Thames Water has new home plans for Bath Road reservoir

Bath Road reservoir site
Image caption Campaigners are opposed to the new plans for Bath Road reservoir

Revised proposals to build homes at a reservoir in Reading have been dubbed "excessive and insensitive" by local campaigners.

Thames Water has drawn up new plans for the Bath Road reservoir, which locals want to keep as a wildlife haven.

The water company said the reservoir could not be left vacant because it was unsafe. It said it would allocate 20% of the space for wildlife.

Campaigners said Thames Water should consult more with local residents.

Reading borough council has earmarked the reservoir for development but it has so far rejected Thames Water's plans for the site.

Thames Water's revised plans include a reduction in height of the buildings and fewer flats, which in the original plans numbered 96. The Grade II-listed water tower would be retained and protected.

'Extremely disappointed'

The Save the Bath Road Reservoir (STBRR) campaigners described the revised plans as "near-identical" and said the proposals for three-storey buildings would "dwarf and overshadow" nearby properties.

STBRR's Mel Woodward said: "We are extremely disappointed with Thames Water's arrogance and their consistent attempts to make only the most minimal amendments to their plans and cram in as many units as possible."

Conservative MP for Reading West MP Alok Sharma said: "I will continue to press the company to take on board the genuine concerns of local residents about an excessive and insensitive development."

STBRR also claims the vegetation covering the underground reservoir, which is closed to the public, is a haven for wildlife such as deer, foxes and badgers.

Marc Selby, head of property for Thames Water, said the "deep shafts" and "high, unstable banks" rendered the reservoir unsafe.

"We fully appreciate the development of this land will have an impact on people already living in this area," he said, "however this site cannot just be left vacant."

He added that turning the site into a wildlife reserve would have a "cost implication" for Thames Water customers.

Thames Water met with Mr Sharma and STBRR on 4 March to discuss the revised plans but no compromise was reached.

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