Tue, 22 Sept 2015
GRIDLOCK around Newbury caused by the closure of Boundary Road is now concerning Thatcham councillors.
The vital route closed at the end of July for three months in order to divert utility services ahead of its replacement next year.
The closure has increased the already heavy congestion in the town, with traffic stretching back to Thatcham during rush hour.
And, last week, the Newbury Weekly News revealed that the road would be closed for a further nine months from January 2016.
Commenting on the news at a meeting of Thatcham Town Council’s planning and environment committee last week, town council leader Richard Crumly (Con, Thatcham Central) asked councillors whether they should express their concerns surrounding the nine-month closure to West Berkshire Council.
Jan Cover (Con, Thatcham Central) said that the closure had turned a journey that normally took her around 15 minutes into a 50-minute commute.
Town and district councillor Rob Denton Powell (Con, Thatcham South and Crookham) said that he would be happy to raise the Boundary Road issue on behalf of Thatcham residents.
But Boundary Road wasn’t the only route to cause concern among the town council.
Mr Crumly also raised the issue of West Berkshire Council reducing the “valuable stretch of road” on the A4 westbound at Padworth to a single carriageway.
He also noted a lack of consultation ahead of the change.
Adding his frustration Mr Denton Powell said that he had witnessed dangerous behaviour as a result of the changes.
“For the number of people that turn right, I think it’s a little overzealous,” he said. “I would personally like this council to write to West Berkshire Council about it.”
Speaking at the meeting, councillors said that they were unaware of why the change had been made, with Mr Denton Powell adding that it had not been mentioned at district council meetings he had attended.
Earlier this year, West Berkshire Council said that the dual carriageway had been removed following a coroner’s report into the death of Beenham man Kenneth Aldridge in 2012.
The council added that as the work did not require a change to the existing Traffic Regulation Order no public consultation was required.