Reading Borough Council (RBC) has once again rejected plans to demolish a “fine Edwardian house” and replace it with flats.

The latest application – for nine apartments – was unanimously rejected at last night’s  Planning Applications committee (Wednesday, September 4).

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Planning, announced that the council will reconsider locally listing the site as a heritage asset.

He said: “It was taken on my watch but I think it needs to be revisited”.

He supported the refusal “on balance” but said it would likely go to appeal again.

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Original plans for 10 apartments at 39 Brunswick Hill were rejected by both Reading Borough Council (RBC) and a planning inspector on appeal last year.

Reading Civic Society and the Reading Conservation Area Advisory Committee have criticised the proposal.

Speaking at the meeting on behalf of the organisations, Evelyn Williams said “a sympathetic reconstruction would be more appropriate”.

Jessica Clough, who lives at 29 Brunswick Hill, said the development would be detrimental to the current sense of community on the street and cause noise issues.

The agent representing the applicant said the building has not been locally listed and the heritage consultants view is that it is of low heritage interest.

He said the new design has reduced scale and dwelling numbers and is more sympathetic to the sites history and the street.

But councillors rejected the idea of demolishing the building.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage, said “it’s a plain fact” that it would be the loss of a heritage site.

She suggested the current plans are a “pastiche” and “not original” and raised concern at the potential loss of the building’s “fine chimneyscape”.

She added: “Many more people onto the street is an issue. It is largely a single family street.”

Conservative councillor Jane Stanford-Beale asked: “Why not convert it?” while Lib Dem councillor Ricky Duveen said it would not be in character with the rest of the street.

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The new application sought to overcome the reasons for refusal given by the council last year.

RBC rejected the original application in March 2018 largely due to the impact the demolition and new building would have on the character and appearance of the area.

Planning inspector Patrick Whelan then rejected the developer’s appeal, concluding that the benefit of ten new flats would be outweighed by the cost of a lost heritage asset.