Tue, 11 Sept 2018
THERE has been a fresh call for a park and ride bus service in Newbury.
Greenham Parish Council vice-chairman Tony Vickers is urging West Berkshire Council to consider the idea, despite the local authority previously saying that such a scheme would be not be viable.
Dr Vickers, who is also chairman of the West Berkshire and Newbury Liberal Democrats, believes there is a case to be made for running a service from Greenham Business Park in the future.
He said it could be achieved by creating a designated bus lane on the A339, which would take the bus from the park to the new bus station which is currently being built at the Wharf.
Dr Vickers made his comments at a parish council meeting when discussing a revised Local Development Order (LDO) for Greenham Business Park, although he acknowledged the order was not the mechanism to achieve it.
Chris Boulton, the chief executive of the Greenham Trust, which runs the business park, said he had “strong reservations” about the idea of a park and ride service, but didn’t completely close the door on it.
Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News this week, he said: “It is unlikely at the business park as we probably don’t have a single site that would be big enough to accommodate a car park of a sensible size.
“Also, it would be expensive, bearing in mind what the values are as development land for offices, industrial or car showroom use etc.
“Another factor would be the potential traffic generation and likely need to upgrade roads on the park and perhaps upgrade junctions to the A339.
“Having said that, if we were paid an appropriate price or rent for the land we would consider the viability.
“I would have strong reservations though about this as I don’t actually believe Newbury has a parking problem and redirecting cars to a site that is south east of the town would actually lead to longer journeys and a greater environmental impact too.
“It would make more sense, bearing in mind possible traffic flows, to have something to the north, not south.”
Back in December 2015, the council dismissed the idea of a park and ride service, saying that after carrying out studies into the idea, it believed the scheme was unviable.
However, it did say it would consider putting signage on the roundabout by The Swan pub in Newtown to direct traffic down the Newtown straight (B4640), away from Newbury and on to the A34 at Tot Hill.
The council once again ruled out the possibility of a park and ride scheme in 2016, saying it was ‘not the preferred option’ as it would have to subsidise it.
The local authority was contacted for a comment this week, but did not respond by the time the NWN went to press.