By Marc Rath / email@example.com
AN access road could be created for an M32 park and ride – even though Bristol City Council does not know if it will ever get Government funding to build it.
The road will be created off the motorway between junctions 1 and 2 as part of the bendy bus route from Hengrove to Bristol northern fringe, if the Government awards funding to the project in December.
The city council says it is confident it will eventually receive Government cash for the £30-million park and ride site, but this might not be until 2015 or 2016.
The access road near Stoke Lane has been included in the bendy bus route’s detailed designs, which have just been unveiled by the council.
Lesley Alexander, city councillor for Frome Vale, believes the park and ride should not be built in the location chosen by the council.
She says the 1,500-space park and ride site should be built further north off the M32 in South Gloucestershire, whose residents are the most likely to use it.
The Conservative says the car park will displace allotment holders and lead to the loss of acres of greenbelt land.
She said: “The park or ride should be at the top of the M32 in South Gloucestershire. People won’t bother to stop off and park their cars once they are half way along the motorway.
“It’s green belt land and the best agricultural land in Bristol. They are trying to wipe it all out with this park and ride, which isn’t in the best place.
“It seems the council can’t work out an agreement with South Gloucestershire Council, even though it’s South Gloucestershire people who will use it.
“It will be no advantage to local people – they won’t be able to park there. Local people will have all the problems and none of the advantages. The whole thing could be redesigned.”
Tim Kent, city councillor in charge of transport, acknowledged the authority would be taking a small risk in building the access road before funding was secured for the park and ride.
He said the road would be built as part of the infrastructure works for the new bendy bus route, which could receive Government funding in December.
He said: “Our intention is that the park and ride will be built. The cost of this piece of infrastructure is exceptionally minor.
“We feel the park and ride is needed and will reduce traffic and get more people on the bus rapid transit system (bendy bus). We need to get less traffic on the M32 coming into Bristol.”
The park and ride project was taken out of the funding bid for the Hengrove to Northern Fringe bendy bus
route earlier this year.
Transport chiefs from the city council and South Gloucestershire Council believed the scheme would be far more likely to win funding from the Department for Transport (DfT) if they could keep the cost down.
The project will cost £102 million, of which half would be paid by the DfT. South Gloucestershire would pay £30.5 million of the remaining £51 million while Bristol would pay £20.5 million.
The route would stretch from Cribbs Causeway and Aztec West through Stoke Gifford and down the M32 to Bristol and out to Hengrove Park.