Life in Berkshire’s most connected community – where parking is a problem

Life in Berkshire's most connected community - where parking is a problem

The bustling road is just minutes from everything you could possibly need

Exterior of Cafe Yolk
Cafe Yolk in Erleigh Road (Image: BerkshireLive)

A road in Reading is the place to be if you want quick access to vital parts of modern life.

The student areas of Erleigh Road and Junction Road in Reading has been named Berkshire’s most connected place.

But you might struggle to find a parking space outside your door.

The road is right in the middle of the town, and people there are just minutes away from a range of vital facilities like schools and GP surgeries.

It’s a stark contrast to the least connected places in the wilds of West Berkshire.

It’s a bustling area with cafés, shops and hundreds of student homes but it has it’s downsides, and parking is one of them.

Due to its proximity to the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the town centre, strict parking restrictions and lots of cars, mean it can be tricky to find somewhere to park.

But for those who can live without a car, it is as quick to get around on foot, on average it’s six minutes walk to a primary school and 10 minutes walk to a secondary school.

And it’s seven and eight minutes respectively by car.

There’s a GP within six minutes walk, and the hospital is 10 minutes walk, eight minutes in a car and presumably even less in an ambulance.

Heathrow Airport is 84 minutes by public transport or 42 minutes by car, while Reading Station is around 20 minutes walk.

What’s it like to live there?

Man stood behind counter in convenience store
Hafiz Gulfraz, who owns Punjab Foods in Reading (Image: BerkshireLive)

The first thing you notice when you visit the road is that the businesses are very much catered for the student population.

There are two estate agents dealing with student property, as well as a dry cleaner, various convenience stores, and one of Reading’s many Co-Ops.

We went into Cafe Yolk, an award-winning cafe, to find out more.

Owner Alexandra Mangat told BerkshireLive : “This area is known as a student area but we get a lot of traffic through the day.

“We get people coming in early for breakfast, then parents after school time and the students a bit later.

“It’s a very nice place here.

“There’s a real mix of people.”

We also spoke to Hafiz Gulfraz, who owns Punjab Foods in the road.

He has owned the shop for 20 years, and says the area is a nice place

However, he said changes to parking have had a real impact on the business.

He said: “Reading Borough Council have reduced the amount of time people can park for which means not as many people come here.

“We used to make a good living here, but we struggle now.

“It’s a really nice place to be.

“The people are nice and there are very few problems with crime and things like that.

“But the parking issue is a big one for us and other businesses.”

Erleigh road road sign
Erleigh Road in Reading is the most connected place (Image: BerkshireLive)

We also spoke to a student living in the area.

The woman, who is in her third year, asked not to be named but said: “It’s great around here.

“There’s everything we need.

“The Co-Op is a lifesaver and there’s the Tesco nearby too.

“There’s a doctor’s down the road as well.

“There’s pretty much everything a student would need.”

How it works

Reach PLC’s Data Unit and used a study based on official figures, published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The data ranks 32,844 neighbourhoods in Great Britain based around how long it takes an average person to reach primary and secondary schools, GP surgeries and food shops, plus major railway stations and major airports.

The ONS data breaks down England into neighbourhoods, or ‘lower super output areas’, which contain roughly the same number of people (around 1,500 in all).

That means neighbourhoods in densely-populated cities and towns tend to be much smaller, and average travel times to key services tend to be shorter.

Lightly-populated neighbourhoods are bigger and tend to fare much worse in the rankings.

The travel times show the average time it takes to get to key services for all people living in a particular neighbourhood.

‘Major’ airports are those with at least one per cent of UK air traffic, while ‘major’ rail stations are those which are considered, for official purposes, to be national or regional hubs.

Where is the country’s most connected place?

Surprise, surprise, it’s in London.

Shadwell is the best connected neighbourhood in England.

The area – bounded by Watney Market to the west and St Marys Cable Street to the East – benefits from three schools, a wide variety of food shops, a connecting rail station, and a GPs surgery within just a few streets.

It’s proximity to London City Airport means the average person living there is only 21 minutes away by car, or 35 minutes by public transport.

Where is the most isolated community in the country?

The least connected place in England in the tiny area of Teignbridge in Devon, including the villages of Poundsgate to Moretonhampstead.

The average person here is 51 minutes away from the nearest primary school and nearly two hours from the nearest secondary school.

The nearest hospital is two hours away on public transport, as are the nearest airports and train stations.

By car it’s two hours to the airport and two hours and 20 minutes to the nearest station.

News from Berkshire Live

Written by Editor

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