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12/07/2017

Bath drops park-and-ride scheme after public outcry

Words: Huw Morris
Bath | iStock-482630941

Controversial plans for a park-and-ride scheme to the east of Bath have been dropped as the local authority moved to rethink its planning of transport improvements.

Bath and North East Somerset Council had identified two sites close to the A4, preferring a green belt site at Bathampton Meadows over neighbouring council-owned land. The move prompted major protests from residents and the council has now decided not to progress with either site on road safety grounds.

Instead, Bath and North East Somerset is to work on plans for an A36-A46 link road to reduce through-traffic as well as the feasibility of a light-rail tram system. Other options include improving access routes to existing park and rides, investing in local rail services, and holding further talks with neighbouring councils about opportunities further out from the city.

“It’s no secret that the eastern park and ride has long been a challenging issue for the city, with strong views on both sides of the debate,” said council leader Tim Warren. “However, after talking with engineers, visiting the locations again and discussing options with our partners, we must consider the wider picture, take the broadest view of new opportunities and ultimately put the safety of road users first.”

But Dine Romero, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrat group at the council, said the move was a U-turn and “another clear sign” of an administration in disarray.

Cabinet member for transport Mark Shelford said the creation of the West of England Combined Authority has been a “game changer” which will make available £1 billion of investment in the next 30 years.

“This level of investment unlocks opportunities at a scale not seen before and we need to factor this into our long-term planning,” he added.

Image credit | iStock

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