Delay to Whiteknights Reservoir Improvement Scheme

Tony Page
Cllr Tony Page

A SCHEME to carry out major improvement work to Whiteknights Reservoir has been delayed by two-and-a-half months.

The revised completion date is now March next year due to a number of technical issues experienced by the contractor working on behalf of the Council. These include difficulties with sourcing specialist materials to comply with the strict environmental requirements, and issues with working on the confined site. The scheme had originally been due for completion in late December.

Whiteknights Lake is a 70,000m3 capacity reservoir, positioned in University of Reading grounds. While Whiteknights Reservoir sits in Wokingham Borough, it borders Whiteknights Road, which means by law Reading Borough Council is the statutory undertaker.

The overall scheme incorporates a package of improvement and stabilisation works to the embankment, including the use of gabion baskets to protect local properties.

Extensive works to the surface water sewers (drainage works) have already been completed. Work on the gabion basket retaining structure is due begin in the next few days, with the contractor drafting in additional resource to speed up this element of the scheme.

Works on the boundary flood wall are due to start on January 6th. This will involve a temporary lane closure on Whiteknights Road that will be in place until mid to late February. Some local disruption is expected while this stage of the project progresses.

The Council is writing to B & M Care Home, the University of Reading, local allotment tenants and local bus companies to update them on progress and the revised completion date.

Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Councillor for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The delay is obviously regrettable but the Council will continue to work with the contractor to ensure this important scheme is delivered in the shortest possible timescale, and in accordance with Environment Agency requirements.

“There will be a level of disruption for all road users while work on the boundary flood wall progresses in the new year, and we would ask local residents to bear with us while this element of the scheme takes place.”

The overall project will include enhanced landscaping works, including new trees being planted within the allotment area, native hedgerow planted along the length of the new flood wall, also within the allotment, and honeysuckle creepers planted to grow over the gabion baskets in time. A number of trees have also been planted by the Council along Wokingham Road to enhance the local area.