Letter I recently sent
(Summarises my concern about a Transport Hub for Bristol)
The Planning Inspectorate
Room 3/01 Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Bristol BS1 6PN
22 April 2006
I was pleased to read on your web site:
"This means that the Inspector’s responsibility in relation to development plans has fundamentally shifted from one of effectively providing a dispute resolution role (i.e. considering objections to the plan) to becoming part of the plan-making function. In this role he/she will be subject to the duty to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development under section 39 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004."
If you are part of the plan-making function, and if you see a need not being met by current plans, presumably you have a duty to try to get the need addressed.
In brief, I and many others consider that there should be an integrated transport interchange or hub in Bristol and that since we cannot move the railway station it should be located next to (or above or below) the station.
Some claim we have a bus station. It would better be called a coach station as very few local bus routes use it. It is far too small and there is no room for it to expand.
Some claim that ‘The Centre’ is a hub. I wish such people would try to use it. Almost any interchange from one route to another involves a lot of walking, crossing roads (where most of Bristol‘s above average KSIs occur), very poor information systems and no security from muggers nor shelter from the weather. Some claim that the railway station is not sufficiently central. This problem could be overcome, moreover in time the centre would move to the transport hub.
When I was serving as a co-optee on the Environment, Traffic and Leisure Scrutiny Commission we went on a civic trip to Southampton where we found that they were building a transport hub at their railway station even though it was not in the town centre. Bournemouth has much the same, with free shuttle buses plying from the hub to the CBD and shops. I was told Gloucester is implementing the same. In my world travels and while working on the continent I observed that most modern cities have a large bus facility adjacent to the railway station.
Although everyone I have spoken to about this (with the exception of the now-replaced First Bus area manager) has agreed with me on this. But all councillors and planners seem helpless to implement it.
I am quite sure that if land is not allocated for this within 50 years it will be necessary to build it under the station.
There are still sites. It could be across the river on the Arena site, or where the Odd-Bins now is. Or it could be on the site of the station car park, conveniently near the large roundabout. For that matter it could be in the roundabout. One thinks of Port Authority Bus station in New York, a multi-storey structure over the subway. Or of almost any station on the continent such as Amsterdam.
I consider it a gross failure and dereliction of duty of the Bristol Planners and Councillors not to have included such a facility in Bristol’s plans, and to allow all the land around the station to be lost to commercial developers.
I appeal to you to use your influence to get a public facility that would help Bristol achieve many of its priority objectives.
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