The council is set to give final approval to plans to build huge tower blocks on top of Broad Street Mall, with just car park plans left to vote on.

Plans to build four residential blocks above and next to the mall containing up to 422 flats were approved by Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee in March.

But the committee agreed to hold off final approval until they had seen designs for an extended car park, as there were concerns about the amount of greenery proposed.

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Designs have now been submitted and officers have deemed them successful, but the council’s Planning Applications committee will decide for themselves on Wednesday, December 2.

The plans at Broad Street Mall include two tower blocks built on top of the mall, which will be 18 and 20 storeys above the shopping centre, and another tower block built from the ground up which will be 18 storeys in total.

Another smaller five-storey building with 42 affordable housing flats will also be built on top of the mall.

Five cross-party members of the committee rejected the plans last time around (councillors Josh Williams, Ricky Duveen, Karen Rowland, Jane Stanford-Beale and Simon Robinson).

Cllr Robinson (Conservative) said the committee should vote to preserve the town’s character, while Cllr Duveen (Lib Dem) said the towers are not affordable and are not being built for the people of Reading.

Cllr Williams (Green) said: “This is a utilitarian site that causes harm to the historic context.”

While, Cllr Rowland (Labour), lead member for Heritage at RBC, said her problem with the plan is the design, which “needs to be exemplary but is not”.

And independent experts from Historic England raised concern the development would cause harm to the town, while Reading’s Conservation Area Advisory Committee chair Evelyn Williams called the plans “ugly” and “excessively tall”.

But councillor Tony Page (Labour), backed the plans along with nine others.

The lead member for planning said the mall has “decayed” under the previous owners and praised the commitment of Moorgarth to develop the Minster Quarter.

He said the council is also committed to redeveloping the area and the Broad Street Mall plans will be “one small part of the major regeneration which we aspire to”.

And Moorgarth chief executive Tim Vaughan said the development will act as a catalyst for further regeneration in the area and will support the sustainability of the mall, keeping it “relevant, vibrant and appealing”.

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Block A, the tallest of the towers, will contain 148 flats, and will add an extra 20 storeys on top of the mall.

Block B will be 18 storeys above the mall, containing 115 flats, while Block E will be five storeys on top of the mall and contain 42 flats, all at affordable housing rates.

All homes will be built for renting.

Only 10 per cent of the flats will be at affordable rates after Moorgarth and RBC agreed the project would otherwise not be viable.

But Moorgarth said if the project is more financially successful than expected they will add extra affordable flats to the site.

All affordable homes will be in the smaller block but any new additions would be in the towers.