Matt Rodda Member of Parliament for Reading East
I am writing to mention a number of concerns about the proposed redevelopment of the Carters’ site on Caversham Road.
These concerns have been raised with me through an MP’s survey about this issue, and also by residents in person, in a residents’ meeting, which was attended by Cllr Barnett-Ward and Cllr Rowland.
While most residents are happy for the site to be redeveloped for housing they have raised a number of issues, which relate to more detailed aspects of the proposals.
The issues raised include:
There is a strong desire for residents on neighbouring roads, such as Swansea Road, not to lose parking spaces in the residents’ parking zone. I understand the council is proposing that some parking will be provided on the Carters’ Site but not enough places for all the proposed properties.
Could the council reassure residents that applications for permits from within the new development will not normally be allowed and any applications for visitors’ permits will be considered very carefully so that the risk of loss of spaces for existing residents is assessed and the rights of existing residents are protected.
The current Carters’ Site has a clear boundary which it would be difficult for burglars or other intruders to cross. Residents have asked for a high wall to be maintained to protect the rear of their homes and gardens from people trying to get in through from the proposed car park at the new development.
The current boundary is several metres high in places as it includes the rear wall of workshop buildings on the edge of the Carters’ Site.
I would like to ask if it would be possible to keep all or parts of this existing wall as the boundary, or to replace it with a wall built to a similar height and made of similar colour bricks.
Protection from being overlooked
While I appreciate that planning law offers limited protection in this instance, I hope the council will work with the developer to preserve residents’ privacy. Many residents have lived in the area for a long time and enjoy private back gardens, which are important for them and their families.
This is a similar and related issue to security and it may be possible to address this in the same way by maintaining a high wall on the boundary.
I should add that residents are also pleased that the site is being considered for houses rather than for blocks of flats and that the developer is proposing to use red brick and traditional features, to help the development fit in with the surrounding historic street scene.
The residents believe that the redevelopment should be seen in the context of the large amount of regeneration taking place in the area. While some of this is sympathetic, such as the recent Printworks development of the former Cox and Wyman site, some other developments are causing concern, particularly the potential loss of a local shop and the development of large blocks of flats on the station side of Caversham Road. Some residents are concerned that this type of large redevelopment could not only be out of keeping but that it may also harm the strong sense of community in the area.
Thanks to the local councillors
I also wanted to thank the local councillors in Thames and also Abbey Wards for their help and support on this issue and for their on-going work on planning and redevelopment in and near the town centre.
Thank you for your help with this matter.
Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East.