Station revamp vital for growth
A MAJOR player in the Reading Station regeneration project has hailed the multi-million pound project as essential for the town's economic growth.
The improvements are in the second of seven stages which, when completed in 2015, will include a modernised station with complete disabled access, wider bridges on Cow Lane and five new platforms.
Peter Brett Associates are transport consultants to Reading Borough Council and were heavily involved in the plans, including talks to secure £425m of Government funding from Government for the £863m scheme.
Scott Wichalls, a partner at Peter Brett Associates, said: "I think these improvement are absolutely fundamental to the growth of the town and will boost it by putting it a lot higher up in the list of places where companies want to base themselves.
"Providing good, reliable high-speed access to London is a big advantage we already have and these improvements will increase that reliability and the comfort of our visitors."
Mr Witchalls is optimistic that a more attractive and efficient station will have benefits for all sectors of the local economy and all parts of the town.
He added: "Improved transport options will mean companies already based here will be able to attract more high-skilled workers to commute to the area. But it works both ways. If someone wants to move south to work in London they will be attracted to Reading because of the improved transport."
Although Mr Witchalls is pleased with the progress made on the station, he believes Reading can not afford to stand still and has picked out one of the next priorities.
Mr Witchalls said: "High-speed broadband should be a given really and needs to be sorted in the next few years. The Thames Valley as a whole is lagging behind many other regions in this respect and we need to address it.
"The technology is there but unfortunately, because of the infrastructure of the area, installing it across the town means digging up roads, pavements and buildings to lay the cables. It's not easy."
Mr Witchalls will be speaking at the Thames Valley Property Forum on the future of Reading's transport, alongside Paul Newman from Network Rail at the Reading Holiday Inn, IQ Winnersh, on Thursday, September 8.
For a full schedule and to book visit www.tvpf.co.uk
This article appeared in Reading Chronicle 01 Sep 11
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Sep 14, 10:04
Peter Bretts Associates are also on the board of Reading UK CIC and are there to promote this - no conflict of interest especially when Reading UK CIC is made up of the council staff. Perhaps Scott Witchalls should have said that it is fundamental to the developments round the station and to the development of road networks for which they act as consultants.
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