Friday, 9 October 2009

Reservoir Development Reprieved

Local campaigners have won a second victory against large-scale developments within a week as the plans for the development of the Bath Rd reservoir site were unanimously rejected by RBC.

Over 400 letters from the public and a petition with 1,400 signatures showed the strength of feeling mobilised against the plans submitted by Thames Water, but while campaigners celebrate they are bracing themselves for another stage in the war of attrition with developers.

A spokesperson for Thames Water said they were disappointed and were now considering their position. This was the third application that has been defeated on the same location, but residents said they preferred to keep the green space open and use it as an educational resource rather than lose it forever to bricks and mortar.

The issue had quickly gained momentum as politicians on all sides recognised the massive impact which would be felt by an organised and motivated local community.

In the face of the overwhelming pressure Labour reversed their previous willingness to develop the site. Minster ward's Cllr Paul Gittings joined with Reading West MP Martin Salter and his prospective replacement Naz Sarkar to claim victory on behalf of the campaigners.

Jane Griffiths provides some scathing commentary on her former comrades-in-arms. She wholeheartedly contradicts Mr Salter's claim that he has be campaigning to save the site since 1996, while noting Mr Sarkar's attachment to the issue is only skin deep.

Meanwhile Conservative candidate Alok Sharma had attempted to mitigate public anger by negotiating for a planning application which involved fewer housing units, but it appears this moderate suggestion has also been ripped to shreds.

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Update: Independent Cllr Tony Jones recieves some criticism for calling the decision a 'humiliation' for Labour.


Oranjepan says:
This case (together with the KM Campaign) provides an interesting example of how community campaigns can be successful by linking together old and new media techniques with traditional campaign methods. The unrivalled breadth and depth of reach of such a strategy has clearly proven it's power over those with aspirations to represent the public.

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More on the Bath Rd Reservoir Campaign.

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