A DISGRUNTLED pensioner held an unusual birthday celebration after a year of pushing the water company to fix a huge hole near his home.

John Rees contacted the Chronicle after 12 months of driving past the grass verge on Rushey Way, which he describes as an 'eyesore'.

The 77-year-old has grown tired of seeing the metal fencing in Lower Earley and is calling for Thames Water to fix the problem after repeatedly pushing back deadlines.

He said: "I am utterly fed up with looking at this eyesore. I don't know what is going on because they won't tell me, but maybe it is a secret new entrance to the Channel Tunnel.

"They put notices on the front of the fence to say when the work would be completed. They originally said it would be finished in September last year.

Reading Chronicle:

"It seems every time they get close to the deadline they push it back another couple of months. The last notice said March 31, but that has been taken down for obvious reasons."

Mr Rees, who lives near the crater on the junction of Gipsy Lane, says he has contacted Thames Water about the problem several times without success.

He explained the water company have blamed technical problems and contractor disputes, but residents are yet to be informed as to when the works will be completed.

He added: "I know they are not blocking traffic and people can walk around the fences, but it is utterly ridiculous.

"When I have called them before they seem to be totally unaware that there is even a hole on Rushey Way, which is very reassuring.

Reading Chronicle:

"We have heard almost every excuse you could possibly imagine."

A spokesman for Thames Water added: “We have a leak on a water pipe which needs repairing. It is much deeper underground than our other pipes and needs to be fixed by a specialist contractor.

"The hole is covered and the surrounding area is fenced off to ensure it poses no safety risk and plans on how to repair the pipe safely with as little disruption as possible, are being considered.”