Plans to introduce new cycle lanes and one-way systems throughout Reading have been agreed with assurances that none will be made permanent without proper process.

Reading Borough Council’s policy committee approved a series of measures for cycle lanes and one-way systems which affect Gosbrook Road and Westfield Road in Caversham as well as Reading Bridge and Sidmouth Street.

At the committee’s meeting on Monday, May 18, Cllr Tony Page, lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, referred to a response to the proposals by Caversham and District Residents’ Association (CADRA) which supports many of the temporary measures but opposes them being made permanent.

Cllr Page said: “These are temporary and will be evaluated and monitored and will be reported back to the traffic management sub-committee.

“And if there is a decision or wish to make these temporary arrangements permanent, we will then consult via the permanent statutory process which we are all familiar with.

“This is no back door route to try and sneak in changes. It’s following Government guidance to respond to the current emergency.”

In its response document which was given to councillors, CADRA states ‘there are no circumstances in which these schemes should be made permanent’, a point Cllr Page responded to at the meeting.

He said: “I don’t share the crystal ball that CADRA clearly has access to. We don’t know how effective and successful and popular these arrangements will be but that’s not a reason for going with them.

“We will monitor them and if we do move to make them permanent, they will be subject to full consultation.”

Cllr Jason Brock, leader of the council and chair of the meeting, said he was disappointed by some opposition councillors who objected.

He added: “This is a time to be bolder than we have been in the past and to make a statement that we are serious about people in Reading being able to take advantage of active travel opportunities and I think it is important we do the right thing for now to ensure that walking and cycling is better enabled around our town.

“And, of course, some of those schemes may prove to be tremendously successful and are things that we look to make permanent.

“But we will only do that following a period of full and proper consultation and our usual democratic processes.”

“if the concern people have is that something will become permanent by stealth, I would say to them it’s not going to be the case. Something will only be made permanent if it is successful and it has merit to be made permanent.

Image (Google) shows Westfield Road in Caversham which will become one way.

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