WORK to improve Newbury’s fragile road network in order to cope with thousands of extra vehicles from the 1,500-home development at Newbury Racecourse is set to start next year.
However, West Berkshire Council has said that it cannot go into details until the future of thousands of homes in Newbury is decided.
A deal for more than £2m of traffic improvements in the town centre was agreed to when plans for the homes were approved in 2010.
The agreement, between the council and developer David Wilson Homes, could see up to £1m spent on improvements to the A339, Hambridge Road and the Bear Lane Roundabout.
The money is due once the 527th property at the racecourse is occupied.
With the racecourse announcing that 396 of the 400 completed homes have been occupied, the money for vital improvements is expected to be paid as early as next year.
West Berkshire Council said that an improvement scheme for the town’s struggling road system, funded by the developer, is expected to begin in 2017/18.
The council can also expect a windfall of at least £380,000 to improve the A4, the Robin Hood Roundabout and the Faraday Road area once the 618th property is occupied.
Again the money and subsequent roadworks are expected next year.
Although the council said that design work was under way it could not provide details as a number of options were being considered.
Thousands of extra vehicles could be pouring on to Newbury’s roads if plans for 2,000 homes at Sandleford, 232 homes from the Market Street redevelopment, and a planning appeal for 401 homes near Vodafone HQ in Donnington are given the green light.
Council spokeswoman Peta Stoddart-Crompton said: “We won’t be able to decide between the options until we know what other developments are going to go ahead and when. There will be publicity and consultation in due course.”
The council would only say that the works would be planned to keep disruption to a minimum.
A £40,000 sustainable school travel pot is also available but only £10,000 has been paid so far. This was granted to The Willows Primary School to purchase a minibus in order to transport children to and from school.
The council is currently expanding the A339, which resulted in gridlock earlier this month, and building a new junction to connect the main road with Fleming Road. This work is being funded by the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
When asked whether the roadworks and funding could be stalled should the sale of homes at the racecourse take a slump, Mrs Stoddart-Crompton said: “We don’t envisage an issue with the Racecourse selling houses.
“If the option of the Racecourse appointing a contractor and building the improvements had been taken up, this may have applied.”