£9.6 million Funding for Two New Transport Interchanges Confirmed
Road and rail users in Reading have been handed a major boost with the news the Government has today (Dec 16) confirmed funding for two new transport interchanges at Reading Station.
After months of lobbying by Reading Borough Council and local MPs, the Department for Transport (DfT) today confirmed it would provide £9.6 m in funding to pay for the new interchanges, which will be located to the north and to the south of the redeveloped Reading station building.
The announcement also means work on the new interchanges can be delivered at the same time as Network Rail’s main station improvement works.
In March this year, the DfT gave ’conditional approval’ for the Reading Borough Council scheme. This was frozen as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, but in October reinstatement was offered pending future discussions on the scope and cost of the highways project.
Since then, Council officers have met with the DfT for detailed discussions on the project, with a view to reducing costs to central government, increasing private sector investment and delivering a high quality public interchange area. This has been achieved and Reading Borough Council has now been told that it can progress the scheme which runs parallel with the main rail scheme.
Today’s announcement means that subject to a successful tender process £9.6 million in funding will be released by the Government to progress the scheme. Reading Borough Council will contribute, mainly through private sector funding, £3.6 million.
The news ensures that residents in the Reading area as a whole, and especially the development areas immediately around the station, will have excellent access to all the rail facilities that will be part of the new station.
Also in October this year, the Government announced that the £425million contribution for the next funding period required to complete the station area works is in place. And in November they confirmed that Electrification of the Great Western Mainline will take place through Reading Station by 2017.
The funded scheme will provide more platforms, a new transfer bridge and two new entrances to the station on the north and south sides at the new transfer bridge location just west of the Three Guineas pub. The station upgrade includes new escalators to platforms and new structures throughout the station and this includes changing all the existing canopies.
The new interchanges will provide open access to the refurbished and widened subway giving a significantly improved direct route across the station area for all.