Historic Reading house undergoing extensive renovations

Carlisle House is a grand old building nestled off Oxford Road in Trinity Place.

It dates back to 1845, and is believed to have been designed by John Billing, who was also responsible for the modification project for the Holy Trinity Church.

First called Trinity Parsonage, it initially served as the home of clergymen for the church, before becoming a private residence for eminent families in the town.

It had become known as Carlisle House circa 1879. and was eventually divided into four separate dwellings in the 1930s.

Owing to its architectural history, Carlisle House is Grade II listed, which has meant changes have to respect the heritage of the building they relate to.

Now, the owner is engaging in a project to increase the amount of flats in the house from four to six.

Carlisle House is currently made up of four flats, with two at ground floor level and two at first floor level.

The work involves internal modifications to create two two-bedroom flats in the basement and second floor and four one-bedroom flats across the upper ground floor and the first floor.

Additionally, the applicant Turner Property applied to make external changes to the building, which include adding a terrace to the second floor and removing an ‘unsympathetic’ outdoor staircase.

The plan for the project first emerged in August 2022, but underwent revisions the following year.

Ultimately, the project was approved by Reading Borough Counci’s planning department.

Judging the proposals, planning officer Jonathan Markwell argued that the provision of two additional flats would be ‘welcomed in purely land use terms’, and also the provision of the two two-bedroom dwellings contributed to a greater housing mix in the area.

Although no designated affordable housing would be provided, the developers have agreed to pay the council £33,750 to provide affordable housing elsewhere.

In his judgement, Mr Markwell said: “The benefits of the proposals are considered to outweigh any shortfalls of the scheme.

“In particular, the provision of additional residential units and the sensitively designed amendments and additions to the listed building, helping to sustain and enhance the significance of the asset, which based on the officer site visit is evidently in need of improvement, are amongst the benefits.”

One of the negatives he listed was a possible lack of light for the two-bed basement dwelling, but ultimately he judged the benefits to outweigh the shortfalls.

The project was approved by the council’s assistant director of planning in August last year, meaning work could begin from then on.

You can view the approved application and planning documents by typing reference 220487 into the council’s planning portal.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre