Plans for 'liveable neighbourhood' in east Bristol delayed amid concern

  • Watch the latest on plans for a liveable neighbourhood in east Bristol

The start of a controversial 'liveable neighbourhood' scheme in Bristol has been pushed back with another formal consultation planned.

The trial aims to reduce traffic and improve air quality in Barton Hill and St George by putting road blocks in place - prioritising cyclists and pedestrians above cars.

Bristol City Council insists the scheme is about improving the streets for everyone, with access for residents protected.

But some people living and operating businesses in east Bristol have claimed this would have a detrimental impact on their livelihoods.

Samira Musse, a resident in Barton Hill, said: "The council is not prioritising what the area needs. Closing the road is not a priority to us right now. These roads are our livelihoods. We have care workers going between areas for jobs, children to drop off at different schools. We don't drive to pleasure, we drive to survive."

Hundreds of people voiced their concerns about the scheme at a meeting this month, including local businesses who are concerned about its impact on their finances.

Yadegar Osman, who owns a local supermarket, said: "If I knew it was happening I would not have taken on this shop. I feel like I was lose all my trade. I am 100% not happy."

The east Bristol liveable neighbourhood covers Barton Hill, Redfield and St George Credit: Bristol City Council

However many residents living in the trial area are welcoming changes to the road layout after experiencing busy streets and speeding cars outside their homes for years.

Angharad Hughes, who lives in St George, said: "I'm very much in favour of there being some changes. A lot of argy-bargy goes on here [in Beaufort Road] because there is not enough room for people to speed up and down it."

The initial plans were designed in partnership with the cycling and walking charity Sustrans.

A further consultation is due to to take place in the coming months and the council insists no final decisions have been made.

Ben Bowskill from Sustrans said: "For so long we've designed our cities around the car and I think it's time we designed it around people - our social needs, how we get on with our neighbours, how we go the shops, how we get our kids to school. I'd much rather see my children out playing in the street that lots of cars down it."

An example of a modal filter on Lincoln Street. Credit: Bristol City Council

Councillor Don Alexander, cabinet member for transport, said: “The aim of the liveable neighbourhood will be to improve local streets for everyone, and a big part of that is to make them safer and less polluted by preventing traffic from using residential roads to avoid main routes.

"Whilst there appears to be some misleading information being shared on this topic, I am clear that nobody’s ability to move around the neighbourhood is being restricted and access to homes and businesses will remain in place. All roads will remain accessible by vehicles – drivers may have to use a different route where there are modal filters in place as these only allow walkers, cyclists and emergency vehicles to pass through.

“We have engaged with local communities across the east Bristol liveable neighbourhood pilot area extensively throughout all stages of the process. 

“This has included translating some of our literature into Somali and Polish, holding multiple drop-in events and reaching out to all properties within the pilot area through letter drops and postcards. We also displayed lamppost sleeves promoting the design stage, where we asked people to share their views on the measures they would like to see on their local streets.

“No long-term decisions have been made about the liveable neighbourhood and the trial scheme will be a good opportunity to test out the measures to see if they work for local communities and if any changes are needed. 

“We will be running a formal consultation on the changes to the roads in the autumn with the aim to start the trial in the winter of 2023/24. We will also ask for feedback about how the trial is working for the community once it is live and throughout the process. This will help us to make sure the plans for the permanent Liveable Neighbourhood are right for the area.”