A DIRECT link between East Reading and the town centre for buses and cyclists is being considered the council's planning committee.

Plans for the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) route were submitted to Reading Borough Council on Tuesday (July 4).

The new route will provide pedestrians and public transport with a direct passage from Thames Valley Business Park and the the proposed site in Wokingham.

However, private vehicles will not be allowed to use the route, which is intended to relieve excessive amounts of traffic along Cemetery Junction and London Road at peak times.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “The scheme is a vital first element of developing a public transport corridor between Reading, Wokingham and Bracknell, and would link to the preferred location for the Third Thames Crossing.

“Let me stress that the proposed new bridge over Kennetmouth, which is part of the MRT, is intended for public transport, cyclist and pedestrian use only.

“During peak hours this proposed bus-only link from Thames Valley Park along Napier Road will save buses up to 15 minutes by bypassing the often congested and slow-moving traffic.”

If approved, work on the MRT route could start as early as 2019, with a view to opening in 2021/22.

Funding has been obtained externally through Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership's growth deal, following a successful bid by the council.

Two public exhibitions will be held on Monday and Thursday at Wokingham Waterside Centre and Reading Town Hall respectively.

Councillor Rob White, Green Party leader, continues to criticise the plans due to the potentially devastating loss of green space.

He added: "We are very concerned that it is going to result in a huge loss of green space in an area that is already struggling.

"The council's own planners slammed the original proposals. It has been an uphill struggle for the Green's.

"We have been saying for some time that we should instead add another level to the park and ride site in Winnersh and encourage visitors to get into the town centre by bus to reduce traffic and pollution."

The artist impression video produced by The Green Party several years ago contains some outdated references.

There are no landscape mitigation measures which are being proposed as part of the current scheme and it does not clearly show how the MRT route will be restricted for buses only.

It does not show the segregated cycle route and footpath, which are a fundamental part of the current scheme and it shows traffic lights controlling Reading Bridge Roundabout, which is not being promoted as part of the current scheme.