At a planning meeting today at Bristol City Hall, a planning committee expressed strong support for proposals to develop a large part of the Broadmead shopping area but rejected the car park included in plans and its access through Brunswick Square. This comes after local campaigners and Green Party councillors successfully highlighted the air pollution and traffic impacts of the proposed development plan.
The proposed development has been criticised by opponents including Bristol Cycling Campaign and South West Transport Network for overly being car-centric with its proposal for a large multi-storey car park on Bond Street. A 38 Degrees ‘Let Broadmead Breathe’ petition which attracted nearly 900 signatures called on planners to reject the proposal because of the impact on air quality and congestion. Opponents argued the proposal would cause a significant increase in traffic and make it more difficult to access shops by walking or cycling. Delays caused by road works and traffic jams could have a significant impact on journey times of bus passengers and drivers and the increased traffic presence would likely impact significantly on air quality in an area of the city which has long been above the legal limit for air pollution (See air quality report to cabinet here).
Councillor Jerome Thomas, deputy leader of the Green Group, said:
“I’m glad that the planning committee, with support from all political parties, has responded to our concerns in rejecting the car park element of these planning proposals. New development plans must deal with air quality and traffic congestion as key issues rather than treating them as afterthoughts”.
In its consultee comment (available online) Historic England had also expressed concerns over the proposed car park, and noted that “any tall buildings located specifically on the northern boundary of the site are likely to have an impact upon Brunswick Square and Portland Square with Grade I buildings that line all four sides.”
Bristol Cycling Campaign has also objected to the planning proposals and issued the following statement:
“Major developments such as [this one] represent rare opportunities to create the future we want, of a liveable, healthy and prosperous city. These proposals do little to welcome and encourage more active travelling by foot and cycle. It’s just not good enough to provide a few cycling contraflows and shared use pavements, with a relative handful of cycle parking spaces, while including over 500 more car parking spaces.”
In a statement submitted to the committee, Green Party Councillor Cleo Lake argued for an alternative vision, stating: “I would advocate for working towards car free zones with better cycling and pedestrian provision and lower CO2 emissions, following the examples of other major forward thinking European cities such as Oslo and Madrid.”
– The health impacts of air pollution include poor lung development and asthma among children, and deaths from cardiac and respiratory causes among adults. Bristol Council research estimates that around 300 deaths per year (8.5% of deaths in the city) are attributable to air pollution.
– Bristol Green Party has developed a five point plan to tackle the city’s air pollution crisis – for more info see https://bristolgreenparty.org.uk/five-point-plan
Councillor Jerome Thomas
Green Party Councillor Group
Bristol City Council