Berkshire

Reading traffic fear over Ikea store plan

Ikea store
Image caption Ikea said it had agreed "potential improvements" to roads near the store

Concerns over traffic congestion around the site of a proposed Ikea store near Reading have been raised by one of the town's MPs.

Alok Sharma, Conservative MP for Reading West, wrote to Conservative-run West Berkshire Council.

Swedish home furnishing store Ikea has submitted a planning application to build a store in Calcot near to Junction 12 of the M4.

Ikea said it had agreed "potential improvements" to roads near the store.

In his letter to the council, Mr Sharma wrote of the plans for Pincents Lane Retail Park: "I welcome the potential creation of new jobs in the area should this application be successful.

"However, this cannot be at the cost of increased pressure on the already congested road network which my constituents currently living in the area have to cope with on a daily basis."

Local elections

All of West Berkshire Council is up for election in the upcoming local elections on 5 May.

Conservative candidate for Calcot and council vice-chairman Councillor Peter Argyle said he could not really comment because he sits on the planning committee and did not want to prejudice the decision.

However, he said: "On the positive side, it's a good thing for the area and will redevelop an old site badly in need of it, and it will bring employment.

"The thing we need to be concerned about is the traffic issue."

Liberal Democrat Calcot candidate Pam Lusby Taylor said: "Job creation is a very good thing.

"The traffic issue is a concern but I believe it will be properly addressed before it's given permission.

"Personally, I welcome the store as I believe many others do and I believe Ikea are going to be very responsible in their opening hours."

Labour candidate for Calcot Gordon Lewis said there were "concerns over traffic as with any major store" but negotiations were under way between the council and Ikea.

"As long as they are resolved it would make an improvement to the area as it's a pretty tatty, redundant site.

Residents 'consulted'

"The key issue is it's next to the motorway junction and it's a busy road at the best of times."

On its website, Ikea said an "extensive" consultation process had been carried out with residents from the surrounding areas.

"The responses have been taken into consideration to help ensure that the final design meets the needs of both Ikea and the surrounding community."

It added: "Since the public exhibitions in September, Ikea has actively worked with West Berkshire Council and the Highways Agency to discuss and agree potential improvements to the highway in the vicinity of the store."

Mr Sharma's Reading West constituency covers parts of both Reading Borough Council and West Berkshire Council.

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