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Headline

Minister turns down Chapman Taylor’s Bristol shopping centre extension

Comment

The Mall is very successful because it's near the intersection of the M4 and M5, with over a million people within easy driving distance. The Bristol city centre 'comparison goods' retail offer is vulnerable to competition from Cribbs Causeway because at the latter you hardly need to use your legs at all, whereas the city centre needs an enormous shake-up to overcome the disadvantages of inadequate coordination of public transport and the legacy of a post war inner ring road that isolates Temple Meads station from the centre and leaves pedestrians treated as an inconvenient nuisance. Fanciful talk of an underground railway system is like Nero fiddling while Rome burns; there is ongoing investment in improving one suburban rail route, but even progress on the glaringly obvious need to revive the line from Portishead is so unbelievably slow that it could only be happening in England. The 2001 project for a five route tram network - starting with a line from the city centre out past Temple Meads station to the northern suburbs, Bristol Parkway station and Aztec West at the M4/M5 junction - was well on the way, with major government funding, when South Gloucestershire Council pulled out because WS Atkins established that it would not be viable to divert the route to their shopping mall at Cribbs Causeway. The City council subsequently 'bottled it' in 2004 (eight years before George Ferguson became mayor) So Bristol has lost fourteen years in the search (?) for much better urban and suburban transport links. The council's recent decision 'late in the day' to take the advice of one of the infamous 'big four' accountancy firms to cancel building the arena next to Temple Meads station in favour of a site out near the Cribbs Causeway Mall does the city no favours at all, and it's now left to the Housing Secretary to offer some damage limitation. The Merchant Venturers of old must be turning in their graves..

Posted date

7 October, 2018

Posted time

2:09 pm

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