CAMPAIGNERS clapped and cheered after councillors rubber stamped a decision to block plans for the redevelopment of the Bath Road reservoir.

Reading Borough Council's planning committee upheld 12 reasons to reject Thames Water's application to build 96 homes at the grass covered site which the company will decommission early next year.

The committee had originally thrown out the bid on October 7, but delayed its final decision until last night to ratify the planning grounds behind the refusal.

Councillors argued the proposals were an excessive development in an area of open space and would impact on wildlife including deer, birds and slow worms.

It also claimed it failed to meet the Code for Sustainable Homes and would include an excessive number of flats compared to family houses.

Labour deputy leader Cllr Tony Page told the meeting: "I hope we will send out a clear signal to Thames Water so they will re-engage with the council and the community to consider acceptable plans."

Afterwards Graham Griffiths of the Save the Bath Road Reservoir campaign, which wants to preserve the area as a wildlife haven, said: "We are pleased with the decision and that they will rethink the use of the site. We hope that Thames Water will put the environment at the heart of their plans and will come back and discuss the realistic use of the land."

Thames Water spokesman Simon Evans said the company is considering an appeal, and said: "We believe we put forward the best possible plan for what will soon be a redundant site. We also have a responsibility to our customers to ensure all surplus land is sold for the best possible price to help us pay for improvements to the water network that would otherwise be funded solely by customers' bills."

Alok Sharma, Reading West prospective Parliamentary candidate, said: "It's extremely important that if Thames Water decide they want to go forward they consult with the local residents"