Page last updated at 09:14 GMT, Thursday, 13 August 2009 10:14 UK

Row over new reservoir homes bid

The Bath Road Reservoir
The underground reservoir is covered in vegetation

Thames Water has submitted a new bid for outline planning permission for almost 100 new homes at a Berkshire reservoir despite local opposition.

The water firm wants to sell Reading's Bath Road site to developers once it is no longer needed early next year.

But opponents say the 5.4 acre (2.2 hectare) site, which is covered in vegetation, is a "green lung".

The new application follows a failed bid last year. A decision by Reading council is expected in November.

The Save the Bath Road Reservoir group claim the vegetation has been untouched for decades allowing wildlife such as deer, foxes and badgers to flourish.

It wants Thames Water to turn the area into an educational resource for local schools.

We cannot simply abandon this site, letting it deteriorate and become unsafe
Margaret Grey, Thames Water

Mel Woodward, from the campaign group, said: "From what we have seen this new application is no different to the one that was withdrawn.

"They say they have listened to locals but that is rubbish.

"We understand Reading needs housing but we have asked for at least half of the site to be saved for environmental and educational reasons."

Thames Water said much of the sale profits would be reinvested to improve water services and it was bidding for planning permission as the site would be worth more.

Margaret Grey, managing director of Thames Water Property, said: "There is a need for family homes in Reading and development on this site will help address this.

"We cannot simply abandon this site, letting it deteriorate and become unsafe.

"We have taken into account the concerns of local residents and ecologists in putting together this application."



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SEE ALSO
Residents fight sale of reservoir
14 May 09 |  Berkshire
Water companies ask for more cash
07 Apr 09 |  Business

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