Drews appeal dismissed

Good news for our area’s heritage, with the announcement that the planning appeal for the Drews site has been dismissed.

The government planning inspector’s report was published today (14 May), stating that “[the] benefits do not outweigh the significant harm the proposal would have on the character and appearance of the area and the significance of a non-designated heritage asset”. At the appeal meeting on 24 March, Mary Neale on behalf of Bell Tower pointed out that the proposed development would be out of keeping with the existing buildings on the western side of Caversham Road and stressed the former malthouse’s long and varied history and contibution to the area’s character. Bell Tower’s representation was also strongly supported by our local councillors at the meeting.

Developer S2 Caversham was proposing to demolish the main building and build a seven-storey block of flats. The council’s planning committee initially refused the application in October 2020 after receiving a petition with more than 1200 signatures in favour of keeping the former malthouse, which the Bell Tower Community Association had succeeded in getting locally listed earlier in the year.

The developer will now almost certainly have to look at how the building might be adapted and produce a new design that is more harmonious with the former malthouse and the character of the local area.

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