A ‘harsh’ blue strip of light at the top of a building will be turned off after more than 70 residents raised concerns.

Neighbours have slammed the lighting as ‘totally unnecessary’, ‘intensely bright’ and ‘cheap’.

The luminous blue light has already been put in place on the Thames Quarter building on Kings Meadow Road, which is yet to finish construction, with residents having missed their chance to object to the planning application.

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But a spokesperson for Watkin Jones said the lights would now be turned off until another solution can be found.

What happened?

A new application was submitted for lighting at the building, drawing dozens of complaints.

Caversham GLOBE, a local environment group in Reading, said the “harsh blue” strip lighting is “causing totally unnecessary light pollution which is visible over a very wide area of greater Reading including Caversham, Emmer Green and areas beyond”.

John Nicholls, representing Caversham & District Residents Association, said both types of lighting are “an unsustainable waste of energy”, and described the already-installed lighting as “intensely bright”.

Thames Quarter From River Kennet

Thames Quarter From River Kennet

And Alan Pennington said the lighting “is already visible for miles around, including the in the area of natural beauty to the north in Oxfordshire, and blights the view from Caversham”.

He said the strip and floodlighting “serves no purpose but causes unnecessary light pollution and in a town supposedly reacting to a Climate Emergency, wastes energy”.

Mr Pennington also said the lighting would also adversely affect wildlife as it is very close to King’s Meadow and the Thames riverside corridor.

Meanwhile, Margaret Seal called the lighting “totally unnecessary”.

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Phillippa Wyatt added: “This light can be seen all over Reading and spoils the view. It is far too bright and out of character.”

While Lin Godfrey said: “It’s tarty, cheap looking.”

Thames Quarter From Kenavon Drive

Thames Quarter From Kenavon Drive

Although, many residents have suggested the lighting at the top of the building was put in place without permission, this lighting was approved in November 2020 – with no complaints received.

The new application is for different low-level lighting.

However, developer Watkins Jones has decided to temporarily turn off the light due to the new concerns raised.

What happens now?

A spokesman for Watkins Jones, which is constructing the development on behalf of M&G Estates, said: “Reading Council approved planning permission for the lighting installation after a range of assessments were carried out to ensure there would not be an impact on local residents or wildlife.

“It is clear, however, that the light on the top part of the building is impacting residents.

Thames Quarter

Thames Quarter

“We, and our client, are committed to being a good neighbour and want Thames Quarter to be a positive addition to the community, so as an interim measure the lights will be turned off while an alternative solution is sought that addresses the concerns of the local community.”

The new 23-storey building will have 315 apartments in a mix of studio, one bedroom, two bedroom and three bedroom units, as well as residents’ lounges, a tech hub, a dining room, and a cinema room.