The next round of consultation for the West of England Spatial and Transport plan is currently open for comments and it’s important that residents of Bath and the surrounding area put pen to paper to voice their thoughts on the proposed plans.
The spatial plan will be a Statutory Development Plan Document that will provide the strategic foundation for the next 20 years, with a strong focus on putting in new affordable homes and where they are to be built.
The transport plans aims to build on the existing projects of MetroBus and MetroWest (local railway upgrade), whilst encouraging people to move away from their cars and towards more sustainable transport.
From the previous consultation, they have identified the need to improve transport options and create new homes in a way that is mindful of the impact it has on the environment, and with a view to a higher degree of sustainable transport. (A summary of our response to the last consultation can be found here – https://transitionbath.org/west-england-joint-spatial-transport-plans/). The amount of new homes to be built in the west of England has been raised to 105,000. This increase is going to come with many problems of where to build and provide more pressure on the existing, and originally planned transport improvements.
Whilst there are many positives that came out of the last consultation stage, it is still important that we continue to provide views on ensuring they succeed where we are often let down; marrying up good policy and ideas, with a practical plan that delivers on the aims. This means a detailed plan that forces people to consider alternatives to car travel, by investment in improving the public transport links and ease of use with an emphasis on active modes of transport (walking and cycling).
It is anticipated that journeys made will increase by 26% by 2036, and the West of England are aiming to reduce car journeys by 14% whilst only increasing public transport and walking and cycling by 12%. These aims need to be more ambitious.
There needs to be a sustained call by the public to put a stronger emphasis on developing public transport links and promoting and encouraging more active modes of transport. Only 5.3% of the £7.5billion projected budget has been set aside for investment in Active Modes of transport. We need to encourage the West of England to follow other European countries in having more ambitious targets of reducing car travel and increasing walking and cycling through significant investment in infrastructure that is appropriate.
Please go to https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/system/home to look at the proposed plan and have your say in the consultation. We will be entering our views, based upon the need for development of affordable housing in the correct areas with investment in developing sustainable transport options and encouraging people to leave their cars behind. What we want to achieve has been laid out, and this is an opportunity to have a say in the how we get there. The online consultation will only take between 15-30mins to fill out, but your feedback will help to set out an important plan for the next 20 years.