Plans to build 11 new apartments at a business park in Wokingham have been given the go ahead by the council.
Bowen Evans Consultancy, an architectural and planning company based in Marlow, submitted the plans for Indigo House on Mulberry Business Park, which will see the removal of the existing roof structure and the erection of a new second floor to accommodate the apartments.
The 11 new residencies will be comprised of eight one-bedroom and three two-bedroom apartments, including four affordable housing units (36 per cent), together with a cycle & refuse store.
Indigo House already has prior approval consent for the conversion of the ground and first floors into a mix of 30 studios, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments.
Mulberry Business Park, situated on Fishponds Road to the Southwest of Wokingham Town Centre, was originally developed to consist of a mix of two-storey office and industrial units, however, its use has been changing in recent times.
Following the introduction of Class O of the General Permitted Development Order – the change of use from office to dwellinghouses – several buildings at the site have been subject to applications for conversion to residences. If they are all approved, the Mulberry Business Park will become largely residential.
One such property at the Business Park that was approved for change of use from commercial to residential was the Rosa Building.
The location was given prior approval in 2019 for the 1980’s detached two-storey pavillion-style office building to be converted into 34 apartments, where construction work has begun.
To the Northeast of the site is the Nigra Building, a two-storey office building of a similar design. The building is currently vacant, however, it was most recently the subject of a rejected plan to change its use from commercial offices to 43 new apartments.
It is now the subject of a new application which proposes the erection of 12 new employment units.
The site has a total of 86 parking spaces, which will be shared between the 30 apartments on the ground and first floor & the 11 newly approved apartments on the second floor.
The Wokingham Town Council had lodged a comment against the original applicant which raised concerns regarding fire regulation safety, stating “there is only one central staircase for the whole building.”
However, the Fire Authority reviewed the planning consultation and “had no comment to make.”
One individual registered an objection against the application. Mr Tony Walsh, who currently rents an office in the Indigo building, complained that he would now have to “find alternative business remises.”
He added: “How many more flats and apartments are really needed in Wokingham? [A] neighbouring building already had [an] extra floor added but seem[s] to be slow in residential take up.”