Winnersh Relief Road Phase 2 planning application: what do I think of it so far?

by Prue Bray on 27 June, 2018

Some additional information has been submitted for the Winnersh Relief Road Phase 2 planning application.  Having read it, I have sent the following comments to the planning officer:

“Whilst I accept that Phase 2 of the Winnersh Relief Road is a necessary piece of strategic infrastructure for the Borough, some aspects of the design that has been submitted will have a significant detrimental impact on Winnersh residents. These include the prohibition of some right turns and the impact of the positioning of two roundabouts on the access for some properties on Reading Road and on residential roads off Reading Road.   The two roundabouts on Reading Road will also have a significant detrimental impact on pedestrians and cyclists.

To condense my views down, the aspects of the scheme as submitted which cause me the most concern are

  • Lack of pedestrian and cycle crossings at the two roundabouts on Reading Road, which is a main cycling corridor and a main access route for several secondary schools and a primary school;
  • Access for properties on Reading Road, with the most problematic access being for 305 Reading Road – I cannot see how access for that property will be possible;
  • The proximity of the roundabout to Sadlers Lane which makes right turns into Sadlers Lane extremely difficult.  Right turns out of Sadlers Lane would also be difficult but there is a workaround, in that people could turn left and go round the roundabout in order to turn right.  For people wishing to turn in, however, there is no workaround and I am concerned about the possibility of accidents with right-turning vehicles being hit from behind because traffic coming off the roundabout will not be expecting a stationary vehicle.
  • Air quality and noise monitoring after construction

I am pleased to see the additional information that was submitted dated 15th June 2018 which does address some of the above and some other matters I raised, such as

  • the landscaping along the relief road to better screen residents and the two play areas off Longdon Road
  • withdrawing the plan to lower Reading Road under the M4 bridge (expensive and disruptive and unnecessary)
  • reducing speed limits

I am also pleased to see the intention to address two of my red line issues during detailed design, namely, better pedestrian and cycle crossing, and improved access for properties on Reading Road.  However, this is an intention and not a guarantee that the changes would be made.  I feel that at the very least conditions should be imposed on the application which would ensure these things would happen – and that the decision on whether any conditions have been met should be made in public at the Planning Committee, with local members and the parish council involved in the discussions during the design phase.

The additional information does not appear to cover the right turn into Sadlers Lane, although it is possible it is covered by one of the points on road geometry.  I would like further clarification on this.  The same point about the need to ensure intentions are translated into design changes applies.

I would also like to see some more information about how air quality and noise can be monitored and mitigated after construction.”

Some of you may think this a bit wishywashy – but this is about the art of the possible. The council is not going to withdraw the application and start again.  They have expressed a willingness to look at our concerns.  We can continue to push for what we think needs changing, but we have to PERSUADE the project team, the planners and the Planning Committee to agree a better way.  We have no ability to force them to do what we want.

And finally, for those of you who object to the name “Winnersh Relief Road” on the grounds that it won’t provide relief for Winnersh, well, actually once the whole thing is built it will provide at least some relief for everybody who lives off Reading Road between the crossroads and Showcase roundabout.  So not everybody in Winnersh will be worse off – although of course some people will be.  What I do about this road is to do with that balancing act thing that councillors have to do: getting the best they can for the most people they can, while knowing you can’t please all of the people all of the time.


2 Responses

  1. Matthew Hambly says:

    As always, Prue; a reasoned and reasonable communication.

    I’m not opposed to the WRR myself as it will benefit me, I hope, living as I do off the section of Reading Road most affected but I wholeheartedly agree that as much needs to be done to protect those most affected and the more vulnerable users of the road, once complete i.e. cyclists, pedestrians etc.

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