Thursday, 28 August 2014

Have your say on council solar schemes

Next week South Glos Council will be holding exhibitions on plans to install ground mounted solar PV schemes on land it owns next to the Badminton Road Council offices and between the M4 and the A4174 Ring Road at Moorend.

The schemes are much smaller than the commercial schemes in the area, approximately 2.5 acres at Badminton Road and 5 at Moorend, compared to over 100 acres at Says Court Farm for example. The aim is to supply electricity for the Badminton Road offices, reducing running costs at a time of rising energy prices and reducing carbon emissions by 700 tonnes a year. Both of the sites are only low grade agricultural land, having been used for landfill or sewage works previously.

The pre-planning consultation runs until 10th September. When the formal plans are submitted in late September there will be the usual opportunity for local residents to comment then too.

The exhibition will be in the reception area of the council offices on Badminton Road on Monday 1 September between 3pm and 7pm and on Tuesday 2 September between 3pm and 8pm.

Your Focus Team has already asked for assurance that the Badminton Road scheme won't stop the Nibley Park and Ride being built in the future.

Council Chairman to skydive for charity

The Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council, Ladden Brook Ward Councillor Howard Gawler, will plunge 10,000 feet from a plane on Sunday 7 September to raise money for charity.

Howard will be undertaking a tandem skydive to raise funds for the South Gloucestershire based Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), one of his chosen Chair’s charities for the year. This will involve him free-falling through the air (without the parachute deployed) for 5,000 feet at around 120 mph, before safely parachuting to the ground. He will be harnessed to a professional parachute instructor at all times throughout the descent. Howard's niece Sarah Farthing, from Wick in South Gloucestershire, will also be taking part in the skydive.

Howard said: “I’m really looking forward to my debut skydive in aid of this very worthy cause, the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. Any one of us may be thankful for the air ambulance’s life saving services at some point in our lives and I’m proud to give them my support."

“The charity doesn’t receive any government or National Lottery funding, which means they rely entirely on the generosity of local people to continue operating. I hope to raise as much money for them as possible, so please visit the dedicated Just Giving page to sponsor my jump or to make a donation.”

To make a donation please visit the Chair’s Just Giving page at

You can find out more about the Great Western Air Ambulance at

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Have your say on Council Tax Reduction Scheme

South Glos wants your views on proposed changes to the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

In April 2013, CTRS replaced the national council tax benefit. Depending on their income and other factors, people may be entitled to money off their council tax bill. With reduced funding, last year the council had to make some difficult decisions about how best to protect the most vulnerable. The scheme for 2014/15 placed people into 8 income bands with an 80% discount for the lowest income band and smaller discounts as you went up the bands. The Lib Dems successfully proposed giving the maximum discount to those who would have qualified for a disability premium under the old scheme.

The council is now consulting on further changes. It is proposing to reduce the number of income bands and also wants yor comments on whether young adults leaving care who are liable to pay council tax and are eligible for a reduction in their council tax should receive the maximum discount. Those would have qualified for a disability premium will still get the maximum discount. Older people who are eligible for state pension credit will continue to be assessed under a national scheme and will not be affected by the proposed changes.

The consultation runs until Monday 22 September. You can find out further information and comment online.

Consultation on plans for footpath on Dodington Road

In March, the Frome Vale Area Forum awarded funding for a new length of footpath on Dodington Road, in response to safety concerns raised by local residents.

Local people now have an opportunity to comment on the proposals. You can view the plans online and email comments to - the deadline for comments is Tuesday 9th September.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Have your say on Private Sector Housing services

South Glos council is currently consulting on proposals which will affect the work of Private Sector Housing services as it looks to save £168,000 a year (approx. 24%) from its budget by 2015/16 as part of the council’s savings programme.

Services that could be affected include:
  • Disabled adaptations
  • Enforcement of housing standards
  • Empty homes
  • Home energy conservation
  • Home renovations
  • Licensing of houses of multiple occupation
  • Landlord accreditation 
You can find out more at and you have until 10th October to comment.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Check your smoke detector

Have you had a smoke detector fitted by Avon Fire and Rescue service? Unfortunately there was a faulty batch. If you test your smoke detector and find it isn't working please call the fire service on 0800 1412561 or email for advice. The fire service can't give a definite timescale for when the faulty ones were fitted, but the problems to date relate to some that were fitted more than 6 months ago.

Of course regardless of who fitted your smoke detectors, it's worth checking them regularly.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Free part time courses: South Glos Community Learning prospectus now available

The latest Community Learning prospectus for September 2014-July 2015 is now available offering a range of FREE part-time courses in our local area. These courses courses can help you gain a qualification, improve job skills, help your children's learning, and become more involved in your local community

Courses include Maths, English, computer and IT skills, job seeking and interview skills, English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), confidence building, wellbeing and more.

How about "Getting the most from your tablet or iPad", for example? That's a 6 week course running at Yate Library.

Click here to view the prospectus with full details.