A plan to build nine houses at a disused site has been approved by the council, subject to agreeing the amount of affordable housing.

The proposal, which will see two disused houses and a series of garages demolished at the land on Swansea Road and Northfield Road, was previously criticised as “sad” and a “pastiche”.

But Reading Borough Council (RBC) Planning Applications committee members backed the scheme last week (Wednesday, February 5), calling it a “good design” and praising the fact houses and not flats would be built.

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Conservative councillor Jane Stanford-Beale said: “It is a good design.

“Councillor Karen Rowland made some minor suggestions and they were very keen to do that.

“It is really good that it is housing and not flats. I am really pleased to see this move forward.”

The developers will build eight three-bed houses and one three-bed coach house.

The series of garages on Northfield Road have historically been used for car repairs and as an MOT centre.

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Councillor Tony Page said he and his ward colleagues Cllr Rowland and Cllr Mohamed Ayub were “very pleased” to see development at a site “that has been derelict for a long time and subject to fly-tipping”.

But he said the developer, Sovereign Housing Association, has backtracked from previous suggestion they would provide “proper” affordable housing provision.

He suggested the decision be deferred till the next committee in February.

But planning officer Julie Williams explained that the situation is the same as the council’s Conway Close application, which was 100 per cent affordable housing but could not require this in the conditions.

She said councils cannot ask for more affordable housing than the amount national policy requires.

Another officer added the applicant does currently want the site to have 100 per cent affordable housing, with a mix of social renting and shared ownership currently being considered.

Councillor Emmett McKenna, chair of the planning applications committee, suggested the original recommendation should be approved – that the developer provide 100per cent shared ownership affordable housing – and any changes to affordable housing plans should come back to committee for a further vote.

The s106 (affordable housing) agreement deadline date will be extended to March 20, with all councils agreeing to approve the plan subject to Cllr McKenna’s condition.

This will allow the council to vote again on the plans at next month’s meeting.