Since early 2008 Thames Water has been trying to push through plans to develop the Bath Road Reservoir site that sits between Western Road and The Bath Road in west Reading. The original proposals included around 120 homes and were opposed by local residents of the “Save the Bath Road Reservoir” Campaign Group. The Group has explained that the site is an important part of Reading’s heritage and a haven for local wildlife and drew up proposals recommending that the site be used as an educational resource for Reading’s schools with a potential conversion of one of the buildings currently on the site into a community centre.
Achievements to date:
Following more than a year of tough campaigning, in spring 2009 Alok and the “Save the Bath Road Reservoir” Campaign Group convinced Thames Water to withdraw its first planning application.
Alok arranged for the then Shadow Minster for Communities and Local Government, Justine Greening MP, to visit the site and Ms Greening subsequently gave her backing to the campaign.
In September 2009, Alok successfully worked with the “Save the Bath Road Reservoir” Campaign Group to raise public awareness of this issue and Alok attended the first annual “Save the Bath Road Reservoir” street party which took place on Western Road, situated alongside the site itself.
Following campaigning by the “Save the Bath Road Reservoir” Campaign Group and Alok, in October 2009 Thames Water’s second set of proposals for the site were duly rejected by Reading Borough Council’s Planning Committee as an ‘unsuitable proposal’.
Following Thames Water’s appeal of this decision, Alok wrote to the Planning Inspectorate on behalf of residents and the “Save Bath Road Reservoir” Campaign Group recommending that the Planning Inspectorate rejects Thames Water’s proposals on the basis that they had been met with an overwhelming display of public disapproval and were clearly unsuitable, leading to the Planning Inspector indeed rejecting the appeal in January 2011.
In September 2011, Thames Water began pursuing another planning application with a reduced number of dwellings. The plans were eventually approved by Reading Borough Council against the wishes of local residents, but thanks to work by Alok and the Save the Bath Road Reservoir campaign the number of dwellings built was reduced from 120 to 78.