Friday, 16 April 2010

Reservoir Opposition Resurrected

Thames Water's plan to develop the Bath Road Reservoir for housing were rejected last year, but the company has indicated it will make a resubmission as the site remains in Reading's masterplan for redevelopment.

Local campaigners have written over 200 letters of objection. The Save the Bath Road Reservoir website states,
"We feel that the reservoir site is worthy of protection, and should be designated as a local nature reserve, a wildlife link, an educational resource for local schoolchildren or similar."
But group spokesperson Mel Woodward said, "If development does occur, we just want to make sure it is done sensitively."

The reservoir issue has turned into an election topic as Conservative housing spokesman Grant Shapps MP visited the town to show solidarity with local residents and set out his party's proposals.

Mr Shapps explained that the plan to build up to 100 homes on the 5.4 acre site was too many and said a compromise position was more preferable.

He added that his party proposed scrapping housing density targets which specify how many homes each local authority must build while providing incentives in order to encourage greater development. However he argued greater accountability was also needed to ensure local communities have more say in developments on their doorstep.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman was also in town recently to restate her opinion that more homes are needed in Reading, but that in her opinion the reservoir site is not appropriate:
"We have got to find places where we can build decent homes for people, but not actually with the green open spaces."
Meanwhile local campaigner Graham Griffiths expressed his anger at the biases in the planning process,
"The missing link is translating the support we've got from politicians into action on these particular local issues."

Oranjepan asks:
During election time politicians are obviously keen to latch onto popular local campaigns, but when push comes to shove and the election is over do local residents ever get exactly what we want?

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More on the campaign to save the Bath Road reservoir.

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