What is Highways England’s concern if Bristol Arena build goes ahead?
Highways England said it would support plans to build an arena at the Filton Airfield, if the developer meets a number of conditions.
Proposals for a 17,000 seat arena at the Brabazon hangars have been recommended for approval by Bristol City Council officers.
Today, Wednesday March 4, the authority’s development control committee is expected to make a decision on whether to approve the scheme, Bristol Live reports.
Infrastructure and transport is one of the key concerns with the Filton location.
Concerns have been raised over the potential impact on the already congested roads and whether infrastructure will be put in place to transport tens of thousands of concert-goers out to Filton.
As part of the Brabazon neighbourhood project, a new train station and metrobus route are already planned for the site as well as the 2,675 new homes on the airfield north of the railway line.
However, that still leaves the impact on the road network, something Highways England has expressed concerns over.
The road agency has published its own report on the plans put forward by YTL for an arena at the Brabazon Hangar, which recommends the scheme be approved “subject to conditions”.
Highways England said that while some of the proposed changes to the road network wouldn’t be a problem, it is the size and nature of the development proposals which had the potential to cause traffic gridlock on the region’s motorways.
The report said: “Due to the location of the proposed development site, the proposals have the potential to result in an immediate and significant impact on Strategic Road Network (SRN) traffic demands and network performance and operation, particularly at the M5 junctions 16 and 17.”
The two junctions of the M5 that are of concern have been named as Aztec West and Cribbs Causeway.
Highways England said evening events would see visitors arriving during peak commuter period, “when the network currently experiences congestion and delay”.
The agency have said it would support the plans to go ahead, but only if planning conditions were imposed to ensure measures were in place to “minimise the risk of severe congestion or unacceptable safety impacts”.
One of the plans suggested by Highways England is for developers to provide both a Park & Ride and Shuttle bus strategy in order to minimise the impact on the two M5 junctions, as well as a visitor and staff travel plan.
Highways England also asked for a design review of the highway network that surrounds the arena site, these include event signage warning people ahead of an event as well as potential signal adjustments to keep traffic moving.
If plans are approved at the meeting on Wednesday, the council has decided it should be referred to the Secretary of State.
The Secretary of State will then decide whether he wants to make the final decision on the scheme, or if he is happy to leave it in the hands of the local authority.
It is important to note that even if the Secretary of State does decide to call-in the decision, he may also end up agreeing with the council’s decision.
If the proposals are eventually given the go ahead, YTL plans to open the doors to the public in early 2023.
Original source article: https://www.somersetlive.co.uk/news/local-news/highways-england-reveals-concerns-m5-3910024
Author: Kate Wilson & Yasmin Cooke
Disclaimer: This article was not originally written by a member of the HighwaysIndustry.Com team.