Sunday, 23 August 2015

Happy 50th Birthday Yate Shopping Centre!

Well done to the Management Team of Yate Shopping Centre for puting on such a range of events for this weekend's 50th Anniversary celebrations!


Cllr Tony Davis, Mayor of Yate, cut the birthday cake watched by Andy Lowrey, Manager of Yate Shopping Centre

Cllr Tony Davis and Sue Bruten unveiled the mural that commemorates the history of the Shopping Centre. Sue designed the mural based on ideas from local schoolchildren and members of the community - the youngest contributor was 5 years old, and the oldest was 95.

Friday, 7 August 2015

Protecting access to Sort It centres

At South Glos Council's last Communities Committee, anyone who uses a works van as their only vehicle was nearly banned from using South Gloucestershire’s Sort It centres for their personal waste. Fortunately we were able to change the Conservative's proposal.

It originally said that vehicles will need to be registered to use the Sort It centres and “any vehicle registered to a business will be declined”. If this had passed, anyone who owns or works for a small business who has their work van as their only vehicle would have been stopped from using the Sort It centres. They would have had no way to dispose of their personal household waste.

Claire Young successfully proposed an amendment asking officers to come up with a scheme to enable those people to continue to use Sort It centres. They will only be allowed to transport household waste, not business waste, but it's right that they should be able to access these services like other residents. Your Focus Team thinks it's important to stand up for the people who run and work for our local small businesses.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Have you had a bike stolen?

Avon and Somerset Police recently arrested five people and seized seventy stolen bikes after a year long investigation. As of 29th July, twenty eight of these had no known owners and photographs have been posted here:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/aspolice/sets/72157656395071206

If you think one of the bikes might be yours, call 101.
You can read more on the story here.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Safety check on bad decisions removed

At the last South Gloucestershire Council meeting the Conservatives used their majority to remove the rights of opposition councillors to force a rethink on bad decisions.

Previously the lead member for any of the political groups on a committee could “refer up” a decision to full council for further debate, if they felt a mistake had been made or more information was needed to make a properly informed decision. Only a few months ago this safety check was used when the planning committee initially decided to approve the planning application for Top Yard in Westerleigh. Given the chance to review their report and consider case law, officers changed their recommendation from approval to refusal and the application was eventually refused. If our former colleague Alan Lawrance had not had the opportunity to refer up the original decision the application would have been approved and there would have been no way to overturn that.

By referring a decision up to council it also gave a chance for concerned members of the public to go along and have their say. Almost every council in the country has some ability for minority political groups to force administrations to think again. Obviously ultimately the majority view will prevail, as you would expect in a democracy. Sometimes though, having heard differing views or got more information, they make a different decision from their original one. Isn’t that also something you would expect in a democracy? As we saw with Top Yard, referring up was one way to help the council make better decisions. Why is the new administration afraid of that scrutiny?

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

South Glos show this weekend

The 2015 South Gloucestershire Show takes place this Saturday and Sunday (1st and 2nd August). The show is held at the Windmill Fishery Showground situated just off the Westerleigh Road between the Henfield cross roads and Westerleigh. More information can be found on their website.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Planning committee to consider caravan storage site

The application to continue caravan storage at Beech Hill Farm  is to be considered by the South Glos planning committee later this summer. Officers have recommended refusal on Green Belt grounds. A site visit is expected to take place on Friday 28th August.