Campaigners against a new Park & Ride to the east of Bath will hold secret Halloween film premieres this weekend across the city to launch a ‘video-nasty’, showing how some parking bays at Odd Down Park & Ride are so overgrown with weeds, they are unusable. This is despite an expansion of the site four years ago.
A three-minute documentary, produced by the Bathampton Meadows Alliance, and entitled ‘Becoming a Ghost Town’, shows bushes more than six-foot tall growing from some parking bays, and curbstones around the bays almost hidden beneath a blanket of weeds. Even some of the newest bays, built in 2012, are covered in vegetation. In order to bring the issue to public attention, the Alliance will be holding open-air film premieres at secret locations across the city over the Halloween weekend, and will be distributing the film via social media. The BMA film shows that about 30 Odd Down P&R spaces are so overgrown that they can no longer be used for parking. And 70 other parking spaces show signs of not being used, and of being in danger of going the same way.
Campaigner Christine Boyd, who produced the film, said: “This is one of the scariest facts to have emerged about P&Rs in Bath. Public money has been wasted to add P&R spaces which are not being used. We are terrified that the council will do the same thing again at Bathampton Meadows, and we want to warn Councillors and the public to beware of phantom parking-demand forecasts that appear and then disappear once the money is spent.”
In 2009, the council got planning consent to build 230 more spaces at Odd Down P&R. At the time, the planning committee was told that Odd Down P&R was regularly between 75 and 85% full, and that this figure would rise, so that, by 2011, a total of 1,300 spaces would be needed at the mid-day peak. However, Ms Boyd says, the council’s most recent usage data shows that instead, seven years on, Odd Down P&R is only 53% full, and that on an average day only 664 spaces are being used. Ms Boyd continued: “By the time the council began building the extra spaces, in 2012, they already knew that the demand forecast for a total of 1,300 spaces needed by 2011 was wrong – yet they still went ahead.”
The Bathampton Meadows Alliance has asked BANES how much the 2012 expansion cost but is still awaiting an answer. Ms Boyd however says the Alliance believes the figure is in the region of £4,000 per parking bay. Across Bath, more than 1,000 P&R spaces remain empty each day according to the council’s own estimates. The Alliance calculates that these unused spaces equate to £4-5 million of wasted resources that could have been spent on more effective transport initiatives to reduce congestion and pollution in the city instead.
Facts and Figures
Odd Down is the biggest of Bath’s P&Rs. It was expanded from 1,022 spaces to 1,252 spaces in 2012 Planning consent for this expansion was granted in 2009. The application also covered the expansion of Lansdown, Newbridge and an east of Bath P&R at Bathampton Meadows Lansdown was expanded by 390 spaces in 2013 and now has an average occupancy at the busiest time of the day of 56% Newbridge was expanded by 250 spaces in 2015 and now has an average occupancy at the busiest time of the day of 63% Bathampton Meadows proved to be extremely controversial and was not built.
The table below sets out the peak occupancy of Bath’s existing P&Rs when planning permission was sought for the Bath Package expansions, and compares this to the most recently available peak occupancy figures for each site.
|Expansion completed||Pre/post expansion capacity||Pre expansion maximum||Post expansion maximum||Net change|
|Newbridge||Aug 15||450 to 698||450(100%)*||454 (65%)**||4|
|Lansdown||Feb 13||437 to 837||437(100%)*||494 (59%)**||57|
|Odd Down||Nov 12||1022 to1252||850 (83%)||664 (53%)||(186)|
|Combined||1909 to 2787||1737||1612||(125)|
*2009 planning application
** Transport Evidence Explanatory Note CD/PMP/B27; Bath: Park and Ride Expansion, ch2mhill April 2016
Overall the use of P&Rs in Bath has fallen by 125 spaces since planning permission was granted for an additional 878 spaces in 2009. Lansdown has shown a modest increase, Newbridge has remained broadly unchanged, and Odd Down has shown a dramatic decline.
Quote from 2009 planning application for the expansion of Odd Down: The existing Odd Down Park & Ride site can accommodate 1,000 vehicles. Surveys during 2007 (set out in the submitted Transport Assessment) show that the site does not currently reach capacity but does regularly fill with between 750 and 850 vehicles, reaching a peak during the middle of the day in mid-week. The Transport Assessment uses SATURN highway modelling to consider how future demand for the service provided, using figures for traffic growth taken from the National Road Traffic Forecast. All of this translates into a potential demand for spaces at the Odd Down Park & Ride of a maximum of approximately 1,300 by 2011. There is therefore a need to extend the existing site to cope with this increase in demand. The proposal is to extend the site to 1,230 spaces. Any surplus would be managed by real time advanced signage.
For further information, or interviews, or to attend one of the secret film viewings, please contact: Christine Boyd (m) 07976 292 484 Louise Hidalgo (m) 07800 835 325