A campaign to revitalise the riverside in Reading and Wokingham kicked off on Saturday with a stream of ideas generated including a mural on the Horseshoe Bridge.

Campaigners who successfully opposed a controversial segregated bus, cycle and walking route along the Thames riverside are now looking for ideas to revamp the pathway.

The area which campaigners are looking to improve is roughly from the Tesco, on Napier Road, to the Wokingham Waterside Centre but also includes a small part of the River Kennet.


Save Our Ancient Riverside (SOAR) campaigned against the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) scheme, which was rejected by Wokingham Borough Council twice last year.

It was then withdrawn by Reading Borough Council (RBC) in January.

Reading Chronicle:

The now-shelved plan for the MRT.

READ AGAIN: 'Lipstick on a pig' - campaigning against the riverside MRT plan 

The campaigners are now focusing on how Reading’s ‘wildlife corridor’ can be improved.

Residents and councillors joined SOAR at Kennet Mouth, by the Horseshoe Bridge, on Saturday, May 11.

Reading Chronicle:

Wokingham councillors Shirley Boyt, Andy Croy and Carl Doran were joined by RBC councillors Tony Page, Mohammed Ayub, Karen Rowland, Brenda McGonigle and Josh Williams.

Ideas generated include:

  • A mural on the Horseshoe Bridge
  • History and information boards
  • Preserving and restoring Kennet Mouth mosaic and plaque and cleaning up the area around it
  • Segregated cycle/pedestrian paths
  • Picnic areas, toilets and a café
  • Benches and bins
  • A city farm

One contributor even suggested a ‘Clooney Bridge’, though it is not entirely clear what this would be.

Following Saturday’s idea-gathering event, SOAR will host a public meeting in autumn, presenting the ‘feasible ideas which gathered the most enthusiasm’, before beginning the process of how to instigate them.

The campaign group will then seek approval from landowners for a shortlist of ideas.

Landowners of the riverside land between Wokingham and Reading include RBC, Wokingham Borough Council, Network Rail, the University of Reading and Tesco.

The group would then look to raise funding through various channels.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport at RBC, has suggested using the plans the council had developed to mitigate the environmental impact of the MRT, such as softening the riverbank and installing moorings.

These were already backed by the Environment Agency as part of the MRT scheme.

To submit your ideas to the group visit https://padlet.com/newtchaser/Kennetmouth