Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Seven in eight break speed limit

Remember this? We guessed that just over half the drivers were breaking the 30 mph speed limit. But we were wrong - it was seven drivers in every eight.

Between the 1st and the 22nd Feb, 71,218 cars went down this part of Westerleigh Rd towards the mini-roundabout.

8659 vehicles obeyed the limit. Fortunately most people didn't break the limit by much. The mean speed was 33 mph, and 93% were doing 40 or less.

But that still means that 7% of vehicles travelled at over 40 mph. And incredibly, on this short piece of 30 mph road, 185 vehicles were doing more than 50 mph. That's eight a day.

Strangely, although there's less traffic on a Sunday there are just as many speeders over 40 mph.

Maybe the mud from the railway and the traffic lights might slow them down for a while...

Rail near Rodborough / Chedworth - they've started

They've started without notifying local residents. Network Rail moved in on site today. They have begun to strim the embankment from the Chedworth end and a digger is on site, presumably to start creating the entrance roadway.

The other day we said here: "If you live near the embankment, the next you hear MIGHT be a note from Network Rail saying they're just about to start". We seem to have been optimistic - we checked with contacts in Rodborough and Chedworth, but neither has received any notification from Network Rail. Community Relations seem to be rather lacking.

Monday, 26 February 2007

Residents dig deep to hide mast equipment

Local residents are planning a planting morning to camouflage equipment next to a controversial mobile phone mast on Rodford Way, Yate.

Dodington Parish Council leafleted local residents and found that a large majority were in favour of painting the large mast a light grey to make it less obtrusive. The council approached mobile phone company O2, who are not only going to repaint the mast, but have also agreed to pay for planting trees and bushes to conceal ground-based cabinets.

“We thought it would be a good idea to involve the mast protest group and other local people in the planting” said parish councillor Paul Hulbert (Lib Dem, Dodington). “Then people will keep an eye on it and hopefully deter vandalism”.

“We’re meeting at 10 am on Saturday 10 March to plant the trees. People will need to wear wellies but tools and gloves will be provided.”

“The planting was designed with local people. Our contractor will prepare the ground the day before, so a lot of of the hard work will be done for us”.

South Glos councillor Alan Lawrance (Lib Dem, Yate) said “This mast is still very conspicuous, but the planting will soften it. Dodington Parish Council are to be congratulated.”

“We are still concerned about other masts planned in our area, and South Glos Council is reviewing its procedures for negotiating with mobile phone companies. Under existing planning laws they can put masts in even if local people object, but we want to lessen the impact of future masts”.

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Shire Way - progress with the crossings

You may have seen that the crossings look nearly ready, but there's still some work to be done. The extra lamps and their cables are in, and so are the columns for the beacons. South Glos is now waiting for the lamps and beacons to be connected up to the electricity supply.

The road at the two zebra crossings will be resurfaced by early next month, possibly working over the weekend. Then the white lines will be painted. Once that is done the beacons can be switched on. By the third week in March everything should be complete.

Monday, 19 February 2007

Rail works in cutting behind The Birds and Sodbury

The western end of the cutting, near Goldcrest

There's still no further news from Network Rail about their proposed work to remove trees from the cutting behind the Birds and Chiiping Sodbury. We're trying to get them to leave the trees on the very top of the embankment behind the Birds to keep the screening effect, especially opposite the mobile phone mast. We have asked Network Rail to keep the trees behind the allotment fence and on the field edge opposite.

However it looks like they'll have to remove even the top trees behind Chipping Sodbury - parts of the cutting are unstable right to the top, as shown by the recent landslide (where they're still stabilising the bank behind Greenhayes, Smarts Green and Blanchards)

We'll let you know when we hear any more.

Supermarket plans for Sodbury quarry land

Consultants representing the quarry and developers interested in developing land belonging to Hansons have approached South Gloucestershire Council.

There is at present no application for planning permission but they are looking for your views. The developers are keen to keep the shops in the High Street viable by improving the access and the supermarket will bring extra people into the town. All our shops already compete with the supermarkets in Yate - but what do you think?

The Town council is getting a presentation from the developers and when they have produced a preliminary plan there will be a period of public consultation.

The amended plans will go to South Glos Council. They are unlikely to be able to give final planning consent but will recommend to the Secretary of State.

Click picture to see a bigger version - then click Back arrow to return to this page.
The Main Proposals
1. 300 Homes - these would be mixed - ranging from detached houses with some flats in order to meet government guidelines on housing density.
2. A small supermarket - both Waitrose and Sainsburys are interested.
3. Improvements to the current car park, riverbank and probably more car parking spaces.
4. A bridge over the river leading to a mews development of approximately 6 shops giving a much better pedestrian way from the car park to the High Street.

Rail near Rodborough / Chedworth - update

Just a note to say that we expect Network Rail to move in shortly (despite the lack of planting proposals, see previous post). They have almost finished negotiating the road access with S Glos. If you live near the embankment, the next you hear MIGHT be a note from Network Rail saying they're just about to start. Please ring Paul on 315851 or Kay on 317461 if you get one of these notes.

At a guess there are 250 mature trees on this stretch of embankment alone. How many replacements will Network Rail offer to plant?

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

"Oh rats!" says councillor, asks Tesco to clean up their act

Local people have complained about waste food being spread from the back of the Tesco Express shop in Brimsham Park, Yate. Out of date food is regularly dumped in open wire containers behind the shop.

"Children are scattering the waste food, the wind is blowing the packaging around, and waste has spread all the way from Brimsham Park to the River Frome at the Rectory Road flood plain" said Cllr Mike Robbins. "I got South Gloucestershire Council's Environmental Health Department to pay Tesco a visit, but Tesco say they won't even clear up the rubbish outside their yard because their insurance doesn't cover them to do it. In fact they claim that it's up to South Glos to pick up anything outside Tesco property".

"Yate Town Council arranged an urgent clear-up of the nearby paths, but a day later there are stale bakery goods and potatoes on the verge again. It's encouraging vermin - if Tesco doesn't do something about it, this health hazard can only get worse. Tesco should provide secure, closed food waste containers and make sure that their staff use them - it's only common sense" said Mike.

The cages contain some stale food as well as packaging

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Westerleigh Rd - railway latest

Network Rail stripped this bank a year ago - will the other side be like this too?

Major earthworks on the railway embankment near Rodborough and Chedworth, Yate, are to go ahead shortly to repair an unstable embankment. Network Rail propose to bring in about a thousand lorry loads of soil to stabilise the slope. Trains currently have a temporary 20 mph speed limit on this stretch of track.

Trees and vegetation are to be stripped off the whole length of the bank from the Shire Way railway arch to Chedworth, and a temporary road entrance will be established off Westerleigh Road opposite Rodborough.

With all these lorries going in and out, there could be a serious problem of mud on this very busy, fast road. The road needs to be kept clean during the day, as well as when they stop work.

This work is essential – we don’t want a landslip like the recent one near Chipping Sodbury. Nevertheless we are trying to persuade Network Rail to carry out proper replacement planting, like they are doing at Coalpit Heath.

Network Rail has said that they can’t put trees back on the embankment, or even near the stream. We need trees along the fence line to provide a screen for the people living just across the road in Rodborough, and to re-establish this important wildlife corridor.

Network Rail has offered to plant shrubs, and say that they will investigate providing some semi-mature trees on the verge area alongside Westerleigh Rd. Network Rail has assured us that they carry out full environmental surveys, but we are concerned that we have not yet seen proper planting proposals. Watch this space for updates!

Sunday, 11 February 2007

New address / phone list and "Contact Us" feature

You can now find your local Focus Team contact by clicking the link in the right hand column. The page this takes you to also has an email form to contact us directly.

Thursday, 8 February 2007

Snow for once...

Just out of interest, a couple of photos taken in today's snow.

Snowy view over Yate - by Richard

Fun in the snow at Wapley - by Margaret

Monday, 5 February 2007

Out and About – For Free!

More than 38,000 people in South Glos now have Diamond Travel Cards, entitling them to a wide range of free travel:

Monday - Sat until 6.30pm (later on request). Takes you exactly where you want, when you want, as often as you want. Door to door like a taxi. You phone and book your trip – there and back. And you get whatever other help you need - eg carrying your shopping in. All vehicles are disability friendly. Trips are free for Diamond card holders (there’s a £5 membership fee). The scheme now has extra vehicles - to respond to the growing number of people switching to this service. One user commented “It’s so much better than a bus - and so much cheaper than taxis. I go shopping when I like now”. The Social Car Scheme is even more flexible.

Alan Lawrance with one of the new Community Transport buses

Shopmobility loans out scooters & wheelchairs (from Yate Library) to use on the Shopping Centre, Tues & Fri 9.30 to 4.30 and Sat from 9.30 to 1.30. They will collect and return you to your car or bus stop. All free for Diamond Card users.

How do I sign up for all this?
If you're over 60, disabled or medically not allowed to drive...
  • Call 864 864 (or email itu@southglos.gov.uk) to claim your Diamond Card (free bus pass)
  • Then call 312036 to join Dial a Ride
  • Once you have joined, call 312036 to book Dial a Ride or Social Car trips.
  • To join Shopmobility or to book a trip call 868178.
To make it easier, we’ll put all the forms here on our blog shortly - or call any member of the Focus Team and we’ll help you sort it out.

NEW from this month, you can get cheap train travel too! It gets you a National Rail Card at a discounted price of £16 - and that card gives you one third off rail fares.(and for disabled users a companion gets the discount too) Forms available from http://www.railcard.co.uk/ or from the Focus Team.

Could the bus tokens come back? The Focus Team went to experts to get it costed. It would cost £2.2million! We’ve looked at the figures and we can’t find a way to reintroduce them within the financial limits imposed on the Council. Nor can Labour. If the Tories can - they should say HOW. Even if they shut libraries on Saturday afternoons, cut funds available to schools, cut bus services and increase charges for home care - that's only £1m. So where’s the rest to come from?

Rather than promising the impossible, the Focus Team’s efforts are going into finding ways to help people who can’t use buses - e.g. funding extra disability friendly vehicles for Dial a Ride.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

TV programme - Steve's been on again / the elderly and inflation

Steve Webb was on TV again today, on the BBC 's Politics Show. He was talking about how the next Lib Dem manifesto will be developed, using lots of online discussions. If you missed the programme, for the next week you can see it on Politics Show latest edition - Steve's on towards the end.

There was also an interesting piece in the BBC West insert in the programme about old people and how the rate of inflation for what they buy is much higher than the average for the rest of us, because for example they spend a much higher proportion of their income on fuel. To see this (as text) follow this link: Old and Cold

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Speeding - "Kill your speed, not a child"

There's a temporary interactive flashing speed sign on Westerleigh Rd, between the big Rodford Way roundabout and the mini-roundabout next to the railway bridge.

The striking thing this morning was how many of the cars going past were triggering the sign - more than half, at a guess. Maybe people are just confused about speed limits - driving through our area they go 30 - 40 - 30 - 40...

Would it be more sensible to have ONE speed limit (30 mph) in our built-up area, except maybe on dual carriageways? Would this help people observe the speed limits? Please leave a comment with your opinion.

The actual speeds are being logged, so we hope to bring you some information about the figures from Westerleigh Rd in a few weeks. Watch this space.

By the way, although we've blanked out the car numberplate, it's not the car you can see that was speeding - it's the car out of shot behind it!