CONTROVERSIAL plans to build more than 800 student bedrooms and six-storey blocks have been recommended for approval.

Designs for the redevelopment of St Patrick's Hall were met with strong opposition due to its historical significance.

Matt Rodda MP said the project, put forward by UPP Projects Limited, would cause 'serious damage' and called for the council to reject the bid.

However, Reading Borough Council's planning applications committee is set to accept the proposals at a meeting on Wednesday, February 7.

A report reads: "It is considered that the proposed development would be acceptable in planning terms and is recommended for approval, subject to the planning obligations and conditions set out in recommendation at the head of the report."

The conditions include the developer paying £30,000 towards upgrading the pedestrian crossing at the junction of Shinfield Road and Northcourt Avenue.

Plans for the historic site will see 836 new bedrooms built for University of Reading students.

A petition against the plans reached 451 signatures as residents raised concerns about noise, little, traffic and parking.

Mr Rodda added: “While I am aware of the university's need to increase the supply of student accommodation, the planned development for St. Patrick's Hall would have an unacceptable impact on the heritage of the surrounding area at Northcourt Avenue.

“Constituents are rightfully concerned about the effect of such a development. This is a very large and imposing proposed development and is out of character with the low-rise arts and crafts era buildings in this vicinity. It could do serious damage to this historic area.

“Residents believe if the tower block were to be erected as planned, it would set a precedent which could have an ongoing and severe impact for areas in Reading which have buildings of character and heritage.”