Residents back plan to keep Bristol area closed to traffic

Two parts of the road have been closed to through traffic - the section between Whiteladies Gate and Hampton Lane, and between Hampton Park and Abbotsford Road. Credit: Bristol City Council

Residents and businesses in Bristol have shown 'strong support' for keeping Cotham Hill pedestrianised, a survey has revealed.

Cotham Hill has been closed to traffic since April last year to support businesses reopening during the pandemic and help the environment.

Although the closure was initially temporary, Bristol City Council said last year it planned to make the scheme permanent after positive feedback from people living and working in the area.

In the survey, residents were offered three options on the future of Cotham Hill.

Option A and B suggested keeping the road closure while option C suggested reopening it to one-way traffic.

More than 60 per cent of people chose option A and 27 per cent of people chose option B, meaning the majority of people were in favour of keeping the road closure in place.

Last year, Bristol businesses on the popular street welcomed the plans to pedestrianise it for good.

Ben Harvey, from Pasta Loco, said it had been a "huge lifeline" when his restaurant was granted permission to use the outdoor space.

Dominic Borel and Ben Harvey from Pasta Loco Credit: John Myers

'We're on the right track'

Marvin Rees, Mayor for Bristol, said: “The strong support shown for the approach taken on Cotham Hill speaks volumes for what residents want from their local areas. 

"Our approach here has been to try to find a better balance between how streets are used for transport and people, while boosting local businesses. These results show clearly that we’re on the right track.

“Cotham Hill is one of a number of projects we’re working on across the city, to deliver that balance between liveable neighbourhoods with less traffic and pollution that also support local businesses to thrive.

"It’s fantastic that the scheme has been so well received, and I look forward to seeing Cotham Hill continuing to thrive."

The council has said it will look to take option A forward, which includes slight variations to the existing system.

This includes widening pavements and introducing one-way routes to reduce through traffic.

It also includes creating a school street outside SS Peter and Paul Primary School, which would close part of Aberdeen Road at drop-off and pick-up times - making it safer for children to walk, cycle and scoot to school.

The street has been pedestrianised since last April to help businesses during the pandemic. Credit: BPM Media

Other measures, such as bollards, planters, blue badge parking, cycle lanes and cycle parking, would also form part of the proposals.

Councillor Don Alexander, Cabinet Member for Transport, explained: “We need to transform the way we travel in Bristol, to ease congestion, reduce air pollution and ensure our local economy continues to thrive. 

“This can be achieved by enabling a good mix of transport options which includes increasing the number of journeys we walk, wheel or cycle, and using public transport as much as we can for longer trips.

"That’s why it’s so important that local communities can enjoy their neighbourhoods and are safe while out on Bristol’s streets.

“The results of our Cotham Hill survey show there is willing to change the way our roads are used, and it will be fantastic to see the plans take shape.” 

The temporary road closure will remain in place to through traffic between Whiteladies Gate and Hampton Lane, and between Hampton Park and Abbotsford Road on Cotham Hill. 

A number of formal consultations on the proposed road closures will take place towards the end of 2022.

In the meantime, the council says detailed designs for the scheme will be drawn up.