1 September 2017
Bristol Green councillors today raised concerns about the impact on congestion and air quality of proposed plans to redevelop the Broadmead shopping area in the City Centre. The councillors added their concerns to those raised by groups such as Bristol Cycling and Historic England about the impact of the expansion, particularly as regards the expected car park (with space for 580 cars) which would be built with the entrance on Bond Street, adjacent to the current Fabricland store. The plans are due to be discussed at a City Hall planning meeting on September 6th.
Jerome Thomas, Green councillor for Clifton, stressed that while he wasn’t opposed to plans to redevelop Broadmead itself, and supported the concept of ‘pedestrianising’ more of the city centre, the proposed additional car park and its access were flawed for a variety of reasons.
Councillor Thomas said: “At almost 600 spaces the proposed car parking will bring a large number of additional cars into our already over-congested city centre, in an area of the city where air pollution levels already exceed the legal limit. Required additional traffic lights, and plans to route incoming traffic into the car park through York Street via Gloucester Street and Brunswick Square look set to create traffic chaos. To further complicate matters this will coincide with the re-routing of buses that currently pass Cabot Circus via The Horsefair. The air quality levels in this part of the city centre are already far above the legal limits and the additional car traffic and congestion would only add to this problem. The council therefore risks failing in its plans (and its legal duty) to reduce air pollution levels before it has even begun to properly address them. In addition there is little evidence in the planning documents I have seen that the impact of these changes on pedestrian and cyclist access has been properly considered.”
Councillor Eleanor Combley, leader of the Green Group also highlighted that proposals were cycling unfriendly. “We all know that cars take up far more space on the roads than an equal number of people travelling by foot, bus or bike. These plans would prioritise cars and discourage cyclists and walkers with unsafe and busy access through traffic. I welcome investment in making the city centre a more appealing destination, and in particular the plans in this proposal to create a larger and more attractive pedestrianised area, but additional car journeys make that aim harder to achieve. Bristol already has problems with air quality and congestion – new development should seek to make that better, not worse.”
“If you oppose these changes then make your voice heard. My colleague Councillor Bolton has started a petition on 38 degrees called ‘Let Broadmead Breathe’ which calls on the planners and Bristol Council to reject development plans due to the car park. You can also submit a statement to the planning committee by noon on Tuesday September 5th.”