Reading’s draft Local Transport Plan has been formally opposed by Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) because of the town’s plans for a third Thames bridge.
And now the authority is urging council leaders and MPs in neighbouring areas to support its view.
OCC has published its response to the draft plan in which it says it believes in many of the plan’s principles, objectives and policies and that those which support active and healthy travel and public transport improvements are sound.
It goes on: “However, we are opposed to the plan in its present form, as we do not agree with the proposed schemes and measures it includes for cross boundary travel between Reading and Oxfordshire.
“We are particularly concerned about the approach proposed to developing large-scale ‘multi-modal schemes’ to the north of Reading, in particular the proposed Thames crossing, Reading orbital route and north of Reading park & ride sites.”
OCC’s response argues that:
- The schemes which include the bridge are not consistent with the plan’s overall objectives.
- The bridge is ‘yesterday’s solution for tomorrow’s world’, especially due to Covid-19.
- It would take decades to come to fruition.
- The schemes would be ineffective and would have negative impacts on South Oxfordshire.
- There is a lack of evidence of economic or transport benefits.
OCC’s response asks that Reading Borough Council reconsiders its policy approach on cross-boundary travel between Reading and Oxfordshire and now key politicians will be urged to oppose the proposed bridge in its current form.
At its September 10 meeting, OCC agreed to write to council leaders at Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell and MPs, John Howell, John Redwood, Matt Rodda and Theresa May to argue the bridge should be confined to public transport, cycle and pedestrian use and that if not, mitigation measures are put in place.
Due to Covid-19, traffic in the town, according to Reading Borough Council, is now at a third of normal levels with bus use currently down by 85 per cent.
Image shows the Thames at the site where the bridge in proposed in Thames Valley Park.
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