Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Voting Remain - a personal story

We don't normally put personal viewpoints on here, but this article explains why our editor is voting REMAIN.

The Brexit campaigners want to return to a Britain that never existed for most of our people. As a child I played on the bomb sites. Bath time was in a tin bath in the living room. The toilet was outside and round the side of the house, though we were luckier than our neighbours, who had to cross our front to get to their loo.

I played with ration coupons - food rationing had only just finished, nine years after the war ended. We knew that if the siren sounded for real we had only four minutes before the nuclear missiles struck. We had pea soup smogs. TB and polio were still not unknown.

Later, currency devaluation followed devaluation. If you went abroad there was a limit on the cash you could take out of the country - the amount of money was recorded in your passport. If you went to a friendly European country to work, you had to report to the police and register as an alien.

The UK economy continued to decline. The miners' strike precipitated power cuts and the three day week. Speeding coal convoys under police escort were very aggressive and virtually barged ordinary drivers off the motorways.

Yes, there were the positives too, notably the National Health Service. I was one of the early NHS babies, and I've been grateful for it throughout my life. But many of the Brexiteers want to abolish the NHS.

Another positive was the almost universal loathing of fascism, but fascism is now creeping back into our society. Hatred of immigrants, using language that sees refugees (often from wars we have helped to create) as numbers, not people. Authoritarianism in many forms, from private security substituting for properly trained prison staff, through to projects being imposed by the diktat of government or inspectors regardless of the will of local people.

So where is this golden age they want to take us back to? Can't we go forward, not back, into a more humane society?

I'm voting Remain because the EU has been a force for good, a force for peace, a source of strength in numbers. I don't want to be part of a Little Britain that will fall apart. If we leave the EU Scotland will probably leave us, and maybe take northern England with it. Wales will be next in the queue, and a neutered England will be left to deal with a resurrected Northern Ireland problem.

Vote Remain, if you want to avoid economic decline, if you want a decent pension.

Vote Remain, if you want a decent life for your children and grandchildren.

Vote Remain, if you want to live in a society that values people.

Vote Remain.

Paul Hulbert

Monday, 20 June 2016

The most important 10 minutes this year

This Thursday our country faces its most important choice in a generation, as we vote on whether to remain in or leave the European Union. Your Focus Team believes it’s vital that you use your vote to support REMAIN.

We believe we should stay in the EU, because that’s how we can tackle our most important problems – through a strong economy that can pay for vital services like the NHS and co-operation to tackle complex global challenges like climate change and terrorism.

Being in Europe keeps many jobs safe and makes sure we get lots of investment in Britain. But it also helps us in simple every day ways, for instance cutting mobile phone roaming charges and making sure we have access to medical care while on holiday.

Here in South Gloucestershire, prominent local businesses that provide jobs for local people have come out strongly in favour of a REMAIN vote. Airbus recently wrote to all employees, telling them: “Our position… is we firmly believe that it makes good economic sense to stay inside the EU which has helped make the company the global success story it is today. Apart from anything else, we simply don’t know what ‘out’ looks like.”

This is why your vote this week is crucial. The decision you make this Thursday will shape our country for years to come. We only have one chance – please make plans now for what time of day you will vote. You can vote at your usual place from 7am to 10pm. If you haven’t used your postal vote yet, you can take it along to the polling station on the day.

There is still time to learn more and join our campaign by visiting You can also let us know your views on the referendum by completing this survey.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Competition for images of the fields to the north of Brinsham Park before they are developed!

Yate Town Council has announced a competition to photograph, paint or draw for posterity the fields to the north of Brinsham Park before they are developed.

Record a snap shot in time...capture the sense of place…what makes it special and unique? Fields.. gateways.. hedgerows.. ponds.. tracks.. wild life ..birds.. butterflies.. insects.. trees.. wild flowers.. streams.. rabbits.. Consider the obvious and common place and not so obvious! All entries will be compiled into a historic record. A small prize will be given to the winner to be judged on creative and imaginative observation capturing the essence of the area.

To enter: please send/scan colour or black and white images in any format to or upload and post on Facebook or Twitter.

If you would prefer, send or deliver, a hard copy to Yate Town Council, Poole Court, Poole Court Drive, Yate, South Gloucestershire, BS37 5PP.

For more information tel. 01454 866506 or check

Rules: Please abide by the countryside rules and do not stray from the footpaths.
Copyright for future YTC publications is required for all entries.
Competition open to all ages, amateur or professional. Closing date 31st July 2016.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Stop mobile nuisance calls

MOBILE phone users can now send a text message to opt out of nuisance calls. The 'text-to-register' service allows mobile users to add their number to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) 'do not call' database.

Those wanting to sign up need to text 'TPS' followed by their email address to the shortcode 78070. They will receive a text reply from the TPS confirming their number has been successfully added to its database.

Registrants should notice a gradual reduction in unsolicited sales and marketing voice calls after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.

It is illegal for organisations to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls to numbers registered with the TPS, unless they have a person's consent to do so.

Only 48 per cent of people familiar with the TPS are aware that mobile numbers can be registered, compared to 88 per cent for landline phone numbers, according to Ofcom.

The regulator said this helped to explain why only 2.9 million mobile numbers (around 3 per cent) were registered on the TPS database, compared with 18.5 million landline numbers (around 85 per cent).

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said: "Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people.

"Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases."

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Rodford Way roadworks update Tuesday

At the moment (Tuesday 14 June 1.30 pm) Shire Way is completely closed at the junction with Rodford Way while tarmac is renewed and the cycle lane is being marked out.

Rodford Way is closed westbound from Scott Way to Sundridge Park.

The roadworks should be clear again by 5 pm tonight, but due to the weather there will be more works at the junction tomorrow (Wednesday)

There will a few final tweaks to be done a few days later.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Safer cycling

"Learn to ride" and "Fix" courses have been added to the Bikeability scheme in South Gloucestershire. The first gives children basic cycling skills and road safety, while "Fix" involves mechanics teaching basic maintenance such as puncture repairs. Most Bikeability training for children takes place in schools but there are also free courses available in the summer. Adults can book individual lessons here.

A scheme called Bikeability Recycled, which saw used and unwanted bikes refurbished and made roadworthy before being redistributed to people in the community, is being extended until the end of August. The council hopes to win funding to continue it for 4 years.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Find out about railway electrification work in Severn and Patchway tunnels

 South Gloucestershire residents are invited to an event to find out more about work that will soon be taking place to prepare the 130-year-old Severn and Patchway tunnels for the arrival of a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.

The event will take place at 7pm on Thursday 16 June at Patchway Community College on Hempton Lane and will begin with a presentation by the Network Rail project team, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

This event sounds like it will be of interest to rail enthusiasts as well as travellers. The upgrades required to prepare both tunnels for electrification are extensive and will involve installing conductor beams to power the new fleet of electric trains to run underneath. To install this beam in the Severn tunnel, four tonnes of soot (!) needs to be removed and extensive improvements made to the brick work.

The scale of this work means that a temporary closure of both tunnels is unavoidable over six weeks, from 12 September to 21 October 2016.

Throughout the work train services to and from of Wales will still be running, but some journeys will take longer and on some routes replacement bus services will be in operation.

The work on the Severn and Patchway tunnels will affect the majority of passengers who travel in and out of South Wales including those who travel to and from London, Portsmouth Harbour and south west England.

Trains running between Bristol and Cardiff will run via Gloucester and passengers travelling to and from London Paddington will also be diverted via Gloucester with extended journey times and a reduced frequency of trains. Rail replacement buses will be in operation for other services.

Ahead of the closure, passengers are advised to check before they travel through Great Western Railway or National Rail Enquiries.

Updates will also be available on Twitter via @networkrailwest and @gwrhelp.