FRESH plans to build flats at the site of a former motor magazine have been submitted.

The derelict Auto Trader building on Danehill in Lower Earley could be transformed with 76 dwellings in three blocks.

Developers have been battling to introduce the scheme and saw the proposals refused and their appeal rejected in December.

Equity Real Estate Developments revised plans, reducing the number of homes from 126 after councillors objected to the impact on the surrounding area.

The developer states in its application: “The design offers an exciting opportunity to deliver high-quality housing and will contribute towards the borough’s five-year housing land supply on this key brownfield site.

“New high quality buildings will enhance the appearance of the site which is currently characterised by existing low quality commercial buildings.

“The proposals include generous high quality landscaping and both private and communal amenity space provision.

"Plans have been scaled down, with height being reduced and architectural character being altered to suit the contextual surroundings.

“The site currently comprises two vacant buildings formerly in office uses, which have recently been the subject of significant vandalism and a fire.”

Auto Trader House was recently hit by a suspected arson attack on January 9 and police were keen to speak to two boys spotted in the area at the time.

A mixture of one and two-bedroom apartments will form the majority of the project and a public consultation will close on February 6.

Hawkedon councillor Clive Jones criticised the lack of affordable housing and said he will be recommending Wokingham Borough Council refuse the project again.

He added: "I think Lower Earley is already overcrowded and it is going to get worse when 440 houses are completed at Hatch Farm Dairies.

"Housing is just not right for this area, which is a great shame, but we need to be responsible and require developers to provide affordable homes.

"I have complained to the council before about the amount of smashed glass in the building and it has still not been properly cleared."

A spokesman for Thames Valley Police confirmed no arrests have been made in connection with the fire at this stage, but the investigation is ongoing.

Call 101 quoting reference number 43180008852 if you have any information.