Triple threat blights Win­nersh res­i­dents

Anger over tree felling, rat in­fes­ta­tions and traf­fic prob­lems

The Wokingham Paper - - FRONT PAGE - By JAMES HAST­INGS news@wok­ing­ham­pa­per.co.uk

AN­GRY Win­nersh res­i­dents are de­mand­ing ac­tion on a triple threat to their neigh­bour­hood. They took to the streets this week to protest af­ter claim­ing the bor­ough coun­cil are ‘ig­nor­ing’ their con­cerns. They say the area is in­fested with rats, warn the Win­nersh re­lief road will cre­ate a res­i­den­tial bot­tle­neck and are an­gry at a vast swathe of trees that have been felled for the Smart Mo­tor­way project. Mark Fisher is just one of the fu­ri­ous res­i­dents on Labur­num Road who con­tacted John Red­wood MP claim­ing coun­cil of­fi­cials are giv­ing lo­cals the runaround. “When we moved to Win­nersh, it was such a quiet, pleas­ant place to live but this is no longer the case,” he said. “No one seems able to get a de­fin­i­tive an­swer and Wok­ing­ham Bor­ough Coun­cil just send us round and round in cir­cles, which gets very frus­trat­ing.”

In a let­ter to Mr Red­wood, Mr Fisher said res­i­dents wanted im­me­di­ate ac­tion over the three is­sues mak­ing their lives a mis­ery.

“The Win­nersh re­lief road is de­stroy­ing a lot of the green land and killing off wildlife in the area with no clear in­di­ca­tion of what the ben­e­fits will be. In ad­di­tion to this, there is also the ad­di­tional pol­lu­tion, both from car ex­hausts and the ad­di­tional noise that will be gen­er­ated. The ma­jor­ity of traf­fic head­ing along this route is head­ing to or from the M4 or Read­ing. While the re­lief road may re­duce traf­fic on the Read­ing road, it will cre­ate a bot­tle­neck for traf­fic through the res­i­den­tial area.

“Due to all the work cur­rently be­ing car­ried out, the area is in­fested with rats, which the coun­cil refuse to do any­thing about apart from give out in­cor­rect in­for­ma­tion, although they have ad­mit­ted that this could be caused my all the con­struc­tion work.

“As far as I am aware, no one had been no­ti­fied about the Smart Mo­tor­way. I came home one day last week to find that a large ma­jor­ity of the trees on the em­bank­ment along­side Long­don Road had been re­moved. I con­tacted the coun­cil about this and have just re­ceived a mes­sage to say there was a news bul­letin but we never saw this and have not found any­one that has.

“Ob­vi­ously this has a fur­ther ef­fect on the green ar­eas, the wildlife and pol­lu­tion but also the mas­sive in­crease in noise pol­lu­tion from the M4. When the work­men car­ry­ing out the tree re­moval were asked about the wildlife, they said that an en­vi­ron­men­tal of­fi­cer had checked for wildlife be­fore they started but it would be in­ter­est­ing what they did with any squir­rels of birds liv­ing there, as we know that they did. When asked about rats, the re­sponse was that they don’t check for them.”

Lib­eral Demo­crat Cllr Prue Bray who lives in Win­nersh, joined protesters on Sun­day. She said they were fu­ri­ous about the way they were be­ing treated.

“I have had rats get into my house and its a real prob­lem for many res­i­dents,” she said.

“You see them walk­ing down the street. They don’t seem to be afraid of any­one or any­thing. The coun­cil no longer pro­vide a rat catch­ing ser­vice. They give out in­for­ma­tion but it’s ba­si­cally ev­ery per­son for them­selves.”

She added res­i­dents were fu­ri­ous af­ter trees were re­moved from Long­don Road and wanted as­sur­ances they would be re­placed af­ter work is com­pleted.

“Peo­ple turned out to protest be­cause they are fed up at how they have been treated and it looks like all they’ve got to look for­ward to is years of more mis­ery. We want peo­ple to have their voice heard and ac­tion to be taken.”

In re­ply to Mr Fisher’s let­ter, John Red­wood said that he was aware of the is­sues with traf­fic and road works in Win­nersh.

“I have also re­ceived some com­plaints about the im­pact of the new traf­fic lights on King Street Lane fol­low­ing the com­ple­tion of the first phase of the Win­nersh re­lief road,” he added.

“I have taken up the is­sue of rats with the Coun­cil and have just writ­ten new let­ters as I am aware that the mat­ter has not yet been sorted out sat­is­fac­to­rily.

“I have been in reg­u­lar con­tact with the Coun­cil over road mat­ters all sum­mer, urg­ing them to re­store the roads more quickly and to try to avoid si­mul­ta­ne­ous clo­sures of roads that are needed to get round an orig­i­nal road clo­sure. The Coun­cil be­lieve that their road con­struc­tion plans for Win­nersh will re­duce traf­fic flows and there­fore re­duce pol­lu­tion on the present A329 which passes close to many houses, an aim I sup­port.

“I have not been down Long­don Road re­cently so was un­happy to learn that there has been sub­stan­tial da­m­age to trees ad­ja­cent to the mo­tor­way. I will take this up with the au­thor­i­ties as well, though it will be to help in sim­i­lar places that have not yet suf­fered this fate.”

And Con­ser­va­tive coun­cil­lor for Win­nersh, Cllr Philip Houldsworth added: “I am aware there is a prob­lem with rats in the area as with many ar­eas.

“I have seen them my­self in Cal­i­for­nia Park while walk­ing my dog.

“It is not pleas­ant and very up­set­ting for res­i­dents. It is of­ten caused with build­ing works.

“I am sur­prised to hear trees have al­ready been cut down. I will make in­quiries to find out why this has hap­pened.”

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