"The Ashridge Interchange Movement ('AIM') is a non-party
organisation that exists to promote the
History - A329 Relief Road Inquiry, Week 1
Berkshire County Council Minutes:
Wokingham Times Articles, 1968-9, by subject:
Wokingham Times Articles, 1971-5, by subject:
public inquiry into the A329 Relief Road was held at The Pavilion, Woodley Park,
Haddon Drive, Woodley, opening at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 21st
1969. This report followed the start of the proceedings.
From the Wokingham Times, October 30th 1969:
‘M4 inquiry told road from Ashridge could split Wokingham’:
[Text Box: ‘Could your home be affected if the M4 planners have their way?']
The site of the proposed £513,000 Ashridge interchange north of Wokingham was, from an engineering point of view, the only suitable place to put it, a Berkshire County Council official told the M4 public inquiry this week. Mr. Sidney Walters, an assistant county surveyor, said this on Tuesday, the sixth day of the inquiry at Woodley’s Woodford Park pavilion. "Frankly, I cannot see anywhere else you can put it. From an engineering point of view this is the only place where you can put it. So far as properties are concerned it is the least damaging position", he told Mr. Arthur Mildon, counsel for Berkshire County Council.
Mr. Walters said that had Wokingham RDC and the Council for the Preservation of Rural England not lodged an objection to the original site of the M4 access point at Toutley Hall, the Ashridge interchange would have been on the Wokingham-Twyford road.
But the M4 access point was moved eastward and nearer to Ashridge. Because the Wokingham-Twyford road was made much nearer to the access point the interchange had to be moved to Ashridge. Mr. Walters gave his explanation to the siting of the Ashridge interchange because of Monday’s hearing. Mr. E. W. Johnson said the interchange would split the town in two.
Mr. Johnson, an airline pilot, appearing on behalf of five residents’ associations and individuals, said: "We are extremely worried about the effect the Ashridge interchange will have on the town and we are concerned that once it is in place it will be nothing more than a fait accompli. If a road from Ashridge continued southward, it would "split the town in two", he said. He wanted Mr. Walters to answer questions about future plans for roads leading from the interchange. Mr. G. S. McIntire, the independent inspector, considered Mr. Johnson’s questions to be outside the inquiry’s scope.
Mr. Johnson protested that if the interchange was built, the residents’ association’s battle to stop Wokingham being flooded with traffic would be lost. His protests were joined by shouting from the public attending the inquiry, who agreed with Mr. Johnson that the route of the continuation of the interchange should be fixed, otherwise the road would continue towards Wokingham. At that moment Mr. McIntire ordered the public to keep quiet.
Mr. Johnson, representing the Wokingham M4 Action Committee, North Wokingham Residents’ Association, Wokingham Joint Residents’ Committee, Lowther Road Residents’ Association, Wokingham Society and individuals, said he really wanted the £513,000 Ashridge interchange dropped from the link road.
Concern about an increase in traffic in the vicinity of the Emmbrook schools as a result of the proposed Ashridge interchange was justified, according to Mr. S. G. Walters, assistant county surveyor, Berkshire County Council. Giving evidence earlier at the public inquiry into the M4 link road proposals at Wokingham, he said the situation could be overcome by providing a new route linking the existing A329 road from a point east of the railway bridge near St. Paul’s Church, Reading Road, to Milton Road via the Beches Manor site.
"With such a route constructed, traffic management measures could be introduced in the Emmbrook schools area to ensure that through traffic used the new route. However, at the present time there is no approved scheme of this kind, nor are funds likely to be available". Mr. Walters said the Ministry of Transport consulting engineers predicted that in 1982 there would be a large volume of traffic originating from Wokingham and the south wishing to join the proposed A329 relief road to travel to the M4 and to Reading. Bearing in mind the large flow, a grade separated junction will be required to accommodate it.
"To avoid overlapping between the slip roads from this junction and the slip roads from the Ashridge interchange, it is not possible to locate the Wokingham junction on the line of the existing A321 Twyford-Wokingham Road. It has therefore been necessary to site this junction east of the A321 to the north of Ashridge Farm. The county council’s proposals provide for this junction to be connected to the existing road system north of the town. They provide for an interim connection to Milton Road and Wiltshire Road, both of which form direct links to the approved town centre distributor road around the centre of Wokingham. The opportunity is also offered of extending the route as a primary distributor road around the town centre and south of the Reading-Wokingham railway line to cater for traffic calling at the town centre, at the industrial site and at residential areas south of the railway".
Referring to a linking of the Wokingham distributor road with the Ashridge interchange, Mr. Walters said a map now issued showed a way of joining the proposals. It showed how a link from Ashridge Interchange could be provided to the 1963 plan. It could be that from further study the layout could be changed. These were just ideas which were brought up for the purpose of discussion.
At a meeting of the Highways and Bridges committee of Berkshire County Council on October 18, it was resolved "that the road pattern shown on Drawing No. 4117/6 be approved in principle for the purposes of discussion with the Wokingham Borough Council and Wokingham RDC." This map, pictured above, shows the proposed interchange at Ashridge, the proposed Wokingham distributor road, a possible roundabout on the Reading Road between Shute End and Skew Bridge and a possible route linking the roundabout with the interchange.
The inquiry continues.
Thanks are due to Surrey and Berkshire Media, owners of the 'Wokingham Times', for permission to reproduce these articles. Note that microfilm copies of these newspapers can be viewed at both Wokingham and Bracknell Libraries.
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