Plans to extend a 315-home town centre development by 20 homes will be voted on by the council next week.

The 315-home ‘Thames Quarter’ development on Napier Road is currently being built but the developer wants to add an extra storey and 20 flats, increasing the tower to 335 homes.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) rejected developer Lochailort’s first extension proposal at a planning applications meeting on April 26 – branded “excessive” – to increase the build-to-rent development by 23 flats.

The latest proposal includes a “substantially improved” extra affordable housing provision – all off-site – which would increase the currently agreed 18 per cent contribution to 30 per cent.

It is very similar to an amended plan that the council refused to consider at the April 26 meeting as it had been submitted too late.

The latest plan has been backed by current case officer Brian Conlon, who said: “The substantially increased affordable housing contribution is considered a substantial benefit which is now considered to outweigh the identified tall building policy conflict.”

The previous plans for an extra 23 homes were called “overbearing”, “detrimental” and “excessive” in April.

Planning officer Steve Vigar said that proposal should be refused because of the visual harm that would be caused by its “excessive height and bulk”.

Richard Stainthorpe, representing Reading Civic Society (RCS), said RCS had backed the approved plans but the new application is a ‘detrimental step’, which ‘removes the elegance’ of the approved scheme.

Gillian Irvine, representing Kingfisher Place Management Company, called the plans ‘overbearing’ on the neighbouring Kingfisher Place and said the development would also impact on sleep.

The committee unanimously rejected the plans, with councillor Tony Page, lead member for Planning, calling the proposal “too tall” and criticising the developer for not discussing the proposal with the council before applying.

Councillor Karen Rowland added: “You can’t just put any old thing.” 

The committee will next week (Wednesday, September 4) decide whether the latest application, now backed by officers largely because of the “substantial” affordable housing increase,  is acceptable.