Thursday, 19 July 2018

Commuters deny clash with church-goers over parking

COMMUTERS in Wargrave have urged rail bosses to sort out links between the village and Twyford

COMMUTERS in Wargrave have urged rail bosses to sort out links between the village and Twyford before improving station parking.

A report by Wokingham Borough Council has suggested removing the double yellow lines in Station Road, Wargrave, near the station car park.

It says there can be “parking chaos” caused by commuters leaving their cars to catch a train and people attending events such as weddings and funerals at St Mary’s Church nearby.

But Philip Meadowcroft, of the Wargrave Users Group, says parking is not a problem.

Mr Meadowcroft, of Watermans Way, Wargrave, said: “Those yellow lines have been there for the best part of 10 years in order to facilitate the entry and exit of big trailers at Thameside marina. They serve a good purpose because these lorries are substantial bits of kit.

“All the report seems to think Wargrave needs is to remove those lines but we haven’t got a problem in Wargrave — Station Road has plenty of space unless there’s a big funeral at the church, which generally doesn’t occur at 8am. It’s not a big crisis.”

He said many Wargrave residents drove to Twyford to catch a train and it was the parking there that needed improving.

Mr Meadowcroft said: “A lot of people go to Twyford because the return trains don’t link up with anything at Wargrave. It’s £5 or £6 for a taxi from Twyford as well so it’s easier to have your car there.

“The parking situation at Twyford is criminal, both in terms of space and the people that live nearby who see their roads fill up with cars.”

He said more people would use Wargrave station if the connections from Twyford were better.

The council report covers transport issues, including parking, at stations across Wokingham borough. It says: “Station Road serves as overspill parking for the station and provides long-term free parking in lower Wargrave but any weekday service in the parish church then results in a significant parking problem.

“There are double yellow lines between the station parking and the public parking in Station Road.

“It is not obvious why they were deemed to be necessary and a quick and cheap way to provide additional parking would be to remove them.

“This, we suggest, may be the least bad of the various options in seeking some quick and practical solution.

“Station Road is used for commuter parking but is also the only road in lower Wargrave where all-day parking is possible without paying parking charges.

“The parish church in Wargrave is also on Station Road and weekday weddings or funerals result in parking chaos.”

The report also mentions a suggestion by the Henley Branch Users Group that the Network Rail land south of Wargrave station could be used for additional car parking. It says: “We understand that Network Rail has suggested using this land for additional parking but making a business case for investment will be difficult as parking at the station is currently free.

“It is likely that some means of third party funding will be necessary for this to be taken forward.”

Meanwhile, Wargrave Parish Council has been updated on the electrification of the Henley branch line.

Michael Porter, the Wargrave representative on the branch users’ group, said the line could be finished by December 2018 but electric trains were unlikely to run until the following year as track wiring work would still have to be done.

He said: “Great Western Railway wants to get the trains in action as soon as possible but can only do that as the wires come into place.

“The indicative date of completion is when the wires will be in place but it won’t be when the trains start running as there will be training and drivers need to get used to them.

“It looks like it will be a further six months.”

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