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Berkshire transit scheme runs into roadblock

Words: Huw Morris
Infrastructure construction / iStock-95396741

Plans for a mass rapid transit scheme linking two Berkshire boroughs have again been rejected by one of the councils.

The £20 million mass rapid transit riverside route for buses, cyclists and pedestrians aims to link Reading and Wokingham on land between Thames Valley Business Park and Napier Road Reading, south of the River Thames and north of the Great Western main line railway.

The scheme involved building a segregated fast-track public transport, pedestrian and cycle bridge and viaduct, supported by concrete columns, steel beams and reinforced soil embankment, together with footway links, junction improvements and landscaping.

Wokingham councillors went against officers’ advice and voted to reject the application by Reading Borough Council, which had earlier approved the proposal. Wokingham officers had recommended the scheme as it would encourage a model shift towards public transport.

The proposal forms part of a wider strategic transport infrastructure project between Wokingham and Reading borough councils to manage traffic and travel demands ahead of projected residential expansion and economic development.

Wokingham had rejected the scheme in May, citing its harm to the area’s landscape character. Since then the project had been extensively revised including scrutiny by a design review panel and substantial changes following consultation and talks with Wokingham officers following the council’s refusal of the proposal.

Wokingham’s latest move follows more than 300 objections citing environmental concerns to the project.

Image credit | iStock