The latest phase of the renovation and expansion of Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride, in partnership with the owners of Winnersh Triangle Business Park, is under way.
Wokingham Borough Council is pushing the scheme forward for completion next year as part of its efforts to improve the borough’s sustainable and active transport links, in turn tackling both air pollution and the climate emergency.
Once finished, the facility will offer 491 spaces with other improvements to make it more comfortable to use. It will also serve passengers using the adjacent Winnersh Triangle railway station.
As the council seeks to make savings while protecting essential services, it assures residents that the vast majority of funding comes from outside sources, including contributions that developers building new homes in the area are required to make.
A more pleasant wait before travelling
A new access road with a turning point off the A329(M) slip road roundabout is now largely built and the traffic lights rearranged, and work has now begun on creating a "piazza" at the site’s eastern end.
This will be open to the public and will have a high-quality paved area with bus shelters, new lighting, and a natural open space with a lawn. It will blend in with existing planting, with new and mostly native hedges and trees to improve biodiversity and ensure no overall loss of trees on the site.
This phase is being funded and carried out by Frasers Property UK, the owners of the business park, and should be completed by next spring.
Meanwhile, the main car park works are continuing as contractor Bourne Steel builds the decking structure offsite, which will reduce the construction time, local impact and carbon footprint.
Back on track after unavoidable setbacks
The whole project is expected to finish by next summer and will include additional cycle parking as well as 35 electric vehicle charging spaces. It is also receiving significant funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership’s Local Growth Fund and from the Government.
Work started in spring 2021 and was set to have finished by now but was delayed for several reasons, mostly the discovery of an unmarked water main. This forced building work to stop and parts of the project to be redesigned to fit around it.
The expansion will reduce the number of cars travelling into Reading as it will provide a more convenient and affordable alternative to driving.
Green upgrades worth waiting for
Cllr Paul Fishwick, executive member for active travel, transport and highways, said: “We know many people would like this to have opened sooner and we're sorry that this hasn't been possible.
“Despite the delay, which is largely down to unforeseen issues outside our control, we're set to provide a first-class upgrade at Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride and we thank everyone for their patience.
“We hope it will not only reduce car journeys between our borough and Reading, but more locally by encouraging people to cycle to the site instead of driving. Additionally, the new electric vehicle chargers will make it easier for those who still have to drive to reduce their impact on the environment.
“As well as making the area look more attractive, these improvements will allow even more residents to use public transport more often, or perhaps make the switch for the first time. Vehicle emissions are one of the biggest contributors to our borough's carbon footprint and we're determined to make it easier for everyone to make a difference.”
Reducing the impact of getting around
The original park and ride at Winnersh Triangle opened in 2015, replacing the old Loddon Bridge park and ride. Most of the car park will remain shut until the upgrade finishes, with just under 100 spaces still available to passengers using the station or the nearby Lion 4/X4 bus to central Reading.
The council recognises that residents and commuters are keen to see the site re-open as soon as possible and is doing all it can to ensure the project is completed to the new timescale.
As well as improving air quality and increasing access to more affordable forms of travel, thus reducing financial inequality as the cost of living rises, the council has declared a climate emergency and pledged to do all it can to make the borough a net-zero carbon producer by 2030.
It is doing all it can to support bus operators as they continue to grapple with the financial impact of covid-19, with passenger numbers still lower than before the pandemic and running costs like fuel increasing. Residents are urged to use local services wherever possible to help keep them viable.
The council is also producing a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan, which it asked people’s views on over the summer. It will soon be consulting again as it updates its Local Transport Plan, a document looking at all forms of transport which will seek to make them as environmentally friendly and healthy as possible.
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