I make no apology for coming back (for the nth time on this blog) to the topic of a multimodal city transport interchange at Temple Meads.
This is where the happy conjunction of the Digby Wyatt shed (the massive unused, covered listed extension of the Brunel's Old Station, adjoining the current booking hall) and Plot 6 (the development site alongside, currently used for car parking) could provide a shared passenger concourse and the bus and coach bays respectively, offering one-hop access to every part of the city - and most parts of the country. All with the luxuries of shelter, safety, seating, real time information, shops, smartcard cross-ticketing, and refreshments - and the added bonus of direct pedestrian access, cycleways, and the harbour ferries. Even taxis.
Suddenly, a Temple Meads hub has arrived in the political mainstream. Beyond the Green Party, beyond the transport activists, beyond the planning lobbyists. It's now embraced by our last three Transport supremos (Gary Hopkins (hold that thought...), Jon Rogers, and Mark Bradshaw. It's endorsed by the cross-party Transport Scrutiny Commission. What's more, Gary Hopkins has had a word with Norman Baker, and has high hopes of getting the site, or at least the required planning designations, for the city. We're nearly there.
Or are we?
On Bristol 24/7 Labour and LibDem frontbenchers seem keen to claim a part in moving the Plot 6 hub forward. But faced with a request to endorse the whole plan, really making the best of the opportunity, everything goes quiet.
Meanwhile, an email exchange with SWRDA this week reveals that
" The draft development masterplan for plot 6 provides for c.300,000 sq ft of employment-led mixed use development and a new multi-storey car park to reprovide the existing surface car parking. The scheme will include public realm areas and a much improved pedestrian and cycle link between the station and Temple Quay. We have worked with Network Rail, Bristol City Council and English Heritage to produce the draft masterplan, which will effectively form part of the overall Temple Meads station transport interchange, by providing interchange between pedestrians, cycles, ferry, private car and heavy rail modes." (Looks like they've missed the bus there, then....)
and "Any contract for the disposal of the land will require the purchaser to deliver a scheme within these parameters. "
I would have linked here to the master plan at www.plot6.co.uk - but the site's been taken down. The copy I made shows next to no public transport provision on Plot 6, and only rail uses for the Digby Wyatt shed. In the Master Plan, "interchange" means pretty much what we have now, but with more up to date bus stops.
So if there's really been a big push from the city council for a city hub at Plot 6, it looks like SWRDA haven't been told.
And now the Evening Post tells us (SWRDA didn't!) that there are ongoing negotiations with a private buyer, who'd develop the site as per the 'master plan'. No hub.
The site could be sold under our noses, and this wonderful opportunity lost forever.