Neighbours have called on the council to once again reject “unacceptable” plans to convert a ‘fine’ Edwardian house in Reading into flats.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) has rejected three plans in the last three years at 39 Brunswick Hill.

And planning inspectors have also three times rejected appeals against the council’s decisions.

READ MORE: Warning for fine Edwardian house owner as fourth plan mooted

The council has slammed landlord Eric Benjamin as “greedy” and in October called on him to “get the message”.

Mr Benjamin is back with another plan and the council’s Planning Applications committee will vote on it next week.

RBC officers have recommended the plan be approved, saying they believe the proposals have “overcome the reasons for dismissal of the appeal for the previous application”.

PICTURED: The fine Edwardian villa

PICTURED: The fine Edwardian villa

But council officers have backed plans from Mr Benjamin at the site on the last two occasions only for the committee to disagree.

The only application which council officers have recommended be refused is the first, to demolish the building and construct 10 flats.

In October, councillors called on the homeowner to “get the message” and submit a proposal that is “sensitive” to surroundings.

What is different from the previous rejected plan?

The re-developed villa would include one studio flat, five one-bed apartments, and two two-bed flats.

The headline difference from the plan rejected last year is a change to the extension plans at the back of the property, with a smaller part three-storey, part single-storey rear extension planned rather than the previous three-storey rear extension proposed.

The previous application, the third in three years, was to convert the “fine” and “attractive” villa on Brunswick Hill into eight flats, adding two-storey side extensions and three-storey extensions at the back of the house.

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According to the Davis Planning Ltd, writing on behalf of Mr Benjamin, the new proposal “retains the existing and historically important parts of the building”.

The scale of both the rear and side extensions have also been reduced since the last appeal decision, “achieving a viable and policy compliant density albeit to a much lesser scale and bulk than the earlier proposals”.

What do neighbours think of the plan?

A group of 15 residents who all live on Brunswick Hill have submitted a joint objection to the plan.

They say the first application, which involved demolishing the house, would have led to an  “unacceptable loss of heritage”.

PICTURED: The fine Edwardian villa - another angle

PICTURED: The fine Edwardian villa - another angle

And they said the following three applications have been "successive attempts to build as many units as possible to maximise profits, with little regard to design quality, the significance of the building as a non-designated heritage asset, and the neighbourhood’s character, unique aspect, current density".

They say developments should:

  • Have a high quality of design
  • Respond clearly to current housing market conditions “rather than just maximising profits”
  • Maintain continuity of the neighbourhood’s sense of place and its significance in the history of West Reading.

The households are also developing an application for Brunswick Hill and Argyle Road recognised as a Local Area of Special Character.

The aim of this would be to ensure developments in the neighbourhood are appropriate in scale, height, and size.

The neighbours also say the reduction in the maximum number of potential tenants has reduced by just two, from 22 to 20, since the first application.