CAMPAIGNERS are prepared to 'double their efforts' after councillors elected to re-submit a controversial application for a major transport scheme.

Members of Save Our Ancient Riverside (SOAR) objected to the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and were delighted when the neighbouring authority refused the application.

The joint application was approved by Reading Borough Council (RBC) but Wokingham councillors were concerned about the damage to the environment.

As part of the old application, more than 700 trees would have been removed to make way for the dedicated bus, pedestrian and cycle route between Thames Valley Business Park and the town centre.

Reading Chronicle:

John Mullaney, a member of SOAR, said: "RBC's decision to squander further sums of public money on the MRT will be hugely disappointing for the thousands of people opposed to this reckless and nonsensical scheme.

"Wokingham Borough Council rejected the application because of the irrevocable devastation the scheme would cause for so little - if any - benefit.

"There is no way a slightly modified variation on the same scheme can address the fundamental reasons for rejecting the proposal.

"Clearly RBC think they can use the opportunity of presenting a revised scheme to buy themselves time in which to twist the arms of Wokingham's Conservative councillors behind closed doors.

"It is a painfully transparent and cynical move. We will redouble our efforts to fight RBC all the way and ensure Wokingham's decision sticks."

SOAR campaigners held a demonstration outside the civic offices in Reading prior to the meeting in May, which saw councillors vote in favour of the MRT.

Reading Chronicle:

However, less than a month later, the Wokingham planning committee heard the plans and remained concerned about the damage to wildlife.

Councillor Tony Page, RBC's lead member for strategic environment, planning and transport, said the revised application would take the concerns of the campaigners and Wokingham councillors into account.

He added: “Wokingham’s decision last month does not change the fact that this is a joint public transport scheme which has the potential to offer major benefits to people who regularly commute between Wokingham and Reading.

“With many thousands of new homes planned, we simply cannot ignore the huge impact it will have on a limited road network which is already at capacity due to the huge demands on it.

“Council officers are now working on a new planning application which will take into account comments at Wokingham’s planning committee."