Friday, 22 December 2017

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 useful information about local services over Christmas and the New Year in our recent blogpost and council office opening hours here

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Westerleigh lights raise money for stroke charity

Once again the people of Mill Crescent, Westerleigh have put on a Christmas light display to raise money for charity. This year they've chosen Different Strokes, a charity run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors. 

The Mill Crescent lights have become a local Christmas tradition. Why not pop along and see for yourself? You can find out more about the light display, including some of the special visitors they've had this year, on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Parish Councils respond to housing plans

There was standing room only in Iron Acton Village Hall on Monday evening. Iron Acton Parish Council had sprung into action after Pat Hockey  had alerted them to the significance of the Draft Joint Spatial currently out for consultation. Quite understandably they had not thought of the proposed Yate strategic development area of 2,000 homes as being mostly in their Parish.

The Parishioners made it very clear that developing the rural area between the village and Yate is not acceptable. They fully endorsed the Parish Council’s proposed response to the consultation.

Iron Acton have published their response online, as have Charfield Parish Council. Westerleigh Parish Council will be considering their response at their meeting on 8th January. Don't forget to have your say before 10th January.


Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Thinking ahead to the Big Spring Clean

There might still be a few days to go to Christmas, but already some people are thinking ahead to spring. The South Gloucestershire Spring Clean will run from 13 February to 14 May. This is a chance for individuals and groups to help clean up our local area by organising or taking part in a litter pick. The national Keep Britain Tidy network will be focusing on the weekend of 2-4 March in particular but you can organise your event at any time in the three months. In fact, as the council has limited equipment to offer, choosing a less popular weekend could be a good idea - as well as booking as far in advance as possible.

To get involved, simply register your event by completing this booking form and send it back to StreetCleansing@southglos.gov.uk - you can find more information on the South Glos website.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Useful information this Christmas

With the festive season getting underway, here is some information you might find useful over the Christmas and New Year period.

Post

These are the last posting dates if you want your UK post to arrive before Christmas:

Wednesday 20 December - 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For
Thursday 21 December - Special Delivery Guaranteed
Thursday 21 December - 1st Class and 1st Class Signed For
Friday 22 December - Special Delivery Guaranteed Saturday Delivery

You can find dates for other services on the Royal Mail's website.

Christmas bin collection changes in South Gloucestershire

Collections will not take place on Monday 25, Tuesday 26 December or Monday 1 January. This means the collection crews will be working on Saturday 30 December, 6 and 13 January to catch up. Changes to collection days for Christmas and New Year are below.

If your collection would normally be: It will take place on:
 Monday 25 December  Wednesday 27 December
 Tuesday 26 December  Thursday 28 December
 Wednesday 27 December  Friday 29 December
 Thursday 28 December  Saturday 30 December
 Friday 29 December  Tuesday 02 January
 Monday 01 January  Wednesday 03 January
 Tuesday 02 January  Thursday 04 January
 Wednesday 03 January  Friday 05 January
 Thursday 04 January  Saturday 06 January
 Friday 05 January  Monday 08 January
 Monday 08 January  Tuesday 09 January
 Tuesday 09 January  Wednesday 10 January
 Wednesday 10 January  Thursday 11 January
 Thursday 11 January  Friday 12 January
 Friday 12 January  Saturday 13 January

Collections will be back to normal from Monday 15 January 2018.

You can recycle wrapping paper and greetings cards without glitter or plastic embellishments. Put wrapping paper with the rest of your recyclable paper and greetings cards with cardboard. Paper or card with glitter or plastic should go into your black bin.

For more info, including how to recycle your real Christmas tree, click here.

Trains

The Christmas and New Year bank holiday period (23 December 2017 to 2 January 2018) is traditionally the time when a considerable amount of improvement and engineering work is undertaken on Britain's rail network.

Many train companies will also be making changes to their timetable to match service levels to the number of customers travelling. Please plan ahead and check if your journey is affected as some services will be added, some will be restricted, and some will not be running during this time period. 

For more info click here

Bus information

Bus services differ depending on who runs them but generally services run as normal up to the 23 December, have special timetables on 24 and from 26 until 31 Dec and then return completely to normal on 2 January. Here are some useful links:

Stage Coach buses
First Group
Wessex Bus
Travel West (scroll to the bottom to see the information for South Gloucestershire)

Medicine

The Asda Pharmacy in Patchway has the best opening hours over Christmas.

Address: Highwood Lane, Patchway, BS34 5TL
Tel: 0117 3172410
Monday 25 December (Christmas Day): 1000-1200
Tuesday 26 December (Boxing Day): 0900-1800
Monday 1 January (New Year's Day): 1000-1800
Specialist Medicines Service: Yes

To find out more about pharmacy opening hours in your area click here.

Don't forget to have your say on housing plans

In the festive rush, don't forget that you only have until 10th January to have your say on plans for thousands of new homes in our area.

How to have your say

You can comment online - you can step through the Joint Spatial Plan section by section and there is a button at the bottom of each section that allows you to add a comment. You'll need to register with the site, if you haven't already done so for a previous consultation, and log in. Do make sure you submit each comment before moving on to the next section.

Policy 2 sets out the Spatial Strategy - this lists the locations where large numbers of houses are proposed and explains why. The five locations in South Gloucestershire are covered by policies 7.8 to 7.12. Don't be misled by the latter being labelled Yate, the land is actually in Iron Acton and Westerleigh Parishes.

Before making your comments, it is well worth reading this page on how to comment and this guide to commenting.

How to help people who are not online

If someone cannot comment online, you can download a form for them. You can email the completed form to comment@jointplanningwofe.org.uk or post it to West of England Joint Spatial Plan C/o South Gloucestershire Council, Planning PO Box 1954 Bristol BS37 0DD.

Copies of the plan and response forms should be available in libraries and the council's One Stop Shops. This week Claire Young challenged the Cabinet Member responsible for planning after a resident reported difficulties accessing the information at Yate library. Hopefully this will now be resolved.

Join an action group

Last Saturday Claire Young and John O'Neill both attended a drop-in organised by Fighting for Charfield. In Coalpit Heath, VALID are hoping to put another leaflet out after Christmas with more advice on how to respond and would welcome help with delivery. The Falfield Action Group and TRAPP'D are both concerned about the plans for Buckover.

Remember, this is your last chance to have your say so don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes.

Westerleigh smell drop-in event

Following the recent good news that Wessex Water will be taking action next year to address the smell issues, they have agreed to attend a drop-in before the next Westerleigh Parish Council meeting.

The event will run from 5.30pm to 7pm on Monday 8th January in Westerleigh Village Hall. Representatives from Tulip (the owners of the abattoir) and the Environment Agency will also be on hand to answer questions and listen to any issues you might want to raise.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas activities for children in local libraries

If you're looking for something to do with your children during the Christmas holidays, you could try some of the free activities at our local libraries. You can see a full list on the South Glos website, some of the most local ones include:

Monday 18 December
Christmas story time
Thornbury Library, 2.15pm to 2.45pm

Tuesday 19 December
Christmas crafts
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

Christmas Rhymetime
Winterbourne Library 10.30am to 11am

Explore Learning: Winter wonderland
Emersons Green Library 10.30am to 11.30am

Christmas capers
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday 20 December
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12 midday
Christmas capers

Thursday 21 December
Winter wonderland
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

Explore Learning – ‘My Night before Christmas’
Thornbury Library, 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Stories around the tree (presented by Yate Library Teen Focus Group)
Yate Library, 5pm to 6pm

Friday 22 December
Explore Learning – ‘My Night before Christmas’
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 11.30am

Christmas crafts
Winterbourne Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

All activities are free but children must bring a grown-up with them.

Demolition starts on warehouse hit by fire

Demolition work has now started on the warehouse on the edge of Yate where a fire broke out 8 weeks ago. The council has published online answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the incident.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Help for those struggling financially

Earlier this week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report which showed that over 1 in 5 people are now living in poverty, following the first sustained rises in child and pensioner poverty for two decades. Last weekend the entire board of the Government's social mobility commission quit at the lack of progress towards a “fairer Britain”.

This isn't just an issue for the inner cities. As Claire Young discussed on BBC's Sunday Politics West, isolation and lack of services are an extra challenge for those living in rural areas.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with financial difficulties, there is help available. The council have commissioned the South Gloucestershire Advice Services to provide a general advice service with specialist knowledge in the areas of welfare benefit and debt advice to representation at tribunals and information on services for older people. The five organisations that make up the partnership hold drop-ins across South Gloucestershire. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

New building for Watermore School

The plans for the new school building that will replace the former Brockeridge and Highcroft Schools' accommodation were revealed by South Glos Property Services at a drop-in event last week.

Government funding is in short supply but the costs of maintaining the two ageing buildings added to the problems of operating a split site school has made it more cost effective to replace them with a new building. Part of the required funding will be raised from selling the old Brockeridge site and a small area of land off Lower Stone Close for housing. Planning permission will be needed.

The main concerns raised by people at the exhibition appear to be parking and dropping off, reduction in play space and the future of the much loved old Brockeridge School building where generations of local residents started their education.

Further update on warehouse fire

Council officers and the fire service were in attendance at the industrial estate on Wednesday afternoon. For further information visit: http://www.southglos.gov.uk/general-…/warehouse-fire-update/

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

History talk next week

The Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society are having a talk 2The Tudor Navy - from the Mary Rose to the Armada" by Tim Bowly at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13 Dec at the Zion Church, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2HY. All welcome, entry is £4 or free to members (annual subscription £15) and includes light refreshments.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Good news on Westerleigh smell

Wessex Water have written to Claire Young to say they have planned a Flood Alleviation Scheme to address the flooding and odour issues in Westerleigh. This will introduce a new section of sewer that will take the discharge from the abattoir and bypass the village. The design has been signed off and works are scheduled to commence in September 2018.

They have also agreed to attend a meeting. Claire will be liaising with them and the Parish Council to make arrangements.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Get involved


If you believe the West of England and South Gloucestershire Council have got it wrong with their development plans, why not join one of the action groups? You can find them online:
VALID have been working hard to get leaflets out informing people of the consultation. If you could help them spread the word further, please email them.

Your Focus Team is also making sure people know how to have their say, as well as keeping people up to date on other local issues. If you can help us by delivering a few leaflets, please email Claire.

Speed check in Coalpit Heath

As part of the police's road safety week they carried out two speed checks on Henfield Road, between Station Road and Roundways. Twelve people were stopped and education about speeding provided.  A further five are still to be contacted and spoken to. They will be looking to target this road again in the future.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Update on warehouse fire

South Gloucestershire Council have released this update following a warehouse fire on the Beeches Industrial estate last month.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Ageing Better Plan - South Glos consultation

South Glos Council's Ageing Better Plan will bring together the outcomes and priorities that will guide work to support older people (age 65+), the way they will measure progress and how they will work to realise their vision. It is based on data, evidence and consultation with older people and wider partners across the area.

South Gloucestershire Council is now opening the Ageing Better Plan to public consultation between until 12th January 2018.

They are keen to hear views from as wide a range of people as possible; find out what you think of the plan, including how it could be improved, whether they've left out anything that you think is a crucial issue, or how you'd like to get involved in making it happen.

You can find out more and make your views known here.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Have your say on food plan

You have until 5th January to have your say on the South Glos Food Plan.

The purpose of the Food Plan for South Gloucestershire is to create a more healthy, sustainable and just food system for our area. It will do this by identifying the key needs and challenges, and by providing a framework for coordinated action. It covers three key themes:

  • Health and wellbeing 
  • Environment and sustainability 
  • Jobs and local food economy
For more information, go to the consultation website.

Shopping securely online

Action Fraud, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, have issued the following advice on shopping securely online in the run up to Christmas:

How To Shop Online Safely

Check the web address
Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.
  
Is it a secure connection?
Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.

Phishing
Don't click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period.

Bank transfers
65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to have your say on new homes plan

The consultation on thousands of new homes in our area is now underway.

You can comment online - you can step through the Joint Spatial Plan section by section and there is a button at the bottom of each section that allows you to add a comment. You'll need to register with the site, if you haven't already done so for a previous consultation, and log in. Do make sure you submit each comment before moving on to the next section.

Particular sections of interest include:

Don't be misled by policy 7.12 being labelled Yate - the land involved is actually in Iron Acton and Westerleigh Parishes. These proposals will affect Engine Common, Nibley and Westerleigh and development will come close to Iron Acton and the development proposed at Coalpit Heath.


If you cannot comment online, you can download a form. You can email the completed form to comment@jointplanningwofe.org.uk or post it to West of England Joint Spatial Plan C/o South Gloucestershire Council, Planning PO Box 1954 Bristol BS37 0DD.

Before making your comments, it is well worth reading this page on how to comment and this guide to commenting.

You only have until 10th January 2018 to comment - don't forget in the Christmas rush!

A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation. When commenting, you can say whether or not you would like to be called to give evidence at the public inquiry.

Remember, this is your last chance to have your say so don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Broadband latest

South Glos has launched its new Connecting South Gloucestershirewebsite, dedicated to the Superfast broadband programme.  This is the place to go to find the latest information on broadband within South Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately it is not all good news for the Codrington area. Because traffic is being diverted along the B4465 due to the Bromley Heath viaduct works, the traffic management is more complex than it would otherwise have been. This has delayed the installation, although they are looking at alternative ways to deliver as much of Codrington as possible by the end of December. We also understand that the businesses around Cotswold Spring will not be updated.

Also, not everyone will necessarily be upgraded in a particular area. You can check whether your property will be upgraded by going to https://www.openreach.co.uk/orpg/home/products/super-fastfibreaccess/superfastfibre.do

Phase 3, starting later this year, will benefit communities including: Cromhall, Dodington, Falfield, Frampton Cotterell, Iron Acton, Rangeworthy, Westerleigh, Wickwar and Yate.


Two events in revamped hall

There are two events coming up in the revamped Coalpit Heath Village Hall (aka The Miners):

  • From 12 noon until 3pm on Saturday 2nd December, the hall will be having its 90th Anniversary Celebration. There will be tea, coffee, mince pies, cake, and a ukele band. 
  • On Wednesday 6th December (7.30pm for 8pm start) there will be a talk about the South Glos Mines Research Group archaeological excavation at Serridge. 
 Both events are a chance to celebrate the village's mining heritage.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Tell the council your priorities

Over the last 6 years South Glos Council has already cut £63.6m from its annual budget and they're intending to cut another £10.5m per annum across 2018/19 and 2019/20. Even that leaves the council with a predicted hole of £15.7m by 2021/22 so watch out for more cuts being announced.

What do you think the council's priorities should be? Fill in the budget survey to let them know. Your Liberal Democrat Focus Team will be fighting to protect services for the most vulnerable.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Consultation on new homes starts next week

All four West of England councils have now agreed that the consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) should go ahead so it will start on 22nd November. The JSP proposes:
  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, between Engine Common and Nibley and down to Westerleigh, with at least 1,000 being built by 2036 
  • 1,200 at Charfield 
  • 3,000 at a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being built by 2036 
  • 500 at Thornbury 
Some headlines have given the impression that the plan has already been approved - it has not. A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation, which runs until 10th January 2018.

This will be your last chance to have your say - don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes. 

The new South Glos Local Plan will just be adding in the details and possibly allocating smaller sites. It can't put the homes in a different place entirely from that allocated in the JSP.

The JSP document, supporting evidence and details of how to make a submission will be published online at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk on 22nd November. If you would like to help spread the word to those who aren't online, please contact us.

Partial victory in health campaign - but more cuts to come

Your Focus Team welcomes news that local health managers have rowed back on proposals to cut the upper age limit for which women are eligible for IVF treatment on the NHS after protests - but more cuts are to come.

Faced with a growing deficit, NHS chiefs proposed a series of cuts to local health services, including limiting fertility treatment to women between 30 and 35 years of age. They already only fund one treatment, rather than the NICE recommendation of up to 3. They have now decided to keep the age limit for IVF treatment at 40. However they are still proposing that any woman whose partner has a child from a previous relationship will not be eligible for IVF treatment. On top of this, we have been warned that there will be millions in cuts announced after the New Year.

Together with Bristol and North Somerset, South Gloucestershire is one of only 14 areas in the country targeted for extra cuts under the Conservative Government’s Capped Expenditure Process. Many of our NHS services are already being stretched close to breaking point. We are calling for greater investment in the NHS so that health managers can concentrate on how to improve services, not how to cut them. Thank you to everyone who has already signed our petition to protect local NHS funding. If you haven’t already, you can do so here.

Public consultation on new school building

There will be a public consultation session on the new school building at Watermore Primary School. The drop-in will be held from 2.45 to 7pm on Tuesday 28th November at the Meadow site (the old Highcroft Junior School site).

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Temporary closure of North Road for cleaning

North Road, Yate, from its junction with Armstrong Way to the bridge over the River Frome, is expected to close from 6am to 8am on 23rd November so the leaves can be cleaned away.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Volunteers start major tree planting programme at Wapley Bushes


Wapley Bushes Conservation Group is carrying out a major programme of tree planting this autumn and winter, to deal with the threat of Ash Dieback Disease. This disease is carried by a fungus. Mature trees are the most affected - they lose their leaves and the crown dies back. It's within a dozen miles of Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. If something isn't done now, within twenty years we will have lost all the high canopy in Wapley Woods.

The Conservation Group has come up with a scheme to plant other large native species throughout the woodland. This season they will be planting 90 to 100 trees - Oak, Lime, Black Poplar, Whitebeam and Wild Service trees. They are all native to the West of England area.

Hopefully members of the local community will come along and help preserve this wonderful woodland. Families with children are particularly welcome - it's really planting for the future. The Conservation Group supply the trees, the tools and gloves, people just need to wear wellies or stout footwear.

The first planting morning will be at 10.00 am on Saturday 18 November at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve, opposite the road entrance to Cherington, BS37 8US. There will also be planting sessions on Sunday 18 February and Saturday 18 March. The trees and preparation work are being financed by the landowners, Dodington Parish Council.

Time to nominate community heroes


Nominations are now open for The Chair’s Community Awards 2018. If you know a volunteer or group who has gone the extra mile to help your community, please nominate them using the forms available on this page by 5th January.

Suggested areas of contribution include community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy and being a good neighbour. The chosen nominees will be notified in February and invited to a prestigious awards evening on 7 March to receive their awards. The Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter, attends the awards ceremony and selects an individual from the winners to receive a special Lord Lieutenant’s Award.

No online access to council this weekend

Due to essential electrical work all of South Glos Council's online forms will be unavailable this weekend from 6pm on Friday 17 November until 4pm on Sunday 19 November 2017. Open Access will not be available in libraries from Friday evening until Monday morning. IT services will also not be available in libraries in staffed opening hours. South Glos apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Friday, 10 November 2017

South Glos approves consultation on plan for thousands of homes

On Wednesday the ruling Conservatives on South Glos Council voted through the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), which includes proposals for:

  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, between Engine Common and Nibley and down to Westerleigh, with 1,000 being built by 2036
  • 1,200 at Charfield
  • 3,000 at a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being built by 2036
  • 500 at Thornbury
Representatives of VALID, TRAPP'D and Falfield Action Group all spoke about their concerns, as did Cllrs Claire Young, Pat and Dave Hockey, John O'Neill and other Lib Dem Focus Team members. There was controversy when a TRAPP'D representative revealed an email they'd received via a Freedom of Information request - you can read more about that on the Gazette website.

If the other three councils vote the plans through, they will go out to consultation on 22nd November. This will be your last chance to write in with your comments so it's important you have your say. 

Next spring the plan along with all the comments will be submitted to the Secretary of State and a planning inspector will then hold a public inquiry. They can find the plan "sound", decide it needs some changes to make it sound or throw the plan out and tell the councils to start again.

Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes. The new South Glos Local Plan will just be adding in the details and possibly allocating smaller sites, it can't put the homes in a different place entirely from that allocated in the JSP. That is why it is so important to have your say in this consultation.

History Society Talk

Next week Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society will be having a talk,“In Defence of the Drift" (one of the battles of the Zulu Wars in the late 19th century), by Paul Barnett. It will start at 7.30pm on Wednesday 15th November in Zion Church Woodend Road Frampton Cotterell BS36 2HY and there will be light refreshments. All welcome, entry £4, free to members (annual subscription £15).

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Consultation on 30mph speed limit on Bristol Road

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on reducing the speed limit to 30mph on Bristol Road between the junction with Church Road and the Winterbourne boundary. This is being proposed by Highways Officers because of the number of accidents there has been. You can make comments here until the 17th November.

Because of the difficulty crossing the road between the bus stop and the Health Centre Pat Hockey had asked officers to investigate the possibility of a pedestrian refuge. Unfortunately the road is too narrow to accommodate one safely.

Be Winter Ready - some easy advice


Be Winter Ready is a national campaign to encourage people to prepare in case they experience a power cut or gas emergency this winter.

Here's some simple advice:

  • Know your free emergency numbers: In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999. 
  • Prepare your home: Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Register as a vulnerable customer: Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is. Most of this area is covered by Western Power Distribution who you can register with here.
  • Keep your eyes open: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, please check on your neighbours.

Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Dodington Community Engagement Forum 16 November

The Yate and Chipping Sodbury Community Engagement Forum will be meeting 7 pm – 9 pm on 16 November at Poole Court, Poole Court Drive, Yate BS37 5PP.

This is your chance to talk directly to local Police and Fire and Rescue representatives, and Town/Parish and South Glos Councillors about issues of local concern.

There will also be a presentation about the work done by Abbotswood Action Group and the progress made in the Abbotswood area.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Speaking out on housing plans


On Monday plans for 1,800 homes at Coalpit Heath and hundreds more just up the road to the north west and west of Yate were discussed by the West of England Joint Committee in Bath. Local councillors Claire Young and Pat Hockey and VALID representative Peter Connors attended, with Claire and Peter both speaking out on the plans. Despite the concerns they raised, and despite both the Leader of North Somerset and the Mayor of Bristol saying they hadn't had time to read the document, the West of England leaders voted to recommend the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) to the four councils.

The BBC asked if anyone would be available for filming the next day in Coalpit Heath. They were expecting one or two people and were astonished by the crowd that turned out at such short notice. They were left in no doubt about the level of concern and while they were there also filmed the danger signs around the old mine shaft that has been fenced off in the corner of the field.

The Joint Spatial Plan will be considered by the South Glos Cabinet at 2pm on Monday (not 10am like we previously reported) and then by all councillors at a meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 8th November in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

If South Glos and the other three councils all approve the JSP for consultation, you will be able to have your say from 22nd November to 10th January. We'll give you more information on how to do this when the consultation starts.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Make the A46 temporary traffic lights permanent

Temporary traffic lights have been installed on the A46 at the Tormarton junction while the Bromley Heath viaduct works are being carried out. Local people have told us that overall these have improved safety but the lights will be removed once the viaduct works are complete.

We believe that a permanent solution is needed. We are calling on the council to work with Highways England to resolve any concerns about the manoeuvres allowed and traffic building up on the J18 roundabout so that permanent traffic lights can be installed. If you agree, please sign our petition.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Special Needs and Disability advice

Supportive Parents provides the Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS) Service in South Gloucestershire, as well as Bristol and North Somerset.  They are an independent organisation offering free, confidential and impartial advice to parents, children or any young person aged 16 – 25, about SEND. You can find out more on their website.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Night time closures of Nibley Lane

For five nights from 6th November, Nibley Lane between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road will be closed between 9pm and 6.30am for roadworks.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Housing plans - Coalpit Heath and Yate area

The housing plans for our area made it into the Bristol Post earlier this week - but what they didn't make clear is that this is not a done deal. There is still a chance to have your say.

What the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) says

You can read the full draft JSP here. The key points for Coalpit Heath are:
  • Around 1,800 new homes by 2036
  • Up to 5ha of employment land
  • Vehicular access off Badminton Road/Frog Lane, Roundways and Woodside Road
  • New local centre including one, possibly two, primary schools, a local retail outlet and community facility
  • Contributions to a new or expanded secondary school in the wider area
In the Yate area it proposes:
  • A minimum of 2,000 homes, with at least 1,000 to be built by 2036, to the north west of Yate, stretching round from Engine Common to Nibley.
  • New employment land west of Yate, stretching from the Badminton Road down to the double railway arches on the edge of Westerleigh.
The site to the south of Chipping Sodbury is now being held as "contingency" - so if homes aren't being built quickly enough elsewhere, it could be released at one of the 5-yearly reviews of the plan. Planners say around 1,500 homes could be built here, up to 775 before 2036. The site to the north of St John's Way is now considered to be too small to be a strategic development location, but developers have already put forward plans for part of it.

Transport

The developments at Coalpit Heath and north west and west of Yate would be expected to provide or contribute to a strategic transport package including:
  • Metrobus extension to Yate and Chipping Sodbury
  • A432 Park and Ride
  • Yate Rail Station enhancement
  • Winterbourne and Frampton Cotterell Bypass
  • strategic cycle route
  • local bus services. 
The Yate development would also be likely to require an on-site rail crossing and a new rail bridge across Nibley Lane. There is no mention of a Yate link road to any new motorway junction.

Chances to speak up

The JSP is currently going through a process of being approved for consultation. Members of the action group VALID and your local Focus Team attended the Infrastructure Board meeting on Monday to speak and will be in action again at the West of England Joint Committee meeting in Bath this coming Monday.

There will also be chances to speak at both the South Gloucestershire Cabinet meeting at 2pm on 6th November and the Council meeting at 7pm on 8th November (both at Kingswood Civic Centre).

Have your say in the consultation

If the consultation goes ahead, it's expected to run from 22nd November to 10th January. When it starts, we'll let you know how to have your say.

Housing plans - Buckover, Charfield and Thornbury

The housing plans for our area made it into the Bristol Post earlier this week - but what they didn't make clear is that this is not a done deal. There is still a chance to have your say.

What the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) says

You can read the full draft JSP here. The key points are:
  • Around 3,000 homes would be provided in a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being delivered by 2036.
  • Around 1,200 homes in a number of developments at Charfield
  • Another 500 homes at Thornbury before 2036 plus around 5ha of additional employment land on land at Crossways east of Morton Way
Transport

All of these developments would make financial contributions towards local and strategic transportation schemes, including potentially:

  • M5 J14 improvements
  • Charfield rail station re-opening
  • local bus service improvements
  • local highway, foot and cycle improvements.
Buckover and Thornbury developments would also contribute towards:

  • Metrobus Extension to Thornbury & Buckover Garden Village
  • A38(N) Park & Ride

It says in the policy for Buckover that "Consideration will also be required to ensure the A38 can continue to act as an effective relief road to the M5 without detriment to the new resident’s health & wellbeing."

The Charfield developments would also contribute towards "a comprehensive Wotton Road environmental enhancement scheme, new and improved foot and cycle connections through the village and to key local destinations such as Renishaws, KLB school and Wotton-under-Edge, and including a new Charfield circular public right of way route".


Chances to speak up

The JSP is currently going through a process of being approved for consultation. Members of the action group TRAPP'D and your local Focus Team attended the Infrastructure Board meeting on Monday to speak and will be in action again at the West of England Joint Committee meeting in Bath this coming Monday.

There will also be chances to speak at both the South Gloucestershire Cabinet meeting at 2pm on 6th November and the Council meeting at 7pm on 8th November (both at Kingswood Civic Centre).

Have your say in the consultation

If the consultation goes ahead, it's expected to run from 22nd November to 10th January. When it starts, we'll let you know how to have your say.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Have your say on access to GPs

Concerns were raised at a recent meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee that some people find it more difficult than others to access GP and other healthcare services. This could depend on appointment booking systems, public transport, how rural the area they live in is and how close they are to a boundary with another council area.

Healthwatch has agreed to undertake a piece of research on the committee's behalf to find out people’s experiences of accessing GP services. You can share your experiences at:

http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/tcfsurveyhominoid/your-gp-healthwatch-sglos/

If you would like to discuss the survey with someone from Healthwatch, please call 01454 543 402.

Worried about someone sleeping rough?

If you are worried about someone sleeping rough, you can use Streetlink to inform the local council of your concerns. They can then visit the rough sleeper to offer them support and try to help them find accommodation.

You will also find advice on Streetlink's site about where to find help for someone at risk of becoming homeless.

Friday, 20 October 2017

STOP PRESS - Draft Joint Spatial Plan published

The latest Draft Joint Spatial Plan has been published. You can read it here.

The plans include:
  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 1,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, at Engine Common, Nibley and down to Westerleigh
  • 1,200 at Charfield
  • 1,500 at a new garden village at Buckover
  • 500 at Thornbury
We will keep you updated and will let you know how to have your say when the consultation starts.

Yate Spur cycle route - latest update

Here's the latest update about the long-awaited cycle track between Yate and the Railway Path, the cycling "superhighway" between Bristol and Bath. At the moment the Yate Spur only comes out as far as the T junction on Westerleigh Road south of Westerleigh.

  • Westerleigh Road T junction to Broad Lane (Cornerways) - inside the farmer's field up to the former Cornerways Nursery - You will probably have seen the fencing and the signs, with not much work going on lately. They struck a sewage pipe that wasn't on ANYBODY'S maps, and they've had to do some redesign. Work should start again shortly for completion in the Spring, together with appropriate direction signs. 
  • Broad Lane - has already been upgraded. 
  • Broad Lane to Nibley Lane Corner - the "Westerleigh bypass" - being designed, awaiting funding. This will probably be the last stretch of the whole project. 
  • Nibley Lane Corner improvements - recently consulted about - on hold until Spring 2018 because of extra traffic during the Bromley Heath Viaduct work. 
  • Section under railway viaduct to Westerleigh Rd mini-roundabout - detailed design nearly complete, awaiting funding 
  • Westerleigh Rd mini-roundabout to Yate Common - on hold until January 2018 because of railway embankment work near Chedworth 
Once the section alongside Westerleigh Road to Cornerways is done, there will be a continuous link from the Railway Path to opposite Wot Not at the north end of Westerleigh. We are pressing for any outstanding maintenance to be carried out between Broad Lane and Wot Not - it tends to get overgrown from time to time.

When the rest of the path is approaching completion there will need to be proper direction signs for the full length. We are also asking for the narrow part of the path across Yate Common to be reviewed. This will help disabled users too - there are now "Radar" key gates at both ends, but parts of the path are too narrow for two motorised scooters to pass each other. The details of the widening will of course be discussed with the Friends of Yate Common and Yate Town Council because of the enviromental sensitivity of the area.

We'll keep you posted on Yate Spur progress every few months.

Library activities this half term

If you're looking for something to keep your primary school age children occupied this half term, why not try out some of the fun activities at our local libraries.

Pirate pandemonium
Pirate themed crafts.
  • Thornbury Library - Monday 23 October, 11am to 12 midday 
  • Yate Library - Tuesday 24 October, 10.30am to 12 midday 
  • Winterbourne Library - Friday 27 October, 10.30am to 12 midday
Pumpkin pandemonium
Frightfully fun Halloween themed crafts.
  • Filton Library - Monday 23 October, 2pm to 3.30pm 
  • Patchway Library - Wednesday 25 October, 10.30am to 11.30am 
  • Bradley Stoke Library - Thursday 26 October, 10.30am to 12 midday
Autumn antics
Seasonal crafts and activities.
  • Downend Library - Monday 23 October, 2.30pm to 3.30pm 
  • Staple Hill Library - Tuesday 24 October, 10.30am to 11.30am 
  • Emersons Green Library - Tuesday 24 October, 2pm to 3.30pm
Up, up and away
Have some fun making crafts with a flying theme.
  • Cadbury Heath Library - Tuesday 24 October, 2pm to 3pm 
  • Kingswood Library - Wednesday 25 October, 2pm to 3pm 
  • Hanham Library - Thursday 26 October, 2pm to 3pm
For younger children there are free pre-school story times and rhyme times  - visit www.southglos.gov.uk/childrenslibrary for details.

While you're at the library you could book your induction session for the new Open Access scheme. This will allow you to use some of the libraries, including Yate, Winterbourne and Thornbury, from 7:30am to 8:30pm by using your card to get in during unstaffed times. You can also book by going online to www.southglos.gov.uk/OpenAccess

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Burn Awareness Day

Wednesday 18th October is National Burn Awareness Day.

The aim of the day is to raise awareness of how to prevent burns as well as what to do if they do happen.  Children along with the elderly are especially vulnerable to burns and scalds as their skin is thinner and therefore burns quicker. Over 600 children a month require admission to an NHS Burns Service following a burn or scald injury and thousands more are seen by A&E departments. The highest number of burns and scalds are due to hot drinks, which can still scald a child's skin 15 minutes after being made.

If someone is burnt, the advice from the British Burn Association is to Cool, Call and Cover:

  • Cool the burn with running cold tap water for 20 minutes and remove all clothing and jewellery (unless it is melted or firmly stuck to the wound)
  • Call for help: 999, 111 or local GP for advice
  • Cover with cling film or a sterile, non-fluffy dressing or cloth. Make sure the patient is kept warm.
For more information visit http://www.cbtrust.org.uk/national-burn-awareness-day/

Friday, 13 October 2017

More Yate station improvements


Great news for commuters as the ticket machine at Yate Station is about to be covered, meaning the machine is less likely to break and will be easier to read on sunny days. Queuing at the ticket window will also be covered, with more shelter on the platform once you’ve got your ticket. Thanks to the Lib Dem Focus Team for putting in funding bids and finally persuading the authorities to pay up!

If you are interested in campaigning for more station improvements, the next Friends of Yate Station meeting is at 7.30pm on 1st November.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Advice on hate crime

Next Friday there will be a drop-in session for those needing advice on dealing with hate crime.

Between 10am and 1.30pm on Friday 20th October staff from South Glos Council, Avon and Somerset Police and agencies such as SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality) will be in Yate Shopping Centre's West Walk. Anyone can ask questions about hate crime or hate-related incidents and get information and advice. If you can’t make this session, or for more information on hate crime including how to report it, visit: www.southglos.gov.uk/hatecrime

Have your say on activities for young people

Are you a young person or part of an organisation who is or would like to be involved in providing positive activities for young people?

If so, now is the time to have your say on how South Glos Council should support activities for young people. You can find out more on their consultation website. There are three separate surveys for young people, the wider community (including community and statutory organisations) and positive activity providers (current or potential youth work providers).

The deadline for comments is Wednesday 15th November and a final decision will be made next March.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Codrington Broadband update

It's hoped that work to upgrade broadband in Codrington will be finished by the end of this month.

To check whether your house or business is being upgraded, use the Openreach line checker at:

https://www.homeandbusiness.openreach.co.uk/fibre-broadband/when-can-i-get-fibre

If it's not available, try again later. When working, if you are being upgraded it should show "In scope" and state that an FTTP solution is being used (that is, fibre to the premises, rather than just to the nearest green box). Note that there is still the possibility that technical issues stop your property being upgraded.

Once the infrastructure work is complete you will need to order an FTTP package from an ISP. An Openreach engineer will then need to visit your property to replace the line with a fibre optic cable and install a box inside your home.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Nibley Road overnight closure

Nibley Road will be closed between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Notice from 9pm on 11th October to 6.30am on 12th October so work can be carried out.

Grants Advice sessions

Are you a community group looking for advice on how to apply for Member Awarded Funding or Area Wide Grants?

If so, you can book a 30 minute slot between 10am and 1pm on Monday 6 November. The sessions take place at the Council Offices, Badminton Road, Yate, BS37 5AF. To book a place, please contact the team on 01454 865865 (Mon-Fri 9am to 4pm) or grants@southglos.gov.uk. It would be useful to know when booking which subject area you are interested in.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Plans from housing drop-ins


Now that the drop-in events on the new housing proposals are coming to an end, you can see all the materials used at them here.

The proposals for the Yate/Sodbury area include housing coming round from north of the football club down towards the top of Nibley, employment to the west of the current business parks along Nibley Lane and then mixed housing/employment in the land between Nibley Lane and the railway arches. If these and the Coalpit Heath proposals go ahead, there would be very little separating the villages from Yate.

The submission draft of the JSP will be going to an extraordinary meeting of the West of England Infrastructure Advisory Board in Bristol on 25th and the next meeting of WECA will be 2pm on 30th October at the Bath Guildhall. Papers for that will be available on 20th October. It will then be coming to the South Gloucestershire Cabinet on 6th November and full council on 8th November.

Over the winter there will be a consultation and all submissions will be sent with the submission draft to the Secretary of State. The plan will then be tested at an Inquiry.

Tories refuse to back recommendation to invest in Yate Minor Injuries Unit


Local councillors outside Yate MIU
At a meeting of South Gloucestershire’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee last Friday, Conservative Councillors failed to support a recommendation for the Clinical Commissioning Group to review and invest in services at Yate Minor Injuries Unit.

The recommendation was moved by Lib Dem councillor Sue Hope and supported by all Lib Dem and Labour councillors on the committee. The Conservatives split with six abstaining and two voting against.

The recommendation states:

"There is recognition of the growing demand for services at the Yate MIU; the CCG recognise this and reviews the service with the aim of investing in a service to meet the growing demand at Yate MIU"

The recommendation was passed by 5 votes to 2 with 6 abstentions.

Sue Hope said: “I brought this recommendation in response to the current three month trial at Yate MIU under which patients are being turned away during the day when the service becomes too busy. We believe that this is a bad policy, which had led to confusion and dismay among patients"

“I was amazed when the Conservatives refused to support our resolution, particularly as health colleagues at the meeting had already said that they were happy to review the MIU service and report back to the committee. I’m pleased that the resolution was passed with the help of Liberal Democrat and Labour councillors”

Cllr Hope also brought a second resolution asking for the CCG to review its communication strategy with the public, be clear in its objectives and give a clear concise message to the public as to how to access services. This resolution was passed with 7 in favour and 6 abstentions (all Conservative)

Sue Hope said: “It’s become clear that the CCG and local health providers seriously need to look at how they communicate with residents about services on offer. Not only has there been a lot of confusion about the situation with the MIU, but it is clear that most residents are still unaware of the minor injuries service now available at all South Gloucestershire GP practices”

The South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will now report back on both resolutions at a future session of the Scrutiny Committee.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Another local history event

The Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society are holding a talk by John Penny, “The Port of Bristol “, on  Wednesday 18 Oct 2017 at 7.30pm at Zion Church, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2HY.   All welcome, entry is £4 or free to members (annual subscription £15) Light refreshments will be available.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Campaigning for better buses

On Monday Claire Young once again took our campaign for improving local bus services to the South Glos Public Transport Forum.

Claire reminded the First Bus Director James Freeman of the 82 bus service petition she presented last autumn and followed up again at the Forum earlier this year. As well as better reliability, we are calling for the reinstatement of a direct bus service from Chipping Sodbury (and the villages beyond) to Southmead, Parkway and the Mall and a later bus service for people who work at the Mall to get home after it closes.

Mr Freeman said that their records showed that since they switched the 82 service to run out of a different depot, reliability has improved (do let us know if this isn't your experience). They're considering options for improving the service but will only implement them once the Bromley Heath viaduct works have finished. Let us know if you have any comments on what you would like to see and we'll pass them on.

Claire also challenged First Bus on the age of buses being used on the 47 and X47 service into Bristol. They are planning changes to the Yate-Bristol corridor, which should bring good news, but again this will be once the viaduct work has finished. Contact us if you would like us to pass on your views about how they could improve the services.

Update: From a subsequent email it appears that First Bus have ruled out extending the 82 bus service beyond Yate before anyone has had the chance to get back to them with their suggestions.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Early closing at Yate MIU


Thank you to everyone who has responded so far to our survey about the Yate Minor Injuries Unit closing when it gets too busy. 

It was very clear from your experiences how frustrating and worrying it is to find the service closed when you are in distress. In some cases people had travelled from Thornbury or even further away, only to find they had to drive miles in the other direction to Southmead instead.

There is also confusion about which is the right service to use for different problems. One person described the NHS A and E coverage as "poor, inadequate, and confusing". Some did not realise the MIU cannot deal with illnesses. Only one mentioned having used their GP Minor Injury Service as an alternative. 

On Wednesday Claire used your responses when she questioned local health chiefs on the closures at the South Gloucestershire CCG AGM. They said that if people were travelling a long way they should ring to check first - though one person in our survey had done just this and got no response. When they got to the MIU it was closed, even though it should have been open.

Health chiefs also said that all GPs are now offering a Minor Injury Service during their opening hours and that this is advertised in the surgeries, in surgery newsletters and on their websites. Claire pointed out that if you're not a regular user of your surgery you won't see these notices. You have to ring your surgery to book an appointment.

The CCG are promoting their Right Care First Time page. This has links to find out where your nearest GP, Minor Injury Unit, pharmacy and other services are but does not have clear advice on which service to use when. If you're not sure ring 111.

We think the NHS needs to start thinking about it from a patient's point of view.

If you have an experience to share, please do complete our survey - it will only take a few minutes.

Housing drop-ins next week

Local councillors Pat Hockey and Claire Young
at the Coalpit Heath drop-in

Last week many local people attended the drop-in on proposals for 1,500 new homes at Coalpit Heath. Next week there are two more events:

Yate and Chipping Sodbury
Wednesday 4 October at Sodbury Town Hall, 2-8pm

Buckover Garden Village
Friday 6 October at Falfield Village Hall, 2-8pm

It's suggested that some of the 2,600 homes proposed for the Yate/Sodbury area would be around Nibley.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Local history talk next Wednesday


There will be a talk about the Early Avon Valley Copper and Brass Industry at 7.30pm on Wednesday 4th October in the Miners (Coalpit Heath Village Hall).

Friday, 22 September 2017

Ask policing questions on Facebook

Police and Crime Commission Sue Mountstevens wants local people to send her their questions ahead of the next 30-minute Facebook Live with the Chief Constable at 11am on Wednesday, 27 September.

The topics include police funding and resources, restorative justice, stalking and harassment and rape and sexual assault and the session will end by taking a selection of other submitted questions.

The webchat will be broadcast on Facebook live via the following link  www.facebook.com/AandSPCC. You can submit your questions by:

For more information see here.

Westerleigh odour - keep reporting

Unfortunately there have been more odour problems in Westerleigh village this week. It's vital that people continue to report these to abattoir owners Tulip, even if you've previously had an unsatisfactory response to a complaint. You can call them on 0117 957 1919. Out of hours you will get the security staff but they are still supposed to take the details of your complaint and pass it on to the appropriate member of staff.

If the problem persists or you get an unsatisfactory response, please then ring the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 807060. Remember to say you are calling about an abattoir smell because different odour problems are regulated by different public bodies.

Claire Young has written again to the Environment Agency this week urging them to take action and has spoken to the official in charge of the investigation.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Loan Bike Scheme – try before you buy

If you’ve not cycled for a while and would like to get back on a bike for fitness, leisure, or an easy and stress-free way to get to work, then why not give the Loan Bike scheme a try.

The Loan Bikes scheme is different from a daily Bike Hire as their quality bikes can be borrowed for up to a month, absolutely FREE of charge, and are a great way to boost your confidence and discover if cycling is for you before investing in a new bike.

The loan bike scheme is open to anyone who lives, works or studies in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. More details here.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Reminder - drop-in events

Next week sees the first of the drop-in events on the housing proposals for our area, including 2pm to 8pm on Friday 22 September at Coalpit Heath Village Hall/The Miners.

The full list of events is:

Charfield:
Wednesday 20 September at Charfield Memorial Hall, 2-8pm

Coalpit Heath
Friday 22 September at Coalpit Heath Village Hall/Miners Institute, 2-8pm

Thornbury:
Friday 29 September at Armstrong Hall, 2-8pm

Yate and Chipping Sodbury:
Wednesday 4 October at Sodbury Town Hall, 2-8pm

Buckover Garden Village:
Friday 6 October at Falfield Village Hall, 2-8pm

Also, if you weren't able to get to the M4 J18a drop-in at Westerleigh Village Hall on Monday, there is another chance to find out more and have your say at Shire Way Community Centre from 4pm to 7pm on Tuesday 19 September.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Aviva Community Fund

The Aviva Community Fund is now open for applications for funding from £1,000 up to £25,000 for an important cause in your community.

All you have to do is enter a project for your community organisation – even if you took part previously – and tell them what a difference these much-needed funds could make. You can find out more here.

Yate Swimming Pool to reopen at end of October

Yate Leisure Centre have announced:

"We are pleased to announce to all Active Customers, that both of our Swimming Pools will be opening again at the end of October following major redevelopment works. This is a little later than originally envisaged."

"Both pools will be re-filled with water during early October. This is to enable the building contractors to monitor and test the integrity of the new pools. The water will then be gradually heated prior to opening for general use."

"We are really excited that we are nearing completion and the reopening date. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and continual support."

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Local history talk next Wednesday

The Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society are kicking off their 2017/18 season of talks next Wednesday with one entitled “A Trip to Jerusalem – Pubs and Pub Signs” by Mike Rowland. It starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 20th September in the Zion Church, Woodend Road, BS36 2HY. All welcome, entry is £4 including light refreshments or free to members (annual subscription is £15).

Monday, 11 September 2017

Reporting smell complaints in Westerleigh

Last week there were more odour complaints in Westerleigh village. The Environment Agency have asked the abattoir to investigate. They also stress that when there is an odour, please ring the abattoir first on 0117 957 1919 . It is much easier for staff to investigate the problem when it is happening. A new manager is dealing with the complaints.

If the problem persists, please then ring the Environment Agency hotline on 0800 807060. It is really helpful for them to be able to speak to complainants directly.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Latest on Winterbourne International Academy

The uncertainty surrounding the future for Winterbourne International Academy has been resolved with news that the Department for Education has confirmed that “in principle” approval has been given for Winterbourne to join the Olympus Academy Trust. You can read more about what this means in this letter from the Interim Leadership.

On Friday 1st September Yate International Academy joined Greenshaw Learning Trust, as had already been agreed earlier this year.

Reminder - Junction 18a drop-in on Monday

On Monday (11th September) there will be a drop-in event from 4pm to 6.45pm at Westerleigh Village Hall where you can find out more about the proposals for a new junction 18a on the M4.

More information can be found at http://www.southglos.gov.uk/M4J18a and if you can't make this event, there are others, including 4pm to 7pm on Tuesday 19th September at the Shire Way Community Centre, Yate.

It's important that everyone lets the council know their views on these proposals, as any new junction could have a major impact on our area. We're keen to hear from you too - please fill in our very brief survey here.

New bus service for Tytherington and Rangeworth

Stagecoach West has introduced a useful new service from Chipping Sodbury to Cribbs Causeway via Yate, Rangeworthy, Tytherington and Thornbury - full timetable here.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Parking around the Manor School

After a long delay, the proposed new parking restrictions around the Manor School in Coalpit Heath have now been formally advertised.

There are actually two consultations because two Traffic Regulation Orders are needed - one for the yellow zig zag lines, which will be shortened so that they are enforceable, and one for double yellow lines. Hopefully these will help prevent the dangerous parking that local people have often suffered at school times. You have until 22nd September to have you say.

Proposed 20mph limit around Chipping Sodbury School

South Glos is proposing introducing a 20 mph speed limit around Chipping Sodbury School. It will include the following roads: Bowling Road, Claypit Hill, Dodington Road, Gullivers Place, Lilliput Avenue and Lilliput Court. You can find out more and have your say before 22 September here.

Proposed 20mph speed limit round St Andrew's School

South Glos is proposing introducing a 20 mph speed limit on Butcroft Lane, Church Lane and Rectory Lane in Cromhall. You can find out more and have your say before 22 September here.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Last chance to have your say on South Glos ward boundaries

The South Glos Council wards will be changing at the next local elections in 2019, with the total number of councillors being cut from 70 to 61 and the number of voters being represented by each councillor becoming more equal.

The Local Government Boundary Commission for England has published their draft recommendations for the new boundaries. You can find all the details, including interactive maps, on their website.The consultation runs until 6th November 2017 and is your last chance to have your say before their proposals are finalised.

These are the criteria the Commission must follow when drawing up electoral arrangements:

  • To deliver electoral equality where each councillor represents roughly the same number of electors as others across South Gloucestershire.
  • That the pattern of wards should, as far as possible, reflect the interests and identities of local communities.
  • That the electoral arrangements should provide for effective and convenient local government. 
You need to take account of these if you are suggesting different ward boundaries.

It's just as important to say if you like the changes proposed as if you don't. 

Note that the external boundary of South Gloucestershire won't change, just how the area within it is divided up into wards. Nor will they be changing external Parish boundaries.

However, Parishes and Parish wards within Parishes are being used as the building blocks of the new wards. Because of this, some Parishes will have their internal ward boundaries changed and others will have Parish wards created for the first time.  For example, they propose moving the boundary between the Coalpit Heath and Westerleigh wards of Westerleigh Parish so that all the houses on Henfield Road, The Hollows, Cook's Lane and Bitterwell Close are in the Coalpit Heath ward. There would still be 7 Parish Councillors for Coalpit Heath ward and 2 for Westerleigh ward.

How will it affect our area?

If these proposals go ahead:

  • Charfield ward would be unchanged. 
  • Westerleigh and Ladden Brook wards would disappear.
  • Frampton Cotterell ward would be enlarged to become a three member ward, covering the parishes of Frampton Cotterell, Iron Acton, Rangeworthy and Tytherington and the (slightly enlarged) Coalpit Heath ward of Westerleigh Parish.
  • The Westerleigh ward of Westerleigh Parish and Dodington South ward of Dodington Parish, which are both currently in Westerleigh ward, would move into an enlarged Boyd Valley ward.
  • Wickwar Parish would move into a new Sodbury Vale ward, which also takes in large parts of the current Cotswold Edge ward.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane, from its junction with Badminton Road to its junction with Westerleigh Road, is expected to close for cleaning from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Tuesday 5th September for street cleaning to be carried out.

Heritage Open Days

It's nearly for the Heritage Open Days, which give everyone a chance to find out about our local history.

Unsurprisingly given the importance of the industry locally, there will be several events where you can find out about our mining history. These include Brandy Bottom Colliery (Friday 8 September: 1000 - 1600, Saturday 9 September: 1000 - 1600, Sunday 10 September: 1000 - 1600), Ram Hill Colliery (Sunday 10 September: 1000-1630) and Oldwood Pits Coal Mine (Saturday 9 September: 1400-1700 and Sunday 10 September: 1100-1530, tours every half hour).

You will also be able to visit Winterbourne Medieval Barn (Saturday 9 September: 1400-1700 and Sunday 10 September: 1400-1700) and St Saviour's Church (Friday 8 September: 1100-1300, Saturday 9 September: 1100-1500 and Sunday 10 September: 1100-1100; Service 1000). For more details of these and other local events, go to the Heritage Open Days website.