Berkshire County Council Minutes:
Highways and Transportation
Reading Mercury and the M4 route, 1965
Summary of Wokingham newspaper reports, 1968 and 1969
Wokingham Times Articles, 1968-9, by subject:
Wokingham One-Way System
The Land Commission and
Reading Road and Winnersh
opposition to Ashridge proposals
Newspaper reports, late 1970
Summary of Newspaper reports, 1971-5
Wokingham Times Articles, 1971-5, by subject:
Inquiry, Summer 1973
Woodley and Earley
The M4, A329(M)
The Woosehill Planning
Inspector's Report, 1974
Woosehill Inspector's Report four decades on
Work on the Maidenhead By-Pass started in the 1930’s
as a dual carriageway with cycle tracks and several junctions, but WWII
intervened with just the River Thames bridge parapets in place. In 1946, the
'London-South Wales Motor Road' was announced. Its original route was to take in
the path of the Maidenhead By-Pass and then extend westward through Winnersh
roughly where the M4 is now, and continuing south of Reading, Newbury
and Hungerford before taking a more northerly route to Bristol.
The planned route was later changed to avoid south Berkshire beyond Maidenhead.
In 1959, the first section of what became known as the M4
opened as the Maidenhead By-Pass. It was extended eastwards in the early 1960’s
to Chiswick, and was intended to extend westwards through south Oxfordshire and
Wiltshire towards Swindon, Bath and Bristol.
In 1965, the planned line of the M4 was changed yet again, as
reported by the Reading Mercury,
passing south of Reading and north of Theale. However, at that stage, no
plans had been made for junctions with other roads around Reading. These
were revealed in 1967, and as usual the Mercury reported in great detail.
The first article appeared on 15th July, entitled
'Ministry's Motorway Plans',
describing junctions at Theale and at Winnersh.
At Winnersh there would be a 3-level junction with a
link north to the A329 at Loddon Bridge, and a link
south to the A321 near to Bell Foundry Lane.
Since the link road would be the responsibility of
Berkshire County Council, it was left to the council to provide more
detail on the route, and this was published in the 'Mercury' of 22nd July.
Although a map published by the Ministry
showed a relatively simple junction and link road, the County
Council had developed more complex plan for an East Reading to Loddon
Bridge link that would involve demolition of many houses in Woodley. There
was no mention of any extension of the link road south of the A321, though
the map hinted at it. This lack of transparency was to cause fear,
uncertainty and suspicion in the minds of local protesters and ultimately
resulted in the very opposite of what was trying to be achieved.
The link road took shape over the next year or so,
and became a motorway known as the
A329(M), as reported in the Wokingham Times from 1968 onwards
- and itself linked into the so-called
Road that stemmed from the proposed Ashridge Interchange. The
rejection of this Wokingham Relief Road and the subsequent avoidance of
the subject over many years meant that local drivers had no effective
relief road for Wokingham or for Winnersh, and that they had to drive very
long detours to reach the M4, clogging-up the local roads in the process.
MINISTRY'S MOTORWAY PLANS
(Reading Mercury, 15th July 1967)
Plans for access roads to the M4 motorway at Winnersh and a
Theale by-pass have now been published by the Ministry of Transport.
At Winnersh, there will be access to the motorway from a
three-level interchange west of Forest Road, near Toutley Hall linked to
the A329 close to Loddon Bridge. The new road will run north of Winnersh
westwards from the interchange crossing Merryhill Green before sweeping
back to join up with the A329.
Eastward from the motorway
interchange, the new access road will be constructed almost due east to
form a junction with the Twyford Road A321 in Wokingham, a little to the
north of Bell Foundry Road.
At Theale, the Ministry have planned
a by-pass to the village which will involve blocking the A4 to through
traffic. The by-pass will run from a main two-level interchange with the
motorway and A4 to the east of Theale, passing to the south between the
A4 and the railway line, crossing over Station Road and linking up with
the A4 again west of the village, where a new roundabout junction will
be formed with the Pangbourne Road, A340, near Wigmore Lane. This latter
will be closed off and a new connection provided directly from the
The present A4 will be stopped at the eastern end of
the village just to the west of The White Hart Inn, to prevent through
traffic. This means that drivers travelling west from Reading and
wanting to get to Theale High Street must take the by-pass to its
western junction giving access on to the A4, and then double back into
Pincent's Lane is also to be diverted from its
present junction with the A4 because this would clash with the M4
interchange. Instead it will be re-aligned to the east of the lime works
to link up with the A4 further to the east.
The Ministry have
also published side road orders covering the length of the motorway from
Winnersh to Theale. Maps of the proposals may be seen at the Berkshire
County Surveyor's Department at Sunley House, Friar Street, and
objections may be made up to October 8th.
(Reading Mercury, 22nd July 1967)
When this (Saturday) morning Berkshire County Council
meet at the Shire Hall, Reading, there are likely to be repercussions
over the Highways and Bridges Committee recommendation for an
East Reading to Loddon Bridge link with the M4 and a proposed amended
line for the North-South Woodley relief road. The Highways
Committee are asking that both lines should be protected.
for access roads to the M4 at Winnersh (see right) and a Theale by-pass have now
been published by the Ministry of Transport.
Parish Council are to protest to the Ministry of Transport, emphasising
that unless an access road is provided, Theale will become a “dead-end”
At Woodley and Earley, protest meetings
have taken place on most evenings this week. The East Reading –
Winnersh link road would, it is claimed, demolish hundreds of
homes in the two parishes. In both areas there have been strong demands
for the reference back of the recommendation.
It has been stated
by area members of the county, rural and parish councils that there were
no prior consultations with other authorities before the publication by
the county council last Saturday of the minutes containing the
Mr. E. Scott, a Woodley
representative on Wokingham R.D.C., told a Woodley meeting on Thursday
that if the plan was passed it would not be a case of democracy, but
dictatorship. He told a packed audience that people were
suffering because of the views of North Berks landowners, which had
resulted in the M4 route going south of Reading instead of north as
Yesterday (Friday) it was announced
that a £48,000 contract for site investigations on the route of
the eight-mile Theale-Winnersh section of the M4 had been
awarded by the Ministry of Transport to Le Grand, Sutcliff and Gell,
Ltd., the drilling and site investigations company. The work on the
motorway will take nine months and involve 110 separate borings.
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