A RESIDENT’S petition debated at an extraordinary council meeting has sparked major discussion on the town’s traffic issues.

Clive Chafer, a Wokingham resident, presented the petition to the council at a meeting held on January 19 which later led to a unanimous decision to start a cross- party group that will consider the way forward with regards to traffic.

The petition, signed by more than 2,200 people called for a plan to be put in place to divert traffic out of the town centre rather than “strangling” the town with a growing number of cars.

Mr Chafer said that the town centre’s roads were never built to handle the current traffic levels and that diverting the traffic will lead to returning the town back to its market town status.

He said: “Residents have expressing extreme frustration, this petition was a cry of outrage and pain at what they felt Wokingham was becoming.”

“We cannot make the town centre an attractive place to shop if it’s clogged with traffic.”

Liberal Democrat councillor, Clive Jones, slammed the council for their lack of progress in dealing with the town’s traffic woes and blamed new housing for the increase in traffic.

He said: “No doubt this [petition] has come about from frustration and disappointment that up until now the council and in particular its ruling Conservative party have totally ignored you.

“More and more housing has been allowed and more housing means more and more congestion.”

However, the new plan to start a cross party traffic discussion group will also include residents which will allow the public to directly express their opinions.

Cllr David Lee, executive member for strategic highways and planning, said: “We would also propose that it includes a small number of residents who have shown a great and constructive interest in highways issues.”

Cllr Lee proposed that the group also includes at least one highway officer.

The process of setting up the cross party group will now begin.