Traffic fears as airfield plans given green light

June 29 2015

It put Filton on the map - and now, finally, it is to be wiped off the map.

It put Filton on the map - and now, finally, it is to be wiped off the map.

Filton Airfield, effectively, will no longer exist after South Glos Council voted this month to approve more than 2,500 homes, employment opportunities, three schools and leisure facilities.

The airfield has been a battleground of ideology, with protesters saying Filton’s heritage is being lost, traffic chaos will ensue, aerospace jobs will be less guaranteed and places like Filton may suffer as the new facilities are built.

Others say the airfield ceased to be a meaningful facility for flight many years ago - certainly since the decision to develop Bristol Airpot at Lulsgate - and that the area needs homes, schools and employment. An aerospace museum will also be built. It is understood the “employment hub” would generate nearly 8,000 jobs.

In the end, a committee of 12 councillors backed the plans (nine voted for and three abstained).

The project will now be able to be started, with a possible 10-20 year timeframe before all is complete. There will be calls now to accelerate public transport projects such as MetroWest rail and the Henbury Loop to go some way to easing the effect of the extra traffic.

Filton councillor Roger Hutchinson, who voted for the application, said:  “Clearly there are major concerns about traffic generation and congestion and the measures planned to try to deal with that.  

“There are other issues of concern for people in Filton that have been expressed but I think that this is the main one.  

“On the other hand, there are benefits such as jobs, many of which will be aerospace related, the Concorde museum and new housing.   This is a development that is expected to take 10 to 20  years to complete and it is to be hoped that the concerns can be overcome by the proper investment by Government and Local authorities to overcome the perceived problems, including improved public transport delivered at an early date.”

Local MP Jack Lopresti said:  “As sad as I was to see the operational demise of the airfield, I think the plan for Filton airfield development is an amazing opportunity which will provide our area with several thousand new jobs, much needed housing and very welcome infrastructure investment into our local transport system.”

The development on the BAE-owned site is part of a wider plan to build nearly 6,000 homes on and around the airfield.

In a separate development, Rolls-Royce has told members of Filton Town Council of the plans to develop the East works, on the other side of the A38, to include a hotel offices, a car showroom and other uses.

Members of the town council and public said they were very concerned about the traffic impact of the plans.