Bristol Zoo parking row

Every summer Bristol Zoo sets up an overflow car park on The Downs for the thousands who flock through it's gates. But permission for the car park has now lapsed, and councillors will decide tomorrow whether to renew it.

Bristol Zoo to continue using Downs as car park

Bristol City Council has agreed for the zoo to continue using Clifton Downs as an overspill car park. Credit: ITV News West Country

Bristol Zoo has been given permission to continue using part of Clifton Downs as an overspill car park.

City planners agreed this afternoon that the space could be used on 60 days of the year after a previous permit lapsed.

But this could be reduced to 45 days within the next three years.

Local community groups had opposed the application.

Full report: Bristol Zoo parking row

Should Bristol Zoo be allowed to let it's visitors park on the Downs?

It's an argument that's raged for the past 40 years as every summer the zoo sets up an overflow car park for the thousands who flock through it's gates.

But permission for the car park has now lapsed, and councillors will decide tomorrow whether to renew it.

Community groups say it's time the zoo found a permanent solution to its parking problems - but the zoo says it can't afford to.

Rebecca Broxton has more:

Rebecca's report was filmed before Bristol Zoo issued a statement on the parking row.

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Zoo's response to Downs parking row

In the absence of the overflow car park, the Zoo simply would not be able to deal responsibly with our visitor vehicles on peak days.

Without those visitors who use the overflow facility, the Zoo would stand to lose a large percentage of its revenue, which would severely impact on the business and also the important conservation work we are involved in.

Since we’ve been using the land we have taken our responsibility to preserve and protect the area very seriously.

For example, we do not allow cars to park on Ladies Mile when it is very wet and we also conduct ecological surveys to ensure the land is as it should be.

The Zoo strives, where possible, to encourage the use of non-car modes of travel.

Whilst the Zoo does and will continue to promote the use of sustainable modes of transport where reasonable and practical, we know from experience that our guests will be discouraged from coming if there is inadequate parking.

– Bristol Zoo statement

Bristol Zoo Downs parking row

Every summer Bristol Zoo sets up an overflow car park on The Downs for the thousands who flock through it's gates.

But permission for the car park has now lapsed, and councillors will decide tomorrow whether to renew it.

The zoo has applied for renewed permission to park 700 cars 60 days a year.

Community groups say it's time the zoo found another solution to it's parking problems.

It's a unique habitat. It's been built up over a thousand years of sheep grazing. It has some of the most remarkable limestone plants anywhere.

I've been monitoring them for some time and essentially this is being slowly and steadily degraded by the zoo's use of it.

– RICHARD BLAND, Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge

The objective has to be to get cars off this site. It's against all the planning policies to have parking on this site.

It's protected by innumerable planning policies so it's got to stop now.

It won't change until people can't park here and they will very rapidly find another way of getting here and the zoo will very rapidly provide something that helps them.

– SUSAN CARTER, DOWNS FOR PEOPLE