READING residents who have been cut off from access to Thames Valley Park have been left frustrated after council repairs to a riverside walkway have gone on longer than promised. 

As previously reported, Reading Borough Council launched its sixth phase to restore the Kennetside, which runs between the Kenavon Footbridge, near Cholmeley Road, and the Horseshoe Footbridge, in September.

But the latest round of work - costing £720,000 - has gone well past its three-month deadline, leaving those living in Newtown fed up. 

One dog walker has shared her concerns online after noticing access to Thames Valley Park from Newtown was cut off again, writing: "It's really becoming an issue for us. It's the only decent walking place in distance where the dogs can have a run.

"Access was blocked all through the autumn and the company who was contacted to do the work went bust and no work was carried out but the access remained blocked off until a few days before Christmas. No apparently they will block it off again through spring." 

A spokesman for Reading Borough Council said they apologise for any inconvenience and said "public safety must always be our first concern".

The spokesman said all the planned work during the latest phase of the Kennetside project had been completed apart from a final stretch of fencing which will begin in Spring for up to 10 weeks.

Other residents responded to the dog walker's post online, echoing her frustrations. 
One said: "It is frustrating. Lately we have been going to [Thames Valley Park] via Horseshoe Bridge and to the woods behind Tesco and King's Meadows. Not as long and nice as Thames Valley Park but still decent." 

A spokesperson for Reading Borough Council said "All the planned work due to take place during the latest phase of the Kennetside retaining wall strengthening programme was completed, except for a stretch of new fencing we were unable to install due to a section of wall which was found to have collapsed.

"This happened by the gas works on the south side of the River Kennet.

"Due to the nature of the issue and the different repair techniques required, additional approval is needed for the extra work which we expect to begin in spring for up to 10 weeks, at which point we will also install the outstanding fencing.

"As with the previous work, a full closure will be required for safety reasons and a diversion route put in place.

"While we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, public safety must always be our first concern. 

"This further collapse only highlights the condition of this 100-year-old retaining wall and reiterates why we must carry out this essential strengthening work to protect nearby properties, residents and the critical sustainable transport route for cycle and pedestrian travel."

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