Residents despair over football parking

Published on: 03 Feb 2016

RESIDENTS are beginning to feel desparate about a lack of progress on transport and parking for fans visiting the Bristol City ground.

At a sometimes angry meeting on January 26, residents complained of being abused and threatened by fans parking directly outside their houses.

Some said they called police but officers arrived too late to help. “It is fair to say an air of desperation is growing,” said Stephen Clarke, Green councillor for Southville.

Residents fear the problems will only get worse when the stadium ups its capacity from 15,000 to 27,000 in the autumn.

The football club has warned its fans that police will step up street parking patrols for home games, especially around Raynes Road, Duckmoor Road and the junction with Ashton Road. 

But the problems look set to persist. Cllr Clarke is frustrated that Long Ashton Park & Ride, which has 1,600 spaces, can’t be used by fans.

“This should be simple but has been held up for weeks,” he said. “Bristol city council, Bristol Sport and North Somerset council need to sit in a room together, and not come out until they have sorted out opening the Park & Ride.”

Pressure from Cllr Clarke and fellow councillor Charlie Bolton has led to an agreement that the forthcoming Metrobus will serve the stadium with a new stop at Paxton Drive.

But a railway station at Ashton Gate – to allow rail passengers to use the existing line to visit the stadium – still appears to be a long way off.

 A feasibility study has been agreed by the council but it is thought a station could cost millions and take several years.

Also being considered are extending both the area of Southville residents parking zone and its hours of operation.

The public meeting, which involved Bristol Sport and the city council, also heard complaints that fans leave rubbish on the streets.

• After our story (above) was printed, Bristol city council responded to the Voice's queries.

Councillor Simon Cook, Assistant Mayor for Place, including Transport, said:

 “As the new Ashton Gate development takes shape the Council has negotiated sustainable travel options to alleviate traffic and parking problems caused by large crowds at the stadium, as part of a planning agreement with the owner, Bristol Stadium Ltd.

 “The improvements include supporter bus services, a car sharing scheme, commitments to enhance travel information for visitors to the stadium and a financial contribution to a footpath in Greville Smyth Park. The footpath will link to a new MetroBus stop at Paxton Drive, funded by the Council, which will provide a direct link to the stadium from the city centre and Temple Meads Station.

“A match day parking scheme, when attendance exceeds 25,000 in three out of five consecutive matches, will be funded under the planning agreement for the surrounding streets. In the meantime, the Council will be working alongside the stadium and police on enforcing current parking restrictions and investigating new arrangements.

“There are legal restrictions on the use of the Long Ashton Park and Ride site, which is located within North Somerset Council’s boundaries, and it is not fully owned by the City Council.  When these issues have been resolved, alongside better controlled on-street parking, an effective Park and Ride scheme can be introduced. MetroBus will also help by providing a safer pedestrian route from the site to the stadium.”

 

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