In the Summer of 2014 Wokingham Borough Council held a consultation about the preferred route of the South
Wokingham Distributor Road (SWDR). A feasibility study looked at three possible routes for the road (a route to the
north close to the Waterloo railway line, a route through the centre of the developments and a route in the south
of the development area). This study has identified the central route as the technically deliverable route and also
identified a need for improvements to the Peacock Lane link to Jennetts Park. Over 80% of replies, including that
from the Society’s Executive Committee, supported this route, but with a variation (called option B1) as the road
approaches the Finchampstead Road that had been urged by a number of local residents.
The Council agreed to proceed with the chosen route, subject to analysing the technical feasibility of the B1 option.
In September 2015 the Council announced that it and Network Rail had agreed early delivery of what is being called the Eastern Gateway element of the SWDR. This will secure funding to provide the bridge over the railway from Montague Park and continue the SWDR as far as Waterloo Road. Because that new connection will allow traffic to use alternative routes, the Waterloo Road railway crossing can then be closed as planned.
Detailed arrangements for delivery of the eastern Gateway section were made available for public comment in July 2017, followed by a planning application in the Autumn. Completion is expected in 2020 as work continues through the Covid-19 crisis.
Design work has been completed for the central (Spine) and Western Gateway/junction with Finchampstead Road sections of the SWDR. These have been subject to drop-in sessions and a subsequent planning application in February 2020. The application was amended to include provision for large offset roundabouts at the Finchampstead Road and Molly Millars Lane junctions, necessitating the compulsory purchase of two houses. It is now proposed not to replace the railway bridge carrying the Reading-Waterloo line, the use of this part of the road by HGVs having considerably reduced and the cost of that work being prohibitive. A decision on the application is awaited, with no indication of when the work is expected to start or finish if it is approved.