Neighbours have expressed ‘dismay’ over plans to demolish an empty pub with features potentially dating as far back as the 17th century.

MacNiven Quays Ltd is seeking approval to knock down the former Red Lion pub and a neighbouring building in Southampton Street, Reading, and replace it with 11 homes.

Katesgrove councillor Sophia James has called for the application to be refused due to the impact it would have on neighbouring listed buildings, including the Grade II listed St Giles Church.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) lead member for Housing and Neighbourhoods said: “Numerous Katesgrove Ward residents are rather concerned and dismayed with the proposed development.

“The scheme will not provide a social, environmental and economic benefit to the area, hence, it cannot be classed as a sustainable development.

“There is more harm to be caused by this incongruous form of development, as this application is not sympathetic to the heritage location of the property and does not preserve or enhance the setting of neighbouring listed buildings or the adjacent conservation area.

“This proposed scheme will have a devastating impact on the listed buildings due to its design and appearance being not in keeping with the local vicinity in which the application site sits.”

If permitted, the development will see the former pub and two neighbouring buildings demolished and replaced with a four-storey block of one studio and eight one-bedroom and two two-bedroom flats.

Although parts of the buildings may date back to the 17th century, Historic England considered the Red Lion pub and adjacent number 38 house to be too altered to be listed.

There are also structural faults which officers believe would make it difficult to retain the building.

The development will only include a ‘deferred affordable housing contribution mechanism,’ if approved.

A 11-unit development would usually require 30 per cent affordable housing, including three units and a financial contribution.

However, the developer submitted a viability assessment which concluded that a 30 per cent affordable housing scheme would return a deficit due to increased build costs.

The council will be able to share in any uplift in value, based on a later re-appraisal of the site’s viability.

RBC’s Planning Applications committee will debate the application on Wednesday, February 6.

The application has been recommended for approval by the council’s planning officers, subject to completion of a legal agreement by the end of February.