Conservative Leader Councillor Mark Weston is to move a resolution at this month’s Full Council (Tuesday, 13th September) which calls for a review of the transport plan for the new Arena.
In early April, the Development Control Committee, finally gave the go-ahead for the development in the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone to proceed following a short delay from its earlier meeting held in March.
At the time, this deferral (to allow for clarification on the mitigation measures around travel to and from the venue) was controversially labelled as playing ‘politics’ by the former City Mayor.
After assurances given by officers, planning Members were satisfied with the outline transport update report and voted unanimously to approve the 12,000 seat venue.
The public transport strategy provides for improved cycle and pedestrian access; increased Park & Ride services; and a shuttle train between Bristol Parkway and Temple Meads. But, the concession of a 480-space car park, on the site of an old Kwik Fit garage off the Bath Road, has actually been sold for retail space.
Now, Tory councillors are pressing in their ‘golden’ motion (which means it is certain to be debated) for further assurances that nearby residents – and large numbers of potentially vulnerable patrons - will be adequately protected once this important leisure destination is open for business.
Cllr Weston (Con, Henbury & Brentry) said: “Clearly the vast majority of councillors remain committed to delivering the long awaited Arena.
“However, the right balance still has to be struck in this development to ensure that the interests of local people and those who use it are properly protected.
"The revised scheme of mitigation measures which was passed by planning was clearly a significant improvement on what had gone before.
"There was also enormous political pressure applied to get this major venture moving.
"That said I believe the transport plan presented was not intended to be the very last word on that element of the application. Consequently, now is the right time to take stock of the situation and make sure that everything is being done to avoid reasonably foreseeable problems."
“Following confirmation that the very limited car-parking near to the site has now been allocated for other purposes, we have real doubts that the public transport offer will be capable of meeting the demands likely to be placed upon it.
“As a result, the option of a rail link running from Ashton Gate to Temple Meads needs further consideration.
“These are issues of concern for all Members who want to see this important project succeed, so we intend to raise the matter at the next Full Council to ensure that it gets a fair hearing.”
BRISTOL ARENA TRAFFIC PLAN (GOLDEN MOTION to be moved by Cllr Weston)
“This council confirms its continuing support for the Bristol Arena and looks forward to it being delivered on time and within budget. Nevertheless, there is still considerable concern over the potential impact of this 12,000 capacity entertainment venue. Without appropriate mitigation measures in place, the opening of this site could have a devastating effect on the quality of life of local people.
Therefore, Council calls on the Mayor to instigate a review of the Traffic Management and Transport Plans, making particular reference to parking provision for those who will still choose to travel there by car. In addition, attention needs to be given to ensure there will be adequate Bus and Taxi services for the anticipated large audiences, many of whom are likely to be young - and excitable. The safety of such vulnerable patrons must be a made priority consideration.
This evaluation should also take into account the redevelopment at Ashton Gate. Council believes that the options surrounding rail and a new station servicing both the stadium and the Arena need to be fully explored to ensure this is in the public transport mix or offer.
These two welcome major leisure destinations are extremely important to our city. However, such attractions must be carefully integrated so that they are a benefit to all and not a burden to those who happen to live or work in their immediate vicinity.”