A plan to convert dozens of ‘apart-hotel’ rooms into long-term residences in Reading is set to be decided.
The “Apart-hotel” rooms offer basic facilities allowing someone to live alone with the conveniences of a hotel.
The building in question, 12-18 Crown Street, was converted from offices to 34 apartments around 2005-2006, with 10 apartments created when permission was given to add an additional floor to the building.
Now developers ‘Shall Do Crown Street Limited’ have asked to convert the aparthotel’s 44 rooms into apartments.
Of the 44 rooms, 27 would be one-bedroom, 13 two-bedroom and four would become studios.
The aparthotel rooms were managed by a company called Reading Serviced Apartments, which is listed as “permanently closed” on Google Maps.
It is not known if anyone currently lives in the building.
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Existing plans show a residents’ cafe on the ground floor, with the aparthotel’s bedrooms being a mix of one and two bedrooms, some having showers and some having baths.
Inside, work would be undertaken, particularly on the fourth floor, to ensure that the apartments meet minimum space standards.
There would be no change to the number of parking spaces, with eight spaces including two disabled accessible spaces from St Giles Close.
As for the bike, an existing 10-space store would be expanded to accommodate 44 bikes.
You can view the plans by entering reference 201138 in Reading Borough Council’s planning portal.
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The conversion has been recommended for approval subject to a legal agreement which would involve the developer paying the council a monetary contribution once 75% of the apartments (33) are sold or let.
Council requested this contribution because no designated affordable housing would be provided.
If an agreement is not reached, the council’s assistant planning director would be delegated to refuse it.
The recommendation was made by case manager Claire Ringwood before a decision was made on it at the council’s planning committee meeting on Wednesday, September 7.
Its report notes that there is precedent for the conversion of serviced apartments to flats in Reading, following approval for the conversion of ‘The Faculty’ building in London Road from 16 serviced rooms to 15 flats.
Although the plan was denied in March last year, it was allowed on appeal in December (reference 201221).
Constable Ringwood recommended that the conversion be denied due to the lack of affordable housing, an inappropriate mix of houses (10 one-bed apartments and five two-bed apartments) and an alleged failure to demonstrate a development of adequate parking.
However, in that appeal, the government’s town planning inspector, David Wyborn, ruled that the housing mix would be appropriate and that the provision of affordable housing would be “unviable” for the developer.