Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Showcase decisions

Tuesday's full council meeting promises little, judging by the agenda - unless somehow public or councillors add a bit of spice.

One of the public forum questions might have special resonance for us in Stockwood and other places where schools have been closed down in the name of 'efficiency'. It suggests that the council's purchase of the failed St Ursula's private school, and the deal that brought Oasis in to run it as an Academy, has now ensured that the school survives with a roll of just 64 students. Tell that to the parents of the children of Stockwood Green and other schools with rolls allegedly so low that they had to be closed last summer.

I've got some transport questions tabled myself, about Plot 6, real-time information, and smart travelcards. By chance, they're all relevant to a decision to be taken by full council later in the meeting, endorsing the latest West Of England Joint Local Transport Plan.

That plan (JLTP3) offers next to nothing new, next to nothing to offer a decent smart card system, a proper public transport hub, or comprehensive real time information for travellers. It doesn't seem to have been touched by an exhaustive, expensive programme of public consultation. It doesn't even refer to the potential for a Passenger Transport Authority with powers to provide transport as a public service. None of the things, in fact, that could actually bring the all-round qualitative change to Bristol's public transport that could persuade motorists city-wide that it's a better option than the car. JLTP3 tolerates the prospect of ever-rising traffic in this congested city.

No doubt the council will approve it, rather than rock the West of England boat. In doing so it will be backing a programme of prestige projects that are unlikely to get funding, while putting the real opportunities to improve Bristol's transport on the back burner.


Anonymous said...


There must surely be another agenda to the BRT route. How can even our councillors say its a good idea to spend £50 million on a single bus route and virtually nothing on anything else ?

The fact that GWE Business West are so behind the BRT routes whilst remaining silent on other transport issues suggests that they have something else in mind as well.

Do you think that the BRT is simply the lever to permit massive building projects in the greenbelt between South Bristol and Long Asthon ? Why else build a £50m bus route to nowhere.

Can it be possible that the entire transport agenda for the City has been hijacked by the interests of property developers who have bought all the greenbelt land on the cheap ?


Stockwood Pete said...

I agree, the emphasis on BRT to Ashton Vale doesn't make sense. I'm sure that business ambitions play a big part in it - especially with the bid for a ring road (that "isn't a ring road") under the cover of an absurdly uneconomic BRT extension into Hengrove.

Possibly the perception that off-road routes could be seized for it (remember the B-B railway path was also part of it until the public protest overwhelmed them) contributed something too - plus the political need for a prestige project to give the illusion of tackling Bristol's traffic problems.

Paul BemmyDown said...

I was at a presentation to WOEP about BRT. I used my right as a council tax payer to be there. Without going into details, I was told AV to The Centre would be BRT1 simply because it was the easiest route. My thoughts at the time were the same as BobS and this was pre stadium, but I accepted what I was told and if you think about it, it makes sense. At that time finance was not such an issue, and as there were about 5 other routes planned, a good start would mean more support for the following routes. Now, with other routes unlikely, it seems a terrible waste of money to continue with BRT1.

Stockwood Pete said...

Hi Paul

I felt quite positive about Ashton Vale BRT until I began to look at the detail, and wondered who on earth it is for. The main conclusion was that it offers very little to the people living along its route, with the most advantage being enjoyed by N. Somerset commuters and drivers using the Cumberland Basin/Hotwells. Not my personal top priority, of course!

That said, a good city centre loop on dedicated track or tarmac could provide frequent, fast transit between rail, retail, business and cultural centres. Sadly, BRT1 doesn't grasp that particular nettle.

Paul Bemmy Down said...

Hi Pete.
Exactly my question at that time, who is it for? and with your conclusions. The P and R to Town with little in between. It made no sense then and makes even less now.