READING West Station is set to benefit from a major £3.1 million refurbishment following funding allocated by the Berkshire Local Transport Body (BLTB).
A brand new station building and interchange facilities, improvements to platform facilities and the Tilehurst Road entrance, and better safety and security across the station, all form part of the successful joint funding bid by Reading Borough Council and Great Western Railway (GWR).
The BLTB approved the scheme on January 31st after selecting it as one of a number of projects to benefit from the reallocation of funding for the East Reading Mass Rapid Transit scheme.
The Reading West Station project is consistent with the current Network Rail works to provide a new stepped entrance from the Oxford Road, as part of an overall agreed masterplan for Reading West Station. The scheme does not include the installation of lifts at the station. The installation of lifts would need to include a full rebuild of the station platforms, which is unaffordable.
Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Local Growth Fund money has been allocated subject to approval of a detailed business case, which will be submitted to a future meeting of the BLTB. The Council would contribute £200,000 as part of its own capital programme investment and Network Rail have contributed £940,000 through the recent works at the Oxford Road entrance, which are an essential element of the overall scheme.
As part of the requirements for LEP funding, work at the station would need to begin by March 2021,
Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:
“This is a major refurbishment for Reading West station, the centrepiece of which will be a brand new station building and enhanced interchange at the Oxford Road entrance. There will also be enhancements to platform facilities and to safety and security.
“It is fair to say Reading West Station has been in need of a major facelift for many years. This joint Council and GWR project will deliver a modern station and provide a much more welcoming and safer environment for local residents and commuters.
“This is yet another example of the Council successfully bidding for external funding streams to the benefit local transport infrastructure and local residents in Reading.”
Reading Borough Council withdrew its East Reading MRT planning application last month after it was rejected for a second time by Wokingham’s Planning Applications Committee. Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) subsequently confirmed it had withdrawn £19 million of funding for the scheme as the timescales associated with the funding could not be achieved.
The refurbishment of Reading West Station is one of a range of schemes across Berkshire to benefit from the re-allocated funding. Others include Theale Station Park and Rail Upgrade (£4m) and Coppid Beech Park & Ride (£2.4m).