Jul 20

Saved from Demolition – 3 Craven Road

I was delighted that at Planning Committee on 19 July, members unanimously agreed that we should serve an immediate Article 4 to remove Permitted Development Rights for the demolition of the locally listed building at 3 Craven Road, RG1 5LE.

The Hospital Trust had applied under ‘permitted rights’ to demolish all the buildings on the large site covered by 3 – 5 Craven Road, with a view to selling the land for development.

3 Craven Road is an important building to our local heritage; it was added to our Local List of buildings of heritage significance, most of the ornate Victorian features and windows are intact and it is believed that the distinctive bricks are made from local Berkshire clays possibly at local kilns.

There was an application to convert the whole site to Retirement Homes (including demolition) which was unsuccessful and withdrawn in 2016.  In the words of Richard Bennett the Chair Reading Civic Society and Vice Chair Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee

“it seems to be an act of gratuitous violence to propose to demolish this building, and indeed the one next to it, without a clearly approved plan for the site.

Demolition without an approved action plan for the future of the site would result in the loss of an important building, which is capable of restoration / re-use even if the current owner does not have a future plan for it, and inevitably, result in a brownfield site in a very visible position which could be vacant for years.”

It is unfortunate that our local hospital trust continues to treat the town and its immediate neighbourhood with such a lack of respect, but we will continue to fight and protect our local heritage.

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