A new hotel opposite Reading Station was backed by Reading Borough Council (RBC) this week but the authority’s lead member for Planning warned it was unlikely to be developed.

The development, currently called 'No1 Reading', at 29-35 Station Road will include a 135-room hotel, five floors of office space, a restaurant, and a retail unit on the ground floor.

The 1950s former Norwich Union building has been vacant since 2013 with several developers over the past 20 years being granted planning permission but not seeing it through.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Planning, said: “We have granted many planning permissions for this site.

“The odds of this being implemented are pretty low. It could well be flogged on and we will be left with an eyesore of a site.”

Conservative councillor Simon Robinson said the current building is “an embarrassing welcome to Reading”.

The application was approved unanimously by the council’s Planning Applications commitee on Wednesday (July 17) but several councillors criticised the development.

Labour councillor Karen Rowland said the building is a “tall box” which will “overshadow and obscure the buildings around it”.

She said she doesn’t like the name 'No1 Reading' but isn’t sure what the council can do about it, while Conservative councillor Jane Stanford-Beale also expressed concern at the name.

Councillors agreed to delegate authority to officers to discuss a potential change to the name with developer Station Road Dev Co Ltd  in consultation with ward councillors and the chair and vice chair of the commitee.

Station Road Dev Co is owned by hotel investors Frank Truman in partnership with Breithorn Developments and Legacy Hotels & Resorts.

The application was one of 10 that Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee decided on this week on Wednesday (July 17) in a bumper last session before the summer break.