The days of a watersports destination that sprung up in Reading during the coronavirus pandemic are numbered after hopes of getting permission to stay have failed.

Caversham Lakes, a watersports destination located off Henley Road was set up in 2020 as a place for an inflatable aqua park, swimming, paddleboarding and more.

It even features a private island for hire.

But its operator Cosmonaut Leisure got into hot water as activities on the lake and structures were put up without planning permission.

Cosmonaut Leisure had attempted to achieve retrospective consent from the planning authority South Oxfordshire District Council which the lake falls within in 2021 and 2022.

However, these retrospective plans were refused and South Oxfordshire council officials began pursuing enforcement action.

Cosmonaut attempted to halt this action by appeals to the planning inspectorate, which were dismissed on January 18.

The result has been acknowledged by members of Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee, as the site is right on the borough boundary.

Members called the planning inspectorates’ verdict ‘a pity’ but ultimately the right decision.

Councillor Jan Gavin (Labour, Caversham) said: “I know a great many people were interested, attended and will very much this facility.

“However it didn’t comply. They started operation without permission, they put in two retrospective planning applications both were refused because they didn’t meet planning standards.

“It’s such a pity that this leisure developer couldn’t take note of the needs of the local people, of local planning, of the environment and try and find a balance so that they could provide suitable leisure facilities for local people but in an environmentally safe way.

“It’s a good decision, but how sad it’s come to this.”

Reading Borough Council’s planning applications committee agreed that retrospective permission for Caversham Lakes should be refused in July 2022.

The main concern was over the access to the lakes, the junction of Henley Road and Caversham Park Road, which falls within Reading Borough.

READ MORE: Call for safety review at 'crash hotspot' Caversham Lakes junction

Cllr Simon Robinson (Conservative, Emmer Green) said: “Access to the site, certainly turning right as you are leaving Reading is an accident waiting to happen.

“It’s in the best interest that was put forward. We thank our highways department for raising that during the appeal process.

Reading Chronicle: The junction of Henley Road, Caversham Park Road and the Caversham Marina, known as the Caversham Lakes junction. Credit: Google MapsThe junction of Henley Road, Caversham Park Road and the Caversham Marina, known as the Caversham Lakes junction. Credit: Google Maps

“It is tinged with sadness as well, because we know that the facility has proven exceptionally popular with many local residents and has provided a lot of pleasure and fun for people.

“However, Cosmonaut not seeking the permissions needed prior to building the infrastructure and welcoming people on the site surely defies logic.

“It’s incompetent, it’s arrogant in many ways.”

The planning inspectorate verdict means South Oxfordshire council officials can take action to remove structures on the site.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service has contacted Caversham Lakes for a response.

A voicemail states the lakes are only open for Winter hours on Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-11am.

Watersports took place on Sunday, January 7 but a swim session was cancelled on Saturday, January 20.