The application by Reading Family Church for a change of use of the former Ultima premises on Basingstoke Road is to be considered for a second time by Reading Borough Council (RBC) planning committee on Wednesday 5 December.
The premises are currently used by the church for meeting space and offices. The planning application (180698) was for a change of use from business (B1) to offices (B1a), worship and community space (D1), a community café (A3) and conversion of the property to accommodate these uses.
Reading Family Church was formerly situated at 87 London Street which has now been converted to apartments.
In September the committee approved the application against the advice of the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). They were consulted because of the proximity of the building to the Procter & Gamble (Gillette) works.
At that time there were also planning policy concerns about the loss of an employment space but it was felt that the community benefits and some continued employment at the site outweighed this loss.
As RBC approved the application HSE have now expanded on their strong reservations which are explained in the report going to planning committee. They were unconvinced that planning committee members
… fully understood the seriousness of HSE’s advice given the nature of the proposed development and the risks from a major accident at the neighbouring Gillette UK Ltd site.
HSE say that if the proposal is approved they will take the exceptional action of asking the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government to call in the decision for review.
As a result of HSE’s objections, the application is now recommended for refusal.
- Reading Family Church
- Planning use classes
- Health and Safety Executive
- HSE’s land use planning methodology
- Planning applications committee 5 September 2018 papers & webcast
- Planning applications committee 5 December 2018 papers & webcast