Burger joint to open at iconic Jackson’s Corner in Reading

A new burger joint is hoping to open at the iconic Jackson’s Corner building in  Reading town centre.

The Fat Hippo burger chain has applied to make shopfront alterations and install a kitchen extraction system at Unit 2 of Jackson’s Corner.

The company’s plan involves removing the distinctive Jackson’s Corner gold lettering and green paint, and replacing it with Fat Hippo’s black branding.

Justifying the change John Taylor Architects, Fat Hippo’s planning agents, argued the existing shopfront design is not original and can therefore be replaced without having an ‘adverse impact’ on the heritage of the building, which falls within the town centre conservation area.

Mr Taylor wrote: “The shopfront amendments will retain an elegance to the streetscene.

“Although the existing shopfronts are relatively consistent, the introduction of different tenants by splitting the original structure up will inevitably result in more variation in external colours, finishes and signage.

Reading Chronicle: The shop front plan for the Fat Hippo burger restaurant at Unit 2 of Jacksons Corner in Reading. Credit: John Taylor Architects The shop front plan for the Fat Hippo burger restaurant at Unit 2 of Jacksons Corner in Reading. Credit: John Taylor Architects

“We do not believe that the shopfront proposals will have an adverse effect on the heritage value of the building.”

The plan also involves internal alterations which would ultimately provide 61 seats and five toilet cubicles.

But the application has come under scrutiny by Rebecca Moon, the council’s environmental health officer.

Reading Chronicle: The interior plan for the Fat Hippo burger restaurant at Unit 2 of Jackson's Corner in Reading. Credit: John Taylor ArchitectsThe interior plan for the Fat Hippo burger restaurant at Unit 2 of Jackson’s Corner in Reading. Credit: John Taylor Architects

In her role as a consultee, she has pointed out that no noise assessment has been submitted yet, therefore she has recommended that the plan be refused until the assessment is conducted.

Additionally, she has raised concerns about cooking odour coming from the kitchen.

Her consultation response states: “Cooking odour is often a significant problem in commercial kitchens and therefore the applicants must provide an assessment of the likelihood of odours based on the proposed cuisine and a statement of how the proposals will ensure that odour nuisance will be prevented.”

She’s expressed concerns as the upper floors of Jackson’s Corner are set to become apartments, with officer Moon considering what impact activity in the unit could have on future occupants.

Therefore, she has proposed a condition of approval that no development can take place until an odour assessment is submitted and approved by the council’s environmental health team.

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Fat Hippo has 10 restaurants and five kiosks across Great Britain, with the closest one to Reading currently being located in Shoreditch.

You can view its shopfront and kitchen extraction application by typing reference 221373 into the council’s planning portal.

Fat Hippo is not the first company that has plans to open in Jackson’s Corner, as chain Rosa’s Thai Cafe applied for a alcohol licence and its own extraction system earlier this year.

Rosa’s will be taking over Unit 1 of Jackson’s Corner, serving up Thai food and a selection of hot, cold and alcoholic drinks to diners.

The chain won approval for its extraction system, planning reference 220376, in August.

A spokesperson for Rosa’s said a date for its opening has not been confirmed yet.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre