Improvements to the road network around Wokingham train station could soon become a reality as Wokingham Borough Council’s decision-making executive consider a highway scheme at its meeting next week (January 26).
Wokingham Borough Council is working together with Network Rail and South West Trains to bring major improvements to Wokingham railway station.
A key part of these proposals is a link road between the station forecourt and the A329 Reading Road.
The link road is an essential part of the council’s long term strategic transport aspirations and another step towards the regeneration proposals for Wokingham town centre. Having the link road in place along with the new junction improvements at Wellington Road, Oxford Road, Shute End and Reading Road should help to reduce delays at Barkham Road level crossing which in turn would reduce the bottle neck of traffic that appears daily on local roads around the rail station.
Proposed plans also include a bus interchange at Wokingham train station. This would encourage greater use of public transport. Better pedestrian and cycling facilities are also planned to encourage other ways of travelling to the station.
As part of the highway link scheme there will be a need for landscaping and tree planting. The council is also negotiating additional land to provide a one way rear exit from Alderman Willey Close on to the link road to minimise the impact of the scheme on residents of Alderman Willey Close.
As part of these proposals, 48 and 50 Reading Road would need to be demolished to accommodate a section of the link road to be two-way, allowing access to the station car parks as well as improving bus access to the station. The council has regularly been meeting with representatives of the residents and their families over the past year to keep them informed of these proposals and this will continue in the coming months as alternative accommodation is found for those who live at number 50.
Cllr Keith Baker, executive member for transport, said: "We are also committed to not progressing works in the vicinity of the residents of 50 Reading Road until they have been found alternative accommodation.
"The station link road is a critical part of the road network needed to regenerate the town. The link road is an opportunity to improve the road junctions in the immediate vicinity of the station but also improve facilities for those arriving at the station on foot, by bicycle and by bus. It is important that the road network is still able to function efficiently and the link road would make significant improvements to combat congestion in Wokingham, especially at the level crossing."
Cllr Julian McGhee-Sumner, executive member for health and well-being, said: "The council has already secured funding to source suitable, replacement accommodation to that provided at 50 Reading Road and a project group is working with families and residents to support and facilitate the move."
If agreed by the executive on January 26, a consultation on the proposals would start at the end of January and would run through to the end of March / early April. A number of drop-in sessions would take place in the town centre and interested parties would have the chance to view exhibition materials and talk to highways officers about the proposed scheme. Residents and businesses in the local area would also receive an information leaflet and consultation feedback received during this time would be included in the planning application documents.
It is planned that a planning application would be submitted in July 2012.