The Fat Hippo burger restaurant chain has had plans to move into the old department store since 2022, with hopes to occupy a prime location next to the Kings Road bus stops in the town centre.
The company has a reputation for its mix of beef, chicken and vegan burgers after spreading from Newcastle to run 11 restaurants in Great Britain.
Now preparations for Fat Hippo to open its 12th in Reading can move ahead as its plans for Jackson’s Corner have been permitted.
Interior plans show that Fat Hippo will have 94 seats, four regular unisex toilets and a disabled toilet for guests, with kitchen facilities in a lower ground floor section.
In a tangible change outside, the standout Jackson’s Corner branding will be removed at ground level and replaced with a black awning.
Gold lettering and green branding will remain on the upper level of the building.
A decision on the project was made at a recent council meeting, with councillors judging the changes to Jackson’s Corner to be acceptable.
Councillor Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) said: “Hopefully for many decades in the future we will still be calling it Jackson’s Corner.
“This is part of the history of the change of use of this building too, so it’s been well handled, I feel like it’s appropriate on that level.”
The plans for the burger chain previously proved controversial, with planning officer Connie Davis rejecting an initial scheme for the premises in February last year.
Fat Hippo made changes to the refused application which included adapting the proposed black awning so that it will be level with the existing canopy.
The chain also submitted a noise assessment to demonstrate that its proposed kitchen extraction system would not cause disturbance to future occupants living in flats in the upper floors of the Jackson’s Corner building.
Planning officer Davis argued that Fat Hippo had failed to provide a suitable noise assessment in its previous application.
These changes satisfied the council’s environmental health team and planning officer Marcie Rejwerska, who recommended the most recent scheme for approval.
Cllr Rowland said: “As a ward councillor and someone who has dealt with odours surrounding establishments too, we need to be very conscious of that.
“But I do take it on recommendation that the noise and odour assessments have been considered to be fair and reasonable by environmental health group.
“God forbid there should be issues in the future, that would be dealt with by the environmental health group.”
The scheme was unanimously approved by Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee on Wednesday, January 10.
You can view the approved application by typing reference 230574 into the council’s planning portal.