Wokingham roads consultation : Letter to Council

Dear Clive

I am writing to urge you to extend the time allowed for consultation on your road plans, to improve the content on the website to allow clear overall visibility of the plans and to advertise it more widely so the public can engage.

The extensive plans to change roads and junctions in Wokingham Borough could pose considerable difficulties  to all those who need to use a van or car to earn a living, to deliver items to homes and shops to keep us supplied, to get children to school, to get people to surgeries and hospitals, to allow mobility to the disabled  and to give easy access to emergency vehicles when needed.

I welcome the provision of more and better cycleways away from main roads, and good walking routes also away from main roads. As someone who does a lot of walking in the local area I feel well catered for, with plenty of footpaths allowing me to get away from traffic. I support more greenways to schools so more children can choose to cycle or walk in relative safety away from main roads.

The area has experienced a fast pace of housing development which outstripped the capacity of the road network. Most new homes are lived in by people who need a car to get to work, to undertake the weekly shop or to go out in the evening. The Council was in the business of catching up with the  shortage of roadspace by putting in much needed bypasses and better highways for motor vehicles, leaving other routes freer for pedestrian and cycle priority. This current plan seems to want to damage the main road routes, adding to potential conflict at junctions between pedestrians and vehicles, and creating traffic jams which will cause more motorist and  van driver frustration. Changing successful junctions like the Woosehill roundabout which usually flows well is particularly worrying. Reducing main road capacity is a bad idea when we are short of capacity to start with.

The Consultation has been insufficiently advertised and is too short a time period when many people are away on holiday. The technology also does not make it easy to see what is planned in all parts of the Borough. It looks like an expensive and worrying plan which will worsen people’s experience of the Borough, frustrate visitors and make normal lives more vexatious. I suggest the Council thinks again and goes back to a system of incremental improvement with a balanced approach which allows vehicle users principal routes to get around whilst providing more safe routes for cyclists and pedestrians. The main A and B roads should be strategic local routes to allow business to flourish and to permit all those who need to use a car because of distance or disability to do so easily.

At a time when the Council is worried about having enough money for crucial priorities in social care and education  this potentially large expenditure looks badly judged.  

Yours sincerely

 

The Rt Hon Sir John Redwood MP, D.Phil, FCSI

Member of Parliament for Wokingham

www.johnredwoodsdiary.com

Twitter: @johnredwood

1 Comment

  1. Berkshire Alan
    August 19, 2022

    Thanks for making comment on this John.
    The recent proposals for the reduction to one lane for Peach Street, the narrowing and new layouts for Rectory Road, Wiltshire Road and Broad Street, and the restrictive access to Rose Street, means the whole Town centre road structure is proposed to be modified, to slow and restrict traffic movement, with the priority being given to pedestrians and cyclists.
    If Wokingham Town had a sensible and alternative route for lorries and cars, and a large scale parking solution for those who wish to visit the Town then this may, just may be worth looking at at, but this is simply not the case, the new routes called relief roads are single lane housing estate roads, with many sharp bends and mini roundabouts, quite unsuitable for lorries.
    Whilst cyclists need to be catered for (was a cyclist myself some years ago) I do not see may cycles parked up in Town during my regular visits.
    We have 5 supermarkets in the Town where people shop using cars to transport the goods home (not sensible or possible by bike) those cars need sensible access and parking, those supermarkets also need to be replenished by lorries, as do the Town Centre shops.
    The consultation period is supposed to end today, but all of the information on the proposals are so deeply buried within the Councils website, that if you did not already know it was there you would never find it.
    Wokingham Council need to face facts, this is not a consultation document or plan, because it has simply not been circulated in a sensible manner, the scarcity of replies would suggest the is the case as well.
    If Wokingham is so proud of its proposals, then sing it loud and clear to all of the residents in a proper, clear and accessible manner, not hide it under a cycling or walking proposal.

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