I wish to draw the attention of the Lead Member (and indeed the whole Executive) to the lack of any concrete recommendations to improve parking at Twyford Station, this is in the report that you are meant to be receiving later in this meeting where CrossRail services, at Twyford added to those from GWR, are going to provide increased passenger traffic and car parking needs. The report, as far as Twyford is concerned, only offers a proposal to appoint external consultants to review a Park and Ride possibility. The Executive needs to be aware that GWR has changed its mind since October 2015 when there was a meeting at Windsor Guildhall facilitated by the Royal Borough where GWR CEO claimed there were no plans, at that stage, to improve facilities at Twyford. That was vigorously contested by WUG, the Wargrave Train User Group which I lead, with generous support from Theresa May our MP. Earlier this month, however, Mark Hopwood changed his mind and publicly declared the need for improved car parking at Twyford and this was prominently reported in the Twyford Advertiser. However reading the report I feel that Wokingham Borough Council does not appear to be engaged in this change of plan.
Will the Lead Member therefore please clarify, especially given the extra time that has been given for him and the Executive to digest this report which was published over two months ago, just where the Borough stands in facilitating the provision of significantly improved car parking at Twyford Station?
The Council has had discussions with both the operator (GWR) and Network Rail about the issues of parking at Twyford Station. All parties are well aware of the pressure on the site and the desire for more parking to be made available. The Council was supportive of a bid by GWR for government funding to increase the size of the station car park but this bid was not successful. As stated in the question there is a proposal for a very limited increase in spaces at the station car park and this is currently being considered by Officers. This is an additional 40 spaces that we are looking at the moment in conjunction with GWR.
The site of the station in Twyford means there are limited opportunities to provide additional parking other than the station car park itself. The station and its car park are operated by GWR and as such the form of the car park and how it is operated are outside our control. We will continue to work with the operator to develop options but there are no immediate plans for any significant increase in the number of spaces at Twyford station.
We do however have plans for significantly improving the bus service from Twyford to Wokingham and this will offer some commuters a viable alternative option to travel to and from the station and may help reduce the pressure on the car park.
I do have some other information to impart but before I do that would you like to ask your supplementary?
It would appear that your remarks do not take into account the latest moves by GWR for a one or two-deck car park. This is what I surmise from what you said and I think that needs to be brought up to date. I think it would have had more credibility for me in your reply if you had mentioned that Wokingham station, and its car park which was revamped two years ago, was done under the NSIQ (National Station Improvement Programme run by Network Rail) and that is not mentioned in the report at all.
Councillor Kaiser and the Executive I think need to take note that the reports only recommendation for improving car parking at Wargrave station is, and I express it after careful thought, absurd. Page 50 of the agenda and paragraph 11.32 refer. The double yellow lines at the junction of Station Road and Watermans Way which the report considers should be removed and would permit, I suggest, about six extra spaces were installed about 10 years ago to permit boat delivery vehicles to access and leave Bushnells Marina safely and avoid the junction being blocked by parked vehicles.
With the Lead Member confirm the absurd recommendation to remove the double yellow lines will be ignored?
Keith Baker confirmed as follows: Those are the recommendations of the Task and Finish Group, that was sporn from one of our scrutiny committees, and we will be looking at those and deciding whether they are appropriate or not so your comment on the double yellow line we will be looking at whether it is appropriate or not.
We do have a meeting tomorrow with GWR and we will be speaking to them about their plans around the station car park. I am not quite sure whether they will double deck that car park because they have only got another two years, I believe, to run on the franchise so they may not see that investment coming forward from them. When, if, they are successful winning the franchise then I expect they will.
There are other solutions at Twyford which do involve discussions with some of the local people and that is something that we will be taking forward.
The other thing we will be doing as well, and Keith has made reference to it, is we are implementing civil parking enforcement next year and as part of that process we will actually look at all the traffic orders that we have got out there to ensure that they are sensible, that they meet the latest regulations and that is why it takes nearly two years to get civil parking enforcement completed.
With regards to Twyford it is something we are concerned about, we see Crossrail 2019 coming forward, and it is something we are in constant discussion with them over.
I cannot say any more than that but we are currently looking at something a lot wider than would be apparent to anybody looking at this report.