Bristol based national law firm Veale Wasbrough Vizards (VWV) has provided the legal expertise needed to deliver a major new transport project similar to the rapid transit schemes that are being planned for Bristol.
The Luton-Dunstable Busway has been many years in the planning and took three years to build. It will launch on 25 September and deliver four new routes between Dunstable and Luton. At 13.4 kilometres, it is the longest urban busway in the world. It is designed with a concrete twin track guideway, allowing slightly modified standard buses to achieve light rail speeds of up to 50 mph. Buses can easily switch to “on road”, meaning easy access to town centres and outlying areas.
The Busway is expected to be a major economic driver for the region, improving transport connections, reducing congestion, cutting pollution and improving journey times.
VWV project leader Tim Smithers says;
“The project certainly has similarities with the rapid transit system that is planned for Bristol, and we are delighted to have played our part in keeping this particular transport scheme on track.
As we know from HS2, every transport project is hotly contested these days, with so many competing interests in the mix. Our status as a parliamentary agent with direct access to the parliamentary machine is always an advantage when handling such projects.”
Over 300 plots of land were acquired to deliver the Luton-Dunstable Busway project, many using compulsory purchase powers. Tim Smithers explains;
“Our team served over 1,000 compulsory purchase notices over a six month period. However any project like this balances public need against the rights of individuals, so it was important to manage the process fairly and transparently while keeping to the project timetable”.
Bristol’s £200m bus rapid transit scheme, or MetroBus, is still at least three years away. It comprises three interlinked express bus routes, separated from general traffic in places, promising faster and more reliable journeys. It won’t be as disruptive as the Luton-Dunstable Busway in terms of land acquisition but it still faces substantial consultation and logistical challenges along its routes.
The first route runs from the park-and-ride site at Long Ashton to Temple Meads. The second route will be from the northern fringe of the city to Hengrove, and the third, the South Bristol Link, will run from the A370 to Cater Road roundabout in Hartcliffe. If all goes to plan, the routes will become operational in 2016.
Tim Smithers is a property development lawyer with many years’ experience of commercial and residential development, acting for plcs, regional developers and local authorities.