Councillors have been recommended to refuse Berkeley Homes’ plan for 209 properties on the site of the former SSE offices in Vastern Road, Reading.

A report to Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee ahead of its March 31 meeting has revealed the council has concerns that the footpath through the 0.76-hectare site gives rise to safety issues and is too narrow and indirect.

The route links the pedestrian Christchurch Bridge to Vastern Road and ultimately the station and is a key feature of the council’s longstanding intention to link the station to the River Thames and Christchurch Meadows.

There are also concerns over building heights, massing, quality of public realm and impact on habitats, noise and the loss of a locally listed section of the riverside site.

The Berkeley scheme includes six blocks of up to 11 floors. There is just one house and 208 flats of one, two and three bedrooms. There is also a small café earmarked for a spot close to Christchurch Bridge.

The site does not include the entire former SSE land because a section of electrical plant will be retained.

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