North Wokingham Distributor Road (archive)

The NWDR is to be a new route linking the London Road near the Coppid Beech roundabout to the Reading Road to the east of the M4 bridge.  It is to link the major developments to the north of Wokingham Town and will utilise existing roads where possible, which will be upgraded as necessary.  The current proposed route for the western section from the Twyford Road to the Reading Road is shown in the plan below.

NWDR

It is worthwhile here to have a brief resume of how this route was arrived at by the Council –

In 2013 the Council published a technical report on the NWDR which proposed using Toutley Road and Old Forest Road as part of the NWDR.  This caused considerable concern among the residents of the area, a concern that was shared by the ERA.  The Council’s response to this was to hold a consultation on the route, offering three alternatives.

The result of the consultation published in January 2014 was, unsurprisingly, that the route that took the NWDR as far away from the existing dwellings as possible, referred to as Alternative B, was overwhelmingly the first choice of residents.  The Council accepted this choice and promised to go ahead with it provided it was technically feasible.

Since then the Council have withdrawn from this position, saying first, in June 2014, that Alternative B was too expensive and opting for the cheaper Alternative C instead.  This was followed in August 2015 by the Council announcing at a North Wokingham Forum meeting that Alternative C was now not possible due to lack of funding and land availability and planning issues. The best they could offer now was that shown on the above plan.  The Council executive have sanctioned this latest route and the plans for the whole of the NWDR outside of the new housing developments will be developed in order to submit a planning application for it before the end of 2016.

As can be seen, this routing does offer some amelioration from the NWDR for residents of the Old Forest Road but, on the face of it, those of Toutley Road and the properties off it will be as badly affected as they would have been with the route recommended by the original technical report.  However, the head of the Council’s Highways Team has assured us that they are looking at moving the section of the Toutley Road that is to be used as part of the NWDR about 5 metres to the north east, away from the existing houses.  This will offer some relief to the residents of these houses, although it will make little difference to the increase in traffic noise to which they will be subjected.

A newsletter that was published by Wokingham Borough Council in early February 2016 on the subject of the NWDR can be seen by clicking on this link.  (Please note that this is quite a large file, and it might take a few seconds to appear on your screen).

150825 NWDR Presentation P1

The presentation that was given by Wokingham Borough Council at the meeting held at The Emmbrook School on Wednesday 17 February can be viewed by clicking here.  This is actually the presentation that was given at the February meeting, although it was dated 25 August 2015 – it was previously presented at a meeting held at the Bradbury Centre in Wokingham in September 2015.  This is another rather large file, which might take a few seconds to load depending on the speed of your internet connection.

The following details the applications followed by the ERA:

Planning Application (ref 200871) This application was raised in response to further conditions set on approval of application 190198 including the Construction Environmental Management Plan and the Protection of trees. Although this application suffered from the same problem as 200522 (see below), this time we found out about it in time to submit a response within the consultation period, which can be seen here. We are pleased to say that a tree (T77) the plans showed as to be removed for no obvious reason is now to be retained and plans changed to show confirm this.

Planning Application (ref 200522) A glitch in the way the Council’s planning database works meant that this application was not linked to either the Winnersh or Emmbrook Wards. This meant that we were unable to pick it up by searching on the planning website in the usual way, and to respond to it within the consultation period. The application responded to some of the conditions included in the approval of application 191908 and included details of the extent of tree removal proposed and later approved by Planning.

Planning Application (ref 191010) This application is for the section linking the recently opened Bell Foundry Lane section to the existing Ashridge Farm development section. Although we have had a look at this one, as it is outside our area and looks generally in line with the Council’s declared design principles, we have not taken it any further.

Planning Application (ref 190198) This application for the part of the NDR from the Matthewsgreen Farm development to the Reading Road is of most interest to us. Since the Council reneged on its promise to route the NDR to the north away from Emmbrook some years ago this route along a realigned Toutley Road and the northern part of Old Forest Road has been accepted as a very poor but inevitable alternative.

General arrangement of the NDR with the section covered by this application shown in orange

The one good outcome of this scheme is that the excess land to the north west of Old Forest Road that the Council have had to acquire for it will be cultivated as parkland, opening up an area more than double the size of the present SANG to the public. Our response to the application can be opened by clicking here, where it can be seen that overall we have accepted the proposal with a few recommendations and improvements. One of the issues we raised was the convoluted access proposed for the Toutley Road Business Estate. This would have made it virtually impossible for the larger HGVs that access the estate to do so without mounting the curbs. Fortunately the Council have since redesigned the access to simplify it and remove the problem.