A Planning Inspector has refused the Hospital’s appeal against the Council refusal of its planning application to build a new 820-space car park on the site of the Eugene Street flats above Marlborough Street. The Inspector concluded,
“The proposal would result in several adverse impacts. In particular, the level of proposed car parking has not been adequately justified, encouraging the use of the car contrary to sustainable travel objectives. I am not satisfied that the traffic impacts of the proposal would not be severe, or that the proposal would not cause harm to highway safety. Furthermore, the scheme would have an adverse impact on air quality with insufficient mitigation provided. I conclude that the appeal proposal conflicts with the local development plan and the National Planning Framework when considered as a whole. There are no other material considerations that suggest the decision should be taken otherwise than in accordance with the development plan.”
Civic Society view in October 2019:
University Hospitals Bristol has appealed against the Council’s refusal in March 2019 of the planning application to build an 800+ spaces multi-storey car park in Marlborough Street. The Society has made a statement to support the Council’s reasons to refuse which included the impact of another major multi-storey car park on the traffic congestion and air quality of the local roads and the substantial loss of invaluable, affordable city centre homes in Eugene Street.
The Society is sympathetic to the Hospital’s wish to improve patient access but a critical factor for the Society is that the proposal does not deliver the patient benefits that the Trust claims. Emergency patients or patients with impaired mobility can be delivered by car directly to the drop-off point at one of the Hospital’s main entrances. A new car park would only add another car park to the several local multi-storey car parks. The Hospital Shuttle Bus service is free of charge and serves the entrances of all the hospitals. The Shuttle Bus currently stops at Cabot Circus car park. The proposal would merely add another multi-storey car park to the bus’s existing itinerary. Cabot Circus has substantially easier access from arterial roads than the proposed multi-storey car park.
The Trust has other choices to improve patient access. Other city centre hospitals (for example, Exeter and Winchester) have chosen to promote bespoke hospital park and ride access.