House worth keeping?

This horrible building has dominated a great riverside location for something like half a century. But while many would love to see something nicer there, Reading Bridge House could have a new lease of life.

One of the lesser publicised aspects of last month’s budget was a proposal to overhaul some aspects of planning law.

If the proposals go ahead, according to David Ramsay from Vail Williams’ planning consultancy division, there may be no need for planning permission for developers to turn commercial properties into residential. He calls it a welcome change for developers but says it may be less welcome to others because of environmental impacts.

When Reading Bridge House was on the market some years ago a property agent who lived near the building told me it it’s best use would be flats. But the market picked up and many new commercial tenants came along.

However, like Reading Bridge House itself, the commercial market has since gone south of the river and although the residential demand is now more for family houses, the amount of apartments that could be squeezed into this building must send developers racing for their calculators.

And as any residential estate agent knows, if you can see water from the window you can add 20% to the asking price.

I’d be surprised if there were not people doing their sums on it already.


About Alan Bunce

Freelance journalist Former Community Editor with the Reading Post. Former Business Editor with the Reading Chronicle.
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