This new route will give communities in South Bristol a proper, attractive and healthier alternative for travel. The route has a number of sections we are progressing – Whitehouse Street, Victoria Park, St John’s Lane/Wedmore Vale and Northern Slopes. For the Northern Slopes section, we have prepared a scheme design and discussed it with a number of stakeholders, including the Northern Slopes Initiative (NSI).
We are now undertaking an informal, local community consultation before we submit a planning application. People will also be able to comment on the planning application.
Find out more about the Filwood Quiteway route.
Following a tender process, we have appointed Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd to construct the new cycle route. Work will start on 12 February 2018 and is programmed to last up to 22 weeks.
Existing path (BCC)
We propose to build a route that would widen parts of the existing path and have sections of new path. After discussions with stakeholders, it has been agreed the new path would be 3.0m wide. Those parts of the existing path that are not changed will remain as an alternative route for walkers only. In the future, it may be desirable to remove these existing path sections and replant them.
The majority of stakeholders want the new path to be shared by pedestrians and cyclists. A shared path may help to encourage cyclists to travel more slowly. To encourage cyclists to give due consideration to pedestrians, we intend to have rumble strip effect surfacing and some advisory signage at junctions with other paths and on approaches to access points. The new path will be constructed with blacktop bituminous material but we are considering surfacing the new path with buff-coloured anti-skid surfacing, like the existing path, to make it less slippery.
When leaving the Open Space area and heading north, the Filwood Quietway would continue along the proposed St John’s Lane/Wedmore Vale cycle route we are also developing and consulted upon earlier in the year. If heading south, we intend to sign a recommended route, initially using some of the quiet roads, such as Newry Walk and Connaught Road. Further south, new sections of the Filwood Quietway can only be delivered when the Council gets further funding or as part of development proposals, such as at Filwood Broadway.
Plan showing proposed route (BCC) – Click to enlarge
Proposed path near north entrance, looking south (BCC)
The new bendy route will make the path less steep. Building this path will require a lot of earthworks, making the path higher in places (fill) and lower in others (cut) by up to 1.0m. The full width of these earthworks will be up to 15.0m wide and this will require some existing trees and the planting to be removed. Trying to do the same to the existing path would have needed earthworks up to 20.0m wide, resulting in the loss of lots more trees and planting, including some mature trees.
We have undertaken an ecology study and a tree survey and, whilst there will be some loss, the new route is designed so we are avoiding bigger trees and the more sensitive planting areas. The tree survey makes recommendations with regard to removing some poor value trees and also preparing a tree protection plan for the works.
Construction of the new path does give the opportunity to undertake some tree/scrubland maintenance, create new grassland habitats and plant new vegetation.
We will be using intelligent LED lighting heads and operating hours for the lighting will be 05:30 – 19:00 at full brightness; 19:00 – 22:00 at 30% brightness; and 22:00 – 05:30 lights switched off. At this time, we are only providing 6 new columns and lanterns on the north section of the route.
- The system operates at standard brightness until the suggested time of 7:00 pm, when there are fewer people likely to be using the route;
- After 7:00 pm, the lights can be set to dim down to 30% brightness or less;
- For special events, the lighting can be remotely controlled to fully deactivate, as and when wanted
It is appreciated that there are concerns with regard to the impact on wildlife, particularly bats. It is proposed, therefore, to use warm LED lighting that will be directed at the path only. The proposed heads we have chosen will obscure the light source from above and behind in order to keep the light spill to a minimum. Additionally, the column height will be approximately 4.7m and spaced at approximately 30.0m to reduce the number needed. With the dimmed lighting activated and ability to switch the lights off during the middle of the night, this will reduce the impact on nocturnal wildlife, especially bats.
Bats hibernate during the winter months when the lights would be most in use. A survey along the proposed route found no evidence of any bat roosts in any adjacent tree. In addition, lighting will be downwards rather than onto the trees.
We did consider alternative lighting solutions, such as solar-powered studs and bollards, but their lighting output is much lower and does not comply with British Standards for path lighting, which are the recommended standards we use for public paths. If we had decided to use such lighting, we would have had to install lots more, at 5.0m spacing approximately. This would have created a runway effect for the studs and barrier-type effect for the bollards, and would have had a significant negative visual impact.
We also considered using shorter columns but we would have needed more of them, requiring closer spacing and increased power consumption.
Proposed path with lighting near south end, looking south from existing path (BCC)
The new path connects to two access points. The south access is located at Kenmare Road and has two sets of ‘kissing’ gates. The north access is located at Wedmore Vale and has a vehicular gate and a kissing gate arrangement. We have considered this matter with stakeholders, as part of the design development process and agreed on the following minor changes:
- Alter the second kissing gate at the south access, being further away from Kenmare Road, to move it so a K-frame barrier can installed
- Alter the north access barrier arrangement by moving barriers into the Open Space area and installing a new K-frame barrier
These minor improvements will help cyclists to enter and exit slightly quicker and without conflicting with users of two of the kissing gates.
Existing south access barrier (BCC)
Existing north access barriers (BCC)
Example of K-frame (kbarriers.co.uk)
The ecology report states the best means of mitigation would be to avoid the areas identified as being of greatest nature conservation value and the new route seeks to do this. The report suggests there would be a benefit in measures that include some scrub clearance in order to extend existing grassland areas, especially clearance at a particular central area adjacent to the existing path, would be valuable. The reports also state that where areas of wooded habitat are affected then the best means of achieving mitigation would be through management to diversify the structure of other wooded areas.
An initial bat survey was undertaken during 2016 and whilst bats were recorded, the level of activity was relatively minimal for the green space location. Additional surveys were undertaken in 2017 and suggest no trees with possible bat roosts would be affected.
Construction does mean there will be some initial impact and effect on wildlife and vegetation but it is considered that once new planting starts to grow and establish itself, this impact will be reduced over time. It should be noted the Glyn Vale Open Space is a large area and we are changing a relatively small part of it.
To help enhance the attractiveness of the location, additional improvements could be implemented, subject to agreement with stakeholders, especially the local community. Such measures could include:-
- Provision of seating and tables, probably best using natural materials, such as tree trunks and boulders
- Information boards/signage, which helps share information about the Open Space, its history/development, flora and fauna, etc
- Woodland and plant maintenance
- Additional planting
- Informal picnic area, near Wedmore Vale/Glyn Vale entrance
- Bird and bat boxes
Example of boulder seating (Mid Wales Stone)
The new path and additional improvements offer an opportunity for some investment in the Glyn Vale Open Space. This can help enhance the existing benefits of the Local Nature Reserve and encourage more people to visit it.
Existing path in middle section looking north with new cycle route crossing it (BCC)