Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers from your Focus Team.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas recycling collections

You can find out when your recycling will be collected over Christmas on the South Glos website.

Share the gift of time

Some older people feel lonely and isolated or need help to get out and about. South Glos Council has funded 5 organisations to help support older people.

You can find out more on the Precious Time website. There's information for residents, potential volunteers and organisations, stories about some of the amazing work already going on and a section where you can pledge an action.

There is also a "Being a Welcoming Organisation" toolkit to help groups welcome and involve older people.

 If you would like more information on volunteering or are in need of support, email precioustime@southglos.gov.uk or call 01454 862356.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Magic your old carpets away - courtesy of South Glos

At the moment around 1600 tonnes of carpets and underlay at Sort It!* Centres has been going gone to landfill each year because there hasn't been a way to recycle it .

From 14 January however there will be a new carpet recycling service at each of the four Sort It!* Centres at Yate, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford and Thornbury, with clearly signed containers.




Collected carpets will be taken away and shredded to use as a sustainable alternative to coal in cement kilns. Even better, there is no waste from this process as the ash is then used as an ingredient in manufacturing the cement. Clever!

Technology is being developed to separate recyclable fibres optically and extract the polypropylene content of the carpets and convert this into a plastic pellet to sell back to the plastic manufacturing industry. 

Duvets, pillows, cushions and cushions from soft furnishings will also be accepted in with the carpets, potentially increasing recycling rates even more. 

The new system should achieve a reduction of 222 tonnes of CO2 each year. Well done to all involved!

Nominations open for community awards

Do you know someone whose work in your community deserves to be recognised? If so, you have until 22nd February to nominate them for a South Gloucestershire Chair's Community Awards. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Interested in health?

NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is recruiting for a lay member representative on their Governing Body. The member will be responsible for Patient and Public Involvemet and Equalities and this is a paid position. You can find out more online.

The South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust is also looking for Governors. They are holding an event where you can find out more at Aztec West Hotel on Friday 11 January 2013. To find out more visit their website.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Have your say on Police and Crime Plans

For the first time ever there will be a Police & Crime Plan for each of the six policing districts of Avon and Somerset. The views of residents, community groups, businesses and victims of crime are being sought to make sure that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the police are concentrating on the things that matter to local people.

The Police and Crime Plan for Avon and Somerset and the six policing districts of Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset West, Somerset East and South Gloucestershire will set out the vision, aims and objectives for the new PCC Sue Mountstevens' term in office.

You can have your say online or you can call the Commissioner's office on 01275 816377 or email pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk for a hard copy of the survey.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Committee to decide on Engine Common application

The Development Control (East) planning committee will consider the Bloor Homes application for Engine Common as an urgent item at their meeting tomorrow, Thursday 20th December.

The meeting starts at 3pm in the Civic Centre, Kingswood and you can find the agenda online. You can read the report here.

The application is being considered because Bloor Homes has appealed against non-determination, and the Council is required by the Planning Inspectorate to state the reasons for refusal had the Council had the power to determine the application.

Mental health news

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is asking people who care for someone who uses their services to complete their latest survey. These surveys are conducted twice a year to help the Trust track the experience of carers and assess whether the improvements they are making are effective. You can complete the survey online.

South Glos Council is currently looking for groups and organisations to bid for funding to support initiatives that will involve and benefit people with mental health problems. They are particularly keen to hear from organisations that would not necessarily see themselves as "Mental Health" organisations but may have interesting ideas. Ideas put forward by people with mental health difficulties include  a Friday night supper club, a choir, a drama group, radio project, photo exhibition, steam train enthusiasts and various sporting ideas. For more information email cchengagement@southglos.gov.uk but hurry - expressions of interest have to be in by 8 am on Monday 21st January 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Could you help older people get cooking?

Let's Get Cooking for Older People is a new national project funded by the Health Lottery targeting people over 55. It aims to reduce isolation, increase confidence and independence, help people cook for themselves more often and provide information on healthy eating.

Now they are looking for volunteers to help set up two Cooking Clubs in South Gloucestershire. An information session is being held on January 16th and training will take place in February over 2 days.

You can find out more at Let's Get Cooking's website www.letsgetcooking.org.uk or there is a flyer on the South Glos website.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Have your say at Safer Stronger Community Group

The latest Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton Safer Stronger Community Group is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 18th December 2012 in Iron Acton Village Hall (postcode BS37 9UH if you are using a Sat Nav for directions). Come along and have your say on how we can improve our local communities. Topics on the agenda include an update on youth services and road safety issues.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Help stop spread of ash disease

South Gloucestershire Council is asking local people to report sightings of a fungal disease killing local ash treea in order to prevent it spreading further.

Ash die back originated in Europe and has spread into the UK, including parts of South Gloucestershire. Symptoms of the disease include leaf death, with dead leaves typically hanging on the tree. This is followed by death of the tree’s branches.

As well as reporting suspect sightings, if you have an affected tree on your land it needs to be burnt on site to destroy spores that spread the disease. You can find more information on the council's website. Trees on private land are the responsibility of the landowner, and the council website includes advice on choosing a tree surgeon for people who may need to deal with affected trees.

Members of the public can report suspected sightings of the disease by telephoning 01454 868000 or emailing the team at streetcare@southglos.gov.uk .

Friday, 14 December 2012

Good news on school transport

The pupils already travelling by bus from Westerleigh to Pucklechurch school will continue to travel for free from September 2013 until they leave the school or move house.

You may recall the decision earlier in the year to end discretionary rural school transport. At the time we expected that pupils already travelling from Westerleigh to Pucklechurch would have to pay £120 per term from September 2013.

Officers have looked in more detail at the children affected. The nearest school, Wellesley, has no current vacancies. The routes to any primary school from Westerleigh are classed as hazardous. The decision has therefore been taken on balance to continue to provide free transport to Pucklechurch for the existing children as "hazardous route" transport.

For entrants to school in September 2013 onwards, any transport will be on the same basis as applies generally across the Authority, taking into account expressed parental preferences, home to school distances, nearest school and the nature of the route. The basic assumption is that you will only get free school transport if you put your nearest school as your first choice and there is no safe route to school or it is further than 3 miles away. But officers have listened to the concerns that Claire Young raised at the committee meeting about how the admissions and transport policies work together in rural areas. They will be monitoring the position closely.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane is expected to close for cleaning between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Thursday 6th December.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Wind turbine proposed near Wayleaze, Codrington Road

A planning application has been submitted for a wind turbine on land near Wayleaze, Codrington Road. You can find out more and make comments online.

Potential development in Westerleigh village

A planning consultant will be at the Westerleigh Parish Council meeting on Monday (7.15 in Westerleigh village hall) to make a presentation on "potential housing land adjoining Westerleigh village boundary garden land between Westerleigh Road, Drovers Way and the single track railway (behind Burma House and Bella Vista, Westerleigh Road)". This land is currently in the Green Belt and outside the village development boundary. In his initial report on the South Glos Core Strategy, the Inspector supported the council's stance that communities should be involved in any changes to their development boundaries, through Neighbourhood Planning or other means. He also said that developments in the countryside should be no more than 30 dwellings.

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group on Monday

The latest Yate Safer Stronger Community Group meeting is at 7pm on Monday at Yate Leisure Centre. All members of the public are welcome to attend raise issues and work with others to make our communities safer and stronger. The Yate group covers an area including the rural part of Dodington Parish, which is in Westerleigh Ward. Local councillor Claire Young has to be at another meeting that evening but has asked the officer who supports the group to raise the issue of speeding on the B4465.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Woodlands Farm latest

As we feared, Barratt Homes are taking the opportunity before the council’s Core Strategy is finally in place to put forward their proposals for Woodlands Farm again.

This proposal is in no way supported by the Core Strategy. The Inspector has said that 30 houses would be the maximum in a development in a village. He has also supported the council’s view that communities should be involved in any changes to their boundaries through Neighbourhood Planning. When responding to the Inspector’s proposals, South Glos strongly rejected his request for more housing to happen in the next five years and said that if land did have to be found it should be in Thornbury, not Coalpit Heath.

Have your say at Area Forum tonight

The Frome Vale Area Forum meets tonight (Thursday 29th November) at 7pm in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Have your say on the council budget and highway maintenance plus there is an open session where you can raise topics of concern to you. You can find the agenda on the council's website.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Progress on Westerleigh traffic calming plans

The next stage in plans to introduce traffic calming to Westerleigh village are up for consultation.

Earlier in the year, South Glos asked local people for their views on proposals to reduce the speed of traffic on Shorthill Road and Westerleigh Road. Based on the comments made, officers have been drawing up plans to extend the 30mph limit, put in a raised speed table by the village hall and create road narrowings at the entrances to the village. The first two of these require Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and the council has just published the Statutory Notice, part of the formal legal process it has to go through. You can view the notices and make comments via the following links:

Officers are still working on plans for the road narrowings.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Getting it right for people with learning difficulties

The South Gloucestershire LINk has recently produced a DVD: GPs are there to listen to us. Getting it right for People with Learning Difficulties.

They sent postal surveys and had face to face conversations with people with learning difficulties about their experiences of using their GP services. You can view the DVD on You Tube or via their website.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Broadband progress

There were two pieces of news this week in the fight for faster broadband for our communities.

On Monday, South Glos Council announced that, in partnership with Wiltshire Council, it has chosen British Telecom as the preferred bidder to provide superfast broadband to premises across the South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire area.

Then on Wednesday the EU ruled that the Broadband UK scheme was in line with state aid rules. Over the summer Steve Webb MP spoke personally to the minister responsible for broadband, Ed Vaizey, to urge him to get this barrier removed. Now that has happened, we should see progress on delivering superfast broadband to those areas currently struggling with slow speeds.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A good week for independents

Congratulations to independent candidate Sue Mountstevens who will be sworn in tomorrow as the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset.

Also congratulations to George Ferguson, the newly elected Mayor for Bristol. South Gloucestershire works closely with Bristol and the other West of England councils on shared concerns like transport.

We wish them both well and hope that they will be able to work effectively with local communities for the good of the whole region.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Vote today for the Police and Crime Commissioner

The whole of our area has an election today for the new post of Police and Crime Commissioner.

The new Commissioner will cover the whole of the Avon and Somerset police area, so it's going to be an important job.

 A lot of people are asking what the PCC will do, so here are a few key points:

What are the objectives for the new Commissioner? 

The PCC is supposed to bring a public voice to policing and hold our police force to account for delivering the kind of policing you want to see. Their aim will be to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective.

 What will the PCC actually do? 

  • engaging with the public and victims of crime to help set police and crime plans 
  • ensuring the police force budget is spent where it matters most 
  • appointing, and where necessary dismissing, the chief constable. 
So this is a key appointment. If we elect the wrong candidate, we could find our local police services cut drastically. 

What are our choices? 

Lib Dem candidate Pete Levy has served in both the civilian and military police and has been a member of the Police Authority for several years, so he's got lots of relevant experience. He has pledged to keep police services rather than cut them - you can read all about his proposals on his blog. You get two votes, a first and a second preference, so naturally we suggest that you give Pete Levy your first preference vote.

There are three other choices - Conservative, Labour and Independent. You can read about the various candidates here - but there's one key difference between them. The Conservative candidate has a record of cutting funding for police services - in Somerset he chopped the council funding for PCSOs, the Police Community Support Officers who provide much of our local police front line. So please don't even give the Conservatives your second preference.

KEEP OUR LOCAL POLICE SERVICES - VOTE FOR PETE LEVY

Monday, 12 November 2012

Survey for older people

If you are an older person or work with older people, Age UK in South Gloucestershire need your opinions. You can access their short survey online at http://www.ageuk.org.uk/southgloucestershire/ .

Friday, 9 November 2012

What should South Glos housing priorities be?

South Glos Council wants to know what you think should be its housing priorities over the next five years. It is drawing up a new Housing Strategy so that it has a clear plan on how to tackle the major housing issues that affect people in South Gloucestershire.

The consultation focuses on four key areas - housing and the economy, our health, our communities and our place. You have until January 11 2013 to visit www.southglos.gov.uk/housingpriorities to have your say.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Have your say on Frampton End Road

Over 750 local people signed a petition to improve the safety of Frampton End Road, especially for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. You can now have your say on options for closing Frampton End Road to through traffic and a 20mph speed limit. You can view the details and make comments on the South Glos consultation website.

Letters about the consultation have been sent to everyone living on Frampton End Road, Mays Hill and Station Road, Iron Acton. Black/yellow information signs have been put up at the junctions of Church Road/Frampton End Road, Badminton Road/Mays Hill (on both spurs) and Station Road/Bristol Road to notify people who use the roads but don't live on them. The feedback from the consultation will be considered by the council's Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee at its meeting at 3pm on 30th January in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public can attend and speak.

Consultation on plans for 20mph speed limits on other roads in the area (including Nibley Lane) will now take place separately at a later date so that officers can discuss the proposals with the Parish Councils first.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Could YOU help link Westerleigh to the National Cycle Network?

Work is under way on the section of cycle path from Westerleigh to the M4 bridge (the part from Yate to Westerleigh will follow afterwards). Volunteers are needed to work one day a week to help prepare, lay and construct the dust path, assisting South Gloucestershire council's Streetcare team of contractors.

The work parties are every Sunday, with the next one being held this Sunday 11th November from 9am until 4pm. If you can't attend for the whole day, the volunteers would be very grateful for whatever time you can spare - be it just for a couple of hours or maybe a morning or afternoon shift. You would be made most welcome.

Thanks to those volunteers who have already given their time to the project and helped lay the first 150 yards of path. Phase 1, Pucklechurch Coxgrove Hill to the M4 bridge, was a great success and was enjoyed by all the volunteers who took part, and it's hoped to replicate this success for Phase 2.

Work includes spreading and laying path dust surface prior to rolling. Some rubbish clearance of the path is also needed.

It's moderately hard work, but fun and very rewarding. You will be helping to build a fantastic local community resource for the future.

If you would like to join this cheerful band of volunteers, please call Matt Skidmore on 07553 052183, or email him on laumat@btinternet.com for more details.

The rendezvous point for workers to meet in the morning is the level crossing next to the Network Rail depot off Westerleigh Road, via Murco Oil Depot entrance. For more detailed directions please contact Matt on the number above.

Work will be between the hours of 0900 until 1600hrs. You will be made most welcome and your services would be put to good use to further this exciting local project. Please wear sturdy workwear boots and old clothes/overalls.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bus service changes

With effect from Sunday 4th November there are some changes to First services affecting our area. Passengers are advised to check timetables before travelling - the new timetables are on the South Glos Council bus timetable page

Service 327 (Bristol - Yate)
  • Monday to Saturday there will two additional journeys at 20:50 and 22:50 from Bristol to Yate.
  • Monday to Saturday there will be an additional and later last journey at 2140 from Yate to Bristol.
Service 329 (Bristol - Yate)
  • The Monday to Saturday evening Service 329 will be withdrawn.
  • The Sunday and Public Holiday daytime journeys operated by another operator will continue to operate.
  • The following Monday to Saturday evening journeys will be withdrawn:
       20:50 Bristol, Bus Station to Yate, Shopping Centre
       22:45 Bristol, Colston Street to Yate, Shopping Centre
       21:37 Yate, Shopping Centre to Bristol, Bus Station
       23:37 Yate, Shopping Centre to Bristol, Colston Street
  • Please see changes to Service 327 and Service 342 for details of alternative journeys.
Service 342/X42 (Bristol – Chipping Sodbury)
  • Monday to Saturday there will be an additional Service 342 journey at 22:30 from Bristol to Chipping Sodbury. This additional journey will mean that there is now an hourly service from Bristol to Chipping Sodbury throughout the evening.
  • The Monday to Saturday 22:17 Service 342 from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol, Colston Street will terminate at Bristol, Bus Station and re-timed to depart at 22:30.
  • Monday to Saturday 23:15 Service 342 from Bristol, Colston Street to Chipping Sodbury will start from Bristol, Bus Station at 23:30.
  • Monday to Friday 05:50 Service 342 journey from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol will be brought forward to 05:40.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Clearing leaf fall

From Monday 5th November, South Glos Council's Street Care team will be concentrating on clearing leaf fall rather than routine street sweeping. Initially this will be for a period of four weeks, but it depends on the weather. The mechanical footway sweepers will continue to sweep the town centres, but no other routine sweeping will be done. You can report areas with heavy accumulations of leaf fall by:

Friday, 26 October 2012

Westerleigh sewers meeting

There have been significantly fewer reports of bad odours in Westerleigh village this summer compared to previous years. Some of the smells that have occurred have been described as "sewage" and coming from the drains so Claire and local residents will be meeting Wessex Water and council officers at 10am on Thursday 8th November to see what can be done to address these issues. The Environment Agency have continued to work closely with the abattoir and confirm that they are using "Best Available Techniques".

If you smell a bad odour, please report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60, which is free from landlines. If you are concerned it is coming from the abattoir, please also call Tulip on 0117 957 1919.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Temporary footpath diversion

The footpath that runs from Leigh Lane near Cliff Cottage across to the abattoir and up to Westerleigh Road near Kidney Hill will be closed for around four weeks during the six month period starting from 5th November. The alternative route will join Westerleigh Road to the east of the railway bridge. The temporary closure is to enable the construction of the Yate Spur pedestrian and cycle route extension from the M4 to Westerleigh Road.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Street light switch-off update

Over the past 3 years, the council has turned off the streetlights from midnight until 5am in parts of South Glos following consultation with local residents via Parish and Town Councils. In May street lights on main roads were turned off after midnight except for those lights where safety issues were highlighted and agreed. Monitoring results show that traffic accidents and crime have not gone up since the lights were turned off at night. South Glos Council is now drawing up plans to consult with Parishes, Towns and residents in areas where the lights are still on at night and to complete the roll out of the scheme across the rest of South Gloucestershire. Westerleigh Parish had already started its own consultation. Please return the form if you want to highlight any locations where you think there may be safety issues. South Glos is aiming to save £250,000 on electricity and 1,000 tons of carbon emissions each year when the scheme is fully operational.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Planning enforcement - have your say

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on its proposed Planning Enforcement Policy. It will clearly set out the role of the planning enforcement service and how it will ensure sound and consistent decision making. It will also set out service standards and processes for monitoring whether approved planning applications are being constructed in line with the permission.

You can find out more about how to have your say on the consultation website. The deadline for comments is 14th December.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Small grants - apply now

If you are a local voluntary or community group in need of a small grant, now is the time to get your applications in. You can apply for up to £3,000 from South Glos's Small Revenue Grants - do it now on the council’s website. The closing date is 26 November 2012 and if you need help you can call the Grants Helpline on 01454-865865 for an informal chat. The decision on how much to award each group will be made by local councillors at the spring Frome Vale Area Forum.

Badminton Road overnight closure

The A432 Badminton Road will be closed at the railway viaduct from midnight to 6am on 26th October 2012. Pedestrians will be escorted through the site when it is safe to do so.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Have your say on council's parking enforcement policy

In 2007 South Gloucestershire Council introduced decriminalised parking enforcement. This means that for certain offences, council officers rather than the police enforce the law. Since then the Department for Transport have introduced a number of new powers, including some which the council can choose whether or not to take up. At the same time, the council has been developing its own "custom and practice". All these are now being brought together in a comprehensive parking enforcement policy.

You can read the proposed policy and make comments on the Council's website. The deadline for comments is 14 December 2012.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Saturday operating at abattoir

During the run up to Christmas, Tulip will be operating full abattoir and butchery operation on the following Saturdays:
  • 20th October
  • 3rd November
  • 17th November
  • 1st December
  • 15th December 
Livestock will arrive during the mornings, starting from 6.30 and ending between 10.30 and 11.00am. It is expected that all operations will be completed by around 1pm and the blood and animal by-products produced will be collected and removed from the site by 3pm. All the normal management systems will be running to make sure the site complies with Environmental and Food Standards requirements.

Day care services - give your views

You have until Sunday 28th October to tell South Glos Council what you think day services in South Gloucestershire should look like in the future. You can fill in the survey online.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Yate Fire Station Open Day

This Saturday (20th October) Yate Fire Station are holding an open day in aid of Corin's First Steps and The Fire Fighters Charity. There will be a mixture of displays (car extrication, fire rescue, water tower) and fundraiser stalls. A hog roast and refreshments will be available.

Core Strategy - Woodlands Farm and Engine Common

In June and July a Planning Inspector held the public inquiry for South Gloucestershire’s Core Strategy, its planning blueprint for development up to 2027. 

Representatives of the developers tried very hard to convince the Inspector that Woodlands Farm and Engine Common should be earmarked for development. As those of you who have already read the Inspector’s “Preliminary Findings and Main Modifications” will know, he has not accepted their proposals. He agrees with South Gloucestershire Council that rural communities should shape their own areas through Neighbourhood Planning. Sites in these areas would be small scale, up to 30 dwellings.

This is not the end of the story. It is not celebration time for those seeking to protect Woodlands Farm or Engine Common from development.

Although the Inspector endorsed the total number of homes planned for up to 2027, he did not agree with the council that more of the development should happen in the later years. He stated that 1,588 dwellings must be built each year in South Gloucestershire, with an additional “buffer” of 20%. The council has to show through an “Interim Housing Statement” that some of the sites already proposed could be developed sooner than currently planned or identify new strategic sites to cover the shortfall.

The Inspector’s “Preliminary Findings and Main Modifications” is a consultation document and it could be changed.

 A very impressive number of letters were written to point out why Woodlands Farm and Engine Common should not be allocated for development in the Core Strategy. There is the opportunity until November 16th to:
  • welcome the fact that Woodlands Farm or Engine Common has not been identified in the Inspector’s proposals;
  • welcome his support for local communities involvement in planning the future of their areas;
  • state why you believe that Woodlands Farm or Engine Common should not be identified in the Interim Housing Statement as a possible strategic development site. 
Responses can be sent to: planningLDF@southglos.gov.uk

All information about the Core Strategy including the “Preliminary Findings and Main Modifications” is at www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategy

If you have any queries, please contact Pat Hockey (pat.hockey@southglos.gov.uk).

Monday, 1 October 2012

Could you help combat speeding?

Are you worried about speeding in your road? Would you like to get involved in tackling the problem?

Community Speed Watch groups are made up of volunteers who get together to carry out speed checks in their area. Those caught get a warning letter and if caught repeatedly will get a visit from the police. These groups have proved effective elsewhere in tackling speeding.

There are already well established groups in some of our communities, such as Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell and new ones are in the process of being set up in others, like Coalpit Heath and Codrington.

South Gloucestershire Council has been working to improve support for the groups. They have agreed new kit with the police, which includes a new, lighter speed gun, dictaphones to make it easier to record the details of vehicles, reflective jackets and other useful items. Not only is it hoped that this package will be more effective than the existing ones, it is also considerably cheaper, enabling new groups to be kitted out for under £500 rather than £2000.

Each group has a volunteer co-ordinator. The co-ordinators across South Gloucestershire have got together in a network, with a small steering group. They are happy to support new groups by sending out experienced volunteers to help with the early sessions and are co-ordinating the training, which in the past has been an issue.

New, free software is being used to co-ordinate the data across South Gloucestershire, so that if drivers get caught in different parts of the area they will be recognised as repeat offenders rather than getting multiple first-time letters.

South Gloucestershire Council and the police are working together to support the volunteers more effectively. The groups are to be given better feedback, so they can see the effect they are having. The council will install interactive speed signs twice a year at all speed watch locations and the police will attend some of the speed watch sessions and visit sites where there is a clear pattern of speeding.

If you would like to get involved, please contact your Focus Team for more information.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Local groups win grants

Local councillors awarded grants to the following organisations at the recent Frome Vale Area Forum meeting:

Coalpit Heath
  • St Saviours Church Hall - £1,500 towards resurfacing drive
  • Coalpit Heath Village Hall (The Miners) - £1,000 towards flooring
  • South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group - £250 for draining and gating Serridge Engine Site
  •  The Manor Hall Trust - £1,330

Frampton Cotterell
  • 37th Squadron Air Training Corps - £3,000 for replacement temporary building
  • Crossbow Pre-school - £2,162 towards renovating hall
Wickwar
  • Wickwar Out of School Club - £1,209
  • Wickwar Playing Fields Association - £1,800 for BMX dirt track
  • Wickwar Pre-School - £780
Tytherington
  • Tytherington Rocks Football Club - £1,625 for construction of hard standing area

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Work to start at Yate Shopping Centre

Construction will start next month on the new units on East Walk opposite Tesco at Yate.

The largest unit will be M&S Simply Food. Sports Direct's unit will be spread across two floors, and Costa Coffee is taking a smaller unit. There is also another small unit which has not yet been let. Work is expected to be complete by March 2013.

As part of the East Walk shops development, the existing public conveniences in Yate Shopping Centre will close on 7th October for demolition. Good quality temporary toilets will be open on West Walk from 8th October while permanent toilets are built near the Westgate Centre.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Road closures

Two local roads will be closed temporarily to allow deep cleaning to take place. Nibley Lane between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road is expected to be closed from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Wednesday 26th September 2012 and Coalsack Lane will be closed on Monday 1st October.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Yate Recycling Centre to reopen tomorrow (Mon)

SITA have just tweeted:  "We’re pleased to advise that the Yate recycling centre in South Glos will be open on Mon 24 Sep (8am - 6.30pm). Normal service resumed"

Saturday, 22 September 2012

NEWS FLASH - Yate Recycling Centre closed until further notice

South Glos Council has announced that the SITA Recycling Centre at Collett Road will be closed until further notice.

No details have been given but we imagine it's connected to a Post report of a major rubbish fire in nearby Dean Road early this morning.

Update from SITA 23/09/2012: "We’re pleased to advise that the Yate recycling centre in South Glos will be open on Mon 24 Sep (8am - 6.30pm). Normal service resumed"

Friday, 21 September 2012

Badminton Road surface

Many residents are concerned about the state of Badminton Road through Coalpit Heath. Not only is the uneven surface dangerous, it also increases the noise of passing lorries. Claire Young has met officers on site several times to discuss residents' concerns.

In August, officers carried out a “walk through” of Badminton Road. They have highlighted three areas of priority:
  • Priority 1 – Area on dual carriageway section heading towards the A4174.
  • Priority 2 – Area from Frog Lane to Woodside Road.
  • Priority 3 – Sporadic areas through Coalpit Heath including the section from Beesmoor Road to the viaduct.
They do not believe they will be able to get all three priorities completed in this financial year, although they can not be sure of the exact costs at this stage. They have already been tackling priority 1.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Westerleigh Road surface

The state of Westerleigh Road between Wot Nots and the Shire Way has been a growing concern for local people. Patching is to take place late September/early October from Nibley Lane to The Old Parsonage. This is to rectify the two trenches that are causing significant problems.

Westerleigh Road, from Shireway right through to the Kidney Hill junction, has been added to a surface dressing programme which will be carried out in the summer of 2014. In order for this to take place they will have to first carry out extensive patching work in the following locations.
  • Shire Way to Nibley Lane.
  • Junction with Besom Lane
  • Southbound lane through the village(Besom Lane to the triangle).
  • Triangle to Broad Lane junction
This work will be carried out in the 2013/14 financial year.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Safer Streets with Pete Levy

Former Police Officer and Bristol City Councillor Pete Levy has launched his campaign to become the first elected Police Commissioner for Bristol, Avon and Somerset.

Pete is a leading member of the Police Authority and is a former Police and Military Police Officer. He will use this experience to deliver safer streets here in South Gloucestershire. His priorities include:
Protecting frontline police services
Effective community sentencing that cuts reoffending and delivers a benefit for local people
Better support for victims of crime

You can find out more about Pete on his website.

His main opponent is the former Conservative Leader of Somerset County Council. Somerset councillor Sam Crabb said, “Our police are too important to put in the hands of a man who cut funding for Police Community Support Officers and who tried to close vital local services like libraries.”

Help with finding work

Merlin Housing Society has teamed up with Clean Slate to help local people get back into work. Clean Slate will be at Juice Community Project, 56-60 Newton Road, Cadbury Heath, BS30 8EL every Tuesday from 11am to 4.30pm. Register as a member to get access to the internet (with support) and advice and training on job seeking, interviews and planning your next steps. Find out more at www.cleanslateltd.co.uk or call Ty Kurn on 07530 064041.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Core Strategy - NEWS FLASH

The Inspector's preliminary findings on South Gloucestershire's Core Strategy have been published on the South Glos website. You can read the Council's press release or read the inspector's report online. He has not asked for Woodlands Farm or Engine Common to be included as development sites.

Council officers will now begin preparations for a six-week consultation on the proposed modifications, expected to start in early October. The results of that will be considered and reflected in the Inspector’s final report later this year. We'll update you further when we know more.

Working to protect services for young people

At a special South Gloucestershire Council meeting this week, your Focus Team councillors voted to safeguard youth centres in the most deprived areas and still make funds available across South Glos to help communities provide for young people. The issue was originally discussed by the Council's Children and Young People Committee on 25th July but Conservative councillors then referred it to a meeting of the full council.

Speaking afterwards, the Lib Dem Children and Young People spokesperson Cllr Ian Blair said: "Under the Conservative proposals, no youth centre in South Gloucestershire would have been guaranteed to continue. We've safeguarded centres in the most deprived areas and have made funds available to communities across the district to decide what works for their communities, what their young people want."

One youth centre will be provided as a council service in each of the six Priority Neighbourhoods and a further £437,700 will be available for youth services in other areas.

After the Liberal Democrat motion had been passed by Council, the Conservatives tried to amend it further, to move £100,000 away from support for vulnerable young people including young carers, and towards Conservative wards. Cllr Ruth Davis, leader of the Lib Dem group was appalled. "This is playing politics with young people's expectations and the council's very limited resources."

The final outcome is a balance between support for Priority Neighbourhoods and targeted services. Some Council Youth Service provision has been maintained, strategically sited across the authority, and the Area Forums have been given some money with which to support youth services in their area.

Your Focus Team is pleased that the decisions on how to spend the money will be made locally at the Area Forums. It's vital that local people, organisations and Parish Councils give their support to make sure our young people have the services they need. Speaking during the debate, local councillor Pat Hockey said "Of course we have vulnerable people in all communities, so we must keep all the youth centres open - hopefully the councillors here go back to parishes and communities and say 'come on, get up, let's keep these clubs open'."

Locally, we will be doing just that. Later this month, Pat & Dave Hockey and Claire Young will be attending a meeting with youth workers at Fromeside Youth Centre. Parish Councillors from Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh and Winterbourne have also been invited. Get in touch if you would like to be involved in helping our young people.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Four men bailed by police after Coalpit Heath incident

Local police recovered a stolen van and arrested four people after an alarm went off in Coalpit Heath last Thursday (September 6th 2012).

The police were called at about 11.30pm by a householder who said they were alerted by an alarm and had seen people outside. Units who were patrolling the area responded immediately, supported by the force helicopter, and were already searching by the time of a further call reporting intruders in a nearby garden. Four men were later arrested on suspicion of burglary and further enquiries in the area led to the recovery of a van which had been stolen from Bradley Stoke in August.

Yesterday the men were released on bail pending further enquiries. Anyone with any information which could help the police can get in touch through their website or by ringing 101. Alternatively call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.

For more home security advice visit the Avon and Somerset Police website  or contact your neighbourhood team by calling 101. You can also find out the latest from the Frampton Cotterell beat online.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Time to Discover

Would you like to discover...

...our great outdoors by going on fossil forays or star gazing?
...our fantastic local food?
...our rich heritage, from Rolls Royce to Ram Hill Colliery?
...your creativity, with Chinese origami or writing "flash fiction"
...what's going on in your local area for older people?
...events for all ages, including Discovering Dinosaurs workshops?

Discover is a new festival of over 200 events being held throughout South Gloucestershire between 6th September and 4th November. It brings together a number of different events including the Celebrating Age Festival, Active Mind Month, South Gloucestershire Taste Festival, the Out and About in Nature Programme and Heritage Open Doors. You can find out more online.

Most events are free and are able to be booked on line at http://www.discoversouthglos.eventbrite.co.uk/. Why not see what you can discover this autumn?

Monday, 3 September 2012

Change of date for Area Forum Meeting

The date of the Frome Vale Area Forum meeting originally scheduled for Thursday 6th September has been changed. It will now be held on Thursday, 20th September, 2012 at 7pm at Frampton Cotterell C of E Primary School.

Have your say on Parish boundaries

South Glos Council is asking people in some parts of our area for their views on possible changes to Parish boundaries.

The proposals in our area are:
  • Changing the parish boundaries between Westerleigh, Iron Acton and Yate parishes in the Stover Road area  so that this area (including the three industrial/business estates) become part of the Yate parish. The proposed boundary would divide the hamlet of Nibley between three parishes, rather than the current two. Read more and comment here. Please also let Claire Young, Howard Gawler, Dave Hockey or Pat Hockey know your views.
  • Changing the boundary between Iron Acton and Rangeworthy parishes so that all properties in Patch Elm Lane are in Rangeworthy parish. Read more and comment here. Please also let Howard Gawler know your views.
You have until 12th November to have your say. In some cases, local people might support the idea of a change being made but think that the change should be made differently. If necessary, a further consultation will be carried out.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Free part-time courses

South Gloucestershire Community Learning Service is offering a range of FREE part-time courses in community venues to help you gain a qualification, improve your job skills, help your children's learning or get more involved in the local community. The courses are aimed at people aged 19 years and over. You can find out more in the online prospectus.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Have your say on conservation area changes

In order to protect Iron Acton village most of it has been designated as a Conservation Area. This means it needs its own planning guidance which will identify its special characteristics and features which need to be protected.

You have the opportunity until October 18th to comment on South Gloucestershire Council’s proposals for this. The new PTSE Committee will then decide whether any changes should be made.

You can view the document at www.southglos.gov.uk/ironactonSPD. Hard copy is available at libraries and One Stop Shops and Iron Acton Parish Council has a copy.

If you do comment on it, please let Pat Hockey have a copy as she is a member of the Committee.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

September bus service changes

Some changes are being made to local bus services from 2nd September 2012. Those that most affect us locally are:

The "Eighties services" 85, 87 & 88 have been replaced by a new service 222. This service will connect Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Iron Acton and Frampton Cotterell with Emersons Green, Kingswood and Longwell Green. Sections of the route in North Yate, Iron Acton, Ram Hill and the Emersons Green Treatment centre will be served on a Demand Responsive Basis, this means that the bus will only call at demand responsive stops if requested by a passenger on the bus, or booked in advance by calling 01454 868 368 at least 2 hours before departure.

The X27 Yate to Bristol has a minor timetable amendment to the first journey into Bristol to improve reliability.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Ram Hill Colliery - dates for your diary

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery will once again be holding an open day as part of the South Glos Heritage Weekend. It will run from 10.30am-4.30pm on Sunday 9th September and light refreshments will be available.

If you fancy getting more involved, why not join them for a work day, 10am-4pm on Wednesdays and the second Sunday of the month from April to October. Or attend their next committee meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 3rd September 2012 in the Miners Institute Coalpit Heath.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Interested in policing?

Are you interested in community safety, policing or criminal justice issues?

In November, you will be able to elect a Police and Crime Commissioner who will oversee policing in the Avon and Somerset Area. The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Panel will monitor and scrutinise the Police and Crime Commissioner and the panel is currently looking for two or more volunteers to serve as co-opted independent members.

The job advert says that key skills will include: the ability to think strategically, be analytical to be able to scrutinise and challenge and have the ability to communicate effectively. You will also have an understanding of equalities and diversity issues. You will work alongside councillor Panel members from across the Avon and Somerset Area.

You can find more information and an application pack online or request one by calling  0117 3521400. The closing date is 24 August 2012.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Chipping Sodbury Library to close for repairs

The Town Lands Trust who own the building that hosts Chipping Sodbury Library is carrying out urgent repairs to the floor. These will involve excavating the basement in the rear half of the library, so the service will be moved to the back of the Grammar School from Tuesday July 31st until Wednesday August 29th.  The library will be closed on four days -  Friday July 27th, Saturday July 28th, Friday August 31st and Saturday September 1st to move shelving, book stock and equipment.

Although the library will operate normally, there will unfortunately be no access to public computers or the fax.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Have your say on changes to Council Tax benefits and discounts

Councils across the country are currently developing schemes to replace council tax benefit.

South Gloucestershire Council is proposing a scheme which is broadly similar to the current council tax benefit, which maintains the premiums and allowances for 2012/13 with the exception of removing the second adult rebate. Currently, second adult rebate can be claimed by people whose own income is too high to receive council tax benefit but who have other adult(s) in the household whose income is low.

There will be no change to the amount of help pensioners currently receive. People who have reached the age for state pension credit will be assessed under a national scheme which will be decided by the government. The national scheme is likely to be very similar to the current one.

These proposals will not fully cover the reduction in central government funding for the scheme. Rather than reduce other services to meet this shortfall, the council is proposing to review some of the council tax discretionary discounts that are going to be introduced from 1 April 2013 and apply an additional levy on properties that have been left empty for two years or more.
For more information about the council’s proposals and to have your say, you can:
The consultation runs until 9 October.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Share your views on future of registration service

South Gloucestershire Council is reviewing the way it provides registration services for births, deaths and marriages.

Currently the service offers pre-booked appointments at Frenchay, Kingswood, Thornbury and Yate. The council now proposes to concentrate the service at two locations - Frenchay and either Kingswood or Thornbury.

You can find out more and have your say on the council's website. The consultation finishes on 3rd August.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Could YOU be a volunteer advisor to help tackle fuel poverty?

Do you live in South Gloucestershire, are you over 50? Do you want to make a difference in your local community? The Centre for Sustainable Energy is looking to recruit volunteers who are keen to learn about energy and willing to share their knowledge in the community.

A session for potential volunteers is being held at Yate Library on Tuesday 24th July 2012. If you are interested in helping older people at risk of, or already suffering from, fuel poverty then please visit the CSE website.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Major award for local beauty spot as Wapley Bushes wins Green Flag


Wapley Bushes has won the Green Flag Community Award 2012, the national award scheme for well-managed, high-quality public and community parks and green spaces.

The entry combined Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, including the recently-planted Jubilee Hedge, with the new Orchard for the Future, which aims to restore heritage varieties of fruit in a public orchard.

It is particularly pleasing that Wapley has gained the Community Award because it recognises the efforts of all the volunteers from Wapley Bushes Conservation Group and other organisations, with the support of Dodington Parish Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

The award will be presented at the next Wapley Work Morning on 8th September, meeting at the Shire Way gate at 10.00 am.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Woodlands Farm discussed at hearing

Claire and Pat both attended the Examination in Public (EIP) on July 12th, along with some local residents. Barratt Homes' representative certainly pushed very hard to persuade the Government Inspector that he should identify Woodlands Farm as an area suitable for development. He claims that because the combined populations of Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath is larger than the population of Thornbury, it should be regarded as a town suitable for an urban extension rather than a village in the Rural Areas section of the Core Strategy. South Gloucestershire Officers strongly opposed these views.

Barratt Homes' representative hasn’t just made these points on 12th July. He has managed to secure a place at many of the sessions throughout the EIP. This included the final session on July 18th when he was determined to continue making his point right up to the close of play.

The Inspector clearly feels that the Council has not identified sufficient land for development, at least in the early years. South Gloucestershire Officers have addressed this by agreeing some changes to phasing and also to carrying out a review within 10 years. Developers were suggesting a suspension of the Core Strategy to enable it to be changed now. Barratt Homes suggested just suspending the housing figures, so that developers who had planning applications ready for submission could have them dealt with without these being in place!

The Inspector closed the EIP stating that it would take him 3 to 4 weeks to consider everything and propose any modifications which he felt were necessary for him to assess the Core Strategy as “sound”. Any proposed changes would have a 6 week public consultation period before he made his final decision. He estimates that this will be around the end of October.

Monday, 9 July 2012

Yate bus station - keeping up the pressure

On Friday Claire Young (on the right in the photo) joined other Focus councillors and council officers at Yate bus station to discuss how to tackle the remaining problems. You can read more on our sister blog.

Manor School evacuated

The Manor School in Coalpit Heath has been evacuated this afternoon after a number of children fell ill over the course of the morning. Emergency services are attending the school and parents have been notified. For the latest information, please see the South Glos website.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Nibley Lane closure

Nibley Lane is expected to be closed between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road from 9.30am until 2.30pm on 4th July 2012 for deep cleaning.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Free school transport to end

Pupils living in most of Westerleigh will no longer be offered free school transport to Pucklechurch from September 2013.

Except for those whose homes are closer to Pucklechurch school than Wellesley, existing pupils will have to pay a concessionary fare of £120 per term (£360 per year). New pupils will be able to travel for the same fee if there is space but there is no guarantee a service will be provided once the existing pupils move on. Families on low incomes will not have to pay.

By law primary age children are entitled to free transport to their nearest school if there is no safe walking route. Since the village school closed, the council has provided free transport to Pucklechurch, even for pupils who live closer to the Yate school, but officers said this was unfair to others not offered similar special arrangements. The Children and Young People committee agreed.

Speaking in support of the service at the committee meeting last week, Claire Young raised wider concerns that rural children may be disadvantaged by the admissions and transport policies. Officers will look at this when they consult on the admissions policy later in the year.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Woodland Farm campaign in the Gazette

The Save Woodlands Farm campaign is in the Gazette today. There was a fantastic turnout for the photo on Saturday despite the atrocious weather. Well done to all involved.

Don't forget, we have posted links to the submissions made by the developers and Richard Merrick's statement in support of keeping Woodlands Farm green. Richard, who is organising the campaign, can be seen on the left hand side of the bottom photo. South Glos Council's policy for the rural areas will be discussed at the Examination in Public on Thursday 12th July.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New public rights of way needed?

Natural England are running a 2 year funding scheme called Paths for Communities (P4C). From their website:
The aim of P4C is to encourage and support local communities to work with land owners to make improvements to the network of Public Rights of Way. In all cases P4C projects must include some element of new Public Right of Way creation. In most cases projects will include an element of new Bridleway creation but projects that include Footpath creation alone will also be considered where community and economic benefit can be demonstrated.
You can find out more on the Natural England website.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Coalpit Heath Post Office leads the way

Coalpit Heath Post Office has become one of the first in Britain to move to a new way of working which will allow local people to access post office services outside traditional opening hours. 

The scheme, called Post Office Local, is designed to help local post offices which are combined with village stores by enabling postal services to be provided from a terminal behind the shop counter. This should provide extra business for both the shop and post office and extra convenience for local residents. The majority of the usual Post Office services are available from the shop counter terminal including posting letters and parcels, paying bills, collecting a pension, benefits or cash, picking up pre-ordered travel money and paying car tax.

Coalpit Heath sub post masters Sarah and Steve Davis recently met local MP Steve Webb, and local councillors Pat & Dave Hockey and Claire Young to show them the newly upgraded shop and to discuss the benefits of the scheme. Dave Hockey took advantage of the new service to get his car tax at the post office, a service not previously available in Coalpit Heath.

Welcoming the scheme, MP Steve Webb said: “For many years we have been fighting campaigns to save local post offices, so I am delighted that we are now in an era where the Government is investing in post offices instead of closing them down.”

Sub post master Sarah Davis said, “We’ve had a fantastic response from our customers. The flexibility of the scheme means we can provide Post Office services for many more hours. We now have people coming in at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to use the Post Office!”

Councillor Dave Hockey said, “Many local residents like myself will be very pleased at the extended availability of Post Office services. It is much easier to pop down the road rather than having to travel to do things like pay car tax, which I’ve just done.”

At Coalpit Heath Post Office, the services are now available from 7:30AM to 6:00PM on Monday to Friday, 7:30AM to 17:30PM on Saturday and 7:30AM to 12:00PM on Sunday.

Westerleigh-Pucklechurch school transport

The decision on the future of the Westerleigh to Pucklechurch school transport will be made at the Children and Young People's committee this week. The meeting starts at 10am on Wednesday 20th June in Thornbury. You can read the report on the South Glos website.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Yate Safer Stronger Community group tonight

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group, which covers an area including the rural part of Dodington Parish (Wapley, Dodington, Codrington) is tonight at 7pm in Yate Library. This is a chance for you to raise issues that matter to you.

Poor state of Westerleigh Road

Road users, particularly cyclists, are increasingly unhappy about the state of Westerleigh Road between Shire Way and the village. Back in March officers told local councillor Claire Young that they were aware of the problem and although it had not been considered a high enough priority to be resurfaced this year, as an interim measure patching would be carried out in 2012/13 to deal with some of the worst areas.

Claire contacted officers again recently as the road is deteriorating fast. It will be inspected early this week to identify any immediate safety repairs and an engineer will reassess the road to see if the rate of deterioration has changed its priority.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Read what the developers say

You can now read the arguments being put forward on behalf of developers for allocating Woodlands Farm and Engine Common for development at the Examination in Public for the Council’s Core Strategy.

The most detailed submission for Woodlands Farm relates to July 12th, when the policy for the Rural Areas will be discussed. The same planning consultants have also mentioned Frampton Cotterell in their submissions for June 19th (here, here, here and here) and 20th (here and here). Richard Merrick’s statement in support of the Council’s position of not allocating Woodlands Farm can be read here.

Although Engine Common is green fields in Iron Acton Parish, the Inspector is considering it as part of the proposals for development in Yate andChipping Sodbury. It will be discussed on the morning of June 29th. You can view the submission being made on behalf of Bloor Homes here.

Members of the public can attend any of the sessions to show their interest in the issues but cannot take part in the discussions. Morning sessions start at 10am and the afternoon sessions at 2pm in Kingswood Civic Centre, with lunch at around 1pm.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Living open day

Living, a not for profit community interest company, is holding an open day where people with disabilities can try out the very latest independent living aids and equipment. The event will run from 10am to 3.30pm on Thursday 21st June at The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2QQ. Admission is free and there will be free tea, coffee and cake. For more information please phone 0117 965 3651 or visit www.thisisliving.org.uk.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Fanatical about footpaths?

The Joint Local Access Forum for Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City and South Gloucestershire (the JLAF) is looking for new recruits. The JLAF is a statutory body established by the three councils, to provide advice on improving public access to land in the area for the purposes of open-air recreation and enjoyment. They are seeking applications for membership of the JLAF from people of all ages who are enthusiastic about the rights of way network and access to the outdoors. This is an opportunity to contribute views and positive ideas on the potential of the network of paths in the area and on how to make it more accessible and enjoyable for all. For more information go to www.jlaf.org.uk - the deadline for applications is 9am on Friday 22nd June.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Photo - This Saturday - Save Woodlands Farm

The Gazette will be taking another photo of supporters of Save Woodlands Farm at 11am this Saturday (16th June). The venue is the entrance to Woodlands Farm on the public footpath from the green accessed from St Saviour’s Drive.

CANCELLED - Medieval fayre this Saturday

UPDATE: Sadly the organisers have had to cancel this event due to the weather.
A Medieval fayre/reenactment with the "Company of chivalry" is to be held at Winterbourne Medieval barn on Saturday 16th June. Entrance £3, under 16s free. For more details go to www.winterbournebarn.org.uk.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Core Strategy latest

The statements submitted by objectors for the first two weeks of the Core Strategy's Examination in Public have all been published in the online Hearing Statement Library. The Council's responses on matters to be discussed in later weeks are also available, with statements received from respondents on those matters to be added in the early part of this week. The library has also been updated with a number of new documents including community led statements of support, such as those on Woodlands Farm and Engine Common. The library, together with other up to date information, is available on the Examination webpage at www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategyexamination.

Woodlands Farm and Engine Common

We previously reported that officers had invited Richard Merrick, organiser of the Save Woodlands Farm action group, and Mike Keenan of the Save Engine Common action group, to contribute to the Council’s defence of its Core Strategy. They have now provided written representations, which have been discussed with the Council’s barrister, and will not be called to speak. Written representations carry equal weight with oral representations.
Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th June will be the first occasions on which the issue of Woodlands Farm is raised. The sessions start at 10am in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public will not be able to speak but can attend to show they care about this issue. You can access the arguments being put forward using the link above.

Community Energy Projects - find out more

The next free to attend meeting of Cotswold Edge Sustainability Network will feature a short talk by Pete Capener, Chair of Bath & West Community Energy. Peter has 25 years experience in this field through building a successful community energy company and also as a member of the Energy Minister's Community Energy Contact Group. The meeting will be on Wednesday, 4th July 2012 from 7.30 to 8.30pm at The Major's Retreat, Tormarton. More information is available online.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Planning Inspector backs residents

The planning inspector has dismissed all the appeals against the planning committee's refusal to extend the working hours at Ram Hill Business Park. Residents and local councillor Claire Young (pictured left), who referred the application to the committee after officers had recommended approval, are delighted that the Planning Inspector listened to their concerns. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Paralympic Come and Try

On Thursday 14th June, South Gloucestershire Council and Airbus UK are hosting a Paralympic "Come and Try" event for people of all ages and abilities with physical and sensory impairments. The event is being held at WISE Campus Stoke Gifford and you can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

LGB patient experience

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation are running a survey to find out the experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual patients accessing healthcare at their local GP surgery. You can complete the survey online.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Safer Stronger Community Group tomorrow

The latest Safer Stronger Community Group meeting for Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Westerleigh and Iron Acton is at 7.30pm tomorrow night, Thursday 7th June, in St Saviours Church Hall, Coalpit Heath. Come along and have your say on how you can make our communities safer and stronger.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Kick off the Jubilee celebrations at the Science Park

The Bristol and Bath Science Park (off Westerleigh Road at Emersons Green) is inviting local people to join them at a Jubilee Garden Party starting at 4pm tomorrow, Thursday 31st May. Find out more on their website.

Find out more about cycle path

After the traffic calming drop-in at Westerleigh Village Hall on 14th May, some people still had questions about the cycle route plans. On Monday 2nd July at 7.15pm officers from South Gloucestershire Council will attend the Council meeting in Westerleigh Village Hall to present the current plans for the cycle route from Coxgrove Hill to Yate passing through Westerleigh and then answer any questions. Doors will open at 6.30pm for members of the public to view plans. If you wish to ask a question the Parish Council have asked that you sign in and tick the box indicating you wish to do so. The Chair will then call on all those wishing to ask a question in turn to ensure that everyone is given a chance to speak.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Employment Futures event

The South Gloucestershire Equalities Forum is running a series of pop-up workshops looking at employment and equalities issues:

‘I’m unemployed. Is it just because I’m a woman?’
Southern Brooks Community Partnership will be running this workshop on Monday 11 June, 6.30pm at Coniston Community Centre, The Parade, Coniston Road, Patchway, BS34 5LP.

‘I’m unemployed. Is it just because I’m Black?’ Chinese? Asian?’
SARI (support against racist incidents) will be running this workshop on Tuesday 12, 6.30pm at Filton College WISE Campus, New Road, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS34 8LP.

‘I’m unemployed. Is it just because I’m too young?’
Filton College will be running this workshop on
Wednesday 13, 6.30pm at Armadillo Youth Venue and Cafe, Station Road, Yate BS37 4FW.

‘I’m unemployed. Is it just because I’m disabled?’
The South Gloucestershire Disability Equality Network (DEN) will be running this workshop on
Monday 18 June at 6pm. Paul’s Place, Serridge Lane, Coalpit Heath, Bristol BS36 2TT

‘I’m unemployed. Is it just because I’m too old?’
Age UK South Gloucestershire are running this workshop on
Monday 18 June, 6.30pm at The Park Centre
High Street, Kingswood BS15 4AR.

Each workshop will send representatives to Employment Futures: The Big Debate at Bristol Science Park on Thursday 21 June.

You can find out more and register on the South Glos website - the deadline is Friday 8th June.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Village Jubilee Festival

The Jubilee Festival in Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath runs from 1-7th June. Many of the events will be FREE! Monday’s celebrations will culminate in the lighting of the Jubilee Beacon and a firework display.More details can be found on VillageAction’s website .

Friday, 25 May 2012

Calling young filmakers

If you are a young person interested in making films, check out the competition being run by Smokefree South West and Cut Films. The Plain Packs theme closing date is 10 July - find out more on the Cut Films website.

Church Road bridge to be strengthened

Church Road bridge is due to be strengthened or replaced as needed in 2013/14. The estimated cost is £435,000.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Travelling to the BRI or the Children's hospital?

There are currently major changes to the drop-off area at the BRI and BRHC due to the development work going on at the BRI. More information about the changed arrangements, which are due to last until 22 June, can be found on the Univeristy Hospitals Bristol website.

Speed limit cut in Old Glos Road


Residents are delighted that the new speed limit signs have gone in on Old Glos Road and Perrinpit Road.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Wessex Water installing holding tank

Wessex Water are making progress with installing the holding tank to the south of the Badminton Road viaduct, which the planning committee approved earlier this year. The tank is intended to stop sewage flooding in houses in Vicarage Road. It is not related to Barratt Homes' proposals for Woodlands Farm.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Launch of the Green Dog Walkers scheme

Following a proposal to South Glos Council by Claire Young, the scheme which cut dog fouling problems in Falkirk by 50% is due to be launched in Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath. The launch is at 7.30pm on Monday 28th May in the Brockeridge Centre.

Dave Hockey explained, “When Pat and I carried out a survey of all local residents before the elections last year, 1 in 3 residents complained about the growing problem of dog fouling. It was clear that something needed to be done to encourage responsible dog ownership in our area. The Parish Council agreed to back the introduction of the Green Dog Walkers Scheme which had been pioneered in Falkirk and cut dog fouling by half”.

Local resident Kirstie Bidwell attached a map to her survey response with local roads highlighted. It was headed ‘These are the locations where I see dog mess on a daily basis. With 2 young children, this is the most annoying thing I have to deal with EVERY DAY’.

Claire said, “I am delighted that the scheme is to be piloted in Frampton Cotterell Parish. I hope the trial is successful and it results in a significant cut in dog fouling problems on local pavements, footpaths, parks and sports pitches. If it is, I am sure that other Towns and Parishes across South Gloucestershire will be interested in launching the scheme in their areas”.

Stover Road to close for 2 nights

Stover road will be closed for resurfacing on the nights of 24th and 25th May between Badminton Road and the Yate Road Roundabout. The weight limit on Station Road will be suspended during the closure.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Reducing sewage spills in the Frome Valley

After more than 15 years campaigning, Dave Hockey is delighted that Wessex Water are at last installing a very large screening system which hopefully will  eliminate the solid sewage waste discharged into the River Frome following heavy rainfall.


The major scheme at Cog Mill, Iron Acton is well under way. Wessex Water state that work should be completed on site by August when the Frome Valley Walkway will be reinstated along the riverside.


Dave Hockey said, “After years of suffering from sanitary towels, condoms and other sewage waste left stranded on the Glebe Land and along the banks of the River Frome after floodwaters have subsided, I hope that this second scheme is more effective than the first – we’ll watch the results with great interest.”

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Olympic flame coming to South Glos

The Olympic flame will be coming to South Glos on Tuesday 22 May and then again briefly on the morning of Wednesday 23 May.

Full details of the route and a detailed map are available online www.southglos.gov.uk/2012olympictorch along with a listed of frequently asked questions.

South Gloucestershire Council has created a £5,000  one-off Challenge Fund to maximise the 2012 Olympic legacy potential. There are 25 grants of £201.20 available for groups registered with the Community Games programme, which aims to bring communities together to take part in sporting and cultural activities inspired by, and in celebration of, the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
You can find out more on the South Glos website - but hurry, you only have until 8th June to apply.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Down Road closed on Monday

Down Road, Winterbourne Down will be closed between the A432 Badminton Road and the Harcombe Hill junction on Monday 21st May.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Rockside Gardens resurfacing

Today and tomorrow South Glos will be resurfacing Rockside Gardens. The work will be carried out between 7am and 5pm and every effort will be made to keep disruption to local residents to a minimum.

Action group leaders to give evidence

Leaders of the Save Woodlands Farm and Save Engine Common action groups have been invited by South Gloucestershire Council to speak as part of its evidence at the Examination in Public (EiP) for the Council's Core Strategy (planning blueprint for the next 15 years). The EiP is for the inspector to hear challenges to the Core Strategy, so residents who support the Council in not allocating Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath and Engine Common for housing will not be able to join the discussions. Members of the public are, however, able to attend any of the sessions and sign the attendance register where they can show why they are there. A good attendance from the Action Groups may help the Inspector realise that the development of these areas is not wanted locally. Also, at the pre-hearing meeting the Inspector said that the Council could ask third parties to speak as part of its own evidence. The Council has therefore asked Richard Merrick (Save Woodlands Farm) and Mike Keenan (Save Engine Common) to help them defend the Council's position.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Site visit for stadium proposals

Members of South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning Committee, chaired by Dave Hockey, visited the site of the proposed new stadium for Bristol Rovers last Friday. This is on land now owned by UWE close to Cheswick Village housing development off Cold Harbour Lane. The car access for the stadium would be from the MOD Roundabout on the Ring Road. With a bus only road currently under construction alongside the proposed site and good walking routes from both Parkway and Abbey Wood Stations many of the spectators would be expected to use public transport. Objectors to the proposal had the opportunity to draw the Councillors’ attention to the issues worrying them. These include noise, traffic and ant-social behaviour. The Planning Committee is expecting to be making a decision at their meeting on either June 21st or July 19th, depending on how long it takes to get the further information they asked for.

Recycling update

Since late March, SITA have been distributing bags for cardboard recycling to all those on the waiting list. If you asked for one and haven't got it or would like to ask for one for the first time, please ring 01454 868000 or request one online.

Residents raised a number of concerns when we carried out surveys earlier this year. Officers have investigated complaints of boxes and bags not being put back properly and have answered some of your recycling questions:
  • All food waste can be accepted except larged uncooked bones, as these don't break down well in the anaerobic digester.
  • Envelopes can go in the paper recycling as long as you remove the plastic windows.
  • Pieces of wood of no more than 4" diameter can go in the green waste bin - larger pieces can be recycled at the Sort IT centre.
  • Old clothes and shoes can be put out in a carrier bag with the green box.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Save money on heating

In our surveys you told us domestic heating costs are a big concern. Free loft and cavity wall insulation is now available to everyone, subject to survey. For free and impartial advice contact the Severn Wye Energy Agency on Freephone 0800 500 30 76, Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Could you be a foster carer?

Today marks the start of Foster Care Fortnight. South Glos Council are appealing for more foster carers, as currently only about half of the children in their care are placed with local foster families. You can find out more about fostering on the South Glos website.

New speed limit signs

The end of the long campaign for lower speed limits on the B4465, Westerleigh Road and Nibley Lane is in sight. The Traffic Regulation Order has been signed and work will start on installing the new signs in the week beginning 28th May. The work will take about 3-4 weeks to complete.

Thank you to all the residents who collected signatures on the petition, signed it or wrote in to support the proposals during the various consultations. If anyone would like to volunteer to join the Codrington Community Speedwatch, please get in touch.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Join the Big Pull

Would you like to stop the spread of an invasive weed called Himalayan balsam?

Himalayan balsam is a non-native plant which is found along our rivers and streams and its seeds can quickly spread, smothering other native flowers and vegetation as it goes. The balsam can take over so much that the river banks are left completely bare during the winter months which can lead to increased erosion.

To help stop the spread, South Glos are launching a conservation campaign called the Big Pull and are looking for community groups and large businesses to get involved. They are running free workshops with practical demonstrations where you will learn how to identify, pull and dispose of Himalayan balsam, including one in Frampton Cotterell from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday 14th June. Meet in the car park at The Globe Inn.

For more information and to book a place on a workshop, please call 01454 863592, email naturalenvironment@southglos.gov.uk or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/thebigpull.