The schedule has been announced for an inquiry into the rejection of the University of Reading’s application for 836 new student flats.

The University of Reading (UoR) appealed Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) decision to reject its application to extend and upgrade student development at St Patrick’s Hall, Northcourt Avenue.

The eight-day planning appeal starts tomorrow at 10am and will be held in the Waterhouse Chamber at Reading Town Hall until Friday, March 29.

Representatives from the council, the UOR and Northcourt Avenue Residents’ Association (NARA) will deliver statements and be cross-examined on a range of issues.

Simone Illger, chairman of NARA, said the association is not against re-development of the site but believes the proposed development is completely out of character with the area.

NARA also believe the development would be too tall and densely packed and place pressure on local services due to the large new student population.

The three interested parties will deliver opening statements, before the inquiry delves into the key disagreements: heritage, architecture, trees, planning, community and visual impact.

Planning permission was refused by the council in February 2018, with the Planning Applications committee deciding the development would harm the surrounding Northcourt Avenue area and impact on parking.

Committee members said the buildings were out of keeping with the area, while there was also concern at the high number of rooms proposed.

The issue over parking has now been resolved, according to Ms Illger.

She said NARA and the council both agreed that new time limit restrictions on parking in the area meant it was no longer an issue.

The university appealed to the government’s Planning Inspectorate after the decision, stressing the urgent need for accommodation, with some students having to start their first year in hotels this year.

Professor Robert Van de Noort, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Reading, said: “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.”