Sharma urges Council to listen to local residents on bus stop site

Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, is calling on Reading Borough Council to take a common sense approach and listen to the residents of Oak Tree House in Dee Park over the site of their local bus stop.

Due to the construction works taking place during the redevelopment of Dee Park, the location of the bus stop on Spey Road has been moved several times and local residents are now in dispute with Reading Borough Council over where the bus stop should be located. Oak Tree House residents are currently organising a petition, which they plan to send to the Council and already has nearly 200 signatures.

The bus stop was previously temporarily placed in front of Oak Tree House, which is the location preferred by residents, but has since been moved to a location situated round the corner and uphill from Oak Tree House. Residents at Oak Tree House, which provides sheltered housing exclusively for people over 55, have asked the Council to move the bus stop back in front of Oak Tree House, so that it is easily accessible to elderly residents.

Alok has written on behalf of the Oak Tree House residents to Reading Borough Council, which is ultimately responsible for the location of the bus stop, but the Council has rejected the residents’ request. In rejecting the bus stop location favoured by residents, the Council claimed that the stop utilised the ambulance bay in front for Oak Tree House.

Alok Sharma said: “The Council have demonstrated a complete lack of understanding about the difficulties these elderly residents face walking uphill to the current location of the bus stop, particularly in the winter months when there is likely to be ice on the pavements. I fear this is an accident waiting to happen.”

Alok continued: “Residents have told me that during the 18 months the bus stop was located in front of Oak Tree House there were never any issues, and the bus stop is large enough to accommodate a large bus and an ambulance. The temporary bus stop should be moved back in front of Oak Tree House, which is the location preferred by residents, and  the Council should consult residents over the permanent site of the bus stop when construction works have concluded.”

Michael Moran, the manager at Oak Tree House said: “Since Oak Tree House opened nearly 2 years ago I have heard only positive feedback from residents about the bus stop’s location.  Being able to get on a local bus with ease from right outside their front door is convenient for residents and it supports and encourages their independence. Returning this valuable bus stop would be a great New Years gift for many people.”

Photos: Alok Sharma with Oak Tree House residents at the former bus stop site