About the Current Bridge

Whitchurch Bridge

The Reconstruction of Whitchurch Bridge - information is on a separate page

Pangbourne Approach Road


Whitchurch Bridge (updated 25th April 2015)

Whitchurch Bridge carries the B471 over the River Thames between Pangbourne in West Berkshire, and Whitchurch-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. It lies within the civil parish of Whitchurch-on-Thames, which in turn lies within the district of South Oxfordshire and the county of Oxfordshire.

Whitchurch Bridge lies within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the Whitchurch-on-Thames Conservation Area, and is a Grade II listed structure for planning purposes. The local Planning authority is South Oxfordshire District Council.

The Bridge is subject to an environmental weight limit of 7.5 tonnes mgw, as is the B471 through Whitchurch-on-Thames.  Access to the Bridge is restricted by a low railway over-Bridge (11 feet headroom) on the Pangbourne (south) approach, and limited road widths and a steep hill in Whitchurch-on-Thames.

The Bridge was closed for reconstruction in October 2013 and reopened on 19th September 2014 - details here.  Details of the old Bridge are on the History page

Pangbourne Approach Road (updated 14th November 2018)

We asked our engineering consultants Peter Brett Associates (PBA) to identify options for widening the Pangbourne approach road. Their Report proposed various options and after local consultation we later asked them to evaluate a further option - a "path through the trees" - suggested by a local resident. That Addendum Report is here. All the options are constrained by the trees, topography and other features of the local area.

After careful consideration we decided on PBA's option C2 as our preferred option. This would widen the narrowest part of the road from 4.7m to 5.2 m - the same width as the road on the Bridge - and widen about 20m of the footway from 1m to 1.5m. The kerbside rumble strip would be replaced, the roadway and footway resurfaced, and the speed limit signage improved.  Estimated costs for option C2 are higher than expected and we will be looking at ways to reduce these, as on present estimates we could not afford to do the works before 2020. Our neighbours, Pangbourne Parish Council and Pangbourne Medical Practice, have both kindly agreed in principle to further option C2 site investigations and works on their property.

PBA have had discussions with West Berkshire Council (WBC) and we have received WBC's formal Pre-application Advice.   A key point from the Highway Safety section starting on page 3 is:

"In the case of this application, where highway safety concerns may be finely balanced against conservation of the setting of a heritage asset it will be important to support a planning application with a soundly reasoned justification in terms of the highway safety rationale for the improvements, including details of the accident record for the site [and] the highway safety concerns that the works seek to address."

Our safety signage by the footways urges people to take care (avoiding accidents is of course the priority) and also asks that any accidents or incidents that do occur be reported to us. However, our records of safety-related incidents on our property include no recent accidents on the Pangbourne approach road, so at this time we cannot meet this particular WBC condition to justify the works.

Because of this Planning obstacle and the costs associated with option C2 it may be some time before we are ready to proceed. We have therefore decided to proceed immediately with planning a traffic calming scheme which will join up with the Pangbourne 20 mph zone to give a clear and continuous 20mph speed limit from the Toll Booth, over the Bridge and along Whitchurch Road into Pangbourne.  The scheme will include new 20 mph signs at the Toll Booth, a tidying up of the signage at the boundary of the Pangbourne 20 mph zone outside the Boathouse Surgery, proactive "Slow Down" signs, and the reinstatement of the roadway rumble strip alongside the Pangbourne approach road footway kerb.  These works will slow down traffic and help address pedestrians' perception of safety. Planning work  is almost complete: however, at the request of Pangbourne traders there is an embargo on local street works until after Christmas so the works will not take place until January 2019. The works may require a road closure from 0930 -1500 hrs on one or more days.