"Save the Bath Road Reservoir" group public meeting set for Wednesday 13th May

Thanks to sustained pressure from local people last year Thames Water withdrew its planning application to build over 100 news homes & commercial office space on the Bath Road Reservoir site. However on 14 and 16 May, Thames Water intends to display their new plans for the reservoir site as part of a “consultation” exercise with the intention to submit their revised building plans to Reading Borough Council later in 2009.

The Save the Bath Road Reservoir Group, which has been co-ordinating and leading local opposition to Thames Water’s development plans, is holding a public meeting on Wednesday 13 May at 7.30 pm, at the All Saints Church Hall in Downshire Square, to update local residents on events to date, discuss the implications of Thames Water’s proposals and explain how residents can voice their opposition to Thames Water’s plans if they do not want to see any development on the reservoir site.

Speakers at the meeting will include members of the Save the Bath Road Reservoir Group, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Reading West, local Minster ward councillors and other interested parties. There will also be a questions and answers session to allow local residents the opportunity for local residents to raise their views and concerns.

The Reservoir Group has leafleted many local homes informing them about the 13 May meeting and warmly invites anyone interested to attend the meeting.

Mel Woodward from the Reservoir Group said: “It is really important that as many local residents as possible attend our public meeting on 13 May and take part in the consultation process. We won a significant first round against Thames Water last year when they withdrew their earlier planning application but we will need a real effort from the whole community to see off their latest plans – please come out and support our meeting.”

Alok Sharma, the Conservative Parliamentary Spokesman for Reading West, added: “The Reservoir Group deserves our thanks for all their time and effort on behalf of local people to save this unique site from development. It does seem though that Thames Water’s “new” plans will not be fundamentally different from those previously submitted and they clearly have not taken into account the views of the local community. I hope therefore that Thames Water’s latest so-called “consultation” will be just that, and not another pointless PR exercise. I would urge as many people as possible to turn up to the public meeting and take part in the consultation so that Thames Water finally gets the message loud and clear that the vast majority of local residents do not want any development on the Bath Road Reservoir site!”

Local Councillor Terry Byrne commented: “Obviously we will need to see the revised plans in detail but local residents have raised legitimate concerns about the impact on traffic and the environment, loss of a “green lung” in the middle of Reading, impact on wildlife on the site and issues with existing homes being over-looked. We have always maintained that Thames Water, as part of its support for biodiversity, should make the site available as an educational resource for local schools to study Reading’s heritage and local wildlife.”

Graham Griffiths, also a member of the Reservoir Group, added: “Once again Thames Water have come up with these plans without discussing them with local people and, from what we have been able to gather, we are not holding out much hope that any forthcoming proposals will be in any way acceptable to local people. As well as being an important local issue, this is also about the sort of Reading we would like to see in the future and whether the make-up of our future neighbourhoods should be dictated by the profit motives of foreign multinational companies, such as Australian-owned Thames Water."

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