“Bonkers” Highways Agency blocks park and ride

Stoke Gifford campaigners have blasted the Highways Agency for forcing South Gloucestershire Council to withdraw a planning application to provide a new Park and Ride facility behind Bristol Parkway station.

The congestion-busting scheme would have provided around 200 parking spaces adjacent to Hunts Ground Road in Stoke Gifford (and near to Parkway Station) and helped tackle the issue of the station’s own car parks becoming full during the week and spilling out onto residential streets.

Local residents and commuters would have been able park there and then use Parkway train station, or get a bus from the station.

The planning application was submitted earlier in the summer, but has now been withdrawn after the Government’s Highways Agency threatened to issue a ‘Direction of Non-Approval’ unless the Council proved there was a local parking problem.

The Highways Agency’s intervention is despite it being responsible for the ‘strategic road network’ (eg. motorways) – not the local road network surrounding the proposed Park and Ride site which is the responsibility of South Gloucestershire Council.

Conservative councillors for Stoke Gifford, Keith Cranney and Justin Howells, have blasted the actions of the Highways Agency, saying:

“We are astonished at the actions of the Government’s unelected Highways Agency.

It is not even responsible for the local road network, yet it is poking its nose in Stoke Gifford affairs and claiming there are no local parking difficulties.

Many of the Agency’s claims are just plain bonkers and local residents will be asking rightly what planet the Highways Agency is living on.

Maybe they should come and view the Stoke Gifford area so they can see for themselves the difficulties that our residents have to deal with before they make such ridiculous statements and undermine efforts to tackle these issues.”

They added:

“We badly need a number of initiatives to tackle parking and traffic problems in the area and park and rides are part of the answer.

One of the other main solutions is the construction of the new Stoke Gifford Transport Link and we are pleased that South Gloucestershire Council is continuing to press the Government to urgently fund it because this should have been built years ago.”

South Gloucestershire Council has advised that it plans to resubmit a revised planning application shortly.

Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council

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