Today’s Cancer provided an uncritical platform for editor Mike Norton’s wealthy mates to make their latest announcement about what we are being asked to call the ‘South Bristol Link’.

For starters, this is quite possibly the world’s most pathetically inept rebranding and spin exercise, in which we’re invited to believe that a ring road is not a ring road if some thick twat down the council calls it a ‘link’ instead.

The article itself was a typical piece of Norton’s recycled PR tosh. It will “unlock millions of pounds of new investment in South Bristol,” gushed the newspaper.

Palpable nonsense. The Blogger has looked at the economics of this dual carriageway to nowhere before and a small congested road through south Bristol’s residential neighbourhoods will not create the huge investment opportunities claimed.

The road that will is an M4 – M5 southern link. A project way beyond the skills, experience and vision of Norton’s shower of small-minded, small-time business cronies and their patsies on six-figure salaries down at the Council house.

Chris Hutt over on the Green Bristol Blog, ably assisted by some clued-in commenters, has also been looking at other aspects of the economics of this road today.

But here, what interests us more is not the economics of this road but the politics. Here’s two quotes from the Cancer article:

John Savage, chief executive of Business West, which represents regional businesses, said: “A link road that opens up south Bristol has been a vital ingredient we’ve needed for transport and economic growth for 50 years. Any delays in making this link available would be robbing people and future generations of a better chance of getting a job.”

David Bishop, Bristol City Council’s strategic transport director, said he wanted to see the new road go ahead.

So that’s an unelected quangocrat and Merchant Venturer John Savage and an unelected bureaucrat David Bishop behind the project.

Meanwhile there’s no comment whatsoever from the politicians we elect. Instead they seem to have passed all the decision-making power on the issue over to Savage and Bishop and an obscure and constitutionally arcane quango, the West of England Partnership.

What exactly is the point of voting in this city?

This entry was posted in Bristol, Bristol Evening Post, Bristol South, Developments, Economy, Environment, Local government, Merchant Venturers, Planning, Politics, Transport, WESP and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

164 Responses to Ring-a-ring-a-roadsies

  1. Gary Hopkins says:

    I am quite happy to comment.Access into South Bristol has always been a problem.Whilst a ring Rd from Hicks gate ropund to the 370 would only have encouraged green belt development and the by passing of South Bristol better access in will be a help. Better North South links are also planned.

  2. chris hutt says:

    Like all these things when you start digging around you uncover all manner of unsavoury things.

    For example the report to the West of England Partnership gives as a prime example of the views of the supporters of the South Bristol Link Road the views of GWE Business West (Managing Director John Savage), who say –

    “…(we) welcome and fully support the proposals for both road and public transport links between the A370 and the A38 and onwards to the Hartcliffe Way Roundabout as part of a package of measures that will help to deliver the accessibility and connectivity
    required in South Bristol to bring much needed jobs growth and regeneration to the area.”

    Yet the board of the West of England Partnership includes the very same John Savage, so he has in effect made a submission to himself. I wonder if he declared an interest to himself.

  3. thebristolblogger says:

    better access in will be a help

    Suitably vague. For what? To whom?

    Presumably you’re referring to all those economic opportunities a fast road to Long Ashton will deliver?


    no doubt the SWRDA and the Bristol Partnership are in favour too?

  4. I wonder if John Savage is still biking it to work every Chooseday

  5. Gary: did you know that the more northerly of the two options they’ve approved (neither of which was included in the consultation) would lead to an extra 7,000 vehicles a day along Ashton Way?

    So this is how the LibDems fight climate change…

  6. chris hutt says:

    As Peter G says, neither of the options now being considered were identified in the public CONsultation!

    The options put to the public were either a road link from the A38 to Hartcliffe or a BRT (bendy-bus) track instead. This gave people who didn’t want a road the option of supporting public transport instead.

    But now the BRT option has been “enhanced” by adding a road as well, so people who might have supported the BRT option because they didn’t want a road find that their support has transmuted into support for the road!

    This is pretty typical of the arrogant, ‘Savage’ style of the West of England Partnership but one does wonder why Bristol’s Lib-Dems, once notable critics of WoEP shenanigans, appear to be meekly going along with it.

  7. Watcher says:

    Ha, ha, ha….

    Are you saying that you actually BELIEVE what the LibDems say ???

    How sweet….

  8. chris hutt says:

    There’s a new commnet on the Evening Post story, posted by organiclocal of Southville, which is worth reading –

    “This is thinly disguised land grab.
    Notice how the land agents from ‘real estate’ companies get rolled out with the arcane phrase ‘open up South Bristol’.

    What exactly do they mean?

    I suggest they mean:

    ‘Let us landowners cash in on the untold riches this ring-road will bring as we can then flog off our massive land bank in the green belt that we’ve been sitting on for years’.

    They’ve an eye for the profit margin these respectable companies and never mind all the local communities that will be blighted by the unrestrained and unregulated ‘development’ (read ‘destruction’).
    Bottom line is the link road will enable a massive land grab of the green belt to enable these private speculators to cash in. No real thought for a sustainable future-the very word sustainable no doubt strikes fear into the heart of people like John Savage who I have on record as saying he doesn’t care if the traffic on this route is bumper to bumper (from a North Somerset meeting 5 years ago). The ‘South Bristol banana’ is the sick name they chose for this carve-up which is quite appropriate for the small number of people who will line their slippery pockets.

  9. thebristolblogger says:

    In this context, it’s worth noting that the Venturers own land at Hicks Gate (it was considered for the stadium by BCFC).

    Once the 2 stage ‘link’ is built no doubt the pressure will be on to build stage 3 and make the ‘link’ a ring road?

  10. chris hutt says:

    More reports in today’s Evening Post (http://bit.ly/1aEuAR), including a Bob Bull rant saying the road should be a proper dual carriageway, not a namby-pamby single carriageway.

    The more serious piece is at pains to stress that the even more controversial Phase 3 of the Ring Road from Hengrove to the A4 at Hick’s Gate isn’t going to happen any time soon, but that might be to dampen down the speculation that this is a Ring Road by stealth.

    But if the A38 to Hartcliffe/Hengrove link is built the pressure on the existing roads between there and the A4 Bath Road will intensify and therefore the pressure for Phase 3. WoEP must know this and hence their salami tactics.

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  12. The report that sanctioned all this included this comment about the consultation:

    responses from both public and key stakeholders show a range of views with the
    two extremes being presented as:
    • ‘the link is not needed; people want to go to the city centre; it will enable
    unwanted development; roads in particular induce more traffic when the world
    faces global warming and end of fossil oil’; and, at the other extreme
    • ‘a link road has been desperately needed for many years; South Bristol will
    remain disadvantaged without it; we’ll never attract businesses or good local
    jobs without it; it should ideally be a dual carriageway road connected to M5 and
    existing parts of the ring road [Hicks Gate]; government and the council have
    ignored us for too long’.

    That makes extremists of John Savage on the one hand and all of us concerned about climate change, green belt development, and keeping heavy traffic out of residential areas on the other.

    Looks like Jon Rogers et al came down on the side of Savage.

  13. Mark Bradshaw says:

    Just catching up with this ‘announcement’ and wondering what happened to the specific economic, regeneration and environmental impact studies I commissioned when executive member in Bristol. These were intended to accompany each option so BCC/WEP better understood the wider impacts. My preference was for a transport corridor based on BRT, cycling and walking which seems to have been watered down or discarded as an option. It is easy to get carried away with the business-speak hype about connectivity but we already have several high capacity roads in South Bristol which could be more efficient with better traffic management and public transport integration.

  14. chris hutt says:

    Mark, we’re in danger of agreeing on this.

    People will respond to the transport opportunities available to them. More roads will encourage them to drive, public transport infrastructure will encourage that mode and quality cycling infrastructure will encourage cycling.

    In this case what we have is a road with BRT and cycling tacked on. But the road is an orbital one and there is little demand for public transport or cycling over orbital routes compared to radial routes.

    Better to invest in radial public transport and cycling routes and, as Mark suggests, use traffic management to make the existing road network work efficiently.

  15. dreamingspire says:

    Fairly regularly I need to get from the north side of Bristol to the A38 going south west (heading for Sandford to the west of Churchill), and back again later. transportdirect.info says use M5, come off at WSM and head east – a long and dreadful route. Since the Cabot Circus development and its associated proper traffic control system has been completed, the best way is usually A38 Glos Rd into Bristol, round Cabot Circus, past TM, up A37, turn right along the St John’s Lane corridor (which the airport coaches used to use) and hence to A38 and up the hill and along Bedminster Down. I can, as an alternative, go further south on A37 and then use those wider roads in south Bristol and reach the A38 at the other end of Bedminster Down, but its a longer route with numerous junctions, I don’t think I gain and I might lose. Risk is of the sections of road just south of the city centre snarling up, so sometimes I get stuck. And cutting across to Clifton Down, then the Portway and Ashton, is just too frustrating – although I do sometimes use that route on the way back. Lesson: its the sections of the radial routes into Bristol from the south, close to the central area, that are the real problem for south Bristol.

  16. Tony Dyer says:

    “You’ll find the best soil conditions for urban motorway routes always lie in inarticulate, unorganised, working class sort of areas”
    New Statesman cartoon, 1972

    There are times when living in Bristol feels like being stuck in some sort of local version of Groundhog Day – again and again road building plans and housing proposals are put forward, again and again they are touted as being beneficial for the city as a whole and we under-privileged working class types on waiting lists and/or benefits in particular, and again and again the delivery fails to meet expectations.

    For example, Lawrence Hill ward is next to the M32/Parkway, and includes the Inner Circuit Road, the Outer Circuit Road and the Spine Road within its boundaries – four examples of road building plans spanning several decades that were supposed to resolve serious transport issues and “open up access” to spark regeneration. Plenty of access in Lawrence Hill ward then, but the highest levels of unemployment and deprivation in the city.

    Conversely areas like Southville, Clifton and Cotham don’t appear to have been overly affected by the fact that, unlike Easton, the Outer Circuit Road was never built through those wards to open up access. Closer to the City Centre, Queen Square appears to be doing OK despite having the Inner Circuit Road removed, whereas Lewins Meads and Rupert Street continue to look decrepit despite remaining on that same road route. Further out, Kingswood continues to suffer from a commuting outflow due to a lack of jobs despite the Avon Ring Road “opening up access”, whereas most of North-West Bristol remains affluent without a ring-road in sight. Road-building schemes never seem to benefit the areas that they are built through, and often merely divide communities and/or otherwise adversely affect local quality of life.

    The other effect of road-building of course, is that, if the road is built-though green fields, the road now becomes a “target line” for development. Pressure increases to develop on the remaining green-fields to fill up the “gap” between the existing urban edge and the new road. There are plenty of examples of this in the Bristol area again covering several decades, including Cribbs Causeway and Bradley Stoke in the North, Emerson’s Green and Oldland in the East and, coming soon to the South if road-building plans are approved, Hick’s Gate, Whitchurch and not forgetting, Ashton Vale.

    The transport problems in this city are immense, and have a history that can be traced back to, at least, the 1920’s and 30’s. Trying to resolve those problems by using the same “solutions” that have been proposed, and have failed, in the past simply won’t provide any great benefits to those of us who have to suffer those problems on a daily basis – and that is regardless of whether you are a motorist, cyclist, pedestrian, or public transport user. Changing the name of a road scheme and making relatively minor changes to its route doesn’t alter the fact that building a transportation solution that simply encourages more cars on to new roads is merely rehashing earlier discredited schemes, and means that we will be having this same debate in another decade or so.

    Instead, as has already been mentioned, we need to start finding ways to better manage the traffic on existing roads whilst also looking to offer motorists an acceptable (to a sizable proportion of those motorists) alternative to the car to reduce the absolute level of traffic.

    As for the A38-A370 link – we already have an A38-A370 link, it’s called the Winterstoke Road. It can’t be too busy – after all, Tesco are expecting to be given permission to build a giant superstore there so presumably there is plenty of room for the extra traffic?

  17. W00dburner says:

    Tony Dyer your post is fantastic. I was about to post a rant about the destructive effects of road developments and past attempts to solve traffic problems and their pernicious effects on BS5 et al, when I read your beautiful exposition. thank you.

  18. dreamingspire says:

    So plan for public transport under the control of the public: a public service. That means an ITA, but on Monday the Cancer reported: North Somerset cabinet councillor Elfan Ap Rees said: “I’d like to kill this idea stone dead right now. We work well enough as we are now.” He will not get the Portishead rail line without an ITA, and his bus service is deteriorating because its now managed by the First Bristol boys.

  19. mapreader says:

    Tony Dyer, an excellent post.

    The two proposed routes look like a presentation on an internal ‘business’ deal aimed at those parties who have interests in the newly released development land, nothing of interest to us poor sods who live in S Bristol. The new Tesco/City ‘World Cup Stadium’ is a massive leverage. The window of opportunity closes/scales fall from the eyes as soon as the World Cup bid for Bristol fails.

    Whilst you were away Bristolblogger, the Cumberland Basin magically lost 2-300 parking spaces for City games in the same window as the Tesco bid. Now that’s joined-up corruption. Anyone know how to get the FOI Act to find out who authorised the work, decades after it was necessary, at such a politically sensitive time? Breathtaking arrogance.

  20. dreamingspire says:

    HorfieldROSE has for about a year been reporting discussions with a police team about better control of parking near BOTH stadia. Extra controls were put in place around the Memorial Stadium, first by way of additional policing of abuse of the cones laid out by the Council (dubious legality of the enforcement), and then at the start of the new season extra double yellow lines but as yet no signs (again, dubious legality of any enforcement action). The Bishopston/Horfield double yellows were properly consulted on. So was there not public consultation about the Ashton double yellows?

  21. Paul Mizen says:

    I live on Bedminster Down so may well benefit from traffic being diverted away from my house. However, I’ve spent much of the last 20 years driving a van in and around Bristol so know as much about the traffic problems as most, and know this will create more problems than it solves! It is actually summed up quite nicely by Cll. Jon Rogers in the article.
    “We’ve got excellent transport links in the north of the city but the trouble there has been that it has attracted new investment but the roads cannot cope with the increase in traffic. What we need to do is balance the city up so that we have investment south of the city as well.”
    Unless Jon is advocating taking investment away from the north and relocating it south, he is accepting the roads here won’t cope either. Regenerating South Bristol is the new “in” phrase. Ashton Park (or is it Yanleigh Town), Tesco, the new stadium, The Link Road, our new hospital, and any other reason made up by a developer wishing to make a quick buck. The one thing which they have in common is they never tell us what regeneration actually means. Perhaps they don’t think we are capable of understanding!

  22. thebristolblogger says:

    What happened to the specific economic, regeneration and environmental impact studies I commissioned when executive member in Bristol?

    They’ve been quietly shelved Mark so that Gary and Jolly Jon can make bland and evidence-free nice sounding statements about the road such as:

    better access in will be a help


    What we need to do is balance the city up so that we have investment south of the city as well.

    The second is particularly daft. North Bristol hosts BaE, Hewlett Packard, UWE, MoD etc. because it has superb transport links, namely the M4 and M5, Bristol Parkway station and Abbeywood station (note how the bureaucratic elite featherbed themselves).

    The idea this can be “balanced up” south of the river with a Mickey Mouse single lane highway where the nearest motorway is ten miles away via a tortuous and congested route and the nearest train station is 4 miles away via, er … a tortuous and congested route is pure fantasy.

    The only businesses in reality likely to locate themselves there are a few retail sheds.

    Of course they’ve already got Imperial Park at the eastern tip of the road. And since the S.106 “planning gain” agreement for this development promised bus routes to there that never materialised, the council might as well make some more wild transport claims for the area I suppose.

    Heading west from Imperial Park, it’s all pretty much residential streets until you hit Highridge Common where they could stick a few sheds up (it’ll please the locals!) before you get to the real prize – virgin greenbelt territory west of the 38 where Savage and his mates can really cash in with a load of retail junk the city doesn’t need.


    Lesson: its the sections of the radial routes into Bristol from the south, close to the central area, that are the real problem for south Bristol

    It’s the geography, stupid.

    We live in a city with a river through it and there’s 3 bridges (4 if you count the out of town spine road).

    All the traffic has to therefore be funneled through these 3 bridges (Cumberland Basin, Bedminster, Temple Meads) – that equals congestion.

    This new ‘South Bristol link’ is no such thing because it ends on the A370 south of the river and leaves vehicles – as they have to now – to negotiate the Cumberland Basin crossing alongside all the existing traffic.

    No amount of road building will overcome this simple geographic fact unless they build a new bridge. But where?

  23. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Mark B: The problem with a BRT-only route for the A370 to Hartcliffe link is that it doesn’t solve the core problem. The biggest problem for industry and jobs (which I hope we all agree south Bristol lacks terribly) is not primarily the lack of public transport, although it is an issue. The main problem is the general difficulty of access for transporting goods to and from the rest of the region. How do you move 3 tons of sand on public transport? How do you move 17 engines on public transport? You cant. This is one of the main reasons why manufacturing business and industry wont move to south Bristol. Information business and digital industry is not eager to move to south Bristol because the general skills levels are so low, so they cant fill that gap either. This is why the outer suburbs there remain so crippled. The Parson St nightmare is a serious problem for anyone wanting to move goods around from south of the river, almost everyone accepts that.

    I think all progressive politicians now agree with the principle that “more roads means more traffic”. We should avoid building road wherever possible. However, we need to not get fundamentalist about this – if a road system is genuinely broken, then it needs to be fixed. Being absolutist about it wont help poor people get jobs and careers and then be able to make the kind of positive environmental choices that the middle classes currently enjoy making. The recession has cut congestion because unemployed people don’t go to work, and has cut CO2 emissions too. That doesn’t mean we should deliberately cause recessions to protect the environment. Likewise breaking road systems may well decrease the total amount of traffic on the roads, but it also cripples the local economy and keeps people in poverty. You might want to say “people will adapt” and local economies will adapt, but clearly in south Bristol that hasn’t happened. More jobs will create more traffic, naturally, because people currently doing nothing will be doing things. The people of south Bristol who have suffered for decades deserve jobs, careers and money to spend. They deserve the luxury of being able to worry about the environment and not the rent and the food bill. If people want to argue that the amount of traffic should stay constant then fine: the traffic should be cut elsewhere to make up for it. Dig up some roads in north Bristol. Don’t punish south Bristol just because north Bristol has a traffic problem. That’s not fair – in the same way as it’s not right for the west to tell the developing world not to increase CO2 emissions just because we are profligate.

    We have pretty much managed to kill off the green-belt house-building proposals, and the A370 link therefore should not be used to open op that land for development, though for sure that was the original WoE plan and that of Business West too. They wont get what they want if we can help it. Our aim is to “open up” (yes, that’s right) outer south Bristol for real business and industrial investment that brings jobs – aspirational jobs, not just retail jobs – to the area for the first time in generations. To be fair, I thought that was a cross-party aim, although the Tories also seem to back the big ring-road to the A4. The ring-road to the A4 is not needed because the demand for goods movement between south Bristol and east Bristol is minimal.

    Tony D rightly points out unemployment in Lawrence Hill and employment in Clifton as counter-arguments. But actually, there are huge numbers of jobs in Lawrence Hill, the problem is that large numbers of BME residents don’t have them (that is where the unemployment primarily lies), and that is rooted in other social problems not related to transport. We should be thankful that the Lawrence Hill community doesn’t live in Hartcliffe, or unemployment there would probably be 70%. As for Clifton, it has brilliant road access; in fact all of Bristol north of the river has very good road access to pretty much everywhere. And anyway, remember the jobs in west central Bristol are not in industry that require heavy goods transport, they are mostly in the information industry.

  24. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    PS the west by north-westerly route is clearly one that was designed to fit in by going around the Aston urban extension, and should be resisted. The northerly route is one that can form the urban edge and is the one we should go for.

  25. dreamingspire says:

    Surely some of you must remember the flying buttress design of bridge that was to stretch across the Floating Harbour up to Clifton?
    B-blogger: bridge capacity across both New Cut and Floating Harbour, of course.
    I was in Manchester recently, where (despite not being a Cycling City) they are working hard to get employers to take advantage of tax breaks to help their employees get on their bikes. But the other approach, which is to get more people working from home by promoting fibre broadband was lost on them – today’s factories are those offices with rows and rows of people sitting in front of screens, and all the documents have been digitised.

  26. chris hutt says:

    Mark W,

    1. What kind of industry do you think might relocate to south Bristol? I was under the impression that most of our industry, apart from the hi-tec stuff, had already relocated to China and eastern Europe.

    2. If the South Bristol Link Road were built, would it really make that much difference to the accessibility of south Bristol? As BB has pointed out it would still be relatively remote from the Motorway network and congestion would continue to clog up the existing road network.

    As soon as you finish the SBLR buisiness interests will say that south Bristol is still inaccessible because Phase 3 of the Ring Road is missing, and then because a western extension to the M5 is missing. They are just using that as a lever to get the kind of infrastructure and development that they want.

    3. I can’t see that living in south Bristol would stop anyone pursuing opportunities for advancement if they have the gumption. But for people who haven’t, perhaps because they’ve come to expect the welfare state to deliver everything, no amount of road building is going to make any difference.

  27. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    1. Regional small industry should be quite happy in S Bris – land and labour costs are lower than north Bristol, and the 20 min journey to the M5 via a link rd would be well worth it.

    2. I think it would make a difference. Being funnelled through Bedminster to get anywhere in south Bristol is a nightmare – for Bedminster and everyone else too.

    As for business interests, your argument appears to be that because “this wont satisfy them” we shouldnt do anything. I think when they see the results of the link they would be satisfied. The phase 3 ring-road is a turkey – it would cost a fortune and solves no obvious problem.

    3. I think that’s unfair. There is a genuine lack of career jobs anywhere in south Bristol, which is not a problem on the same scale anywhere else in the city.

    It’s also not a coincidence that a) almost no jobs based in south Bristol require degree education and b) south Bristol has just about the lowest degree qualification rate in the UK. Why would a teenager bother?

  28. thebristolblogger says:

    Our aim is to “open up” (yes, that’s right) outer south Bristol for real business and industrial investment that brings jobs – aspirational jobs, not just retail jobs – to the area for the first time in generations

    Regional small industry should be quite happy in S Bris

    Are these two things compatible?

    the 20 min journey to the M5 via a link rd would be well worth it

    Which junction of the M5 are you getting to in 20 minutes?

    Why not locate in Portishead, Clevedon or Weston [edit: or Avonmouth] and be on that motorway in 5 minutes?

  29. Harry Tuttle says:

    Yes. Avonmouth is full of empty space. For that matter, so is Filton.

    We have over 1,000,000 square foot of empty commercial space in central Bristol and who knows how much in Avonmouth and Filton and in other industrial estates around Bristol. This is currently cheap space as well.

    I don’t understand any solution which involves building new roads and new commercial space as a solution to recession/underemployment. If business wanted to locate in easily accesible and cheap space in Bristol, there is no shortage.

    The only people who benefit from this proposal are road builders and commercial property developers.

  30. chris hutt says:

    Mark W makes south Bristol sound like an isolated hamlet in the Mendips. Even the furthest fringes of south Bristol are only 6 kms (4 miles) from the centre of the city. Such distances can be easily cycled in 20 minutes or so. That represents very good physical accessibility to the jobs market.

    Likewise access for the movement of goods and services is fundamanetally good but for congestion at key junctions and river crossings. A new SBLR to the A370 will still feed into a congested Cumberland Basin to access the motorways and the rest of Bristol.

    Public transport could also offer good accessibility if only the council would manage the roads to stop congestion screwing everything up. But that it seems is too difficult and instead they are doing as every previous administration and chasing after the illusion of new road Nirvana.

    Isn’t it time to face up to the fact that congestion and all the ills that follow from it, like perceived inaccessibility, is a function of the mass use of private cars given free and unrestrained access to a limited resource – road capacity. Road pricing could resolve that.

  31. Rosso Verde says:

    In Easton are also seeing cuts in bus services and inprovision of local adult education services, which will mean even more car journeys, for those who can afford it and isolation for those who can’t.
    If we were serious about climate change and social justice we would be building cycle routes (what happened to cycling city?) and improving our bus services.

  32. Bigwok says:

    “We have pretty much managed to kill off the green-belt house-building proposals, and the A370 link therefore should not be used to open up that land for development”

    Really that’s an interesting claim? In the development world I believe that Ashton Park is considered the one of the better urban extension locations for the city. The delay to RSS and potential change of Government is simply a stay of execution, the demand for housing has not disappeared and either has the clear merits of this location relative to other greenfield locations around the city.

    I’m not sure who the “We” you refer to but your not even responsible for the delay, let alone the killing off of this development. Your claim is only true in your dreams Cllr Wright!

    Given the Council has no land control of the area between the A38 and A370 you seem very confident that your SBLR can be delivered? You don’t even seem aware that the developer is proposing an entirely different route to your two so called options. They own and control the majority of the land in this area. I’m sure they will make you pay handsomely for the land given its very high development value for housing!

    On a technical matter, I believe the transport work accompanying their application indicates, that a combined road/BRT along the inner route isn’t actually feasible without vast cost due to the narrow and steep topography at Hanging Hill Wood. I guess this explains why they have proposed that route for BRT only. I believe the outer route goes straight through their land holdings, but I’ve heard that the Council have barely spoke to them about it. I think the WoP report with all its talk of delivery, is basing decisions on wishful thinking rather than hard fact.

    I wouldn’t worry about the SBLR, if the Council continues down this avenue then it will be hitting the buffers in no time.

  33. CPO says:

    Could it be that deprivation in South Bristol is more likely because of a loss of lower skilled manufacturing jobs in the city together with high levels of council housing restricting mobility and perpetuating socio-economic problems? Cultural inaccessibility to employement is also likely to be more of a problem than physical access issues.

  34. Jon Rogers says:

    Some interesting comments above.

    Lib Dems are opposed to Phase 3 and the South Bristol Ring Road.

    We are minded to support Phases 1 and 2 Link with rapid transit. We currently favour the “inner” route on the WoEP diagram.

    We need to improve walking, cycling and public transport links to S Bristol and we are looking to RFA funding to help make that happen. The route *might* include a single carriageway road.

    I did ask officers to let me know about Cllr Bradshaw’s request for an “economic assessment of the road to back up the claims of Mr Savage and the property developers about the creation of hundreds of jobs. Where is the development land in South Bristol?” and have been forwarded a 96 page option appraisal report dated 27th February 2009.

    It does suggest “generated highway
    benefits in the range £140-200m” and “BCRs between 2 and 5, representing good value for money”.

    On the subject of regeneration it says that “A Wider Economic Impact Assessment will be carried out at the next stage”

    It also suggests that, “it is considered likely that the options that would perform best in this respect are those that include both highway and public transport facilities”

    I would expect a proper link route, with good public transport to South Bristol to improve the economic prospects of the area.

    I don’t see why the option appraisal report cannot be in the public domain, but as it is joint with North Somerset and there may be legal or commercial implications, I guess I should seek confirmation! Any interested councillors could obviously see on a “need to know basis”.


  35. BristolDave says:

    3. I can’t see that living in south Bristol would stop anyone pursuing opportunities for advancement if they have the gumption. But for people who haven’t, perhaps because they’ve come to expect the welfare state to deliver everything, no amount of road building is going to make any difference.

    Spot on.

    Isn’t it time to face up to the fact that congestion and all the ills that follow from it, like perceived inaccessibility, is a function of the mass use of private cars given free and unrestrained access to a limited resource – road capacity. Road pricing could resolve that.

    No it couldn’t. Unless the viable and practical alternatives exist (they don’t), people will still be forced to use the roads, but will just have to pay through the nose to do so, so all that would be achieved would be more resentment towards the local administration from the car-driving public. It may come as a shock to you Chris but people don’t sit in congested traffic jams every day for fun, it’s because they don’t have a choice. People are taxed an almost offensive amount when they fill up their car – this doesn’t stop people driving, because they know they simply don’t have an alternative. If car travel got more expensive with road charging, people would just have to make (more) cutbacks in order to afford it, but they would be very angry about it. Everyone has to get to work and do their shopping and the public transport network in this country (especially in this city) simply isn’t up to the job. And since drivers are taxed so heavily in fuel duty and road fund licenses, it’s a bit rich to describe their access to a limited resource (roads, I presume?) as “free”. Unrestricted, maybe.

    Your anti-car Utopia can only exist in your head I’m afraid.

  36. chris hutt says:

    “generated highway benefits in the range £140-200m”

    I expect those ‘benefits’ are based on time savings for motorists which is the main component of benefits in cost benefit analysis for highway and transportation schemes.

    These benefits are based on a value of the time people would otherwise spend in congestion which I think most people would regard as highly exaggerated. Also the degree of congestion is what is projected if the road isn’t built which again is arguably exaggerated.

    What would be interesting to know is the quantitive detail of the notion that the road will lead to greater investment and employment opportunites in south Bristol. Any chance of that Jon?

  37. chris hutt says:

    Dave, we’ve had this debate on road pricing at some length before so I’ll try and keep it short.

    We all make choices about how we travel, when we travel, where we travel and whether we travel. Sometimes the decisions are made on a daily basis, sometimes in relation to longer term commitments like the choice of places to live and work.

    All those choices are influenced by our perception of the relative costs (time, money, discomfort, etc) and benefits of each option. Sometimes the outcome of the decision is overwhelmingly in favour of one option but sometimes it’s more finely balanced.

    Where the outcome of a decision is more finely balanced an additional cost like a congestion charge might well tip the balance in favour of a different option. That would have an impact on congestion which will benefit those who pay the congestion charge.

    So congestion charging or road pricing would work, even with the current state of public transport, because public transport is not the only alternative.

  38. thebristolblogger says:

    I don’t see why the option appraisal report cannot be in the public domain

    Produced by local government, it’s actually by definition a public document. Savage and your local government officers who appear to answer to him rather than to you need to release it immediately or make the case for keeping it a secret.

    Makes you wonder what sort of city do we live in when it even bears consideration that an options appraisal report on a crappy little 4km road should be a secret.

    As usual, the people running the process have a lot to hide here. There’s no economic case for this road and this report will prove it.

  39. Jon

    “Lib Dems are opposed to Phase 3 and the South Bristol Ring Road”

    Then why on earth have you just approved one? Fact is, that “along with the Callington Road Link, which is expected to be built simultaneously, it will create a new route for traffic all the way from the M32 in the northeast to the A370 in the southwest.” (from Green Party news release)

    “We currently favour the “inner” route on the WoEP diagram”

    I see you’ve now got a copy of the Options Appraisal Report. Have you seen what this route is predicted to do to Ashton Way, where it feeds into the Cumberland Basin complex? 20% more traffic there – and that’s without a new Tesco megastore. Take a look, Appendix 7.1.

    “I don’t see why the option appraisal report cannot be in the public domain”

    It is, and it was. You can download it here, as you’d have known if you’d taken part in the consultation around the turn of the year. It’s not perfect, and contains several inaccuracies that we explained to the planners at the time (though I don’t think they listened – it didn’t fit in with their forward plan). And anyway, it didn’t assess the options that you approved last week – they weren’t part of the public consultation or the options appraisal.

  40. chris hutt says:

    Thanks for posting those links Peter.

    Very interesting to note the involvement of CONsultants on this link road over the years – MVA (1992), Halcrow Fox (1997), JMP (2002), Atkins (2006) and now Mott Macdonald. It does look like a case of Buggins turn at the trough, doesn’t it.

    One can’t help wondering how all this money spent on CONsultants has actually benefited Bristol. We have congestion which acts as a traffic restraint which is what we would have if we just did nothing. So why bother with CONsultants who, as they say, borrow your watch to tell you the time?

  41. dreamingspire says:

    Congestion charging: Graham Skinner MP (Manchester Blackley) recently spoke out against the dead Manchester congestion charge by calling it a regressive tax that no sensible politician would support. Exactly as Chris Hutt says: we are not willing to pay for sitting in a traffic jam. Without adding significant extra traffic capacity (road and/or public transport corridor) at the time that the toll is imposed, its a no-no. And in Bristol, as is repeatedly pointed out, it is the river that divides the city into two halves that don’t mix. Doesn’t history tell us it was always so, with what is now Bristol being originally a Gloucestershire community and a Somerset community?
    DfT is currently running a consultation asking for help on how to build a strategy for improved ticketing on public transport: “integrated and smart”. It includes an economic appraisal, where time saved for each passenger is monetised at £12 per hour on rail services and £7.50 for buses! The consultation (closes 28th Oct) is at http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/open/smartticketing/, and at the right of that page is (at last) a link to the full economic appraisal – click on ‘The benefits and costs…’.
    Consultants? They told the Council to build a guided busway on the Bristol to Bath cycle path – but it will not fit unless the cycle path is deleted.

  42. I dont know what the answer is but something needs to be done. Fresh air need s to be breathed into South Bristol. What is the answer?

  43. Jon Rogers says:

    Thanks for the information Peter.

    I am pleased to hear that the document is already public domain. Is it then the document that Cllr Bradshaw requested? He says that he asked for an “economic assessment of the road”.

    It seems from Chris Hutt’s reading that we have had loads of economic assessments dating back to 1992. Do we need more?

    Peter Goodwin says that, “didn’t assess the options that you approved last week” North Somerset requested the extra option of the Southern route. I have questioned that privately and publicly last week at the WoEP and indeed I am meeting with North Somerset this lunchtime. They are very concerned (as am I) about proposals to build an urban extension to S West of Bristol and keeping a route option open there may help resist unwelcome expansion.

    I remain open on the pros and cons of any scheme and am grateful for the comments made. Others are better than I am at reading 96 page reports and gleaning the key nuggets.

    I am trying not to shy away from public debate (even though it does expose gaps in my knowledge and understanding!) and I welcome comments, questions and scrutiny of all the council and West of England plans.

    Knowing what I don’t know is very, very helpful and I am grateful for the feedback.

    Best wishes


  44. chris hutt says:

    “It seems from Chris Hutt’s reading that we have had loads of economic assessments dating back to 1992. Do we need more?”

    CONsultants will always say “yes you do” and your officers will back them up (an incestuous relationship there). I reckon the next consultancy must already be lined up, if you look at the diminishing interval between studies.

    In order to progress a large infrastructure scheme against the inevitable opposition you need to back it up with solid evidence which is what CONsultants appear to provide.

    I say ‘appear’ because if you look closely it’s all founded on a raft of dubious assumptions and simplistic models. But it would take the resources of another CONsultancy to effectively expose that but of course they will never fight among themselves. Instead they take turns at the trough, promising jam tomorrow and hoping that no one notices the hollowness of the previous promises.

  45. Tim says:

    I don’t believe any of the South Bristol regeneration hype, but I also don’t really feel like extensive economic studies and cost-benefit analyses are needed to justify this ring road link, whether it includes BRT or not (in fact I’d also rather see them not spend money on the BRT option and instead spend it on a radial route, but I guess it just doesn’t work that way).

    Maybe I’m a simpleton, but it seems bleeding obvious to me that it’s insane to expect to still be able to route so much traffic via the Parson Street triangle and Winterstoke Road in the next 10-20 years, independent of whether Ashton Park happens or not.

    Similarly, an extension of the ring road to Hick’s Gate would make a lot of sense – the traffic routing from South/West Bristol towards Bath is just a catastrophe. A southern M4-M5 bypass would be even better, but I don’t expect to see that happen in my lifetime.

    I shall patiently await stoning now.

    PS: Chris, doesn’t the whole “CONsultation” get a bit tired after a while (even if accurate)?

  46. What about the CO2/peak oil elephant in the room, Tim?

    Not to mention the impact of all this traffic on the places it goes through?

  47. chris hutt says:

    Tim, you’re right about ‘CONsultation’ and you’re right about the need for this road, and more, if we are to continue with traffic growth.

    But can we reconcile traffic growth with all sorts of environmental and social consequences? It’s not just about carbon emissions or local pollution but about the character of the urban environment when so much space and priority is given to moving traffic around at the expense of local communities.

    Isn’t it obvious that the most attractive places to live are those least disrupted and dominated by traffic? The people with money, including those behind these plans, choose to live in rural tranquility or urban gentility, well away from the main traffic arteries. They want these roads so they can more easily commute in and out, not for the benefit of local people.

  48. dreamingspire says:

    Arguably you can bring more regeneration to South Bristol if it has 100Mbit broadband installed throughout (and plenty of much higher speed trunks, so that the contention ratio on the street level services is low and small businesses and local work hubs can get the bandwidth that they need).

  49. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Um, Chris, you live about 5 mins walk from the A4 in Clifton – one of the biggest arterial routes in Bristol. The place in Bristol least dominated by traffic is probably the middle of Knowle West. Even Stoke Bishop has a good link through it to the Portway.

  50. Mark Bradshaw says:


    In reply, I specifically requested Bristol officers to commission a full environmental and regeneration assessment for each option – road alone/road plus public transport and public transport alone.

    As I held the transport, planning and regeneration/economic development portfolio in our Labour Cabinet this seemed to make sense and would help inform choices and options at WEP level, as well as for cabinet here.

    Can you signpost me to where this information is – if it’s been published.

    I was also concerned about the different journey projections estimated over the next 10-20 yrs and wanted us to be more ambitious about modal shift-but this would require a level of integrattion way beyond what has been achieved in Bristol to date.

    Above all, the scenario I wanted to avoid was for Bristol/WEP/DfT to build a road, it gets full and congested, then face requests for a bigger, wider road and hey presto you have an M32 for South Bristol – no thank you.

    Mark Bradshaw

  51. dreamingspire says:

    “The place in Bristol least dominated by traffic is probably the middle of Knowle West”
    Cllr Wright, don’t you understand that its getting out and back in again that’s the problem?

  52. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Spire: Yes, that’s what I had been trying to argue regarding the SBLR – it will allow people to get out and in to S Bris. I was responding to Chris’s suggestion that being near arterial routes makes a place undesirable. I suggest that isnt true – Clifton is surrounded by the A4 on two sides!

  53. chris hutt says:

    Mark W, the main roads that actually penetrate Clifton (the A4 does not) are relatively slow and congested with lots of crossing points so traffic is not as dominant as it might be. In terms of vehicular access from the A4 to Clifton, that is generally poor.

    It’s instructive to look at the housing that fronts the A4 (Hotwell Road) and contrast with similar housing a few streets away. The ambiance and character are profoundly different. The wealthy do not live fronting the A4.

    Refering back to the appendix that Peter G linked to, it’s interesting to note that the projections for traffic levels in south Bristol are general worse than current levels, irrespective of whether the SBLR gets built or not.

  54. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Chris: “The wealthy do not live fronting the A4.” – Heh, have you seen the cost of those homes? Not wealthy compared to Royal York Crescent perhaps, but still very expensive.

    The increased traffic levels irrespective of SBLR are no doubt due to the projected 10,000 new homes over the next 20 years.

    Mark B: As I pointed out before, for me the issue isnt car use (as this can be obviated by public transport) but goods/services transport. Most sensible businesses dont do this at rush-hour anyway. No doubt any road built will be congested during rush-hour. But arguing that an existing road needs expanding is different to arguing that a non-existent road should be built. It’s the difference between arguing that we need bigger roads and arguing that we should fix “broken” road systems.

    Finally, could you clarify for us what the Labour position on this road is now? As far as I knew supporting the SBLR had long been Labour policy, and I know it is well supported by your Hartcliffe cllrs, who feel they have the most to gain from it (e.g. http://www.bristol.gov.uk/committee/2007/ua/ua000/0726_1.pdf) You appear to be dropping your support for it… is this a personal position as Bedminster cllr up for election next year or are they also happy with this change of policy?

  55. W00dburner says:

    Trouble is, elected councillors come and go, while senior council officials and developers are in for the long haul, and can sit back while debate rages, and quietly clean up as the opportunity arises to manipulate policy for their own ends.

  56. dreamingspire says:

    I will bet that most of the traffic in and out of south Bristol is from and to central Bristol or through it to the North Fringe – but without the figures and some projection of the change in traffic patterns if various roads are built, discussion is somewhat futile – and projections do indeed have to consider whether the roads that connect to the area can carry the projected extra traffic (e.g. river crossings, as regularly mentioned). I, too, am very suspicious of the “regeneration” hype when you build another road across south Bristol.
    And, Jon, I don’t like “keeping a route open” as a spoiler for housing development proposals is really productive as far as the real problem is concerned. From the beginning of those ideas for thousands of houses, I was reading those cries about the failure to plan for services (including transport).
    A last note: sub-regionally we really cocked it up, allowing the North Fringe to be developed without looking at how the employees would get there.

  57. Jon Rogers says:

    Mark Bradshaw said, “I specifically requested Bristol officers to commission a full environmental and regeneration assessment for each option”

    Mark, in response to me forwarding to officers your original message, I have received a report called “Preliminary Wider Economic Impact Report Volume 2 – Economic Impact Assessment” It is also marked in big bold letters on the front “CONFIDENTIAL – NOT FOR CIRCULATION”!

    It was in discussion draft in June 2008 and Final draft 20th October 2008 by Atkins. Is that the document to which you refer? I am told that there are no subsequent documents, so either it is the report you requested or you felt this document did not address your concerns and asked for a further report, which has not been actioned.

    I have forwarded the document to Mark so he can respond. I personally don’t see why it needs to be confidential.

    And dreamingspire, I am not hearing from anyone that is keen on the Southern option. I suspect the Northern option will be subject of formal consultation as the preferred option.

    The Northern route for phase 1 appears to split as it approaches the A370, with BRT/cycling/pedestrian route ending at Ashton Park & Ride and the single carriageway road joining the A370 a little further out. I understand that current thinking is that all transport modes would actually stay together, either to near P&R or direct to A370. This was in answer to my question about who owned the land, and why would the scheme want to purchase two transport corridors in Green Belt.

    People have been talking about a South Bristol Link for decades. We have a chance to make it happen, incorporating a range of transport modalities, within the cost envelope of identified RFA2 funding. I suppose I could ask for another report, but personally I think formal consultation and then decision time is near.


  58. Jon Rogers says:

    I hope I am responding to people in a timely way. I have renewed respect for Mark Bradshaw and Dennis Brown before him. This is not such an easy portfolio!

    I hope that by sharing information at an early stage, those with understanding and knowledge can guide questions and scrutiny to deliver the best outcome.

    I do try and keep an open mind, and am always happy to challenge and question others.


  59. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Gah, I’ve got a comment above stuck awaiting moderation for 8 hours for some reason 🙁

  60. Jon Rogers says:

    Probably being censored by the Bristol Blogger?

  61. thebristolblogger says:

    Probably Jon. Although I think I’ve said in the past that comments with links often get picked up by the spambot and held for moderation?

    You’re in good company mind. The last person to accuse me of “censorship” was Tony Gosling, so you’re among the sane and rational then.

    Mark’s comment is now up.

    ps. Publish the document. You’re elected Jon. The people really “censoring” are your employees. Why are you taking orders from them? Is an economic discussion of a crap road really a matter of national security? will someone die if it’s publsihed. What’s the rationale for secrecy here?

  62. Jon Rogers says:

    Mark Bradshaw has confirmed that it was the document he requested. Happy to forward on request – it is 3Mb though.

    Tony G and I both live in Ashley ward, so maybe it is something in the water?

  63. Useful = LowPaid says:

    “aspirational jobs” ? Like consultancy I suppose. Live on Fantasy Island don’t you.

  64. thebristolblogger says:

    Happy to forward on request – it is 3Mb though.

    Too big to email eh?

    Can I suggest you leave 10 copies on the Counts Louse reception in plain brown A4 envelopes stamped “Top Secret” in red.

    And we can then collect them dressed in dark overcoats and trilbies using the codewords “the ducks are flying early to Moscow this winter comrade?”.

  65. chris hutt says:

    Here’s an interesting extract from the Option Appraisal Report –

    “Analysis of the pattern of traffic using the link road options show that they perform a number of functions that include

    · Serving access to the major development proposed by the draft RSS south west of

    · Providing access to the employment opportunities at Hengrove Park; and

    · Providing a link between the A38 and A370 that is used particularly by traffic from
    the A38 switching to the A370 for access to the city centre.”

    From that we can surmise that the purpose of the road is to (1) support the development of the green belt and (2) allow access from BEYOND south Bristol to the new jobs at Hengrove.

    Those two de facto objectives don’t sit very well with what has been claimed, particularly in terms of boosting employment opportunties for people in south Bristol.

  66. Paul Mizen says:

    I have infront of me a consultation document “Linking Hartcliffe with the Long Ashton Bypass” with a closing date of 30 Jan. 2009. Like all good citizens I did my duty and sent in my views. Now it seems, for two near identical schemes, I will be asked to comment yet again. How much of my life am I expected to waste?

  67. Tony Dyer says:

    Takes deep breath……

    South Bristol’s main problem is a lack of jobs, everything else is secondary to that. The only way to change that is by encouraging businesses to locate/develop in the south of the City in general, and in the major regeneration focus area emanating out from the Hartcliffe Way roundabout in particular.

    But, as Mark Wright has pointed out, many of the businesses that are most likely to move there are put off because of the difficulties of hauling freight in and out of the south of the city. The overwhelming majority of freight haulage is by road – a tiny percentage is brought in by air so links to the airport are largely irrelevant and some freight is moved by rail but the only part of south Bristol currently capable of being served by rail freight is right next to where the proposed road is planned.

    Road haulage is basically a case of bringing stuff in from suppliers and sending stuff out to customers. For the Bristol area, the overwhelming majority of suppliers and customers are reached via the motorway network which is to the east and north of Bristol and thus would have to travel to/from the south of the city via the bottlenecks that are Portway/Cumberland Basin/Ashton Way or the A4 Bath Road between Hicks Gate and Callington Road unless somebody is mad enough to try to go through the City Centre.

    The proposed road building (i.e. Phase 1 and 2 of the South Bristol Ring Road – call it SBLR if you want to) will not alter that situation if it doesn’t offer something that is different from every other failure of road transportation that this city appears to have written the book on. What it might well do is highlight the need to bypass those bottlenecks, and if we continue to deliver transport “solutions” the same old way that will mean demanding that we build more roads. In this case that will be Phase 3 of the SBRR and/or the proposed link from SW Bristol to Junction 20 of the M5 near Clevedon. Both of those were proposed in the Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study – a magnificent example of a study conducted by traffic consultants who appear to have learnt their trade in the 80’s and have studied nothing new since.

    If the major impediment to generating jobs in south Bristol is concerns about road haulage then why are we building a Bus Rapid Transit and marking out Bus-only lanes. Instead of moving people in and out of south Bristol we should be building a Freight Rapid Transit and marking out Freight-only lanes so that businesses can be confident that their products and materials will be moved in and out of south Bristol efficiently. After all, if people in south Bristol can travel much shorter distances to get to work, and the regeneration is good enough that a reasonable proportion of those south Bristolians who currently spend hours of their lives stuck in traffic jams on their way to the City Centre, St Phillips, Avonmouth and Cribbs Causeway could instead travel to a job much closer to home – then surely the levels of traffic congestion elsewhere in the city will drop as a result thus reducing the need for BRT in the first place and without forcing motorists to adopt a mode of transportation that many simply don’t want to use.

  68. chris hutt says:

    Brilliant example of lateral thinking. You should be a consultant Tony.

  69. Gary Hopkins says:

    We seem to have the public reappearance of Bradshawing again.
    During the period of Tory supported Labour administration the transport plans contiued along their path towards the SBLR which is now to be consulted upon.We had previously put into a Zombie state(because we cannot prove that a future administration will try for a jump restart) the Hartcliffe-Hicks Gate stage 3.
    We had front page EP stories about the transport executive (Cllr Bradshaw) having doubts which he is now reclaiming.
    He apparently commissioned a report which we now know came back in June 2008 and then a second and apparently final version in October 2008.
    Cllr Bradshaw and his party did not leave office until Feb 2009.
    Why would anyone spend lots of council money on a report,get lots of publicity and then not even enquire about it ,let alone read it ?

  70. dreamingspire says:

    Freight going through the city centre? It does seem to be doing that: M32, turn left, out past TM, often bit of A37 then turn right down the St Johns Lane route, then left. Big artics.
    Does this Council actually know where the traffic goes? I looked into that some time ago, decided the answer was ‘no’, and still don’t think they have put the necessary technology in place.

  71. thebristolblogger says:

    If politicians want to build roads for freight, why don’t they talk to the people who know about it?

    Lorry drivers. They’ll tell you what’s what.

    I can guarantee you that all those transport ‘experts’ at the Counts Louse and all those on the CONsultancy merry-go-round have never been near any kind of HGV in their lives.

    Jon, get a focus group of Bristolian lorry drivers together and see what they have to say – which is a lot (remember they regularly visit every city and town in the UK by road and use every major road route on the way. They’d have a lot to tell you)

  72. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    I like Tony’s logic there! I’m not sure the general public (and environmental movement) would be swayed by the argument to cancel the bus-lane and put in a lorry-lane instead. But has anywhere ever done a joint lorry and bus lane before?

    I admit that the case for the SBLR is muddied by the supporting arguments of those who are also pushing the Aston urban extension for their own financial interests.

    Mind you I was a supporter of a super-high-density eco village in the triangle between the A370 and railway line (with mini transport hub where BRT to the airport crossed the mainline) until the LD group knocked it out of me…

  73. Bristol Blogger will that lead to more laybys and burger vans?

  74. Bristol Dave says:

    I wonder if this decision is motivated by the fact that a large number of Council staff have been relocated to the old Somerfield site in Hengrove?

  75. thebristolblogger says:

    No matter if it is Dave. It’ll make absolutely no difference to them – or arguably they’ll find the roads more congested than at present as Bath traffic uses the route as a ring road.

    Meanwhile most coming from the North won’t use it as they would have to come across the Cumberland Basin so will use the Temple Meads – St John’s Lane route (as a poster has already explained).

    I suppose if you live in Hartcliffe/Withywood, on a good day, it would shave a minute off your commute if you’re too lazy to walk or cycle.

    That just leaves anyone in North Somerset who may find – again on a good day – the road saves them a couple of minutes driving.

    Big deal.

  76. Mark Bradshaw says:

    I see Cllr Hopkins has made his usual insightful contribution to the debate, contrasting with the more thoughtful views of Cllrs Wright and Rogers, his cabinet colleagues. I’m glad I commissioned the regeneration impact report as it helps understand the likely benefits/if any for creating a stronger South Bristol economy of each transport option. Officers will tell you, if you had bothered to ask them, that the employment data needed refining and so final report was not available for publication before I had left office. I’ve been consistent in my scepticism about what benefits a new road would bring, particularly one without strong public transport choices, unlike others.

    I know, for example that some LD members, eg Tim Kent, were opponents of the road and joined the camapign group against and others who have been backing this road only option since it appeared in the Grtr Bristol Strategic Transport Study, which, Cllr Hopkins, I’m sure you’ve fully read and absorbed as had Cllr Rogers.

    Mark Bradshaw

  77. Tony Dyer says:

    Mark Wright said…..
    “But has anywhere ever done a joint lorry and bus lane before?”

    Freight & bus lanes were included as a possible way forward as far back as 2001 as part of SWARMMS (The GOSW’s London to South West and South Wales Multi-Modal Study), and I suspect they go back even further.

    In terms of implementation, there was a proposal for lorries to share a bus lane in Norwich in connection with its proposed Freight Consolidation Centre (itself partly modelled on Bristol’s own Broadmead Freight Consolidation Scheme).

    It was opposed by………..ummm, cyclists, the Lib Dems and the Greens…….oops!

    However, I think there were a number of lessons that can be learned from the way the Norwich scheme was put forward which could serve to provide a blueprint of how not to do it!

    One of those problems that we need to get past is the fact that local residents are so fed up of seeing their opinions blatantly ignored because of the subversion of the aims of consultation (i.e it increasingly appears to be an exercise in achieving smaller and smaller community involvement whose views can then be dismissed as a vocal minority and thus ignored along with the rest of the public) that they increasingly refuse to participate – as a result schemes are increasingly implemented without getting the public to buy-in to them, and thus fail to deliver what the public wants and needs.

    Without public buy-in, the entire exercise merely becomes an opportunity for future political point-scoring and the sort of “he said that you said that I said last year about what they said the year before” tittle-tattle that should have been left in the playground long ago.

  78. Tony Dyer says:

    Chris Hutt said:
    “You should be a consultant Tony.”

    I was – until I realised that the most useful advice I could give to most of the companies I was providing consultancy to was “stop bringing in bloody consultants”.

  79. dreamingspire says:

    Tony (9.59 by the WordPress clock) takes us into the realm of fading accountability, in which civil servants at Whitehall and regional level are increasingly taking the decisions, with the emasculated Councils left behind as the ‘professionals’ take over. Executive Cabinets were never going to work, despite the strenuous efforts of the current lot, because that level of decision making needs competent and extremely experienced people, with a strong chain going back down into the electorate and (we have to say it) businesses – strong because it must be capable of creating excellent outcomes and not pander to those who simply want to make a profit or those who are shortsighted. Whitehall civil servants are trying to make the process of governing this country more European, but without the continuity of expertise up and down the chain that characterises France. We have also sadly lacked that expertise in Bristol, but its getting better, although there is still too much arrogance among the officers. But I still think they don’t actually know the end-to-end journey details of the vehicles – there is technology to help them – suggest they talk to Manchester University’s Urban Studies people and to Visiting Professor Eric Sampson at Newcastle University.

  80. organiclocal says:

    Loads of good debate here.
    Yes I really did listen to tough-man Savage slagging off anyone against the south bristol ring road as ‘nimbys’. A few years ago mind-so no surprise this has all come to head again driven forward by the Savage/Cussens /Mafia/Evening Puss Partnership.
    The idea of sustainable development based on a local economy doesn’t seem to feature with these consultants reports. I vote for more consultation.
    I’m currently doing some work for an IT professional who works from home in Hartcliffe.
    Battling my way there by bike is a challenge for a hard-core cyclist like me-no wonder I don’t meet many other bikers on my way there or back. I suppose what I’m saying is that this link road is a dead donkey for me. It will mean still more commuters and transport vehicles chuntering through the area, with a difficult time to be had by those on foot/bike/public transport.
    The notion of ‘aspirational’ is also up for grabs. Some aspirational people I know in South Bristol, drive to work outside the area, drive their children to ‘good’ schools outside the community, drive to the supermarket etc.
    Me -I aspire to having a low impact lifestyle in a local economy. And the single parents I know need jobs and childcare near to their homes. They don’t need to be told their aspirations are a bonkers link rd to nowhere in particular.

    I have decided to nominate ~John Savage and Ned Cussens for the South Bristol Banana award. Other nominations please.

  81. thebristolblogger says:

    Consultants do at least bring another level of absurdity to our local authority’s long term planning and decisions.

    We basically have unaccountable people from London reporting to someone from Oxfordshire employed by someone from Bradford making decisions about a local route through South Bristol.

    The chances of this little lot drawing the right conclusions are pretty low. Their approach is entirely theoretical isn’t it?

  82. Anon says:

    Are you not a consultant BB?

  83. @Tony – thanks for that info. Re “cyclists, the Lib Dems and the Greens” opposing joint bus & freight lanes, this I think is where the environmental movement needs to get a bit smarter about untangling the nature of different forms of traffic and which demographic is using them for what. I do worry that the move towards “de-roading” the economy, while beneficial on the look, feel and sustainability of our urban areas, also potentially does significant harm to the working-class economy while hardly touching the middle-class economy. Some might argue that this doesnt really matter because the working class economy is being shipped to Asia anyway, but then the question becomes: what then for the blue-collar? (and implicitly, what then for Bristol South?) There comes a point when it is false economy, both in cash terms and environmental terms, to reply on distant countries to serve all our industrial needs; and residual local industry will always need to haul goods by methods other than public transport & bikes. IMO simply saying “that way of life is now obsolete” is no different to what Thatcher did to the miners.

    @Mark B: Well I’m glad you’ve changed your mind and now think I’ve put “thoughtful views” – only two days ago you twittered these views showed that I was “not v clued up for a cabinet member and ppc”!

    re: Tim Kent – he is utterly opposed to the phase 3 ring road and to urban extensions and will go the barricades over them, which isnt surprising because that ring road would badly damage Whitchurch, and the Whitchurch urban extension is probably the stupidest idea I’ve ever seen in a planning document (although I wasnt born when they put concreting over the city docks in a planning document!) I think most of his opposition to the idea of the SBLR is the slippery slope argument that it will lead to the ring road, eventually. I’m not sure what his position would be if it could be guaranteed that one wouldnt follow the other… though I accept that several are making precisely the case that this can never really be guaranteed.

    PS I ask again: any chance of giving us the official Labour position?

  84. thebristolblogger says:

    No. I’m not a CONsultant.

  85. Mark Bradshaw says:

    Mark W

    Sorry but it really doesn’t take much to offer ‘thoughtful views’ when compared to gary’s party machine contributions.

    so what’s the Lib Dem position on SBL/R then – as you’re the ones in power now (for the time being)? You have a majority so what’s your policy? Ditto, while you’re at it, tell us whether you’re going to flog BCC’s ransom strip to Tesco at Ashton Gate.

    Looking forward to your answers on both

    mark bradshaw

  86. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Um, Mark, did you miss Jon stating LD policy on SBLR further up the page here:
    or are you just trying to evade giving your own answer?

    As for Tesco, it’s not a secret that I am extremely sceptical about the benefit of that. Any decision to sell would presumably be a cabinet decision, and since the Cabinet is not yet under my iron rule I have no idea which way that debate would go.

  87. Mark Bradshaw says:

    Mark W

    But I didn’t feel that the earlier comments represented a clearcut policy announcement for or against, and then which option is favoured/supported. eg do the Lib Dem Cabinet want a new road to be built or not?

    on Tesco- pleased you’ve confirmed that the land disposal decision will go to Cabinet.

    Does your scepticism apply just to the land disposal, and/or to the tesco application or perhaps even the stadium proposal itself?

    Perhaps you need reminding that you’re now running Bristol and so your policies are the ones which will influence SBL/R at this time. When Labour ran the Council I explained our position countless times, and we commissioned the regen/environment impact research which was my decision, not one suggested to me by officers.

    Now it’s for you and LD colleagues to decide and to agree on a preferred option and route with the neighbouring councils, of course.

    Mark B

  88. Gary Hopkins says:

    Cllr Bradshaw
    You might have explained your position several times.
    Trouble is it was different every time.
    Just like on the railway path and the incinerator.
    Still trying to work out why you commission the impact assesment at significant cost ,get 2 versions of it and then loose track of it.
    Did it not give you enough excuses for your totally self contradictory statements?
    Is it really that you are incapable of reading the policy statements from us on this blog and elsewhere or do you expect us to follow your example and give out different versions at different times?

  89. Mark Bradshaw says:

    Cllr Hopkins

    not sure when you became exec member for transport?

    nevermind, my group’s position was well documented during our 21 months successfully running Bristol.

    Let’s not forget that the South Bristol Road was yet another scheme inherited from the previous Lib Dem cabinet member and I introduced the public transport options, against much advice. Otherwise the only option would have been a road and nothing more. It seems the LDs were happy to accept this.

    Now, are you critising me for commissioning the extra work to understand regen & employment impacts?

    So , once again, what’s the LD policy on the road/link and on the Ashton Gate land disposal? come on, not too difficult is it?

  90. Gary Hopkins says:

    Cllr Bradshaw
    The earlier comment from our transport executive which you seem to be struggling with.

    Some interesting comments above.

    Lib Dems are opposed to Phase 3 and the South Bristol Ring Road.

    We are minded to support Phases 1 and 2 Link with rapid transit. We currently favour the “inner” route on the WoEP diagram.

    We need to improve walking, cycling and public transport links to S Bristol and we are looking to RFA funding to help make that happen. The route *might* include a single carriageway road.

    We obviously have to negotiate with government and neighbouring councils as you well know.

    You are being criticised not for commisioning a report but for commissioning a report and then not bothering to follow up on it or apperently even read it.
    If you are now in a reading mood I can also let you have copies of the analysis of the fatally flawed bid that you put in for the 25 year monster hire purchase(sorry PFI) deal for the incinerator.
    The Tories were a year late spotting that one but at least they got there eventually. Difficuilt to believe that you are still defending that one.

  91. Ben says:

    I cannot remember the last time I was priviliged to witness such a sparkling, incicive debate as the one happening between our elected representatives here.

    Oh, wait, yes I can:


  92. Deano says:

    Perhaps somebody needs to tell Gary and Mark that this is the Bristol Blogger not the Council House – better standards of behaviour are required here.

    Now pick up all those toys and put them back in your prams before I tell Nanny Barb and Nanny Helen!

  93. mikey says:

    why is it that whenever hopkins contributes the thread always degenerates into a slanging match?

  94. organicalocal says:

    damn I was enjoying that. Can’t leave Gary with the last word……? Didn’t quite get the monster incinerator on ring road link. Can Gary explain what ‘minded’ means or does it just mean ‘we will’ support phases 1 and 2
    Or is this politik jargon like redacted =censored.

  95. Gary wrote: “We are minded to support Phases 1 and 2 Link with rapid transit.”

    Have you seen any real case made for the bus rapid transit, Gary? Your consultants told you it would carry 300 people an hour tops (peak hour, both ways) and little more than 100 during the day. That won’t surprise anyone wondering who it is that actually wants to catch a bendybus from Hengrove to Ashton Gate – knowing that by that time there should be a competing route direct into the city centre. Even the most ardent public transport lobbyist will have this well down their priority list. Oh, and it doesn’t meet the economic case either.

    Question: who will drop it first…..the government or the council? And will you then settle for a road only solution, once the greenwash has gone?

    Gary went on: “We currently favour the “inner” route on the WoEP diagram.”

    Presumably that’s taking a cue from Jon Rogers’ similar comment? Apart from the significantly increased journey times (peak hour commute)that come as part of this package, Jon should be aware (because he reads the first and last pages of reports) that the “inner route” will feed an extra 7,000 vehicles/day into the Cumberland Basin pinch-point – that is, 20% up along Brunel Way. Have you thought how you’ll cope with that increase?

  96. Gary Hopkins says:

    The coments under my last posting were lifted from postings by Jon Rogers early on in the thread. (Should have put quotes on)
    Cllr Bradshaw apparently had not noticed the comments so I reminded him.
    Difficuilt when Cllr Bradshaw starts accusing not to remind him of the incinerator.
    I did not even mention the attack on the railway path.

  97. Gary

    is that the attack on the railway path initiated by Cllr Dennis Brown (Lib Dem) and finally removed by Cllr Mark Bradshaw (Lab)

  98. Mark Bradshaw says:

    shame gary has no new arguments to make only this worn out party machine stuff
    the fact is that the lib dems have a chance to do something quite profound in favouring a strong public transport option – which is why Labour insisted on BRT , walking and cycling featuring in 2 of the options. Bet they go for the road only option and blame me, the government, the Labour Party, poor Dennis Brown, in fact anyone and everyone else because they can’t cope with making decisions.

    Mark Bradshaw

  99. Mark Bradshaw says:

    ps. gary, sorry Councillor Hopkins, as cabinet member for everything, you still haven’t answered my question, repeated several times now, about Ashton Gate.

    Are you flogging the BCC ransom strip to Tesco or not? and who decides – are you going to take this to public Cabinet or retreat to a private room again (as for adult care) and let Barbara and Simon tell you what to do? or perhaps the officers will take the decision for you and Jon and you can blame them

    Mark Bradshaw

  100. chrishutt says:

    Mark B, Peter G made some very good points above, including that BRT is not viable on an orbital route like the South Bristol Link Road. I might add that a cycle route slavishly following the road doesn’t make much sense either since there’s a steep grade from the railway up to the A38.

    So you have insisted on BRT and cycling being included to cloak the fact that this is basically just another road building scheme. As Peter G says it is unlikely that the BRT element to Hengrove will get funding and so we will be left with a new road but with the land available (ostensibly purchased for BRT) and even structures (railway underbridge) for it to become a dual carriageway.

  101. Mark Bradshaw says:


    no ‘cloaking’ as you put it, just a need to understand the different options and come to a view on which will provide a better outcome for South Bristol and the wider city. Unless, of course, you would have preferred a road option alone? then you would have rightly attacked me for not giving weight to public transport alternatives!

    Mark Bradshaw

  102. chrishutt says:

    No Mark, I’d prefer than cycling and public transport investment was based on the ‘desire lines’ of cyclists and PT users, which as you know are primarily radial routes towards the city centre.

    In this case we see cycling and PT investment skewed away from the logical desire lines by the overriding importance given to the desire lines of motorists which tend more towards the orbital.

    From the Options Report linked to by Peter G earlier we see that the rational for determining the need for cycle routes is risibly inadequate, little more than a reference to the need for people to have 30 minutes exercise a day. So much for taking cycling seriously as a form of transport.

  103. Mark Bradshaw says:


    My point is that the options included public transport, walking and cycling and without this you would have had a road and only a road being put forward. Now its up to the Lib Dem cabinet to decide.

    Mark Bradshaw

  104. Mark: thanks for the response, I hope it will be followed by something from the LibDem side.

    However, you’re simply looking back again.

    The position now is that a hybrid option is proposed, in which the public transport element will almost certainly be dropped, and the remaining road ‘solution’ has very significant problems – extra traffic, horrendous congestion, longer journey times, and all the disadvantages of new heavily trafficked roads through residential areas.

    You speak of the importance of a public transport option being included in the study, and of course you’re right in that. But the option you didn’t include was the ‘do minimum’ that was used for comparative purposes in the studies; no new ‘link’ roads, no orbital BRT, but better radial routes including the BRT Hengrove to North Fringe.

    To me, ‘do minimum’ is by far the best one all round. I’d really like to know what the Labour approach would be – especially if, as I predict, the orbital BRT doesn’t secure funding.

    Same goes, of course, for the LibDem threesome.

  105. dreamingspire says:

    chrishutt: “the ‘desire lines’ of cyclists and PT users, which as you know are primarily radial routes towards the city centre”.
    For buses, by volume of passengers, yes, but the orbital journeys are important to some passengers (support social cohesion, in some people’s jargon), and the present bus fare structures (and service patterns on orbital routes) inhibit that when the convenient route is to city centre and out again – so (go tell this to ffing Ap Rees) we need that ITA and full public control of the bus services (much more than that farcical power to fix the maximum fares).

  106. chrishutt says:

    DS, sure the orbital journeys are important to some, but too few to justify heavy investment on BRT infrastructure as is proposed.

    The only economic way to accommodate such low demand corridors with public transport, if there is one at all, is with minimal capital cost, so a basic bus running on the ordinary roads.

    As for an ITA, that would just lead to further distortions of the economics by increased public subsidy. That does nobody any favours because most of our transport problems derive from not allowing simple market mechanisms to operate, mainly through not charging for the real value of road capacity.

  107. “As for an ITA, that would just lead to further distortions of the economics by increased public subsidy”

    “most of our transport problems derive from not allowing simple market mechanisms to operate, mainly through not charging for the real value of road capacity.”

    Ouch! Time to test that one out on your own blog, Chris? Otherwise there’s another hundred comments waiting here.

  108. chrishutt says:

    The economics of supply and demand have been under test for cebturies. We all depend on such market mechanisms for food, clothing and shelter.
    Does it really need testing some more?

  109. dreamingspire says:

    Chris, without an ITA govt money will dry up. There will be no trains to Portishead, etc, etc. The civil servants are tightening their grip, but are determined to support the areas where the wealth is – but only providing those areas get their political act together – and Greater Bristol is the next one on the list below the Metropolitan Counties (sorry: the new city-regions, of which Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorks are the first two).
    I am not advocating masses of lightly used orbital services. Instead we must move to fair fares when using radial bus routes to make an orbital journey (i.e. through ticketing at same price as a single ticket today, so you do your orbital journey by travelling two spokes on which there are frequent services). Even Avon County knew that radial routes dominate.

  110. chrishutt says:

    DS, the Labour government itself is drying up and will be just a hazy memory in a few months. So what counts is what the Conservatives are going to do, if anything. I doubt whether ITAs will be high on their agenda.

  111. Gary Hopkins says:

    The pattern of routes for both roads and public transport in Bristol force a lot of journeys into the centre and out again. The likes of first bus know this but it is not a priority for them to address the demand. A cynic would suggest that they are happier for people to take longer and more expensive journeys.There is though a difference between routes for whatever type of transport to allow people to get around internally within the city and the phase 3 type ring rd that would have been damaging to the South Bristol economy and encouraged green belt sprawl.
    We are very much in favour of the ITA but it does require other councils to agree.
    The point of government drying up is very real.
    The problem is that under the present government a huge % of the money we need is taken from areas like Bristol ,wasted by central government and then we are allowed to bid for whats left and we often finish up with a messy compromise which is not what Bristolians want or need.
    Having tried on several occasions to get a clear answer from Cllr Bradshaw I have to conclude that he commissiioned a report without knowing what to do with it when it reported and then lost interest.
    Long grass anyone??
    I will though address the distraction question that he asked about Tesco.
    1 The administration cannot and will not seek to influence a planning committee decision which is semi judicial.
    2 As a matter of practicality we did though recommend that the 2 ap[plications be heard on different committees not the same one.
    3 We will use any landholdings we have to get best value for Bristol residents.
    4 It is extremely unlikely that we would regard “giving away land to Tesco” as consistent with that.
    5 Any decisions on this sort of issue will be taken in open cabinet and this has already been confirmed in writing.
    6 Expect suprises.
    7 Final positions cannot be announced because the situation is still developing.

  112. chrishutt says:


    If as you suggest the pattern of public transport routes “forces a lot of journeys into the centre and out again” to an extent where significant demand is not being “addressed” then what is to stop First or another operator offering a more orbital service?

    It appears to me that most orbital services are poorly patronised and are not financially viable (and so have to be subsidised), in which case it makes more sense for services to operate via the centre. I cannot see how it can be in First’s or any other operator’s interests to ignore demand if there is a realistic prospect of profiting from it.

    But if there is no prospect of profiting from such services then they should be ignored because catering for them is uneconomic, environmentally damaging and a waste of valuable resources.

  113. dreamingspire says:

    Gary: “A cynic would suggest that they are happier for people to take longer and more expensive journeys.”
    Gary, yes, today there is an element of that, but the underlying priority is the law, based on economics: if you (the Council) want to persuade an operator to start operating on a new route, you have to convince them that they will make a profit on that route, because by law they have to make a profit or give up the licence for that route – and in present economic circumstances that means that the Council will have to guarantee the income for a significant period (and fund and organise the publicity). You would do better by getting on with forming an ITA, after which you can change the whole ITA area to contracted services and make the operators run all the services that the public subsidy can stand (that’s not a cynical comment at the end of that sentence: its a fact of life). Public transport has to be a public service!

  114. chrishutt says:

    DS, what is the point of extorting taxes from the public to pay for empty buses to run around? It’s an economic nonsense and an environmental nonsense.

    Public transport can provide a service and return a profit for the operator, providing government stops messing with the market.

    Private operators have a vested interest in meeting real consumer demand rather than political diktat based on half baked notions of what a public transport network ought to look like.

  115. ron dodgers says:

    gary. If i want to build a tower block on your house, i can put in a planning application on it. That doesnt mean you have to sell me the land. Same with the council. If you dont want tesco, dont sell them the land. Simples.

  116. Paul Mizen says:

    Just returned from The Centre. Missed the 52 (watched it pull away) but within 4 mins had a choice of the 75 or 76 to get me within walking distance of Bemmy Down. All three were pretty full and people got on and off at most stops.
    My point is, how many of these people would use the RTS to get into Town? Unless you lived on the route, which for easy access means Cater Rd to Highridge Green, my guess is very few, espescially as we are already served by a pretty good “Showcase” bus route. Add to this the plans for a route from Hengrove to the Northern fringe, and the Hengrove to Ashton route seems a certain “white elephant”.

  117. chrishutt says:

    “white elephant” or red herring perhaps?

  118. Gosh, I go away for a day and when I get back how surprised am I that now I find people arguing that the BRT option should be dropped!
    (Methinks Peter G wants the public transport aspect dropped so it makes his argument against the principle of the SBLR easier.)

    But people are forgetting several factors:

    1. There will need to be BRT from Ashton to the A38 (phase 1) anyway because the aspiration or most sensible people is eventually to have a rapid transit route from Temple Meads to the airport. (Does anyone here oppose that?) Therefore, hopefully the only BRT stretch being questioned is the A38 to Hengrove bit (phase 2).

    2. If we are to aim for a truly integrated public transport network in Bristol, then it makes a great deal of sense to build in at construction
    time (i.e. the cheapest time!) a radial connection between two BRT lines where convenient, as this gives a great deal of future flexibility to the network. It may well be that radial routes are where the big patronage is, but it would be silly to extrapolate that therefore it isn’t worth bothering with orbital routes, especially when initial build time is always cheaper than retro-fitting years later when we finally decide it’s needed.

    3. The aim is for south Bristol to have a great deal of extra jobs and activity and 10,000 extra homes. The capacity for public transport growth is huge if all that happens. Personally, I’d like to see BRT follow the obvious route all the way along the A4174 and then back in to the centre. Let’s aim high.

    4. Most public transport enthusiasts say that consultants always underestimate how much extra usage will be stimulated by a good public transport option. If we give south Bristol both a good orbital BRT and a good radial BRT then we will have finally given a level playing field to part of Bristol that has been fed just the crumbs of Bristol’s investment for a generation.

  119. chrishutt says:

    Mark W “There will need to be BRT from Ashton to the A38 (phase 1) anyway because the aspiration or most sensible people is eventually to have a rapid transit route from Temple Meads to the airport. (Does anyone here oppose that?)”

    I will. On the grounds that investing in making the airport more accessible by public transport is incompatible with the need to severely cut back on aviation on account of the inevitable carbon emissions.

    We know that current levels of aviation are unsustainable, especially if replicated globally (so that, for example the average Chinese person flew as much as the average Briton). So we need to consider what scale of airport use would be sustainable, if any.

    It’s very unlikely that, whatever that level was, it would justify investment in BRT. In fact if aviation returns to being confined to a privileged elite it’s unlikely that they will travel by public transport anyway.

  120. Glenn Vowles says:

    Cllrs Hopkins/Wright/Rogers etc

    ‘Fight Labour’s Green Belt Grab and preserve our green spaces’


    Abandoned this policy then?

  121. Pingback: Are our politicians in danger of having to express a view in the near future? « The Bristol Blogger

  122. organiclocal says:

    Mmmm-surprises in store Mr Hopkins?
    Tesco to fund link rd? Bendy-buses to be pulled by horse? South Bristol banana Award becomes Bunch of Bananas Award?
    Come on give us a clue……

  123. “Methinks Peter G wants the public transport aspect dropped so it makes his argument against the principle of the SBLR easier”

    You might find it convenient to think that, Mark W. It lets you out of answering the facts and the questions I put. The silence from you and Gary and Jon and Mark B is deafening.

    I thought someone ought to come out and point out that as it stands, the BRT (which is, in transport terms, quite independent of the ring road proposal) just doesn’t make economic sense. If you think it does, please explain. All you’ve offered is a wish that it might be part of a bigger ‘circular’ route, which I agree would certainly be worth looking at. But if so, why the hell is the first time it’s been mentioned? Why isn’t it part of the JLTP or the long term BRT plans?

    Admit it, you made it up!

    The roads are something else. I’ve pointed out some of their major disadvantages, which none of you has yet denied. And Tony Dyer took your ‘roads bring regeneration’ myth to pieces earlier on.

    So should I take it that the LibDem administration would want to press ahead with the BRT part of this scheme – because of its ‘benefits’to South Bristol – even if the government chooses not to foot the bill? And if not, would it want to proceed with a road only option. And in any case, how are you going to cope with the extra traffic hitting the Cumberland Basin? Or the increased CO2, noise, congestion, … ?

  124. Bristol Dave says:

    I will. On the grounds that investing in making the airport more accessible by public transport is incompatible with the need to severely cut back on aviation on account of the inevitable carbon emissions.

    We know that current levels of aviation are unsustainable, especially if replicated globally (so that, for example the average Chinese person flew as much as the average Briton). So we need to consider what scale of airport use would be sustainable, if any.

    God almighty. Will anyone be “allowed” to do anything any more in Chris’s Global Envrionmental Utopia? Now foreign holidays are off the list as well?

    If you ask me, a “sustainable” future sounds pretty grim. Car travel in a half-decent car? Banned. Car travel in any kind of car? Probably banned too. Air travel? Banned. Effective lightbulbs? Banned. Plastic Bags? Banned. Waste Collection? Banned. Freedom? Banned.

  125. dreamingspire says:

    But Chris allows for the elite to do those things. I mean, its not really feasible for all of us to be able to travel in the kind of convoy that the US President uses, with rapid-fire cannon protecting him all round, so we just have to be aspirational (and cycle).

  126. chrishutt says:

    Dave, we already have a situation where most people (in the world) aren’t ‘allowed’ to do those things, by virtue of having to subsist on low incomes.

    Either we (literally) fight to protect this nation’s privileged position as one of the world’s top consumers (although I think handing over all our manufacturing capacity to the Chinese might have put the kibosh on that) or we have to accept that we must lead more modest lifestyles in the future.

    Personally I think more modest lifestyles will, and should, come about as a result of market pressures rather than government diktat, but the effect will be broadly similar. Oil at $100 a barrel was just a taste of things to come.

    So enjoy the good times well they last because it can’t go on much longer. Obviously that doesn’t apply to a miserable bugger like me who is looking forward to you all being reduced to my level of subsistence.

  127. Paul Mizen says:

    I,d like to know where these 10,000 new homes are going. With the Lib/Dems opposing houses on the Greenbelt and the Council as a whole voting for a legal challenge to the RSS, as a resident of S Bristol I,m interested to know.

  128. Jon Rogers says:

    Paul Mizen asks, “I,d like to know where these 10,000 new homes are going”

    This is part of the extensive discussions on the Local Development Framework which is in preparation at present. That sets out the planning framework for the city for the next 20+ years.

    There is also a “site appraisal” document being produced which reflects feedback from every ward in the city on the individual sites that may be available, and what the site might be used for.

    There is also a tie in with the Parks and Green Spaces Strategy.

    They all have to fit with the Regional Spatial Strategy to be considered “sound”.

    Bristol and the surrounding Authorities have all registered objections to the Secretary of State’s housing numbers as being undeliverable, but we are more confident of the numbers in Bristol.

    The strategy rejects Labour’s Secretary of State demand that we build on Green belt. I get the impression that officers are grateful that we have been so clear on this as an incoming administration.


  129. Bristol Dave says:

    Dave, we already have a situation where most people (in the world) aren’t ‘allowed’ to do those things, by virtue of having to subsist on low incomes.

    My heart bleeds, really. There are many people on less of an income than me, and there are many people on much more of an income than me. It might not seem particularly fair at times, but then life’s not fair, is it? One of the lessons I’ve accepted fairly early on, but people like the Communists never did. They tried to enforce it, and look where that got them. Are you trying to say that I should give up what little pleasures I have in life because others can’t afford them?

    Personally I think more modest lifestyles will, and should, come about as a result of market pressures rather than government diktat, but the effect will be broadly similar.

    I don’t agree. Of course they should come as a result of market pressure, and nobody can argue with that, but I feel this government is far too diktat-y currently (and won’t get any better when the Tories come in – more of the same diktat I predict) to allow that to happen. We’ve already got large taxes being imposed in the name of the environment, and it’s only going to get worse. The government has discovered the most important cash cow in history and they’re not going to let it go – allowing market forces to force people to live more “modest” lifestyles rather than using diktat doesn’t reap nearly enough money for the government.

    So enjoy the good times well they last because it can’t go on much longer.

    I fully intend to. And if they end, I’ll just move somewhere where they carry on. The good times won’t end the world over. They’ll end probably here first, due to the government bowing down to pressure from hand-wringing environmentalists. It’s already happened with lightbulbs – incandescent ones have been banned by the EU, when the replacements simply aren’t ready. Energy-saving bulbs emit awful, awful light, they are incredibly dim when you first turn them on, they’re particularly BAD for the environment due to the harmful gasses contained in them and produced during manufacture, and they’ll be replaced by LED bulbs which are a far better technology and use even less power – but yet incandescent bulbs have been banned by the EU without a consideration to any of these factors. Do you think any non-EU countries would put up with any of that kind of shit? The good times may end here, but it won’t be the same everywhere, and I’ll be happy to move there. As long as what I’m doing doesn’t directly harm anyone (and if you tried to tell me that using incadescent bulbs does harm people, I’d laugh in your face at such ignorance) I’m not having my life restricted by arrogant lofty self-important environmentalists, thank you very much.

  130. dreamingspire says:

    Jon Rogers mentions the Regional Spatial Strategy.
    Recently an officer from a shire county told me that the Tories will scrap those. So I asked a planner, now retired but holding a Visiting Chair at a university, about that, and was told “Yes, but there will be something to replace it”.

  131. chrishutt says:

    Dave “Are you trying to say that I should give up what little pleasures I have in life because others can’t afford them?”

    No, quite the contrary. I said “enjoy it while you can”. But our privileged position in the world isn’t our’s by right but was achieved through force of arms and exploitation, not least through the slave trade.

    We no longer have the means to maintain that pre-eminent position and so inevitably our fortunes will decline and we will have to accept that others will rule the roost, probably the Chinese (so let’s hope they don’t bear grudges, because we exploited them pretty ruthlessly when it suited us -Opium Wars anyone?).

  132. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Interesting angle on public transport to airports Chris. By the same argument, do you oppose good public transport to all airports?

    You rely of course on the assumption that the people using public transport to airports wouldnt fly at all if the public transport option wasnt there. If that’s not true, you’re actually making the problem worse by pushing people into cars.

    Here’s a conversation I’ve never heard – Mrs A: “Shall we have a weekend in Rome?”, Mr A: “No, because there’s no public transport to our airport.”

    Peter G, out of interest can you tell us if the Green Party also opposes good public transport links to airports?

  133. Paul Mizen says:

    Thank you Jon, but 10,000 homes in South Bristol without using the Greenbelt, seems more than optimistic to me. While your there, now that the 52 bus no longer runs in the evening or on a Sunday, could you have a word with First about us using the Airport Flyer. It stops on Bedminster Down already. Thank You.

  134. dreamingspire says:

    The Airport Flyer must be a normal stage carriage bus service, because ENCTS bus passes (locally issued as Diamond Travelcard) were certainly valid on it a little while ago and this year’s rule changes should not have affected that, and it already has several stops. So another stop or two should not be a problem in the evening or Sunday – and the local fare should be the same as on the 52.

  135. Bristol Dave says:

    Can I also say here that the airport flyer has actually been very good & reliable when I’ve used it.

  136. Certainly I’ll answer your question, Mark. But only if you, or Jon, or Gary, promise a straight answer to my questions, above!

    I’ve been waiting too long to let this opportunity pass!

  137. Peter, I’ve got to admit I find the “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” attitude is a bit strange. I have tried to answer every question asked of me, except where people have deliberately tried to bait me with further modified questions on the same theme.

    On re-reading your posts, the only serious questions I can see (i.e. the non-rhetorical ones) are:
    * “will you then settle for a road only solution, once the greenwash has gone?”

    * “Have you thought how you’ll cope with that increase?”

    On the first, we dont know what the deal or cost will be so we cant possibly answer that question right now, but I would be very surprised if funding was refused because we put in a BRT element. If the Govt said you can only have BRT if you put in £40m then obviously we couldnt afford it. If they said only if we put in £0.1m then maybe we could afford it, but we’re certainly not going to get drawn into saying that we would be willing to pay extra – otherwise the Govt will simply demand that we pay exactly that amount extra! (Duh)

    Your question though does contain an implicit admission that you dont value the BRT option, you think it is only “greenwash”.

    On the second, the Cumberland basin was always designed for major traffic volume. Remember it was designed to be the main regional artery, before the M5 was built. It will handle the extra load – and it is better that the load is taken there than where it currently is: in Bedminster.

  138. Wincy says:

    ” it is better that the load is taken there than where it currently is: in Bedminster”

    Tell that to the people who live around the Cumberland basin and the roads off it. It will make an already intolerable situation even worse.

  139. thebristolblogger says:

    it was designed to be the main regional artery, before the M5 was built. It will handle the extra load

    Same goes for Winsterstoke road then. So need for a 370 – 38 link?

  140. chris hutt says:

    Mark W, the question re public transport links to airports is should public funds be used, as you propose, to improve the public transport links and thereby effectively subsidise the overall airport operation.

    my view is that every mode of travel should pay all its own costs, including environmental costs, without public subsidy.

  141. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    Oh I think the airport should stump up a great deal towards a BRT link to them and have told them so to their face!

    I was saying years ago that funding a rapid transit link should be a requirement of any expansion, but N Somerset missed that boat.

    However, the reality is that the airport would rather people kept driving by car, because they make cash on the parking fees, so they’ll need help or they wont bother.

    Remember, in an economy that is mostly private sector, all public transport is effectively public subsidy of private business. That’s life, and is another argument better forms of infrastructure/land taxation to re-capture the private gain from that public investment.

  142. Cllr Mark Wright says:

    BB: I dont think Winterstoke road was designed to be a regional artery – it just ended up being it by default! No one would design the Parson St nightmare like that by choice.

  143. Mark W: OK, I’ll answer yours.

    “can you tell us if the Green Party also opposes good public transport links to airports?”

    Of course we don’t oppose them…. though what we feel is ‘good’ may not measure up to your idea of what’s needed. Seems to me that, as Bristol Dave says (heavens, I agree with Bristol Dave!), the Airport Flyer service is pretty good, though it is seriously underused.

    I certainly can’t see the justification for a dedicated BRT track all the way to Lulsgate from Ashton Gate, when all it provides is a bendybus along the A38 instead of the current service. Surely there are more pressing priorities? I think we’re agreed that airport expansion would be a BAD THING?

    The costing example you gave for the BRT scheme that’s actually proposed deserves comment. First, your scenario where a local contribution of £0.1 million might be needed… in practice, the minimum local contribution is 12% of total cost anyway; you may be content to see government money squandered but there’s a significant local contribution already involved.

    The bottom line, though, is that this alignment serves very little purpose; it’s a luxury for a relatively small number of passengers. Bear in mind that the council has just cancelled the supported evening and Sunday services in the Highridge/A38 area, leaving less mobile people without any decent public transport access at those times.

    I’m left with the view that the only reason this BRT is still in bid is that it provides that green figleaf for what’s really a major road development – a southern ring road – bringing more CO2, noise, congestion, air pollution, extended journey times, and local severance, when these are all things we’re committed to cutting back on. I may have phrased that earlier as a rhetorical question – but I’d very much like to hear from LibDems and Labour how they can excuse it.

    More positively, I welcome your hint that a ‘loop’ route for BRT, providing both orbital and radial movement, might change the picture. It’s a pity the transport planners didn’t include that concept in the options (just as they didn’t include a ‘do minimum option).

    The same applies with bus routes. We seem to be stuck with routes that go from one end of the city to the other, although that meets very few passengers’ needs. Far better to have a loop route that goes from a central hub (you know the one, Plot 6 at Temple Meads!) out into the suburbs and back by a different route.

  144. Tim M. says:

    Peter: I don’t think I’ve ever seen any mention that the BRT link to the airport would need to be or should be a dedicated track – where does that come from? Isn’t “flexibility”, ie. ability to run on ordinary roads without dedicated infrastructure, one of the main selling points of that crappy BRT bendy-bus ‘technology’? (Just wondering..)

  145. That’s true, Tim. I think I was jumping to conclusions based on Mark W’s “There will need to be BRT from Ashton to the A38 (phase 1) anyway because the aspiration or most sensible people is eventually to have a rapid transit route from Temple Meads to the airport.”

    I suppose it’s arguable that if, as predicted, a new road actually adds to traffic, journey times, and congestion, then the Flyer service will become less reliable, and could only dodge it by providing a BRT route alongside. Hardly the scenario that the transport planners would want to paint, though!

    A ‘do minimum’ (no road, no Hengrove-Ashton BRT) option would be preferable in traffic terms.

    It’s odd, though, that anyone should make such a virtue of shaving a minute or two off the city-to-airport journey time, when there are so many far longer inherent delays at the airport itself. Perhaps two more minutes at the airport means more time to go shopping there?

  146. dreamingspire says:

    My experience of the Airport Flyer, and of (rather more often) using that route to go further south west, is that its not shaving a minute or two off the journey time that is the problem but simply the unpredictable delays because of congestion on the way out of Bristol and back in again – and there isn’t room for a bus lane on most of the present route. It seems that a lot of the Flyer’s passengers are travelling between TM and the airport, not local people. And the Flyer uses the wrong type of vehicles: should be low floor buses, with plenty of room to wheel the luggage on and off – more likely to get locals out of their cars that way.
    As for loop routes for buses, there was, in the 1970s (?), a plan for a “cluster of petals” network of trams, i.e. a number of loops, although having to make significant use of existing road alignments. Some academics at Bristol Uni were involved. But the roads are not wide enough for trams and the other traffic (although we really should use narrow trams, like they do in Brussels, not the current generation of monsters).

  147. Tim M. says:

    Peter: I don’t think it’s so much about shaving off a few minutes of journey time (although I am convinced that low floor busses would actually shave off quite a bit more than that, because there’s no more need for loading/unloading the bags), but rather about integration: better integration of various modes of transport, but also integration of the route into the existing (or to-be) local public transport system (not to mention ticketing). Also, the planned circular BRT route will serve more useful inner city stops than the flyer service (many of which will be served much better by radial bus routes than Temple Meads or the central bus station).

  148. Bluebaldee says:

    There has been an awful lot of drivel written by politicians about Bristol’s public transport and the supposed panacea of BRT.

    Firstly, it’s you politicians who have so pointedly failed to provide any kind of genuine improvement in our transport for almost a generation.

    Secondly, any investment finally due to our crap transport system will be whipped away from us by an incoming Tory government anyway, so we’ll have to wait for the best part of a generation for another attempt to improve things.

    Thirdly, do you actually understand just how cynical Bristolians are now with ANY promise of public transport improvement? It never happens. Take a look at the WEP site and check out the delivery dates for most of these so-called improvements – the majority are 10 years in the future! And do Bristolians really think that they’ll happen at all? No, of course they don’t – they come to expect that from our local political classes.

    You all talk the talk, but your just like WEP – lots of pretty words and brochures and hundreds of diligent workers moving a multitude of projects along – but nothing ever happens.

    Fourthly, so bloody what about BRT. Most people aren’t as stupid as you lot like to think we are. Most of us realise that you’ve sold us/been sold a lemon with BRT. £48million for more First buses running along glorified bus lanes for a mile or so!!!!! What the fuck is that all about?
    Do you honestly, really believe that more First buses with a bit of bodykit will actually achieve the modal shift from the private car that you all hope for? Of course it won’t.

    You local politicians have screwed things up again with your appalling poverty of imagination.

    Take a leaf out of Leeds’ book. Useless Labour snubbed their plans for a tram too. They’ve already got a couple of BRT lines and quickly realised that they are most definitely not the solution. So they’ve come up with electric trolleybuses – quiet, non-polluting, comfy, novel and highly unlikely to be run by First.

    The Labour Government and the previous Tory regime are heavily responsible for our transport mess. You local politicians run them a very close second.

    Now sodding well stop bitching at each other and actually DO SOMETHING to improve Bristol’s transport, before every poor child in this city gets asthma and we experience permanent total gridlock.


  149. MJ Ray says:

    Two things:

    1. if better freight is the problem, then freight rapid transit and improving the suburban Bristol railways out to concentration points near the motorways is the answer, not the SBLR.

    2. someone mentioned siting a business at WsM so you can get onto the motorway in 5 minutes. Nope. The WsM junction is a botched roundabout-with-traffic-lights fed by a high-capacity dual carriageway A-road and two local single carriageways (one A and one B which was the A until the dual replaced it), so it chokes twice a day most weekdays. WsM needs improved freight and rail as much as south Bristol. North Somerset are similarly missing the point by joining with BCC in the SBLR obsession, but maybe they feel they’ve little choice and BCC will drive the SBLR with or without their input?

  150. dreamingspire says:

    So, MJ, delaying the redoubling of the single track section of the rail link to WsM was a mistake? But any attempt to get more trains into TM needs the re-signalling – which has also been delayed.
    FGW etc could, of course, simply run longer trains on the current timetable. Currently on a weekday 3 trains leave WsM for Bristol between 0700 and 0800, and another 3 between 0800 and 0900. If there is money to be made (after the subsidy) on commuter trains into London, there ought to be money to be made on the same into Bristol… But when the commuters get to TM (or Parson St, etc), how do they get to their jobs? We prat on about SBLR, etc, but don’t deal with the central Bristol distributor problem, or with quickly speeding them on to the north fringe.
    I have been in Toronto and joined evening commuters streaming off the metro (a line running north from the waterfront) onto waiting buses (roads going east-west) – you just flash your pass or ticket as you walk 4 abreast pass the little booth into the enclosed circulation area, and doors open (remember its cold outside there for much of the year) to let you flood onto the bus. In the business district, they can walk or get an east-west metro or use a bus or tram, in order to get to the north-south metro. Yes, I know, they built Toronto on a grid, but we don’t even try to solve the central Bristol problem.

  151. thebristolblogger says:

    I’ve spent time in Toronto too. The combination is tube, bus and tram and it is very efficient (and cheap).

    Anti road campaigners might also like to note that Toronto was the first city in North America to reject a 6-lane expressway into the centre of the city as was fashionable at that time in the late 60s, early 70s (see the M32).

    The campaign was led by Jane Jacobs in exile from the US due to the Vietnam War.

    Heady times. That should be regularly repeated.

  152. Tim M. says:

    Well, the city has to play the cards it’s been dealt, no? It has to solve huge problems on a minimal budget. Fact is that there just isn’t money to build an underground (or even a tram it seems). That’s mostly because the central and regional governments aren’t providing it and the city itself can’t raise it itself (apparently). It seems a bit unfair to blame this entirely on BCC in my opinion.

    However, there is money to build this piece of ring road now, possibly even with a glorified buslane on the side. That money isn’t going to be available for anything else. If it’s not used, a ring road will be built somewhere else.

    I don’t really see the point of talking about other cities that have better public transport systems, esp. cities that aren’t really comparable with Bristol in scale or importance (not to mention population density or geography).

  153. Gary Hopkins says:

    Thankyou Tim
    The solutions we can provide are not the ideals we would choose but what the crazy system of central government control allows.
    If we do not seize the imperfect opportunity the money will indeed be spent on some village bypass in Somerset or Devon or cut altogether.
    We are in favour of an ITA (to be fair in Bristol we have alll party support) but central government will not give us the powers.
    Bus transport in Bristol could be quicker and cheaper if we did not have a central government control pushing up the times and cost but that does not stop Labour politicians suggesting to the public that a solution is in the hands of the council.
    Local government in many parts of the world produces far better results because it is allowed to govern.

  154. Tim M. says:

    PS: re. the ‘no money for decent public transport infrastructure’: whatever happened to Bristol+Bath bidding for the billion-pound heavy Transport Innovation Fund (and introducing a peak time congestion charge)? Is that still going forward?

  155. organiclocal says:

    Big city comparison may not be relevant but is interesting. When in Toronto (15 yrs ago) I also enjoyed integrated public transport and cycleways. The local people I stayed with in outer suburbs were surprised -they drove everywhere.
    The bendy-bus rapid transport is a success in Curitiba- South Brazil eco-city with three times our population.
    Is the link rd a BRT rd, an integrated public transport rd, or is just a rd to be built because there’s a wedge of money to be spent quickly?

  156. MJ Ray says:

    @dreamingspire – delaying the redoubling of the single track section of the rail link to WsM might have been a mistake, but Worle could have been upgraded to take long trains properly and provide a proper bus interchange; and resignalling and integration at Bristol is needed, as you note.

    @Tim – sure, national government priorities for Bristol are screwed-up too, but if some village bypass can use the money to better effect than this open access M32-A38 East-SW link road which might have a minor effect on local public transport and freight, why not let them?

  157. Mark Bradshaw says:

    ‘We are in favour of an ITA (to be fair in Bristol we have alll party support) but central government will not give us the powers.
    Bus transport in Bristol could be quicker and cheaper if we did not have a central government control pushing up the times and cost but that does not stop Labour politicians suggesting to the public that a solution is in the hands of the council.’ Cllr Gary Hopkins

    Have I missed something here? The Labour government introduces legislation to help councils take back control over public transport and gary attacks Labour for the new powers – just as he and Lib dem colleagues attacked the joint committees with our neighbouring councils.

    Can I remind him that the joint transport committee (member-Jon Rogers) is key to progressing the £600m agreed investment for west of england infrastructure.

    Unless Bristol can get agreement with the neighbouring councils there will be no ITA, equally if the other councils cannot trust Bristol’s leadership then we won’t move beyond the joint committee on transport and even that innovation will be threatened.

    First Bus agree timetables with the traffic commissioner not BCC and there is no regulation of fares – an ITA would deliver both for local people. So why aren’t you and Lib Dem colleagues fighting for one?

    Mark Bradshaw

  158. dreamingspire says:

    @Gary: “We are in favour of an ITA (to be fair in Bristol we have all party support) but central government will not give us the powers.”

    Yes they will if you follow the rules and get enough relevant LAs agreeing (3 UAs, I think, are enough if relevant, so its Bristol, S Glos, N Somerset here). So why are you LDs so wimpish? Perhaps because you know that soon after getting the powers you will have to go for a full contract services regime, but surely the Council has enough surplus Managers to work that out, surely, surely… Why not ask Govt Office for S West to help, as they seem keen to take over all the ‘transformation’ work and have allocated money for preparing for an Open Access Smart Card Back Office for the SW? (See http://www.southwestiep.gov.uk/NR/exeres/C14DA154-19AD-424C-B820-4056FB692BED.htm – but the link to further info doesn’t work) And DWP want ‘all-in-one’ smart cards for LAs (http://www.hmg.gov.uk/buildingasocietyforallages.aspx), which, if they are serious, should help with the funding.

  159. Blubaldee says:

    There won’t be an ITA because North Somerset’s Effin’ ap Rees has, in no uncertain terms, put the kibosh on it.

    Central government won’t progress it unless all four authorities are in favour, so it’s a dead duck.

    Yet another example of bloody local politicians squabbling amongst themselves to the detriment of the people they represent.

    This kind of behaviour perfectly crystallises my rant of a couple of days ago – local politicians royally cocking up any chance we have to improve Greater Bristol’s public transport.

    Tim M – Transport Innovation Fund.

    You must be kidding? Do turkeys vote for Christmas? Of course not, that’s why our local politicians will never apply for TIF funding whilst it’s connected to Demand Management.

    Pro-charging politicians got their fingers burnt in Manchester and Edinburgh – what on earth do you think voters in Bristol – with our appalling public transport – will say if told that they will have to pay a Congestion Charge?

    The Government hoped to have a couple of schemes up and running by now – the money’s still there…..for now. It won’t be long before TIF is quietly sidelined and the money siphoned off to help plug the public finances.

  160. Tim M. says:

    Blubaldee: I don’t know, call me naive, but I think it depends a lot on the details of the proposal, but I do think there’s a chance people will vote in favour of it *if* the congestion charge was restricted to peak times and not prohibitively expensive (as in London) *and* if there was actually a good plan as to what to do with all that money (I’m most sceptical about the last point). People in Bristol are no fools – they know perfectly well that chances are that this is the only chance they got to get some meaningful funding for public transport infrastructure (Manchester knows it’s important enough that it won’t be forgotten, and the same goes for Edinburgh which happens to be the capital of Scotland as well). The local whinging and whining culture might well be ingrained too deeply, but I still believe this thing actually has a chance in Bristol. Bristol is different.

    Oh, and of course all that assumes people will actually get to vote about this, which they may or may not.

    Having said that, I would also not be surprised to find that pot of money disappear and used for other purposes.

    In any case, I was just curious what happened to it.

  161. Paul Mizen says:

    I’ve just received my invite to comment yet again on the plans for what is now called The South Bristol Link. The choice that ended at Yanleigh has now quite rightly been dropped, but I’m confused about the plan showing the Rapid Transit from the A370 ending at the A38 and then a bus lane continuing to Hartcliffe. I am assuming the RT track ends at the A38 and the Bendybus will continue along the bus lane. Am I correct?

  162. chris hutt says:

    Yes the bendy bus can run equally well on an ordinary road, a bus lane or a dedicated ‘track’, guided or unguided, so the overall route can switch from one level of provision to another as frequently as required.

    Were it not for traffic congestion the bendy bus could just run on an ordinary road so you can deduce from the segregated provision that significant congestion is anticipated on the road.

  163. MJ Ray says:

    That’s odd. My invite to comment from North Somerset Council said the consultation starts on Monday.

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