A major new road in Wokingham will not be redesigned for pedestrians and cyclists despite a change in political leadership.

The South Wokingham Distributor Road is one of the major road projects the borough council is undertaking.

Once complete, it will link the Montague Park estate in the southeast of the town to the Tesco Superstore in Finchampstead Road.

The road is being built to serve a 1,600-home development that takes urban Wokingham south of the Reading to Waterloo railway line for the first time.

The project was devised by the council’s previous Conservative administration, and approved by its majority on the planning committee back in May 2021.

READ MORE: Major new road in Wokingham approved despite safety fears

At the time, Liberal Democrats called on the council to divide pedestrians and cyclists by creating a ‘segregated cycle lane’ for the route.

Councillor Peter Dennis (Liberal Democrats, Wescott) said: “A shared pathway leads to conflict between pedestrians, dog walkers, old people, young people, and later conflict with cars.”

Fellow representative Maria Gee said that she would lobby for the route to be redesigned.

READ MORE: Councillor swears to fight for changes for major new road south of Wokingham 

The Liberal Democrats have been in charge of Wokingham Borough Council since 2022, yet no change has been made to the design of the road to create segregated routes for cyclists and pedestrians.

Bracknell News: Plan for what the South Wokingham Distributor Road will look like once built. Residents and councillors expressed concerns that a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists would be dangerous.Plan for what the South Wokingham Distributor Road will look like once built. Residents and councillors expressed concerns that a shared path for pedestrians and cyclists would be dangerous.

Explaining the reason for the lack of a redesign, a council spokesperson said: “Following approval of the planning application in May 2021, the detailed design for the road has now been completed and we are continuing to work with the developers and Homes England to deliver the road on what is a very complex site.

“We should know more in a couple of months.

“The design for, and therefore the available widths of the South Wokingham Distributor Road follows that provided for on the Arborfield Relief Road, North Wokingham Distributor Road and Eastern Gateway, and uses the adopted guidance at the time the road was designed.

“Independent road safety audits conducted on all schemes have found them to be satisfactory and no significant issues have been reported along these routes to date.”

READ MORE: Latest on major road south of Wokingham three years on as houses are demolished

The shared walking and cycling route was initially opposed by neighbours and the Lib Dems after the publication of cycle safety guidelines called LTN 1/20 in July 2020.

The guidelines express a preference for segregated cycle lanes, but still permit shared routes where suitable.

The council spokesperson said: “The proposed shared footway and cycleway provide for facilities along the entire length of the new road, which was reviewed at the time of the planning application against new guidance contained in LTN 1/20.

“Shared facilities are still permitted under that guidance, particularly where forecast flows indicate they are still suitable.

 “The site is constrained by many factors, and changing it now would have an impact on the viability of the development.”

As part of construction works so far, the Eastern Gateway roundabout has been completed which will link the new road to William Heelas Way and Waterloo Road.

Meanwhile,  81, 83 and 85 Finchampstead Road – buildings owned by the council – have been demolished to make way for the ‘Western Gateway’ roundabout.