Controversial plans to widen Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford, to accommodate a new southbound bus lane for the proposed Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME), are to be considered again by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) at a meeting in Kingswood tomorrow (Wednesday 6th July).
The CPME is an extension of the MetroBus network which will extend the North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) route that is currently under construction. It is intended to provide a fast and direct link between Bristol Parkway station and The Mall bus station via the planned new mixed use development on the former Filton Airfield site.
The proposals relating to Hatchet Road require a strip of land to be taken from Meade Park (resulting in the loss of some trees) and the removal of hedgerows on both sides of the carriageway.
Strong opposition to the widening of Hatchet Road was demonstrated in the results of a public consultation, with 75 of the 95 responses relating to this section of the route being categorised as objections.
A decision on the scheme was due to be made at a meeting on 4th May, but following lengthy discussion, it was deferred pending further consideration of the implications of a number of alternative options.
In a report published ahead of tomorrow’s meeting, council officers say they have performed further work to inform the committee’s decision. This has included investigating funding sources, further technical work into impact on adjacent third party land and the programme implications of pursuing a number of options involving an alternative route that would see MetroBus vehicles leaving Parkway via the rear (eastern) station access and travelling along Hunts Ground Road, Great Stoke Way and Winterbourne Road.
Aside from increasing journey times by between 4.5 and 9.5 minutes, officers have estimated that the Winterbourne Road route options would cost up to £11.7m more than the original proposal involving a new bus lane on Hatchet Road. These options would also result in “significant delays” to the programme, due to the need to undertake surveys and work up preliminary designs prior to undertaking further public consultation.
In particular, the replacement of the Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge, which is also part of the CPME scheme, could be delayed by up to a year.
Officers also claim that the Winterbourne Road route options that involve road widening would take the road closer to up to approximately 160 private properties, compared to the approximately 35 properties that would be similarly affected along Hatchet Road.
Concerns are also raised about increased MetroBus movements around the multi-story car park at Parkway should CPME buses use the rear station access in addition to buses on the NFHP route, because of the need for buses to give way to each other more frequently when negotiating the tight corners.
The report concludes with a recommendation that the committee “approve the progression of [the original scheme] along Hatchet Road”.
Stoke Gifford’s three SGC councillors have all previously spoken out against the Hatchet Road route, but none of them are members of the committee that will make the decision.
The Environment and Community Services Committee meets in the Council Chamber, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood BS15 9TR on Wednesday 6th July at 2pm.
Image: Indicative artist’s impression of proposals on Hatchet Road (looking north).
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