Ashridge Interchange  

The Ship Inn from London Road, with Peach Street to the left

Market Place and Broad Street from Cockpit PathShute End looking northwards, with The Terrace on the right

   "The Ashridge Interchange Movement ('AIM') is a non-party organisation that exists to promote the
   best possible traffic solution for Wokingham for the least overall environmental impact."

                Overview

Berkshire County Council Minutes:

Ashridge Interchange

Woosehill development

Newspaper reports, late 1970

 

 

 

 

Many Wokingham folk have a distant memory of a motorway junction just north of the town. It was very convenient for them, but it disappeared mysteriously in the mid-1970ís.

The A321 originally reached the town centre via Milton Road, adjacent to Tudor House on Broad Street.

This was the mythical 'Ashridge Interchange', just south of Junction 10 at the A321 Twyford Road, just a mile or so from Broad Street (shown above).

Why did it disappear?

Why is it never mentioned as a solution to our traffic problems? 

We need to understand the background when the A329(M) was being planned in the late 1960's, in two phases:

  • The first phase was from Sutton's Seeds roundabout in Reading, and finished at the A321 just south of Junction 10. After a couple of years, the second phase was completed down to the Coppid Beech roundabout.

  • Before Phase 1 was built, there was strong opposition to the Ashridge Interchange, and the Planning Inspector ruled in 1970 that it should be deferred until traffic patterns emerged once the motorways had been completed.

It is understandable why there was such opposition to an interchange fairly close to the town centre. Wokingham Town had grown extremely rapidly during the 1960's, and the proposed link road was completely out of proportion to its surroundings.

There was two-way traffic around the Town Hall as late as the 1960's

A dual carriageway aiming straight at the heart of the old market town would have completely ruined the area. Perhaps it was felt that by closing off this junction, the town would be spared much more building. This was not to be.

  • Read the History section, or follow the links on the left, to see in more detail what happened.

We now face another Planning round, and two "by-passes" are being suggested for north and south-east Wokingham. They are not by-passes; they are simply distributor roads to serve possible new housing developments - 2,000 houses each.

The London Road approaching Coppid Beech junctionThe northern by-pass will go from near Coppid Beech to the Reading Road south of the M4 bridge. It will parallel the A329(M) for must of its route, and will be a visual and nA329 Reading Road, Winnersh, south of the M4 bridgeoise intrusion for many residents north and east of Wokingham.

Its exit will be on the Reading Road immediately south of the M4 bridge, and this will become a major bottleneck.

  • The Ashridge Interchange provides a better alternative, and ought to be considered. However, it was not even mentioned in the draft Transport Appraisal, published in November 2005. Why not?

  • At Public Question time on 30th March 2006, it was claimed that the Central Berkshire Transportation Study of 1996 ruled the Interchange out on technical grounds, and so there was no justification to raise the subject again - but the analysis was flawed.

Whether or not Arborfield Garrison is included in official plans, if it is closed or scaled-down, the Ministry of Defence will apply for housing development, and will win on appeal, because it includes a large brown-field site along with its many sports fields. The sports fields may be safe, but the built-up areas aren't.

  • Arborfield Garrison is poorly served by road, since traffic aiming for Wokingham will join the Barkham Road, already blocked by the Station level crossing, and eastbound traffic will join Nine Mile Ride, congested at peak times. No solution has been provided in the Transport Appraisal for this possibly major development. Why?

 

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