Two Victorian houses opposite Royal Berkshire Hospital have been saved, after a developer’s appeals was rejected by the planning inspector.

Planning Inspector G D Grindey rejected the appeal by McCarthy & Stone on November 16, after Reading Borough Council (RBC) had refused planning permission in February 2018.

The developers wanted to demolish the two Victorian houses and build 25 retirement units.

The inspector said the destruction of the buildings would ‘harm the character of the area’.

Ms Grindey added that, while the building is in poor decorative condition internally, a product of NHS use, it could be refurbished and repaired.

The appeal rejection was discussed at RBC's planning committee, on December 5, 2018.

Redlands ward councillor Jan Gavin said: “I think this was a tremendous result.

“I was particularly delighted that the inspector shared the same reservations as us about the loss of an historic building.

“It has wider implications about us locally listing buildings and the importance of that.

“It says to developers please take note that we are not going to accept you knocking down anything of historical interest and cramming too much onto too small a place of land.”

Richard Bennett, chairman of Reading Civic Society, said the organisation was ‘delighted’ that the planning inspector rejected McCarthy & Stone’s appeal.

He said the organisation could not support the developer’s ‘brutal and unsympathetic approach’.

He added: “Whilst we do understand the need for retirement accommodation, and that centre of town sites are better than out in the sticks, it is about picking the right site."

The building was locally listed in 2017 and this is one five reasons the inspector gave for rejecting the appeal.

Other issues included the harm to neighbours, lack of appropriate affordable housing, and the loss of a healthy street tree.

G D Grindey added that any of the five issues on their own would have been sufficient to dismiss the appeal.