Where exactly do you want to ‘park and ride?’

park and rideThe public consultation on possible sites for a new park and ride to the East of Bath has been opened by Bath & North East Somerset Council.

As part of the consultation and to help residents decide which site they believe the Council should take forward, further details have also now been released about the benefits and challenges of each of the potential sites.

Members of the public are encouraged to share their views by visiting the online consultation page: www.bathnes.gov.uk/eastpandr

The plans for an East of Bath Park & Ride form a key part of the Council’s wider strategy to improve transport, tackle congestion and reduce air pollution levels in and around Bath.

An independent review in 2013 found that there were seven potential sites. Three have been deemed viable.

Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The consultation is now live on the Council’s website, and we would encourage all local residents to take part and give their views on this important transport project. The three sites which are being put forward to consultation are the ones which have been assessed and identified by the Council’s transport officers as the most viable of the seven originally considered. We do not have a preference for which of these three sites should be taken forward – we want to hear which site residents believe would be the most appropriate location and deliver the most benefit in terms of improving transport.”

The three sites for consultation are:

· Land east of A4/A46 junction

o Benefits: near to the city; would accommodate a large number of cars; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping and planting.

o Challenges: poor existing access to London Road; high risk of flooding; part of the River Avon Site of Nature Conservation Interest; inside City of Bath World Heritage Site and Bath Conservation Area; would create a need to replace the existing playing fields elsewhere.

· Land west of Mill Lane

o Benefits: not considered at risk of flooding; outside City of Bath World Heritage Site; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping
and planting; could service a new railway station.
o Challenges: requires new access from A4; might require access from adjoining site with a tunnel under Mill Lane.
· Land east of Mill Lane

o Benefits: low risk of flooding; outside City of Bath World Heritage Site; visual impact could be reduced by landscaping and planting.
o Challenges: requires new access from A4; would be visible to a number of homes.

Cllr Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: ““One of our new administration’s top priorities is to improve local transport – making it easier for residents, businesses and visitors to get around our area. Therefore we’re taking action to meet people’s needs for an east of Bath Park and Ride. We’re keen for people to take a look at the potential sites and give us their views to help us to choose the preferred location.

“Our existing Park and Ride sites are very popular with the public and have recently been expanded. But we also need an additional Park and Ride site to the east of the city to improve access from that side and further reduce traffic coming into the centre unnecessarily.”

The consultation includes:

· A brochure and website where you can look at plans for the different sites and compare their benefits and challenges.
· Exhibitions in Bathampton Village Hall (Saturday 19 September – 2.00pm to 6.00pm) and the Guildhall in Bath (Tuesday 22 September – 4.00pm to 8.00pm).
· More exhibitions are planned, see the Council’s website (www.bathnes.gov.uk/eastpandr) for further updates.
· Meetings with parish councils and other interested local organisations.

The consultation will run until early October. At the end of the consultation, officers will analyse the results, which will be put before councillors in November for a decision. Once a preferred site has been chosen it will be included in the Placemaking Plan later this year.

Objectives for the Park and Ride Scheme:
· To reduce congestion within the city
· To improve the city’s environment
· To reduce car use into the city centre and improve the proportion of journeys made by public transport
· To reduce carbon emissions from transport
· To support the city’s economic development and Enterprise Area
· To improve connectivity to support business and growth of the wider region.

There are currently three Park and Ride sites on the edges of Bath, at Newbridge, Lansdown and Odd Down.