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Lower Earley flats approved despite fears of cars being parked in the road

Flats have been given planning permission in a built up area of ​​Wokingham despite neighbours’ concerns. A local charity’s proposal to build the new apartment blocks in Lower Earley has been approved by the council.

Plans include three two-storey buildings, consisting of six apartments. There will be a total of 18 properties and located on unused land adjoining Liberty House on Strand Way.

Of the 18 apartments, 16 will be one-bedroom. The scheme proposes six one-bedroom flats each in blocks A and C, and four one-bedroom flats in block B. There will also be two two-bedroom flats in block B. All accommodation is outlined as affordable rent, meaning it should not exceeds 80 per cent of the open market rent.

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The proposal also details a plan for unallocated parking spaces of one per apartment, as well as a bicycle store. Approval was granted despite the submission being recommended for refusal by Earley Town Council who cited reasons including that the applicant ‘failed to submit a scheme for delivering a minimum ten per cent reduction in carbon emissions’ as well as failing to ‘clearly identify the extent of car parking to be provided’.

The proposal was submitted by Reading Almshouse Charity, a provider of housing accommodation for people in need over 55, who have resided within 20 miles of Reading town center for at least three years. Although Almshouses provide security and encourage residents to share a wider social life through use of the communal lounge and other facilities, it is not a nursing or care home and residents must be capable of independent living.

A raft of objections came from people who, amongst other reasons, shared the Town Council’s concerns related to parking provisions. Mrs Janet Butcher, who lives nearby, wrote to Wokingham Borough Council and said: “Each flat is allocated a parking space for one car, but when two people in a flat each have a car it is obvious that the [second] car will be parked in the road.

“If there are 18 flats this could result in a very congested road making it difficult for an emergency, refuse [and] delivery vehicles.”. Dr Ning An, suggested that the new buildings will “change the street scenery.”

“It does not appear to be in keeping with the existing one or the other houses on Strand Way,” they added. Another person living in the area, Mr Thurai Thushyanthan, objected to the “locations and existence of the two new access points.”

“The entrance will be in a blind spot to traffic coming and going. This is in a 30mph zone where children are crossing,” he added. Despite this, the plans were approved on June 7 and development work is now set to proceed.

Liberty House was formerly known as Liberty of Earley House and was, until 2019, operated by The Earley Charity as an Aged Care Facility.

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