Great Brighams Mead occupies a stand out position at the junction of Caversham Road and Vastern Road not far away from Reading Station and the town centre.
The building used to be the headquarters of the Three mobile network and is set to be converted into 110 apartments.
The owning company Kings Oak Miami LLP had applied to add 72 flats to the building by adding two floors to Great Brighams Mead.
These would have added 36 one-bedroom and 36 two-bedroom flats to the building, which would have totalled 182 apartments if the plan went ahead.
But Reading Borough Council’s assistant director of planning rejected the plan.
The assistant director ruled that the new floors would be ‘detrimental’ and negatively impact those living in neighbouring properties in Vastern Road and De Montford Road, with the increased height overshadowing gardens and blocking ‘afternoon sunlight penetration’.
It’s the second time the council’s planning department has refused King Oak’s plan to add floors to the building, as an earlier application was refused in August last year.
At the time, a planning officer judged that new floors would produce “an incongruous and boxy addition” and the building materials proposed would not fit in with the red brick which Great Brigham’s Mead is made out of.
King Oak had hoped that adjusting the plan to allow for the clock tower to be retained would placate council officials.
However, that change failed to address the bulk the additional floors would add to the buildings.
The developer was hoping to get the plan approved through ‘permitted development’ which allows the conversion of buildings into residential properties in an effort to address housing shortages.
Such ‘permitted development’ undergoes less scrutiny than other planning applications.
But the council has an Article 4 Direction which limits permitted development rights in several areas of the town, giving the council’s assistant director of planning to option to refuse the scheme if deemed necessary.
Plans for the additional floors were refused on November 24.
In the latest development, the building could be renamed ‘Keslake’ according to a plan submitted earlier this year.
This would see the ‘Great Brighams Mead’ concrete branding replaced with new white ‘Keslake’ lettering.
You can view the applications by typing their reference numbers into the council’s planning portal:
- First plan to add floors to building, refused August 2022 – 220778
- Revised plan which incorporated clock tower, refused November 2022 – 221479
- Rebrand to ‘Keslake’ submitted February 2023 – 230182