An “insulting” application to build four houses on undeveloped land in east Reading has been rejected again.

A planning inspector has rejected an appeal against the initial decision by Reading Borough Council (RBC) to refuse the proposal at 45 Upper Redlands Road in July 2019.

The government inspector’s decision was revealed at last week’s Planning Applications committee on Wednesday, June 3.

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Another plan has since been submitted at 45 Upper Redlands Road but neighbours say there is “little difference” from the now twice-rejected initial application, which neighbours described as "insulting".

Richard Bennett, Chair of Reading Civic Society said “We are pleased to see that, yet again, a decision by a Planning Inspector has supported fully a decision by RBC’s Planning Committee to reject a planning application on grounds which include the significant negative impact on Heritage.

“There is another planning application pending for this site and the points made by the planning inspector apply equally to that proposal.

“We believe this application should be withdrawn or refused in the light of the points made by the planning inspector in refusing this appeal.”

Why did the planning inspector reject the appeal?

The inspector recognised the historical importance of the Redlands Conservation and the grade II listed building Wantage Hall in his decision to refuse the appeal.

She said the appeal scheme would neither preserve nor enhance the character and appearance of the conservation area and would have a detrimental impact on the setting of Wantage Hall.

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She added that the scheme would lead to a substantial loss of garden space and require the removal of a number of mature trees which currently form a substantial part of the green backdrop in the street scene’.

You can see why the council rejected the plans, described by one councillor as “civic vandalism” and another as a “tragedy”, in our previous story here.

What is the latest plan?

The latest plan was submitted in late 2019 and is also for houses but the developer claims to have adressed concerns.

It says less of the garden space will be lost and less walls will need to be removed.

But dozens of neighbours have signed a petition opposing the plan which says it is “essentially the same as the rejected first application with minor modifications”.

And the latest proposal has also been objected to by the council’s heritage experts and local conservation groups.