A deserted parking lot near the Showcase Cinema that became notorious for the flooding has found new use as a base for a construction company.
The parking lot once served as a Loddon Bridge Park & Ride, which closed permanently in October 2015, in part due to regular flooding. Since then, the site has been deserted.
Today, developer Hochsoll Properties Ltd has obtained a building permit to use the old parking lot as a storage place for construction equipment and vehicles.
There will also be a portacabin on site for staff welfare, and green painted wood and steel fencing to protect the site from intruders.
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The councilors’ biggest concern was the continued flooding in the parking lot.
Councilor Prue Bray, a Liberal Democrat representing Winnersh, said: “This site is inundated. This should not prevent it from being used for storage in the manner intended, as of course there is a risk of flooding.
“One of the floods that occurred on this site in 2007 was catastrophic. A large number of vehicles had to be written off. Lots of people got flood warnings and moved their cars on time, but some didn’t, and some couldn’t even though they got the warning, and that’s because while their cars were parked in a not yet flooded area, they were effectively stranded there. Their exit route was blocked, so the cars could not be moved and their cars ended up being deregistered. I would hate to see vehicles stranded and written off the same way. ”
There was also extensive flooding in February 2009.
She therefore proposed that the promoters be aware that even if some parts of the site cannot be flooded, the access road could be cut off by flood water.
A condition of approval was that no chemicals that could contaminate the nearby Loddon River be stored at the site. Councilor Bill Soane (Conservative) asked if diesel or lubricating oil for vehicles would be stored there.
Planning agent Simon Taylor said storage of diesel and lubricants would be prohibited at the site under the conditions.
The works will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends once the site is ready, and it will be accessible from Bader Way.
Additionally, the developer donated part of the site’s land to allow Wokingham Borough Council to widen the River Loddon Trail and improve the trails leading to Winnersh Triangle Station and Park & Ride.
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The plan was approved by the Wokingham Borough Council planning committee yesterday (Wednesday July 14).
It was approved on the condition that contaminants were not stored on site and that the construction company followed a flood evacuation plan.
The old Loddon Bridge Park and Ride was replaced by the Winnersh Triangle Park and Ride in October 2015.