Plans for a Park & Rail site in Bathampton which were backed by the Government and would have helped ease congestion in Bath have been shelved by B&NES Council.
The project, which would have involved building a new rail-based Park and Ride at the Bathampton railway junction, was touted by the Council’s former Liberal Democrat leadership as the solution to Bath’s traffic problems.
However, Conservative-led Bath & North East Somerset Council have now confirmed that these plans have been shelved, deeming them unviable and overly expensive due to the estimated £34 million cost.
A report published last July criticised the Park & Rail plans, warning that the cost and complexities of the project meant it was unlikely to ever become a reality.
Steve Bradley, the Liberal Democrat who hoped to succeed Don Foster as Bath’s MP, persuaded the Government to support the Park & Rail scheme.
He took Nick Clegg to Bathampton in December to explain Bath’s desperate need for the schemes, and a government announcement soon followed with their backing.
At the time, Nick Clegg said: “I want to make Bath even better, and I believe that these schemes will make a massive difference to the everyday lives of people in and around the city.”
Previous plans for a new Park & Ride to be built to the east of Bath were scrapped by the Lib Dems in 2011.
In September 2014, the Conservatives 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.
Plans for the new Park & Ride to the east of Bath have now been unveiled, with the public being invited to give their views on the proposed sites.
The new plans form a key part of the Council’s wider strategy to improve transport, tackle congestion and reduce air pollution levels in and around Bath.
The consultation will start on 7th September 2015 and run until early October.
At the end of the consultation, officers will analyse the results, which will be put before councillors in November for a decision.
Once a preferred site has been chosen it will be included in the Placemaking Plan later this year.
An independent review in 2013 found that there were seven potential sites. Three have been deemed viable.
Ben Howlett, MP for Bath commented: “Taking action to get Bath moving was a central part of my election campaign, and is something I have continued to fight for since May.
“I’m therefore delighted that the Council’s new Conservative leadership is already putting into action our manifesto commitment to deliver this important and long-awaited transport project.
“An additional park and ride will help alleviate congestion in Bath and help to reduce air pollution.
“The most important thing is for as many residents as possible to get involved in this consultation when it starts.
“This is a major infrastructure project which will benefit residents throughout the city.”