Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft

Comment ID 8135809//1
Document Section Sites and Policies Plan Consultation Draft Clevedon, Nailsea and Portishead PH3 View all on this section
Respondent Deleted User View all by this respondent
Response Date 19 Apr 2013

In response to the consultation regarding the 3 potential train station locations in Portishead I would like to raise the following concerns.

Living in close proximity to the proposed railway line, I moved to the area with the full knowledge that there were plans to potentially re-open it.  However, I find that the station proposals of both options 2 and 3 disappointing and concerning.

The location of option 3 goes against the objectives of the whole railway project.  Its purpose was to connect Portishead to Bristol and beyond, reducing car dependancy and also serve to bring people into the town.  Option 3, situated on the edge of town, north of Moor Farm, will effectively become a 'Parkway' style station which means it will rely on a 'park and ride' approach.  This will increase traffic in the surrounding area and only serve to take people out of the town, rather than entice them in.  To generate any foot-fall into the Hight Street or the Marina the station needs to be in short walking distance - option 3 is not.  Placing the station at the edge of town will reduce the catchment area of those willing to use the service and place parking pressure on surrounding residential streets.  Furthermore, option 3 rests on green belt land and is adjacent to a nature reserve, this is not an appropriate site and will surely lead to further pressure to develop more residential properties on the green belt surrounding the station in later years.

Option 2 faces very similar issues to option 3, while not located on the green belt it will lead to congestion on Quays Ave and severe noise disruption to neighbouring residential properties.

If Portishead must have a railway and a station then option 1 is the only logical location.  This site has been discussed and agreed numerous times and it fits the development plan for the town.  Sitting in the heart of the town knitting together the High St and the Marina.  It would sit well alongside retail, commercial and office use buildings and will give people reachable walking destinations.

I recognise that option 1 has its difficulties.  These seem to centre on the problem of crossing Quays Ave now that the use of level crossings is not recommended (except in exceptional circumstances).  However, I'm sure that there is a creative solution out there which could solve the problem, either through changes to the road network or increased health and safety measures for a crossing.

My final point concerns the viability of the train line and station itself.  Bringing the line here has been a hot topic for many years, I would question its need.  The traffic surveys were carried out some 5 years ago and are now totally out of date, numerous upgrades have taken place since (in particular the changes made at J19 of the M5).  The traffic chaos that this town was plagued with has now long gone.  While I can see some benefits to the line and station I'm left with the feeling that it is really just a 'nice to have'.  In today's age of austerity I have a concern over its long term viability and whether funds should be diverted to more needy causes - such as more primary school places!  North Somerset Council are already predicting a substantial subsidy will be required, will this become the Portishead white elephant?

I'm a regular commuter on the train to London and, sadly, I would not take advantage of the link from Portishead.  Bristol Parkway would remain a more convenient option for me.  I estimate that the total travel time to London Paddingon would take at least 45 minutes longer from Portishead, even factoring in the drive from Portishead to Bristol Parkway and a swift connection at Bristol Temple Meads when leaving from Portishead.

In conclusion, if the sums really do add up (and I need much convincing) then great, I'm sure the line and station will bring some benefits to the town.  But please, please let's be sensible about the station loaction.  Option 1 is the only option.