Berkshire

Reading railway station access improvements scaled back

Plans for Reading railway station.
Image caption Reading railway station is being remodelled by Network Rail in an £850m overhaul

A scheme to improve access to Reading railway station has been scaled back because of funding cuts.

The £13m project will receive £9.6m from central government, £5.4m less than originally planned.

Transport Minister Norman Baker announced the funding after Reading Borough Council agreed to reduce the scope and costs of the project.

The station is already undergoing an £850m overhaul, which is due to be complete by 2013.

The council said £3.2m had been cut from the cost of the access project, which will include two transport interchanges to the north and south of the station building.

The original plans, approved in March, were expected to cost £16.4m with the Department for Transport contributing £15m.

'Excellent example'

Mr Baker said: "The department has worked closely with Reading Borough Council to encourage it to review the costs, benefits and scope of the project.

"Reading has met this challenge by reducing the overall cost of the scheme by £3.2m and the department's contribution by £5.4m.

"This has set an excellent example for other local authorities to follow."

Part of the scheme - to improve the junctions of Portman Road with Oxford Road and Caversham Road with Richfield Avenue - has now been deferred.

The council has increased its share of funding from £1.4m to £3.6m using money from private developers.

Work is expected to start in summer 2011 and be complete by autumn 2013.

Network Rail is leading the project to upgrade the railway station, which will include five more platforms and two additional entrances.

A new viaduct will also be built to the west of the station to boost capacity and cut delays.

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