The latest on the Brislington Tramway

Progress is stalled on The Tramway/Brislington Greenway but campaigners are still optimistic it may go ahead. 

The Tramway is a proposal for a traffic-free walking & cycling route running for roughly a kilometre, parallel to the A4 on the old Brislington Railway line between Sainsburys and Tesco in Brislington, BS4.

This attractive and quiet railway cutting has been unused for decades but planning applications have now been submitted by Greenways and Cycleroutes in Feb 2021 and Meanwhile Creative in June 2021. The two organisations are working in partnership benefitting from the experience of John Grimshaw, founder of Sustrans. 

Meanwhile Creative, based in Bristol, specialise in meanwhile uses for unused buildings or land and propose to install a 50 low cost refurbished second hand shipping containers and convert them into affordable office and studio units. They will be funding the work required to open the route. 

The concept of a Greenway has been extremely popular with an online petition attracting over 1000 signatures and The Tramway applications receiving over 300 positive comments. 

However, progress is slow, with six months passing since Greenways’ application. Ecology issues have been raised and the police have concerns about safety following issues on the Bristol to Bath Path. Our understanding is some further details are required by the planning officer to make a decision.

It seems likely the application(s) will go to a committee meeting due to the sensitivity around the land being earmarked for a transport relief route (Callington Road Link) with is yet undefined. The A4 project has recently gone out to consultation too, which means officers will be trying to determine the best use of the land.

This fantastic opportunity finally seems within reach, but reading between the lines, it seems it is being blocked by the transport department who would rather have all their options on the table for infrastructure solutions for the A4. This is the most likely explanation for why it is taking so long to make a decision. The authorities have been using the Callington road link as an excuse for not doing something here for over 10 years and the risk is the path goes unused for many more years while they decide what to do with it. 

The fact the route and Tramway scheme is interim/temporary in nature means there’s very few reasons to refuse.  With the council urgently needing to reduce traffic and support active travel, this seems too much of a good opportunity to pass. 

Hopefully significant pressure from residents and campaigners will create the political will to support the application.

Please contact your councillors, the mayor and cabinet lead for transport.

You can also still comment on Meanwhile Creative’s application by clicking here.