Park & Ride East to go ahead.

So now we know. B&NE’s inner Cabinet have selected their chosen location for an east of Bath Park & Ride on site B  – that’s if they are able to actually buy the land west of Mill Lane. They say they’re going for a smaller scheme than originally intended.

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The Cabinet plump for Site B.

If there is no deal on land purchase, they will revert to a plot on the other side of the road.

It’s a decision they took at a Guildhall meeting which brought hundreds of very vocal demonstrators to the street outside.

People who did not want to see any encroachment onto Bathampton meadows.

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Demonstrators outside Bath’s Guildhall.

It remains to be seen if those who oppose the siting of the scheme will continue to find ways to delay or change this decision – but they have made it very clear that the battle to stop the park and ride is not over yet.

A press statement from the Council reads as follows:

‘A new Park & Ride to the east of Bath is a key part of the Council’s wider plan to improve local transport, tackle congestion and support the continued growth of the city and local economy. This includes a package of transport measures such as improvements to the road network, cycle-ways and public transport.

The Council took the decision in November 2015 to move forward with plans for a Park and Ride to the east of the city following more than ten years of studies, reports and consultations on the issue.

Every day more than 73,000 people travel into Bath by car* – a figure which is predicted to rise to 96,000 people a day by 2029. This is alongside growth of around 7,000 new homes and 11,000 new jobs in the city by 2035 which, with the new Bath Enterprise Zone, is expected to grow the local economy by £1.2bn by 2030.

Councillor Tim Warren (Conservative, Mendip), Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, said: “Over the past year, the Council has undertaken an exhaustive process looking at all the potential locations for the long-discussed eastern Park & Ride. The conclusions of this analysis were that both sites B and F are suitable to meet the established needs for an east of Bath Park & Ride.

However, after careful consideration, the Cabinet has decided to select site B as our preferred location because it offers the greatest potential for a future link to the local railway line and is less visible to those living closest. It is near to the city and well-located for cars coming from the A4, A46 and A363.

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Possible lay out for Site B

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The view from Bathampton Down – after one year – if Site B is chosen. Council illustration.

“However, whilst site B is our preferred location, its use is subject to the purchase of the land and securing agreement from Highways England over access from the bypass. As site F would also offer a suitable alternative, if these outstanding matters cannot be agreed the Cabinet has agreed to revert to site F, which is within the Council’s ownership.”

Explaining the decision to move forward with plans for the Park and Ride, Councillor Warren added: “Bath will continue to see significant growth over the coming years, with thousands of new homes and jobs being created at major regeneration sites in the city. We therefore need to plan now for how to manage the additional demand this will put on our road network, and a new Park & Ride forms an important part of our wider plan to improve transport, tackle congestion and support the growth of our economy.  All our studies show that without a new Park & Ride, traffic will be worse in the years ahead.

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The view from Bathampton Down – after fifteen years – if Site B is chosen. Council illustration.

“However, whilst we must plan for the future, we also understand the concerns raised by residents in the local area and have taken these on board in reaching our decision. We are proposing to build a smaller site than originally planned, with extensive screening. This will be coupled with improved signage to encourage greater use of Lansdown Park & Ride by those arriving from the north.”

Why site B:

Site B with 800 spaces is located within close proximity to the city

Site B would attract users from the A4, A46 and A363

Site B is outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and not within the floodplain

Site B has the potential for a rail link in the future

Those living closest to site B have the least view of it

Improving transport and planning for the future

Councillor Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “The east of Bath is the most congested part of our road network, and is the only side of the city which does not currently benefit from a Park & Ride. Without intervention, including a Park & Ride, this will only get worse as the city continues to grow with more jobs and housing.

“Our current three Park & Rides are used by more than two million passengers a year, a figure which has grown by sixteen per cent since 2009, and their usage will continue to grow as more and more people travel into Bath to work and visit.

“The need for an eastern Park & Ride is therefore well-established, and has the support of local business organisations, residents associations and transport lobby groups.

“Building the long-discussed eastern Park & Ride is therefore an important part of our wider plan to keep Bath moving, which also includes greater provision for cycling and walking, better rail services through the MetroWest project, and bringing forward plans for an A36-A46 link road to reduce through-traffic in Bath.”

Next steps

Members of the public will have the opportunity to continue to put forward their views as part of the formal planning process.

Councillor Clarke said: “The next steps for the Council will now be to progress discussions over the land and highway access, with further work on the design, screening and mitigations as part of preparations for a full planning application.”

More information is available via the Council’s website at: www.bathnes.gov.uk/East-of-Bath-Park-and-Ride.

For details of the Cabinet papers, please visit: https://democracy.bathnes.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=122&MId=4962

*Traffic count in accordance with Department for Transport guidelines. Figure includes people who have destinations within Bath and excludes those travelling through Bath.

Key statistics

73,000 people travel into Bath daily. This is expected to grow to 96,000 by 2029.

The economy is expected to grow by £1.2bn by 2030.

11,000 new homes and 7,000 new jobs by 2035.

Existing Park & Ride sites carry more than two million passengers a year and have grown by 16% since 2009.

They are expected to continue to grow to capacity over the coming years.

A new Park & Ride to the east of the city will reduce traffic movements by around 2,000 cars in each direction daily.

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‘After the ball is over’. The demonstrators have gone – but left their placards behind them.