Conservative proposals to build a Park and Ride site on Bathampton Meadows, East of Bath, have been met with fervent opposition by B&NES residents and politicians. The shambolic and rushed consultation process, which only included three sites, has also been roundly condemned. Now the Conservative administration on B&NES Council is finally showing signs of listening to public opinion.
Last month, the Lib Dems called for the consultation process on the Park and Ride to be suspended. Instead, we called for a cross-party working group to look at all possible options to tackle air pollution and congestion to the East of Bath.
We are glad that the administration listened and is bringing the issue to the meeting of full Council this evening (12 November).
At this meeting, Councillors will make a recommendation on the working group and will also have an opportunity to see and hear the strength of local opinion on this issue. 85 local residents have registered to speak and hundreds more will be holding a protest against the plans to build on the Meadows. We are proposing that the Council’s policy development and scrutiny panel should undertake an open and transparent public scrutiny, to examine a wide range of options, before making a recommendation on the way forwards.
B&NES Liberal Democrats have been very clear on our position on the park and ride. We are completely opposed to building a park and ride on Bathampton Meadows.
In fact, when we took the reins of the Council in 2011, one of our first actions was to cancel the previous Conservative plans for a Meadows park and ride. And, perhaps inevitably, one of the first things the Conservatives have done since taking control in May is to resurrect that same plan.
We believe that an integrated transport solution is the key to tackling air pollution and congestion in the city of Bath.
Bathavon North Councillor Alison Millar commented:
“The Conservatives can be under no illusions about the strength of local feeling on this issue. I’m glad they have had the sense to listen to the public and hope they will take our advice with regard to stopping the decision-making process and going back to the drawing board with a working group.”
Motion to Council:
1. To note the officer report and the results of the consultation.
2. To reaffirm its commitment to delivering an integrated transport solution to address traffic problems in and from the East of Bath.
3. To call for the Communities, Transport and Environment PDS Panel to undertake an open and transparent public scrutiny, examining a wide range of integrated transport solutions for the East of Bath.
4. To ask Cabinet and officers to give consideration to additional options for tackling air pollution and congestion in the city of Bath, including but not limited to:
- Measures to reduce the number of high-polluting vehicles entering Bath, such as a Low Emission Zone, alongside the delivery of an integrated transport solution in East of Bath.
- Measures to ensure the protection of bus services to the villages east of Bath alongside the delivery of integrated transport solution in east of Bath.
- The potential of providing a shuttle-bus service from any agreed service to the RUH.
5. To ask that Cabinet and officers continue to engage with the Parish Councils and communities on the East of Bath on the proposals for an integrated transport solution, and that once a scrutiny process has taken place and a solution decided upon, more detailed proposals produced, further public engagement is undertaken.
6. To ask Cabinet to develop a fully-costed business case for an integrated transport solution and continue efforts to work alongside our local MPs, neighbouring authorities, Highways England, the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and the Department for Transport to lobby for the necessary funding.
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