Campaigners have slammed the council’s ‘botched’ Arthur Hill pool sale and called for a public consultation after the council announced negotiations have broken down.

Councillor Jason Brock, leader of Reading Borough Council (RBC), revealed negotiations for the sale of the pool had 'discontinued' at Policy committee last night (July 15).

The council wishes to continue with plans to sell the historic Kings Road site for housing but Peter Burt, of the Arthur Hill Campaign, said such plans are ‘unworkable’.

Mr Burt said: “The news that the Arthur Hill sale has fallen through would not have been released by Reading Borough Council were it not for persistent questioning by the Arthur Hill Campaign.

“Unfortunately, it comes as no surprise that the council’s botched and secretive plans to sell the site have come a cropper.

“The first thing the council must do now is consult with local people over the future of the Arthur Hill site, rather than push ahead with unworkable plans to sell the site for development.

“We are confident that consultation would show that an overwhelming majority of local people  would prefer to see the site retained for leisure and community use rather than be sold off.

“The prospects of selling it for housing development look slim.

“If the council is willing to show its support, we now have a fantastic prospect for uniting and galvanising the local community into action on a project which could become the pride of the town”.

A petition has been set up asking the council to consult the public on the future of the pool.

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RBC chose its preferred bidder in July 2018 following the closure of the historic east Reading pool in December 2016.

Dialogue between RBC and its preferred bidder OOAK Developments LTD has now ‘discontinued’ according to Cllr Brock.

Options are being reviewed and a report will be submitted to a future Policy committee.

The leader of RBC announced the 'regrettable position’ after Arthur Hill campaigner Peter Burt requested an update.

Cllr Brock said: “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to progress things with the preferred purchaser.

“At the present time dialogue with the preferred purchaser has been discontinued.

“The council will continue to consider the re-use of the site for housing, including council housing key worker housing, or other affordable housing provision.

“What we need in this town as much as anything else is good affordable housing provision.”

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He added that the council is committed to providing a state of the art pool in east Reading.

The breakdown in negotiations follows the council ‘undertaking due diligence’ including surveys and site investigations.

It also comes after the council was forced to reveal full details of the controversial sale after a lengthy Freedom of Information (FOI) battle with Mr Burt.