Friday, 15 December 2017

Home Secretary backs new Thames bridge

HOME Secretary Theresa May today backed calls for a new bridge over the Thames.

She spoke out as drivers faced another day of delays caused by the closure of Sonning Bridge due to flooding.

The bridge was shut on Sunday, having only been open for a few days following a closure lasting more than two weeks, after the Thames burst its banks in Sonning and elsewhere.

Mrs May, who is MP for Maidenhead, welcomed plans by Henley MP John Howell and Reading East MP Rob Wilson to hold a summit meeting between the local authorities involved in a possible third crossing in Reading.

She said: “I have long supported the idea of a new Thames bridge in this area and have previously pressed local councils to support the plan.

“We need a new crossing to relieve pressure on Sonning Bridge and reduce traffic congestion and I welcome any progress that can be made on this.”

Mr Wilson is also in favour of a new bridge as are Reading and Wokingham borough councils.

But Mr Howell backs South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council, which oppose the idea because they say a new crossing would lead to more traffic in rural villages.

A pro-bridge petition on Change.org started by Adele Harbor, 22, from Caversham, has collected 3,750 signatures.

Today, the bridge closure led to congestion in Henley, Caversham and Reading as well as on the A4 near Charvil.

Other roads closed due to excess surface water include Spring Lane in Playhatch, Remenham Lane in Remenham and Icknield Road in South Stoke.

The river level is still rising and flood warnings are still in place for Henley, Remenham, Charvil, Wargrave, Shiplake, Lower Shiplake and Medmenham.

The Met Office is forecasting heavy rain tomorrow.

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