Bristol Airport car park set for major expansion?

PUBLISHED: 11:00 06 June 2016

The Bristol Airport terminal.

The Bristol Airport terminal.

Archant

Bristol Airport is hoping to fend off the ‘worsening’ problem of unauthorised airport parking in North Somerset’s countryside by bringing forward the expansion of one of its busiest and biggest car parks.

The airport wants to expand its silver zone car park to create an extra 3,650 car parking spaces, which it says will be used during the summer months.

It gained planning permission to develop the area in question in 2011 as part of its wider expansion plans. However, the conditions attached to the planning permission specified work could not start on the development until the first phase of a multi-storey car park to the north of the terminal was completed.

The airport now says it wants to expand the silver zone car park while simultaneously working on the development of the multi-storey car park, in order to provide a much-needed crackdown on unauthorised parking in nearby fields.

It also says this is a more sensible approach than developing the multi-storey first, as the airport would have to charge higher parking prices for the multi-storey than its other car parks in order to offset its building costs.

The airport’s planning team has contacted North Somerset Council to find out whether it needs to carry out an environmental impact assessment (EIA) prior to applying to change the planning permission conditions.

It said: “Under the existing planning permission, the proposed car park was to be brought forward for development following completion of the first phase of a multi-storey car park to the north of the airport terminal.

“However, the pattern of passenger growth since planning permission for the airport’s expansion was granted has evolved, with higher demand at the peak and increased penetration in parts of the airport’s catchment area which are currently relatively poorly served by public transport.

“This has resulted in the proliferation of unauthorised off-site car parks, particularly during the busiest summer months, and this problem appears to be worsening.

“In order to provide enhanced car parking facilities for users of the airport, and more immediately address the impacts of increasing numbers of unauthorised off-site car parking on local communities, it is proposed that the extension to the silver zone car park be brought forward and developed while construction of a first phase of the multi-storey car park is underway.”

The plans have been met with concerns from Wrington Parish Council, whose boundaries include the Lulsgate terminal and its grounds.

The parish council said it feels an EIA is necessary as the plans could negatively impact upon nearby wildlife and plants.

It said: “The land in question is outside the airport operational boundary, is in (the) greenbelt and is therefore not eligible for permitted airport development.”

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