The ‘unattractive’ front of a stand out building in Reading town centre is set for a spruce up as plans to change the frontage have been approved.
Soane Point is known to host Tesco Express in a prominent location in Market Place.
Last year, developers won approval to convert offices in the upper floors of the building into 144 studio apartments.
The conversion of the building into flats was granted on appeal to developers Tene Living, which also submitted plans to spruce up the front of Soane Point and add 38 apartments to it through upwards extensions.
Tene Living planning agents TP Bennett acknowledged that the front looked ‘unattractive’, a proposal was submitted to replace the existing front with a mix of red, grey and beige brick.
The plan was initially discussed at Reading Borough Council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, January 11, but a decision was deferred so that more details about the materials that would be used.
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Members of the committee were shown four options for how the façade could look.
Councillors preferred option three, which would see red, grey, beige and red brick cladding added to the building.
Cllr Micky Leng joked: “I prefer option three, speaking as someone who is colour blind!”
This option was earlier endorsed by cllrs Josh Williams (Green, Park) and Tony Page (Labour, Abbey).
The decision in January was also deferred as councillors requested more details about waste management, solar panels and electric vehicle charging.
On the issue of waste management, planning officer Matt Burns said those living on upper floors would throw their waste in ‘chutes’ on their floors, which transfers this rubbish to the bin store at basement level.
Furthermore, general waste, recycling and food waste would be collected on a weekly basis by a private contractor.
Tene Living will add 61 solar panels to the roof of Soane Point, which is estimated will generate 25 per cent of the energy for the additional 38 apartments.
Commenting on that contribution, cllr Andrew Hornsby-Smith (Labour, Church) said: “That’s useful, I don’t think it’s fantastic but it is certainly a contribution, and that’s welcome.”
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As for car parking, of the 20 spaces provided at basement level, two will be equipped with electric vehicle charging leads, with the 18 remaining spaces equipped with necessary wiring to allow electric vehicle charging points to be added in future, which cllr Hornsby-Smith called “very welcome.”
The planning committee unanimously approved the façade changes and additional 38 apartments application on Wednesday, February 1.
This approval means Soane Point is set to contain 182 flats in total once conversion and extension work is completed.
The extensions that will contain the 38 apartments will be two storeys tall.
Of those additions, 19 would be two-bed, 16 would be one-bed and three would have three-bedrooms.
You can view the application by typing reference 221446 into the council’s planning portal.