Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Campaign Update: Save The Bath Road Reservoir!

The summer recess is the typical time for planners to submit controversial planning applications, and so it proved again as Thames Water subsidiary Kennet Properties applied to build 96 homes on the 5.4 acre Bath Rd Reservoir site.

Meanwhile, Coley Park schoolchildren have become engaged in ongoing community-wide efforts to save the idyllic urban oasis and the architectural gem at it's heart.

Campaigner Mel Woodward expressed the dismay which hit him when he saw the application, "From what we have seen this new application is no different to the one that was withdrawn," adding that this proved they hadn't listened to local views, despite representations including Conservative PPC Alok Sharma.

Thames Water's Margaret Grey attempted to defend the decision, explaining that Reading's Labour council 'earmarked' the site for redevelopment as long ago as 1996 and the proposal would create new construction jobs and address the shortage of family homes in the borough.

She argued that the company had undertaken statutory consultation.

Significantly, she also stated that "We owe it to our customers to get the best price for this land," suggesting that shareholder profits would not be sacrificed as the company continued to maintain and update it's network.

The alternative, she explained would be to simply abandon site, "letting it deteriorate and become unsafe."

Petworth Court resident John Howes noted the uniqueness of the location,
"It has not been polluted by chemicals or earlier building and it forms a resting and feeding haven on an established wildlife corridor which runs along the adjoining railway line"
and completely dismissed the idea that it is 'a typical brownfield site'.

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Update: Labour party representatives have written to Reading Borough Council to ask for consultations to be extended into November from the current September 14th deadline.

Reading West MP Martin Salter said he was "not accusing anyone of seeking to rush this application through or avoid proper public scrutiny."

Oranjepan says:
This is a special location which requires a special solution.

Purely economic considerations will have a massively detrimental effect on the quality of life of future generations in this highly developed area. If Reading has aspirations to become a city, it is exactly this sort of location which requires imagination.

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History: Former Reservoir Is A Green Lung
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