The former Carters snow and outdoors specialist store in Caversham Road will disappear and be replaced by a mix of houses and flats after Bellway Homes was given the go-ahead at a recent planning meeting.
Councillors across the political spectrum praised the proposal after Bellway Homes applied to knock it down last year and replace it with 60 homes for bringing a dormant site into use.
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Councillor James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) said: “I’m especially pleased to see a brownfield site come into use, especially now the Carters shop is closed, and I’m really pleased to see it meet 30 per cent affordable housing off the bat, haven’t got to moan about that, that’s great.”
The development will be made up of 21 one-bedroom flats, 18 two-bedroom flats, 11 three-bedroom flats and 10 four-bedroom houses.
These will be built within three apartment buildings and two terraces of houses, with 30 car parking spaces on-site and a Car Club space provided off-site.
Cllr Simon Robinson (Conservative, Emmer Green) said: “I welcome this, I think it’s a good design, a good mix of development, I’m certainly happy with what I’ve seen.”
Meanwhile, Cllr Tony Page (Labour, Abbey) said: “The Carters site is an interesting one, it’s been well used, it’s been very much an established feature but of course run down over a number of years.
“At its heyday it did also cause complaints from residents of Swansea Road, so we shouldn’t think that the former activities on that site were all a land of milk and honey.
“The transition over the last few years to a fairly run-down site has not been one that’s been welcomed, so this application is a good one.”
Cllr Micky Leng (Labour, Whitley) praised the developer for providing policy-compliant affordable housing, with a focus on two and four-bedroom homes.
Of the 60 homes, 18 will be affordable, consisting of seven one-bedroom flats, four two-bedroom flats, five three-bedroom flats and two four-bedroom houses.
However, cllr Matt Yeo (Labour, Caversham) raised concerns about future drivers trying to leave the site onto Caversham Road having to turn right to do so.
A planning officer said the highways team have worked with Bellway Homes to ensure that the access road allows for two-way access to avoid vehicles queuing to get into the site.
The scheme was unanimously approved by the council’s planning committee on Wednesday, February 1.
History of Carters
The Carters snow and outdoors specialists were founded in 1820 in Thatcham.
After building a reputation, the store moved to Castle Street in Reading and ended up in Caversham Road in 1962.
It traded there for 57 years until its closure in 2019.