In the Summer of 2014 Wokingham Borough Council held a consultation about the preferred route of the South
Wokingham Distributor Road (SWDR). A feasibility study looked at three possible routes for the road (a route to the
north close to the Waterloo railway line, a route through the centre of the developments and a route in the south
of the development area). This study has identified the central route as the technically deliverable route and also
identified a need for improvements to the Peacock Lane link to Jennetts Park. Over 80% of replies, including that
from the Society’s Executive Committee, supported this route, but with a variation (called option B1) as the road
approaches the Finchampstead Road that had been urged by a number of local residents.
The Council agreed to proceed with the chosen route, subject to analysing the technical feasibility of the B1 option.
In September 2015 the Council announced that it and Network Rail had agreed early delivery of what is being called the Eastern Gateway element of the SWDR. This will secure funding to provide the bridge over the railway from Montague Park and continue the SWDR as far as Waterloo Road. Because that new connection will allow traffic to use alternative routes, the Waterloo Road railway crossing can then be closed as planned.
Detailed arrangements for delivery of the eastern Gateway section were made available for public comment in July 2017, followed by a planning application in the Autumn. Which was approved in February 2018 Completion is expected by 2022.
Design work has been completed for the central (Spine) and Western Gateway/junction with Finchampstead Road/Molly Millars Lane sections of the SWDR. These have been subject to drop-in sessions and subsequent planning applications.
The application for the central section was submitted in February 2020 and subsequently amended in December 2020. The Executive Committee of the Wokingham Society submitted a largely supportive response but asked for future engagement with Borough Council Rights of Way Officers to discuss detailed arrangements for the affected footpaths (see submission here).
A separate application for the Western Gateway between the SWDR junction with the Finchampstead Road and Molly Millars Lane, necessitating the demolition of two houses and providing an offset roundabout, was also submitted in December 2020. It is now proposed not to replace the railway bridge carrying the Reading-Waterloo line, the use of this part of the road by HGVs having considerably reduced and the cost of that work being prohibitive. The Executive Committee’s response, which shared the concern of many submissions about the loss of the signalised crossing to the south of the roundabout, can be seen here.
Decisions on both applications are awaited, with no indication of when the work is expected to start or finish if they are approved.