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Housing Minister announces multi-million pound support for Eastern Relief Road – University of Reading

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Housing Minister announces multi-million pound support for Eastern Relief Road

Release Date 12 March 2013

University of Reading VC Sir David Bell with Minister for Housing, Mark Prisk, representatives of Wokingham Borough Council and Bovis homes

The University of Reading, in partnership with Wokingham Borough Council, has secured an investment of almost £25 million for the Shinfield Eastern Relief Road, a key constituent of the infrastructure to underpin the development of good-quality housing in Wokingham Borough. The funding was announced by the Minister of State for Housing and Local Government Mark Prisk on Tuesday 12 March.

The investment will support proposals to build nearly 2,400 new homes as well as the University's proposed 18,580sqm Science and Innovation Park south of the M4. Around 780 new jobs would be created through this investment in the road by unlocking the wider housing and science park developments.

The Eastern Relief Road is a vital part of the borough council's vision for major development around Shinfield, Spencers Wood and Three Mile Cross (known collectively as the South of M4 Strategic Development Location - SDL). The road will help alleviate the impact of increased traffic caused by the developments by removing through traffic on the A327 in Shinfield. The road will link the A327 south of Shinfield with the Black Boy roundabout and will include a new road bridge over the M4. The money will also allow the relief road to be built at an early stage of the SDL development and alleviating the impact of construction traffic. It will also provide an early access route for the University of Reading's planned Science and Innovation Park, near Shinfield.

The investment for the road was secured by a bid put together by Wokingham Borough Council and the University of Reading. It will come in the form of a loan from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to the University of Reading.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Reading, said: "We are delighted that the government's Local Infrastructure Fund is supporting the development of Shinfield West. The University of Reading is anchored firmly in its local community, yet prepared to develop its assets to drive wider economic growth across the region. This funding will speed the process of developing the infrastructure required to build much needed housing, develop our Science and Innovation Park and create jobs. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Wokingham Borough Council and its residents to realise these schemes and bring significant benefits to the area."

Leader of Wokingham Borough Council, Councillor David Lee said: "This funding follows on from the borough's success in recently securing £2.5 million support from Central Government for its drive to ensure good quality housing developments that are accompanied by the right infrastructure. Our vision has always been to ensure that new housing in the borough does not come in a piecemeal manner but rather is delivered in a planned, joined up manner with the roads, schools, community facilities and open spaces necessary to make successful communities and this support is a vital step in that direction."

Colin Molton, HCA Executive Director for the South and South West, said: "Wokingham needs more homes to support the growth planned for the Borough, but this can't happen without the investment in the Eastern Relief Road that the Minister has announced. This will play a vital part in supporting growth in a way that helps develop sustainable communities by providing a better road network and hundreds of new jobs and new homes to Wokingham. We have worked hard to bring this complex agreement together in a very tight timeframe. Now the hard work really starts and we will be focused on ensuring that everything is in place so that work on building the new road can begin soon."

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