Plans for second liveable neighbourhood in East Bristol on hold after 'strong opposition'

Plans for a second liveable neighbourhood in Bedminster and Southville have been paused.

Plans for a second liveable neighbourhood in Bristol have been paused after "strong opposition" to a trial for the first.

The mayor said Bristol City Council was learning from the first trial “before rushing” to roll another one out in Bedminster and Southville.

The East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood trial is due to launch this winter in Barton Hill and St George.

Many side roads will be closed off to through-traffic with bollards and planters, in a bid to make the area safer for walking and cycling by reducing speeding and air pollution.

But so far the trial has faced some opposition. Earlier in July about 200 people gathered to hear concerns about the plans - and now Marvin Rees has said the council will focus on this trial before moving onto a second one.

The mayor was asked in a full council meeting earlier in July by Labour Councillor Mark Bradshaw, representing Bedminster, for an update on the plans for South Bristol.

In a written statement, Mr Rees replied that some councils elsewhere have withdrawn similar schemes.

Mr Rees said: “We will look to trial two liveable neighbourhoods. We’ve also made it clear that we will start with the trial in St George and Barton Hill, and will ensure we take all the learnings from that scheme before rushing to another scheme.

“You will have noticed in the local media recently strong opposition from members of the community to the East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood, and there are councils that have implemented and withdrawn the schemes.”

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

Labour promised at least two liveable neighbourhood pilots in their manifesto ahead of the local elections in 2021.

But with nine months to go before the next election, when the party could potentially lose power, so far only the trial in east Bristol is about to be launched.

Mr Rees added: “We will ensure that we bring communities with us in making these improvements and ward councillors will be asked to lead the engagement and design.

"However, officer time is currently fully resourced in rolling out the East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood, and this remains our priority.”

Government funding for future low traffic neighbourhoods was also thrown into doubt, after the Conservatives narrowly beat Labour in a by-election in Uxbridge and South Ruislip last week, in a race focused around a planned expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.

Ministers are now reportedly ditching support for similar plans, such as liveable neighbourhoods.

Concerns about the east Bristol trial include the potential for increased congestion on nearby main routes like Church Road, delays to emergency services, and the perception among some residents of a lack of public consultation.

Other residents however, like on Beaufort Road in St George, have spoken in favour of the plans, due to long-standing concerns over road safety.

Credit: Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporter.