Bristol

M32 could be downgraded to A-road for park and ride

M32 near Bristol Image copyright Lewis Clarke
Image caption The proposed site for the M32 park and ride is currently occupied by a farm

Talks to downgrade the M32 motorway in Bristol to an A-road in order to build a park and ride have taken place, a councillor has said.

Bob Goodman said officers were "in discussions" with Highways England so a new junction could be created, which would not meet current motorway rules.

Mr Goodman, of the Joint Plan for the West of England, said a park and ride was needed to alleviate congestion.

The proposed site, a farm at Sims Hill, has led to a string of objections.

In 2015, there were protests at a nearby site when part of the city's Metrobus route was built there.

Corra Bushel, from Sims Hill Shared Harvest, the co-operative which owns and runs the farm, said: "There's already really strong public feeling about the whole of the area around the M32.

"It's all top grade agricultural land and that includes our field.

"We really hope there's other solutions to this. We care a lot about what we do and it's really hard to move a farm. There's not so many sites available so we're going to have to fight it."

Mr Goodman added: "It's an emerging plan, there's nothing concrete in this. What we have to demonstrate to the inspectors, technically, is that we're able to provide a park and ride, which is clearly needed."

A Highways England spokeswoman said: "We will continue to work with the West of England Combined Authority and local authorities to consider how the strategic road network can support their growth and housing aspirations."

BBC Radio Bristol reporter Pete Simson

This is yet another example of a transport measure that's been talked about for years, but never actually materialised.

With a new regional transport plan this year, comes a fresh desire for several new park and rides around Bristol.

However the M32 is problematic, with Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils currently disagreeing on where the best place for one should be.

Whether or not park and rides would make any difference to the current chronic congestion issues in Bristol, is another matter.

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