Plans for 40 flats in the town centre – which could all be affordable – have been approved.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee last night approve the proposal to demolish the Avis car and van hire site at 45 Caversham Road and construct 40 flats in its place in a four-to-five storey building.

Twelve of the apartments will be affordable, with six socially rented and the other six shared ownership, at a minimum.

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But Housing society Abri (formerly known as Radian) has a legal interest to purchase the site once planning permission is signed off and wants all the flats to be affordable.

Councillor Karen Rowland, lead member for Heritage, said the plan is “greatly improved” from the first designs and “much more in keeping” with nearby listed buildings.

While Councillor Tony Page, lead member for planning, said the site “has long been an unattractive almost eyesore” and called the development plan “a major improvement”.

He added: “I welcome the fact this is policy compliant in terms of our affordable housing policy, and if there is any chance of a housing association or the council acquiring the site for social housing, that is even better.

“But it is a welcome development with what is proposed as a minimum in terms of the affordable housing”.

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If the sale to Abri goes through, the 28 apartments not earmarked as affordable in the planning application would be delivered as shared ownership with funding from Homes England, helping to reduce the housing waiting list.

There would be:

  • 24 two-bed flats
  • 14 one-bed flats
  • Two three-bed flats

Developer Elstree Land says the proposal will “heal the broken townscape along Caversham Road”.