Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) has been accused of using “spoiler” tactics to prevent the Third Thames Bridge from progressing.

OCC backed a motion earlier this month by councillor David Bartholomew to reject Reading’s proposals for a Third Thames Bridge.

The motion stated the Third Thames Bridge should only be for public transport, pedestrians and cyclists.

Reading’s lead member for Transport ridiculed the “spoiler” motion and hit out at OCC’s record on public transport.

He said: “Oxfordshire have got a real cheek to say that because their record in support of public transport is abysmal.”

Plans to build a third bridge over the River Thames have repeatedly failed over four decades.

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Oxfordshire councillors say the bridge is inappropriate because of the Climate Emergency and have called for mitigation measures to be fully part of the scheme.

The motion, presented Cllr Bartholomew at an OCC meeting, said: “The bridge would take off at the Thames Valley business park near Reading and land near Playhatch in Oxfordshire.

“The only onwards option for traffic would be through the congested streets of Henley or along the narrow B481 country road through Oxfordshire villages.

“Reading and the other Berkshire councils supporting the scheme are focusing almost entirely on the costs of building the bridge and the benefits it will bring to Reading.

“They recognise that the bridge would have a substantial impact on the Oxfordshire road network, but blithely state this will be dealt with by unspecified and uncosted ‘mitigation measures’.”

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RBC are once again advancing plans for a bridge designed with dedicated public transport lanes.

Cllr Page responded: “If a business case for the Third Thames Bridge to be just for public transport could be justified I would be the first to look at it.

“The Third Thames Bridge wouldn’t be able to offer a bus every two-three minutes like the East Reading MRT proposal.

“I have always said it should have bus priority lanes.

“There is a meeting on October 18. We will see whether Oxfordshire are willing to down properly and talk to us about the mitigation measures that need to be put into place.

“When I met with the new leader of South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) and deputy leader we had the most productive meeting I have had with leaders of SODC in 220 years.

“People coming from South Oxfordshire have to drive through Reading to get to the M4. They get trapped in Reading and realise they would benefit from a bypass.

“It is unacceptable for Reading to be used as a regular shortcut.”