Planning

What we do

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. At our latest AGM, Prof Gavin Parker from the University of Reading presented Outline of Planning & Neighbourhood Planning.

Contacts and Links

Reading Borough Council logo

Reading Borough Council

Planning Permission and enquiries: 0800 626540.
The Council website provides extensive information on planning applications. www.planning.reading.gov.ukThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

Planning Inspectorate

Government department which deals with all planning applications that go to appeal.   www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk/pins/index.htmThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

Current Planning Applications

CADRA maintains a summary of the significant local planning applications and appeals which is updated each month. Each application listed shows 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.

Click here to access this month's Planning Summary

Extra care housing on the Arthur Clark/Albert Road site

Update 18 February 2016
The planning application validated 22 January 2016, reference 152277, can be seen here. link is http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=152277&ApplicationNumber=152277&AddressPrefix=&Postcode=&Submit=Search

CADRA met recently with a2dominion.The extra care housing is much needed and very welcome but there are concerns over the proposed height, tree cover and effect on nearby properties. You can see CADRA's comments here and the attachments here.

Update 18 August 2015
New information has been posted on changes to be incorporated in revised plans. A planning application is expected at the end of August.

A2Dominion who are developing the site in partnership with the Council, held a public exhibition of their outline plans on 1 April 2015. CADRA requested a copy of the exhibition boards which you can see here. A2Dominion are seeking public comments before they prepare a formal planning application. They indicated to CADRA that comments could be made by email to Steve.Coggins@a2dominion.co.uk up to the end of April, but the earlier the better to influence the formal plans as they are developed. You may wish to use the formal questionnaire which can be downloaded here.

Comments made at the exhibition include design issues: height, materials and style, parking. There were also comments on: who would be eligible to buy, affordability, care service available for residents, access to facilities for non residents. CADRA will be following this project through the various stages and would welcome comments. In the meantime, CADRA has submitted these comments.

Meanwhile, RBC is consulting on Investment in Day Services for Older People. Comments can be made up to 22 June 2015. http://beta.reading.gov.uk/PRServicesOlderPeople

Conservation Areas in Reading 2 October 2015

CADRA has been working with other groups across Reading to try and address the deterioration in many Conservation Areas. Information on Conservation Areas, including St Peter's CA and Surley Row CA can be found at http://beta.reading.gov.uk/article/2427/How-do-you-protect-our-natural-environment-and-historical-sites

A paper on priorities across Reading prepared by community groups will be considered by the Strategic Environment, Planning & Transport Committee on 24 November. CADRA presented a paper on the St Peter's CA to Council Officers, Lead Councillor and Historic England.

St Martin's Centre

Update 8 March 2016

Hermes have now applied for permission to carry out the work in phases. The attached plan shows the sequence requested.

Update 22 September 2015
It was announced today that, regrettably, Waitrose is no longer progressing plans to extend its Caversham store as part of the proposal to redevelop St Martin’s Centre. Hermes is currently reviewing the plans with the aim of still redeveloping part of the site. Their statement reports: We are liaising closely with the Council and other stakeholders on the likely implications to the wider regeneration of the shopping centre... We would like to reassure the local community that we still intend to carry out improvement works to the centre, in line with the approved plans... We hope to make a further statement in due course on exactly which elements of the approved plans will be impacted.

St Martins scheme approved

The application for the redevelopment of the St Martins Precinct has now been approved. The scheme will upgrade the precinct, which will link to a new public square - Caversham Square - and provide a larger Waitrose, a total of 40 flats, a cinema and improvements to the parking area. CADRA welcomes the regeneration and the new facilities, though we still have 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.

Update 10 January 2014

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 have been made and background discussions with the Council continue. A decision is expected at either the February or March committee. The latest documents are available here at the RBC Planning Portal on page 10 of the ‘Plans and Documents.’

Update 28 October 2014

Since the revised plans were made available, further modifications have been made to the plans. However, the issue of trees on the Church Street frontage is still 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 overlap between the existing tree canopy and the proposed building. It is usual for these issues to be set out in the detailed plans but despite this issue being raised some months back, there is still no clear documentation.

Street view Church street

Street view Church street

Holm Oak - Block D clash

Holm Oak - Block D clash

Holm Oak actual position

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 are welcome, trees on the Church Street frontage will be critical to soften the impact of the larger modern buildings. It is expected that the modified application will be considered at the Planning Application Committee on 12 November 2014.
The CADRA response to the revised plans can be seen here.

Revised Plans 26 September 2014

Following a range of concerns raised over the initial plans, revised plans have now been submitted and are available to view on line. CADRA is reviewing the plans and would welcome comments. You can view the plans on RBC's planning portal. Select 'View Plans and Documents' where plans are shown across 8 pages. The revised plans (dated 25.09.14) start on page 5 and continue to page 8, where most of the summary plans are shown.

For ease of reference, you can view some documents direct here (note, to view these documents easily, then download the pdfs and view):

Comments on the original application and applicants response

Masterplan - proposed consolidation site plan

Street elevations from Church Street

Street elevations from the rear car parks

3D Street view - Church Street frontage (Pizza Express)

3D Street view - Church Street frontage (Costa and precinct)

3D Street view - Church Street frontage (Waitrose)

Letters have been sent to those who commented on the previous application inviting comments by 9 October. Comments can be sent to the Planning Officer, Stephen.Vigar@reading.gov.uk or using the link to comment on line. Comments will be accepted up to the date of the Planning Committee (possibly 12 November 2014 but still to be decided) but earlier comments have greater potential to affect changes.

Original Application 24 June 2014

The planning application for St Martin's Centre is available on the RBC website, reference 140997. The plans can more easily be viewed at http://www.stmartinscentre-caversham.co.uk/.
Scrolling down the page, you will find a list of all the documents and below that, links to comment formally on the planning application and a separate link to send comments to the Hermes development team.

For a quick overview of the scheme, you may like to look first within the Masterplan section at 3 different views along Church Street 05,06,07.

Further down the list, the Landscape Plan gives the overall layout with details of trees and proposed surfaces.

If you wish to look in more detail, the major changes are 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 has now sent a preliminary response drawing on the many comments received. We welcome further comments and may send a further response. You may also wish to comment formally on the planning application so that your views are taken into account in the planning decision. You may also like to see the CADRA response to the pre-application consultation. Plus our vision.

Swan Heights

The planning application for three tall towers on the Coopers site has now been submitted. Full details can be seen here
http://planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=150120&ApplicationNumber=150120
Under View Plans & Documents you will find two pages of documents. The Design and Access Statement and View report part 2 can be viewed direct here (they are large files and take some time to download). You will see that the principle of a tall development on that site has already been determined and that other tall buildings in the area have already been approved. The View report shows impressions of those buildings as seen from locations in Caversham.

The RBC link allows comments to be made on line and CADRA would welcome specific comments from members.

Listed Buildings

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 This file is in PDF format and will open in a new window

Listed Building Consent

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.

Repairs and Maintenance

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 a: Guide to Listed BuildingsThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window on RBC's website.

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Tree Preservation Orders

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 RBC's website you can view:

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Planning Policy

The National Planning Policy Framework was published in March 2012 and will bring significant changes to the planning process.
www.communities.gov.uk/publications/planningandbuilding/nppfThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

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 LDF sending detailed comments and liaising with other local groups. Among other changes, this has secured the protection of a many of the open spaces north of the river through the Site and Detailed Policies.

The LDF has recently been formally adopted, and the process in South Oxfordshire is also reaching a conclusion.

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Update to Planning Frameworks for Reading and South Oxfordshire

South Oxfordshire Local Plan 2011 - 2031: Refined Options February 2015

South Oxfordshire District Council has produced Refined Options in response to the Issues and Scope consultation last year which looked at how the next quota of housing to be provided by 2031 could be located.

Option F, which was to locate 6,000 homes on the outskirts of Oxford and Reading, has been rejected.

Important News on the Planning Frameworks for Reading and South Oxfordshire

10/11/2012

For a number of years Reading Borough Council has been consulting the public on the detailed policy framework for managing and protecting the built and natural environment in the borough. CADRA has commented at each stage of consultation.

This process has now reached a conclusion, with the formal adoption by the Council of the Detailed Policies Document (SDPD) and Proposals Map on 23rd October 2012. 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 complete set of Development PlansThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window in place for Reading.

Copies can be seen at the Civic Offices, at Reading Libraries, or online at:
www.reading.gov.uk/businesses/Planning/planning-policyThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

A similar process is reaching a conclusion in South Oxfordshire, where five years has been spent preparing and consulting on a Core Strategy. In October an independent Planning Inspector agreed that the strategy provides a sound basis for the planning of the district over the next 15 years, and the intention is for it to be formally adopted by the Council the end of the year.
www.southoxon.gov.uk/services-and-advice/planning-and-building/planning-policy/core-strategy/south-oxfordshire-submissionThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

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 will continue to monitor planning issues which may have an impact on life in Caversham, and would welcome input from CADRA members on issues of concern. An up-to-date list of current significant planning applications can always be found in our Monthly Planning List.

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Planning Enforcement & Objections

Planning Enforcement

If you believe that construction is not in line with agreed plans, or that planning conditions are being breached, this is a matter for Planning Enforcement. You can download a copy of RBC's Planning Enforcement Policy 2007 using this link: Planning Enforcement Policy 2007 This file is in PDF format and will open in a new window

Planning Objections - helpful hints

If you are concerned about a planning application and wish to oppose it, you may find our helpful hints document This file is in PDF format and will open in a new window useful.

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Front Garden Parking

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 gardenThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window can be found on the Planning Portal.

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SODC Logo

South Oxfordshire Planning

The monthly summary also includes applications in South Oxfordshire close to the Caversham border.

CADRA is included in local consultation for the South Oxfordshire Local Development Plan.
SODC Local Development Framework
This is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

Review of potential housing sites near the Caversham border is still on hold.
The Housing Site Allocations 2026 Development Plan DocumentThis is a link to an external website and will open in a new window

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Terrace of Houses
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