Callowhill Court – large development, carpark and change to routes around Broadmead – our response

‘Callowhill Court’ is the name given to a huge redevelopment of a large part of Broadmead, including changes to traffic and bus routes in the whole area. We’ve been paying close attention since the initial proposals in December 2016, and there have been significant changes, however as members and strong supporters of Living Heart for Bristol, we are very much in agreement with the points they raised 1000 Space New Car Park and 4-Lane Road in Bristol City Centre Would be Madness! Many of these issues remain despite the revised plans of July 2017 reducing parking to 500, with improvements to cycle routes and permeability and 670 cycle parking spaces. There’s even a new route proposed from Gloucester Road to Broadmead avoiding St James Barton roundabout and two small ‘cycle hubs’ one on the corner of Lower Castle Street, the other on the NE corner of the new development.

The key document is “16_06594_P-APPENDIX_A13.1_TRANSPORT_ASSESSMENT_-_VOLUME_2_PART_2-1686425.pdf”, we’ve extracted out Figure TAA4 showing the bus, pedestrian and cycle routes.

Despite some promising changes there’s only going to be one chance to get this right, and overall we still feel the proposals will be negative for cycling.  Here’s our full response and the pdf version BCyC Response Callowhill Court Aug17 FINAL-4

Callowhill Court – Planning Application Ref: 16/06594/P

Our position on this planning application is: OBJECT

Bristol Cycling Campaign believes that everyone deserves safe, attractive space for cycling on all Bristol’s streets. We welcome the target in the council’s Bristol Cycle Strategy for 20% of trips to work by bike by 2020. We are concerned that the proposals in this consultation will discourage cycling.

Our general assessment of the proposals on this consultation drawing is that they:

  • Further hinder access to the shopping area by cycle. A major through route is closed to cyclists and cycle parking provided only at the periphery rather than within the area development.
  • Do not provide protected cycling space on main roads, or remove through motor traffic.
  • Make cycling more dangerous for cyclists and other vulnerable road users, with poor design features.
  • Hinder the development of Bristol Council’s proposed strategic cycle network
  • Demonstrate a general lack of competence in cycle facility and urban environment design. There is also insufficient attention to detail resulting in omissions and puzzling features.

We are particularly concerned by the closure of Horsefair to cycling, the disconnected cycle routes in a number of places and dangerous cycle lane designs near bus stops. Horsefair is the natural through and access route for cycles and cannot be replaced by a poorly designed pavement cycle path on Bond Street. The proposal to do so shows a lack of understanding of the design principles for car free public spaces with free cycle and foot access, as is normal on the continent.

The proposal to provide cycle parking at the periphery is part of this lack of understanding. Short term shopper cycle parking needs to be distributed among the shops.

Consequently, Bristol Cycling Campaign objects to the proposals.

Detailed Comments relating to planning policy

Bristol Cycling Campaign has the following specific comments on the revised proposals, in addition to those raised in our January 2017 response. The development is bad for cycling and contravenes local plan policy in the following respects:

  1. Reduced permeability to cycling
    This is contrary to objectives of DfT’s Manual For Streets (referenced in Core Strategy), key issues include:
    (a) Horsefair – Disconnected cycle paths – shared pavements – no cycle access
    (b) Disconnection between southbound cycle path on York Street and Bond St eastbound for no obvious reason or benefit to anyone
    (c) Shared pavement for cycles in Horsefair to Bond St, causing pedestrian-cycle conflict in an area which would be expected to have high footfall and where there is space to provide a contraflow track
    (d) No eastbound provision for cycles to travel contraflow on Horsefair, resulting in more journeys by bike needing to be made on busier roads.
    (e) No westbound provision for cycles on Horsefair, resulting in more journeys by bike needing to be made on busier roads.
    (f) Pedestrian crossing at the eastern end of Horsefair near Primark appears to have been removed.
    (g) Union Street – disconnected lanes – missed contraflow opportunity – bus stop conflict
    (h) Opportunity to provide a segregated southbound contraflow cycle lane at southern end of Union Street has been missed
    (i) Disconnection between northbound cycle lane on Union Street and westbound lane on Broadmead, meaning cycles need to dismount for approximately 20 metres.
    (j) Unclear whether northbound cycle lane on Union Street is physically segregated – this will be essential to avoid buses swinging into path of cycles when departing the stops.
    (k) Unclear whether existing pelican crossings on Wine St/Newgate/Union Street are being retained, removed or added to.
    (l) No indication whether cycle parking outside Cabot Circus near Castlemead is being removed to accommodate the new bus lane
  2. Heritage Assets -Policy BCS22 – Conservation Area at risk
    Development should safeguard and enhance heritage assets including historic parks and gardens – this development will route traffic to the car park through the historic Portland and Brunswick Squares Conservation Area, resulting in increased traffic, noise, severance and pollution.
  3. Core Strategy policy BCS13 – Climate Change – Non-compliant Travel Plan
    (a)  Development should mitigate climate change by encouraging [sustainable] journeys rather than car – this site is in one of the most accessible within Bristol but the development is designed to encourage a majority of trips by car, without attempt to change existing conditions.
    (b)  No specific change to the baseline conditions towards more sustainable modes is proposed within the framework travel plan, which contains no targets, contrary to the DfT Guide on Travel Plans for Developers.
  4. Pedestrian Crossings
    No signalised pedestrian crossing across the mouth of the car park entrances (Dwg #0775-031) – contrary to Development Management Policy DM23 and the hierarchy within Core Strategy policy BCS10
  5. Car Parking Proposals – non compliant assessment – flawed need assessment – fetter required draft local air quality plan
    (a) Parking assessment does not appear to be in compliance with national / local plan requirements which should take account of existing parking on the area of Broadmead to be demolished;
    (b) Large-scale new car park proposals will fetter the Council’s likely requirement to produce a draft local air quality plan to DEFRA/DfT
    (c) Developers have not demonstrated evidence of need for parking, for example by assessing capacity/performance of existing car parks eg Cabot Circus, Galleries
    (d) No evidence that developers have considered parking alternatives with reduced impact, eg expansion of existing car parks in the area
    (e) Car parking land should instead be used to increase the % of site for housing (including affordable).