Questions have been raised over a plan to build a new retirement complex that neighbours fear will ‘dwarf’ nearby houses.

A developer called Henley Road Ltd had applied to build two large buildings for the elderly off Henley Road, providing a total of 55 apartments.

The plan involves the demolition of 205-213 Henley Road to clear the way for the retirement apartments, which would be built right next to the Signature care home.

However a series of questions were raised over flooding, affordable housing contributions and other issues with the proposed development.

Worries were raised to the Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee about the impact of hard landscaping – such as new pavement – would have on the Berry Brook, a small river which runs directly south of the site.

Councillor Karen Rowland (Labour, Abbey) said: “I would really like to understand better how we’re going to have so much hard landscaping, we’re going [to develop] down to Berry Brook, how are we not going to be having flooding there?

“I don’t feel like I’ve really go the answers on that, and that is frustrating.

“I just don’t know or understand whether the Berry Brook is going to constantly overflow.”

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There were also questions over how much Henley Road Ltd would pay to contribute towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in Reading.

The developers had argued that the project would run at a deficit of £3.27 million, and therefore they were unable to make any of the 55 retirement apartments affordable.

However, an economic viability assessment conducted by BPS Chartered Surveyors on the council’s behalf concluded that the development would run at a deficit of £590,000 instead.

The stark contrast in figures was noted by the committee.

Cllr James Moore (Liberal Democrats, Tilehurst) said: “I’m seeing quite a gap in estimations there. Why are we seeing such wildly different figures?”

Cllr Jan Gavin (Labur, Caversham) added: “I’ve got a question mark on whether this will ever actually get developed, with such a huge deficit being predicted, what are we agreeing to?

“I would like to hear from the developer how they are going to bridge that gap if there’s a £3.7 million deficit.”

Reading Chronicle: An overhead view of the proposals for two new retirement blocks off Henley Road in Caversham. Credit: Bowman RileyAn overhead view of the proposals for two new retirement blocks off Henley Road in Caversham. Credit: Bowman Riley

The plan also faced objections from nine residents, with neighbours raising concerns the that five and four-storey apartment buildings would dwarf existing homes.

Neither the developers or objectors had attended the meeting, however councillors agreed that concerns needed to be addressed.

Cllr Simon Robinson (Conservative, Emmer Green) officially proposed that a decision should be deferred for the developer to attend a future planning meeting to answer questions from members and neighbours.

The committee unanimously deferred decision on the application at the meeting on Wednesday, May 31.

You can view the application by typing reference 220189 into the council’s planning portal.