Our four Finchampstead borough councillors, Cllr Charles Margetts, Cllr Ian Pittock, Cllr Rob Stanton and Cllr Simon Weeks, are pushing for a new safe cycleway from Finchampstead to the newly-opened Bohunt School in Sheerlands Road, Arborfield.
A statement released by the four councillors reads:
“We were extremely dismayed and alarmed that after being involved in the early stages of planning a safe walking and cycling route from Finchampstead to the new Bohunt school, that Wokingham Borough Council suddenly abandoned plans to create a new 2.7m combined cycleway and footway along the Nine Mile Ride from California Crossroads to Park Lane and then onto the school, without consulting us as local representatives.
“Whilst we welcome the plan to improve and extend the footpath down the Nine Mile Ride for the wider community, this is inadequate as a safe route to the Bohunt School school, since the distance involved is more suited to cycling. In place of the abandoned cycleway down the Nine Mile Ride, a greenway alternative (linking Finchampstead Baptist Church to Bohunt) has been suggested by Wokingham Borough Council which we recognise will be a welcome addition to cycle routes in the area. We, however, say that since this has a one mile wooded element and that this and other parts are unlikely to be lit, it will not be acceptable as a safe route to school. That is also the feedback we are getting from parents, the numbers of whom will grow significantly as the school takes on additional year groups.
“After our robust intervention, we are pleased to confirm that Wokingham Borough Council has now agreed to look again at a solution to provide a safe cycleway down the Nine Mile Ride from Finchampstead to the Bohunt School. It is recognised that this cannot be delivered by September 2017. We have, therefore, demanded that the free bus service is maintained until a safe cycleway is in place down the Nine Mile Ride, along with a speed limit reduction to 30mph west of Manor Park Drive.”
Cllr Malcolm Richards, executive member for highways and transport, said that he will soon be meeting ward members to explore these options and produce some firm proposals that can be shared with the local community