PLANS to add a fourth storey to a building in Bartholomew Street, Newbury, have been approved by West Berkshire Council.
Developer Emarek Ltd is looking to convert Southbrook House (formerly the home of Bar Sport) into a new retail unit on the ground floor and a total of 16 apartments on the ground, first, second and new third floor.
The building has been vacant since May 2015.
West Berkshire planners say the development is in keeping with the council’s policy and, as well as providing new shop space for the town centre, the development will also provide 10 two-bedroom dwellings and six one- bedroom dwellings.
The developer has not included any affordable homes in the scheme, which the council has said is “regrettable”.
In July, West Berkshire Council gave Emarek Ltd the go-ahead to convert the offices across the upper two floors at Southbrook House (more than 1,000 sq m) into flats, under Permitted Development Rights.
The initial plans said the apartments would mainly be one bedrooms.
However, the latest planning application from the Northampton-based developer wants to develop 10 two-bed apartments and just six one-bed apartments, meaning another storey is needed to accommodate the larger dwellings.
Neighbours had raised concerns over disturbance and potential height and light issues.
However, in their decision to grant permission, planning officers said that given the town centre location, the proposed design of the building was not considered to result in a “significant increase in loss of light, nor overbearing impact to warrant refusal”.
Sixteen flats in the town centre will add to its transformation, as developers look to build more residential units in and around the centre of Newbury, led by the approved 232-home Market Street ‘urban village’ development.
Plans to build 47 apartments, as well as new retail units, across a four-storey development at Pearl House, opposite the Kennet Shopping centre, were also recently given the green light.