Saturday, 20 December 2014

Planning application submitted for council office solar scheme

The planning application has now been submitted for the proposed solar scheme on land next to the Badminton Road Council Offices at Nibley.

Last week we reported on a meeting we had with officers about the proposals. You can now view the plans and make comments online.If for any reason that link doesn't work, go to the planning application search page and enter the reference number PK14/4785/R3F. You have until 6th January to make comments.

Christmas opening times

Local MP Steve Webb has sent out the following useful round-up of local Christmas opening times:

Constituency Office of Steve Webb MP - Opening Hours

The office will be open as usual over the holiday period, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2nd January. You can contact Steve on 01454 322100 or email

Christmas Posting Dates

The last posting dates for Christmas are as follows:
(It's already too late for 2nd class post)
Saturday 20 December - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Monday 22 December - Parcelforce Worldwide 48 hours delivery
Tuesday 23 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

South Glos Council Services

One Stop Shops

One Stop Shops will be closed from Christmas eve afternoon (from 1pm) and on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2 January.

Recycling and waste collections

Recycling centres

All sites are open as usual, apart from 25 December to 28 December and 1 January.

Christmas collections

Bin collections will continue as normal, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. You will still have the usual amount of collections over Christmas, but the days might change. You can also check the dates using the Council’s collection date checker.

Recycling your real Christmas tree

There are several options to dispose of your real Christmas tree.

a) Using the garden waste service

If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put it in your green bin, or alternatively you can purchase a garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library or Country Stores at 48 High Street Marshfield SN14 8LP. You don’t need to worry about the cutting the tree to fit it in the sack.

b) Taking it to a recycling centre

You can recycle your tree at one of the four Sort It centres

Train times over the holiday period

Network Rail will be conducting essential engineering works over the Christmas period.  Details of changes to the usual schedule are as follows:

Christmas Eve

Timings of trains will start to change from 1700 across the network, and from 1500 in the London and Thames Valley area. The last train will leave Paddington before 2130.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day

No scheduled train services.

Saturday 27 December

Local services into London will start from around 1100 because of work in the Hayes and Harlington area, and long distance services into and out of London will be limited. We are advising customers to use other routes where possible, or to travel after 1100.  Tickets will be valid on other routes.

Saturday 27 December – Sunday 4 January

A reduced timetable will operate and diversions will be in place. Journey times may take longer than normal.

First Great Western have set out the changes in detail for each route on their website:

Emergency Pharmacy Opening Times in South Gloucestershire

Pharmacy opening times for the December and January Bank Holidays 2014/15. 

Asda Pharmacy, Craven Way, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 3012810
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

*Asda Pharmacy, Highwood Lane, Patchway, BS34 5TL
Tel: 0117 3172410
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1, Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke Way, Bradley Stoke,  BS32 8EF
Tel: 01454 202327
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, 116, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, BS34 5UP
Tel: 0117 9509744
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1a, Emersons Green Retail Centre, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9575893
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

*Boots Pharmacy, Unit D, Gallagher Retail Park, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 9678963
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00
Thursday 1st January: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00

Boots Pharmacy, 15-17, North Walk, Yate, BS37 4AP
Tel: 01454 312589
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 17:30
Thursday 1st January: closed

Bradley Stoke Pharmacy, Brook Way,  Bradley Stoke,  BS32 9DS
Tel: 01454 612855
Thursday 25th December: 10:00 - 12:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed

Frome Valley Pharmacy, Frome Valley Medical Centre, 2 Court Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2DE
Tel: 01454 773755
Thursday 25th December: 12:00 - 14:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: 12:00 - 14:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Emersons Way, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9569849
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Fox Den Road, Filton, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8SS
Tel: 0117 9793412
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 15:00

Westbourne Road Pharmacy, 26, Westbourne Road, Downend, BS16 6RX
Tel: 0117 9565836
Thursday 25th December: 14:00 - 16:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed
*These pharmacies have a specialist medicines service.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas lights in Westerleigh

Once again Mill Crescent is lit up for Christmas to raise money for charity. This year the collection will go to St Peter's Hospice, in memory of several local residents who have died. 
It's well worth a visit, especially if you have children. Mill Crescent is the side road just next to the zebra crossing.

(Photos by Claire Young)

St Nick's Youth Centre closing, but rescue may be possible

The charitable trust that runs St Nicholas Youth Centre at Abbotswood has suddenly announced that they are to stop operating from the end of December. This means that this month's youth club meetings will be the last, apart from one farewell evening in January.

South Gloucestershire Youth Initiative was founded in 2012 after the core youth club funding from South Gloucestershire Council ceased. In 2013 they managed to attract enough funding and grants to keep the club open. However this year they found it increasingly difficult to balance the books and they felt they had no option but to close.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Your local Focus councillors believe that local youth work is essential, and they are working hard trying to put a rescue package together. Yate Town Council is taking the lead role. This has been complicated by the very short notice given, and the fact that it's happening in the run-up to Christmas when key people are less likely to be available.

We'll update you here when we know for certain what is happening.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Campaigners call for cycle path to be finished

Paul Hulbert and Claire Young launching the petition in August
Westerleigh Councillor Claire Young delivered a petition to a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council on Wednesday as part of an ongoing campaign for the completion of the ‘Yate Spur’ cycle path. The petition has so far been signed by over 300 residents from Yate, Westerleigh and further afield.

Claire said: “This petition shows there is strong support for completing the “Yate Spur” cycle path, which currently stops just south of Westerleigh but is planned to link up the village and Yate with the Bristol-Bath railway path and the wider cycle network. When it’s finished, it will provide a safe, off-road route for travelling to the Science Park at Emerson’s Green, Bristol city centre, Bath and beyond. Families will be able to enjoy leisure rides and it will make commuting to work by bike a realistic option for many more people.”

Local resident Rob Bushill spoke at the meeting in support of the petition.“There are just two ways in and out of Yate towards Bristol. Via Badminton Road, which has a lot of heavy traffic, or via Westerleigh, a narrow rat run of twisting bumpy country lanes that is so off putting and dangerous that even experienced cyclists avoid it. Yate has become an island to anyone bar the car driver, which is incredible considering that 30 plus miles of great cycleway is available just 2 miles away."

“By constructing this small but complex stretch of pathway, it will open up the shops of Emerson’s Green, the things for the family in Bath and Bristol, even provide a safer but longer route to the offices of Emerald Park and the Science Park. It’s 50 minutes to Bristol by bike, it’s a viable means of transport in the week and a source of family enjoyment at the weekends. It’s definitely not just for lycra-clad cyclists. By building these last few miles of cycleway, a huge barrier to people making those trips would be taken away.”

The Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Investment Board are due to consider further funding for the scheme at a meeting today. Claire called upon the Council to present the petition to them and lobby for the extra funding. We will continue campaigning until we have secured this vital sustainable transport link You can add your support here.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Abbotswood Christmas lights are back!

The community has rallied round to deal with vandal damage to the Abbotswood Christmas tree. Thanks to a generous donation and local volunteers, the tree is now illuminated again! Well done to everyone involved.

Solar scheme and safeguarding Park and Ride site at Badminton Road

Earlier this year, we reported that the council was proposing to put solar panels on land next to the council offices at Nibley. This week Ruth Davis, Claire Young and Paul Hulbert met officers to discuss the plans before an application is submitted. This would be a very small scheme compared to the commercial solar farms that have sprung up in the area recently, the aim being to provide electricity for the council offices.
Claire Young and Ruth Davis at the site
While keen for the council to save money in a positive way and use greener energy, your Focus Team was concerned that enough space should be left for the long-planned park and ride.This now needs to be bigger than originally planned due to all the new homes being built in Yate. The good news is that the latest plans allow for a 236 space car park, with the possibility of further spaces behind the offices. The solar panels would go on the slightly higher ground towards the back of the site in the top picture, which isn't suitable for car parking.

The site is just opposite the Badminton Road council offices
Your Focus Team is campaigning to get the park and ride built, along with other transport schemes in the Yate area. Go to  to back the campaign and share your experiences and ideas about local transport.