Cycle provision to be given a lift?!
Good news! Developers of the Courage Brewery Site are going to build a pedestrian/cyclist to Castle Park. Bad news! Access will only be via a lift! Time to get pen to paper.
Central Area Planning Team
St George’s Street
Bristol BS1 1UY
New Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge, Courage Brewery Site (Opposite Castle Park, Central Bristol), Planning Application Reference Number: 04/02177/F/C
A planning application has been submitted to redevelop the Courage Brewery Site and construct a new bridge across the floating harbour to Castle Park, in so doing providing a direct link between Temple Meads and Broadmead for both cyclists and pedestrians.
It has been a long-standing aspiration of the Council to include a new bridge as part of any scheme to redevelop this site, as this will provide a much-needed direct link across the City. So, seeing a bridge on the plans is very good news. The only trouble is that the design, while stylish, is functionally awful and will penalise many potential users including cyclists.
Because of the change in levels between the Castle Park side of the floating harbour and the Courage Brewery site, the bridge design includes steps for pedestrians with a separate lift that would hold up to 8 persons to take wheelchair users, children’s buggies, cycles and the infirm or disabled. The steps and lift would be located on the southern end of the bridge.
This design is clearly far from satisfactory. To begin with the lift is for just 8 persons which would be hopelessly inadequate. The idea of having a lift in the first place is completely flawed. The maintenance and safety issues with lifts in the public domain are well known; at Castlefield in Manchester a lift was installed at one of the tram stops and the issues with vandalism and safety led to it being closed within a couple of months. A workable alternative would be to use ramps or an extended length of bridge or both, to ensure that the access to and gradient along the bridge remains constant.
For the bridge itself there is no information on width or segregation of walkers or cyclists, in spite of the well known difficulties with Valentine’s Bridge.
However, it appears that despite strong internal objections within the Council to the proposed design, it will still be recommended to a future Development Control (Central Area) Planning Committee for approval as it stands. If this happens it will clearly be a hugely missed opportunity to create a workable and much needed walking and cycling route between two key destinations within the City.
If you are concerned about this then let’s get it out in the open. As a first step write to Ian Collinson, Central Area Planning Team. Brunel House, St George’s Street, Bristol BS1 1UY, quoting the planning application reference number and explaining your reasons why you are opposed to the design. Alternatively, the e-mail address to use is: email@example.com
Really though the deficiencies of this bridge need to be out there in the public arena to mobilise opposition. Hopefully if pressure groups, the Press, concerned Councillors and others pick up on this and enough opposition is generated we can force a change of design or if that doesn’t happen, even an outright refusal by Committee.
(Thanks to William Baker)