Totterdown set to get RPZ by the time arena opens

Published on: 25 May 2015

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TOTTERDOWN looks likely to have a residents parking scheme in place by 2017 when the Bristol Arena opens next to Temple Meads.

In an interview with South Bristol Voice, Mayor George Ferguson said he thought it was “reasonable” that Totterdown would need some sort of residents parking arrangement within a couple of years.

Ten RPZs have been approved so far in Bristol, amid much criticism that objections were overridden and ignored.

Two more schemes – for Southville and Bedminster East – are due for decision shortly. If approved as expected, Southville is due to start installation during June with completion in the summer. Bedminster East – an area which stretches to Wells Road north of the railway –  is due to start building in July and finish in late August.

 Residents – and the councillors who represent them in Windmill Hill and Knowle – have previously been heavily against a parking scheme.

Though some local streets are used by commuters to park while they go to work in the city centre, there has been no groundswell of opinion calling for parking restrictions.

But the picture looks certain to change when the arena is built.

The giant entertainment venue will hold 12,000 for major events such as rock concerts and will also host smaller theatre-style events.

The hope will be that many visitors will use public transport. The venue is next to Temple Meads station, while bus routes to Temple Meads are also to be improved with the opening of the £100million Metrobus network. 

But many arena-goers will still drive – and so far no extra car parks have been planned, leading to fears that on concert nights, Totterdown could become jammed with unwanted visitors.

Mr Ferguson  says other plans will help ease the pressure.

The council has identified 2,500 parking spaces it says are within a 15-minute walk of the venue.

Mr Ferguson said: “I understand the concerns but it wouldn’t do anyone any favours if we built a massive great car park.

“There are 250 spaces on the site for operational use and for the disabled.

“We are also working with the University of Bristol to develop an app – a smart system [to help motorists find nearby parking spaces]. Anyone driving to any event in Bristol will be able to find the nearest parking space that’s available and the cost.”

Residents could also be protected by a scheme similar to those used near football grounds, he added.

“We are looking at ways to defend the local area with the equivalent of a match day parking scheme,” he said.

Cllr Gary Hopkins, the Liberal Democrat leader on the council and one of the two representatives for Knowle, is not impressed.

“We have been pushing this for over a year without a straight answer,” he said. 

“It is clear to me that the residents should have this [an RPZ] at least largely paid for by either the council or the operator and we will press the case. 

“Residents in Lower Knowle did not want the 9-5 scheme he tried to impose a year or two back but they are fearful of the arena overflow in the evenings. In my view we should ask all residents within a mile-plus radius whether they want the subsidised scheme, and accept their decision.”

ARENA PLANS: page 5

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