The joint Reading and Wokingham Council scheme to build a 300m concrete viaduct alongside the Thames path ending in a 60m bridge over the Kennet has been rejected by the Wokingham planning committee.
Cllr Andy Croy pointed out that the accepted definition of an MRT (mass rapid transit) is for a light rail system moving large numbers of people, whereas this would have simply been a road for buses.
During the planning committee’s deliberations, Cllr Carl Doran argued forcefully that there was no benefit for local residents, as bus services in Woodley, such as the 13, 14 & 19a/c, would be unlikely to use the link. The size and proximity of the viaduct and bridge to the Thames and Kennet was also argued as being harmful to the character of the area. Cllr Doran also pointed out that there was no evidence to suggest that the MRT would lead to a decrease in air pollution or congestion on the A4 London Road.
As the benefits were minimal and undefined, and the downsides were major and accepted by all sides, the committee rejected the application. The planner’s decision was met with widespread approval by campaigners.
Cllr Croy welcomed the decision “I’m delighted. It is a good result for the people of Bulmershe and Whitegates and I think it’s a good result for the people of Wokingham Borough as a whole. I was not surprised by the result because as the meeting went on it became obvious that members had very severe reservations”.