Friday, 20 December 2013

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers from your Focus Team. We hope you have an enjoyable festive season.

You can find out about changes to council opening times and services over Christmas here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Free Christmas events at local libraries

There are a wide range of free Christmas events going on libraries locally including festive Rhymetimes, seasonal crafts and stories round the Christmas tree. More information is available on the South Glos website.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Premises licence granted for South Glos Show

Today the Licensing Sub-Committee at South Glos Council granted a premises licence for the South Glos Show, an event to be held at Windmill Fisheries on 2nd and 3rd August next year.

Members listened carefully to local residents, local councillor Claire Young, officers and the applicants, then everyone left the room while they deliberated. The sub-committee agreed to grant the licence, but alcohol can only be served until 9pm. Two extra conditions were added, one of which requires the organisers to follow the recommendations of the Safety Advisory Group, which will meet in January.

You can find out more about the event at www.southglosshow.co.uk or by calling 01454 222 959.

Have your say on NHS

The South Glos Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has extended the deadline for responding to their Call to Action survey to 31 January 2014. They are asking your views on health services, locally and nationally.

You can complete the survey online here. For more information about the NHS Call to Action click here. If you would like a printed copy of the survey, please telephone 0117 947 4400.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Good news as Core Strategy approved

On Wednesday, South Gloucestershire Council took the important step of adopting its Core Strategy, the planning blueprint for the area until 2027. The development makes South Gloucestershire one of the very first councils in the country to have a National Planning Policy compliant framework.

Lib Dem lead on planning, Cllr Pat Hockey said: “We welcome the fact that the Core Strategy has gone through. This means we won’t get planning by appeal. It’s an important milestone for proper planning for South Gloucestershire communities.

“All over the country, unwanted development is being imposed on local communities. It’s going where developers rather than the council have decided they would like to put it because they haven’t got their planning blueprint in place. We’re well aware that some people are losing out because of the huge developments they will be finding on their doorstep. As one of the most attractive places in the country to live, work and invest, we have no choice but to play our part in making way for the much-needed economic development and housing.”

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Enjoy the festive lights in Westerleigh

If you want some help getting in the festive spirit and you're in the Westerleigh area you might want to drop in to Mill Crescent, Westerleigh. Residents there have once again put on an amazing display for a good cause. This year's charity is the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is devoted to improving the lives of teenagers and young adults with cancer.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sainsbury's Local planning application submitted

Developers have submitted an application to build a Sainsbury's Local store in the car park of the Badminton Arms, Coalpit Heath - and you only have until Boxing Day to let the council know what you think.

You can view all the plans and make comments on the South Glos website. If for any reason that link doesn't work, go to http://developments.southglos.gov.uk/online-applications/ and enter the reference number PK13/4401/F.

Claire Young will be forwarding on the views already expressed to her but it's important that people also make their views known to the case officer directly, whether for or against. The best way is to use the online comments facility linked to above but you can also email planningapplications@southglos.gov.uk 

If you know people who have a view on this application but don't have internet access, they can use a computer at a local library or submit comments to the council in writing. Letters should be sent to Planning Applications, PO Box 299, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DR.

If you would like to receive email updates on the progress of this application, please sign up here.

Monday, 2 December 2013

Senior Siren magazine

The Senior Siren magazine is the bi-monthly magazine of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team (SCLT). The SCLT is a hybrid police/charity project that aims to provide a tailored crime prevention, victim support and social advocacy service to vulnerable older adults in the community.

You can read the latest version online.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Local Nature Reserve celebrates triple award success

Wapley Bushes Conservation Group is celebrating triple success, having won three environmental awards this year.

The Nature Reserve has been awarded the prestigious Green Flag Community Award under the national award scheme for well-managed, high-quality public and community parks and green spaces, plus a Level 4 “Thriving” award from South West in Bloom. The Conservation Group’s latest project – a community orchard – also won a Level 3 “Developing” certificate. This project aims to restore heritage varieties of fruit in a new public orchard.

The Conservation Group’s volunteers were officially presented with three awards at their November work morning by Cllr Christine Howard, Chairman of Dodington Parish Council, pictured holding the flag in the photo above.

Cllr Paul Hulbert, who has taken an active part in all the Wapley projects, said “We’ve had a busy year, and it’s good to have our volunteers’ efforts so well recognised. We were particularly pleased to get a Level 3 award for the Community Orchard, which only started two years ago. We would like to thank Dodington Parish Council and South Gloucestershire Council for their support and encouragement.”

Wapley Bushes Conservation Group welcomes volunteers at its regular workdays, including accompanied children. Full details and photos of the reserve are on the Wapley Bushes blog www.wapley.blogspot.com.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Frampton End Road closure agreed

The long campaign to close Frampton End Road to motorised traffic ended in success last night when the Frome Vale Area Forum approved the Traffic Regulation Order to close the road to motorised traffic and introduce a 20mph speed limit.

CampaignerNick Carver said, "It has been a long journey but we have finally achieved what we set out to do. I would like to thank everyone involved for their help and support.".

The lanes will now be closed near The Barn, Iron Acton, near Chestnut Farm, Mayshill and near the sharp bends at the Frampton Cotterell end. Details of how the closure points will be secured and access given to those who need it, such as the emergency services and utilities, will be finalised by officers.

Wind turbine approved on appeal

Plans to build a 100kW wind turbine at Wapley, south of the B4465 between Westerleigh and Codrington, have been approved on appeal.

Back in March the DC (East) planning committee refused the application on a majority vote. That decision has now been overturned by a planning inspector, who felt that the benefits of the renewable energy generated outweighed the harmful effects on the openness of the Green Belt.

Help someone suffering from domestic abuse

A seasonal campaign has been launched this week to encourage friends and family to speak out if someone they know is being abused.

The South Gloucestershire Partnership Against Domestic Abuse, who are behind the campaign, includes South Gloucestershire Council, Avon & Somerset Constabulary, Avon & Somerset Probation Trust, Merlin Housing Society, Next Link, Survive, North Bristol NHS Trust, Sovereign Housing Association, Avon & Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Trust, Victim Support and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group.

The campaign asks friends and relatives to support the person to contact the appropriate services for help. You can seek confidential guidance from charities like Survive or speak to someone you're already in touch with, like a housing officer, your GP, health visitor or social worker. A full list of the agencies you can contact for help and advice is available at www.southglos.gov.uk/helpsomeone

Funding for youth activities

At last night's Frome Vale Area Forum meeting, local councillors allocated funding of £1602 towards an Art and Cafe project at Fromeside Youth Centre. Members were particularly impressed that the ideas had come from the young people themselves. The cafe project will enable young people to get more involved with running the cafe at the centre, hopefully helping some of them to find employment.

There was also a contribution of £1160 towards residential trips for young people with learning difficulties from across South Gloucestershire, £547 for a training and confidence building weekend for young people at St Nicholas Youth Centre and £7000 for an additional night at Brimsham Green, for 13 and 14 year olds.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Reminder - find out more about South Glos Show on Monday

At 7pm on Monday (2nd December) in the Manor Hall, the organisers of the South Glos Show will be making a presentation to Westerleigh Parish Council. Members of the public are welcome to go along to find out more about what's proposed.

Objections to the licensing application are due to be heard by the Licensing Sub-Committee on 17th December.

Have your say at Severn Vale Area Forum

Next Wednesday residents of Charfield Ward can once again have their say at the local Severn Vale Area Forum. It starts at 7pm on Wednesday 4 December in the Council Chamber at the Council Offices in Thornbury. The agenda for the meeting is available on line.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Good news for Frampton Cotterell C of E pupils

Good news for children who go to Frampton Cotterell C of E School. Councillors yesterday agreed funding for interim boiler work.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Local health services delays

Frenchay Hospital is due to close when the new Southmead hospital opens in May 2014. Part of the plan was to have 68 beds ready as part of a Health and Social Care Centre at Frenchay but these plans are so far behind that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now saying they will use Elgar House at Southmead until the new Frenchay facility is built.

Cllr Sue Hope, the Lib Dem Health Spokesperson, said, “We’ve asked the Health Secretary to look again at this decision on the temporary beds and have made it clear the unit must remain in future plans. However we couldn’t support the other parties in referring all the plans to the Secretary of State. This will greatly delay planned improvements to services in Yate and across the patch and could put them at risk altogether. This issue is far too important to local people to be a political football.”

Under the CCG’s plans, Frenchay would be without health facilities until the 68 bed unit opens. However they would expand outpatient facilities in Yate and Cossham and add them to those at Southmead and Emerson’s Green, putting them within reach of the vast majority of South Gloucestershire residents. Those plans will now have to be put on hold due to the referral.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Have your say at Frome Vale Area Forum

Next Thursday you can once again have your say at the local Frome Vale Area Forum. It starts at 7pm on Thursday 28 November in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. The agenda for the meeting is available on line.

Core Strategy latest

The Core Strategy Inspector has now published his report. The good news is that he has supported the strategy for protecting our villages and locating the majority of the massive development required for South Gloucestershire in the North Fringe of Bristol along with extensions to Yate and Thornbury.

He has suggested that Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath should be considered for inclusion in the Green Belt. This would be when South Gloucestershire Council reviews the Core Strategy which he requires to be complete by 2018. Meanwhile both Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell Parish Councils have requested South Gloucestershire Council to give it “Local Green Space” designation in the Planning Document they are preparing to accompany the Core Strategy.

Grange Farm Solar Farm - comment deadline today

Comments on the Grange Farm Solar Farm have to be submitted by today (Friday 22nd November). If you wish to comment go to the planning search page on the South Gloucestershire website and enter the reference PT13/3662/F. We apologise that there was a typo in the reference we published last week.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Free advice and support for carers

Next Friday, 29th November, carers can get free advice and support at an event at the Vassall Centre in Fishponds BS16 2QQ.

The event is being held to celebrate Carers' Rights Day and runs from 12pm to 4pm. You can meet local carers' representatives and carers from Bristol and enjoy some songs performed by the South Glos carers choir "Sing Your Cares Away". There will be information on practical support to help carers and "assistive technology" - devices and systems that aid independent living and send alerts to carers or family members.

There will also be table top discussions regarding recent consultations on the NHS Commitment for Carers and Care Bill eligibility regulations.

This year’s Carers' Rights Day theme is ‘rights, advice, support’ focussing on making sure carers get the information and advice they need as well as practical solutions on how technology can help them in their role. For more information about caring visit www.southglos.gov.uk/carers. To confirm attendance please contact the Carers Support Centre booking line on 0117 9375623 or email bookingsline@carerssupportcentre.org.uk

Burglary warning from local police

The South Glos area is currently suffering from a series of burglaries where the elderly are being targeted.

The method is generally to force a rear door or window and the offences are occurring between 7pm and 11pm in the evening, mostly on week days.

The police believe this is because they are not only identifying properties as having elderly occupiers but also because occupants are leaving the light on and the curtains open. They are encouraging residents to make sure all doors and windows are locked and all curtains drawn. If you see any suspicious activity, please call the Police on 999.

Some success for Southmead bus campaign

South Gloucestershire Council has agreed funding for a bus service for visiting times from Chipping Sodbury to the new hospital via Yate, Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell. The NHS funding only covers improving the 581 service to half hourly, requiring a change to another bus at Parkway to get to Southmead.

Local MP Steve Webb who has been leading the “Bus to Southmead” campaign said, “I welcome this step forward but it still leaves staff and any outpatients having to change buses. We need to ensure the NHS keeps its promise to provide most treatment at Yate and Cossham as the extra 581 buses will enable people to get there. We must also try to persuade the bus companies to rethink their decision not to provide a through service commercially”.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Shorthill Road speed table approved

This afternoon Claire Young attended the Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment committee to speak on the item to decide whether or not to approve the speed table on Shorthill Road. The members of the committee unanimously approved it. This is another important hurdle overcome in implementing the Westerleigh traffic calming scheme.

Find out more about Fairtrade

The South Gloucestershire Fairtrade Group (SGFG) will be out and about at Yate Shopping Centre on Saturday 23 November when they will be taking part in a Christmas charity event from 12pm. They will have an information stand featuring information about Fairtrade products, how to become a member of the group and details on how to help the town retain its Fairtrade status.

To join SGFG contact Lydia Nash on 01454 863119 or email lydia.nash@southglos.gov.uk

For more information on where to shop local visit www.fairtradesouthwest.org.uk or www.facebook.com/sgfairtrade

Friday, 15 November 2013

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane is expected to close for cleaning from 9.30am until 2.30pm on 18th November 2013.

Have your say on council budget

It's time to have your say on the council budget - and this year it's more important than ever to let the council know what your priorities are.

Excluding schools, which are fully funded by direct Government grant, South Glos Council spends over £318 million a year providing local services. £103 million of funding for that comes from central Government grants.

In recent years, those grants have reduced as part of cutting the deficit, and that is set to continue. By the end of 2014/15 the council will have reached a savings target of £43 million, through measures including cutting management levels by 40 percent, improving IT and simplifying processes and administration.

Unfortunately tens of millions of pounds of further savings will have to be made by the end of the decade. This will mean reshaping services or possibly even stopping some of them all together. This budget consultation gives you a chance to say which services you think are most important.

There are a number of ways you can do this:
  • Attend one of the budget roadshows:
Wednesday 20 November, Yate Shopping Centre, 1pm to 4pm
Thursday 21 November, Staple Hill Library, 10am to 1pm
Monday 25 November, Kingswood Shopping Centre, 2pm to 5pm
Tuesday 26 November, Sainsburys, Emersons Green, 1pm to 4pm
Wednesday 27 November, Bradley Stoke Willowbrook Centre, 3pm to 7pm
Thursday 28 November, St Mary’s Shopping Centre, Thornbury, 10am to 1pm
Wednesday 4 December, Patchway Hub, 10am to 1pm. 
  • Attend one of the Area Forums. The Frome Vale Forum (which includes Westerleigh, Ladden Brook and Frampton Cotterell wards) is at 7pm on Thursday 28th November in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Severn Vale (which includes Charfield) is at 7pm on December 4 in Severn Beach Primary School. 
  • Tweet your comments on Twitter using the hashtag #sgcbudget 
  • Fill in an online survey at www.southglos.gov.uk/budget 
  • Email: consultation@southglos.gov.uk 
  • Telephone: 01454 868154 
  • Write to: FREEPOST RTCT-JXLE-EET South Gloucestershire Council, Budget Consultation, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 9TR

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Traffic calming - brief consultation

The consultation on the revised traffic calming proposals ends on Monday 18 November. It's only a brief consultation as the principle of introducing road narrowings has already been consulted on but the details have changed. You can find out more and comment on the South Glos website.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Waverley Road closure

Waverley Road, Yate will be closed for resurfacing this weekend. The road will be planed off overnight on Friday 15th November, between 8pm and 6am. The new surface will then be laid between 8am and 5pm on 16th and 17th November.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

More solar farm proposals

Solar Power South has submitted a planning application for a very large solar farm at Grange Farm, Old Gloucester Road in the Green Belt. It proposes 95,000 solar panels so is larger than the Says Court solar farm at Mayshill, which now has planning permission.

There was a public exhibition in the Grange Hotel for a few hours on August 27th. If you wish to comment on the planning application go to the planning search page on the South Gloucestershire website and enter the reference PT13/3662/F. Comments have to be in by November 22nd.

Unlike AEE, who have agreed “community benefit” funding with Westerleigh Parish Council based on the electricity generated, Solar Power South have confirmed that there is no requirement for them to make any contribution for community benefit.

AEE have also agreed a community benefit contribution with Iron Acton Parish Council, if their proposed solar farm at Green Farm Latteridge gets the go ahead. They will be holding a further public exhibition in the Marshall Rooms in Iron Acton on Monday 18th November from 3pm to 7pm. Afterwards representatives will attend the Iron Acton Parish Council meeting in North Road school.

Edited to correct the reference number for the Grange Farm application. It should be PT13/3662/F - we apologise for any difficulties you may have had finding the application.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Licensing application for South Gloucestershire Show

The South Gloucestershire Show is a major event planned to be held at Windmill Fisheries off Westerleigh Road on 2nd and 3rd August 2014. The organisers hope this will become an annual event. You can find out more at www.southglosshow.co.uk or by calling 01454 222 959.

People living or working close to the site have until 21st November to comment on the recently submitted licensing application. The activities covered are plays, live and recorded music, dance and the supply of alcohol. They have asked for the entertainment aspects to be licensed 10am to 9pm during the event and during the day for soundchecks in the two days before the event. Alcohol would be sold for exhibitor consumption only on the two days before hand and at the event would be served to the general public from 10.30am to 9pm, 9am to 11pm for exhibitors.

Comments must be submitted in writing to licensing@southglos.gov.uk or South Gloucestershire Council Licensing Team, PO Box 299, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood BS15 0DR. There is guidance on the South Glos website or for further advice call 01454 868001.

The organisers will be making a presentation at Westerleigh Parish Council at 7pm on Monday 2nd December in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath. Local people are welcome to attend and ask questions.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Sainsbury's Local event TONIGHT

Don't forget that the information event about the proposal to build a Sainsbury's Local in the Badminton Arms car park is tonight, Tuesday 5th November, at the pub between 5pm and 7.30pm. Afterwards, please let us know your views by completing our very brief online survey.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Find out more about community energy

Energising Communities is an event where you can find out why communities are generating their own energy and what groups are doing elsewhere. The event runs from 11am to 3.30pm on Saturday 16th September in Windhager UK offices, Marshfield, SN14 8SR. The keynote speaker will be Dr Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. There will be a home-made soup and sandwich lunch for £5.

To find out more and book your place, go to the Marshfield Energy Project website.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Free events mark history writing month

There are a number of free author events taking place at libraries in South Gloucestershire during November to help celebrate history writing month. They include:
  • An evening with bestselling author of Roman military fiction Ben Kane at Cadbury Heath Library on Monday 4 November at 7.30pm. For more information contact Cadbury Heath Library on 01454 868006 or email cadburyheath.library@southglos.gov.uk
  • A talk by historian and novelist J D Davies, who specialises in 17th century naval history, at Downend Library on Thursday 14 November at 7.30pm. For more information contact Downend Library on 01454 868006 or email downend.library@southglos.gov.uk
  • A talk by military history author Stewart Binns and fellow Historical Writers Association member Jane Borodale at Emersons Green Library on Thursday 21 November at 8pm. For more information contact Emersons Green Library on 01454 868006 or email emersonsgreen.library@southglos.gov.uk
Tickets to all events are free but must be booked through www.southglosevents.eventbrite.co.uk or any South Gloucestershire library.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Latest on Westerleigh smell

During the summer more smells were reported in Westerleigh village, which appeared to be linked to hydrogen sulphide in the sewers. All those involved have been working hard to find a solution. At the end of October, Tulip started using a new chemical to dose their effluent, which has reduced the levels of the gas in their rising main. They will continue to use this while they work with the Environment Agency and independent experts to find a more permanent solution.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Find out more about new First Bus fares

First Bus are holding a number of roadshow events to explain their new fares to local people. This Friday 1st November they will be in the Willow Brook Shopping Centre in Bradley Stoke from 12pm until 8pm and in Bristol Bus Station from 9am until 6pm.

You will also be able to pick up a simple guide to what's changing on buses, at Travel Shops, at roadshows and in Bristol City Centre on 1st and 2nd November. A more comprehensive booklet will be available and you can find out more on their website. If you tweet First @FirstBSA using the hashtag #fairerfares they will try to answer your questions directly.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Could you help a young care leaver?

It's National Care Leavers' Week and South Glos Council has launched a recruitment drive to find people to support a young person when they leave care.

As part of the supported lodgings scheme, they are looking for families, single parents, couples or individuals from all backgrounds, cultures and identities to provide supported, temporary accommodation for care leavers aged 16 to 18. You would need to provide them with a room in your home and help mentor them to take the first steps towards independent living. Ideally you would also live near community facilities with good transport links.

You would receive full training from the council's supported lodgings coordinator, have the opportunity to meet other carers in similar roles and you would also be paid a weekly allowance of £155.

Contact Esther Clarke on 01454 863498 or email esther.clarke@southglos.gov.uk For more information visit www.southglos.gov.uk/supportedlodgings Further details on the national campaign are available at www.thecareleaversfoundation.org

Monday, 28 October 2013

Have your say on how South Glos Council buys goods and services

South Gloucestershire Council is asking your views on a new procurement and commissioning strategy. The council spends over £170m each year on goods, works and services provided by external organisations. It wants to make sure it gets the best possible value and supports local businesses. You can find out more and make comments on the council's website - the consultation runs until 3 January 2014.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Sainsbury's Local proposed in Badminton Arms car park

A property group is proposing to build a Sainsbury's Local store in part of the car park of the Badminton Arms in Coalpit Heath.

The pub would remain open, with the play facilities relocated to the area between the pub and Badminton Road. The store would go in the south western corner of the site and there would be a separate designated area for service vehicles and deliveries to the shop.

Box Property Group is holding a drop-in information evening from 5pm to 7.30pm at the Badminton Arms on Tuesday 5th November 2013. There will be display boards and people available to answer questions that residents and local traders may have.

When this was first rumoured in the summer, concern was expressed by existing local traders. Your Focus Team would be interested to hear your views.

Cycle path - the latest funding situation

There is currently some uncertainty over funding for the next phase of the cycle path. The southern side of the Westerleigh Road crossing is in place and it's hoped that there will be a further £75K in 2014/15 to complete the northern side. There may also be the possibility of further funding to complete the route from Westerleigh Road to Broad Lane.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Energy Loan Scheme launched

South Glos Council has recently launched an energy loan scheme to help homeowners carry out a range of projects, including installing solar panels, biomass boilers or upgrading their existing heating. For further details call the energy advice line for free on 0800 500 3076.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

First Bus fare changes

First Bus are changing their fares from 3rd November:
  • The old 3 zones will disappear to be replaced by 2, inner and outer.
  • They have a new, simpler way of working out single ticket prices.
  • An outer zone First Day Ticket, giving unlimited travel in the inner and outer zones for one day, will cost £6.
You can find out more on the First Bus website.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Time to apply for revenue grants

If you're a voluntary group working to make our local communities better, did you know that you can apply for a small grant from South Gloucestershire Council to help you do it?

At the September Area Forum we awarded capital grants to a number of local organisations:
  • Crossbow Pre-school Community Hall - Renovaton project -£1,192.00 
  • Frampton Cotterell & District Community Association - Central Heating for Crossbow House - £1,000.00
  • Wickwar Playing Fields Association - Open Air Basketball Facility - £750.00
  • Friends of Ram Hill Colliery - Restoration of Ram Hill Colliery Site - £850.00
  • Tytherington Rocks Football Club - Pitch maintenance project - £750.00
  • 1st Frampton Cotterell Scout Group - Improving kit - £2,000.00
  • Tytherington Village Shop Association - "Growing the business" - £550.00
  • Frampton Cotterell Netball Club - Frampton Cotterell development - £605.24
  • St Saviours Church - Badminton Road Wall - £1,500.00
The current round of applications is for revenue grants - small grants that can help you with your basic running costs and buying small pieces of equipment. For example, they can help towards room hire, insurance or putting on a community event. We are especially keen to hear from groups that haven't made an application before as we want to make sure we are reaching all parts of the community.

You can find out more and make your application on the South Glos Grants Website. There is also a helpline available on 01454 865865 Mon-Fri 9am-4pm.

In communities that have had new housing, there is also an opportunity to make a proposal for spending some of the New Homes Bonus that the government gives the council for the first 6 years after each new house is built. At the last Area Forum we endorsed the following projects in the Ladden-Frome area:
  • Frampton Cotterell Netball Club – Hiring Indoor Training Facilities - £1,680 for 1 year
  • Frampton Cotterell Parish Council – Pavilion Extension - £30,500
  • Frampton Cotterell Parish Council – Solar Panel Installation - £19,675
  • Wickwar Youth Club – Kitchen Equipment - £1,000
  • Wickwar Village Hall - Refurbishment - £2,830
If you want a New Homes Bonus scheme to be considered at the next Area Forum, you need to apply by Monday 4th November. Applications for the following meeting should be submitted by 3rd February. Contact your local councillor if you'd like to know more.

Badminton Road night closures

The A432 Badminton Road will be closed between Culvert Avenue and Nibley Lane for 4 nights starting on 28th October 2013. This is so that resurfacing work can be carried out.

Have your say on police

You have until Saturday 26th October to tell Avon and Somerset Constabulary what you think about plans to re-shape the structure of the force and the way it works.  You can find out more and have your say on their website.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Last chance to nominate for Sports Awards

Tomorrow (Thursday 17th October) is the deadline for nominations for the 2013 South Gloucestershire Council Sports Awards.

The Awards recognise the amazing contribution of local people who play, coach and organise sport across South Gloucestershire. If you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their achievements please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/sportsawards to nominate them.

The awards evening will take place at the BAWA Club in Filton on Thursday 28 November at 7pm and will be hosted by BBC Radio Bristol’s Geoff Twentyman. The 2013 South Gloucestershire Council Sports Awards are sponsored by Airbus in the UK and the Active Partnership.

Friday, 11 October 2013

A38 - overnight roadworks

It may be outside our immediate area, but many people will use the A38 Filton Roundabout when they travel further afield. From 14th-24th October, major resurfacing work will take place at night, starting at 8pm and continuing until about 6am the following morning. All approaches to the roundabout will be closed and traffic diverted.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Westerleigh Road to reopen at 6am Friday 11th October

Westerleigh Road has been closed at the double railway arches on the way into the village from Yate since 30th September. It was due to reopen today but Network Rail have found further problems. After negotiation with the council, the company agreed to get extra people in to speed up the work but they do need some extra time. They now plan to re-open the road at 6am tomorrow, Friday 11th October. Fingers crossed they find no further problems.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Westerleigh Road closure - continuing tomorrow

Claire Young has been contacted by people today concerned that the Network Rail Westerleigh Road closure is being extended to 11th October. Unfortunately the relevant officers have been unavailable but it appears that the current expectation is that the work will finish tomorrow, 10th October. We will keep you updated if we hear more.

Library disruption

Local libraries could be affected by planned industrial action this Friday 11 October between 10am and 2pm. The full impact of the action won't be known until the day but you can get updates on the council's website.

Progress on Westerleigh traffic calming scheme

Last Thursday Claire Young walked round Westerleigh village with the highways engineer now responsible for the traffic calming scheme, Parish Councillors and a representative of Community Speedwatch. The engineer, who has taken over the scheme since the previous officer left the council, proposes the following:
  • installing a road narrowing at the existing 30mph/40mph gateway along Shorthill Road approx 0.5m either side of the carriageway
  • installing a road narrowing just north of the Old Parsonage on Westerleigh Road approx 0.5m either side of the carriageway.
  • investigating the Broad Lane junction in more detail with the proposal to build out the existing verge, possibly with kerbing and tarmac to narrow the road in line with the potential Yate cycle path. The officer will arrange a meeting with the engineer dealing with the proposed cycle path to ascertain what can be achieved within the same cost as a road narrowing. This will most likely not happen at the same time as the other two narrowings due to the complex nature of the work involved.
The Vehicle Activated Sign will remain at the existing location along Shorthill Road. The engineer advised that relocating it on the other side of the road, as had previously been proposed, would not be as effective. Drivers coming down Shorthill Road will see a series of reasons for slowing down – the 30mph limit will start right up at the crossroads, there will be the road narrowing at the entrance to the village, then the Vehicle Activated Sign, then the warning sign for the speed table and then the speed table itself. The officer hopes the speed limit signs can be installed within 2 weeks.

As previously reported, a report on the objections to the speed table will go to the next Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee meeting, which starts at 3pm on Wednesday 20th November in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend to give their views before the decision is made.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Industrial action today

Today industrial action is affecting council services, including all the libraries except Cadbury Heath. You can find out more on the council's website.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Westerleigh still open for business

While Westerleigh Road may be closed at the double railway arches as you enter the village from Yate, most of the businesses in the village are very much open - and they'd still like you to visit!

The village shop is closed until the road closure ends next week but Wot Nots, the New Inn, Ye Olde Inne and the other businesses in the village are still open. You can get to them by entering the village from the other end - either via the traffic lights at the cross roads at the top of Shorthill Road or via the Kidney Hill junction.

And if you are on foot or a bicycle you can still get through the railway arches as well.

Friday, 27 September 2013

Libraries closed Saturday 28th September

The following libraries will be closed on Saturday 28th September due to industrial action:
  • Bradley Stoke Library
  • Chipping Sodbury Library
  • Emersons Green Library
  • Hanham Library
  • Kingswood Library
  • Patchway Library
  • Staple Hill Library
  • Winterbourne Library
  • Yate Library
Thornbury Library will also be closed due to previously scheduled maintenance works. There are signs on the door and if you've booked to attend ‘Discover’ festival events at these libraries you should have been directly notified.

Join the team tackling speeding in Coalpit Heath

Coalpit Heath Community Speedwatch is working hard to tackle speeding in and around the village.

Particular hotspots are Henfield Road in the Quiet Lanes Scheme and Park Lane. In Henfield, they recently caught 30 vehicles speeding in just 1.5 hours - more than 10% of the cars that passed. Most were doing over 40mph with the top speed being 51mph.

On Park Lane 45 cars were spotted speeding in 1.5 hours. The team currently has eight volunteers but is always looking for more. If you can help please contact the co-ordinator John Pearce on 07843 871387.

Update on Westerleigh traffic calming

Last week we reported on the delays to the Westerleigh traffic calming scheme. This week Westerleigh Parish Council and ward councillor Claire Young had a productive meeting with officers from South Glos Council. The project is in the hands of a new officer. Besides the objections to the speed table, the sticking points appear to have been keeping the project within budget and technical concerns about the feasibility of the road narrowings proposed. There is a minimum width of road that must be retained on all bus routes and what was previously proposed did not meet that requirement. At the end of the meeting the officers agreed the following:
  •  They will take the report on the objections to the speed table to the next Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee meeting in November. Members of the public are welcome to attend to give their views before the decision is made. 
  • In parallel with that, the new officer responsible for the scheme will go out on site with local representatives to re-measure the roads and identify what is feasible at each of the three entrances to the village, before drawing up new designs. 
  • The revised scheme will then be implemented before the end of this financial year.

Click to support Paul's Place

Coalpit Heath-based charity Paul's Place has been nominated for the Lloyds community fund award 2013 and they need your votes! You can vote for them:
  • Online – www.lloydsbank.com/communityfund 
  • By text - text the word VOTE and MQQD to 61119 
  • In person at a Lloyds branch – ask in branch for a voting token
You have until 1st November to vote.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Says Court Solar Farm approved

This afternoon the planning committee unanimously approved the Says Court solar farm application. The conditions were largely as in the report but with two additions (the conditions ones proposed by the Coal Authority and Network Rail). The condition about what should happen at the end of the 25 years was reworded so that it also required removal of the apparatus if the generation of power ceased some time before then.

Edited to add: During the meeting, officers also clarified the use of the community benefit fund. While still objecting to the application, Westerleigh Parish Council had negotiated on a "without prejudice" basis a community benefit of £1000 per MW generated, which could mean up to £17,500 a year for environmental projects to benefit the local community. Officers emphasised that their recommendation did not depend on this, it was a unilateral undertaking by the applicants, AEE Renewables. In the first year, £7000 will be available for ecological improvements on site, in conjunction with Avon Wildlife Trust.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Avon Fire And Rescue - advice on tomorrow's strike

Tomorrow between 12 noon and 4pm a national strike by firefighters is taking place. Avon Fire and Rescue Service have published some advice on staying safe and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Have your say at Safer Stronger Commuity Groups

The Yate Safer Stronger Community Group (which covers the rural part of Dodington Parish) starts at 7pm on Monday 23rd September in Shireway Community Centre. The Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton SSCG (try saying that in a hurry!) is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 24th September in Iron Acton Village Hall.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Planning committee to decide Solar Farm application

The site meeting in July
It’s been confirmed that the DC (West) planning committee will consider the Says Court Solar Farm at their meeting next Thursday, 26th September, starting at 2.30pm in the Council offices in Thornbury. It will be the first application considered at the meeting, although there are some administrative items that always have to be dealt with first.

You can find the agenda online and the officer's report.

The officer recommendation is for approval with conditions. The actual decision will be made by the councillors at the meeting. There will be an opportunity for both supporters and objectors to speak for up to 5 minutes in total, so it makes sense for someone to act as spokesperson. Ward councillor Claire Young has a separate slot in which to speak.

Traffic alert - Westerleigh to Yate road to be closed for 10 days from 30 September

Between 30th September and 9th October, Westerleigh Road will be completely closed at the double railway arches so that Network Rail can carry out urgent repairs on the bridges.

This means that for ten days you won't be able to get through from Westerleigh to Yate in either direction. Unfortunately it's not possible for Network Rail to close just half the road because of the size of the machinery they need to use.

There will be warning signs about the closure at the entrance to Nibley Lane from Badminton Road and at the Shire Way roundabout and a diversion will be in operation.

This is likely to put pressure on other roads in the area, so please allow extra time if your journey to work takes you that way.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Westerleigh traffic calming delays

We had been expecting officers to bring a report on the Westerleigh traffic calming scheme to the September meeting of the Planning, Transport and the Strategic Environment Committee so they could make a decision on the objections to the speed table. Unfortunately this did not happen. Claire spoke to the Head of Street Care to express her strong concern about the lengthy delays to this project. He has agreed to meet Claire and representatives of the Parish Council along with the officers now involved in the implementation of the scheme later this month. Watch this space for more news.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Footpath NOT closing

Local people have expressed concern that the footpath between Dodmoor Farm and Frog Lane might close as part of the cycle path works. Claire has checked with officers and this is definitely not the case. As the only path between Westerleigh and that end of Coalpit Heath, it would be a high priority to protect it.

Have your say at Area Forum

It's Area Forum time again, your chance to have your say on issues in our area and have a say where local funding is spent. At this round of forums we'll be allocating New Homes Bonus and Capital grants for local groups. The Frome Vale Forum is on Thursday 19th September at 7pm in Watermore Primary School (junior site), Lower Stone Close, Frampton Cotterell.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane, between Westerleigh Road and Badminton Road, is expected to close for cleaning tomorrow, Wednesday 11th September from 9.30am to 2.30pm.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Housing replacement plans event TODAY

Merlin are planning to redevelop 450 "non-traditional" homes across South Gloucestershire and the first 10 are in Coalpit Heath. Today (Wednesday 4th September) between 3pm and 7pm all local residents have a chance to see the plans at a drop in event in the Miners Club.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Time to Discover...

South Gloucestershire's second Discover festival starts on 12th September and runs until 1st November.

Discover 2013 brings together a number of events, including the Celebrating Age Festival, Active Mind Month, South Gloucestershire Taste Festival, the Out and About in Nature Programme and Heritage Open Doors. Details of all events are on the South Gloucestershire website site at www.southglos.gov.uk/discover and include:

  • Discover our great outdoors through fungi forays, fossil hunting and wildlife wild nights out.
  • Discover, celebrate and sample the abundance of local food in South Gloucestershire at harvest festival events, local food markets and bakery tours.
  • Discover the rich heritage of South Gloucestershire at ‘Heritage Open Days’ events including a tour of the Rolls Royce Heritage Trust collection or a visit to Oldwood Pits and Ram Hill Colliery.
  • Discover your creativity with author talks, painting and how to write ‘flash fiction’.
  • Celebrating Age. Find out what’s going on in your local area, and discover a range of exciting activities from opera to Tai Chi.
  • Discover events for life changes including dealing with depression, hearing and sight loss and memory loss.


Most events are free and can be booked on line.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Want a "Wheely big challenge"? Try the Sodbury Sportive!

This annual cycling event on 18th August offers a choice of 30, 60 and 100 mile routes starting and finishing in Chipping Sodbury. It's organised by the Members and Friends of the Rotary Club of Chipping Sodbury. All profits from this classic sportive event will be given to charity.


  • Challenging climbs and flowing descents
  • Quiet roads and rewarding flat sections
  • Excellent food stops
  • Mechanical backup
  • Hot food at the finish included

There are just a few more places available so sign up now at the Sodbury Sportive web page.

More details  also on the Sodbury Sportive Facebook page.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

See the Rugby League World Cup Tropy

Fancy seeing or even holding the Rugby League World Cup Trophy? Then get along to Yate Shopping Centre between 9.30am and 4.30pm on Tuesday 6th August. The Trophy Tour is coming to town.

If you'd like to see some of the action in the autumn, you can be there for the USA v Cook Islands at the Memorial Stadium, Bristol on Wednesday 30 October, Kick-Off 8pm. The ticket hotline is 0844 847 2013 or you can visit www.rlwc2013.com for more information. If you upload your trophy photos to www.trophytour.rlwc2013.com you might even win some match tickets!

Friday, 26 July 2013

Frampton End Road - formal advertisment

The formal notice for the Traffic Regulation Order for the closure of Frampton End Road and the road to Mayshill has been published. You can find the details on the council's website.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Stop and search consultation

The Home Office wants to know your views on the police powers of stop and search. They are looking at whether stop and search is used appropriately and fairly and how it can be better targeted and more intelligence-led. To find out more and respond go to the PCC website. . You have until 12 August 2013 to comment.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Westerleigh smell recurrence

Thank you to those who have reported the smells coming from the sewers in Westerleigh in recent weeks. Unfortunately there have been problems with hydrogen sulphide gas in the sewers. The Environment Agency, Wessex Water and Tulip (the owners of the abattoir) are all working to find a solution as quickly as they can. If you want to report an incident, please call the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60. This is free to call from landlines and operates 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Would you like to join a wood buying group?

Do you use bought-in logs for heating? Would you be interested in joining a wood buying group to use bulk purchasing to reduce prices?

Westerleigh resident Stephen Knowles, pictured above left, is hoping to set up a wood buying group in the village. If you are interested, please email him at stephen.knowles@bristolenergy.coop and let him know how many cubic metre bags of wood you use per year on average.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

Says Court Farm site visit


Yesterday the DC (West) planning committee visited Says Court Farm. At the entrance to the farm, the applicant, local councillor Claire Young, Westerleigh Parish Councillor Eve Carey and a representative of local objectors all had the opportunity to speak. The members of the committee then went on a tour of the farm and surrounding viewpoints so they could consider the visual impact of the proposals and ask questions.

There is still some work to be done before the application can go to committee. It definitely will not be considered at the next meeting, on 1st August.

Friday, 19 July 2013

The Frampton Festival - tomorrow!

Why not get along to the Frampton Festival at the Centenary Field on Saturday 20th July? The field opens at 2pm, entertainment starts at 3pm, and the day finishes at 10pm with the fireworks. You can find out more on their Facebook page.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane, from its junction with Westerleigh Road to its junction with Badminton Road, is expected to close for cleaning from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Friday 19th July.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Says Court Solar Farm - site visit 19th July

South Marston Solar Farm near Swindon
The site visit for the Says Court Farm solar farm project will take place on Friday 19th July, with an expected arrival time of 2.20pm. Being at the end of a long list of site visits, there is obviously scope for delay. It is proposed that everyone meets at the entrance to Says Court Farm and that those speaking will do so there, residents will not go on to the site. Members of the committee will then be driven around the site and to various vantage points to allow them to assess the visual impact of the proposal. 

You can view both the full agenda and the Says Court Farm report online. At this stage the officer has not made a recommendation to members to approve or refuse the application. The report simply asks the committee members to inspect the site and view it from the surrounding area.

In preparation for speaking at the site visit, local councillor Claire Young has visited two solar farms, one near Swindon and one near Bradford-on-Avon, with one of the Westerleigh Parish Councillors. Although AEE Renewables gave Claire details of where the sites were, she did not tell them when she was going and they were not accompanied by anyone from the company, so the visits were done entirely independently.

While visiting the site, Claire took some pictures. There was a public footpath at the South Marston site, not far outside Swindon, so it was possible to walk about and get right up to the fence. AEE Renewables had said that the concrete foundations are not what is planned for Says Court, so that isn’t representative of this application, but the site did demonstrate fencing, buffer zones etc. The site near Bradford-on-Avon was more tucked away, but it was possible to take pictures over the wall of the neighbouring cemetery.

The pictures hopefully give some idea of the visual impact of the site. Noise was not a problem in either case - you could hear the transformers when you were very close to them but moving away the sound soon became inaudible. If you would like to visit the sites yourselves, the postcodes are SN3 4SF and BA15 1TR. You can also find out more from the AEE Renewables website - there are pages for the Bradford-on-Avon site, the South Marston site and the recently approved solar farm neighbouring the South Marston site.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Have your say on council tax reduction scheme

South Glos Council is asking local people to comment on proposals for a new local council tax reduction scheme to be introduced in April 2014. The council tax reduction scheme replaced Council Tax Benefit from April 2013 but there is a shortfall in funding. Although it was possible to cover this in other ways in 2013/14, it will not be possible to do that in future years without raising the Council Tax. People who are eligible for state pension credit are not affected as they will continue to be assessed under the national scheme.

You can find out more and have your say by going to www.southglos.gov.uk/counciltaxchanges. The deadline for comments is 16th September.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Search for "Best on the Beat"

If someone in Avon and Somerset Police has gone the extra mile for you, why not nominate them for the Neighbourhood Policing Awards? You can find out more information and make the nomination online.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Update on Dodington Parish part-night lighting

During the recent consultation on part-night lighting in Dodington Parish, local councillor Claire Young queried the accident record at the junction where the road to Chipping Sodbury meets the B4465 by Wayleaze Cottages.

Officers checked the accident records and have confirmed that although there have been 2 loss of control personal injury accidents at the junction since January 2010, both were in the daytime (and in wet conditions). They will therefore be including the lights there in the part-night lighting scheme as there is no road safety reason not to do so.

Monday, 8 July 2013

Get involved in decisions

The latest meeting of the Frome Vale Area Forum is this Thursday, 11th July, at 7pm in the Shire Way Community Centre. Come along and have your say on a range of topics.

South Glos is currently reviewing how it works with residents, community groups and Parish Councils to involve them in making decisions and tackling local issues. You can have your say on the council's website. The results will help shape the future of Safer Stronger Community Groups and Area Forums.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Woodlands Farm refused

Objectors outside the council offices

This afternoon the Development Control (West) Committee unanimously refused the Barratt Homes' application to build on land at Woodlands Farm, Coalpit Heath.

Local councillor Claire Young said, "Thank you to all who came to the meeting today and to everyone who has turned out at the many events to show their opposition to these plans. A special thank you to Richard Merrick for leading the action group and all those members of the group who have helped spread the word and demonstrate just how strongly local people feel."

Barratt Homes now have the option to appeal against the decision. We will of course keep you informed if this happens.
Steve Webb MP with objectors at the site

Friday, 28 June 2013

Woodlands Farm - read the officer's report

You can now see the agenda for next Thursday’s committee meeting online - or you can follow this link directly to the report on Woodlands Farm. The officer is recommending refusal.

If you are planning to attend the meeting, please get there early to find parking (the Castle Street car park is the nearest, there is a pedestrian route through Stokes Close, you don't have to walk round via the road). The Gazette will be taking a photo outside the Council offices at around 2.10pm. The actual meeting starts at 2.30pm.

If transport is a problem, let us know, we've already had one offer of a lift.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Woodlands Farm will be decided on 4th July

Officers have confirmed that the Development Control (West) planning committee will determine the Woodlands Farm planning application on Thursday 4th July. The meeting is in the council chamber at Thornbury Council Offices and starts at 2.30pm. We know for some of you that will be a difficult time of day to attend a meeting, but if you are free a big turnout would show the committee just how strongly local people feel about this application.

It’s worth getting there early so that you can find parking (there is a path through from the Castle Street car park into Stokefield Close). If you can offer a lift to someone or need a lift yourself let Claire Young know and she will try to match people up. 

Check back next week for a link to the papers for the meeting so you can read the officer’s report to the committee.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Westerleigh traffic calming update

Claire Young recently asked officers for another update on the Westerleigh traffic calming scheme. The new speed limit signs should have gone in during May but they didn’t. Claire has asked officers to chase this up.

As we previously reported, the installation of the speed table and the road narrowings at the entrances to the village was delayed due to objections to the speed table. Officers are currently writing a report to go to the 4th September meeting of the committee responsible for transport so that they can decide whether or not the scheme is implemented. If you would like to attend the committee to speak on the proposals, the details are here:

http://council.southglos.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=399&MId=6601&Ver=4

If you use an electronic diary, you can download the appointment from there. A week beforehand the committee papers will be published at that url, so you can see what the officer’s report says.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Getting on with going green

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change joined 10s of 1000s of other visitors to the West of England this weekend to mark the start of Bristol Green Week. Ed Davey MP (pictured right) was the keynote speaker at the Green Liberal Democrat (GLD) conference, Getting on with Going Green, held at UWE and timed to coincide with the environmental festival. The GLD conference attendees included academics, industry leaders and political activists.

Energy & Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, said: "It’s great to be here for the Green Liberal Democrats Conference. It provides me with a valuable opportunity to listen carefully to delegates’ views on how we ‘get on with going green’. This year’s focus on delivering the green agenda is timely, and comes at a time when the Liberal Democrats in Government are making unprecedented progress.

The Energy Bill has passed the Commons stages and the overwhelming support it received sends out a clear message we are taking action to keep the lights on, create cleaner energy and green jobs, and keep consumers’ bills down.

GLD Conference volunteer co-organiser Mary Page said, "We have worked hard to bring together environmental and sustainability professionals from both academia and industry to provide expert information to Lib Dem policy makers."

"We did this because we believe, not that Lib Dems in government aren't trying hard enough to implement green policies but that they are doing so against very solid resistance. This means Lib Dem MPs and party policy makers need the GLD & other environmentalists actively engaged in the design, creation and evolution of policies which will help produce a strong green economy in a fair and sustainable society."

Local councillor Claire Young, who attended the conference, said, "It was a fantastic opportunity to share ideas and raise issues with those at the heart of Government and learn from experts in the field."

"We know that the cost of energy is a concern for people locally. Nationally, the Lib Dems are delivering schemes like the Green Deal, which will help people boost the energy efficiency of their homes. Here in South Gloucestershire too we have been pushing for measures to help people. Earlier in the week we won cross-party backing to fund a Switch and Save scheme, using the power of collective buying to cut energy bills, and to kick start a community energy co-op. Community energy offers people a share in the profits of local renewable energy installations and gives us a chance to break away from the dominance of the big six energy providers."

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friends of Ram Hill Colliery AGM

The AGM of the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery (FoRHC) will be held in the Miners Institute (aka Coalpit Heath Village Hall), 214 Badminton Road, BS36 2 QB on Wednesday 19 June at 7:30pm. The Ram Hill Colliery site itself is open to visit at all times and more info can be found at www.ramhillcolliery.org.ukThere will be an open day there on Sunday 15 September.

After the AGM the Chairman will be giving a talk about Woodchester Mansion, a grade 1 listed building near Stroud. Woodchester Mansion is an incomplete Victorian family house which means that it is possible to see things there that would normally not be visible in a stately home. For more info see www.woodchestermansion.org.uk

Woodlands Farm - revised plans

You may have received notification that Barratt Homes have submitted revised plans for Woodlands Farm, which are available on the South Glos website. (You need to scroll right down to the bottom of the screen to see the latest documents.) If you feel you wish to reiterate your objections, it can’t do any harm, though we are advised that they will assume that your original objections still stand unless you state otherwise.

Lorry Watch to help police weight limits

The South Glos Trading Standards team has developed a Lorry Watch Scheme for communities to help tackle those who breach weight limits on our local roads.

The scheme is similar to the very successful Community Speed Watch scheme already in operation in South Gloucestershire. The initial trial will involve existing Community Speed Watch (CSW) groups operating in a weight restricted area reporting incidents they see while carrying out speed watch sessions. It is hoped the scheme can later be widened to include town and parish councils where either there isn't a CSW scheme or the weight restricted area isn't covered by them.

Lorry Watch will enable local people to report alleged offenders to Trading Standards, who can then advise the vehicle operator on the alleged breach and provide information on how to avoid the area in the future. It will also allow Trading Standards to gather intelligence on when and where to target their resources for enforcement checks.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Good news on energy

Energy prices are soaring hitting everyone, especially the vulnerable. Your Focus Team has won cross-party backing on South Glos Council for two energy initiatives:
  • At Dave Hockey’s suggestion, officers are investigating a council-run collective energy switching scheme. £5000 has been identified to piggy back on the Bristol "Switch and Save" scheme (www.bristolswitchandsave.org.uk) which would allow local residents to gain discounts on their power bills of between £60 and £250 pounds per year.
  • Claire Young successfully proposed setting aside £15,000 of Invest to Save money to help kick-start a Community Energy Co-op in South Glos. These organisations support communities to develop renewable energy projects, including on community buildings and schools, and offer people a share in the profits of local installations. Bath and West Community Energy (www.bwce.coop) and Bristol Energy Co-op (www.bristolenergy.coop) are both running successfully in neighbouring authorities.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Retiring soon or already retired?

If you are retiring soon or already retired, why not drop in on the Now I’m Retiring Information Fair on Saturday 15 June 2013, at Yate Library, between 11am and 2pm. Described as "A marketplace of clubs, volunteering opportunities and hobbies to inspire you", you can find out more by emailing cchengagement@southglos.gov.uk or calling 01454 862356.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Core Strategy update

The Council today forwarded an additional response to the Planning Inspector for the Core Strategy, the planning blue print for South Gloucestershire. You can view the information on both the Council’s Core Strategy web page (www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategy) and the Programme Officer’s Core Strategy Examination web page (www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategyexamination).

Local Highways Schemes Planned for 2013/14

Funding has been allocated by South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning, Transport & Strategic Environment Committee to:

  • improve the zebra crossing in Winterbourne High Street
  • construct the next phase of an off road route for cyclists and horse riders along the Iron Acton Bypass
  • carry out a traffic study to review the lorry routes associated with Yate
  • carry out the preliminary work for the Church Road Bridge replacement. 
The delegated funding to the Frome Vale Area Forum will cover:

  • the Traffic Regulation Order for closing Frampton End Road to vehicles
  • consulting on a 40mph speed limit on Bristol Road
  • investigation of possible ways of slowing traffic on Church Road. 
A pedestrian refuge on Park Lane near Woodend Road is being funded from the money remaining from the sale of the Council Houses to Merlin. The developers are funding a 20mph speed limit in The Meads.

Work has started in preparation for replacement of the Church Road bridge due to structural defects. Early in May the traffic lights were up whilst investigations took place to confirm the large number of utilities that cross the bridge.

A temporary footbridge will be constructed in Winter 2014 alongside the bridge. It will double as a carrier for all of the utilities. When the bridge deck has been replaced in Summer 2014 the utilities will be moved back into the footways and the temporary footbridge will be removed.

We will keep you informed of the dates when the existing bridge deck is due to be demolished and replaced and the diversion arrangements when we know them.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Frampton Festival 2013 Bid

The Festival Committee’s funding bid was considered and approved by the Frome Vale Area Committee at the Forum Meeting held at the Frampton C of E School on 16 May.

The bid covered the costs of security equipment, booking attractions and admin for the event being held at the Centenary Field on 20 July.

Your local councillors are delighted that this ‘New Homes Bonus’ bid was unanimously backed. We hope that this year’s festival will be as well attended and successful as last year’s ‘Jubilee Festival’.

People power

Energy prices are soaring hitting everyone, especially those who are vulnerable and who
don’t know how to go about switching their suppliers.

At Dave Hockey’s suggestion, South Glos Council Officers are now investigating the possibility of
signing up to a scheme which would allow local residents to gain discounts on their power bills of
between £60 and £250 pounds per year, with an average saving of £125 per year.

These savings have been assessed from schemes introduced in the last year by over 150 councils
across the UK. More than 100,000 people have already signed up to council-run collective
switching schems saving a massive £10,000,000 on their gas and electricity bills according to a
recent analysis by the Local Government Association.

More details are available online for the Bristol City Council scheme at:

www.bristolswitchandsave.org.uk

South Glos Council are investigating the possibility of piggy-backing on this scheme.

Dave Hockey said, “We hope that all South Glos residents will soon be able to gain the benefits
from a Council led ‘Switch & Save’ scheme, especially those who are finding it difficult to make
ends meet and who are at increasing risk of fuel poverty as energy prices continue to soar”.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Parish boundary review

The review of Parish Boundaries in South Gloucestershire has been
completed.

  • Proposals to move houses and industrial estates between Nibley and the railway line into the Yate Town Council area were rejected after representations from residents, the Parish Council and councillor Claire Young.
  • There will be a small change to the southern boundary of Westerleigh Parish, an area south of the M4 will be added to the new Emerson's Green Town Council. No houses will be moving into Emerson's Green and there will be no loss of income for Westerleigh. All Westerleigh Parish's facilities, including Bitterwell Lake, remain in the Parish.
  • Westerleigh will gain a small piece of countryside to the north of the M4 from Mangotsfield Parish.
  • The houses on the Park side of Court Road will now all be in Frampton Cotterell Parish rather than Winterbourne.

Volunteers needed for play area project

Parents of young children living on the eastern side of Coalpit Heath currently have to cross the busy Badminton Road to get to a play area. Could you help organise the renovation of the play area at the Manor Hall to help fix this problem? If you are interested, please get in touch with Alison Allan on 07873 747513. The Frome Vale Area Forum awarded £500 to get the project started.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Update on planning blueprint

There is still uncertainty about how many dwellings will have to be accommodated in South Gloucestershire in the next five years and where they should go.

 Local residents were delighted when the Engine Common appeal was dismissed but there was a sting in the tail. The Inspector dealing with it accepted the developer’s evidence that South Gloucestershire Council has not identified enough housing sites that are available during the next five years to meet Government requirements.

The Core Strategy Inspector has recognised that this means that he has to give further consideration to the housing figures. South Gloucestershire Planning Officers need to let him have any comments on the issue by 7th June.

A question mark still hangs over the sites such as Woodlands Farm in Coalpit Heath which so far he has not identified for development.

Woodlands Farm latest

Although it is several weeks since South Gloucestershire’s planning committee visited the Woodlands Farm site, it is now possible that the planning application will be considered at the meeting on 4th July.

This is because the publication of the next report from the Planning Inspector dealing with the Core Strategy is scheduled for the end of June. This report will be very important to the decision on the Woodlands Farm planning application. Members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting and some will be able to speak by arrangement with Paul Johnson on 01454 864425.

The strong local opposition to Bloor Homes’ planning application to develop land at Engine Common in Iron Acton was a key factor in the decision to dismiss the appeal against the refusal of planning permission by South Glos Council. It will be important to show that residents in Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell feel just as strongly about the Woodlands Farm proposals.

We will confirm the date of the committee meeting when we know it.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Getting to the new hospital without a car

When the decision was taken to close Frenchay Hospital and concentrate services at Southmead, promises were made that there would be bus services to enable staff, patients and visitors to get there.

Because the new hospital is located within Bristol, the City Council holds the money which was allocated for new bus services.

Current proposals are that the 581 bus from Chipping Sodbury should run half hourly instead of hourly with passengers bound for Southmead Hospital changing to another service at Bristol Parkway to complete their journey.

Your FOCUS TEAM considers this to be very unsatisfactory and is continuing to push with support from Steve Webb MP for a through bus service.

Delays in Codrington

There are likely to be delays in Codrington as temporary traffic lights are in place on the B4465 Wapley Road today and tomorrow (3rd and 4th June) to enable pre-surface dressing works to be carried out. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Appeal against wind turbine refusal

The applicant has submitted an appeal against the planning committee’s refusal of permission to build a wind turbine south of the B4465 between Westerleigh and Codrington.

All the original comments will be sent to the appeal inspector, they do not need to be resubmitted, but if you have any additional points to make to the Inspector the deadline is 25 June. You can find details of the appeal by going to the planning portal and using the reference number: APP/P0119/A/13/2196500.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Dodington Road safety issues

In April Claire Young carried out a survey in Dodington Road to find out what people thought about various options for pavements to increase pedestrian safety.

Most people supported both extending the pavement on the school playing field side to a safer crossing point and creating a pavement on the same side as the houses from there up to at least the bend. Given the costs, it would be difficult for the Area Forum to fund both in one year, so they have been added to the Local Transport Priority List as two separate schemes. It would not make sense to create a path from the bend down to Woodlands without there then being a crossing point to another footpath, so extending the existing pavement on the school playing field side to a safer crossing point is described as phase 1 and the scheme to create a path from the crossing point along to the bend as phase 2.

The proposals will be scored by officers along with all the other potential schemes on the list, which will help inform the Frome Vale Area Forum in making a decision next March as to which schemes will be funded. Members of the public can attend the Forum to speak for in support of schemes.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Yate spur cycle path latest

The cycle path has been constructed from Coxgrove Hill (at the northern end of the existing Bristol to Bath railway path link) as far north as Westerleigh Road. On this section, between the M4 motorway and Westerleigh Road, there are further works to complete which include the installation of a footbridge at Folly Brook and minor works at the level crossing and the Network Rail car park. Officers are intending to install the bridge at Folly Brook next month, which will take about one week to complete. The works at the level crossing and Network Rail car park are subject to negotiations with Network Rail.

It is anticipated that the next phase of works from Westerleigh Road to Westerleigh village including the provision of a traffic island on Westerleigh Road will be constructed in 2013/14 (possible start date in June). The remainder of the route from Westerleigh village to Yate will be delivered when funding becomes available.

Unfortunately, there are no funds in 2013/14 to construct the fishing lakes route even though planning permission has been given. Again, officers hope to secure funding in future years so that this route can be built.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Road closures this week

Both Coalsack Lane and Nibley Lane are to close for cleaning this week.

Coalsack Lane is expected to be closed on Tuesday 14th May. Nibley Lane, from its junction with Badminton Road to its junction with Westerleigh Road, is expected to be closed from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Thursday 16th May.

Get involved at Area Forum

Area Forums give you a chance to get involved in the decisions that affect you. Parish councils, community organisations and local residents are all welcome to join in the discussions before any formal decisions.

Severn Vale Area Forum (which covers Charfield ward among others) will be meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 15 May at Thornbury Council Offices. The Frome Vale area Forum (which covers an area including Laddenbrook, Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh wards) meets at 7pm on Thursday 16 May at Frampton Cotterell Primary C of E VC Primary School.

There will be information about upcoming Post Office service changes, South Gloucestershire Council's localism plans and details of the waste strategy consultation. There will also be updates on the Local Transport Capital Programme, the New Homes Bonus grants scheme and the Positive Activities Subsidy Grants Programme for youth services.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Street light switch off - Dodington Parish

As we previously reported, during 2013 South Glos Council will be extending its ‘part-night’ lighting scheme throughout South Gloucestershire. During July 2013 streetlights in Dodington Parish are programmed to be converted to switch off during the early hours of the morning.

You can view the detailed plans and associated information online. Print copies will also be available to view in Yate One Stop Shop and Yate library. You can also find out more online about part night lighting more generally, including the criteria for which lights are left on. If you have concerns that some of the criteria have not been applied correctly, you have until 12th June to make comments.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Does your group need a grant?

If you are involved in a voluntary group and would like a small grant to help you serve the local community, now is the time to apply for a South Gloucestershire Capital Grant.

Starting today, you can apply for up to £3000 (in the Frome Vale Area, there is no limit in Severn Vale although obviously the total funding available is limited). The decision on how much to award will be made by local councillors at the relevant Area Forum. The closing date is 10 June and you apply online. If you need help, ring the Grants Helpline on 01454 865865.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Child car seat safety checks in Yate

On Monday the police and South Gloucestershire Council are joining forces to carry out child car safety checks.

Between 8.30am and 4pm at Yate Fire Station, police officers will stop vehicles fitted with child car safety seats while the council's road safety team will check they are fitted correctly. Previous safety checks carried out in South Gloucestershire have shown that more than half of those checked were fitted incorrectly so the council is offering the free checks to give reassurance to parents that their children are safe and secure when travelling by car.

If you would like to volunteer to have your child car seats checked, please stop by the Fire Station on Station Road, Yate between 8.30am and 4pm on Monday 29 April.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust, with the support of South Gloucestershire Council, is applying to the Heritage Lottery Fund for a £2 million grant to restore and regenerate the grade 2* listed barn and associated outbuildings at the Old Court Farm on Church Road, Winterbourne.

If you would like to have your say on the types of activities and events that would attract you to the site, please reply to the survey on the South Glos website. You have until 14th June to make your comments.

For more information on the Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust, please go to www.winterbournebarn.org.uk

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Solar Farm application - have your say

AEE Renewables have submitted their application for a solar farm at Says Court Farm. You can view the details and make any comments you may have on the South Glos website. The closing date for comments is 1st 10th May.

(Having seen a number of different dates quoted, I checked with the case officer who has confirmed that the deadline for comments is 10th May).

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Chipping Sodbury School consult on Co-operative Trust

The Governing body of Chipping Sodbury School is consulting on a proposed change of category from a Voluntary Controlled to a Foundation school, and at the same time acquiring a co-operative charitable trust, to be called the Chipping Sodbury School Co-operative Trust. You can find out more and have your say on their website.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Good news in cinema campaign

As reported on our sister blog, there is good news in the long running campaign for a cinema in Yate.

The owners of Yate Shopping Centre have announced a consultation on plans for a cinema complex on the land at the back of the Overflow Car Park. At a press conference with Steve Webb MP - a long-term campaigner for the cinema - proposals were revealed for a six-screen cinema complex, six restaurants and three or four shop units. There will be extra parking spaces and over 150 jobs will be created.

The plans will be put on display in one of the shop units in the Shopping Centre. The public will be able to come along and quiz the developers about the scheme. Once any fine-tuning has been done there will be a formal planning application. If all goes well the cinema could be open by Christmas 2014 or Easter 2015.

You can read the Shopping Centre press release here:

http://www.yateshoppingcentre.co.uk/Media-Centre/Cinema-Restaurants-and-Retail-12-million-investment-planned-at-Yate-Shopping-Centre

We'll post more details as we get them.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Have your say on bus fares

You can now have your say online as part of the First Bus fare review process. They are hoping to hear from both bus users and those who don't currently use the bus. The survey is available here:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/fareconsultation

You have until 29 June to fill it in. If you know people who would like to respond but who aren't online, hard copies will be available at the Travel Shop in Bristol Bus Station from the end of April. First Bus have also organised some events where people can have their say in person:
  • Monday 22 April: Clifton Downs Shopping Centre, from 9am until 5pm
  • Wednesday 24 April: The Galleries Shopping Centre (near the post office), Bristol, from 9am until 5.30pm
  • Wednesday 24 April: Bristol Bus Station – Travel Shop, Marlborough Street, Bristol, from 11am until 4pm
  • Thursday 25 April: Willow Brook Shopping Centre, Bradley Stoke, from 11am until 7pm
  • Thursday 25 April: Bristol Bus Station – Travel Shop, Marlborough Street, Bristol, from 8am until 11am and 4pm until 7pm
  • Friday 26 April: Kings Chase Shopping Centre, Kingswood, from 9am until 5pm
  • Friday 26 April: Bristol Bus Station – Travel Shop, Marlborough Street, Bristol, from 10am until 12.30pm

Monday, 8 April 2013

STOP PRESS - Engine Common appeal dismissed

A Planning Inspector has dismissed the Engine Common appeal and has refused permission for 210 new homes plus employment uses and a new club house and car park for Yate Town Football Club.