A vacant pub will be demolished after a government inspector overturned Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) decision.

Plans to demolish Battle Inn, on the corner of Oxford Road and Bedford, and build six flats will now go ahead.

Planning inspector Rory MacLeod said redevelopment of the vacant site would enable improvements to the site’s current poor appearance.

The application was ‘non-determined’ by the council in August 2018 because it ran out of time over affording housing-related issues.

RBC refused to extend this deadline for the developer to justify its zero affordable housing offer.

The council then set out its reasons for refusal at a planning applications meeting in May this year following an appeal by the developer.

Council officers said the plans would have a detrimental impact on the area, would be overdevelopment, and were a ‘bland design’, while there was also no agreement over affordable housing contribution.

Committee members agreed at the meeting in May that, had they had the opportunity to determine the planning application previously, it would have been refused.

Mr MacLeod, in his decision letter, said the proposal’s siting, massing and design would be acceptable in relation to the character and appearance of the area.

The affordable housing disagreement was resolved before the inspector’s hearing.

The inspector’s decision was announced in agenda papers ahead of next week’s Planning Applications committee on Wednesday, September 4.

Council officers are “very disappointed” with the inspector’s findings on impact of the proposal on the area.

They have queried a “concerning” condition imposed by Mr MacLeod requiring

drawings showing the detailed design and final appearance of walls and the roof to be submitted and approved in writing prior before developing the site.

Case officer Matt Burns said the detailed design of these elements  is fundamental to the consideration of the development and its impact on the area and should not be subject to change once permission has been granted.

He added that if the current detailed design of these elements is not considered appropriate, permission should not have been granted by the inspector.

The new building will contain four one-bed flats and two two-bed flats.