Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Airport Master Plan. We are very pleased that you have had a good response.
According to our register Backwell Parish Council (BPC) represents over 200 homes adjacent to the North Side of the Airport in and around Downside Road, Hyatts Wood Road and The Batch.
Although there were some problems in the distribution of the leaflet and questionnaire the Airport staff have met many residents including those 11 living along Downside Road in properties backing onto the car parks.
Following the recent presentations and residents feedback please see below our initial feedback about your Master Plan proposals and the key issues that affect our village.
Master Plan Scenario Proposals for the Airport’s Development up to 2050
Having spoken to many residents, some at the Airport’s presentation and others who contacted our Parish Office. Taking into account the information that is currently available through the Master Plan Consultation, Backwell Parish Council is of the opinion that Scenario C represents with reservations on the further intrusion into the Green Belt the best option that offers minimum impact on our Downside residents.
Scenario C is also the only one of the three Scenarios provided that does not mean the loss or acquisition of our Backwell Downside residents homes and the Tall Pines Golf Course.
Whereas Scenarios A & B involve major building and construction along the entire North Side which along with the loss of our residents’ properties and the Golf Course will also have severe impacts on the quality of the lives of the rest of our Downside residents.
The potential employment areas shown are also questionable as they are based on a speculative unsubstantiated idea that non-airport related organisation may like to locate/relocate near to the Airport in the future.
With Scenario C it maintains the current North Side area broadly to how the Airport currently sits within the community keeping the buffer of trees, meadow and vegetation that offers our residents some lessening of the effects of the Airport boundary.
It seems the most logical approach to expand on the South Side, beyond the Silver Zone, in order to be able to achieve and accommodate the sensible expansion from 8.1 million passengers at present to the ultimate target of 20 million passengers in the future.
Expanding on the South Side would allow gradual expansion in line with increased passenger growth and still allow the Airport to function as normal during this process. Conversely Backwell Parish Council do not think it is possible or acceptable that the North Side of the Airport could be enlarged sufficiently to meet the forecasted increased demand due to the proximity of our residents’ properties.
Backwell Parish Council expect that any new additional multi storey car parks other than those already having current planning permission on the North Side would need to be discussed fully prior to any planning application to ascertain their impact on the local community. However, it should with careful appropriate design and landscaping be possible for their impacts hopefully to be minimised should the need be proven.
In light of your desire to make sure you get the best possible outcome for your neighbours and that you seek to reduce and mitigate your effect on local communities. It is hoped that there is a determination from the Airport to make life more acceptable for those living close by and to solve some of the seemingly insurmountable problems that exist at present. If these issues are not dealt with they could seriously affect the residents’ quality of life. These would include any proposals on the building of additional car parks on Cooks Farm and the Tall Pines Golf Club areas. There has been very little significant action to date to mitigate the negative impact of the existing car parks in particular it is vital to improve residents’ protection from noise and light pollution. Although promises were made in the past that there would be efforts to minimise the noise pollution by the installation of a bund type acoustic barrier, or the creation of a strip of land to buffer the noise and encourage wildlife, they have sadly apart from the meadow not been implemented.
Integrated Transport Network:
The majority of those residents who live close to the Airport are elderly and have lived there for decades, back to when it was known as Lulsgate Airport and they have accepted expansion to date without many complaints. However there has been many recent serious problems caused by cars visiting the Airport that need to be addressed immediately and certainly prior to any further expansion can be considered.
There is no free drop off and collection area. Visitors to the Airport park all around the side roads in residents’ gateways in some cases destroying their grass verges, sometimes dumping their rubbish while they wait. The installation of double yellow lines would possibly help deter them and encourage them to use the drop off car park, which we feel is currently far too small.
The existing £1 car park charges need to be urgently reviewed prior and discontinued to encourage visitors and private taxis to use the drop off area.
Backwell Parish Council also have concerns on the required infrastructure improvements which will be needed to serve a 20 million passenger Airport. Bristol Airport itself admits that the required Government funding is unlikely to be delivered before 2025 at the earliest. This could result in any requests for funding competing with other infrastructure requirements proposed within the Joint Spatial Plan. We expect greater detailed explanation on How, When, Where and What improved, additional and new infrastructure the Airport propose to accommodate its future expansion plans and enhance surface access including greater uptake of public transport.
Traffic and Footpaths
Due to the increase in overall traffic levels there are a number of initiatives that we feel need to be urgently undertaken.
Backwell Parish Council have investigated and are now awaiting proposals back from North Somerset Council Highways Department for necessary speed reduction from existing 40 mph to 30 mph and installing the required traffic calming measures to support it along Downside Road.
The junctions at Hyatts Wood Road and The Batch need to be urgently improved as they are both dangerous due to the amount of increased traffic now using Downside Road.
As part of the proposed expansion which includes looking at ways to improve the A38, Backwell Parish Council expect the traffic light junction with Downside Road to be further improved in particular to mitigate the problems caused by traffic using the A38 left turn Downside lane to queue jump at the lights, smarter ways to stop traffic turning right from A38 which causes queuing especially at peak times, etc.
We also believe the roundabout access from the A38 to the Airport needs to be widened and further improved.
There have been some improvements of the local pavements but more needs to be done along Downside Road and Hyatts Wood Road. Without adequate pavements our residents feel marooned unable to visit neighbours because of high volume of traffic.
Finally the blind bend on Hyatts Wood Road in the estate needs to be looked at because of the high number of parked cars there and the narrowness of the road at that point. Further traffic calming and possible reduction in speed limit to 20 mph need to be looked into due to high volumes of traffic now using Hyatts Wood Road.
Employment and supporting Economic growth:
With the proposed expansion of the Airport comes the opportunity for increased employment opportunities, Backwell Parish Council would like to see improvements in ensuring, encouraging and attracting more the workforce from the local surrounding rural communities both by the Airport and its concession holders and partner organisations.
Economic growth should always be encouraged but not however at the expense of others. Some of our residents feel that their lives have been blighted by the Airport and that this will only increase with the planned expansion. The apparent lack of understanding of their problems by the Airport really upsets them. Many of them believe that they have an urgent case that needs to be heard due the decrease in value of their properties. This loss of value has also resulted from the rumours circulating concerning the Airport’s expansion and the possible compulsory purchase of their homes. They are uncertain how the ‘system’ is supposed to work and need clarity from yourselves as to whether they qualify for compensation and when it would be payable.
In conclusion the Airport in its proposals need to develop an approach that we believe address all of the above-mentioned issues as a matter of urgency to help improve our residents’ quality of life and assuage their growing fears and uneasiness concerning the planned expansion.
Backwell Parish Council are keen as ever to work closely and constructively with you, however require your assistance and goodwill to address the problems outlined.
The final draft proposal needs to be flexible enough to be delivered in a phased approach to ensure it reduces and mitigates your effect and any impact on the local community, addresses their concerns, whilst it improves and makes sure you get the best possible outcome for your neighbours.
By doing so you will not only be a world leading regional Airport but one that the local community is willing and able to say is a good neighbour.