Collaborating on Bristol’s and West of England’s Transport and Housing Futures
28th January 2016
At our September 2015 Quarterly Gathering our theme was transport. We worked with our partners Sustrans and our Partnership Transport Group throughout 2015 to consult with a total of over 1,300 individuals and organisations on “A Good Transport Plan for Bristol”. This January, we continued the momentum, bringing over 100 Bristol organisations together in detailed discussions, consulting on the West of England’s Spatial and Transport Studies, followed by the launch of A Good Transport Plan for Bristol.
Background to the Joint Spatial and Transport Studies
The West of England – defined as the area comprised of four unitary authorities Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – is a strong economic performer in the wider context of the UK. As a net tax giver to Westminster, it continues to have high ambitions for the future. But as with any region, the West of England is not without its issues.
In housing, the West of England requires an estimate of 85,000 new homes over the next 12 years. After accounting for planned developments, there is a 29,000 shortfall, and even after earmarking urban areas there is still a gap of 17,000 – where can these go while minimising the damage to greenfield areas and maximising the return?
In transport, the local councils report that we are succeeding in cycling and walking compared to the rest of the UK, while performing average on public transport and general transport investment. However, we are faring badly on car dependency, congestion and resilience. How can we improve the situation so that West of England residents and workers can get around more easily, especially with the expected increasing strains on our population?
Consulting on the West of England Studies
The four unitary authorities comprising the West of England have drawn up some initial suggestions on both Spatial (housing) and Transport issues, and conducted a region-wide consultation on that basis. They are deliberately run in tandem so they can learn from one another.
Bristol, as the largest economic settlement in the region, is clearly a very important driver, so the Bristol Green Capital Partnership has been campaigning for individuals and organisations to consult before the deadline of Friday January 29th. We also helped bring the over 80 Bristol organisations to The Station, to give feedback and advise on the two studies. Presentations at the event were made by Ian Barrett, Director at Sustrans, and Zoe Willcox and Peter Mann from the Bristol City Council. A Q&A then proceeded, followed by focused 1-hour round-table discussions on the issues at hand.
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Event feedback has been positive, with organisations commenting on the importance of having such a detailed and collaborative opportunity to feed back on the studies. This event was part of the first stage of a year long consultation, with many more opportunities for local organisations and individuals to contribute to the debate on the future of transport in Bristol and establish new ambitions to help shape our transport system.
Launching A Good Transport Plan For Bristol
In the evening, we were very proud to launch A Good Transport Plan for Bristol. Ian Barrett, Director at Sustrans, gave a brief presentation on the origins of the Good Transport Plan, and why it is so important for Bristol today. Our launch video followed, which you can see below:
We were also visited by George Ferguson, who gave a speech endorsing the plan, focusing on its integration with Bristol’s targets for the future, and the democratic process that brought it to completion. The plan was also welcomed by Peter Mann, Service Director for Transport at Bristol City Council. These speeches were followed by short presentations from members of the Transport Group North Bristol SusCom, Playing Out CIC, Let’s Walk Bedminster and Life Cycle UK – who all shared their aspirations and support, and explained how they will be using the Good Transport Plan to further their initiatives and activity in the city to achieve the shared vision.
— Bristol GreenCapital (@bgreencapital) January 21, 2016
— Sustrans South West (@SustransSW) January 21, 2016
The event was short and sweet – the real activity happens now. What can you do as an individual or organisation to help implement A Good Transport Plan for Bristol? Read our launch post and download it here. Thank you to Sustrans, the West of England Joint Planning Committee, and our wider Bristol Green Capital Partnership Transport Group.
- Consult on the West of England Spatial and Transport Studies. (Ends Friday February 29th 2016)
- Follow the dedicated hashtag, #GoodTransport, on Twitter #GoodTransport Tweets