Plans to build a five-storey hotel in Richfield Avenue are set to be thrown out due to concerns over design quality and height.

Developer RBH Hospitality Management have applied to the council to build a 132-bed hotel next to Crowne Plaza near Caversham Bridge and the Rivermead Leisure Centre.

How the hotel could look

Reading Chronicle:

More than 50 people and organisations have objected to the plans.

Officers at Reading Borough Council (RBC) have recommended the council’s Planning Applications committee refuse the application, raising concern over its impact on a nearby conservation area among other issues.

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The report, by case officer Alison Amoah, concludes: “The issues have been communicated to the applicant, who has elected not to withdraw the application.

“This proposal has been carefully considered in the context of the Reading Borough Local Plan 2019, and supplementary planning documents.

“Despite officers working positively and proactively with the applicant on this scheme, there are significant areas which remain unresolved and for the reasons set out in the report, a refusal of permission is recommended.”

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The committee will vote on the plans on Wednesday, December 11, the night before the general election.

The area already has several hotels, including the Crowne Plaza and a Premier Inn.

Caversham Court Gardens, a grade II-listed park and garden, is north of the site and part of the St Peter’s Conservation area.

Council officers believe the proposed hotel would impact too heavily on the view from the conservation area, the Thames Promenade and Caversham Bridge.

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The developer’s own assessment states there would be no deterioration or improvement of the view.

But planning officers believe the hotel would have a “detrimental” impact despite attempts by the developer to reduce the scale of the proposed hotel, describing the design as “very simple and visually harmful”.

The Caversham and District Residents’ Association says the visual impact is their main concern.

Officers have also raised concern about several other issues including:

  • Lack of information in the proposal about whether there is ground gas at the site, which could pose a risk to future guests.
  • Design not meeting required sustainability levels to tackle climate change
  • Parking not meeting standards

The hotel would include a café/breakfast area and small gym.