The Cookham Plan - Transport and Traffic




9   The Pound


The Pound forms part of the B road, the B4447.  The Pound has been the subject of many reviews and studies over a long period of time.  A few years ago, three humps were installed, at each end and in the middle of The Pound.  More recently, the eastern hump was replaced by a raised pedestrian crossing, close to the junction with Terry’s Lane.


9.1.1             Road and Pavement

The distance of the road and pavement from Spencers to Anchor Court is around 180 metres.  The Group has mapped the pavement width (see chart in widening The Pound section).  At its narrowest part, the pavement is 62cm wide, but the width varies at different points along its length.


9.1.2             Traffic Survey

At the request of the TTWG and Councillor Stretton, the RBWM Highways Department carried out a traffic survey.  This took place between Saturday 14th June and Monday 23rd June.  The most significant data relates to the period from Monday 16thJune and Friday 20th June.  The survey used digital cameras which not only count the vehicles; they also measure vehicle length and speed.  The survey was conducted 24/7 and this was during school term time.  The week therefore was typical of peak time traffic.  The cameras measured traffic in both directions.


The traffic flows are shown in the table below.  These cover the five working days 16-20 June 2008.


9.1.3             Traffic Flows











24 Hrs
























Peak (8-9)
















Peak (17-18)

























24 Hrs
























Peak (8-9)
















Peak (17-18)









This shows that over a working week, there are 49,000 vehicle movements.  43,000 of these are between 7a.m. and 7p.m.  At the morning peak from 8a.m.-9a.m., there were 457 vehicles passing from west to east and 548 from east to west, a total of 1005, or one every 3.6 seconds.  At the evening peak between 5p.m. and 6p.m., the west bound flow averaged 543 vehicles and eastbound 394 vehicles, a combined total of 937 vehicles, or one every 3.8 seconds.


9.1.4             Vehicle Length

The figures for vehicle length for the same period were as follows:-


Vehicle length


Up to 5.2m






Over 11.5m



To put these lengths into context, please note the dimensions of the vehicles below:-


Ford Fiesta


Ford Mondeo


Ford Transit (shortest)


Ford Transit (longest)


42 seat single decked bus (Optare Tempo)



9.1.5             Speed

The table below shows the average speed for all traffic, plus the % of traffic travelling between 20-25mph and those above 25mph.  No traffic exceeded 30mph.



Average speed (mph)

% 20-25mph

% over 25mph

24 Hrs












Peak (8-9)








Peak (17-18)





9.1.6             Conclusions from the traffic survey

  • The weekday traffic flows through The Pound are heavy (at peak times around a vehicle every 3.6 seconds) and do not vary substantially from day to day.

  • The vast majority of vehicles are cars, and there are very few vehicles over 11.5 metres and only 2% above van size.

  • The average speeds are below the speed limit and vehicles exceeding 25mph were less than 1%.  No vehicle exceeded 30mph.


9.1.7       Safety

A survey was carried out among parents of children attending Holy Trinity School in 2005.  16 parents reported concerns about the proximity of traffic when walking through The Pound.  There were no reports of actual accidents.


The RBWM Highways Department has no reports of accidents involving personal injury, and this was confirmed by PC de Haan.  However, there have been reports of pedestrians being clipped by wing mirrors. 


The Pound is not on the RBWM list of potential accident black spots.


9.1.8             Conclusions relating to traffic and safety

There is an anomaly between the fears of pedestrians and actual accident statistics.  The conclusions are:-


  • Traffic for the most part flows steadily through The Pound, at speeds below the 20mph limit.  The traffic calming measures are effective.

  • The pavement is narrow in parts, and leads to fears among some users, particularly those with children.

  • The narrowness of the road and pavement appears to have created a self-regulating environment.


9.1.9             Objectives and areas for study

It is clear that a safer environment for pedestrians would be desirable, while at the same time maintaining traffic flow and avoiding creating congestion.


The objectives for the team studying The Pound were defined as:-  

  • To widen the footpath and provide easier access for pedestrians, particularly those with pushchairs.

  • To maintain traffic flows.

The potential solutions to be evaluated were:-

  • A southern bypass.

  • A Gyratory system through Poundfield.

  • A footpath north of The Pound.

  • Widening the footpath and narrowing the road.

  •  Limited widening of the footpath at its narrowest points.

  • None of the above (the status quo option).

The remainder of this section of the report evaluates each of these options in turn

1.2  Gyratory System

9.2   Southern Bypass


9.2.1       Background 

This was one of the options examined by the previous Traffic and Transport team, which did not recommend that a feasibility study be carried out.


9.2.2             The Route

The previous Traffic and Transport team did not evaluate a specific route.  There appear to be two routes to consider.


The first would run west from Sutton Road (A4094), at a point north of Sutton Cottage, joining Maidenhead Road at a point north of Lightlands Lane and to the north of Cannondown railway bridge.


The second would run from the A4094 at a point to the south of Widbrook Common to the B4446 at a point probably just east of the railway bridge to the north of Furze Platt station, and would be a slightly longer route.


Each route would bypass The Pound for traffic not going to Cookham Rise.


Both routes would traverse Green Belt land and the Strande stream, and both would have a minimum distance in excess of 1000 metres.  The cost of road building is estimated at between £500 and £1500 a metre for the road alone.  Additional costs would be incurred for land purchase and the building of bridges as this route would traverse the flood plain.  A southern bypass has been proposed in the past, to be financed by a developer, in return for permission to build houses.


If this road was built, the volumes of traffic through The Pound would be reduced, but it would not, by itself, provide a safer environment for pedestrians, who would still be negotiating a narrow path adjacent to traffic.  If traffic volumes through The Pound decreased, traffic speeds might increase, although the traffic calming measures appear to be working, as shown by the traffic survey results which appear earlier in this report.


9.2.3             Summary                     Advantages


·      None.  It does not improve pedestrian safety.                        Disadvantages 

·      It would cut across green belt, with potentially harmful environmental effects.

·      It might reduce safety in The Pound, if it resulted in higher traffic speeds.

·      It would be expensive, well in excess of £1m, especially for the longer southern route.

·      It would risk adjacent land being used for housing development.

·      Litigation could arise from householders close to either route, whose property values would be reduced.


9.2.4             Recommendation

This group endorses the conclusion of the previous working group that this option would not achieve the objectives and that a feasibility study should not be undertaken


9.3   Gyratory System


9.3.1       Background - Recommendations from the previous Cookham Plan

Pages 10 and 11 of the Cookham plan set out the background and made a number of recommendations:


Pages 10 and 11 of the Cookham plan set out the background and made a number of recommendations:

·      No.1: A feasibility study on the construction of a new road across Poundfield to Terry’s Lane being part of a clockwise one way Gyratory system.

·      No.5: Considerations of the financial implications of the proposals given the scale and that the sites are privately owned. 

Page 7 of the Cookham Plan (Summary of Major Recommendation) recommended (Point No. 1) that a comprehensive feasibility study of a road across Poundfield to Terry’s Lane be carried out.

9.3.2             Remit

The TTWG was tasked with reviewing the validity and impact of the Gyratory road proposal routing through Poundfield, The Pound and Terry’s Lane.


9.3.3           Executive Summary 

The Gyratory Road is not a valid solution to the pedestrian safety and congestion problems.  It would be difficult to meet the RBWM road width requirements on some sections of the route, namely Terry’s Lane.

If implemented, the Gyratory Road would not bring benefits justified by the cost and would significantly urbanise The Poundfield area.  It would bring pollution and it would have a detrimental impact on the wildlife, local amenity, heritage, tourism and residents.  It would also open up the possibility for the development of the whole of The Poundfield area.

9.3.4             Routing

The precise positioning of the path of the new road in the original Cookham Plan is unclear – the map was described as an indicative route.  Investigation by this team identified two possible routes.

The first route would run along the existing Poundfield Land past Anchor Court, up the hill, past the front of three houses before bending to the right across open fields and cutting down through several hedges before meeting Terry’s Lane.  This route runs across land owned by a local farmer.  It would also absorb part of the field known as “the pony field”.

An alternative route would again commence at the entrance to Poundfield Lane continuing past Anchor Court before bending to the right and cutting across the field in front of Englefield House.  It would then pass through privately owned land belonging to several residents to join Terry’s Lane.  This route is shorter but would involve the co-operation of these residents, who have expressed concern and are opposed to selling land for this purpose.  This route would therefore require complex and expensive compulsory land purchase in accordance with the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.

The arguments presented in this report are applicable to both routes.




The Gyratory routes reviewed are marked in grey.  The blue route relates to a footpath to the north of The Pound and is discussed elsewhere in this report   -  (click for larger image)  

9.3.5             Impact

The proposed Gyratory route commencing at the junction of The Pound and Poundfield Lane was examined.  The following points were noted:-

9.3.6             Urbanisation:

  1. The proposed Gyratory Road would cut across an existing Conservation Area.
  2. Poundfield lane is an unmade road providing access only to residential properties before reducing to a narrow footpath.  It is flanked by hedging amongst much of its length.  The Gyratory Road would require this lane and footpath to be upgraded to a “B” road, involving removal of hedgerows, to widen it to 6m, plus the installation of a 2m wide pedestrian pavement on both sides (totalling 10m) and would probably require lighting to be installed along its entire length at 10m – 20m intervals to comply with RBWM planning policy (see Appendix A).
  3. The mini roundabout near the Nursery school would probably need to be re-sited and enlarged resulting in the loss of green verge on the corner of The Pound and Maidenhead Road.
  4. The proposed Gyratory Road would join Terry’s lane, which is currently a narrow country lane supporting low traffic volumes.  Incorporating Terry’s Lane into the Gyratory system would require upgrading it to a “B” road, widening it to 6m and installing a 2m wide pavement and also possibly lighting on both sides.  In some places, the construction of the road to meet RBWM current width specifications would encroach on residential properties and gardens, restricting their width, with the likelihood of incurring further compulsory purchase and compensation costs.
  5. The Gyratory Road would run along the existing Terry’s Lane to join The Pound.  The bottom of Terry’s Lane is very narrow and at its narrowest point it is flanked by a listed wall (the boundary wall of the Old Farm House).  To accommodate the Gyratory Road the listed wall would have to be moved back several metres and the garage building of The Old Farm House demolished.
  6. The proposed Gyratory Road would open the opportunity for the development of the whole of The Poundfield area which has always been strongly opposed and was previously overturned in 1990 by the then Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine.


9.3.7       Wildlife:

Poundfield Lane hedgerows and the surrounding meadows are currently designated a conservation area, which is abundant with wildlife including deer, rabbits, foxes and a huge array of birds, butterflies and insects.  The proposed Gyratory Road would result in the loss of hedgerows which form the backbone of wildlife habitat.


9.3.8             Amenity:

Poundfield Lane currently provides access to the open space at Poundfield, the golf course and the river beyond.  This public right of way is used by many walkers, horse riders, tourists, children walking to school, cyclists and ramblers.  The local nursery school uses the lane as a safe nature walk to observe wildlife and the changing seasons. It is an invaluable and important part of the Cookham scene.  Upgrading this lane and footpath to a “B” road would greatly reduce the amenity of the lane for the majority of users.


9.3.9             Heritage and Tourism:

The proposed Gyratory Road would cut through the view of Poundfield across to Cliveden captured by the celebrated local artist, Sir Stanley Spencer and threatens to destroy a significant piece of Cookham’s artistic history.  Tourists are attracted to Cookham for, among other things, its Stanley Spencer heritage, its views, tranquillity and beauty.  This would be compromised by the Gyratory Road.


9.3.10         Pollution:

  1. Traffic travelling from Cookham Village and headed for Poundfield Lane and Terry’s Lane would be forced through The Pound by the Gyratory system.

  2. All vehicles travelling from Station Hill and Maidenhead Road would drive up Poundfield Lane and down Terry’s Lane, effectively doubling the distance travelled.  This would significantly increase pollution from fumes and noise in The Poundfield area and there would be increased light pollution if lighting were installed.

9.3.11       Residents:

  1. The proposed Gyratory Road would run very close to several houses along the route, as well as the Anchor Court flats.

  2. Residents living along the route of the proposed Gyratory Road would be significantly inconvenienced by major road works and possibly impacted by light pollution from street lamps.

  3. Residents living along the whole route would be significantly inconvenienced by restricted one way access to their properties.

  4. Residents living along The Poundfield Lane and Terry’s Lane sections of the route would be impacted by noise and fumes pollution from increased traffic volume.

  5. Residents living along the north side of The Pound and in any houses in Poundfield Lane or Terry’s Lane enclosed by the Gyratory Road would be living on a large traffic island.

  6. Several properties would suffer considerable devaluation resulting in probable litigation.


9.3.12       Cost

The RBWM Highways Dept. has provided the Traffic and Transport Group with an estimate of the cost of road building.  It is a broad range, from £500 the £1500 per metre.  The road length is estimated to be between 490 and 620 metres giving a cost of between £0.3m and £0.9m for the road alone.  Additional costs would be incurred for remedial upgrading of the road surface and pavements on The Pound and Terry’s Lane, re-siting of the electrical infrastructure and the sewers.  There would be further costs from litigation, compulsory purchase and compensation.  It is likely that these costs would be prohibitive unless paid for by a property developer in return for building rights in The Poundfield area.


9.3.13         Validity

The Gyratory Road was proposed in the original Cookham Plan as a solution to the congestion and pedestrian safety issue in The Pound.  The pros and cons of this are explored below:


9.3.14         Pros:

  1. A one way Gyratory Road through The Pound would allow a wider pavement to be constructed.

  2. Traffic in The Pound would reduce, because it would be one way.


9.3.15       Cons:

  1. The Gyratory Road would have a significant environmental impact – urbanisation, increased light and noise pollution and loss of some habitat, particularly hedgerows.

  2. The cost would be high – construction costs, infrastructure costs, compulsory purchase, compensation and legal expenses.

  3. There would be additional risks to pedestrians using The Pound due to the requirement to cross the Gyratory Road at Poundfield Lane and the likelihood of higher traffic speeds in The Pound resulting from one way traffic.

  4. The quality of life of residents living adjacent to the Gyratory Road would be reduced.

  5. There would be the risk of housing development in The Poundfield area.

  6. There would be fierce opposition from the local community.


9.3.16       Conclusion and Recommendation


The Gyratory Road proposal, on balance, has more disadvantages than advantages.  This proposal should be dropped.  A full feasibility study, as set out in Recommendation No.1 of the withdrawn Cookham Plan, is clearly not justified.


9.4   Footpath North of the Pound


9.4.1       Background

The previous and now withdrawn Cookham Plan investigated the possibility of a footpath to the rear of the properties north of The Pound, across the south end of Poundfield.  This was considered because of concerns about pedestrian safety due to the narrowness of the existing footpath.  This proposal was rejected due to access problems at the eastern end.


9.4.2             Remit

Despite the original rejection of this proposal, the TTWG undertook to re-investigate the viability of such a path.


9.4.3             Identification of suggested route

Although the precise intended route was not clear, for the purpose of this review it has been assumed that the suggested footpath diversion would begin from the Station Hill/Pound mini-roundabout. It would run up Poundfield Lane to a point beyond the gardens of the Anchor Court flats and the adjacent access lane to properties, then across the southern part of Poundfield, close to properties in The Pound. For practical and safety purposes, it would be necessary for the path to exit the field at the east end at the wide area of The Pound near the roundabout by Spencers, close to the pedestrian crossing.



The pedestrian path is highlighted in blue.  The grey routes relate to the Gyratory system and are discussed elsewhere in these reports


9.4.4             Result

The Group, physically and with detailed maps, investigated the area of the eastern end of The Pound and the bottom end of Terry’s Lane. The eastern end of The Pound consists of cottages within their gardens, the house on the corner of Terry’s Lane and the Spencers public house. It was found that there are no possible gaps, which would serve as an exit route from behind the cottages to The Pound.


The bottom of Terry’s Lane is very narrow and without a continuous pavement so, although considered, was a less viable alternative, and again there were properties with no possible exits. One very narrow track which had been suggested was discounted. This is in triple ownership as a drive to three properties, so is in continuous use by vehicles. It was also considered to be too far up Terry’s Lane to be of any use for the purpose, particularly as the bottom of Terry’s Lane is narrow and without a continuous, safe pavement.


The only open area which could be considered as an exit route at all was the car park of Spencers pub, so the Group contacted Mr. Alan Barwise, Enforcement Officer and Legal Executive at the RBWM, about the possibility and legal implications of this. However, Mr. Barwise and his colleague in charge of RBWM footpaths gave opinions on what they felt would be strong objections from the public, residents, Police and RBWM to the general idea of such a footpath. The main points they made are listed below.


9.4.5             Public Safety and Legal Issues 

·        Both PC de Haan and Alan Barwise advised that “concealed” footpaths carry a risk of criminal activity, which could affect both residents and the general public.  Several footpaths in maidenhead and one in Cookham have been closed for this reason.

·        The RBWM would be likely to advise that the path would be lit for safety reasons, resulting in a some light pollution in the Conservation Area.

·       There would be strong objections from residents which could involve legal actions.


9.4.6       Access issues:

The Group confirmed that Spencers car park is not directly accessible from Poundfield, and to reach it would require compulsory purchase orders for sections of the gardens of two properties in The Pound. This would be likely to incur a legal battle for which the RBWM would not be prepared to meet the cost. As well as payment, owners could also claim compensation for the devaluation of their homes, due to the footpath.  


As for the possibility of using a route through the pub car park, Mr. Barwise advised that breweries are only too aware of property values as, nowadays, they may have to sell a pub as a private house. They would therefore not be likely to part with land as a right of way or want an adjacent permanent footpath which would devalue their property in the longer term, as permission could not be rescinded. Spencers pub is about to be extended and the brewery would have even less reason to give up any valuable parking space.


A casual arrangement requesting permission from the brewery for the public to walk through the car park would not be acceptable, as far as the RBWM is concerned, in view of the need for their permanent compulsory purchase of private gardens for access. It could also give the brewery a greater insurance liability.  


9.4.7             A possible footpath behind the houses south of The Pound

The idea of a footpath to the rear of properties on the south side of The Pound was also investigated by the Group, but the complications regarding the layout of the various gardens and drives would make such a route impossible.  


9.4.8             Conclusion

The former Cookham Plan’s T & T team and this Group’s research, with the benefit of Mr. Barwise’s expert opinion, has confirmed that this suggestion is both impractical and unacceptable. Mr. Barwise advised the Group to work with the RBWM on the subject of pedestrian safety in The Pound.


{The Parish Council supports the idea of this footpath, in principle and would like to retain and explore this idea further at such a time when land ownership makes this a possible option.  At present this is not a viable option.}  


9.5   Widening Footpath or Constructing Throats


9.5.1       Introduction and Objectives

It is worthwhile to repeat the objectives of the studies into The Pound and the footpath.  These are:-

·      To widen the footpath and provide easier access for pedestrians, particularly those with pushchairs.

·      To maintain traffic flows.


9.5.2             Options

There are two options:-


  1. Constructing a full width footpath and narrowing the road.  Three traffic throats would need to be constructed, and sections of The Pound would become one-way.

  2. The footpath would be widened at its narrowest points.  Traffic flow would not be affected

Please note that the RBWM Highways Dept. have rejected other options such as traffic lights.


9.5.3             Option 1 – Full width footpath and traffic throats

This option has been partly evaluated by the RBWM Highways Department.  Three throats would need to be constructed at The Pound’s narrowest points in order to accommodate a wider footpath, but would still be wide enough to allow buses, refuse collection and emergency service vehicles to pass through.


For pedestrians, this would provide a safer route – there would be greater separation from traffic and there would be space for wheelchairs and pushchairs.


There are two problems with this option.



For motorists, there would inevitably be additional congestion.  The RBWM Highways Department concurred with this judgement.  There are junctions at both ends of The Pound, but at the western end, there is the junction of Maidenhead Road, Station Parade (leading to Lower Road) and The Pound itself.  There is a level crossing close to this junction.


The traffic survey has shown that the traffic flow through The Pound at peaks times averaged 1005 vehicles during the morning peak (8-9a.m.) and 937 vehicles during the evening peak (5-6p.m.).  The RBWM Highways does not have access to a computer model which would calculate the effect of the throats.  However, westbound traffic would back up across the Moor and eastbound traffic would back up along both Maidenhead Road and Station Parade.  Traffic turning right from Station Parade into Maidenhead road would be delayed by traffic entering The Pound from Maidenhead Road, which would have priority (box junction hatching might help to alleviate this).  If the congestion was severe, traffic would back up across the railway line.  Journey times would increase and there would be the risk of gridlock at the western end of The Pound.


Access for residents

A majority of the properties access their properties directly from The Pound.  Several more properties enter and leave The Pound by a driveway.  Although the residents would be able to enter and exit, the throats would create more continuous traffic and make it harder to negotiate their way out into The Pound.  

Residents of The Pound have not been consulted on the traffic “Throats” proposal.  However, from informal soundings of several residents, it would seem that there would be strong opposition to the proposal.  The reasons are:-


·      The present system works well, especially for coming out into The Pound.

·      Traffic throats may impede access to their houses, especially for larger vehicles.

·      Residents may suffer increased pollution, loss of property value and the scheme could give rise to litigation.



The cost of this option has not been calculated, but it would be considerably less expensive than the southern bypass, the Gyratory system or the footpath options.  It would not involve compulsory purchase.


9.5.4             Option 2 – Widening the footpath at critical points while maintaining two-way traffic flow.


The width of the footpath along The Pound varies considerably along its length, as the chart below shows.

wpe21.jpg (85386 bytes)

click for larger image 




At its widest, the path is 112cms wide and at its narrowest it is 62cm wide.  Most of the path does not meet the 1metre criterion, and there are three pinch points.  These are at the western end at the entrance to The Pound, outside Hayden’s Cottage and there are posts outside the Swan Uppers public house.

  transp44.jpg (57380 bytes)


click on photo for larger image


The owners of Hayden’s Cottage have volunteered to have part of their wall moved so that the pavement could be widened at its narrowest point.  The wall would have to be reinstated using the original materials and bricks and under the advice of the Conservation Officer


There are other parts of The Pound where the pavement could be widened, for example, opposite Spencers where the southern footpath has become redundant since the installation of the pedestrian crossing.


It would not be possible to widen the pavement at Old Oak Cottage, and this section would remain at its current width of 70-80cms.  This would be adequate for the majority of pushchairs.


The research undertaken by the team indicates that the pavement could be widened at its narrowest points without reducing the traffic flow and that this would improve the feeling of safety for pedestrians.



The cost of carrying out this work is not known.  However, if the residents were willing to co-operate, this could be achieved without litigation or compulsory purchase (with the exception of Hayden’s Cottage, the Group has not been in contact with other residents who would be affected).  Potentially the improvements to the pavement could be achieved at a reasonable cost, and would certainly be much lower than the Southern Bypass, the Gyratory System or the footpath north of The Pound.

Additional Safety Measures

The Group notes that since the hump adjacent to Terry’s Lane was reconstructed to incorporate the pedestrian crossing, the slope of the hump (known as the attack angle) is shallower.  This means that traffic can travel across the hump at higher speeds.  The Group recommends that both the attack angle (slope) and the height of the table top relative to the carriageway should comply with the recommended standard as specified in the Transport Research Laboratory report (Project Report 18 – Road Humps for controlling vehicle speeds).


The majority of the Group also recommends the construction of a fourth hump mid-way between the pedestrian crossing hump and the one facing Old Oak Tree Cottage.  This would mean that the distance between humps would conform to that recommended in the report referred to in the above paragraph.


The Parish Council is assured by RBWM that the pedestrian crossing is legal and legitimate. The Parish Council is happy with the crossing and would not support changes in the attack angle of the slope or any other alteration unless there were safety issues that would justify a case for re-investigation. The Parish Council agreed with the minority recommendation that a fourth hump is not required.




1)      The Group concluded that option 2 is the better option.

2)      The Group recommends that a detailed plan be drawn up with the RBWM Highways Department to establish how a wider pavement could be built.

3)      The Group recommends that the “throats” proposal is withdrawn.

4)      The Group recommends that the additional work on the humps as mentioned above be carried out.