READING FC have hit a stumbling block in their plans to build Royal Elm Park following an objection from the Environment Agency.

Reading's Thai owners are eager to branch out by building a £500m development near the Madejski Stadium.

But the EA have lodged a complaint against 600 new homes which form part of the scheme.

The EA have criticised the club for failing to properly assess the impact the homes would have on wildlife in the nearby Foundry Brook.

Their chief concern is that shade created by the high-rise tower blocks, some as high as 270ft, could damage the habitat.

Environment Agency planning advisor Michelle Kidd said: "We object to the proposed development as submitted because the assessment and mitigation of the risks to nature conservation are inadequate.

"We will maintain our objection until the applicant has supplied information to demonstrate that the risks posed by the development can be satisfactorily addressed."

It is thought developers will work with Reading Borough Council to investigate the issue before issuing a response.

The 20,000 sq m development also includes an ice rink, park, business centre plus offices.

Reading Green Party councillor Rob White warned: "If you put high-rise buildings on top of the river bank, that's going to shade the sensitive river environment.

"It could fundamentally change the habitat and change what is there."