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Important pedestrian and cycle link to re-open

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Reading Borough Council will forge ahead with work to open up a key new pedestrian and cycle route under the railway line at Napier Road after an agreement was struck with Network Rail this week.

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The Council has had a long-standing ambition to open up the route for residents living on Napier Road and Luscinia View so they have direct access to and from the Town Centre and East Reading. For those heading north from the Kenavon Drive and Newtown areas, it will also provide much improved access to the River Thames and Caversham.

The underpass is on railway land and complex negotiations with Network Rail have finally been concluded. This week’s agreement means Council engineers can now carry out the necessary survey works, starting this week.

With the necessary funding already in place from developers section 106 contributions, the Council intends a contractor to carry out the main works later this summer.

The planned works will include the link under the railway with associated street lighting, as well as a pedestrian crossing on Napier Road to complete the safe route.

Councillor Tony Page, Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The opening up of this key route under the railway is a long-standing ambition of the Council and will be of major benefit to residents living on Napier Road and Luscinia View, as well as to those living on Kenavon Drive and in Newtown. When complete it will mean a direct and well lit pedestrian and cycle access to and from the Town Centre, East Reading and Caversham.

“I’m pleased that the agreements are now in place, although the process has taken longer than we had anticipated. Council officers can now get on with the job of planning for work to begin at the site.”

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Rob White, Green councillor for Newtown said: “I get a steady stream of requests from residents for a short, flat, well lit route from Newtown to the Kings Meadow area. We have been lobbying the Council to reopen this underpass for a number of years and so are pleased that progress is being made. Once re-opened this will make it easier, quicker and safer for cyclists, wheelchair users and people pushing buggies to get over from Newtown to Kings Meadow and beyond.”

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