Planning application submitted for post office site

An outline planning application has been submitted for redevelopment of the former Royal Mail site in Caversham Road. ‘Reading Metropolitan’ will contain around 650 flats, along with community space and a possible health centre.

The tallest building will rise to 25 storeys and will be next to the north entrance to the station, where it will face a new station square. The building has the potential for retail units at ground floor level.

The flats will include studios as well as one, two and thee bedroom units and there will be some affordable units. In addition to the apartments there will also be a small number of town houses at ground level.

A community centre is planned towards the Caversham Road side of the scheme, and this may include a dental practice and GP surgery. There will be a number of basement parking spaces across the development.

Details and the opportunity to make comments can be found on the council’s planning website at planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=182252

Power plant planned for Cardiff Road

A planning application has been submitted for a gas-fired micro power station in Cardiff Road, near the Cow Lane end. The proposal is for two generators housed in containers similar to those in the photo.

The Bell Tower Community Association has concerns about the potential for additional noise and pollution from the plant. The air quality report shows a measurable increase in NO2 levels over an area extending as far as Caversham Road, and this part of Reading is already a designated Air Quality Management area because of its high levels of pollution. We are also not sure about noise levels for residents of Cardiff Road, some of whom are less than 300 metres from the site.

We recommend looking at the planning application on the council’s website and giving your views using the online feedback form. You can find details and give feedback at planning.reading.gov.uk/fastweb_PL/detail.asp?AltRef=182242.

Date set for lamp post refurbishments

We have now got a confirmed schedule for refurbishment of the Victorian cast iron lamp posts in Addison Road. This will start on Monday 25 February working from the Cardiff Road end northwards.

The work will be carried out by SSE, and will involve installing a small bollard near the lamp post, typically just across the pavement, replacing the swan neck and fitting a new LED lantern similar to the ones recently installed on new lamp posts. The contractors expect to be able to refurbish two lamp posts per day, so should finish the job the same week.

Although some lamp posts have recently been replaced in the area, we have been assured that all our remaining cast iron lamp posts will be kept unless they are found to be unsafe.

We don’t yet have a date for the remaining cast iron lamp posts in York Road, Newport Road and Barry Place, but would expect these to be completed in the next 2-3 months. There will be a separate programme to paint the lamp posts, which is expected to start in the spring.

Thinking of getting an electric car?

Go Electric Reading is a Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) funded project run by Reading Borough Council to look at providing electric car charging for people who have to park their car on the street.

The initiative will install the chargers using the existing electrical supply to street furniture, such as lamp posts, allowing residents to charge their vehicles on street and outside their own homes.

The first stage of the council initiative is to identify residents without off-street parking who may be able to benefit from the scheme. This could benefit residents in the Bell Tower area – so if you have an electric vehicle or are thinking of getting one now is the time to tell the council.

The council has opened a survey to gauge demand – if you are interested please visit www.reading.gov.uk/goelectric for more details. The survey is open until 14 December.

Drews Ironmongers to close

Drews The Ironmongers in Caversham Road is set to cease trading at the end of this year. The Bell Tower Community Association will be sad to see them close as they have been very supportive of the association, including being a regular advertiser in our newsletter for several years and offering discounts to members.

Chris Drew from the family-run business said the decision was made with ‘great regret’ after years of loss making.

He told the Reading Chronicle: “After an extensive review of possible options for the company, the directors have proposed closing the business and disposing of the site for development.

“Drews has been in business in Reading for 87 years and has gained a first-class reputation for quality and service.

“We are working with our suppliers to ensure that we can continue to supply special orders as we always have done.”

The closure will result in the loss of 26 jobs. A stock clearance sale has already started, with 25 per cent off goods across the store.

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