Drews application goes to appeal

The owner of the Drews building, S2 Caversham, has decided to appeal Reading Borough Council’s decision to reject its application to demolish the Drews building and replace it with a seven-storey block of flats.

Bell Tower has made a submission to and asked to take part in the appeal hearing with a planning inspector. We have argued that the building is a rare surviving malthouse both in the town and nationally and that the developer has shown no evidence it looked into the viability of retaining it. A national expert on maltings, Amber Patrick, says the complex marks the transition of the malting process in the 19th century from a traditional to a pneumatic one. This, we have said, re-enforces the heritage argument. Our statement also outlines how the proposed tower block would clash with the Victorian and Edwardian character of the area, particularly in terms of height, whereas the existing structure is in harmony with the way buildings in the area were used for residential, commercial and industrial purposes.

The council, the Conservation Area Advisory Committee and Caversham and District Residents Association, have all written to the planning inspector in favour of retaining the building. The appeal will be heard at an online meeting on Wednesday 24 March.

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