THE redevelopment of St Martin’s Precinct in Caversham is to go ahead despite Waitrose pulling out of the scheme.
The developer Hermes Investment Management has been given permission by Reading Borough Council to phase the project, saying it is still “marginally viable”.
But residents claim that the company’s failure to provide a final completion date suggests the scheme will only ever be partially built.
Caversham and District Residents’ Association has also raised concern about the loss of car parking and an old oak tree, which could be cut back to accommodate an extension.
Hermes has been granted planning permission and says it wants to start work “at the earliest opportunity” and that each phase will have a positive impact on the area.
It wants to begin with a new restaurant and flats on undeveloped land and improvements to the facade on Church Street, none of which has been affected by the withdrawal of Waitrose last year.
Hermes said it had met residents and pledged no work would be carried out on the holm oak before it had been agreed with the council.