Councillors on the planning committee had lots to say about the application to refurbish and extend Procter and Gamble’s (P&G’s) Gillette building and erect a new two storey research and development building on Basingstoke Road.
They asked about heritage, electric charging points for cars in the car park and local skills shortages in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The proposal retains the frontage of the landmark building and allows the relocation of P&G’s Greater London Innovation Centre in Egham to Reading.
Councillor Jason Brock [at 02:07:40] said the building was, “…one of the most beautiful buildings in Reading”, and that he was, “…surprised that we seem to think that it was built in the 50s, it looks more like a 20s or 30s construction to me. I was quite surprised that it wasn’t listed at all and I see that Councillor Rachel Eden has asked for it to be locally listed….”. He went on to say:
We do live in a town which was once a very industrial town and a lot of that industrial heritage has been lost and I think its good that we should seek to preserve as much of it as we can and this is a very good example of a historic building in a good location and in a very nice setting as well.
Planning officers had carried out some research into the heritage of the building and said that it was possible it was based on the Gillette building in Brentford, built in the 1930s (pictured below).
Councillor Ricky Duveen asked about the possibility of installing electrical vehicle charging points [at 02:08:40]:
In a development like this with a car park, overall there are hundreds of car parking spaces, could we possibly condition the implementation of 3 or 4 electric charging points? Something of this size should at least have a few electric charging points if we are trying to encourage the use of electric vehicles.
Planning officers replied:
Our parking standards don’t require developers to provide electric charging points for vehicles. …. but we have got a car park management plan condition …. so it can form part of that condition that they investigate the possibility….”
Councillor Emmet McKenna wanted to talk about local STEM skills shortages. He asked [at 02:06:00]:
It (the planning statement) states that, ‘P & G currently has a package that they can deliver for STEM ambassadors‘….. Can they share that information with Reading UK CIC to go to other businesses to try and tie them into local networks here as there are a number of other STEM employers in the area all of which have recruitment difficulties? Which is one of the reasons that a number of scientists come to the area including myself whose accent is not from Reading.
The application was approved by the committee and the meeting ended on a very positive note of co-operation between developer, planning officers and councillors.
The next Planning Applications Committee will be on Wednesday 8 March.
- Planning Application 162108
- Planning Applications Committee 8 February 2017 – papers
- Planning Applications Committee 8 February 2017 – webcast
- Reading Borough Council Revised Parking Standards and Design Supplementary Planning Document. Page 12 states:
“In addition the introduction of Electric Vehicle charging points will be encouraged, where appropriate.”
- STEM ambassadors