Thu, 04 Feb 2021
BUILDING 2,500 homes in north east Thatcham would not result in a bridge being built over the railway.
An assessment of the proposals said that a bridge would divert resources and developers’ contributions away from other infrastructure and community objectives.
West Berkshire Council has identified land from the top of Floral Way to Colthrop in its Local Plan Review.
The council has said that the north east of the town was the most logical place for development to help meet the district’s housing needs up to 2037.
It also said that a development of this scale would provide vital infrastructure, including new schools.
There have been calls for a bridge over the railway for decades, with people reporting waiting up to 40 minutes at the level crossing.
A masterplan prepared on behalf of the council said that a bridge was “an important and controversial local issue”, but there were a number of reasons why one would not be required with the proposed development.
The document, drawn up by David Lock Associates and Stantec, said that a bridge would undermine community objectives and goals for sustainable and active travel through a “significant piece of highways infrastructure, primarily for the benefit of private and commercial vehicles”.
It added that a bridge, like other new road infrastructure, typically resulted in more traffic that would not normally use the route, rather than relieve congestion.
A traffic assessment did not indicate the need to provide a bridge for the destinations that new residents would likely travel to.
It added that Crookham Hill was unsuited to handling the “increases in traffic and rat-running that a new bridge would inevitably bring”, which would require further costly upgrades to improve safety.
Finally, it said that building in other parts of Thatcham that would require a bridge to be built “would spend resources and contributions that could be better spent on improving active travel and public transport infrastructure throughout the town, which supports the community’s stated objectives on environmental sustainability”.
West Berkshire Council has previously said that a bridge would not be affordable without private or central government investment.