Traffic tops the list of concerns at Woodley forum
November 12, 2012
Traffic, sports, shopping and preserving Woodley’s heritage were the key topics at a series of feedback sessions at the town’s community forum.
The forum was launched this summer to discuss the issues and impacts of new housing developments which have been planned for various sites around the town.
At the final workshop neighbours focussed on what impact the influx of extra cars could have on the town’s roads and car parks.
Plans for almost 300 homes at The University of Reading’s former Bulmershe campus in Woodlands Avenue were approved last month and permission has also been granted for 468 houses to be built on land at Sandford Farm.
Forum chairman Tom Clark said: “People have not heard a coherent answer on how the increase of traffic will be coped with.”
Speaking after the meeting Councillor Beth Rowland, leader of Woodley Town Council, added: “There isn’t land for more car parking in the town centre so I’ve no idea what could be done.
“I don’t want to see a multi-storey car park.”
Town centre manager Jacques Lherbier said: “I think in time it will be a legitimate concern that will need to be addressed.
“However at the moment the town council parking is sufficient.
“It has been getting busier in the library car park since Lidl arrived but it’s a nice problem to have.”
Cllr Keith Baker, borough council executive member for highways and planning, who also attended the session on Sunday, October 21, said: “Once car parks reach their full capacity on a regular basis we can’t do anything more and by that time the shops would be overflowing with customers.”
He added: “There was an assumption that 1,000 new homes would bring 2,000 cars which is, I think, unrealistic.
“There are a lot of things to encourage people to not use their cars and that will go some way to ease congestion – but it won’t completely remove it.
“We want the capacity of the road network to be sufficient for the increase in demand.”
With the feedback sessions finished, Mr Clark has noted four key topics that he will raise in the forum in the future – traffic, sports and leisure facilities, shopping and heritage.
Organisers of three workshops were underwhelmed with the public’s attendance but satisfied with their outcomes.
Mr Clark will next present a summary of the work to the borough and town councils in November in a meeting he hopes will be open to all residents.
“There I will layout what I see as the next steps and my hope is we will have debates on those four key areas in 2013,” he said.