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.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Could YOU become a Health Champion?

Southern Brooks Community Partnership are currently recruiting community volunteers who live and/or work in Yate to learn: more about health and wellbeing; where to gain support to improve health; and hold the skills to have a 'health chat' with friends, relatives and neighbours as well as other residents of Yate to make steps to health improvement. It's a great opportunity to gain knowledge and take action without a regular commitment. The role comes with a free level 2 qualification in health.

 There will be information sessions in September:

  • Monday 4th 3-7 pm, Cadbury Heath Library 
  • Monday 18th 12-1 pm, Yate - Ridgewood Cafe, Ridgwood Buildings, 244 Station Rd, Yate BS37 4AF 
  • Thursday 21st 10-11 am, Patchway - Southern Brooks Training Room, 2nd Floor, Coniston Community Centre, Patchway BS34 5LP 
  • Friday 22nd 1-2 pm, Kingswood - Park Centre, High Street, Kingswood BS15 4AR 
  • Monday 25th 6-7 pm, Patchway - Southern Brooks Training Room, 2nd Floor, Coniston Community Centre, Patchway BS34 5LP 
For more information please contact the Contact Health Champion Co-ordinator on 01454 868570 or email healthchampions@southernbrooks.org.uk. Please contact them to confirm your place at one of the sessions.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Frome Valley Relief Sewer work

After years of campaigning throughout the ‘noughties’ about sewage pollution spills in the River Frome resulting in sanitary towels, condoms and raw sewage being left stranded on the banks of the river in Frampton Cotterell Parish, Cllr Dave Hockey is delighted that Wessex Water are making good progress with the final stage of the Frome Valley Relief Sewer. The £15 million project will divert sewage from the rapidly growing Yate/Sodbury area via the new large pipe from Cog Mill, Iron Acton to Bradley Stoke on onwards from there to the Avonmouth Sewage Treatment Plant.

Dave said, “It took a 10 year campaign and a summit meeting hosted by former Lib Dem MP Steve Webb with Senior Executives of Wessex Water and the Environment Agency to get a commitment to take action on this serious pollution problem. Local residents were appalled by the sewage spills. It is great that action is now being taken to deal with the problem - let’s hope the new scheme is successful and will bring to an end sewage spills in the Frome Valley.”

New Community Learning Courses - many free

South Glos Council has launched its prospectus of new courses for 2017-2018. There will be information and enrolment sessions at Yate Library:

  • Tuesday 5 September - 10.00am to 12noon 
  • Thursday 7 September - 5.00pm to 7.00pm

Check out the Community Learning web page for full details - click on the "Prospectus" link.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Have your say on J18a options

This week South Glos Council launched a consultation as part of a feasibility study into options for a new motorway junction, 18a, to link the M4 with the A4174 ring road. The consultation runs until Monday 16 October. This could have a major impact on our area so it's vital everyone has their say.

The Conservative-run council are looking at two options:

Western route

This route would use Westerleigh Road and the A4174 ring road adjacent to Lyde Green in Emersons Green. This would mean the new Junction 18a could be located to the north west of the Lyde Green development. It would require some realignment to the M4 itself.

Eastern route

This route explores the potential of building a link road and junction to the north and west of Pucklechurch. This would require the creation of a new link road, but a new motorway junction could be accommodated without the need to realign the M4.

You can find out more and have your say at http://www.southglos.gov.uk/M4J18a

Claire Young helped Westerleigh and Dodington Parish Councils to arrange drop-in events as part of the consultation:
  • Monday 11 September, 4pm to 6.45pm at Westerleigh Village Hall, Shorthill Road, Westerleigh, BS37 8QN 
  • Tuesday 19 September, 4pm to 7pm at the Shire Way Community Centre, Yate, BS37 8YS 
Details of other events can be found on the consultation web page. Any questions can be emailed to transport.policy@southglos.gov.uk - and do let us know your views too.

Grants for community groups

Are you involved in a community group that benefits residents across South Gloucestershire? Do you need some financial support?

If so, you can now apply to South Glos Council for an Area Wide Grant (AWG). The maximum grant is £3,000, though higher awards may be possible for exceptional projects. You can find out more by visiting www.southglos.gov.uk/AWG and registering your group with the online grants system. Once you've done that, you can request an application form by contacting the Grants Helpline on 01454 865865 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm) or emailing grants@southglos.gov.uk

If you're looking for funding for a project that helps residents in just some parts of South Gloucestershire, don't forget about the Member Awarded Funding, where each councillor has £3,000 to spend on local projects that benefit residents in their ward. Do get in touch with us if you're considering making an application.

Area Wide Grants have been missing since the Conservatives scrapped the Area Forums and with them the grants that were decided at the Forum meetings and replaced them with Member Awarded Funding. Money was set aside from last year's grant pot for area wide grants but the scheme is only now being put in place to award them. Unfortunately decisions will be made by a single Cabinet Member, rather than a committee of members as it would have been in the past - another example of power being concentrated in the hands of a few.

 To view all of the grants available through South Gloucestershire Council visit www.southglos.gov.uk/grants

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Cold caller banned

A man who had repeatedly ignored advice given to him by Trading Standards has been handed a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) following his conduct when he cold called an older person in Coalpit Heath.

Kevin Lee was ordered to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work, banned from cold calling for two years through the CBO and ordered to pay back over £2,600 costs after pleading guilty to a single fraud offence and one of an aggressive commercial practice. He cold called the home in Coalpit Heath with his tree surgery business.

If you suspect that rogue traders may be operating in your area or may have fallen victim to one, report it to the police or Trading Standards.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Sign our petition on NHS funding

We recently reported on the difficult choices local NHS officials are facing due to the funding crisis in the health service. Most controversially they are proposing to limit fertility treatment, which is already not being provided in line with national recommendations.

We have now launched a petition calling on the Government to increase funding - you can sign it here.

Don't forget to respond to the NHS consultation too.

Have your say on Ram Hill 20mph limit

Last year local councillors at the Frome Vale Area Forum listened to residents' concerns and gave the go ahead for an investigation into a 20mph limit on Ram Hill.

This year funding was agreed to implement the proposals that came out of that investigation. A consultation is now underway. You can find out more and fill in the questionnaire online until 6th September.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Urgent consultation - Yate Town Centre Waiting Restrictions

South Glos Council is consulting on waiting restrictions in the streets around the Town Centre and about reducing the Leisure Centre and Kennedy Way car parks from 12 to 4 hours maximum stay.

You can find the full details and a plan of the proposals here - you need to give your views by THIS FRIDAY, 18 AUGUST.

STOP PRESS - They have extended the consultation until 1 September because some of the consultation letters were returned marked undeliverable.

The roads affected are: Broadway, Church Road, Cleeve Road, Elmgrove Crescent, Firgrove Crescent, Gleneagles, Highway, Home Orchard, Kennedy Way, Lawns Road, Link Road, Melrose Avenue, Orchard Close, Painswick Drive, Ridgeway, Stanshawe Crescent, Station Road, Sundridge Park, Swan Field, The Glen, Tree Leaze, Turnpike Close, Walnut Avenue, Westerleigh Road.

Whatever your views about this scheme, it's yet another example of inadequate consultation by South Glos:
  • Virtually no publicity for a significant consultation
  • Only 3 weeks to comment
  • Over the summer holidays, so many people will only have a week to respond
  • Only accepting comments online - what about people who don't have internet?
What's the point of consultations if you don't do them properly?

Let's Get Yate Moving

What's more, Yate has now got to a size where it needs a decent size "two-way" Park and Ride site, with all-day parking for people travelling to Bristol and the North Fringe, plus parking for people working or spending long times in the Shopping Centre and the public buildings nearby.

The Liberal Democrat Focus Team has been running a 'Let's Get Yate Moving' campaign since 2014 to ensure that the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area gets the transport infrastructure it desperately needs. If you support this too, please do sign our petition at www.southgloslibdems.org.uk/letsgetyatemoving and pass it on to friends and family members.

Abson Road closed daytime 21 Aug to 1 Sep


Abson Road, a popular cut-through between Pucklechurch and Wick, will be closed to all traffic from 21 August to 1 September for essential resurfacing work (patch repairs to defective areas). Diversions will be in place (see map above), access to properties and amenities fronting the site and whose only access is from the closed road will be available at all times although delays may occur. The work will start at approximately 7.30am and remain in place until approximately 4.30pm.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Consultation on changes to Gibbs Lane weight limit

A consultation has started on changes to the Gibbs Lane, Codrington weight limit.

The aim is to implement an enforceable 7.5 Tonne weight restriction, to prevent Gibbs Lane being used as a through route by HGVs. As with all environmental weight limits, HGVs will still be permitted to load/unload at premises along Gibbs Lane. The proposed scheme is to amend the existing Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the weight limit on Gibbs Lane and to install new signs.

You can find out more and have your say here until 28th August.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Housing plans - dates for your diary

Last year, the West of England consulted on a Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) proposing:
  • 1,500 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,600 around Yate and Chipping Sodbury
  • 1,000 homes at Charfield
  • 600 homes at Thornbury
  • 2,200 homes at a new garden village at Buckover near Thornbury
The next round of consultation will take place in the autumn and judging from where they're holding the drop-in events, they are pressing ahead with these locations. The full list of drop-in events is:
  • Charfield Event – Charfield Memorial Hall - Wednesday 20th Sept 2 – 8pm
  • Coalpit Heath Event – Coalpit Heath Village Hall/Miners InstituteFriday 22nd Sept – 2 – 8pm
  • Thornbury Event – Armstrong Hall –Friday 29th Sept – 2 – 8pm
  • Yate Event – Sodbury Town Hall – Wednesday 4th October - 2 – 8pm
  • Buckover Event – Falfield Village Hall – Friday 6th Oct – 2 – 8pm

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Blackberry Park application refused


After a lengthy debate, the DC (East) Planning Committee refused on a split vote the Barratt Homes "Blackberry Park" outline application for up to 215 homes on land at Woodlands Farm. Local campaigners were there to have their say and show their support for protecting the site.

Barratt Homes now have the option to appeal against the decision. We will let you know if this happens.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Reminder - railway electrification work


As we've previously reported, for 4 weeks from 19th August Network Rail will be carrying out electrification work between Royal Wootton Bassett and Westerleigh junction. Some of the work will be noisy.

From 2nd to 15th September, the work will be extended to include Westerleigh Junction, Coalpit Heath, Winterbourne, Stoke Gifford and Bristol Parkway station, up to Patchway/Filton junctions and Bristol Parkway station will be closed. Trains will still be running using diversionary routes, with rail replacement bus and coach services in place for some journeys.

For the latest on the railway upgrade works go to www.networkrail.co.uk/westernupgrade and for more about rail services during the Bristol Parkway closure go to gwr.com/bristolparkway2017 or crosscountrytrains.co.uk/bristol2017

If you have any questions about the work and missed the earlier drop-ins, there is another one planned at The Old School Rooms, St Michael’s Centre, Stoke Gifford on Thursday, August 17 from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Have your say on Adult Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on the Adult Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Strategy for 2017-2022. The strategy will guide local work to improve mental health for all adults living and working in South Gloucestershire over the next 5 years. You have until Friday 6th October to comment - find out more here.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Woodlands Farm - decision next week


The "Blackberry Park" application for up to 215 homes at Woodlands Farm will be decided at the DC (East) planning committee meeting next Thursday. The meeting starts at 3pm in Kingswood Civic Centre and the public are very welcome to attend. There will be up to 5 minutes for objectors to speak. The case officer has recommended that the application be approved. You can read their 66 page report online.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Cuts to local health services

Faced with a growing deficit, NHS chiefs have proposed a series of changes to local health services to cut costs. You can find out more about their plans and how to have your say on their website.

Most controversially, they are proposing to limit 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. This would mean that access to fertility treatment was even more limited. Your have until 15th September to have your say on this - some of the other consultations finish as early as next week.

During the recent election, the Liberal Democrats proposed putting an extra 1p in the pound on income tax to increase NHS funding. Across the country, we are seeing the consequences of under funding.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Campaigners lobby for climate change action


Last Saturday campaigners, including local councillor Claire Young, attended The Climate Coalition's Week of Action coffee morning in the Ridgeway Cafe in Yate. They discussed ways to tackle climate change at a local level then afterwards went to lobby the local MP to demand action from the government on the national changes necessary to support local action.

Issues covered included giving certainty about feed-in tariffs to volunteers trying to get community energy projects off the ground, requiring new homes being built in our area to be 'zero carbon' and improvements to public transport. Sadly, from scrapping energy regulations for new homes to cutting feed-in tariffs for renewables, the Conservatives have a poor record on supporting low carbon policies.

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Cutting waiting times by shutting out patients


Your Focus Team was shocked to learn that Sirona, who run the Minor Injuries Unit (MIU) in Yate, are being allowed to shut the doors to new patients when they're busy so they can meet their waiting time targets.

Of course there is no guarantee if you're redirected to A&E that you'll be seen any more quickly there than if you'd been allowed to wait at the MIU. Neither Southmead or the Children's Hospital are easy to get to from Yate, especially when injured. This seems to be about meeting targets, not meeting the needs of patients.

Claire Young is asking for your experiences of being turned away by the Yate MIU during the advertised opening hours. Please fill in our short survey  - the more evidence we have, the better we can speak up for you. We have already heard from a number of disgruntled users, including someone who travelled from Thornbury with two young children, only to be told they would have to go to Bristol Children's Hospital, and another who found the unit closed 2 hours early.

Find out more about fostering

South Glos are currently looking for foster carers for every background to care for children and young people who have had a difficult start in life. You can find out more at a Fostering Information Evening in Yate on Thursday 3 August. It runs from 7pm to 9pm at the Badminton Road Council Offices.

For more information, call the fostering team on 01454 866423, email fostering@southglos.gov.uk or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/fostering

Summer reading challenge

Once again libraries in South Gloucestershire are inviting all 4 to 11-years-old to take part in the Summer Reading Challenge. This year’s theme is Animal Agents, based on a detective agency staffed by a variety of clever animals – furry, scaly and slippery – who are out to crack a case at the library with a little help from their friends. The challenge, which involves reading six books, runs until 16th September.

 You can find out more about the challenge and a range of free activities running through the holidays at www.southglos.gov.uk/childrenslibrary

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Climate change coffee morning

At 10am this Saturday, 29th July, the WWF are holding a Climate Change Coffee morning in the Ridgewood Cafe, Yate. This will be a chance to find out more about the Climate Coalitiion, how climate change is affecting the local community and what action you can take. You can find out more at https://www.facebook.com/events/408149509578801/

Friday, 21 July 2017

M4 J18a proposals - ways to have your say

South Gloucestershire Council have published proposals for a new junction 18a on the M4. They are in the early stages of a feasibility study and you will have a chance to have your say in a formal consultation starting next month. You can pre-register your interest in the consultation here.

Last week Claire Young attended an open-air meeting at Pucklechurch about the junction. There is strong opposition there to the Eastern proposal, which would involve building a link road near the village. You can read what the Parish Council has to say here.

 

There were mixed views expressed on the western proposal, close to the science park. Westerleigh village residents who attended were worried that either option would lead to a big increase in traffic through their village. Your Focus Team raised concerns about the limited scope of the feasibility study when the council decided to accept the money from the Government to carry it out. We do not think any option should go ahead without action to prevent serious knock-on impacts on the surrounding roads and communities.

Claire has been helping Westerleigh Parish Council to arrange a drop-in session where officers from South Gloucestershire Council will be available to answer your questions and hear what you have to say. It will take place from 4pm to 6.45pm on Monday 11th September in Westerleigh Village Hall.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Yate Spur cycle route progress (and delays)

There's good news and bad news 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 - Construction starts this month, taking 4 months 
  • Broad Lane - has already been upgraded 
  • Broad Lane to Nibley Lane Corner - the "Westerleigh bypass" - being designed, awaiting funding 
  • Nibley Lane Corner improvements - recently consulted about - on hold until Spring 2018 because of expected heavy traffic during the Bromley Heath Viaduct work 
  • Section under railway viaduct to Westerleigh Rd mini-roundabout - being designed, awaiting funding 
  • Westerleigh Rd mini-roundabout to Yate Common - on hold until January 2018 because of railway embankment work near Chedworth
Once the section from 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.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Early warning of train delays

On Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September Network Rail will be testing the overhead wires in the Reading area, which will have an impact on all Thames Valley and High Speed Services. What that means for people travelling from our area is that services will operate hourly from Bristol Temple Meads and London Paddington with amended calling patterns and some extended journey times.  You can find out more at https://www.gwr.com/travel-updates/planned-engineering/reading2017

Friday, 14 July 2017

Have your say on services for sexual assault victims

The Police and Crime Commissioners, the Police service and NHS England are working together to plan and buy Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) services in the South West of England. SARCs are a special service where victims and survivors of rape or sexual assault can receive immediate help and support. These services will go live on 1st October 2018 and replace existing services.

If you would like to have your say on the new SARC service, you can find out more here. Ideally, they would like comments by the end of July, but they will continue to consider comments until third week in August.