The possibility of building Bath’s long-awaited new Park & Ride to the east of the city has been ruled-out for at least another year, the authority’s Liberal Democrat administration has confirmed.
The fresh delay to the East of Bath Park & Ride project has been criticised by opposition Conservative councillors, who have said it demonstrates a ‘complete failure’ by the Liberal Democrats to get to grips with Bath’s traffic and pollution problems.
During a question and answer session at the Council’s public Cabinet Meeting last Wednesday, 10th September, Conservatives quizzed the authority’s Liberal Democrat leadership on when work will finally get underway on the long-discussed transport project, which aims to ease congestion on the east of Bath.
However, when pressed to reveal a timescale for when a decision would be taken on whether to move forward with the Lib Dems’ flagship Bathampton ‘Park & Rail’ idea, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport responded that: ‘We have waited 30 years for Park and Ride to the east of Bath. We won’t build it within the next year.’
Previous plans for a new Park & Ride to be built to the east of Bath were scrapped by the Lib Dems in 2011, but the Council has so far failed to decide upon an alternative site.
With the support of the party’s prospective MP Ben Howlett and Transport Minister Claire Perry, Conservatives also recently threw their weight behind plans to reopen Corsham railway station as a way of cutting traffic on the A4 and A36, in addition to a new Park & Ride to the east of the city.
Conservative Shadow Transport spokesman, Cllr Anthony Clarke (Lansdown), said:
“News of this fresh delay to the long-awaited eastern Park & Ride will be deeply disappointing to the many residents who have to put up with the unacceptable levels of congestion on the London Road and A36 on a daily basis.
“We have been given endless promises by the Council when it comes to building an eastern Park & Ride, but nothing has materialised. The way in which the Lib Dems have dithered over this project for the past three and a half years highlights their complete failure to get a handle on Bath’s traffic and pollution problems.
“The ‘Park & Rail’ proposal was an interesting idea, but we now know the Council has spent significant time and effort over the past two years on something deemed to be too costly and technically complex by the Council’s own consultants.
“Instead of yet another of these endless reviews, the Council needs to get on with the job of bringing forward an affordable, feasible and deliverable solution to the traffic problems on the A4 and A36.”