Calls for cross-party committee on transport

Bath and North East Somerset Council is facing calls for a cross-party committee to be established to start work on developing a fully-fledged transport strategy for Bath and the surrounding area.

Conservative councillors have called for the all-party group to be created so that politicians can try and reach a consensus on the long-term transport needs of the city and wider area.

The proposal comes following the publication by the Council of a high-level consultation document which sets out in broad terms the approach the authority should take to producing a more detailed Transport Strategy.  The work needed to decide what specific projects should be taken forward over the coming years is yet to be undertaken by the Council.

Conservatives are pressing for more urgent action to be taken to get the aspiration of a proper Transport Strategy off the ground.  The establishing a cross-party group of councillors would mean that work could begin on agreeing what infrastructure and investment will be needed to improve the area’s transport network over the coming years.

Conservative shadow transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke, has tabled a question to the Council’s Liberal Democrat Cabinet asking that such a committee a committee is created.  He said:

“When the Council launched its long-anticipated transport consultation a couple of weeks ago the consensus was that it was a bit of a damp squib, with scant detail and only broad-brush statements on the need to reduce traffic.  Since then there have also been a number of ideas batted around, including Park and Rail, eastern Park and Ride, tunnels and link roads, but again there have been few details on their feasibility.

“What residents desperately want is for B&NES to get its act together and produce a properly worked out long-term plan to improve transport and tackle congestion. 

“If the Council is to have a plan and stick to it, then a level of support is needed across the political divide.  That’s why we are calling for a cross-party committee to be established tasked with working on a long-term transport strategy for Bath and the surrounding area.”

B&NES Conservative Group Leader Cllr Tim Warren added: 

“It is incumbent upon all parties to work together to try and build upon and improve upon the broad ideas the Council has so far presented.  Many other Councils manage to reach cross-party agreement on the long-term transport and infrastructure needs of their areas in order to avoid the upheaval of policy changing after every election.  That shouldn’t be impossible here in B&NES and we must work to try and achieve it.”