Sunday, 28 January 2007

Steve Webb on the box!

This week Channel 4 is showing a short TV programme about how Steve is in regular contact with many constituents using new technology such as email. The programme is presented by Steve and features three local people talking about their experiences. It was filmed partly in Yate shopping centre and partly in Steve's constituency office.

The programme will appear in the ‘Political Slot’ which follows Channel 4 News, shortly after 7.50pm, and should be shown on Wednesday 31st January (though these things are sometimes changed at short notice).

More trolleys, logging at Ridge Woods?

Sue Walker and I (Paul Hulbert) went walking in Ridge Woods Nature Reserve yesterday. We came across yet another stray trolley. Suie is arranging for it to be collected.

More worryingly, we also saw several people (one equipped with ear defenders and hard hat) cutting up a large log with a chainsaw on the pathway and then carting it off to a nearby house:

Note that we didn't see where they got the log from. It's possible that they got it from somewhere legitimate, and just took it up there to cut up. But it looked suspicious...

Saturday, 20 January 2007

We read it there first - Steve Webb's blog and the Sustainable Communities Bill

Blogging is a good way of keeping people up to date. Yesterday Steve Webb's blog reported the debate on the Sustainable Communities Bill at least an hour before it was reported on Radio 4.

This Private Member's Bill, which has wide cross-party support, aims to give communities powers to tackle issues like the closure of post offices and independent shops, and threats to build on valued green spaces.

To take one example, between 1999 and 2004 no fewer than 3700 post offices closed - that's one in five. Many closed because the Government took services away and made them uneconomic. Other local post offices closed because the shops they were in were taken over by big supermarket chains that didn't want to run post offices. Now the Government is talking about closing up to another 2500.

But will the Government give this bill parliamentary time, or will they kill it off? (like they did with the recent bill to bring mobile phone masts under normal planning controls) - we'll have to see.

To read more about the Sustainable Communities Bill, click here.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Trolleys given the cold shoulder

Cllrs Ian Blair and Mike Robbins found themselves with more than they bargained for when they went looking for stray supermarket trolleys. This one behind Cranleigh Court shops, Yate, came complete with a redundant fridge. "I found ten abandoned trolleys in half an hour" said Mike. "There seems to be an amphibious version as well - they seem very fond of the River Frome".

Saturday, 13 January 2007

Railway to remove trees, build up embankment near Rodborough

Network Rail are planning major works on the embankment on Westerleigh Road, Yate, facing Rodborough. They intend to clear all the vegetation off the embankment, build up the embankment in layers and widen the bottom of the embankment. Then they would put top soil on and reseed with grass mix. This would be about 3 months work. There would be a temporary road access somewhere opposite the entrance to Rodborough.
We can’t argue with safety works, but this is a lovely small piece of woodland. Many species of birds breed there regularly. Without these trees, people in Rodborough are going to feel that the trains are almost in their living rooms.
South Glos has asked Network Rail to do replacement planting, but there is bound to be considerable disruption. They are going to bring in about 13,000 tonnes of material – that’s about a thousand lorry loads.
The photo shows Steve Webb MP visiting the site with local councillors Alan Lawrance, Kay Crowe and Paul Hulbert.
Footnote - Network Rail is also talking about removing vegetation from the cutting behind Robin Way, Chipping Sodbury. We’re trying to find out more, and we’ll let you know as soon as we do.