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Home / News / I’m being forced out of my home by GREGGS: Woman says plans for sausage roll giant’s new drive-thru restaurant will force her to sell house

I’m being forced out of my home by GREGGS: Woman says plans for sausage roll giant’s new drive-thru restaurant will force her to sell house

A woman claims she is being forced out of her own home by plans for a Greggs drive-thru next door.

Kathy Skinner fears increased levels of traffic, litter as well as air and light pollution could destroy the ‘sanctuary’ of her semi-detached in Southcote, Reading.

The plans will see a strip of land next to a disused pub transformed into a new branch of the sausage roll giant – with the drive-thru extended up to Ms Skinner’s boundary fence. 

The 51-year-old has been left feeling blindsided by the development, leading to her considering leaving her roughly £275,000 home altogether.

She told MailOnline: ‘I am going to be writing to Greene King and Greggs. I want to ask them the simple question: Why do they think it’s acceptable to destroy someone’s sanctuary for the sake of profit?’

Kathy Skinner stood in front of her house which she might sell, should plans which were accepted in December to build a Greggs drive-thru next door come to fruition

Kathy Skinner stood in front of her house which she might sell, should plans which were accepted in December to build a Greggs drive-thru next door come to fruition

Since the 51-year-old moved into her Reading home (right), she has been next door to The George & Dragon pub (left) - which closed in 2019

Since the 51-year-old moved into her Reading home (right), she has been next door to The George & Dragon pub (left) – which closed in 2019

The drive-thru lane will go right up to Ms Skinner's boundary fence, on a plot of land left vacant by the pub (centre), which did not have a licence to use the land despite owning it

The drive-thru lane will go right up to Ms Skinner’s boundary fence, on a plot of land left vacant by the pub (centre), which did not have a licence to use the land despite owning it

As well as her personal situation, she also does not believe that a drive-thru will suit the location anyway (stock image)

As well as her personal situation, she also does not believe that a drive-thru will suit the location anyway (stock image)

She continued: ‘It’ll run within metres of my house. I get that I live on a busy road but the cars are not that close to my back garden. 

‘As a result of this drive thru, there will be noise and pollution directly into my garden, and I am an avid gardener – I bought my house for the garden, it’s where I eat.

‘Essentially now I’m going to be sitting eating with car fumes coming over my fence.

‘I just think this is Greene King looking for an easy solution to developing some land they couldn’t sell.

‘It’s actually a beautiful building, it would be a shame to see that go.’

The plans are for the old George & Dragon pub, to be bulldozed and replaced by an all-new building to house the Greggs bakery, surrounded by the drive-thru lane, a 33-space car park and outdoor furniture.

And as much as Ms Skinner is frustrated by the change of neighbours, her biggest gripe is with the way the application was handled, only finding out about the plans from her neighbour – having seen no notice on the pub itself – and delivering a prompt complaint.

However, Reading Borough Council say they delivered 204 letters about the plans to locals, receiving just five objections.

Ms Skinner said she wants to ask Greene King – the pub’s owner – and Greggs: ‘Why do they think it’s acceptable to destroy someone’s sanctuary for the sake of profit?’

Although she acknowledges she lives on a busy road, she added that the new development will mean 'essentially now I'm going to be sitting eating with car fumes coming over my fence'

Although she acknowledges she lives on a busy road, she added that the new development will mean ‘essentially now I’m going to be sitting eating with car fumes coming over my fence’

Ms Skinner also expressed frustration at Reading Borough Council for their handling of the planning process, with the resident only finding out about it through her neighbour on the other side

Ms Skinner also expressed frustration at Reading Borough Council for their handling of the planning process, with the resident only finding out about it through her neighbour on the other side

Ms Skinner says she never saw any notice on the existing building, and none of six neighbours she contacted - all of whom live behind the site of the pub - had been informed either

Ms Skinner says she never saw any notice on the existing building, and none of six neighbours she contacted – all of whom live behind the site of the pub – had been informed either

But Ms Skinner insists that of six neighbours she managed to get hold of – all of whom live behind the site of the pub – not one received such communication.

‘Either their post room was having a bad day or Royal Mail was having a bad day,’ Ms Skinner suggested.

She said, therefore, that it was ‘a kick in the teeth’ to find out that the council had approved the plans in December.

The local council have also defended their position by saying that the plans were a minor change to the site’s purpose, going from a pub open from 11am to 11pm to a drive-thru operating from 6am to 11pm. 

According to Ms Skinner, they say that this meant it did not get automatically put through a PAC (pre-application consultation) – which would have aimed to improve the application prior to submission.

Ms Skinner added: ‘What I really now object to is how they say it was a minor application. I want to say, “did you even look at this?”

‘I will be going back to them. I would like an answer as to how they think this isn’t going to have a significant impact on the immediate neighbours.

‘Lighting – once again – within metres of my boundary fence. They will say that modern technology can focus the light down but it’s still going to bring a significant amount of light pollution into my garden and my neighbours’ back bedrooms.’

Asked what she though would have been a better use of the land, Ms Skinner suggested a parade of shops, ‘truly affordable housing’ or a repurposing of the existing George & Dragon building.

‘It could’ve been something so much better,’ she added, ‘anything that would bring a sense of community.’ 

Although Ms Skinner will wait to see if there is any sign of a reversal, or if residents will take the planning decision for an ‘expensive’ judicial review, she does not expect to be staying in the jurisdiction of the same council should she choose to move.

‘If I do move, I’ll be moving out of Reading,’ she concluded. 

Ms Skinner will wait to see if there is any sign of a reversal, or if residents will take the planning decision for an 'expensive' judicial review, but she does not expect to be staying in the jurisdiction of the same council should she choose to move

Ms Skinner will wait to see if there is any sign of a reversal, or if residents will take the planning decision for an ‘expensive’ judicial review, but she does not expect to be staying in the jurisdiction of the same council should she choose to move

A spokesperson for Greene King said: 'The George & Dragon has been closed for almost four years and regrettably even once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted the pub was not economically viable to reopen'

A spokesperson for Greene King said: ‘The George & Dragon has been closed for almost four years and regrettably even once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted the pub was not economically viable to reopen’

A spokesperson for Greene King said: ‘The George & Dragon has been closed for almost four years and regrettably even once Covid-19 restrictions were lifted the pub was not economically viable to reopen. 

‘We have opted to work with Greggs to bring the area back into use and create a number of local jobs. 

‘We took our proposal to Reading Borough Council last year and were pleased to receive approval for the scheme in December.’

Reading Borough Council and Greggs have also been contacted for comment. 


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