Thursday, 1 October 2009

Two-Year Limbo For King's Meadow Lido

The proposed redevelopment of King's Meadow has been put on hold in what campaign supporters are describing as a humiliating climbdown for the Reading Borough Council.

Executive member for Leisure and Sport, Cllr Graeme Hoskins explained he felt the demands of the contractor Askett Hawke were excessive and didn't provide sufficient guarantee of public access, despite agreeing to progress their bid to redevelop the prime Thamesfront location under similar conditions back in July.

After multiple decades of deterioration it was decided to give community activists a 2-year period of exclusivity to come up with a realistic plan to bring the Victorian pavilion back into public use.

Campaigners celebrated but the suggestion remains that it was the realities of the economic situation not the popular appeal which has given a lifeline to this last vestige of local heritage.

Former Reading East MP Jane Griffiths recalls that this was an issue which began to split her from the Reading Labour party back in 1991, while she also remembers how prominent Labour group leaders attempted to thwart opposition to the lucrative plans.

Meanwhile LibDem Cllr Swaine is incandescent at the devious and duplicitous nature of local tories who have been willing to say whatever anyone wants to hear on this subject (and others too) in the hope that nobody will ask them about their voting records.

Green Party candidates Rob White and Adrian Windisch know a bandwagon when they see one and have also offered their congratulations to the campaigners.

Enterprising students have also offered their support to bring the pavilion back into community use.

Oranjepan asks:
In two years time market conditions will recover, making a hotel a more viable project and increasing commercial pressure to develop the site for profit. With the expected change to a more ruthlessly business-minded administration, aren't the celebrations a little bit premature?

History: King's Meadow Campaign Gets Contentious; Paralysis Hits King's Meadow Proposals


  1. Where's the reference to 'humiliating climbdown', mr pan?

  2. Adam, it was a policy reversal.

    Labour encouraged commercial bidders for the project who would put a chunk of money into the council piggybank. Now they have said they are prepared to give it away to the community for nothing on a project which will make a much smaller difference to the town's economy.

    Campaigners are celebrating victory because the council lost the battle.

    It was a battle the council did not want to lose. They did everything they could to avoid losing. And they are not trumpeting the new plan as a success.

    If this isn't a defeat for the council and this hasn't been a humbling experience then they really can't see the writing on the wall.

  3. I wish they would repair the pool and let the public use it. Elizabeth

  4. Gideon Mack Orangutan2 October 2009 at 14:18

    If the incompetents at Reading Borough Council supported anything I did, I'd change my name, relocate to Burkina Faso and become a nun.

  5. Orangepan, you just cant resist a attack on the Greens, even when you agree with them. So much for this site being neutral.

    Readers, I suggest you read the blogs yourself and make up your own minds.

  6. Hi Adam, the venerable BBC described it as a 'U-turn', so I think that's a strong enough reference to use - KMCampaigner obviously agrees, and as Adrian says, that's what links are for.

    Hi Eliz, I wish things were as simple as that, but they never are. It always comes down to money and control.

    Gideon :D

    I call things as I read them.

    It is funny and perverse that you think I agree with the Greens at the same time as saying I'm neutral.

    I have no problem with being told Reading List is not neutral - it's not and doesn't pretend to be. I try to provide a fair and balanced view using sources from across the spectrum and critiquing all of them equally. That's better than being ignored now isn't it?

    Perhaps you could engage with the debate instead of getting defensive about what you do have to say for yourself. If I could direct you to the question I pose that would make a good starting point.

    If congratulations are in order, then there is still plenty of work to be done to bring the site back into use - it hasn't magically happened overnight!

  7. Did you read my blog, or your own response? You accuse me of jumping on a bandwagon, yet my blog has links that show I've been campaigning on this for 4 years.

    The pool is saved for now, so yes its a success.

    I stated that you are not neutral, but you often claim to be. Anything said by Greens you dismiss, even if you agree with it.

    Sometimes this blog looks like its merely a front for the LD, which is a shame.

  8. Adrian,
    I think you're being oversensitive and mischaracterising my comments.

    You can call me all the names under the sun if you so wish, but if you think I automatically dismiss the Greens, then that says more about you I'm afraid - if I was dismissive I wouldn't provide the links.

    I'm happy to admit I'm highly critical, and that's as it should be - participatory politics is all about debate and disagreement, not self-congratulation - without disagreement nobody would ever be able to unpick the precise rights and wrongs of any situation.

    Your language betrays a sense that you are more concerned about who agrees with whom, rather than the substance of the issues, which I feel is a very unhelpful attitude. So you'll forgive me for expressing an opinion.

    IMO there's nothing wrong with jumping on a campaign bandwagon, and in fact it is essential if any campaign is to be successful. But there is a world of difference between holding an opinion and doing something about it which moves the matter forward in a constructive direction.

  9. So thanks for complimenting me, saying im jumping on a bandwagon.Though you seem to accept that I haven't.

    Your method of moving the matter forward is seen by most people as spin.

    Theres not much point continuing this, we have different perspectives.


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