Reading Conservatives have attacked as misleading and untrue, claims made by Labour’s Transport Lead Cllr Tony Page, that Council plans to cone off and restrict traffic on Reading Bridge in order to create new cycle lanes, were “bilge” and “fantasy”.
The proposals, which were briefed by a senior Council transport officer at the Borough’s Cycle Forum on 10 April, were witnessed by Lib Dem Transport Spokesman Cllr Ricky Duveen and by Cllr Paul Gittings, who chairs the Forum. They were also witnessed by representatives of Reading Cycle Campaign who have since tweeted confirmation that the trial closure was promised, and by other cycle group representatives. At the meeting Officers confirmed that they had conducted a modelling exercise using the Council’s computer-based traffic model, something which is only normally undertaken for firm plans, due to the time needed to programme the computer with the right parameters.
Conservative Transport Lead Cllr Richard Willis said, “Cllr Page may have subsequently decided not to proceed with the trial closure of a lane on the bridge but the honest thing to do would be to admit that this was an ill-conceived plan. He also owes an apology, both to the press and public who he has misled and to the cycling groups which were led to believe that new cycle lanes were planned. I will be asking questions to establish how much time was spent developing these plans and modelling them, and how much Council Tax payers’ money has been wasted this time.”
Conservative Group Leader Cllr Tim Harris said, “Once again we see Labour trying to bluster their way out of a transport scheme which they have not thought through. We all remember the one-way IDR fiasco which cost £1m of public money and it will be interesting to see how much this apparent U-turn has cost the Council Tax payers of Reading”.