One of our guiding principles as a campaign group has been to provide the robust evidence that we believe has been missing in the Council’s approach to investigating a 4th park and ride. Many of us came to the campaign because we were angry that there was no proper case or data put forward as to why a new park and ride would work and therefore might be worth the harm to the Meadows. What scant data there was, was almost never sourced.
We saw (and still see) no upfront information about why people travel by car, no analysis about how people use existing park and rides and the impact of this on the City’s congestion, no research into which types of people would use a new park and ride and how much impact this would have on congestion to the East of Bath. Instead high level issues to be addressed and objectives about reducing congestion and pollution that have since been admitted by their own reports to be unachievable. These issues and objectives have never been restated. Indeed the January 2017 report to Cabinet has deleted the issues and reordered the objectives to deprioritise congestion and pollution.
We have held and spoken at pubic meetings, taken part in the Council’s scrutiny day around developing an integrated transport approach for the East of Bath, written reports and consultation responses, lobbied Council Officials and Councillors, as well as different interest groups.
We often find a common theme – a desire to improve quality of life in and around Bath, from which everyone would benefit, both health wise and economically. It is because our research sets out clearly why a 4th park and ride on the Meadows will not achieve this that we campaign as we do before huge swathes of public money are wasted on a white elephant. Indeed our alternative suggestions are ones echoed by Cllr Tony Clarke, now in charge of Transport, when he was in opposition:
“Councillor Anthony Clarke in an ad hoc statement emphasised the need for cross-party support if the transport strategy consultation was to be effective. He felt that particular mention should have been made of north-south travel to school. He observed that report did not address the transport issues across the area and should be seen as the first building block of a wider transport policy”
Source: Cabinet meeting minutes from May 2014 at the launch of the consultation into the Getting Around Bath Transportation Strategy.
Councillor Anthony Clarke (Cons, Lansdown), opposition spokesman for transport, added: “What we need in Bath is a transport system that actually works for residents. We need investment in transport infrastructure, more frequent local rail services and more reliable bus services to coax people out of their cars.”
Source: Bath Chronicle November 4th 2014: Conservatives question the delivery of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s Getting Around Bath transport strategy