At the end of October the 10th Annual Address of the Bristol Mayor, was given, wherein the current Mayor, Marvin Rees, made a statement about plans for the future of the city.
His speech included committing to new, supposedly affordable housing, right next to Temple Meads Station and in run down areas. He made special mention of his controversial Bristol Underground scheme.
In his speech, he mentioned he had secured a further £15 million from the Central Government for the scheme, which he’s going to share with neighbouring Councils, who will benefit from this improved network.
“We are about to commit a further £15 million with our neighbours to take this work to the next stage. Overground and underground networks are fast, efficient, low carbon transport systems. They are essential for a modern, crowded city. Bristolians have waited long enough”
The main point of this brand new Transport Network (‘Underground’ is a bit of a misnomer, since only one part of it is actually under ground) is that there’s going to be a bus loop in the city centre and new bus routes added throughout the city. On top of that, an underground segment will connect to Bristol Temple Meads and on to neighbouring areas, such as Bristol Airport, Bath and North Somerset. It will also serve places like Aztec West on the outskirts of Bristol and provide an easier route to Ashton Gate Stadium, where Bristol City, Bristol Bears and the Bristol Flyers Basketball play.
This new Transport Network won’t come cheaply, with consultants estimating the budget of £4 Billion in 2017. However, they say the benefits include house prices increasing along the line being built, leading to more interest in the area.
Many of the plans which Mayor Rees comes up with are controversial and these plans are no exception. There are many on the Bristol City Council oppose these plans. When I spoke to Green Councillor Tom Hathway for another video I did for West England Bylines, he said this:
“These are very ambitious plans and ambitious is good but it all comes back to that Climate Emergency … I would love to be sat on a Bristol Underground but I’m not going to be sat on a Bristol Underground for 10 years. We need to get to Zero Carbon by 2030 and an underground is not a solution to that”
Not that this opposition deterred Mr Rees, going on in his speech:
“There cannot be any U-turns, no shying away from the challenge of delivery for those who come next, be they Bristol councillors or the combined authority. We know what needs to happen. It’s now there for you to complete it.”
Mayor Rees wants to make sure this new Transport Network actually gets approval soon because his office gets abolished in 2024, when his current term ends. After that, I can’t see it getting enough support, as it’s opposed by the Greens, Lib Dems and Conservatives on the City Council.
Maybe that money would be better suited propping up the City’s current transport system, maybe even saving some of the bus routes closed recently.
But check out the video below for more information and form your own opinion.
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