Micro park-and-ride sites ‘still needed’ in ReadingBy Mike Pyle
July 24, 2012
The failure of a plan to open ‘micro park-and-rides’ in Caversham and East Reading has prompted the council to reiterate its desire to find large sites on Reading’s borough boundaries with the help of a neighbouring authority.
Reading Borough Council formally withdrew plans to open small park-and-ride sites at Clayfield Copse in Caversham and Palmer Park in East Reading at a meeting of its cabinet last Monday evening.
Labour councillor Tony Page, lead member for transport, said the move came after a huge public outcry and admitted fault in the planning of a consultation on the scheme but said some of the blame for the failed project lay with the previous administration.
He said the council will now concentrate on looking at its ‘strategic park-and-rides’ – larger schemes on the borough boundaries and beyond that would accommodate hundreds of cars.
Cllr Page said: “I was not satisfied that we were in a position to manage fully the demands of quite a few groups – and quite a number of groups even our leisure department wasn’t aware were using our parks. As an authority sensitive to representations, the decision was taken to withdraw these proposals.”
He said the council will try to work with Wokingham Borough Council to open a park and ride site at Mere Oak Park near junction 11 of the M4 and that there were other sites it was looking at.
Cllr Page added: “We’re looking east, west and south. There are no specific proposals at the moment because the land is in Wokingham’s ownership.”
Conservative councillor Richard Willis called the move a U-turn and criticised the consultation process on the plans although Cllr Page said the proposals were first hatched while the Conservative-led coalition council was in power last year.
After the meeting, Cllr Willis pointed out the plans to open micro-park-and-rides were the coalition’s idea but that they had not identified either the Clayfield Copse or Palmer Park sites in their plans.