The West of England Combined Authority will invest £6.5m to kick-start a series of major schemes aimed at getting the region moving, and securing more homes and jobs for local people.
The decision to invest in a series of business cases and feasibility studies to look at schemes in more detail was made at a Combined Authority meeting in Bath on Monday October 30.
The authority committee is chaired by the regional Mayor, Tim Bowles, and is made up of the leaders and Mayor from the three authorities in the region – Bath & North East Somerset (Leader, Cllr Tim Warren), Bristol City Council (Mayor Marvin Rees) and South Gloucestershire Council (Leader, Cllr Matthew Riddle). The Interim Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Professor Steve West, also attends committee meetings.
West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This funding will allow us to look in more detail at some really ambitious schemes that could make a big difference to residents and businesses across our region. This includes improving transport routes – rail, public transport, road, walking and cycling – and investing in infrastructure to support building new homes.
“I have now asked our constituent councils to develop robust business cases and feasibility studies to look at the schemes in more detail. These will then come back to a future meeting of the Combined Authority for further discussion.”
Business cases will look at the following:
Bath & Somer Valley Enterprise Zone
This will look at improving the route from the Old Mills employment site on the A362 to the A37, to include pedestrian and cycling improvements. The site has the potential to create 1,700 to 2,000 new jobs but the current route from the A37 to the site requires upgrading to accommodate the increase in travel demand.
Bristol City Council is in the process of securing outline planning consent for around 1500 new homes, a large park, onsite highways and access. The business case would look at the improvements needed to support the development of new homes here.
Bristol City Council has identified land for 800 new homes and a new school, at Lockleaze. A business case will look at what is needed for this development, including bus lanes, cycle routes, and junction improvements.
A business case will look into improvements on the A4 / A4174 Hicks Gate Roundabout to reduce peak time delays. It will look at a link from the A4174 to the A4, removing traffic from the roundabout. Any scheme would take account and complement the future A4 to A37 link road and proposed relocation of the Hick Gate Park and Ride.
Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood Cycling Package
The cycling package is part of a wider sustainable transport package for the Filton Enterprise Area and Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood, which seeks to connect existing and new railway stations with the new housing and employment developments. This is set to provide an additional 5,000 new homes redeveloping the Filton Airfield site. The ambition is for it to become an exemplar development for integrated public transport, walking, cycling and innovative use of public open space.
Great Stoke roundabout capacity
This will look at increasing capacity at Great Stoke. The roundabout will be redeveloped to support the existing North Fringe to Hengrove MetroBus route. General traffic flow will also be improved through the junction. This is expected to have a significant impact in reducing congestion and connecting to a comprehensive sustainable transport package for the Filton Enterprise Area and Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN).
There will be feasibility studies into the following projects:
Temple Meads Masterplan
The study will look into a range of major improvements at this key regional hub, including more platforms, better access to the northern entrance, and access improvements for passengers and cyclists.
Rapid transport options
This would include studies into four mass transit corridors linking Bristol city centre with Bristol Airport, the North Fringe, the East Fringe and via the A4 corridor to Hicks Gate/Keynsham, as identified in the Joint Transport Plan. There will also be a study into a light rail/Metro hybrid option, supporting Bristol City Council’s study.
To explore options around creating a southern orbital route using a combination of new links and improvements to existing highway, between Whitchurch and Hengrove.
This would link up new housing opportunities Whitchurch as set out in the Joint Spatial Plan, and support regeneration in South Bristol. This will include looking into extending the MetroBus route, walking and cycling links.
East of Bath link
Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with Wiltshire Council, Dorset County Council and Highways England to bring forward a case for investment in a link road east of the city of Bath to ease congestion.
Freezing Hill Lane
Improvements to junction on Freezing Hill Lane. This forms the core access to Lansdown Park and Ride site serving Bath city centre from the A46 corridor, linking to J18 of the M4. A feasibility study would consider outline designs, modelling and consultation.
Wraxall Road roundabout
This will look at improving the roundabout which impacts on traffic flow along the A4174 Avon Ring Road corridor between the M32 Junction at Frenchay, through to Hicks Gate. The study will identify the benefits available through remodelling the junction and its approaches, with the key objective being reduced congestion at the A4174 Wraxall Road roundabout.
The meeting also agreed to invest £600,000 to improve the Real Time Information (RTI) service for bus passengers across the region.