Alexander House at 205-207 King’s Road occupies a prominent position in the eastbound only road next to the Crossway Point and Pinnacle apartment complexes.
The building used to serve as offices but has been vacant since at least 2018 when it was put up for sale.
Alexander House currently has scaffolding surrounding it.
That’s because work can begin on converting Alexander House into apartments.
Recently, Reading Borough Council’s planning department approved its conversion into 22 flats.
Of those, 19 will be one-bed and three will have two bedrooms, with 11 one-bed and one two-bed apartment being provided on the ground floor, and eight one-bed and two two-bed apartments being provided on the first floor.
In total, the building will contain 24 apartments, as the owners have permission for two one-bed flats across each floor from a previously approved plan.
Indeed, Alexander House is no stranger to conversion plans, as three such applications have been submitted since 2021.
A previous plan to convert Alexander House into 13 apartments was refused by the council but allowed on appeal by government planning inspector Lewis Condé in November 2022.
However the developer has changed the layout of ground and first floor according to that appeal plan save for two one-bed apartments, leading them to submit the latest application this year.
The council’s planning department initially refused the conversion due to concerns over lack of daylight for future occupants.
But these concerns appear to have been addressed by the latest application.
Summarising a report recommending approval, planning officer Nathalie Weekes said: “It is considered that adequate natural light would be provided in the habitable rooms.
“The proposal will not give rise to any transport impacts, contamination risks,
flooding risk, nor would it experience adverse noise impacts from adjacent commercial premises.”
The latest conversion plan, application reference 230400, was approved on Wednesday, May 17.
Because office to housing conversions are considered permitted development, the applicant BMR Edgware Ltd only required ‘prior approval’ from the council, a rule limits scrutiny of conversions to residential in an effort to ease the housing crisis.
Alexander House could even total 32 apartments, as the council granted a plan to add a new floor above the existing building containing eight apartments under application reference 210902.
According to another previous application, the entire building could have been demolished to make way for a seven storey apartment block containing 182 student flats.
However, that application (reference 190160) was rejected by the council in 2019 with an appeal to the government planning inspectorate being dismissed in December 2020.