The residents of Western Road and the other streets adjacent to the Bath Road reservoir site held their annual Street Party on Saturday 18th September. Once again it was hailed a great success by local residents and all those campaigning against Thames Water's development plans, which they have now taken to appeal following the refusal of planning permission in October 2009.
Reading West MP Alok Sharma attended the party, met and talked with local residents and judged the children’s fancy dress competition.
Alok commented: "There was a great community spirit at this event which appears to have become a firm annual fixture in the West Reading community calendar. Whilst everyone enjoyed themselves, local residents are very much aware that this event was held to keep up awareness of Thames Water’s plans to build 96 homes and commercial space on this beautiful green site. I very much hope that Thames Water’s appeal is turned down. I have made my views plain in writing to the inquiry inspector and hope to have the opportunity to speak up at the inquiry on behalf of the vast majority of my constituents who are opposed to Thames Water’s plans."
Local Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Peter Finnan commented: "Over 200 people came along to the party during the afternoon and evening and we had all sorts of fun activities including apple bobbing, a fancy dress competition, music, dancing, and lots of party games like musical statues! We were particularly pleased that the weather was kind to us! It was great to see young and old having so much fun together.”
Local STBRR campaigner Mel Woodward added: “The sense of community spirit continues to be very strong and this is in no small part due to the unique nature of where we live. We hoped, after their proposed plans were rejected in October last year, that Thames Water would come back with something more appropriate and sympathetic, but unfortunately they appealed, and we now have to fight them at a Public Inquiry in November. We accept that some form of development will take place on the site in the future, but the proposed development in its current form would shatter this community and detrimentally alter the character of the area.”
Fellow campaigner Graham Griffiths concluded: "The fate of the site is now in the hands of the appointed government inspector. Concerned residents can still make a difference by attending the Inquiry to show their support for the campaign. We want to leave the Inspector in no doubt about the strength of local feeling about this unwelcome planning application.”
More information about the appeal and the campaign can be found www.savethebathroadreservoir.co.uk.