M5 airport park-and-ride plans scrapped after council officers call for refusal

M5 Junction 21 approaches.

M5 Junction 21 approaches. - Credit: Archant

Plans to build a 3,000-space car park off the M5 to serve Bristol Airport have been withdrawn after they were recommended for refusal by council officers.

The police and airport had voiced concerns over the proposed airport park-and-ride scheme, which would have been built off of junction 21 of the M5.

Proposals submitted to North Somerset Council by Mead Realisations, in March last year, sought to convert agricultural land in Haybow Hewish into a 24-hour park-and-ride facility, with 3,000 overnight car parking spaces and a further 591 arrival and departure spaces, which the company had hoped would take thousands of cars off busy local routes and replace them with eco-friendly buses.

Mead Realisations managing director Alistair Mead said: "North Somerset Council were recommending our application for refusal, so I decided to withdraw it, as I didn't want a negative mark against our land. My consultants and I think our site was ideal for airport parking right next to the M5, definitely a better location than next to the airport, which will not only destroy the greenbelt but encourage more car trips on the small country roads around the airport.

"With our electric buses, powered from our solar park, we would have saved thousands of car trips per week and hundreds of tonnes of CO2 emissions."

In July, Bristol airport said it had 'significant and fundamental concerns' about the plans, which it believed could seriously impact its own ability to promote sustainable transport options and lead to an increased use of unauthorised off-site car parks. The airport claimed the 10-mile distance between its terminal and the 5 hectare park-and-ride site was 'a key constraint that would affect passenger convenience'.

Objecting to the application, Bristol Airport said: "We have significant and fundamental concerns in terms of the application's compliance with the development plan and national aviation policy, its suitability, viability and deliverability and its environmental impact."

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Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Constabulary asked for more detailed design plans to be submitted by Mead Realisations to ensure crime-prevention measures could be properly included in the plans to deliver 'a safe, secure and sustainable facility'.