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Bath to Bristol corridor: Strategy overview and key issues

Figure 16: Map showing location of area described as Bath to Bristol corridor and south east edge of Bristol

6.1 The area described in this Options Document as the Bath to Bristol corridor and the south east edge of Bristol comprises areas located along the A4 between Bath and Bristol, and places adjoining the south east edge of Bristol. This area includes: 

  • Keynsham and Saltford
  • Hicks Gate
  • Whitchurch Village

6.2 These areas have been selected for review in terms of potential growth due to their relative sustainability in relation to access to sustainable transport modes and access to services and facilities, when compared to other areas of the district.

Select a section below to read about the key issues in more detail.

Duty to co-operate

6.3 Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council administrative areas are located directly to the north and east of the Bath to Bristol corridor. Therefore, meetings with both of these authorities have been undertaken and will continue to take place to discuss strategic cross-boundary matters such as transport, flood risk, green belt, and housing provision.


6.4 The Bath to Bristol A4 corridor provides a strategic transport link with frequent bus services between the two cities. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) have recently consulted on initial options for upgrades to the A4 Bath to Bristol corridor, which set out a range of proposed improvements for active travel modes and bus services. Amongst others, the proposed improvements would provide continuous and designated walking and cycling routes along the A4, shared between the two active travel modes in locations where space is limited, continuous designated bus lanes on both sides of the bypass for much of the corridor, and mobility hubs located along the corridor providing facilities to easily transfer between different modes of transport. A new cycling and walking route is also proposed along Station Road in Keynsham, providing good connectivity between the A4, Keynsham Railway Station and Keynsham Town Centre.

6.5 Regular train services exist between Bath Spa and Bristol Temple Meads railway stations, with regular services also stopping at Keynsham Railway Station.

6.6 The Bristol and Bath Cycle Path (Route 4) links east Bristol with Bath, passing closely to the north of Keynsham and east Saltford. Although some local cycle routes connect into Route 4, there are opportunities to better utilise the proximity of these settlements to the route through provision of additional and dedicated cycle paths.

6.7 Whitchurch Village is located along the A37 corridor to the south-east of Bristol. The A37 facilitates radial movements into Bristol from more rural areas to the south of the city. With regards to public transport, there is no railway station in Whitchurch Village, nor at any point along the A37 corridor. However, bus services operate along the A37 corridor, providing relatively good connection with Bristol City Centre to the north, and destinations in the Somer Valley to the south.

6.8 Sustrans National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 3 links central and south Bristol to the Chew Valley and Wells, passing through Whitchurch Village, along Staunton Lane and Sleep Lane.

Green Belt

6.9 The majority of the district located along the Bath to Bristol A4 corridor, and at the south east edge of Bristol is located within the Bristol and Bath Green Belt.

6.10 Delivering future growth along the A4 corridor and to the south east of Bristol would require significant areas of land to be removed from the Green Belt. The impact of removing these parcels of land will need to be carefully considered on an individual basis, but also cumulatively across the whole area.

6.11 WECA have published the Strategic Green Belt Assessment undertaken to inform the now halted SDS, and this document has been used as a starting point to understand the contribution that parcels across the area make to the five purposes of the green belt set out in the NPPF. Following this Options consultation, further assessment will be carried out in relation to the impact of removing preferred site allocations from the Green Belt, and will also consider opportunities for enhancing land retained in the Green Belt.

Green Infrastructure

6.12 Green infrastructure is a network of multi-functional green (land) and blue (water) spaces and other natural features, urban and rural, which is capable of delivering a wide range of environmental, economic, health and wellbeing benefits for nature, climate, and communities. Opportunities to enhance and extend the Green Infrastructure network should be central to the design of new developments, and development proposals should demonstrate strong links to the wider green infrastructure network.

6.13 Some of the site options set out in this chapter include reference to ‘Strategic Green Infrastructure Opportunities’, which are located outside of the area shown for potential development. These indicate areas where the Council consider that green infrastructure could be provided or improved to meet Natural England Green Infrastructure standards, and may also offer nature based solutions to address issues such as flooding and nature recovery. New and enhanced green infrastructure will either be funded by development in the area, or through other mechanisms to be explored as we prepare the Draft Local Plan.

Flood risk

6.14 The River Avon flows between Bristol and Bath, in parallel with the A4 corridor. Areas of flood risk exist along parts of the River Avon, and Bristol City Council are currently preparing a Bristol Avon Flood Strategy, to consider potential areas of mitigation required along the river.

6.15 B&NES Council and Bristol City Council are in regular correspondence to discuss any impact that flood defence works in the Bristol area might have cross-boundary in B&NES, particularly in the north Keynsham area.

6.16 There may also be scope across the whole river catchment for areas of flood risk to be considered for nature-based solutions, and to explore key areas where retrofitting of SUDs could be beneficial.