through the Site and Detailed Policies Document.
Local Development Frameworks have been formally adopted in Reading and South Oxfordshire.
For a number of years Reading Borough Council has consulted the public on the detailed policy framework for managing and protecting the built and natural environment in the borough. CADRA commented at each stage of consultation.
This process reached a conclusion with the formal adoption by the Council of the Sites and Detailed Policies Document (SDPD) and Proposals Map in. These form part of the Reading Borough Local Development Framework (LDF), and replace the remaining ‘saved’ policies of the Reading Borough Local Plan (adopted 1998). They set out detailed policies for development management decisions, and identify sites for development, protection and other designations. The Proposals Map shows the SDPD designations on a map, as well as designations from other adopted plans and contextual information.
This link gives a summary of the adopted Development Plans in place for Reading: RBC Planning Policy
Copies can also be seen at the Civic Offices and at Reading Libraries.
A similar process was completed in South Oxfordshire, where five years was spent preparing and consulting on a Core Strategy. South Oxfordshire District Council formally adopted the South Oxfordshire Core Strategy 2027 Development Plan Document in December 2012: SODC The Core Strategy
In preparing the Core Strategy one option, Option F, was to locate 6,000 homes on the outskirts of Oxford and Reading. This was rejected.
It is worth noting that during the final stages of examination the government required amendments to both the Reading and South Oxfordshire documents to include a policy in favour of sustainable development. This requires that sustainable development will be given planning consent, and it has been made clear that Government Inspectors will overturn the rejection of an application which they judge to be sustainable, thereby requiring the Council to bear the costs of the appeal. As there is no clear definition of ‘sustainable’ within national planning policy guidance, this is very much an area of policy to watch.
CADRA takes an active part in commenting at each stage of consultation for all Local Plans for Reading and South Oxfordshire.
Reading Borough Council is working on producing a new Local Plan, which will replace current development plans (the Core Strategy, Reading Central Area Action Plan and Sites and Detailed Policies Document) with a new plan setting out how Reading will develop up to 2036.
Between January and March 2016, they undertook a consultation on Issues and Options which is the first stage of the plan. This included a summary leaflet and a sustainability appraisal , which covers the effects of the policy on environmental, social and economic objectives. A Statement of Consultation was subsequently published.
Following on from Issues and Options, consultation on a Draft Local Plan took place between 1 May 2017 and 14 June 2017, and a further Statement of Consultation was prepared.
Further work to prepare a Local Plan for submission for independent examination is currently underway.
This link provides access to the documents available to the public: RBC New Local Plan
South Oxfordshire is also working on a new local plan, known as the Local Plan 2033, which is nearly ready to be submitted for independent examination. A final publicity period was held in October and November 2017.
Buildings are listed for their special architectural or historical interest. A building may be listed because of age, rarity, architectural merit or the method of construction. Listing aims to ensure that the architectural and historic interest of a building is preserved within present day uses. Buildings are graded to show their relative architectural or historic interest:
Grade I - Buildings of exceptional interest
Grade II* - Particularly important buildings of more than special interest
Grade II - Nationally important and of special interest.
There are 78 listed buildings in Caversham, of which only one is Grade I - a large barn at Chazey Court Farm in The Warren, which is currently considered to be at risk.
There are three listed Grade II* - Chazey Farmhouse, St Peter's Church and Old Grove House in Surley Row.
You can view the: schedule of all listed properties in Caversham
Any work to demolish, alter, extend or in any other way affect the building requires Listed Building Consent from Reading Borough Council. Works which affect the character are likely to include: alterations to structural fabric of a building such as roofs, floors, walls, stairs and fireplaces and modifications of windows, doors and mouldings. The procedure is similar to obtaining planning permission.
An application for Planning Permission is often necessary alongside an application for listed building consent. For clarification of how to apply for Listed Building Consent, and to find out whether planning Permission is required contact Reading Borough Council Planning Department.
Redevelopment of a site containing a listed building requires Listed Building Consent for the demolition and Planning Permission for the new building.
There is a very fine line between the repair and maintenance of a listed building and alterations that would require Listed Building Consent. The loss of original materials and features during the maintenance of a listed building can lead to a loss of architectural and historical value of the building. Any removal of original materials and the replacement with modern alternatives is likely to require Listed Building Consent. Consolidation and repair is more appropriate than the wholesale replacement of materials and features. The Planning Department will give advice.
You can view information on listed buildings on the RBC website: Conservation areas & listed buildings
Using Town & Country Planning legislation, local planning authorities are able to protect trees of amenity value by way of a Tree Preservation Order, commonly referred to as a "TPO". This is particularly important when specimen trees are under threat of inappropriate work, damage or felling. TPOs are highly significant in determining planning applications. Planning Officers can apply provisional TPOs to sites where a planning application is under consideration. The Natural Environment Team in the Planning Department deals with trees.
The owner of a protected tree remains responsible for its maintenance and for any damage they may cause. To undertake work to a protected tree an application must be made in writing to the Natural Environment Team in the Council's Planning Section, who will make a visit and write back with its decision.
Carrying out work on a protected tree without permission is an offence and can lead to a fine.
On Reading Borugh Council’s website you can view a Guide to TPOs, a full list of TPOs listed alphabetically by street, and the Council's Tree Strategy: RBC Trees
From 1 October 2008 the permitted development rights that allowed householders to pave their front garden with hardstanding without planning permission were changed in order to reduce the impact on flooding and pollution of watercourses.
You do not need planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. If the surface to be covered is more than five square metres planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not provide for the water to run to a permeable area.
More detailed guidance on paving your front garden can be found on the Planning Portal.
The Government has a Plain English document intended to give an overview of how the national planning system works at: Plain English guide to the planning system
At a recent CADRA AGM, Prof. Gavin Parker from the University of Reading presented an Outline of Planning and Neighbourhood Planning: Gavin-Parker Presentation
It was announced that Waitrose was no longer progressing plans to extend its Caversham store as part of the proposal to redevelop St Martin’s Centre. Following the withdrawal of Waitrose, Hermes applied for permission to carry out the work in phases. The attached plan shows the sequence requested.
The application for the redevelopment of the St. Martins Precinct was eventually approved on 31 March 2015 . The scheme included upgrading the precinct, which will link to a new public square - Caversham Square - and a larger Waitrose, a total of 40 flats, a cinema and improvements to the parking area. CADRA welcomed the regeneration and the new facilities, whilst expressing concerns about the effect on Church Street of some aspects of the design, especially the Pizza Express building, and the cut-back of the Holm Oak outside Costa.
The application was considered at the November 2014 Planning Applications Committee. Planning Officers made a guarded recommendation for approval and CADRA outlined a number of concerns. The view that this was a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to get this right for Caversham was endorsed by Councillors. The applicant requested a deferral to allow differences on financial contributions to be resolved. The committee asked the applicant to address the concerns raised during the deferral period. Some very minor changes had been made and background discussions with the Council continued.
Further modifications were made to the plans. However, the issue of trees on the Church Street frontage remained a major concern, particularly the landmark 150 year old, evergreen Holm Oak. The upward extension planned above Boots and Costa would occupy much of the space of the Holm Oak canopy. To erect scaffolding, construct the new apartments and give some light to their windows, the major part of the canopy would have to be removed. These photographs illustrate the extent of the planned overlap between the existing tree canopy and the proposed building.
Street view Church street
Holm Oak - Block D clash
Holm Oak actual position
Similarly, the canopy of the new block including Pizza Express would occupy the space of the two street trees towards the telephone exchange which are now progressing well as mature trees.
While many of the modifications were welcomed, trees on the Church Street frontage would be critical to soften the impact of the larger modern buildings. The CADRA response to the revised plans can be seen at: CADRA response.
Following a range of concerns raised over the initial plans, revised plans were submitted , as shown here.
The original planning application for St Martin's Centre (No. 140997) was submitted in June 2014.
The Masterplan section gave a quick overview of the scheme, showing 3 different views along Church Street 05,06,07
The Landscape Plan showed the overall layout with details of trees and proposed surfaces.
Major changes were shown in:
Block A - the new 5 storey block adjacent to the telephone exchange
Block D - new residential provision above Boots and Costa, making 4 storeys
Block E - the extended Waitrose store and the decked car park.
CADRA sent a preliminary response to the application, drawing on the many comments received, which followed the CADRA response to the pre-application consultation.
This document sets out CADRA’s vision for the area.