‘Disaster’ - Traders in Chandos Road give their verdict on plans to ban cars from street
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Local traders have reacted to proposed plans to pedestrianise a popular Bristol street. Chandos Road in Redland could be closed to cars in the scheme, allowing for restaurants and bars to offer outdoor seating.
Chandos Road is a popular destination because of its independent businesses, but the street has narrow pavements and a lack of bicycle parking. The narrow streets leading from it are part of the Residents’ Parking Scheme (RPS) and parking spaces on Chandos Road itself are often hard to find.
The pedestrianisation idea follows a successful scheme on nearby Cotham Hill. That scheme was initially temporary during the pandemic, but Bristol City Council has made it permanent.
When Bristol World visited Chandos Road on a weekday morning, the street was almost deserted with very few pedestrians. Deb works at The Chandos Clinic osteopath and she said the pedestrianisation of the road would be ‘a disaster’ for the business.
“A lot of our patients are old, or they are people with babies and they come from all over including Cardiff and Chepstow,” she said. “The majority of our patients come by car and the nearest bus would be Whiteladies Road which is quite a walk so it would be terrible for us.
“They’re saying it will be like Cotham Hill, which is really vibrant and close to Whiteladies Road but it’s really quiet around here. It’s not a buzzy place so why would you want to close this street?
“Some days we have patients driving around for ten minutes and getting stressed because they can’t park for their appointment. We also have a lot of builders working in the area which takes up a lot of the parking spaces. It’s bonkers.”
Faye of Clifton Flowers on Chandos Road said the street was quiet anyway so wasn’t sure why they need to pedestrianise it. She said: “We do a lot of flower deliveries so not having access to the road wouldn’t be great for our business.
“The restaurants and bars also have a lot of big drinks deliveries so I don’t understand how it would work logistically with all the narrow side streets off Chandos Road.
“The street is so quiet anyway so I don’t see why they need to do it. We’ve been open since last March and sometimes you don’t see anyone passing the door, not even on a Saturday.
“People go to the restaurants later on so it’s more of an evening destination - perhaps they could pedestrianise it at night rather than the day.
“It would be nice for the restaurants to expand out onto the street in the summer but we need access in the daytime because all the streets off Chandos Road are so narrow and it’s already difficult to park around here.
“The council seems to like to pedestrianise places but not provide extra parking facilities for those areas.”
Emma at Siren Hair & Beauty said: “I don’t see how it will work and the parking problem would just be pushed somewhere else. Most of our clients drive here and they’re still moaning about the fact the side streets are now in the Residents’ Parking Scheme.
“This area comes to life at night so pedestrianising it during the day seems pointless. But then most people seem to walk to the restaurants and bars anyway.”
Chris Davis, owner of the popular Little Hollow Pasta restaurant, said he could see why residents might approve of the plans, but for his business it would be a barrier for customers visiting from further away as parking is already an issue.
He said: “It would also make some supplier deliveries difficult and would make the double parked feeder roads very difficult to navigate if closed at the Chandos Road end. Unlike Cotham Hill, Chandos Road isn’t a busy road and has significantly less foot traffic so I don’t feel it’s necessary.
“Overall I feel it would have a negative impact on our business, but I can see that it could make the road more attractive for residents.”
Jan Ostle runs the acclaimed Wilson’s restaurant on Chandos Road. He said: “Obviously it would be a bit of an inconvenience in the beginning as people adjust to it but ultimately it’s got to be a good thing. I think it will increase walking trade and benefit the community.”
A public consultation on the proposed Chandos Road scheme will be held in the coming months. Works needed to close the road to cars would be funded by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA).
Cabinet member for transport, Don Alexander, said: “The trial pedestrianisation of Cotham Hill was a huge success and has shown how popular pedestrianisation schemes can be.
“We secured funding to make the Cotham Hill pedestrianisation permanent and we will now look to introduce a similar scheme for Chandos Road in Redland. As we move forward with the proposals, the details of the scheme will be designed with the local community.
“I would strongly encourage all local residents to make their voice heard and respond to the consultation when it is published, whether they support the proposals or not.”