Bus lane bridge campaigners release hilarious Downfall spoof ahead of crunch planning committee vote

Wokingham Planning committee to meet on Wednesday, December 12

A HILARIOUS new video has been released by campaigners hoping to a stop a concrete bus lane bridge being built at a historic riverside location.

Campaigners have taken the popular internet meme of a clip from the movie Downfall – which charts the last days of Hitler’s regime during the Second World War – and adds appropriate English subtitles over the Fuhrer’s deranged ranting.

Members of the Facebook group  Thames Riverside Is Not A Dump Tony Page  released the video ahead of Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee considering the scheme at a meeting on Wednesday, December 12.

The plan would see a concrete bus lane bridge built from Thames Valley Park into part of what is Tesco’s car park. The scheme crosses Wokingham and Reading’s borough boundaries. While Reading has already approved its side, despite fierce opposition, Wokingham turned it down in June.

A revised plan is to be discussed when Wokingham Borough Council’s planning committee meets from 7pm on Wednesday.

The video – which contains adult language – pretends that Hitler is unhappy with the plans for the single track bus lane bridge, which is called an MRT (mass rapid transit) scheme by Reading Borough Council, something that was disputed by Wokingham councillors in June.

At one point, he says of the cost of the proposed scheme: “For £28 million i want to fly into Reading on a Condor that s***s liquid gold!

“For a poxy £400 grand, you could establish a low emission zone and cut congestion by 30%!

“If Wokingham get duped into voting this second application through, I swear by Reading’s world-class rat epidemic I’m going to wear [Reading Borough Council deputy leader Tony] Page’s balls as ear-rings!

“All the evidence says it’s a s*** plan, but Page won’t listen.”

The campaigners also use humour to draw attention to the dangers that cyclists will face on the Reading side of the plan: once they come off the bus lane bridge, they will have to cycle along Napier Road and cross one of the busiest roundabouts in Reading to get to the rear entrance to Reading’s railway station in Vastern Road.

“‘Segregated cycle route’ my a***!” Hitler rants. “More bull**** aimed at us cyclists.

“I love cycling but you need a bloody death wish to ride on Napier Road and that’s without hundreds of f***ing buses thundering past.”

And Hitler also suggests that the buses would need ‘vertical take off and landing capability’ to cope with rush hour traffic.

“It would be a bastard miracle if a single bus ran on time,” he adds.

“Anyone can see this cat’s turd of a plan isn’t fit for f***ing purpose.

“One man’s vanity clusterf*** and to hell with everybody else.”

In closing captions, the video says: “The controversial MRT scheme proposal has been widely condemned by politicians, transport consultations and environmentalists, while over 4,000 residents have signed petitions against it.”

When Wokingham’s planning committee looked at the original plans in June, submitted by Reading Borough Council, they rejected them, with Cllr Wayne Smith (Cons, Hurst) focusing on the trees lost as a result of the plans: “I have the utmost sympathy for the protestors, it is very picturesque.

“I can’t see how it’s going to work, it’s going to cost a lot of money. Taxpayers in Reading and Wokingham are going to have to pay for this.”

The proposal is for a single lane bus bridge over the historic Thameside at the Kennetmouth – the area where the Kennet & Avon Canal starts and merges with the River Thames.

It is part of the Thames Path and, if the bridge was to be approved, it would dwarf two listed bridges built by Brunel: a railway bridge and a horseshoe bridge for pedestrians.

SOAR – Save Our Ancient Riverside – did not produce the video, but it is arguing that alternative plans that cost a lot less money would be preferable to concreting over the riverside area.

They say that a congestion charging trial could cost £31,000.

When the revised proposal was announced, Councillor Tony Page, Reading Borough Council’s Lead Member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said:

“The revised East MRT application includes visual enhancements which further reduce the impact of the scheme on the riverside setting.

“The scheme has been amended following a period of public consultation and the improvements are in addition to other changes made to the original scheme which include reducing the width of the structure at its nearest point to the Thames, the installation of three timber mooring platforms and the creation of marshy wetlands under the structure.

“This may be a revised scheme but is important not to lose sight of the major public transport and other environmental benefits of the original scheme which remain the same.

“This is a new public transport, cycling and walking route which will offer people travelling between Reading and Wokingham quicker bus journey times, more public transport capacity a new segregated and lit cycle route. It will also help manage levels of congestion and air quality to mitigate the thousands of new homes which will be built in the area over the next few years.

“Without this scheme roads in East Reading would have to face even worse congestion and pollution.

“The solution is to develop new public transport alternatives that offer a faster alternative to tens of thousands of new car journeys.”

Updated: The original version of the article said that SOAR was behind the video. It is not. We apologise for this error. 

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Phil Creighton

Editor of The Wokingham Paper, and has worked in local journalism for more than 20 years including the Wokingham Times, Bracknell Standard and Reading Evening Post. He's also written for computer magazines, The Baptist Times and, to his delight and probably not yours, interviewed several Doctor Whos.

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