YTL, developers of the new Arena in North Filton, have big plans for the ‘Brabazon’ development. A new train station will play a critical role.
FoSBR members recently attended a Zoom presentation organised by Bristol Civic Society. In this Simon Fitton, Technical Planning Director for YTL Developments, explained how YTL plan to increase the density of housing around the new station without putting any more cars on the road. Their solution is active local travel and public transport: the new station, and MetroBus. They describe Brabazon as a 15-minute neighbourhood.
Brabazon station will be at the centre of the high-density development, and will also serve the ‘City Green’ and the Arena. If the new Henbury station is delayed, YTL want Brabazon station to open anyway with trains reversing here instead of continuing to Henbury.
South Gloucestershire’s Core Strategy, published in 2013, assumed that 1000 new homes would be built at Patchway Trading Estate. This doesn’t now look likely to happen, which leaves a hole in ‘roof tax’ funding for transport infrastructure. YTL want to build these homes at Brabazon instead, making it a more dense neighbourhood with a more urban character. They have developed a phased plan to show how these extra homes can be built without overloading the road network.
Four phase plan
Phase 1 includes Brabazon station. Fitton suggested that this station would be open in 2023, but we have been advised that 2024/5 is more realistic. Initially hourly trains will serve 3675 homes, 800,000 sq ft of offices and 1.3 million sq ft of other uses.
A second phase would see the number of homes rising to 4667, with 1.3 million sq ft of offices and 2 million sq ft of other uses. To achieve this YTL recognise that modal shift is necessary: more people will need to use public transport. Their logic is that if this can work anywhere, it can work here. A train frequency of 2 or 3 trains per hour will be required, along with more frequent MetroBus services.
Phase 3 looks ahead to the 2030’s. By then there may be 5325 homes, 2.2 million sq ft of offices and 2.5 million sq ft of other uses. A new train route across the Filton Diamond, directly accessing Bristol Parkway, will be required. Park and Ride may also play a role.
In the final phase, from 2040 onwards, YTL anticipate there will be 6500 homes, 2.9 million sq ft of offices and 3 million sq ft of other uses. At this stage, a new mass transit line may be required.
Fifteen minute neighbourhood
YTL hope to be able to reduce the mandated number of parking spaces per home as they progress through these phases. YTL seem aligned to principles we would support: fifteen minute neighbourhoods, and modal shift from car to public transport and active travel.
Although this emphasis on public transport and active modes is driven by necessity, we welcome it. However South Gloucestershire Council need to be persuaded that development will not overload the road system.
The developers will be submitting a new outline planning submission shortly.