Council bosses vow never to build park and ride on floodplain againBy Jon Nurse
February 08, 2013
Council bosses vowed never to build a park and ride on floodplain again as they approved the latest transport strategy for consultation.
Proposed park and ride schemes from Winnersh Triangle, Wokingham town centre, Mereoak, Coppid Beech and Broken Brow near Thames Valley Park will be put to the public as the borough council attempts to reduce the number of cars on the roads.
At its meeting last Thursday, the council’s executive also guaranteed another year of the flood-prone Loddon Bridge park and ride before it is likely to be replaced by a similar scheme near Winnersh Triangle station.
Councillor Keith Baker, executive member for highways and planning, said: “Loddon Bridge is a classic example where in hindsight we should have never put it there.
“We will be moving it, which is quite exciting as we are then talking about a transport hub with cars, buses and Winnersh Triangle train station.”
He assured the committee it will be policy not to build a park and ride on floodplain again.
“We need to look at things like flooding and put a stick in the ground,” Cllr Baker added. “I believe we shouldn’t run anything at a loss. There may be a scenario we think the social value is fine, but that’s a decision to be made at the time.”
The Loddon Bridge park and ride, which will stay open until February 2014, has run for more than 15 years but has frequently been shut in recent years because of flooding.
From April 1, 2012 to January 19 this year the park and ride was closed for 30 days due to flood alerts. It was also closed every day last week because of rising river levels.
Cllr Baker said it would be financial suicide to close the service before a new Winnersh scheme was ready, which he hopes will secure planning approval in June and open next year.
The committee unanimously approved forwarding a park and ride strategy for consultation and set officers to work.
But Cllr Anthony Pollock questioned the financial implications of new park and rides. He said: “This is the major thrust to provide facilities to make it easier for people not to drive but use public transport.
“There will be things we aspire to but when we do the detailed work it may not cost in. We will have to balance the value of providing these against the return.”
The strategy focuses on linking park and rides to new developments across the borough and could launch micro schemes from the town centre.