New college building would create gridlock, claim objectors

City of Bristol College's proposed Engineering Department building

City of Bristol College’s plan to build a new Engineering Department building on vacant land in front of Abbeywood Community School would lead to gridlock on local roads, according to local residents and school management.

The College has applied for permission to make alterations to its existing Parkway Transport Technology Centre and erect a new building to house its aeronautics, engineering and DAF departments. The planning application states that the proposed development would cater for 465 students, compared to the 196 that currently attend the site.

The aeronautical department is currently located at Orpen Park, Bradley Stoke, but the college states that the lease on that site will run out in the near future, while the engineering department is based at the College’s Ashley Down site.

The new building would be located on land in front of Abbeywood Community School that was left vacant following the demolition of Filton High School.

Another part of the same plot of vacant land has been earmarked for a University Technical College (UTC), a project for which the City of Bristol College is the lead sponsor, although no planning application has yet been made for that development.

A total of 17 consultation replies have been received on the plans, with nearly all of them raising concerns about the impact of the development on the capacity of the surrounding highway network.  Other concerns relate to the conflict between the college traffic and school children accessing Abbeywood Community School.

Five of the replies have come from local educational establishments and organisations, namely Abbeywood Community School, the Olympus Academy Trust, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College (SGSC, formerly Filton College), Patchway Community College and the Concorde Partnership.

In his reply to the consultation, Abbeywood Executive Head Dave Baker registers a “strong objection” to the plans, complaining of a lack of consultation or dialogue between the college and the school. He says the school knew of the proposals to build the UTC but had been unaware of the college’s plan for the engineering building until an advert appeared in the Bristol Evening Post on 2nd February.

Mr Baker voices “grave concerns” about the traffic implications, the location and the design of the new building. He reiterates the school’s opposition to the UTC because of its impact on student numbers in local schools and lambasts the college for its “piecemeal approach” to planning applications.

The Concorde Partnership (whose members include Abbeywood, SGSC, Patchway Community College and Bradley Stoke Community School) echoes the concerns about increased traffic levels, adding that it fears its system of bussing students between its partner sites would be negatively impacted.

SGSC, whose WISE campus adjoins the City of Bristol College site, also complains of a lack of consultation and raises a concern that the use of the new engineering building might be changed in future years.

Local residents additionally complain of existing road safety issues along New Road, caused by inconsiderate parking by parents/carers dropping off and picking up Abbeywood students and unauthorised vehicles using the ‘bus-only’ cut-through between New Road and Brierley Furlong.

Members of South Gloucestershire Council’s Sites Inspection (West) Sub-Committee visited the site of the proposed development on 16th March and they have instructed planning officials to bring forward a full and detailed report, including a detailed transportation analysis and assessment of parking arrangements.

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  1. The planning application was approved at a meeting of SGC’s Development Control (West) Committee on 26th April 2012 [minutes].

    Voting was 8 FOR and 4 AGAINST.

    The S106 agreement, which includes a developer contribution of £7,500 to improve the existing bus stop outside the site, was signed on 15th August 2012.

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