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Solution to Thatcham's level crossing congestion proposed

Newbury UKIP proposes a scheme which could cost between £22m and £30m

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

Solution offered to solve Thatcham level crossing congestion

NEWBURY UKIP thinks it has solved Thatcham’s level crossing woes.

Fed-up members have drawn up a design (pictured) which they say will remove the delays at Thatcham’s congestion hotspot.

The party said it was also responding to recent articles in The Newbury Weekly News, when Network Rail and West Berkshire ruled out building a bridge at Thatcham and Colthrop. 

The design, which is not a formal planning application, would see a double bridge constructed off Pipers Lane over the railway and the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The new road would then curve across farmland south of the railway, crossing the River Kennet at a third bridge, and join the junction at Crookham Hill and Chamberhouse Mill Lane.

Changes would also be made to Thatcham station’s parking.

A new one-way lane on Station Road would allow vehicles to access a car park and taxi rank.

Access to the Swan and Royal Mail depot would remain.

The existing level crossing would be closed off and a wheelchair and cycle-friendly footbridge built.

A new car park would be constructed on farm land south west of the level crossing.

The entrance to Thatcham Town Football Club would be closed and a new entrance constructed off Chamberhouse Mill Lane.

Newbury UKIP says its suggestion, drawn up by party members with engineering experience, would cost between £22m and £30m.

It says the project could be funded by Network Rail, West Berkshire Council and Government departments.

Other funding would come from housing developments planned for Thatcham, while another source could come from applying a levy on the sold price of houses.

The scrapping of the HS2 high-speed rail project between London and the North could pay for this scheme and many others, UKIP said.

The party said in its design: “We believe our proposal is well worth serious consideration for the benefit of all those that live, work, play in or just pass through this part of West Berkshire and would like to encourage the local MP, district and town councillors to put aside political differences and use their power to support this proposal.”

However it admits that traffic volume in the area would increase as a result of the station bypass.

And HGVs would use the route unless a restriction was imposed on Crookham Hill. This is countered in that the bridges would reduce the number of vehicles using the A4 through Thatcham.

“The long exasperated waiting, not just for one train but two or three will be something we will only talk about in the future,” the party said.

“With hundreds of new homes in the pipeline the volume of traffic on roads will only increase, resulting in longer queues.”

Responding to concerns that a bridge would open up the green fields south of Thatcham for development, the party said that this could happen regardless.

It added it was unlikely as the area is a flood plain.

The party said it wants to hear residents’ views and, if its proposal found favour, would take it to West Berkshire Council. Contact ian.waters@ukipnewbury.org

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