Current Planning Applications

11 August 2022

Latest Planning Summary

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.

Caversham Park House & Garden Planning Application

9 June 2022

The detailed plans for the historic house and land at Caversham Park are on the Council website (220409). We have sent CADRA's Comments to the RBC. The application has many documents. We have summarised the proposal and provided links to some useful documents to read:

The house will be converted to 64 assisted living units for the over 55s. A 64 bed care home. 61 age-restricted retirement dwellings, including conversion of the existing Bursars House, The Lodge and 2 Caversham Park Drive. Plus 5 market dwellings and 28 affordable dwellings.

Refurbishment and extension of the existing pavilion to provide changing facilities, cafe studio and sports provision comprising 2 croquet lawns, 2 bowling greens and an additional tennis court. Refurbishment of the existing tennis court and associated parking and landscaping. 

Recommended documents:

Ground floor Plan

1st Floor Plan

Archaeology Assessment

Archaeology Maps

Heritage Part 1 (See 5.3.1 -pages 30/31)

Heritage Part 2

Design and Access Statement 3

Planning Statement incl pre-app advice

Views with Heritage Interest Report by the Reading Conservation Areas Advisory Committee refers to the house in section 8 on page 56.

Historic England's Assessment - As we said in our February Roundup, we were pleased to see that they expressed concern that there may be a significant impact on the historic environment. They noted “the considerable residential development [proposed] within the Grade II Registered Park and Garden, and the conversion of and development in the setting of a Grade II country house”. 

RBC Conservation and Urban Design Officer Report - This detailed report includes interesting historic images and recent interior photos. The officer advises the Council to refuse the appliction.

Reading Golf Club Planning Application Granted

31 March 2022

On 02 March 22 the Reading Planning Applications Committee, by a majority vote, approved the application for the Reading Golf Club land in Emmer Green. The decision leaves many people deeply disappointed. CADRA was pleased to join EGRA and KEG in representing local concerns and setting out reasons for refusal. Prior to the meeting CADRA emailed all Planning Committee Members with a Plea to Refuse the Application.

The Recommendation  and final Update from the planning officers to the Committee was that permission be granted, subject to a nuumber of conditions.

Cllr. Mitchell requested the Secretary of State to “call in” the application, CADRA has supported this with this Letter to Mchael Gove.

On 31 March The Secretary of State advised that he will not 'call in' the application for Reading Golf Course. We therefore await news of the various detailed agreements to be signed before a Decision Notice is issued.


Permitted Development Rights - RBC make an Article 4 Direction

23 November 2021

As we reported in our Autumn Newsletter, new Permitted Development Rights allow conversion to residential units without planning permission, as well as a suite of new rights allowing upward extension or demolition and rebuild of residential and commercial buildings to provide new dwellings.

Studies have shown that many of the these conversions create poor living conditions, and there are widespread concerns.

On 10 November 2021, RBC made an Article 4 direction to remove certain permitted development rights for new dwellings across the town centre, district and local centres, core employment areas and a number of other commercial areas. It includes parts of Caversham.

This does not prevent development as planning permission may still be granted.

The Direction comes into force on 15 November 2022, unless modified by the Secretary of State. More details and information about the streets and houses it applies have been provided by the Council: Article 4 Direction.


Reading Golf Club Develpment Plan - CADRA's Comments

12 March 2021

CADRA has submitted their Comments on Reading Golf Club's new Planning Application to build 257 houses on the Emmer Green golf course.

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. We publish monthly a list of the current significant applications and their status. Latest Planning List

How to comment on planning applications

CADRA generally confines its comments to planning applications which would affect the character of the area or have a wider community impact.

If you’re concerned about other applications, and wish to comment on them, the Royal Town Planning Institute' s helpful guide How do I comment on planning applications and the Government's Plain English guide to the planning system is intended to give an overview of how the national planning system works.

Contacts and Links

Reading Borough Council logoReading Borough Council

Planning Permission and enquiries: 0118 937 3787
The Council website provides extensive information on planning applications. Online Register

The Council provides useful Planning Information about Services. The Planning Applications Committee meets monthly.

Planning Inspectorate

Tel: 0303 444 5000

The Government Planning Inspectorate  decides on planning applications when an applicant appeals against a refusal of planning permission.

South Oxfordshire District Council 

Planning department : 01235 422600

The South Oxfordshire District Council website  provides extensive information on planning applications.

Local Plans and National Planning Policy Framework

National Policy Framework

The Government's National Planning Policy Framework provides a framework within which locally-prepared plans for housing and other development can be produced , and CADRA takes a keen and active interest in local plans. A central theme of the Framework is a presumption in favour of Sustainable Development.

September 2020 - The Government has proposed wide-ranging changes to the planning system.

Reading Local Plan

The current Reading Local Plan, was adopted by the Council in November 2019, having been submitted to the Government Inspector for examination. It sets down the policies that will govern how the town is developed up to 2036. Whilst its focus is housing and commercial developments, it also addresses how it relates to other aspects of life in the town, including: transport, cultural development, and preserving local heritage and the natural environment.

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.

For background information see our section on Planning Policy History.

South Oxfordshire Local Plan

Developers, notably Gladman, have and are likely to continue to make applications for housing in South Oxfordshire close to or on the border with Reading. So, the newly submitted South Oxfordshire Local Plan, for the period up to 2034, is perhaps of equal interest to Caversham residents as the Reading plan.

Sustainable Development

Government Inspectors have made clear they will overturn a local authority's rejection of an application which the Inspector judges to be sustainable, thereby requiring the Council to bear the costs of the appeal. Below is the National Policy Framework's definition of ‘sustainable’, which is very much an area of policy to watch.

a) an economic objective – to help build a strong, responsive and competitive economy, by ensuring that sufficient land of the right types is available in the right places and at the right time to support growth, innovation and improved productivity; and by identifying and coordinating the provision of infrastructure.

b) a social objective – to support strong, vibrant and healthy communities, by ensuring that a sufficient number and range of homes can be provided to meet the needs of present and future generations; and by fostering a well-designed and safe built environment, with accessible services and open spaces that reflect current and future needs and support communities’ health, social and cultural well-being.

c) an environmental objective – to contribute to protecting and enhancing our natural, built and historic environment; including making effective use of land, helping to improve biodiversity, using natural resources prudently, minimising waste and pollution, and mitigating and adapting to climate change, including moving to a low carbon economy.

Planning Policy History

National Planning Policy

The National Planning Policy Framework was published in March 2012 bringing significant changes to the planning processA central theme was the presumption in favour of Sustainable Development. This meant that the new Local Plans for Reading and South Oxfordshire would have even greater significance. The background to previous local plans follow. 

Frameworks Adopted for Reading (Revised 2015)

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.

Frameworks Adopted for South Oxfordshire

A similar process was completed by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), 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.

Listed Buildings

Historic England Lists buildings 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

Locally Listed Buildings - Reading Borough Council lists other buildings, not listed by Historic England, which are locally important and are subject to more detailed planning control.

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  information on listed buildings on the RBC website: Conservation areas & listed buildings

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 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

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 garden can be found on the Planning Portal.

Planning System talk by Prof. Gavin Parker

In 2014, at a CADRA AGM, Prof. Gavin Parker from the University of Reading presented an Outline of Planning and Neighbourhood Planning: Gavin-Parker Presentation

St Martin's Centre Re-development History

January 2019

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.

November 2018

Hermes submitted two new applications (180671 - 180499), which included a change to the phasing of the development and a cinema or leisure facility above the Super Drug shop. CADRA commented on the 180499 application.

April 2018

Hermes made a minor application detailing how they would carry-out part of the development for Block 1A, the new block at the western end of the development, currently a private car park for the shops.

September 2015

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.

March 2015  St Martins Scheme approved

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.

November 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 had been made and background discussions with the Council continued.

October 2014

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
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 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.

September 2014

Following a range of concerns raised over the initial plans, revised plans  were submitted , as shown here.

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)

Original Application  June 2014

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.

Gladman History - 245 Houses on Peppard Rd

In October 2016, Gladman Developments Ltd, acting on behalf of the land owner, submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC), to build 245 houses on farmland next to the Peppard Rd, on the boundary with Reading (Application No. P16/S3630/O). It wasn't until April 2019, that Gladman finally admitted there was no longer a way to pursue this application. This successful outcome for local residents, is a remarkable story of how well local community groups and parish councils can work closely together. How important the hard work of individuals is and that within a community there are often people with very useful specialist knowledge. CADRA is very proud to have beeen part of this campaign. The key events in this story are as follows.

Application to SODC and its refusal - September 2017

Along with CADRA's Objections to Gladman's application, there were also those from other groups and many individuals.

Although SODC had 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. Gladman then submitted an appeal to the Government Planning Inspectorate.

Reading Borough Council confirmed they would support SODC in defending their decision, at the appeal, because of the inadequacy of infrastructure and services (RBC Statement).

Appeal inquiry first stage - May 2018

The Gladman Inquiry opened Tuesday 1 May and heard evidence on landscape and transport from interested parties including CADRA, who strongly objected to the development (Our statement). Paul Matthews did an excellent job as professional transport witness and prepared a very detailed Statement. The remainder of the inquiry was deferred until August 29th.  This was because SODC's original Statement did not include the housing land supply for 5.4 years, which was only available shortly before the inquiry. A significant part of Gladman's case was the absence of a 5.4 year land supply, which SODC could now demonstrate.

Inquiry final stage & inspector's dismissal (August-November 2018)

During the final stage of inquiry (August 2018), Paul Matthews again gave expert transport evidence. CADRA worked with the other members of the campaign group (CAGE) in all the build-up, made two statements and were represented throughout the appeal.

Thanks to the financial support from organisations and individuals, CAGE was able to engage a barrister. His contribution was very important and his closing statement to the appeal and other statements can be read here:

CAGE closing statement

CADRA statement

Traffic and transport statement

South Oxfordshire District Council statement

Reading Borough Council Statement

CAGE campaign appeal poster

The dismissal (November 2018) of the appeal by the Government inspector was tremendous news and great credit to all the community groups, including CADRA, which fought the case. The inspector focused on issues of housing numbers, the Local Plan and landscape impact in reaching his decision (Inspector's Decision Notice). However, Gladman decided to challenge that decision in the High Court.

Gladman application comes to an end - April 2019

In February 2019, Gladman's request to challenge, at a High Court hearing, the process by which the Planning Inspector reached his decision was refused. They were however granted an oral hearing before a judge. 

On the 27th March at the oral hearing, Gladman was again unsuccessful in seeking permission for a court hearing. They made no approach to the Court of Appeal within the seven days allowed, and so that was the end of the road for this particular application.

Had the planning application been successful, the development would have been the first on the Reading-South Oxfordshire border and could have set a precedent for similar developments.