The future of Bath’s eastern Park & Ride is uncertain after the councillor responsible refuses to be drawn on live radio
Questions are being asked about plans for Bath’s controversial new Park & Ride after the councillor in charge of transport for Bath and North East Somerset refused to be drawn on the subject.
Speaking on BBC Radio Bristol on Friday, Cabinet member for transport Anthony Clarke stumbled and refused to give a clear answer when asked by BBC presenter Emma Britton what the latest situation was with the P&R proposal, which has drawn opposition from across the city.
Cllr Clarke had to be asked the question twice by presenter Emma Britton before finally answering that the council wouldn’t be making any new announcement about the project until a new regional plan for the West of England had been agreed. Campaigners say that agreement on the final plan is not due until July 2018, according to a report going to the new West of England Combined Authority next week, which means it could be another year at least until Bath finally knows if the beleagured project is going ahead.
It is five months tomorrow (Sunday) since Bath council’s cabinet formally decided to build the Park & Ride on one of two sites on Bathampton Meadows. However, within two weeks of this decision, the Council was told by Highways England that the agency could not approve the access to Site B rom the Batheaston bypass because it was too dangerous.
Campaigners have this week been told by Highways England, which is responsible for maintaining and developing England’s road network, that it has had no further discussions with the council about either Site B or Site F, the only other site that the council is still considering.
Christine Boyd, of the Bathampton Meadows Alliance, said: “We were astonished to hear that – five months after that decision and almost two years since this whole troubled project began – the council has not even had discussions with the body responsible for road safety about whether Site F would work.”
“We call on the council to come out and tell us once and for all what is going on.”
“The people of Bath and the residents of the three villages need to be told. Is the council still planning to go ahead with this Park & Ride? Or are they hoping to quietly shelve it?”
“So much public money has already been spent on this. We cannot wait another year, until the West of England regional plan is agreed, to find out whether or not it’s going ahead. We can’t wait another year for no action on Bath’s traffic and pollution problems – issues that Cllr Clarke himself acknowledged in this interview have gone to the top of the political agenda? Is that going to be left in a vacuum for a year too?”
“We also heard from Highways England that things have changed since 2009, when planning permission was last granted for Site F, and that the Council cannot assume that the approval will be given again without a new assessment.”
This is the full transcript of Councillor Anthony Clarke’s interview on BBC Radio Bristol on Friday 23rd:
Emma Britton: Speaking of other measures, what’s the latest with Bathampton park and ride, are you still pursuing site B?
Cllr Clarke: The position is … you’re aware of the new (err err) West of England (err err) Combined Authority, and, the, which has just started, (erm) from the
election (erm) a couple of months back and, and, we are working with the Mayor and with (erm) the other two authorities and for that matter still with North
Somerset looking at the regional plan.
Emma Britton: But that’s not what I asked – what’s the latest with the Bathampton P&R?
Cllr Clarke: Well what I am saying is that that until we have signed off the overall (erm, err) plan we aren’t going to make an announcement …. the, the, (errrr) so I mean, that’s the position.
Issued by the Bathampton Meadows Alliance