Plans to redevelop the former site of Reading Central Pool into social housing have been approved by Reading Borough Council.

The plans were discussed at a planning committee meeting on March 1 and were approved despite concerns from local residents over loss of light and obstructions to views.

Despite this, the committee ruled that the loss of light was negligible according to the data available to them, and that the benefits to the wider community and the town as a whole outweighed the potential losses.

The plans show six blocks on the site, designed using Pasivhaus principles, ranging from single-storey to four-storey, which include a mix of one-to-three-bed units. Also included in the blocks is an over-55s day facility, sheltered housing apartments, supported living flats and general needs flats and houses.

Also shown is one disabled access one-bed bungalow.

All councillors speaking on the scheme saw it in a positive light, despite some concern over the car parking and surrounding areas, due to the former car park of the pool being a hotspot for crime and anti-social behaviour.

Cllr Tony Page’s suggestion that communal gates might be installed for residents’ exclusive access provoked debate among councillors concerned about designing a scheme ‘to allow for the worst part of society’.

Andrew Somerville, who represented the applicant (Reading Borough Council’s housing and social care sections) commended the scheme, saying it was an ‘important scheme for the evolution of the town’.

The scheme was approved via unanimous decision.

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