Plans to demolish a derelict pub in the centre of town have been delayed after concerns were raised over the design and air quality of the replacement building.

Developer MacNiven Quays was seeking approval to knock down the former Red Lion pub and its neighbouring building on Southampton Street and replace it with eleven homes.

Councillors deferred a decision on whether to approve the development at the Planning Applications committee on Wednesday, February 6.

The Reading Borough Council (RBC) committee members will conduct a site visit and await improved designs of the replacement building, as well as a more detailed air quality impact assessment.

Councillor Rose Williams said: “It is a building of some merit. It is not beautiful but it sits forward from the rest of the buildings.

“I am sorry to see that it has been decide that there is no value to this building.

“Once the building is gone it is lost forever. It deserves a little more attention to detail before we write it off.”

Several councillors criticised the architect’s drawings of the replacement housing.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for planning, called the design 'bland and boring' and a ‘cheap and shoddy attempt’.

Councillor Rose Williams said she could have drawn the designs herself with a ‘pen and ruler’.

Member of the planning committee also raised concern over the impact of traffic on people who would be living in the building, which sits close to the busy road.

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.

Katesgrove councillor Sophia James had previously 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.

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

However, she withdrew her objection further conversation with the developers, accepting their view that retaining the original features would be challenging given alterations made to the site and previous structural damage.

The application will be heard again on Wednesday, March 6.