A school in Reading which is part of a development team has rebutted fears over a plan to build hundreds of flats on playing fields it owns.

The Morgan Road Playing Fields in East Reading are secured grass pitches owned by Reading School, a state funded grammar school for boys located in nearby Erleigh Road.

A freedom of information (FOI) request from a campaign group has revealed that Reading School initially had a plan to build 388 flats on the field, alongside a retained grass pitch and a new 3G sports pitch.

These flats would be contained in two buildings, one being made up of 339 student apartments and the other providing 49 ‘age friendly apartments’.

The plan, drawn by DAY Architecture has received heavy criticism from councillor David McElroy (Green, Redlands) who argued it would not meed the needs of residents and have a detrimental impact on the environment.

READ MORE: Speculative plan for hundreds of homes on Reading playing fields blasted

The prospect of flats being built on the field has been opposed from the outset by the Save Morgan Road Playing Fields group, which revealed the plan through an FOI to the Department of Education.

But fears over the plan for 388 flats have been shut down by a development team spearheading a project to improve sports facilities for the school and provide housing.

Reading Chronicle: A site plan for Morgan Road Playing Fields in Reading apparently showing plans for a total of 388 flats. Credit: Day Architectural LtdA site plan for Morgan Road Playing Fields in Reading apparently showing plans for a total of 388 flats. Credit: Day Architectural Ltd

The team is made up of Reading School, Jansons Property and public relations firm DevComms.

Speaking on behalf of the team, a spokesperson for DevComms said: “Reading School, in partnership with Jansons Property, is pleased to provide an update on the emerging plans for significant investment and expansion of their sporting facilities.

“Proposals are at an early stage but the key ambition for the school is to deliver a proposed new 3G all-weather sports pitch and three-quarter grass pitch with associated changing facilities on their Morgan Road site.

“This is alongside proposed construction of an indoor sports centre within the existing school site.

“The school are also hoping to refurbish its Victorian swimming pool.

“Following earlier consultation undertaken by the school, the Secretary of State for Education has recently granted consent for the release of a portion of the Morgan Road site to help fund the proposed new and improved sporting facilities.

“Reading School is a state funded grammar school with Academy status and are delighted to be pursuing this opportunity to provide much-needed improvements to the sporting offer to its pupils.

“As an example, despite being national school badminton champions five times in the past decade, the school site has no full-sized indoor sports facilities, and very limited capacity for wet weather sports provision.

READ MORE: Group keeps pressure up over prospective plan for a hundred or more homes on Reading playing field

“The school is also exploring the potential for the facilities to be opened up for use by the local community, particularly primary schools which share in the ambitious ‘Future Stories’ programme – an initiative which helps shape the aspirations and ambitions of hundreds of local primary school children.

“The proposals, and the enabling development to help fund the sporting provisions are at a formative stage.

“Whilst early proposals were submitted to the Secretary of State, the scheme has already evolved.

“The school is keen to undertake consultation with the local community to help shape the final scheme.

“As such, DevComms, dedicated community consultation specialists, have been instructed to initiate a comprehensive consultation programme.

“Residents can get in touch with our community representatives, DevComms, via 0800 080 3299 or readingschool@devcomms.co.uk.”

Both Jansons Property and DevComms have a history of operating in Reading.

Jansons Property were responsible for the development of 350 Basingstoke Road in Whitley, which is made up of Aldi, the Victoria Cross and PureGym, with the site being sold to the Oxford Diocese Pension Fund.

However, its subsidiary Lower Earley Properties was unsuccessful in its bid to build a Lidl and 43 homes in Lower Earley.

Meanwhile, DevComms assisted client Thames Properties for its Printworks development of 96 homes at the old Cox & Wyman factory in Cardiff Road.