Two local groups have expressed serious concerns about Bristol City Council’s plans for a walking and cycling route from Hengrove to the city centre.
The proposed Filwood Quietway will cut through both the Northern Slopes and Victoria Park. The aim is to provide an alternative to car use to help tackle the city’s congested roads and improve air quality.
But the groups feel these are not the best routes for the new path and fear it could have an effect on wildlife and safety.
In a letter to Bristol City Council, Chair of the Northern Slopes Initiative (NSI) Bob Franks said: “…We are not convinced of the benefits of routing the Quietway through The Slopes at Glyn Vale from the perspective of the Slopes and the users of the Slopes.
“We believe that our alternative via Donegal Road, Glyn Vale, Kingswear Green Space to Marksbury Road and on to Wedmore Vale has the potential to be a good route.
“We would like to be involved in the next stages of the proposals alongside other interested groups…”
A council spokesperson said: “Although we understand the NSI are not convinced about the benefits of the route using the Northern Slopes, we hope to work with them so they can make the most of the opportunity for investment in the space. This is a chance to address some of the anti-social behaviour issues in the slopes, and make the space more welcoming for local people.
“We had a constructive meeting discussing two preliminary designs with the NSI, and we are pleased to see that the NSI would like to be involved in the next stages of the proposals.”
The Victoria Park Action Group (VPAG) has produced a leaflet outlining concerns about the proposals. Members believe the £500,000 plans for this part of the route including path location, width and entrances as well as lighting “have serious implications” for the park.
They question whether a new path is really needed when children can play freely and dogs can be let off the lead and fear it will “encourage faster through cycling”. They say it will cross a pedestrian and school walking route making it unsafe.
They also claim the planned width of the path will “feel like a road rather than a path”. When the park entrance barriers are removed they fear there could be “significant problems with motorbikes and anti-socall behavior” as there were before the barriers were installed.
Travelwest has produced a leaflet which outlines the benefits of the new scheme which it says will make it “easier and safer for all groups to access Victoria Park.”
Cllr Mark Bradshaw, Cabinet Member for Transport, said: “Victoria Park is an important, well-used and much-loved space for the community and the wider area, which is why the Council is keen to invest in improving access for people walking and cycling.
“The proposals will also deliver some long held community aspirations for enhancing safety, fixing recurrent flooding problems and making it easier to enter and leave the park. Of course, the wider benefit is to see a better connected local route for people wanting to walk or cycle. We are committed to working with the local councillors and community to ensure that the park retains its strong attraction.”
The deadline for the public to comment on the Victoria Park proposals is 11 Janauary 2017. Details can be found on: www.tinyurl.com/hs29bjh
To view the VPAG flyer: www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/VPAG-leaflet.pdf and the TravelWest flyer: http://www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/TW_VicPark.jpg