COUNCILLORS are hoping to win over the neighbouring authority after revising plans for a controversial transport scheme.

Options for the proposed East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) scheme will be consulted on in response to concerns raised by Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee earlier this year.

Reading's planning team approved the designs for a dedicated bus, pedestrian and cycle route, but Wokingham councillors raised serious concerns 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 route between Thames Valley Business Park and the town centre.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for planning and transport, said: “The East MRT 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 in the Wokingham and Bracknell areas over the next few years, alongside developments in Reading town centre, we simply cannot ignore the huge impact it will have on a limited road network.

“Reading’s road network is already at capacity. The only solution is to offer people realistic, easy and sustainable travel options which will help to manage future demands on Reading’s roads, including managing levels of congestion and air quality, which we know are major issues in Reading.

“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 London Road/Cemetery Junction/ Forbury Road route. Once this new and faster route has become established, it will significantly increase the attractiveness of public transport services.”

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

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."

A public exhibition will be held at Wokingham Waterside Centre on September 12 to give residents a chance to see the updated plans.