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."

                Transport Appraisal

Thames Valley Multi Modal Study - Executive Summary

TVMMS Full Report (5 Megabytes)

Berkshire County Council Minutes:

Ashridge Interchange

Woosehill development

Central Berkshire Transportation Study 1996

Newspaper reports, late 1970

 

 

In connection with the 'Alternatives for the Draft Core Strategy', consultants Mouchel Parkman have prepared a Transport Appraisal. The 'Preliminary Draft' was presented to Wokingham District Council in November 2005. As such, it should be possible for this draft document to be updated with more precise information.

The Transport Appraisal is available in Acrobat format from Wokingham District Council's web-site - click here for the web page.

The Transport Appraisal draws heavily on 2001 Census data in order to reach its main conclusions and recommendations. Central to the theme is the high level of car ownership and of reliance on the car for commuting. As can be seen in the table reproduced below, over half the households had two or more cars in 2001. 

Cars per household

 Percentage

0 cars

 9.2

1 car

37.6

2 cars

41.1

3 cars

 9.1

4 or more cars

 3.0

It also reports on the 'New Homeowners Survey', which was carried out in 2004. This showed that the trend is moving further upwards; 56.6% of these households have two cars, while 5.9% have three and 0.7% have four or more.   

It is surprising that the Transport Appraisal makes no mention of the Ashridge Interchange, even if only to reject the possibility on the grounds that the Department for Transport is likely to reject a new motorway junction within a mile of an existing one - but see the 'Design' page for a way around this objection. There is still a requirement for the Council to perform a proper review of traffic on the Reading Road; this was placed on Berkshire County Council, and its successors, by the Planning Inspector. Click here for further details.

As reported in correspondence to the local press, the Transport Appraisal proposes two relief roads, one to the north of Wokingham and one to the south-east; however, these are quite clearly intended as distributor roads for new housing developments rather than by-passes in the conventional sense.  

The Transport Appraisal also mentions the 'Winnersh by-pass', which was originally included in the Loddon Valley Local Plan of the early 1990's. The most recent manifestation is shown to start from the Reading Road just north of the M4 bridge, and to pass west of Winnersh, across the B3030 King Street Lane somehow, past a new housing development and finally connecting with the Lower Earley Way, having taken through traffic aiming for the M4 rather a long way west of their intended destination.

It proposes a new by-pass west of Arborfield, starting in Shinfield near to the 'Magpie and Parrot' pub, and rejoining the existing line of the A327 somewhere south of the Garrison, probably linking with the westward extension of Nine Mile Ride. The previously-planned  Arborfield By-Pass was abandoned around 1970 because it would have served no real purpose once the M4 was completed apart from providing access to a new housing development, also long abandoned. Much through traffic at Arborfield Cross passes to and from the M4 via Winnersh, though the Transport Appraisal rather mysteriously dismisses the influence of the M4 on A327 traffic. This is despite the fact that the new roundabout at Arborfield Cross was justified on the basis that there was significant traffic to and from Winnersh, which backs up beyond Sindlesham in the morning peak. 

The Transport Appraisal makes several references to the 'Thames Valley Multi-Modal Study' (TVMMS), which was carried out by consultants W. S. Atkins, and was published in 2003. Click here to see the Executive Summary, in Acrobat ('PDF') format.

The TVMMS concludes that the Thames Valley region needs to have a 'step change' in public transport in order to cope with its growing population. This is possible only if there is room on the main road corridors to allow for more frequent bus services. The Ashridge Interchange would divert sufficient traffic from the Reading Road to make this feasible. However, without a thorough overhaul of bus competition law to allow more co-operation between companies, and without a single Transport Authority covering the Thames Valley area, expansion of bus services won't happen.

The TVMMS also proposes a mass transit system between Reading and Wokingham, and possibly to the Blackwater Valley. However, under the current political climate, there are no funds for light rail schemes where they have been planned for many years. The Transport Secretary, Alastair Darling, has withdrawn funds from Merseyside, Leeds and South Hampshire in recent months, citing cost inflation, but ignoring the fact that there has been even greater cost inflation on road schemes of similar scale.

 

 

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