Bristol Airport is now taking seeking a backdoor route in an attempt to secure it hold on Green Belt land. A recent application to North Somerset Council seeks formal advice from on whether or not an environmental impact assessment would be necessary for changing existing permission to build a Public Transport Interchange (PTI) north of the Terminal building. This is the thin end of the wedge to avoid the cost of building a second multi-story car park and funnel more parking on the green belt land annexed by the ‘Silver Zone’ parking lot.**
Why is it seeking to amend the existing permission? If an interchange were developed separately from multi-story car park it’s highly unlikely that the Airport would invest in a second multi-storey car park, as required by current planning permission. It’s aim is to save money and consolidate the ‘legitimacy’ of the Green Belt habitat colonised by the Silver Zone parking.
So the Multi Storey Car Park 2 must delivered at the same time as an interchange to prevent further parking sprawl into the Green Belt.
An accessible Public Transport Interchange would be helpful to drop-off users, and for local communities who could use the Airport as an interchange with local buses. Otherwise there’s precious little public transport, existing or planned, with which to interchange. Moreover, the Airport’s track record on sky-high charges for its facilities, such as ‘Drop & Go’ and short-term parking, gives little confidence that a PTI would provide a genuine, affordable public service.
The Airport makes no mention of parking provision during the period of any works, which would provide a bonus for unauthorised operators and further abuse of street parking in neighbouring villages.
ACTION: The application is for formal advice on technicalities but we will monitor closely.
** This application for a ‘formal screening opinion’ is not a planning application but indicates that the Airport is seeking to go ahead with the scheme in a way that evades public scrutiny and control, in much the same way as permitted development gave us the White Elephant office block at the A38 entrance to the Silver Zone. See the full documentation, and particularly the detailed planning arguments setting out the need for a ‘formal screening opinion’ submitted by the Parish Councils Airport Association at: