Plans to make cul-de-sac a through-road ditchedBy Laura Herbert
July 06, 2012
A cul-de-sac will not be open to passing traffic in a bid to ease congestion around Wokingham train station following homeowners’ fears it would increase traffic and be used as a rat run.
Under initial proposals in the Wokingham Station Link Road plans drawn up by Wokingham Borough Council, Alderman Willey Close was to become a through-route for traffic.
But following a consultation between February and April, the plans have now been changed to a footpath after feedback from residents, who reacted angrily to the original proposal.
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for planning and highways, said: “The council has listened to residents’ feedback from Alderman Willey Close, and associated roads.
“We always said that if the majority of residents did not want it, it would not happen.
“So we won’t be progressing with a vehicle connection on to the Station Link Road, and will instead opt for a proposed footway to link the cul-de-sac directly to the new rail station.”
He added: “Each of the authors of the 165 letters received by the council are receiving personalised responses explaining why we can or cannot do what they ask.”
Consultation leaflets and feedback forms were sent to more than 2,500 homes and business with 62 per cent of residents in favour of the proposals to improve roads around the train station and Barkham Road level crossing.
Overall, 599 questionnaires were returned and 164 people completed the online survey, with a response rate of 19 per cent.
Cllr Baker said: “This response rate is very encouraging for a consultation of this nature and compares favourably with previous Wokingham Borough Council consultations. It shows just how keen people were to take part in this important consultation.”
Only 27 per cent of residents taking part in the consultation said they were against the proposals.
Cllr Baker said: “Very few respondents gave neutral responses – nine per cent had no feeling either way, and two per cent didn’t know – when asked about their overall opinion on the proposed scheme.”
A report of the consultation results will be submitted as part of a planning application this month.
The council is working with Network Rail and South West Trains over the proposals to make major improvements to Wokingham railway station.
A key part of the multi-million pound scheme is a link road between the station forecourt and A329 Reading Road to tackle traffic congestion and, as well as a new station building, create a gateway into the town centre.
Jane Brewer or Alderman Willey Close residents group said: “I believe 82 per cent of residents wrote in which was a huge amount of people against the idea of opening up the end of the road.
“People here are very pleased the road is going to remain a quiet little cul-de-sac, especially the elderly who were concerned about traffic.
“Everybody is really happy I believe. It just didn’t seem right as the road is lovely, it’s quiet and in the middle of town.
“Keith Baker has honoured his promise that if people didn’t want it then it wouldn’t happen.”