DEVELOPERS have altered their designs for high-rise student accommodation after public backlash.

Designs for 880 student bedrooms and six-storey blocks met with strong opposition due to the historical significance of St Patrick's Hall and the surrounding area.

Matt Rodda MP said the project, put forward by UPP Projects Limited, would cause 'serious damage' and called for the council to reject the bid.

The new plans will go before Reading Borough Council's Planning committee on February 7 and will see a reduction of 884 to 836 student rooms for the University of Reading.

A university spokesman said: "We have now taken the decision to reduce the proposed storey-height of our scheme.

"We are removing the sixth storey from both accommodation buildings at the centre of the site, taking these to five storeys.

"We believe the proposals strike a balance between meeting growing demand, providing accommodation in keeping with the existing campus and minimising the visual impact of the development.

"We are also removing one storey from the townhouse at the southern boundary closest to Northcourt Avenue – taking this to two storeys, which we feel is more in keeping with nearby residential properties.

"We hope residents will support our new proposals and we look forward to working with the local community on our plans.”

Developers intend to demolish the existing student accommodation block at New Court to build 'urgently required' spaces for the university.

A previous application was put to the council in June 2016 for 1024 student bed spaces, but the application was withdrawn by November due to heritage concerns.

Mr Rodda, who has been approached for an updated comment, previously said: “While I am aware of the university's need to increase the supply of student accommodation, the planned development for St. Patrick's Hall would have an unacceptable impact on the heritage of the surrounding area at Northcourt Avenue.

“Constituents are rightfully concerned about the effect of such a development. This is a very large and imposing proposed development and is out of character with the low-rise arts and crafts era buildings in this vicinity. It could do serious damage to this historic area.

“Residents believe if the tower block were to be erected as planned, it would set a precedent which could have an ongoing and severe impact for areas in Reading which have buildings of character and heritage.”