Two consultations have today [21 January] launched asking local residents for their views on updated plans to improve the River Malago and transport network in Bedminster, as part of the wider regeneration of Bedminster Green.
Following an initial period of public engagement in February 2020, which saw widespread support for better transport options and improvements to the River Malago, the council is now asking for feedback on more detailed design proposals.
Proposals for the restoration of the River Malago include bringing the river back to the surface, improving biodiversity and building a new amphitheatre seating area in the green space at the heart of Bedminster Green. Proposed transport changes include better routes for public transport, walking and cycling, and the introduction of a one-way system on Whitehouse Lane.
The changes to the river and transport network are two of a number of strategic projects by Bristol City Council and developers as part of plans to regenerate and improve the area across five plots of land that make up the Bedminster Green Framework area.
Proposals for improvements in the area include:
River Malago improvements
The River Malago flows through three of the five development plots that make up Bedminster Green. Currently the river is largely underground, out of sight and of poor quality.
The council proposes to open the river out in the existing Green by removing it from a culvert (pipe). The re-naturalisation of the river and increasing flow speeds will improve the habitat for a range of fish and aquatic invertebrates. The increase in vegetation within the water and on the banks will also provide new habitat for additional species. By removing the river from the culvert, the work will contribute to improved species movement up the river.
Other potential benefits identified by the council include improved visibility and community connection with the river; more natural surveillance of the area; and more amenities and community spaces for local people to enjoy within the Green, including a stepped seating amphitheatre overlooking the river.
The proposed improvements would also help to reduce the flood risk to the surrounding area. By lowering some ground levels within the Green, a flood storage area would be created that would fill with excess water during times of higher flows or flooding, stopping water flooding nearby roads or properties.
Results from community engagement held in February 2020 show that around 96% of respondents wanted to see a change in the Green, while 89% supported opening up the river. The works will be funded through the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL).
To see the full proposals on improvements to the River Malago and the Green and to complete the survey, please visit: bristol.gov.uk/bedminstergreenconsultation
Travel and Transport – Whitehouse Lane to A38, Malago Road/Dalby Avenue (A38) and Windmill Hill tunnel
Alongside the River Malago consultation, the council is also seeking the public’s views on preliminary designs for transport improvements in the Bedminster Green area.
The council proposes to introduce a northbound one-way system along Whitehouse Lane between Windmill Hill and Philip Street. This was the preference of the majority of respondents to the early 2020 public engagement survey and would provide enough width to introduce a two-way protected cycle lane, as well as reducing “rat running”, or through traffic, in the area.
Along Malago Road/Dalby Avenue (A38), the council proposes to introduce a continuous northbound bus lane towards East Street, including a new bus stop, as well as improving and lengthening the bus stop on the southbound side of the road. The proposals would improve access via public transport to East Street. The proposals aim to improve public transport through Bedminster Green, including links between the city centre, South Bristol and Bristol Airport.
A new cycle route, loading bays, and a Car Club bay are proposed on Whitehouse Lane and Hereford Street to support the new developments and existing businesses, with some on-road parking spaces removed to achieve this.
In addition, the council proposes to introduce or upgrade pedestrian and cycle crossings at St Catherine’s Place, north of Hereford Street, and between Providence Place and Stafford Street, as well as upgrading the segregated walking and cycling crossing connecting Stafford Street to the existing Malago Greenway route. Changes in the highway layout will also enable a wider footpath to be introduced.
The council has also proposed two options for the junction of Windmill Hill and Hereford Street. Option 1 would mean that all motor vehicle access to Windmill Hill would be via St John’s Lane only. Option 2 would retain access from Hereford Street into Windmill Hill one way. Both options seek to improve walking and cycling options under the railway bridge and reduce rat running through Windmill Hill.
ANPR data shows that at rush hour, between 0730 and 0830, around three motor vehicles a minute are through traffic (“rat running”) through Windmill Hill, while census data shows most residents living in Windmill Hill commute on foot, by bike or on public transport.
To see the full proposals and complete the transport consultation visit: bristol.gov.uk/bedminstergreenconsultation
Councillor Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for City Design and Spatial Planning, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with the community, developers and local businesses to deliver a high-quality local area. Bringing the river and transport improvements forward at the same time – and working with developers, means we can ensure that Bedminster Green is a well-connected and sustainable place to live and work.
“Improving the river area and transport network will create more green space, provide greater biodiversity in an urban area and make travelling through and around Bedminster Green easier, with better public transport, cycleways and footpaths. By taking this joined-up approach to planning and development we can do all of this at the same time as delivering the new and affordable homes that Bristol needs and supporting existing businesses in Bedminster.”
The proposals support Bristol City Council’s wider aspirations for high-quality streets and public spaces across Bristol, as part of the One City Plan. Significant improvements to public spaces in Bedminster Green will also be delivered as part of the highways works.
The council is working with the developers across the five plots of land that make up the Bedminster Green regeneration area to ensure that any major growth occurs alongside improvements to transport infrastructure, to support the developments and make Bedminster Green a better place to travel around and through.
Both consultations close on Thursday 4th March 2021.