CAMPAIGNERS have vowed to push ahead with plans for a park and share facility at Tormarton despite a failed bid for Government support.

South Gloucestershire Council made a formal proposal under the Sustainable Communities Act to turn a car park near Junction 18 of the M4 into a site where commuters could meet drivers going the same way as them and leave their cars for the day.

The authority wants to promote more car sharing in the region and believes the site on the A46 would be widely used by people travelling to and from Swindon, London, South Wales and Bath.

The car park is currently used by some motorists to car share but campaigners say the site is not reaching its optimum capacity. It is hoped the park and share would also stop drivers parking on grass verges nearby and meet local demand for car sharing.

Cllr Sue Hope (Lib Dem, Cotswold Edge), who has been leading calls for the park and share facility, blamed the council for failing to win the support of the Government for the project.

"I am very disappointed at the lack of progress the council has made with this project and am seeking early discussions between the council and the Highways Agency," she said.

"My disappointment is compounded by a lack of communication within the council, which meant information was not made available to the Local Government Association panel that made the decision.

"It is vital that the council talks to the Highways Agency as soon as possible and makes sure it has all the information to make another bid next year if appropriate."

Added Cllr Hope: "If, as has been suggested, the council doesn’t need any additional powers to create this park and share facility, what is stopping it happening?"

The council’s executive member for transport, Cllr Brian Allinson, said: "I suspect that the Liberal Democrats had the same problem in the 10 years up to 2007 that they ran the council's transport department that we have now - namely that this is a Highways Agency-owned site and it is principally in their gift whether to turn it into a 'park and share' facility.

"We are now in a much tighter public spending climate with respected economists highlighting the government's own figures which show that transport investment is likely to be one of the hardest hit in the future.

"Against this challenging public spending backdrop, we will continue to do what we can to work with local communities across the district to improve their economic, social and environmental well-being through the future use of the Sustainable Communities Act and other available tools."