THE team behind the Swan Heights project which failed to take flight last year have applied to turn the site into a temporary car park.

After being refused permission to build the trio of residential towers in May 2015 developers Lochailort Investments Limited have now sought to demolish the vacant BMW garage, in Napier Road, while they go back to the drawing board.

Protesters led by Caversham resident and former Blue Peter presenter Simon Thomas fought against the 97m high plans last year claiming it would make the Thameside area look like "North Korea".

Speaking to the Chronicle about the new plans managing director of the firm Hugo Haig said: "The car park is a temporary application for three years and it's really just a holding plan whilst we try to sort out a new scheme.

"As a derelict site it does not really serve any purpose at all and we have had issues with some vandalism there so it's better we put it into a use that would be beneficial."

A second separate application to demolish the garage and make more space for parking is also due to be submitted shortly.

In the meantime the team behind the original 352 apartment scheme are working on a smaller development in the hope of meeting planning leaders' concerns.

Reading Chronicle:

The original Swan Heights designs which were refused last May.

Mr Haig added: "It will still be predominantly residential but we have changed architects after holding a competition and have chosen CZWG as our new partners.

"They understand the constraints we have but it's a very important site and we are still going for a landmark building there.

"We would hope to be in a position to put in a new planning application in June or July and we have been making good progress.

"We are grateful to Reading Borough Council for their co-operation and we are working closely with them."

In the change of use proposals, which will go before the council's planning applications committee on Wednesday, it is also set out that a barrier will not be allowed but pay and display machines will be put in place for the 207 space car park.

The planning applications committee will decide on the change of use request this Wednesday with officers recommended it be approved.