“Disingenuous” plans for accommodation for dozens of students near London Road were rejected by Reading Borough Council (RBC) last night (Wednesday, September 4).

Silver Street Developments wanted to develop three student accommodation buildings (one-storey, two-storey and four-storey) with 79 studio rooms at 40-68 Silver Street.

The developer already has planning permission for 56 student studio rooms at 79 Silver Street, just across the road from the proposed site.

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Labour and local ward councillor Rose Williams said: “My local community would be absolutely delighted with this decision.

“There is already student accommodation on the street planned. We don’t need that much student housing.

“What is needed is housing for small families to help the feel of the place.”

Green councillor Josh Williams called for evidence of need for this kind of student accommodation in Reading.

He said: “The only element of evidence I could find showed two small dips in HMO use in Reading when two enormous halls of hundreds and hundreds of rooms were built.”

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Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Planning, said: “We are not anti-student. This towns success depends on working with the university.”

He added, however: “No evidence has been forthcoming to justify the sorts of increases in student numbers the university claim is needed.

“There is no business cases underpinning most student accommodation application.”

He added “disingenuous” developers are only aiming for a foreign market, not to try to get students out of terraced housing.

Councillor Emmett McKenna, chair of the committee, added: “I am unconvinced of the need for student accommodation and the building is not of sufficient quality.”

Lib Dem councillor Ricky Duveen said the amount of student accommodation is changing the character of the town but also suggested the council needs to be careful about building any accommodation on the site due to poor air quality levels.

Cllr Page responded that there are plans for “major improvements” to air quality in Reading.

The site was previously occupied by two buildings, which have been demolished.