Council Support Call for New Station

January 2016 – On 19th January, the full Bristol City Council debated our petition calling for a new station at Ashton Gate. Members of the campaign team were in attendance and addressed the meeting. We are delighted that every Councillor who spoke was in favour of our objectives and congratulated us on the level of public demand we had demonstrated. Support for the campaign came from across the political spectrum and the debate was widely covered in local media. We are now very confident that the Council will soon confirm that a new Business Case for the station be prepared without delay.

Roger Bealing, Secretary of the Friends, said ‘There is strong support for a new station from local businesses and residents. We are grateful that the Mayor and his Cabinet have responded to that public support and last week approved £50,000 for work on a new business case for the station. This budget proposal will be put to the February City Council meeting for approval. We will be urging City Councillors to support it’

You can see the Bristol Post coverage here and Radio Bristol’s Facebook piece here.

Petition Delivered to the Mayor of Bristol

December 2015 – The Friends of Ashton Gate are delighted to have delivered a petition of over 5,800 signatures to the Mayor and City Council of Bristol. The petition calls for the provision of the new station as a part of the MetroWest rail development programme. This very considerable level of public support means that the Council will now debate our objectives at their meeting in January. The size of our support has also helped the Mayor decide to recommend that £50k be budgeted for a new Business Case to be prepared for the station in 2016. This is excellent progress for the campaign as a positive Business Case is a pre-requisite for the funding of the new station.

4,000 Sign Station Petition

Oct 2015 – Over 4,000 people have added their signature to our petition calling on the Mayor and City Council of Bristol to provide a new station at Ashton Gate. With Bristol City and Bristol Rugby supporters joining the campaign, support is coming both from local residents, businesses and workers as well as from sports fans living in the West of England and beyond who think the station is an important part of expanding the football stadium and supporting local businesses.

The campaign team are delighted with the response and will soon prepare the petition for the Mayor’s response and to have the new station debated by the Council.

 

Council Agrees With Consultants

Feb 2015 – Bristol City Council has issued a statement following the publication of its High-Level Assessment report of a new station at Ashton Gate. The Council accepts the report’s conclusion that there is an insuffficient business case for the new station to be included in the first phase of the MetroWest railway development programme. Local councillor and Cabinet member for Transport, Mark Bradshaw, says that further work needs to be done to develop the case for the station. He says that Network Rail have issued assurances that they will do nothing to prevent the station from being built in the future. You can read the statement in full here.

Local Businesses Support Us

Apr 2015 – A number of prominent local organistions and businesses have already pledged their support for the new station campaign. The latest to do so is Bristol Sport, the umbrella company for Bristol City and Bristol Rugby and the developers of the new Ashton Gate stadium. Bristol Sport reckons that in the first year of operation one million people will attend matches, functions, conferences and exhibitions at the new stadium and exhibition centre. What better way for them to travel to and from the venue than by train!

Other businesses and organisations are signing up to the campaign. We will announce them here from time to time or you can see their names on our Supporters page.

 

Station Campaign Launched

Dec 2014 – The Friends of Ashton Gate Station grew out of a public meeting hosted by Bristol Sport at the Ashton Gate Stadium in December 2014. The meeting was attended by representatives of Bristol Sport, political parties and businesses as well as local councillors, transport campaigners and members of the public. This is the report of the meeting published by the Bristol Post:

“In less than five years more than one million visitors will travel each year between Aston Gate and the city centre. And without new public transport links, business leaders fear this could lead to traffic chaos.

This is why a small group of around 30 representatives pledged last night to join forces to drive an ambitious new campaign off the ground.

Their dream is to see the long-awaited Portishead line, which is planned to open in 2019, stop at a new station at Ashton Gate, near the stadium.

At the moment the line’s business plan, which has already been agreed, does not include provisions for this, so campaigners are going to have to work quickly.

The group also needs to attract funding – the project’s price has not been calculated but it is expected to run into millions.

An initial feasibility study has been undertaken by the city council to investigate the likely costs and benefits of a new station.

The former Ashton Gate station was served by the old Bristol to Portishead rail line, which closed to passengers in 1964.

But those at the campaign launch at Ashton Gate stadium last night said they did not think the old station would be suitable. Instead they said options were open and more research was needed before any definite proposals for the station’s location could be published.

Martin Griffiths, the chairman of Bristol Sport, which runs Ashton Gate and the clubs based there, Bristol City and Bristol Rugby, said he thought the new station was imperative.

He said: “This part of Bristol certainly needs improvements in public transport. This is an absolute economic and social necessity.

“Bristol Sport and Bristol City Council are keen to work together, along with all other interested parties, to ensure that a new rail facility is delivered at Ashton when the Portishead rail line is re-opened for public use in 2019 or as soon thereafter. Any such facility must form part of an integrated transport solution combining with other public transport services.

“It is crucial that there is the capability for the mass movement of people to and from the rebuilt Ashton Gate stadium, which, when it is completed in 2016, will be the largest conference venue in the South West.

“It is estimated that by 2019 it will attract a million visitors a year as a leading conferencing, event and sporting destination.”

It was decided that a steering group, consisting of residents groups and other business leaders, should be created.

Assistant mayor for transport councillor Mark Bradshaw was also at the meeting.

He said: “Network Rail has agreed to provide ‘passive-provision’ so that any of their works will not get in the way of a future rail station at Ashton Gate. In the meantime, Bristol City Council will help Bristol Sport to address travel pressures and look at potential for Park and Ride and other services.”

Campaigner Graham Living, 75, said he fully supported the idea.

He said: “I am behind this campaign, but what this campaign needs is more zeal. You need to think outside the box in getting more support.”

A Steering Group was set up in January and is meeting each month.