Wokingham Today

Town centre road to be closed to traffic

- By PHIL CREIGHTON news@wokinghamp­aper.co.uk

A ROAD closed to traffic during the Peach Place works looks set to be shut forever if plans by Wokingham Borough Council are approved.

Luckley Path, a single lane carriagewa­y between Subway and M&Co was originally blocked off to make it safer while demolition and building works took place in the town centre but now the council is proposing the permanent closure in a bid to improve pedestrian safety: not only is the road a single carriagewa­y, it is also a narrow section of pavement.

Josie Wragg, interim director of localities and customer services, said: “The safety of our residents is of paramount importance. Due to the narrowness of the road and building alignments alongside it, it makes it difficult for pedestrian­s to see oncoming vehicles.

“It is also a challenge for those with disabiliti­es and people with pushchairs or prams.

“Vehicles waiting to leave Luckley Path to join the traffic on Peach Street block all users trying to cross, creating a significan­t safety issue. Also vehicles merging with traffic on Peach Street cause congestion at busy times, particular­ly when trying to cross the traffic past Market Place to proceed along Broad Street.”

Wokingham Borough Council argues that the temporary closure has been better for pedestrian­s and not caused any noticeable disturbanc­e to businesses. As a result, it wants to permanentl­y preventing vehicles driving down Luckley Path.

The council is welcoming residents’ views on the proposals – the full plan can be viewed at council offices in Shute End on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. These documents are also available on the council's website and search for ‘TRO’.

Any objections to the proposal, together with grounds on which they are made, should be sent no later than Thursday, April 19. These should be made in writing to the Traffic Management Team or via email at: TM.consultati­ons@ wokingham.gov.uk

The closure of Luckley Path will mean a long detour for anyone from the east of the town returning home from the car park.

They can’t park at the Paddocks as that is now closed, access to the

Elms multi-storey will also require a long diversion once Elms Road is closed, Rose Street car park has gone and, as for the former M&S one, WBC has no plan to retain it. Also, parking restrictio­ns are being extended northwards along Wiltshire Road to prevent free parking and maybe elsewhere.

The only reason for closing this historic route is an attempt to save political face. There are no statistics to justify it on grounds of congestion – the council’s stated PR reason for doing so.

WBC claim the temporary closure of Luckley Path has not affected local trade but, of course, have not produced any evidence. And then there is the inconvenie­nce for residents south of the town centre,

The closure will result in longer journeys on residentia­l roads and create more congestion and of course more pollution, but I guess that’s of no concern to the Shute End hierarchy.

It was recently announced that Broad Street had reopened to traffic. The council however have remained silent on their plan to make Broad Street a toll road.

As can be seen from the photo above, a sign has now been erected at the start of Broad Street when approachin­g from Market Place stating that vehicles are prohibited without a permit – which presumably can be purchased from the WBC offices.

Another money making idea from the Shute End hierarchy.

It could be that the sign is meant to apply to the pedestrian­ised Market Place but if that’s the case it’s been erected in the wrong place. Does anyone in the Highways Department have any idea what’s going on? Peter Humphreys, Wokingham

were unacceptab­ly extreme.

But, whatever the rights and wrongs of this particular instance, the behaviour described is not confined to Wokingham schools – nor to ‘No Uniform’ days. Each morning, in Bracknell, I observe young secondary school girls.

Technicall­y, they ARE in uniform, but their skirts are at the length that you would expect to see on a tennis court – revealing bare flesh – from ankle to thigh – even in the Winter. They must be freezing.

I am bewildered that parents and headteache­rs allow this.

Surely the term, ‘uniform’, implies conformity, regulation, and appropriat­eness. It also implies belonging to an organisati­on, or an institutio­n, with pride!

I gather that one Head, [not local], even had to resort to introducin­g compulsory uniform trousers, instead of skirts, for girls – in order to solve this problem – which appears to be pandemic.

The only local secondary schools of which I have personal experience – because I have visited them to give mental health talks – are Eton College and Wellington College. Their pupils are polite, well behaved, well spoken, and in strict, correct, uniform. I would have expected this also, to be the case, with Wokingham schools. Eton and Wellington have advantages? Nonsense! Good manners and good behaviour cost nothing.

It is always a case of how well young people are trained, and they can all be trained to dress appropriat­ely, to stand up when an adult enters the room, to shake hands, and to speak the Queen’s English.

Of course, you will always get the odd individual who will flout the rules – whatever you do, but most youngsters like the security of having rules, and will do what the adults expect of them.

Furthermor­e, local parents, if struggling with the behaviour of their teenage children, will be relieved to learn, that all the young students, on placement with us, are well-behaved, polite, and conscienti­ous, so Peter Dennis’s points are valid.

Children grow out of adolescent rebellion.

Some educators believe in a freer approach, but some do not.

I recall teaching in a Roman Catholic preparator­y school –where the girls curtsied to us

– as well as shaking hands. Old fashioned, but quite charming!

Roman Catholic schools are generally very well-discipline­d – for do not the Jesuits claim – ‘Give me the child until he is seven, and he is mine for life’?

The Jesuits are right.

Research reveals that you never find Roman Catholics among the worst type of criminals. So early moral discipline pays off, and does not the Bible say – ‘Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’?

Pam Jenkinson, The Wokingham Crisis House

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