Bristol Mayor's Park Street closure plans branded 'damaging' by opposition

Park Street, Bristol. PA
Mayor Marvin Rees has suggested closing Park Street to private cars. Credit: PA

Plans to shut one of Bristol's main roads to private cars will be "damaging" to the wider city, according to the opposition councillors.

Mayor Marvin Rees suggested Park Street could close to private vehicles in his annual State of the City address last month.

He said it had the potential to "reinvent" the area and "remove rat-runs" from the Downs.

But opposition councillors have criticised the plan, arguing it will hurt already struggling traders.

Critics have argued closing Park Street to private cars will hurt traders.

Tabling a motion to full council to express his disappointment at the plans, Conservative Cllr Mark Weston said he had received a "very angry response" from concerned residents.

'Urging the mayor to modify plans'

"These plans come at a particularly bad time for traders who are already struggling to rebuild following the economic shock brought about by the Covid lockdown," he said.

"Consequently, I shall be urging the mayor to genuinely try to modify his reimagining of the public realm in the wake of the public consultation responses this generates."

The Conservative group leader’s motion was submitted to a full council meeting of Bristol City Council on November 9, though it is unlikely to be heard because of time constraints.

It said: "Council is disappointed by the way the mayor is choosing to unveil controversial and potentially damaging transport proposals.

Conservative group leader Mark Weston giving a speech at Bristol City Hall Credit: Bristol City Council

"The current administration seems intent on provoking a hostile political reaction rather than seeking to engage constructively with opposition parties to achieve consensus and positive change.

"Council is particularly concerned at the radical plan to close off Park Street (a major thoroughfare) to private vehicles, Queens Road (at the Victoria Rooms) and North View (at White Tree roundabout).

"Such a move would inevitably harm the various remaining businesses on each of those roads.

"Accordingly, Council asks for the mayor to give a commitment that there will be a genuine chance of changing any finalised scheme when the formal public consultation is launched.

In his speech last month, Mr Rees said the public and commuters would be asked for their views on the proposed Park Street closure.

He said: "We are about to launch a consultation on the introduction of bus prioritisation for the Wells Road, to the city centre, over the Downs and the whole length of the A4018.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees delivering his annual State of the City address at Wills Memorial Building Credit: Bristol City Council

"We will ask you to comment on proposals to remove parking that causes congestion on key routes and the closure of Park Street to private cars.

"This has the potential to reinvent public realm up to the Triangle and remove rat-runs from the Downs."

Credit: Adam Postans, Local Democracy Reporting Service