Light loss concerns over Reading Central Pool plan

LONG-AWAITED plans to replace Central Swimming Pool with flats has prompted concern from one neighbour who fears she could completely lose daylight into her living room if the build goes ahead.

This Spring, Reading Borough Council held an informal consultation on its plan to build new affordable homes, sheltered living for retirees and an elderly day care centre where the Central Pool once stood.

However, Dr Marie Arndt, who lives in neighbouring Allison Court, is worried that one of the new buildings would leave her without daylight.

She said: “I have a lot of reservations about how the matter has been handled.

“I went to a consultation meeting in May, which I only knew about because somebody I know told me about it.

“At the meeting I was informed by a man from the planning department that if the existing plan went ahead one of my living room windows would be completely blocked from natural daylight.

“My flat is on the ground floor corner, closest to the tall building planned opposite my five windows facing the site.

“When I raised objections the man said ‘but you have another window in your living room.’ Enough said.”

Although she raised the issue with councillors Tony Page, Muhammed Ayub and Karen Rowland, all Labour representatives for the Abbey ward Dr Arndt lives in, she claimed that she hasn’t received a response.

Dr Arndt also questioned why a planning application has not been submitted yet.

Furthermore, while the council conducted a comprehensive consultation which involved leafleting and the event Dr Arndt attended, there appears to be no webpage to view the proposals.

Following the complaint, the council has revealed that an application and consultation on the plan is imminent.

The project would involve building affordable housing and flats, supported living apartments, sheltered housing for over 55s and an elderly day centre on the pool site, following its demolition in 2018.

A Reading Borough Council spokesperson said: “An initial period of consultation took place in May, and the council has used comments to develop its proposals.

“The updated application includes more trees to increase biodiversity; parking spaces in line with planning requirements, including electric vehicle charging points; solar panels and developing landscaping proposals.

“In terms of concerns on loss of sunlight and daylight, the design team has developed the proposals to minimise any impact on the surrounding properties and take into account issues raised during the consultation period.

“The council will be writing to adjoining residents shortly with an update on the proposals and will be feeding back on concerns raised.

“A further consultation event will take place where residents will have an opportunity to see the revised plans and provide feedback. This is in advance of the statutory planning consultation process where residents can again comment.

“The application will be placed on the planning portal once validated. The reference number will be 221405.”

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre