A grade II listed hotel in west Reading could become a huge HMO with 18 bedrooms.

The owner of Belle Vue House, at 2 Tilehurst Road, has applied to change the use of the 18-bed three-star hotel into a shared house for at least 18 people.

The property has been used as a hotel since 1993, but an increase in hotels in Reading has led to a “considerable decline” in customers and made it “commercially un-viable”, according to the owner.

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A house in multiple occupation (HMO) is a shared house with communal spaces such as kitchen and living room.

A spokesman for Reading Civic Society called the plans "lazy, cheap and nasty", adding: "It is totally ridiculous and should be roundly rejected by the planning applications committee. Miniscule kitchen for 18 people & ditto the lounge.

"Even before Covid-19 it was bonkers. No proposal to provide a suitable outside leisure space - all around the property front to back is gravel. Totally inappropriate."

Owner Sucha Singh wants to provide just one living room for the 18 residents, while it has not been specified how many people could live in each room.

National planning guidance requires one communal room per 4-6 bedrooms but the planning consultant for Mr Singh pointed out that flexibility is offered depending on the size of the bedrooms and communal space.

The consultant said 13 of the 18 bedrooms are large, comfortably exceeding room standards, and therefore a communal space is only needed for five bedrooms to satisfy the requirements. ALSO READ: "It has not been easy - we had no financial help": Greek restaurant finally opens for takeaway only

Ten cycle parking spaces would be provided outside the building, with car parking spaces reduced from ten to five.

Mr Singh’s planning consultant said the addition of cycling spaces is the only proposal that would affect the setting of the Grade II listed building.

But the consultant believes proposals do not conflict with or impact on the historical status of the building or its setting, nor the conservation area, and retains a similar use to the current hotel.

Belle Vue was built in 1839 as a private villa and is part of the Russell Street and Castle Hill Conservation Area.