Friday, 30 January 2015

Westerleigh new housing - Parish Council decision on Monday

Westerleigh Parish Council is being asked to decide at its meeting on Monday (7.15pm, 2 February, Westerleigh village hall) whether it still believes there is a need for 20 additional homes at Westerleigh village.

If they say no, South Glos Council will keep the existing settlement boundary and Green Belt designation for Westerleigh village in its Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan. If they say yes, they are asked to make comments on further issues, such as their preferred sites. South Glos would then undertake further technical work to allocate a site. In the PSP Plan it would include a planning policy identifying where the settlement boundary would be changed and Green Belt removed to allow the development and what would be required to make it acceptable.

Officers are working to make all the responses to the consultation available from their PSP Plan page. A number of people raised concerns that the questionnaire did not make it clear people could object to the principle of development, officers have published a response here.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Post Office - update from Steve Webb

Local MP Steve Webb says:

Re the post office, I hope I can offer some reassurance to those who are undestandably concerned.
As you will have seen, Steve and Sarah no longer want to carry on with the post office at the present premises. In the past this might have meant that the village simply lost its post office. But in the last few years we have been working to make sure that wherever possible new premises are found. In this case, Edwina at NISA has kindly indicated that she would be interested in taking on the post office. I have been working to make sure that Post Office Limited speed things up so that there is as little disruption as possible and I have taken an official of Post Office limited to visit both stores. They have told me that they will be consulting soon on the proposed new location, and when they do I hope that everyone will respond positively and encourage them to get on with approving the transition. Whilst there is a risk of an interim period between the old PO closing and the works being completed at the potential new site, I will press for this to be kept to a minimum. Obviously there would be a need for temporary cover to be put in place if that happened.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Post Office on the move?

Coalpit Heath Post Office could be moving into the Nisa store, Village Roots.

Local people were concerned to learn that Coalpit Heath Post Office is on the market and due to close on 23rd March. But the owners of the Nisa have released a public statement confirming they are negotiating with Post Office Limited to bring the Post Office into their store with extended opening hours.

The Post Office is a vital facility for Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell. Your Focus Team, including Steve Webb MP, is working closely with the owner of the Nisa and we are hopeful that the move can be successfully managed so that local residents benefit from an uninterrupted service.

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Steve and Sarah at the Post Office for the excellent and greatly improved service they have provided to local residents for many years now.

The police want to hear from you

Avon and Somerset Police are currently running a survey on how they communicate with the public. They want to find out what channels you use to keep up-to-date with news and information from across the Force. This will help them decide how they should communicate in the future.

The survey can be found online at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KK32KMJ

Monday, 26 January 2015

Unwanted green bins again

Before Christmas, people living in Coalpit Heath, Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell could have their unwanted green bins taken away. Unfortunately the delivery firm failed to deliver the leaflets letting people know when to put their bins out. Claire took it up with council officials who promised people would get another chance. A "mop-up" collection is planned later in the spring. In the meantime, anyone who wants an unwanted bin collected can call the contact centre on 01454 868000 to arrange a collection.

Don't forget if you've found another use for your bin, you're welcome to keep it.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Westerleigh housing proposals - next steps

With the consultation on the proposals for up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh village now closed, earlier this week Claire Young met council officials to clarify the next steps.

There was a big response from Westerleigh residents. The planners have collated all the comments and forwarded them to Westerleigh Parish Council. This gives the councillors a chance to consider everyone's views before they make their decision on whether or not to ask South Glos to allocate land for new homes at Westerleigh in their Policies, Sites and Places plan.

The Parish Council will be making that decision at their meeting at 7.15pm on Monday 2nd February in Westerleigh Village Hall. Parishioners are as always welcome to attend and will have an opportunity to speak.

South Glos Council will then decide in March what should go into the plan.

Youth survey deadline extended

Are you aged between 11 and 19 and living in Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Iron Acton or Westerleigh? Do you have views on the sort of youth service you'd like to see in our villages? Now's your chance to share them and make sure you get the service you want. The survey is now staying open until the 31st January - so if you thought you'd missed your chance, don't worry, there's still time.

Collection of unwanted green bins

South Glos Council will be collecting unwanted green bins in some parts of our area between 26 January and 16 February.

You should get a tag on your black bin one to two weeks before the day when they will be collecting green bins in your area. This is a one-off service - if you no longer want your green bin, it must be empty and put out by 7am on the given day.

If you currently receive help putting out your bins and need assistance to put your unwanted green bin out, please contact 01454 868000 or email sortitteam@sita.co.uk before your removal day.

The collections are not compulsory. If you are using your green bin for another purpose you can keep it. And if you are a subscriber to the green bin collection service, make sure your bin isn't out on the given day.

Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath and Westerleigh had their collections before Christmas, but many people didn't get notified as the delivery company that was suposed to be sticking leaflets through doors let the council down. For this round of collections, the council has gone back to using tags on bins. Council officials were reminded at the Waste Forum on Monday that where people's bins aren't out, the tag should be put through the door. Another collection is planned for those areas affected by the leaflet problem, we are chasing details of this.

For more information and details of green bin removal dates for individual areas please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/unwantedbins

Early warning of Nibley Lane closure

Nibley Lane, from its junction with Badminton Road for a distance of 120m south towards Westerleigh, is expected to be closed for 10 days from 9 February 2015. This is to enable cables and ducts to be laid.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Buy a bus ticket on your mobile phone

First Bus have just introduced a new way to buy bus tickets - using your smartphone.

Their M-ticketing app allows you to pay for a range of tickets, with the option to pay using Barclay's Pingit.  You then store the tickets in a virtual wallet ready for use. Currently you can buy adult tickets for:
  • Bristol Inner zone: either a carnet of five day tickets, a week ticket or a month ticket
  • Bristol Outer zone: either a carnet of five day tickets, a carnet of 10 single tickets (otherwise known as a 10Journey ticket), a week ticket or a month ticket
  • Bath Inner zone: either a carnet of five day tickets, a carnet of 10 single tickets (otherwise known as a 10Journey ticket), a week ticket or a month ticket
  • Bath Outer zone: either a carnet of five day tickets, a carnet of 10 single tickets (otherwise known as a 10Journey ticket), a week ticket or a month ticket
  • Weston-super-Mare: either a carnet of five day tickets, a carnet of 10 single tickets (otherwise known as a 10Journey ticket), a week ticket or a month ticket
  • West of England: either a carnet of five day tickets, a week ticket or a month ticket
The M-tickets cost the same as they do to buy in other forms and child and young person versions of the app will be added in the coming months. For more information see www.firstgroup.com/m-tickets

Friday, 16 January 2015

Save on your heating bill

If you're interested in finding out how you could cut your heating bill, why not attend the South Gloucestershire Environment Forum next week?

Council officials and industry experts will be giving a presenation about the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme. The scheme, introduced by the Lib Dems in Government, pays participants that generate and use renewable energy to heat their buildings. It's designed to reduce carbon consumption and save you money and is particularly helpful if you are in an area without mains gas.

The free event takes place at the Greenfield Centre, Park Avenue, Winterbourne from 7pm to 9pm on January 21. Contact Paul Knuckle, Climate Change Officer on 01454 864220 to confirm attendance.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Lifeline for local Post Offices

Post offices in towns and villages across South Gloucestershire were thrown a lifeline in December by local MP and pensions minister, Steve Webb.
Steve___Sue_Cromhall_2.JPG

One of the major items of ‘over-the-counter’ business for small sub post offices is the payment of pensions and benefits, particularly to people using the special “Post Office card account”. This account is accessed using a plastic card and PIN number and was set up some years ago particularly for those for whom a traditional bank account was not suitable. However, the contract to provide these accounts was due to expire in March 2015 and there were concerns that if it was not renewed it could result in a major loss of business to the post office network. But on 16th December Steve Webb told MPs that a new seven-year deal has been agreed between the Government and Post Office Limited which will provide a long-term guarantee of business for local sub post masters.

Commenting on the announcement, Steve Webb said, “I have always fought hard to support local town and village post offices across my constituency, so it was great to be able to use my role as a minister to make sure that the Post Office Card Account is continued for at least another seven years. This means convenience for local pensioners and others who want to use the post office and a boost for local postmasters who had told me of their concerns if the service were to be ended.”

The news has been welcomed by local sub postmasters, including Sue Baines of Cromhall post office who said, “The Post Office Card Account is well used by many pensioners who come in to my post office. I am delighted to hear that it is going to be continuing, as many local people have no other place where they can access their cash easily and with privacy as in a local post office”.

In addition to the handling fee which postmasters receive for each transaction, post offices and shops also benefit from the increased ‘footfall’ as people spend some of the cash which they have withdrawn in the local shop, helping to keep them open.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

MP challenges bus bosses over local services

Local MP Steve Webb has hosted a meeting in his constituency office at Yate to raise with First Bus managers the many concerns of local residents about the quality of bus services in this area.

James Freeman, the new Managing Director of First in the West of England, attended the meeting along with Commercial Manager, Simon Ford.   The two heard from Steve a range of complaints about services including those from Yate to Southmead Hospital. They also heard from X49 user and Westerleigh resident Mrs Carol Moore, whose account of the service was described by James Freeman as “a chapter of horrors”.   Issues raised included buses being cancelled or running late, inexperienced drivers making mistakes over routes and the lack of reliable information at bus stops.

First Bus said that they recognised that the service needed to be improved and were planning a range of improvements for the timetable which takes effect at the end of March 2015. This included ensuring that the first bus of each day gets to its starting point on time, adjusting timetables to make sure that they give a more realistic indication of journey times, recruiting more drivers to reduce dependence on agency and temporary staff and trying to make better use of the existing fleet of buses as well as bringing in new vehicles and more double decker buses to increase capacity.

You can read more on Steve's website.

Moorend Road resurfacing

Moorend Road is close to the boundary of Westerleigh ward. It is due to be closed for resurfacing on 23 January. The existing surface will be planed off and a new surface laid. The work will run from about 7.30am-5pm and it is hoped will be completed in one day, although adverse weather or other problems could lead to changes of plan.

Monday, 12 January 2015

New year, new business?

Are you starting a new business, or thinking of working for yourself? Cool Ventures offer introductory sessions to help you understand what it means to work for yourself or start a new business. Starting with an enjoyable and interactive two hour session they introduce you to the basic concepts of running a business and help you decide whether it is right for you.

There's a FREE one-evening session at Emersons Green on Monday 2nd February. Check out this link for details and to book your place

Friday, 9 January 2015

Reducing traffic speeds on Church Road

A draft two-phased scheme designed to keep traffic to a reasonable speed on Church Road has been drawn up by South Glos highways officers. Church Road residents should have been sent a copy in the summer.

Phase 1 would introduce:
  • dropped kerbs, tactile paving and keep clear markings at the Church Close and Ryecroft Road junctions
  • a crossing point to Frampton End Road near the shops created by build outs narrowing the road to 6.2m with a coloured surface
  • a similar crossing point beside the school playing field and a pavement to the new Jubilee Allotments.
Phase 2 would introduce:
  • speed tables near the Conifer Close and School Road junctions.
At the Frome Vale Area Forum on 5th March, South Glos Councillors will be deciding which traffic schemes will be given priority for funding from our allocation of £100,000. Frampton Cotterell ward councillors Pat and Dave Hockey would like to hear people's views ahead of the Area Fourm. They have therefore arranged to have the plans on display at a drop-in session at the Brockeridge Centre on 4th February from 5pm until 7pm.

The police are after you! (To help them)

The Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner would like to appoint three local, independent people to contribute to the work of the Independent Residents' Volunteer Panel. Members of the Panel are an important means of enhancing public trust and confidence in the handling of complaints against Avon & Somerset Police and supports the governance role of the Police and Crime Commissioner.

You can find out more on the PCC website. The closing date for applications is 16th January.

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Reminder - have your say on youth service

There's still time for young people aged 11-19 and living in Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Iron Acton or Westerleigh to say what they want and need for a youth service.  You have until 21st January 2015 to complete the survey online.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Time running out to have your say on Westerleigh village housing proposals

You only have until Tuesday 13th January to tell South Gloucestershire Council what you think about proposals for up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh village.

Following the summer consultation, Westerleigh Parish Council asked South Glos planners to assess possible locations for new homes and consult on the results. At the well-attended drop-in on 1st December the planners revealed that their initial analysis ruled out all except two sites. They were the land behind Burma House/Bella Vista and Jorrock’s Yard, the old Eurotaxis site. The planners explained that under current national policy allocating either of these for development would mean taking that site and some of the village out of the Green Belt.

On Monday a group of residents attended Westerleigh Parish Council to ask questions about the proposals and the process that led to them. The Chair of the Parish Council asked people to send the Parish Clerk copies of their South Glos consultation responses so that the Parish Council could be sure they had everyone’s views.

Local residents requested from South Glos a summary of planning applications at the two sites, which can be read here.

The Parish Council will decide at their meeting at 7.15pm on Monday 2nd February in Westerleigh Village Hall whether to ask South Glos to allocate land for new homes in their Policies, Sites and Places plan. Parishioners are as always welcome to attend. South Glos Council will then decide in March what should go into the plan.

There is currently no pressure for new housing in the rural villages - the thousands of new homes required in the Core Strategy are due to be delivered by extending existing urban areas and towns, like Yate and Emerson’s Green. This consultation is about whether you think Westerleigh needs some extra houses and whether either of the sites is suitable. It’s your chance to shape the future of the village.

ACT NOW!
  1. Tell South Glos what you think by Tuesday 13th January
    • Go to www.southglos.gov.uk/policiessitesandplaces and click on the Westerleigh link to see the consultation information and response form. Return the completed form by hand to the Badminton Road council offices, by email to planningLDF@southglos.gov.uk or by post to Strategic Planning Policy & Strategic Advice Team, South Gloucestershire Council, Department for Environment & Community Services, PO Box 299, Civic Centre High Street, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DS.  
    • If you can't access the form or would prefer not to use it, you can just send a letter or email instead, but it’s important to say why you are for or against what is proposed.
    • There is a petition form against the proposals in the village shop and copies of the response form if you want to make more detailed comments.
  2. Tell the Parish Council what you think
    Email westerleighpc@btinternet.com or write to 32 The Street, Didmarton, Glos, GL9 1DS.
  3. Tell Claire what you think.

Thursday, 1 January 2015