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Green councillor objects to Broadmead Car Park plans

Bristol Green Councillor Jerome Thomas has put in a statement to one of the council’s planning committees objecting to the continued presence of a large multi-storey car park in city centre development plans. Green councillors support the development of Broadmead but are opposed to the large proposed car park, arguing that it will create more congestion and air pollution in the city centre and delay bus journey times.

Cllr Thomas said “Following pressure from Green councillors and a petition signed by almost 900 people, the Broadmead development proposals were rejected by the council planning committee in November due to the inclusion of a large car park with a disruptive access route. Now the developers have come back with a smaller car park – but the proposed access route off Bond Street means it would still create traffic delays and add to bus journey times, affecting almost all bus routes in the city. I’m aware that there is a need for increased disabled parking in the area but I’m sure the developers could come up with another solution to this.

There are already six multi-storey car parks adjacent to Broadmead and Cabot Circus and I don’t think developers have convincingly shown the need for another one. As a city we need to be encouraging public transport, cycling and walking in the city centre, not throwing up additional parking which will only make Bristol’s traffic problem worse. If this car park is going to be built then at the very least there should be an arrangement where it only opens as an overspill when the one at Cabot Circus is full.”

Background

- As raised previously by Green councillors air pollution levels in the area around Broadmead are already above legal limits. High air pollution levels have a significant impact on health and are linked higher rates of asthma and poor lung development among children, and around 40,000 early deaths per year in the UK 

Statement from Cllr Thomas below:

Statement from Councillor Thomas to Development Control Committee A regarding the proposed development of Callowhill Court car park

For meeting of 10 January 2018

While welcoming the proposed redevelopment of Callowhill Court to enhance the vitality and safeguard the future of Broadmead I am concerned that the proposed car park at Callowhill Court will unnecessarily reduce the capacity of the city’s road network on Bond Street by up to 25-30% at peak times for vehicles travelling west, leading to increased bus journey and other vehicle journey times.

Ideally I believe that the development should have no car park. The developers have shown insufficient evidence of the need for an additional car park and there are already six adjacent to the Broadmead and Cabot Circus area. Bristol already suffers with a great deal of congestion and in 2017 we need city planning that looks beyond outdated car-centric planning. If the Callowhill Court development has no car park this would encourage the use of public transport and promote cleaner air and reduced congestion in the city centre. However, if the development committee believes that there should be a car park, then this Callowhill Court car park of 380 spaces should only operate as an overspill car park for Cabot Circus (with 3,000 spaces). It should operate when Cabot Circus car park is in excess of 90-95% capacity utilisation. This will mean that for most of the times when there is city centre congestion, eg on weekday evenings, the Callowhill Court car park will not be operating and will not be adding to the city’s congestion problems.

It is possible that disabled car parking spaces will be required in Callowhill Court on an ongoing basis, irrespective of whether Cabot Circus is operating at capacity or not. This will minimise travel distances to the new development for people with disabilities. This access could be achieved, either through the goods vehicle left turning entrance (with appropriate electronic recognition of registered vehicles) or with the existing proposed lane configuration with digital signage indicating that the Callowhill Court car park is only open at non-capacity times for disabled car parking, and sensors on the traffic lights on the east-travelling Bond Street right turning lane detecting vehicles accordingly and operating the traffic lights appropriately.

Imposing this condition on the Callowhill Court car park, that it only operates when the Cabot Circus car park is at capacity, would be consistent with the requirement for planning conditions that they be precise, relevant and enforceable. It is also the kind of approach that should be straightforward for a city that claims to be ‘smart’.

I have discussed this approach with Gary Collins, the Head of Development Management at BCC, with the head of planning at Hammersons, Phillipa Zieba, and with James Freeman,  MD of First Bus. Supporting this approach could allow committee members to be both supportive of the development and show that they are serious about taking action to improve the city’s air quality and reduce the city’s traffic congestion problems.

Jerome Thomas

Green Party Councillor

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