Posted: 08.11.19 at 12:59 by Stephen Sumner - Local Democracy Reporter
A new Somer Valley park and ride could solve commuters’ traffic woes and help cut emissions, a councillor has claimed.
Shaun Hughes made the case for a new facility between Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Westfield after realising how inaccessible Bath is to many by public transport.
He has identified a site off Radstock Road, currently in private ownership, that can be reached by bike and could also be used for car sharing.
The owners have said the land is not currently for sale but Councillor Hughes said other sites could work.
Speaking at Thursday’s cabinet meeting, the recently elected member for Midsomer Norton North said: “The population of Midsomer Norton is 21,000 and increasing.
"A high number of people commute into Bath. Unlike Keynsham, we don’t have a train service, so we’re very reliant on the road system and cars.
“A lot of people get in their car and drive to the Odd Down park and ride, or even park in the centre of Bath.
“My solution is a park and ride between Midsomer Norton, Radstock and Westfield on a piece of, effectively, industrial wasteland.”
He said several bike paths converge on the site and there are plans to expand the cycle network so it would be even more accessible.
Speaking outside the meeting, Cllr Hughes said: “The issue of the climate emergency is huge. We have to find as many initiatives as we can that can make some impact.”
He said the idea is only in its early stages, he does not know how many cars the piece of land could hold and he had not approached the owner – but other sites could work if it was not available.
The land in Radstock Road is owned by Oakus Group, whose chief executive David Wintle said it is not currently in operational use but it will be in the future, and there are no plans to sell it.
Cllr Neil Butters, joint cabinet member for transport, described the Somer Valley park and ride as a “very interesting” idea.