WoBC Stakeholder Engagement
Wokingham Borough Council has been involving stakeholders (including Wokingham Active Travel Community Hub (WATCH)) in planning sessions for:
- The new Local Transport Plan (LTP);
- The next cycle route planned as part of the new LCWIP;
- The review of a poorly designed new junction which has been constructed and interrupts an existing cycle lane.
Engagement with the current Council is good, which is a significant step forward; however there is still work to do educating highway officers and designers on what good useable cycle and walking infrastructure looks like.
A recent example of this was the approval to place a new 5G telecoms mast on an existing shared use pavement, which was already below the recommended width, with the highways officers not supporting objections from local groups and the general public.
Progress remains stalled following objections from the local Conservative Councillors and a small but vocal group of local residents. The scheme is on its third redesign to try to address some of these objections.
Hopefully the redesign will deal with the objections; however it does appear that the cycle lane is being politicised, in keeping with certain recent political proclamations from our ruling national party.
Active Travel England remain supportive and despite the delays the money has not been withdrawn yet, but it is unclear if and when work on this will resume.
The Tanhouse Bridge
The Council and Network Rail are continuing to collaborate on building an accessible and cycle-friendly bridge to replace the current stepped bridge.
A decent cycle-friendly bridge would provide a safe (and possibly unique) entry for cyclists wishing to get into central Wokingham from the south, without using the Finchampstead Road or Barkham Road railway crossing (neither of which are conducive to cyclists).
We are hopeful of a good outcome on this next year, overturning Network Rail’s original decision to build a stepped-only bridge, which WATCH and other local cycling groups spoke up against at several Council meetings.
Kidical Mass continues to go from strength to strength and it’s great to see new faces and even some new volunteers at recent rides.
The latest KM took place on 8 July; we took about 45 people including a three year old on our usual route around the town centre.
This followed on from the very successful KM ride we had organised from Cantley Park in June, to coincide with the Wokingham Bikeathon. This was a slightly longer route of 2.5 miles and many riders said they preferred this to the shorter 1.25 mile route we normally do in the town.
Going forward we are looking at ways of accommodating riders of differing ages and abilities by possibly taking some people who want to cycle further on an extended route and other younger or less confident riders on a shorter route.
Ideally this would involve starting and finishing at the same place and time, however it may involve two separate rides. We will continue to listen to feedback and look at all options to grow this excellent event.
We will be back again on 10 September in Christchurch Meadows, Reading and then 7 October in Elms Field, Wokingham.
For more information on Kidical Mass rides, future rides, write ups, photographs and videos of previous rides please follow Kidical Mass on Facebook or look at: https://kidicalmassreading.co.uk/
WoBC Campaigner for RCC