THATCHAM needs its own bypass to cope with an increasing amount of traffic on the A4 and from future developments.
That was the claim made by Thatcham resident Peter Stanbrook, who said that wrong decisions in the past had resulted in a planning nightmare for West Berkshire Council.
During the 1980s Newbury District Council held discussions over a number of options to offer relief for the town’s traffic.
The options included a route from the roundabout on Pipers Way and the A4. The route would have headed north of the Southend estate on Cold Ash Hill up to the A34. Other ideas included a ‘northern relief road’ from Turnpike Road, heading north of the Regency Park Hotel, and again linking up with the A34.
In the end the £1.3m Thatcham northern distributor road, which later became Tull Way, was built from contributions from Dunstan Park developer Trencherwood.
Mr Stanbrook said that if an eastern bypass had been developed, Thatcham would have a had “a proper bypass and not the fiasco we have today of an updated country lane with continuing speed, noise and fume pollution, together making development in Thatcham a planning nightmare”.
Now with developers appealing to build 500 homes at Henwick Park and 265 homes at ‘Henwick Park’ plus 75 homes planned for Tull Way, Mr Stanbrook said that a new road or improvements would be needed to cope with additional traffic.
“As I see it with every development from one end of Thatcham to the other, vehicles have to empty out onto the inadequate road systems,” he said.
Mr Stanbrook, who lives in Northfield Road, carried out his own traffic surveys in 2002, which revealed that 1,135 vehicles used Bowling Green Road between 8am and 9am. A similar study showed 844 vehicles using Lower Way between 8am and 9am.
Following the surveys Mr Stanbrook, who has lived in the town for more than 70 years, called on West Berkshire Council take action.
However, the council said that it appeared that an opportunity had been missed but there were no plans to construct a relief road. This was because it would not receive government funds and would only be built with significant development in north Thatcham.
The council added that there was little it could do to significantly alter the road network as it would take up its entire capital budget for a number of years.
The leader of Thatcham Town Council and district councillor Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham central) said: “Any relief road is going to be welcomed because of the congested state of the A4. But it’s a pipe dream, I’m afraid. I don’t think the money is there.”