Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Not-so Green Capital

What a dog's breakfast they're making of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Here's the latest of a string of lost opportunities....
A couple of key cycleway initiatives that were adopted and funded to help workers reach jobs in the TQEZ have been quietly – very quietly - ditched by the council and the Local Enterprise Partnership. It seems they needed the money to make up for overspends on the budget for the flagship parts of the scheme – Temple Way realignment and Arena access.
Cabinet had approved the spending on off-road cycleways back in March 2014. One was to be along the Conham towpath, the other a key realignment of the slow and hazardous Whitchurch Way, to take it beneath Bath Road on a disused railway track. 
Not the Whitchurch Way - a cyclepath in waiting...  and waiting

That one, part of NCN Route 3, had been part of the Cycling City project, too, but never made it to fruition then either.
Hard to say who made the decision this time, and whether they asked anyone else, elected or not. The news emerged in Mayor Ferguson's belated reply (see the comments) to a public forum question at the last full council meeting.    It seems that 'the council' secured the agreement of 'the LEP' to forget the two cycleways – but, whoever that might have involved, no-one seems to have thought it should be made public.
Especially in a European Green Capital.


Stockwood Pete said...

For the record, here's the official Q&A. Not published elsewhere, so far as I can see.

Subject: Cycle routes to serve Temple Quarter and Arena
Question submitted by: Pete Goodwin

On 4th March last year, the Cabinet approved a package of spending to improve transport links in and around the Temple Quarter "to support and facilitate jobs growth"
1. Can you confirm that the full project is still on track as proposed, or list any significant changes that have been made?
2. In particular, can you confirm when, and whether, the promised cycleways on the Conham riverbank and along the Whitchurch railway trackbed (passing beneath the A4 Bath Road) are expected to materialise?

Reply from the Mayor:

• The reconfiguration of Temple Circus junction is in the detailed design stage and is on track for the main construction to be completed by March 2017. The other schemes within the programme are also on track for completion by March 2017.

• In early September the Local Enterprise Partnership approved the Council’s application to revise the spend profiles and key milestones of the programme to accommodate changes to the delivery of schemes required by:
o the need to integrate with the Arena Project;
o design changes to the Temple Circus scheme in response to the successful consultation;
o and, the need to coordinate delivery of Temple Circus alongside the MetroBus projects.

• Feasibility and design work undertaken since the Cabinet decision has required reassessment of the proposed schemes in terms of priority as further detail regarding the costs of schemes revealed that not all could be delivered with the funding available. Having taken into account delivery risks, and seeking to maximise the benefits to the TQEZ realised from use of the funding, the decision was taken to not progress with the Conham Road, Conham Towpath and Whitchurch Railway Path schemes as part of the TQEZ RIF Infrastructure Programme.

• There is still an ambition to undertake these schemes in the future, as and when funding becomes available.

Interested said...

That's a lot of verbal diarrhoea to tell us that these schemes have been ditched with a vague promise to the future that they might be resurrected one day, but don't hold your breath.