Google Earth pictures obtained by the Reading Chronicle show the drastic loss of greenery and biodiversity following the departure of the water sports centre at Caversham Lakes.

Caversham Lakes near Henley Road was set up in 2020 as an inflatable aqua park, paddleboarding, swimming pool site and more.

Satellite images taken from Google Earth shows before (April 2020) vs after (July 2022) the lakes were occupied by Martyn Edwards' company Cosmonaut Leisure Ltd.


The company sprung up in Reading during the corononavirus pandemic when Mr Edwards decided to lease the former quarry from Tarmac Ltd who currently own the site.

Over the past two years, there has been a significant amount of land clearance, with large excavators and heavy equipment removing trees, shrubs and other vegetation to make way for the leisure development.

The removal of the vegetation allowed for increasing car parking facilities and two large beach areas on both the island and next to the car park.

According to South Oxfordshire District Council, this was done prior to Cosmonaut Leisure attempting to gain consent from the planning authority between 2021 and 2022.

These retrospective plans were refused due to a number of reasons including the loss of biodiversity and rural character within the area.

The satellite images show despite the council’s refusal to accept the planning application, the site has been stripped back to make way for the activities offered by the water sports company.

After the appeal was dismissed in January 18, 2024, the venue was forced to close its doors to the public and have now received an order to restore works on the site to it’s natural condition.

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

A Reading Borough Council planning officer: "Overall, the Enforcement Notices which have been upheld by the Planning Inspector require the Appellant to undertake numerous works on the site to restore it to its natural condition with timescales for certain works to take place between 4 and 9 months.

“Officers welcome the dismissal of these appeals on highway and pedestrian safety grounds, which has been RBC’s consistent position with respect to the unauthorised use. As can be seen from the above, the Inspector also found the unauthorised use and associated events, structures, etc. were materially harmful to the rural character of the area and had not proven suitability in terms of biodiversity.

“Although these concerns are beyond RBC’s interest in these appeals, it is also welcomed that these concerns from South Oxfordshire/South and Vale DC were agreed by the Inspector. It is not known at this point whether the Appellant is proposing to comply with these Notices or to challenge them in the Courts."