West Berkshire Council offices

WBC Spring 2024 Report


There was a West Berkshire Cycle Forum on Wednesday 20 December 2023, the next Forum will be on Wednesday 13 March and a report of that meeting will appear in the next newsletter.

Most of the Forum’s focus is on schemes in Newbury and Thatcham.   If there are any matters about cycling or active travel in the Eastern area of West Berkshire that you would like raised at the Forum contact Rob Hill. wbc@readingcyclecampaign.org.uk

National Cycle Network Route 4, Towpath and Related Matters

Aldermaston Wharf to Ufton Lane:

Works had been completed by Canal & River Trust on behalf of Sustrans, to upgrade a 2.4km (1.5-mile) section of canal towpath that is used by National Cycle Network route 4 (NCN4) between Aldermaston Wharf and Ufton Lane.

More details are available on the Sustrans website and also in the November 2023 WBC Environment Newsletter.

Mill Road/Dewe Lane to bridge near Cunning Man pub, Burghfield:

Sustrans have just started work to remediate a dilapidated 380-metre section of NCN4 that parallels the River Kennet.

The work will raise the level of the path to offset previous problems with flooding and make it more accessible for people using wheelchairs and scooters, as well as cyclists and walkers.

This will link in with work recently completed on the section of NCN4 from Mill Road towards Holybrook, parallel to the M4 and sailing club.

There is a particular future challenge with two sections where animal grazing takes place right down to the canal/riverbank east of Ufton Lane.

Hambridge Road crossing:

Report and feasibility design produced by Sustrans, for a potential futuresignalled crossing at the canal bridge.

Ham Bridge to Bull’s Lock, east of Newbury:

This is a very dilapidated section of towpath. The Canal & River Trust have noted it is used de facto by cyclists as well as walkers between Thatcham and Newbury, mirroring its status as a Local cycle route within the adopted Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).

Active Travel England and Scheme Updates

Stockcross Linkway Stage 1:

Stage 1 is between the A4/B4000 roundabout and Stockcross village. Works are well-advanced, with around 900 metres constructed to base course level, and were scheduled to begin in January. Plans remain available: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/stockcross-to-a4

School Street, Francis Baily School, Skillman Drive, Thatcham:

Scheme introduced with effect from   5 September 2023. For further information on School Streets, visit: https://www.westberks.gov.uk/school-street-schemes and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6gWsrHvNjM

A School Streets Driver Education Programme has been developed by WBC using funding secured from Active Travel England (ATE).

Theale-Calcot Connector:  

Feasibility Study well-advanced for potential future replacement of time-expired pedestrian bridge west of M4 Junction 12, with a replacement structure that would be suitable for cycling as well as walking.

Funding only covers feasibility assessment and design but will inform further discussions with National Highways and other stakeholders.

Additional funding and liaison with ATE:

WBC were asked by Active Travel England at short notice to put forward proposals for spending a small revenue grant of just under £29,000, between January and June 2024.

WBC will be using some of this money to introduce a scheme to make primary school students who use push-along scooters more confident in their use – this is being devised and will be delivered by the Road Safety team.

Cycle counters:

WBC will be piloting radar-based automatic counters at a trial location on the A4 corridor in the New Year.

LINKWAYS network – initial signing of sections:

New direction signs for cyclists, showing times to destinations and bearing the LINKWAYS branding for the emerging network of core active travel routes in Newbury and Thatcham, have been introduced on the first part of Linkway 7 along Western Avenue, and in the Cheap Street/Kings Road West area.

Similar signs will be introduced next to existing shared paths in Victoria Park, following previous discussions with Newbury Town Council. WBC is also working on designs for signing Linkway 2 between Newbury and Thatcham.

Extension/s to Eling Way

Proposal papers, identifying preferred routes for future extensions northward (Hampstead Norreys to Compton and allowing for extension towards Upton/Didcot) and southward (Hermitage-Curridge-Long Lane-Shaw-Newbury) are being drafted.

Pangbourne & Eastern Area

There has been recent work by PAWS (Pangbourne & Whitchurch Sustainability), with WBC input, to pursue options for cycle parking in Reading Road, Pangbourne. This is aimed to get near Costa Coffee, but currently it’s a challenge to get a response from landowner.

Feasibility Studies by WBC for a future Pangbourne-Purley Active Travel route, and for potential future footway improvements on the south side of Whitchurch Bridge.

These Feasibility Studies were both complete and had been shared with relevant stakeholders. At present no resources have been identified for further design work on either.

Both remain on WBC’s Active Travel Programme as aspirational schemes and the local aspirations have been highlighted to senior officers and ATE.

Rob Hill
WBC Campaigner for RCC

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