New route for Bohunt school footpath revealed

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Nine Mile Ride in Finchampstead
Nine Mile Ride in Finchampstead

A NEW footpath route to allow students attending the new Bohunt School in Arborfield to get to and from lessons safely has been revealed.

Wokingham Borough Council (WBC) has revealed today (Wednesday) plans for an improved pedestrian route to deliver a Safe Route to School between the existing Nine Mile Ride and the new Bohunt School via Park Lane, Hogwood Lane and byway 18.

The plans include improving an existing footway on the north side of Nine Mile Ride by a combination of cutting back overhanging vegetation, relocation of street furniture and some localised areas of footway widening and resurfacing.

The route will then turn north along Park Lane, crossing over to the south side of the road part way along. The route then turns left onto Hogwood Lane, on the south side of the road. There will be point where pedestrians can safely cross where Hogwood Lane meets Byway 18. The route then follows the byway to the school.

Construction on the footway is set to begin by May, with some vegetation clearance possibly taking place earlier. The project is scheduled to be complete by the beginning of September 2017 with the footway open for use from September 5.

‘Pragmatic’

Local residents who live along the Nine Mile Ride will be contacted shortly with more information about the necessary works, lane closures and temporary disruption that will take place during the summer and how they can contact the council about any issues they may have during this time.

WBC admitted that recent detailed design work on the scheme has shown that the implementation of a path wide enough to accommodate a safe walking route and cycle route, which was the original aspiration for the footway shared by the council, local residents and parents of school pupils, would require significantly more construction works, including the removal of a number of mature trees and established hedgerows as well as having a dramatic impact on the established character of the local area.

The council said that it needs to be ‘pragmatic’ with what it is able to provide while still meeting its planning obligations for the new Safe Route to School, but has pledged to continue to consider and evaluate the practicalities of delivering a cycle way in the area.

New Greenways route

The council said it remains committed to supporting Bohunt pupils and other residents to eb able to cycle to the school and around the area. To this end, in addition to the new Nine Mile Ride Safe Route to School, there will also be a new Greenways route which will be suitable for walking and cycling between Finchampstead, the Bohunt School and the rest of the development in Arborfield.

Phase 1 of the Greenways project will connect the Finchampstead Baptist Centre to Arborfield via California Country Park.

Cllr Malcolm Richards, WBC’s executive member for highways and transport said: “There are many benefits when pupils are able to walk to school including improved health and motivation levels for the students; improved access to the school for parents, students, staff and visitors; and improved local air quality, less traffic noise, and reduced traffic congestion for the local community.

“This enhanced footway will give Finchampstead pupils a safe route to walk to the new Bohunt School and will give the local community a better footway to walk around Finchampstead.”

For more information on the Greenways project, visit the WBC consultations page at www.wokingham.gov.uk/consultations.

Don’t miss this week’s The Wokingham Paper for reaction to this story and lots more. On sale Thursday, February 16.

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The Press Release has not subdued my concern, it lacks detail on speed limits and traffic calming and lacks detail on road crossings – We need the answers to those matters before parents will accept that the Council has delivered the minimum standard for a safe route.

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