Calls for alternative roads made over plans to permanently close Chequers Bridge

Calls for the Government and Network Rail to pay for new roads in Langley, were made at a Slough Borough Council meeting last night (Thursday) over current proposals for the Western Rail Approach to Heathrow (WRAtH).

A motion submitted at the meeting on Thursday, June 7 said current proposals for the new railway would cause ‘serious traffic issues’.

Under Network Rail’s current proposals, Chequers Bridge, which lies between Market Lane in Langley and Hollow Hill Lane in Iver, will have to be permanently closed.

The railway bridge was temporarily closed by the council between August 2016 and January 2017 as part of an experiment to see how it would impact traffic, causing severe congestion and enraging motorists.

The motion called for Network Rail and the Government to ensure alternative routes were provided in the event of Chequers Bridge closing.

“Furthermore this council undertakes to liaise and co-operate with nearby councils to ensure effective influence to facilitate alternative routes,” adds the motion, put forward by Langley St Marys ward Councillor Ted Plenty (Lab) and seconded by Cllr Amarpreet Dhaliwal (Con).

Cllr Plenty dismissed claims in Network Rail documentation that traffic would not be made worse by its plans as ‘just nonsense’.

He expressed concerns about air pollution caused by traffic and questioned whether or not the council would be able to impose an air quality management area around Langley.

He accused Network Rail of not ensuring adequate mitigation measures and said it was trying to do the project ‘on the cheap’.

Cllr Dhaliwal said current plans to ease traffic, like changes to traffic lights in town will not be enough.

He added: “We need to work hard and we need to make sure that we do secure a level crossing for the people of Langley.

“It’s evidentially possible and at one point the funds were there.”

Slough Conservative Group leader Cllr Wayne Strutton (Haymill and Lynch Hill) said: “One of the interesting things about this is when they first came to us they said there was no need to close Market Lane. It’s amazing how much changes during this process.”

Most councillors at the meeting in Chalvey Community Centre, in Chalvey Road, were supportive of WRAtH as a project and thought it would benefit the town, but oppose the lack of mitigation provided.

Council leader Cllr James Swindlehurst (Lab, Cippenham Green) said he was happy to see a topic both sides of the chamber could work on together.

He added: “We can certainly raise funding towards it, but I don’t intend to do that without the people who are making this problem, as it were, do some of the heavy lifting as well.

“I think we can get an outcome that is actually better than the road that’s there now.”

Councillors voted in favour of the motion.


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