'MAJOR' improvements to Reading West Train Station are set to begin next week, which is expected to cause heavy traffic delays in the area.

The £3.3 million train station overhaul is set to begin on Monday, August 16, including new ticket gates at the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances, new toilets, a retail facility, a new bus interchange and improved cycle parking, as well as improvements to the Tilehurst Road entrance.

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Despite the news, a slew of controversies and complaints over the original designs have arisen, which residents have called 'cheap' and 'ugly', with one commenter going as far as calling the plans “a £3 million portacabin”.

Designers have since changed the design to better suit the surrounding environment.

Aside from appearances, residents have also raised concerns over a lack of disabled access to the station, as there are still no plans to include a lift at the station.

The RBC has said that that the council has long lobbied for lifts at the station but Network Rail has not prioritised it for funding at this time. 

Cllr Tony Page, council leader for strategic environment, planning and transport, said: “These preparatory works effectively mark the start of construction of the new and much improved station environment at Reading West.

Reading Chronicle:

"Local residents and passengers will be all too familiar with the regular instances of anti-social behaviour which have blighted the station over very many years.

"A key element of this project is to tackle those issues through the design and day to day operation of a new station."

He detailed that there will be new ticket gates at both the Tilehurst Road and Oxford Road entrances, meaning access to the station is limited to paying passengers only, which is not currently the case.

New lighting, CCTV, toilets, a retail facility and better waiting areas, will all combine with the intention of significantly improving safety and security.

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Cllr Page added: “At the planning consultation stage, the Council took into consideration concerns expressed about access into and in front of the station.

"By marginally moving a bus stop and kerb lines on both sides of the road, the footpath directly in front of the station has been widened.

"These preparatory works begin next week, alongside physical work to create a new bus interchange to make it easier for commuters to easily swap from bus to train, and additional cycle parking.

“Road users who regularly travel along the Oxford Road are asked to build in extra time for their journeys, particularly through the autumn months when the roads are likely to become busier.

"We thank local residents for their patience whilst this important project takes shape.”

Tom MacLachlan, GWR’s regional development manager confirmed that trains will continue to run to and from Reading West throughout the works, and hope to open the new station building next summer.

For more information, visit https://media.reading.gov.uk/news/work-begins-to-transform-reading-west.