Saturday, 28 November 2020

Third Thames bridge site confirmed

THE exact location of a third crossing over the River Thames near Reading has been confirmed

THE exact location of a third crossing over the River Thames near Reading has been confirmed.

A study of the “strategic outline business case” for the bridge says it would go from the Thames Valley Business Park, off the end of the A329M, over the river and Caversham Lakes to the A4155 Caversham Park Road, near Playhatch.

It would cost between £100 million and £200 million to build.

The study is being carried up by Wokingham Borough Council following meetings with representatives of Reading Borough Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Oxfordshire County Council as well as Henley MP John Howell, Reading East MP Rob Wilson and Maidenhead MP Theresa May.

The borough councils are in favour of a new crossing while the two Oxfordshire councils are not.

County councillor David Bartholomew, whose ward includes Playhatch, said seven of the nine parishes he represents opposed the plans. He said: “Obviously it’s early days with the study so we will wait and see what the results show.

“The concern I and others in Oxfordshire have is a four-lane super bridge ending in Playhatch and the traffic going on to the B481 through Sonning Common and Highmoor up to Nettlebed or on the A4155 through Shiplake to Henley.

“Originally I thought we had subscribed to a traffic modelling study but it turns out it was a strategic outline business case, which is more wide reaching.

“My concern is not with economic development but with the impact on lives of people in Oxfordshire.

“Some of those in favour of the study have spoken about getting 55,000 cars out of the centre of Reading. That isn’t much help for us if they’re coming into Oxfordshire.

“We’re talking a fabulous amount of money - figures of between £100 million and £200 million have been banded around.

“There is a huge desire for this bridge from various councils and business groups in Berkshire but that enthusiasm is not matched by Oxfordshire.

“Many people think we would get all the problems with few benefits.”

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