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Council to invest £120m over next five years

Large chunk of money will be spent on roads, education and flood defences

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Contact:

01635 886632

Council tax set to rise by four per cent from April

WEST Berkshire Council will invest more than £120m over the next five years.

A large chunk of the money, which will come from government grants and developer contributions, will be spent on highways schemes to improve road surfaces and reduce congestion.

There will be investment in flood prevention and ongoing maintenance of public rights of way, as well as additional primary school places in Newbury, Theale and Burghfield.

Money will also be set aside for a new unit for children with autism in the primary phase.

The construction of Highwood Copse, the new primary school set to be built in  Newbury, is currently due to start in June, subject to planning permission.

There is money available to provide places at The Winchcombe, Fir Tree and Speenhamland primary schools to compensate for the delay in the opening of Highwood Copse and to meet additional ongoing pressure for primary places in Newbury.

Around £48m over the five-year capital programme will go into street care and includes £6.9m of council funding, £34m of external grant funding and £7.7m of developer funding.

A total of £18.5m has been allocated to carriageway resurfacing, along with a further £3.2m for the maintenance of other major highway assets including bridges and street lighting.

A total of £7.2m will be invested in drainage and flood prevention, which includes £5m from Defra for major flood alleviation schemes.

In total, £2m will be invested in walking and cycling, with £800,000 from the Local Enterprise Partnership going towards the development of a new National Cycle Network Route along the A4.

This also includes substantial footway improvements funded from developer money in Newbury and Aldermaston.

Almost £16m will be invested in network management and road safety improvements, with much of this funding going towards improving traffic flow on the A339 and supporting economic growth.

Approximately £1.1m will be put into public transport infrastructure, which includes a new public transport interchange in The Wharf.

The five-year programme also includes £1.3m (an average of £262,000 per year) on essential maintenance and modernisation of leisure centres.

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Article comments

  • EugeneStryker

    17/03/2017 - 15:03

    Almost 40% of car journeys in the UK are under 2 miles. 1/2 of all commuters in England travel less than 3 miles to work. Yet we still are continue to invest heavily in roads and when we do invest in cycling infrastructure it is nonsense like creating a NCN route along the A4 - I used to commute regularly along the A4 by bike and it is not for the faint hearted; some painted lines will make no difference to cycling numbers. If you want less congestion and less pollution and better flow, you need fewer vehicles on the roads. For that, you need proper segregated cycle routes. The maintenance on a cycle lane is a tiny fraction of that of roads.

    Reply

  • paulGT11

    17/03/2017 - 14:02

    It is alright "saying" you are going to spend this money, but when the time comes to actually open the wallet, they will "suddenly" find it empty because they waste it away on silly project like the A339 junction and give away land to developers. Then the council tax will have to go up yet again.

    Reply

  • JonnyRoberts87

    17/03/2017 - 13:01

    Why let the council get away with their phrasing 'a new public transport interchange in The Wharf' this feels straight out of the WBC press release. Its a bus station. A public transport interchange would be locating the bus station with the train station as Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens have all called for.

    Reply

  • Zeospike

    17/03/2017 - 12:12

    On paper £18.5m sounds a lot but works out at under £4m a year. Country roads cost ~£25k per km which equates to 148Km of country road a year. A roads work out around ~£80k per Km which is 46Km a year. With around 800,00Km of road in the UK, the relative size of West Berkshire and the population density, I reckon that spending rate would be mean each road in the county would only get resurfaced once every 50 years. Doesn't sound that great to me.

    Reply

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