Core Strategy - Consultation Draft

Document Section Core Strategy - Consultation Draft Chapter 3: Spatial Policies Delivering Strong and Inclusive Communities CS14: Distribution of New Housing CS14: Distribution of New Housing [View all comments on this section]
Comment ID 3291681/CSCD/1
Respondent Peter Mansell [View all comments by this respondent]
Response Date 07 Feb 2010
Current Status Accepted
Housing Allocations

I note that the large majority of the housing allocation is within Weston yet I understand the Council and the Highways Agency is concerned about any more housing development in Weston without the provision of new jobs. In the current economic climate, developers are unlikely to build speculative office or industrial units and so, unless end users are lined up, new employment development will not take place and the Council will have a consequential serious shortage of new housing. This shortage is likely to be exploited by developers seeking planning permissions elsewhere in the district through the planning appeal process and will therefore undermine the plan-led system.

Portishead Railway

As a long term resident of Portishead and Transport Planner by profession, I am concerned by the proposal to reopen the railway line for heavy rail. Whilst I would welcome the improvement in public transport provision this would give, I am not convinced it would provide the significant improvement that Portishead needs. A heavy rail link would provide a relatively infrequent service to Bristol which would not encourage those of us who have to be flexible with our working hours to use it. The service would do nothing for those who work in the North Fringe or at Avonmouth, and for those that work more than a short walk from Temple Meads, the service would be inconvenient. For instance, my journey from the Redcliffe Bay area of Portishead to Clifton would involve three modes of travel - car or bus to the Portishead station, train to Temple Meads and then bus to Clifton. This is unlikely to be cost effective or time efficient.

Consequently, I suggest that a guided bus system is introduced. The infrastructure would be cheaper and the provision of guided buses would also be cheaper than trains meaning more frequent and therefore more convenient services could be provided. The service could run around Portishead with stops every 1600m meaning a walk distance of about 800m (10minute walk). The bus could then use the old railway line via a guided track to the M5. A new slip could be provided onto the M5 and services could be provided to Aztec West and Filton etc, and also via Avonmouth and the Portway into Bristol city centre. For many people, this would mean a 10 minute or so walk at each end and a reliable and quick bus service in between. One potential flaw with this idea would be if a problem occurred on the M5, and the evening peak period across the Avonmouth Bridge could be a problem with queuing traffic. Maybe the Highways Agency's managed motorway system could allow buses to use the hard shoulder over the Avonmouth Bridge?

I enclose a plan showing a potential route around Portishead. I'm sure it can be improved, for instance there should probably be a stop at the top of Weatherly Drive so that Nightingale Riseand Badger Rise and the Police HQ are better served, but it does give an idea of how most of Portishead could be covered by a relatively few stops, thus reducing the delays - the current bus service takes about 20 minutes to get out of Portishead due to the necessary convoluted route it needs to follow. With a guided bus, people will be prepared to walk further to a stop, and those that are unable could use the ordinary bus to Bristol or the station.

I hope that you agree that this could be a far more cost efficient and practical public transport system than an inflexible heavy rail based system. I trust that these comments are helpful and will be taken into consideration in your strategic planning.