Councillors have deferred a decision on whether to allow the demolition of the art deco former Adwest building for an industrial scheme.

Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee met on Wednesday, May 11 following an officers’ recommendation that the plan by Goya Developments to build a 10-unit scheme, should be allowed to proceed.

Although a 4,551-name petition opposed the development, officers made clear that the developer is likely to appeal in the case of a refusal by the council. The building was used for assembling Miles Aircraft during World War Two.

However, after lengthy debate, including passionate speeches against redevelopment by Bulmershe & Whitegates councillor Cllr Shirley Boyt and Wings Over Woodley author Julian Temple, a motion was proposed by Cllr Gary Cowan to defer in order to ‘understand the context better and visit the site’.

Cllr Stephen Conway told the meeting: “It’s very clear it has enormous significance to people who live in Woodley. It has a connection – a visible connection – with what the site used to be.

“The fact that the site no longer is that, in a way enhances the importance of preserving that symbol of what it was, and I think this is why it has excited so much public interest.

“It’s about the connection with the past that’s going to completely disappear if that building goes.”

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