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Pub’s fears over another three month (at least) road closure for Wokingham town centre road

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A PUB in the middle of town centre road closures has warned that it runs the risk having no business if customers can’t get to it.

On Thursday, May 3, Wokingham Borough Council published plans to make Langborough Road one-way again for at least three months – and under the proposals it will have discretionary power to extend that closure for up to 18 months if work overruns.

With Market Place works running behind schedule, it is entirely possible that that the closure could drag on into the autumn

Under the plans, The Duke’s Head will be marooned over the entire summer.

It has already been badly hit with the closure first of Broad Street and now Denmark Street: when Broad Street was closed, Langborough Road was made one way preventing people from accessing the pub’s car park.

Landlord Adrian Taylor told The Wokingham Paper: “The council came in [to talk to us], which was brave of them.

“The works will definitely be for 12 weeks and a one-way system will be in place. They said they’ll get straight to work, but there’s no idea what they’ll find as soon as they start digging.”

One of the reasons why the Market Place project is behind schedule is because contractors found underground pipes that hadn’t shown up on previous scans.

“The works will have an adverse affect on us,” Mr Taylor continued. “People can’t come to us, there’s no way people can get in to the car park, no way.

“There is no access at all times. I suggested doing off-peak road closures but the council said they hadn’t actually discussed that. They said they’d go back and discuss it with the traffic department.”

And Mr Taylor said that, like other town centre retailers hit by the downturn in custom over the past eight months, he has received no support from the council.

“We’ve received nothing. No support. It’s all well and good producing smiling videos, but there’s been no financial support – nothing.

“Look at what the local council has been doing to support businesses in Salisbury. Why can’t they do that for us? It’s worrying.”

Mr Taylor felt that it was up to Wokingham’s residents to show their support to The Duke’s Head at this time.

“We need Wokingham to come and eat and drink with us,” he said.

“The works are a major problem, it’s never been as slow as this before. If we haven’t got [people staying in our] accommodation we haven’t got a business.”

The closures will start on Monday, May 21.

Under the scheme, traffic will be able to travel northbound from the Carnival roundabout towards the library, car park (which will remain open) and Langborough Road.

All southbound traffic will be prohibited and drivers will need to follow the existing diversion route along Peach Street.

During this closure Langborough Road will become one way with traffic able to travel eastbound from the library roundabout towards Easthampstead Road.

Other restrictions will be in place:

  • Vehicles will only be allowed to go up A321 Denmark Street, Wokingham between its junctions with A321 Finchampstead Road and Langborough Road
  • Vehicles won’t be allowed to travel along Langborough Road between Denmark Street and Murdoch Road, other than in a easterly direction;
  • Cars coming out of Norton Road will not be allowed to turn left into Denmark Street;
  • Likewise, no left turn from Gipsy Lane or Fairview Road into Langborough Road; a no right turn restriction is placed on Howard Road.

But in a statement, Wokingham Borough Council defended the decision to enforce the new round of road closures.

Cllr Stuart Munro, the newly re-elected executive member for business and economic development and regeneration, said: “We need to close the Denmark Street lane and footpath immediately adjacent to the site between the Carnival roundabout and the junction with Langborough Road.

“This will allow for essential utilities work and the eventual widening of this narrow section of road and footpath. We’ve decided to do this work at the same time as the Market Place to reduce the inconvenience to road users and residents.”

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Phil Creighton

Publisher of The Wokingham Paper

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