Reading’s deputy council leader has made a final plea for Wokingham councillors to back a revised controversial transport scheme ahead of a vote next week.

Wokingham Borough Council’s (WBC) planning committee will consider the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) plans on Wednesday, December 12.

The authority rejected an earlier proposal in June “due to its height and scale and its prominent and sensitive location”.

The main adaptation to the 800m dedicated bus, pedestrian and cycle route, which aims to tackle congestion in East Reading, is the inclusion of plants and natural vegetation on the bridge.

Campaigners have criticised the scheme for its environmental impact on the riverside and “negligible” impact on congestion.

Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, highlighted the “wider strategic significance” and said the route would provide a “missing link” to “thousands".

He said: “In order to absorb the huge growth in housing in the Wokingham and Reading areas, projects of this sort are absolutely essential.”

“There were some legitimate concerns raised and we accepted that.

“I am hopeful that the changes will be sufficient to persuade the majority of the [WBC] planning committee that this is a scheme worthy of supporting.”

He called on his labour colleagues at WBC reconsider their position after doing “a bit more homework”.

The first proposal was opposed by Labour committee member Carl Doran and lost by one vote (5-4).

Cllr Page said he regretted being in dispute with WBC’s Labour contingent and hoped they would back the new proposal.

He added: “It is not a scheme which has suddenly sprung out of Reading and it reflects close working between the authorities over many years. There has been even closer working since the refusal.”

At a public consultation in September, 89 per cent of attendees said the additions would not help the scheme.

WBC’s report, ahead of the decisive December 12 meeting, states that the benefits of the scheme outweigh the enivornmental impact on the riverside.

Cllr Page said the council had looked at a boat and ferry service (“it’s romantic but not great if you’re going to work”) and a train station at TVP, which Network Rail rejected.

He added: “This is the only option to regenerate this part of the riverside.”

John Mullaney, Save Our Ancient Riverside campaigner, called the scheme an "exercise in political hubris".

He said: "When the council have no money, why is [Cllr Page] intent on pushing through a scheme that will have such a meagre impact on congestion and will actually worsen it at Vastern Rd?"