Victory for Bath Road Reservoir Campaign
Reading West MP Martin Salter has welcomed the unanimous decision by the council’s Planning Committee to reject Thames Water’s application to build 96 homes on the Bath Road Reservoir site. Mr Salter had lodged a formal object to the proposals and had written personally to every councillor on the Planning Applications Committee, setting out the reasons why the plans should be rejected.
Labour councillor Tony Page submitted a ten point proposal against the application, based on specific planning objections which, combined with over 400 letters of objection, persuaded the committee to support Cllr Page’s submission and reject the Thames Water plans.
Martin Salter, who spoke against the proposals, said afterwards:-
“I am delighted at this victory for local residents and the Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign. I will now be pressing Thames Water to drop their plans and enter into meaningful discussions with local people over a sustainable, long term future for this site, to include a wildlife reserve preserved for the benefit of future generations.”
Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate, Naz Sarkar said:-
“This is a clear victory for the local community. I pay tribute to Mel Woodward, Graham Griffiths, and the Save the Bath Road Reservoir Campaign who have worked tirelessly to make sure that the correct decision was made at the Planning Committee.”
MOTION MOVED BY CLLR TONY PAGE TO READING BOROUGH COUNCIL PLANNING APPLICATIONS COMMITTEE, 7TH OCTOBER 2009. PASSED UNANIMOUSLY
09/01360/OUT: Reservoir and Pumping Station, Bath Road, Reading
- The proposal represents an over-development of the site with respect to the 1997 Development Brief. The Brief suggests at least 80 2-and-3-bedroom semi-detached or terraced houses would reflect the prevailing densities of recently developed family housing in the area, while the present proposal allows for 96 units 19% of which are 4-bedroom houses and the indicative layout shows a number to be detached. Without a full application, the LPA cannot be satisfied that the site can accommodate this level of development while accommodating relevant planning policies.
- The proposals offer, with a total of 40% of all units, an inappropriate and excessive number of flats. The Development Brief referred to “Reading’s most pressing need is for 2 & 3 bedroomed semi-detached or terraced family houses with gardens.” (para 5.2).
- The constraints of the site having been taken into account, as foreseen in the Development Brief, in a reduced percentage of social housing, a proposal to be acceptable is required to meet the sustainability requirements of the Council’s ‘Sustainable Design and Construction” SPD, and this application fails to do so.
- The proposals for 3- and 4-storey blocks to “provide visual markers for those approaching the site from Bath Road and Western Road” is contrary to saved policies CUD4 (Setting of Listed Buildings) and core strategy CS33 and to the Development Brief
- The proposals for 3- and 4-storey blocks and the failure to retain or replace the embankments as required by the Development Brief will create loss of amenity for neighbouring residents
- The proposal represents a significant loss of open space, defined by PPG17 to include all open apace of public value … as a visual amenity” regardless of public access, contrary to the Council’s Open Spaces Strategy, saved policy KEY2A of the Reading Borough Local Plan and Core Strategy CS28.
- The applicant has failed to demonstrate that the application would not have deleterious effects on the semi-natural grassland (which is a rare habitat type within the Borough), on the exceptional breeding population of slow worms, and on other protected species including the badgers and deer that have been observed and photographed by local residents, or the adequacy of the mitigation measures including the proposed wildlife area, and the application is thus contrary to the requirements of PPS9, saved policies KEY2A and NE6, core strategy CS36 and the Council’s Biodiversity Action Plan.
- The proposal disrupts an existing wildlife link to Bath Road, contrary to core strategy CS36
- The loss of a Category A street tree and of trees and shrubs on the site, and the limited replanting, is contrary to saved policy NE5 of the Reading Borough Local Plan and core strategy CS38 and to the Development Brief
- The proposed access onto Bath Road cannot be provided with the required visibility sprays without unacceptable loss of street trees, which is detrimental to public safety and in conflict with saved policy TRN11