A DECISION to prevent hundreds of student bedrooms at the University of Reading (UoR) is set to be appealed.

Reading Borough Council refused planning permission for the redevelopment of St. Patrick’s Hall in February and a fresh bid is expected to be lodged this summer.

The proposed multi-million pound project would be based at one of the university’s oldest accommodation blocks, which was founded in 1908.

Significant changes have been made to the old bid and university staff are keen to get their latest designs approved to help cope with the surge in demand for student housing.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, deputy vice-chancellor at the UoR, said: “Development of first-class accommodation is urgently needed if we are to continue attracting students from the UK and abroad to study in Reading.

“The redevelopment of St Patrick’s Hall would help the University to house the majority of first year students in halls.

"This would help us to manage student behaviour and offer a supportive environment for students, many of whom will be leaving home for the first time.

“Given these pressures and the need to manage impacts on our neighbours, we believe we have no other option but to pursue an appeal against the decision."

Staff say the existing facilities at the Northcourt Avenue site 'no longer reflect the needs and expectations of students attending a world-class institution.'

The previous proposal was to introduce more than 850 rooms and plans have been continuously altered to address the concerns of neighbours.

Opponents to the original six-storey project included Matt Rodda, MP for Reading East, who claimed it would do 'serious damage' to the area.

Professor Van de Noort added: “We are aware that residents neighbouring St Patrick’s Hall have raised concerns about the scheme and we have made significant changes to address those concerns.

“We firmly believe that the latest proposal for St Patrick's Hall is the best design for the space, for both students and local residents alike.”

A petition against the plans reached 450 signatures, as residents raised concerns about noise, litter, traffic and parking.