Residents sceptical after Twyford parish councillor drops car park suggestion

Will Taylor

Allotment users remain sceptical over whether Twyford Parish Council will continue to evaluate a proposal to use their land as station car parking.

A new group, the Twyford Allotments Tenants’ Association, has been formed this month to keep pressure on the council and persuade it to avoid advancing plans to add extra parking space on the Hurst Road allotments.

Cllr Merv Boniface proposed in July that councillors consider transforming sections of the site, which the council owns, to help alleviate the parking problem at the station.

However, at an extraordinary general meeting on Wednesday, September 14, he withdrew his suggestion.

Despite the withdrawal, a member of the association’s committee, Malcolm Bray, of Colleton Drive, worried it only delayed their concerns ‘for a month’, until the next council meeting.

He said: “I am not convinced it is off the table.

“It won’t be until someone in authority says ‘we have got something different’ for parking.

“We have got to keep reminding them that the council has its obligations and duties to the allotment holders.”

The extraordinary meeting was called specifically to address the allotment issue, and assess whether the council needed to set up a new sub-committee for it.

Cllr Boniface’s withdrawal ended the meeting early, and meant it did not need to be discussed, but that did nothing to abate the concerns of the 30 residents that attended.

It is an issue that has galvanised residents, with some attending the various parish council meetings to monitor what is discussed.

At the meeting, Cllr Boniface said he raised the question due to his fear the allotments would be compulsorily purchased for Crossrail regardless, and that in light of ‘rumours’ about ‘massive’ house-building to be included in Wokingham’s forthcoming plan, there will be ‘bigger battles’ to fight.

However, when asked later by the Advertiser for details on his withdrawal of the question, Cllr Boniface said he could not speak to the press due to a ‘standing order’ enacted by Twyford Parish Council which forbids councillors speaking personally to the media.

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