Friday, 2 December 2016

Don't forget it's Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day tomorrow

Fun for all the family, 1pm to 7.30 pm. Father Christmas arrives on his sleigh at 7.15 pm!


First Bus announces cuts to Southmead bus service


First Bus has announced yet another cut to an important bus service. This time the No. 82 service from Southmead Hospital via Cribbs Causeway to Yate will lose its last journey. From 8 January the last bus will leave Southmead at 7.15 pm from Monday to Friday, almost an hour earlier and well before the end of visiting time.

This impacts people who work at Cribbs causeway too, not to mention shift workers boarding at other points along the route, and anybody who attends SGS Filton College in the evening. It makes it very hard for young people and those on minimum wage who work at the Mall, for example - their last bus will now be 7.30 pm instead of 8.24 pm.

If you use this service, please contact First and ask for the later journey to be brought back.

As for public consultation, what public consultation? South Glos Council's website doesn't even mention the early finish - it just says "Service 82 – First Bus (Southmead Hospital – Cribbs Causeway – Yate) timetable amended to improve punctuality but frequency remain the same across all days of operation, no change to route"

What's more they haven't even written to local councils (not to ours, anyway) to give notice of the changes so that we can object. South Glos Council doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it either - government cuts mean that they haven't got the money to subsidise routes or journeys that bus companies decide they don't want to run.

Flashback - it was only in August that First reduced the service frequency between Yate and Southmead, chopped the Chipping Sodbury link to Southmead and got rid of most of the services to UWE, as we reported here

Did we mention that First Bus is one of the contenders to run the MetroBus system? As and when this gets to Yate with a splendid new service, how long will it be before they begin to stop journeys that they see as inconvenient? Based on their record of cutting services in the Yate area, are they really fit to be bidding for MetroBus?

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Calling all business owners - let's hear YOUR views on Brexit


This morning our Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Claire Young was in Chipping Sodbury with Cllrs Linda Boon and Adrian Rush. They were asking local business owners what impact they thought Brexit would have on their businesses and what they were looking for in a Brexit deal to reduce any negative impacts. Some said they had already felt the impact of the slump in the pound, with the cost of imported goods rising rapidly. If YOU'RE a local business owner, please complete our survey online at http://www.claireyoung.org.uk/business_survey before 12th December.

Your views will be fed into the Liberal Democrats' National Consultation on Brexit. The Tory Brexit Government has not got to grips with the complexities of leaving the EU. The Liberal Democrats will be challenging the Government at every opportunity to make sure the concerns of businesses locally and across the country are heard.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Study into new motorway junction

At last Wednesday’s Environment and Community Services committee, it was agreed that South Gloucestershire Council would accept £500,000 funding from the Government to carry out a feasibility study into linking the M4 with the Avon Ring Road (A4174) with a new junction 18a. The study has to be completed by spring 2018.

Ahead of the meeting, Lib Dem Focus Team councillors asked officers to clarify whether this would also look at the link road to Yate proposed in the Joint Transport Study (JTS). They were advised that the offer of funding from the Department for Transport is very specifically for a new motorway junction and link to the ring road, but the study would consider interaction with other potential schemes emerging from the JTS, such as a link to Yate. They tried unsuccessfully to get an amendment clarifying this but it will have been minuted.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Time to have your say on thousands of new homes

It's now time to have your say on the proposals for thousands of new homes in our local communities.

You can find the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) consultation at: 
https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JSPEmergingSpatialStrategy/consultationHome

and the Joint Transport Study (JTS) consultation here:
https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/consult.ti/JTSTransportVision/consultationHome


We have been pressing for more information about where the houses would go and have been told repeatedly that this is a high level planning document talking about broad locations only, more detail would come in future consultations. We were therefore somewhat surprised to find at the drop-in exhibition in Chipping Sodbury a map of Yate and Chipping Sodbury with the countryside around it divided into sections and text headed “Potential Development Areas”. On further investigation, we found that maps were available for all the areas identified for housing.

The information is also available online, hidden away in a document at the end of the list of technical papers. You can find it here:
https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/gf2.ti/-/756738/23264517.1/PDF/-/Towards_the_Emerging_Spatial_Strategy_Assessment_of_Strategic_Development_Locations_Beyond_Settlement_Boundaries_Location_Dashboards.pdf

You'll need to look at page 27 for Yate and Chipping Sodbury, and page 37 for Coalpit Heath.

On the page for Yate/Chipping Sodbury it says:

  • Northwest Yate has good proximity to the rail station, Badminton Road and existing employment areas, hence there is considered potential in a broad band sweeping from fields north of Yate Town Football Club & south of Mission Road around to the B4059 and turning south to Nibley Lane and the river Frome and continuing south across the Badminton Road including fields west of the Business Park. 
  • Chipping Sodbury remains relatively compact with good proximity to the High Street from the periphery. Fields either side of Trinity Lane (north of St.Johns Way) but respecting the common and recreational facilities, and south of the railway between Dodington Road/Claypit Hill and north of Kingsgrove Common are therefore also considered to offer potential. 
  • In total it is considered up to 2,600 dwellings could be delivered in these 3 locations within the plan period.
On the page for Coalpit Heath it says:
  • Given good proximity to employment opportunities and other services in the North & North East Bristol Fringe, Yate rail station & the Badminton Road, there is considered potential on relatively unconstrained land from the rail line northwards, west of Roundways to Frog Lane at Coalpit Heath for up to 1,500 dwellings and supporting facilities
Given that west of Roundways is in the existing village, we can only assume that is a typo and they mean east.

There are also maps for Charfield, Buckover and Thornbury.

It's also important to understand that although the JSP and JTS are being consulted on together, they are two separate documents. If you want to see what they think are the transport mitigations needed to support the development, they are set out in the JSP in Table 1: Strategic Development Locations and the rationale for inclusion in the emerging spatial strategy. For the Yate/Chipping Sodbury development, those are:

  • Station improvements 
  • Metrobus 
  • Park and Ride 
  • Pinchpoint schemes and junction improvements 
  • Winterbourne Frampton Cotterell bypass 
For Coalpit Heath the list is the same, but minus the station improvements. There is no mention of the new M4 motorway junction or the link road from there to Yate being needed to mitigate the development. However in the Joint Transport Study it says: “The new road to Yate and the MetroBus extension form a package, with road space on the A432 prioritised for public transport and cycling.”

There will be another drop-in at Coalpit Heath Village Hall (The Miners) from 1pm to 7pm on Monday 21st November where you can speak to planning officers.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Drop-in events on housing proposals


The consultation starts next week on the proposals for up to 2,600 new homes around Yate and Chipping Sodbury, 1,500 at Coalpit Heath, 1,000 at Charfield, 600 at Thornbury and 2,200 at a new "garden village" at Buckover near Thornbury, along with a range of transport proposals. That's on top of the current plans,

South Gloucestershire Council will be holding drop-in events in the five areas most directly affected:

YATE/ SODBURY
WHERE: Chipping Sodbury Town Hall
WHEN: Thursday 10 November, 1 – 7 pm

CHARFIELD 
WHERE: Charfield Memorial Hall
WHEN: Tuesday 15 November, 1 – 7 pm

COALPIT HEATH
WHERE: Coalpit Heath Village Hall
WHEN: Monday 21 November, 1 – 7 pm

THORNBURY 
WHERE: Armstrong Hall, Thornbury
WHEN: Friday 25 November, 1 – 7 pm

BUCKOVER 
WHERE: Falfield Village Hall
WHEN: Monday 28 November, 1 – 7 pm

Even if you live in a village that is not specifically mentioned in the proposals, it is well worth getting along to one of the events. For example, the housing proposals at Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Coalpit Heath would involve the release of Green Belt land, which could mean building out towards these villages like Westerleigh, Nibley, Wapley, Dodington and Codrington. Transport proposals such as a link road between the M4 and Yate could clearly have an impact on these communities too. 

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Tern Inn and car park under threat from development

Around 100 local residents came to Dodington
Parish Council's meeting on 2 November
to protest against the development
A developer has put in a planning application to demolish the Tern Inn at Heron Way and build 28 flats on the site, including the car park which is heavily used by parents at Raysfield School and customers of the Heron Way shops.

Local residents have organised a petition against the proposal and will be meeting at 7pm next Wednesday (9 November) to discuss their next steps. They have also set up a Save the Tern Inn Facebook Page. There is also a Facebook group "The Birds Residents Group" that you have to request to join.

Dodington Parish Council is researching the proposal and the background and looking at how best to represent residents' views, but it is South Glos Council that will approve or refuse the plans.

If you have views on the development, please please make comments on the South Glos Council planning application page. You can read the proposal and see other people's comments here (the plans are towards the bottom of the list) and then press the Make a Comment button on the same page to make your own views know. You have until 15 November to do this (NOT 18 Nov as we said earlier), but we suggest that you do it soon in case you forget! If you think of something extra later, you can always make another comment before the 15th.

Different people will have different priorities - maybe you're a local resident, a user of the pub, a school parent or staff member, a customer of the shops, or several of these. Here are a few things you might like to consider. Please feel free to use these ideas, but it's best if you put your views in your own words rather than copying and pasting - South Glos councillors and officers will take more notice of them.


TRAFFIC AND PARKING
  • The private car park has for many years been used by parents at school drop-off and pick-up times to avoid parking on the very congested Heron Way.
  • This development would displace many more cars onto Heron Way, which is already curved and narrow.
  • The result would be increased dangers on this popular Route To School.
  • The planning application should not be determined solely on the extra parking required by the proposed flats, but should take into account the traffic and parking displaced by the proposal.
  • A detailed traffic survey needs to be undertaken at 0830-0930 and 1500-1545 on school days (these extended periods cover the Pre-School as well as the Primary School)The parking shown allocates 8 visitor spaces for the new flats, but no spaces for the existing shop units and maisonettes
  • (edited 04/11/2016) The parking shown allocates 8 visitor spaces for the new flats, but no spaces at all for the existing shop units and maisonettes.
  • (added 04/11/2016) The Design and Access Statement says “if at all possible, the Local Authority suggested a potential planning benefit to serve the existing shops and assist with community concerns to demonstrate 6 parking spaces allocated for community use” – Does this mean they would want to put another road access onto the space in front of the shops, which they also own? 

DESIGN
  • The high density and low parking provision is very reminiscent of the nearby Normandy Drive development that has caused so many problems with vehicular access.
  • When Normandy Drive was constructed it was based on ill-founded Government parking limits that have since been withdrawn. What are the current South Gloucestershire requirements?
  • Even considering the meagre parking proposed for the new flats, many of their occupants will park out on Heron Way, causing traffic holdups and increased danger.

JUSTIFICATION
  • The Design and Access Statement refers to the Draft DPD's Chipping Sodbury Town Centre Summary, which is not relevant. This site is not part of the Chipping Sodbury Town Centre area, as would have been obvious if the designers had consulted the map on page 17 of the document they are quoting (http://www.southglos.gov.uk//documents/3-Chipping-Sodbury-@-May-2015.pdf)
  • Moreover the 1-2 bedroom homes in that Town Centre were an aspiration of Chipping Sodbury Town Council, but this site is part of Dodington Parish not Sodbury.

EFFECT ON EXISTING BUSINESSES AND DWELLINGS
  • Pub: As many of the comments on the Planning Application say, this is not a “former pub” (as the developers originally claimed) but an active business and community hub, even though the site owners would like to see it run down. The community would rather see investment in the pub to make it more viable.
  • Shops: The shop units have recently been considerably improved and are developing into thriving businesses. The proposals would take away the parking that they need to survive, and the rank of shops would soon deteriorate again. In addition there seems to be no provision for waste storage or collection from the shops.
  • Maisonettes: Existing residents would lose their parking and again be displaced onto Heron Way.

PLANNING HISTORY
  • The proposals would not only remove the main car park, they also use the service yard at the back of the shops and maisonettes.
  • What were the requirements of the original planning permission for the shops and maisonettes? Do the present proposals infringe parking that was required at the time?