Friday, 21 December 2007

Network Rail - trees to go along Birds roads and back of Sodbury

Network Rail has written to householders in the "Birds" roads (Goldcrest Rd, Robin Way, Gullivers Place) and Gaunts Road to say that they will be removing the trees on the top of the railway cutting. In the case of the Birds this is everything the railway side of the allotment fence, plus the corresponding trees the other side of the cutting, next to the farmer's land.

The work is being carried out for safety reasons. The letter explains "Vegetation can create a host of safety problems. It is well documented that during the autumn months thousands of tonnes of leaves fall onto the railway line. Passing trains compress these leaves to form a slippery black substance on the rails which can cause the train wheels to slip in a similar way to black ice on the roads".

They have also told us that they are concerned that trees may fall onto the line or that there may be a landslip like the one a few months ago at Chipping Sodbury, possibly causing a major accident. Originally Network Rail hoped to be able to keep the trees on the very tops of the cutting, but they have reassessed the the length and concluded that it has the highest risk in the South West and South Wales.

We can't really argue with such a strong safety case, although it's going to look rather bare along there. For example the phone masts that were installed a while back will now stick out like a sore thumb. We tried to persuade Network Rail to pay a contribution to environmental work somewhere near this stretch, but they say that this is just routine maintenance (quite a few years overdue? - Editor) so they are unwilling to do so.

They aim to start work around the end of January, and say that it will take about four weeks to complete.

When the trees are gone the masts opposite Robin Way will be much more visible

Network Rail - Westerleigh Road update

We now have a potential date for Network Rail to be off site at Westerleigh Rd. They have some further drainage works to do in February, and hope to be off site, with all the fences removed, by the end of March.

They have inspected the defective trench (thump, thump) across the road, but say it's OK and that the traffic noise is coming from a defective reinstatement nearby. They have asked S Glos to inspect it. We'll follow this up after New Year.

Our investigations show that unfortunately we can't plant any screening on the Westerleigh Rd verge opposite the bungalows because it's completely occupied by large drains. If we plant trees there we would run a risk of damaging the drains and flooding the area.

However Network Rail has agreed to pay £1000 towards environmental works on Yate Common, and we are awaiting the cheque. I hope that we can get other grants to go with it to carry out a more substantial scheme - we'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Steve Webb's back on Facebook

We're glad to see that Steve Webb's Facebook page has now returned. Let's hope it stays that way. Thank you to everyone that contacted Facebook, and thank you also to the person at Facebook who decided to reinstate the account.

For those that don't know what this is about, Facebook is an online networking system that many young (and not so young) people use. Steve had more than 2500 contacts on there, and many of them used it to raise problems with Steve - education, buses, housing, you name it.

Two minutes on the site would have shown Facebook that it wasn't a fake. Let's hope they'll be more careful next time.

If you're on Facebook you can see Steve's Facebook page here - if not, you would need to register.

Of course Steve's blog is still at and his website is

Steve Webb and Facebook - update

I have just emailed Facebook as follows:

"Please restore Steve Webb MP's facebook account

I was very disturbed to learn that the Facebook account of Steve Webb MP - a member of the UK Parliament - has been removed because you believe that his site is a fake, and that it is a breach of your rules not to give a genuine first name and last name.

I can assure you that Steve's site is genuine. He is a colleague and a friend of mine. If you don't restore his site you risk extremely adverse national and international publicity for something which looks like political censorship, but may of course only be an error on your part. It's already spreading through the blogosphere. Please act before it is too late to avoid unfortunate publicity for your otherwise excellent service."

If you are on Facebook please do something similar - you can find the messaging link under Help / Signup and login problems / Write us a message - and also join the Facebook group Steve Webb is real!

Paul Hulbert

Facebook delete Steve Webb and say he's "not real"

Social Networking site Facebook has deleted Steve Webb MP's account saying that his site site is a fake and that it is a breach of their rules not to give a genuine first name and last name.

Looks like they just couldn't believe that a local MP would have 2500 Facebook friends!

There's a new Facebook group Steve Webb is real! - please join it.

Monday, 17 December 2007

Please save those stamps!

Most of our local charity shops collect used stamps - foreign, UK commemorative or just plain "ordinary" stamps - and sell them on to dealers. Please keep all those stamps you get at Xmas or indeed any time of year and take them in.

Alternatively you can drop them off to Paul Hulbert at 35 Blaisdon (he's collecting them for Cancer Research) or leave them at Dodington Parish Council for him to collect.

Friday, 7 December 2007

Splendid Victorian Day in Chipping Sodbury

Click photo for slideshow
(opens in new window)

Congratulations for everyone involved in organising Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day. It all went very well. The shops were very busy and there was a good-natured crowd in the Street. The slide show includes shopkeepers in costume, the Morris Men, Dodington Parish Band and the local constabulary with their cloaks. And Father Christmas of course!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Don't forget - Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day this Friday!

A traditional Victorian DayVictorian Day details - Father Christmas arrives at 7pmStarts 1 pm, streets closed 4.00 - 9.30 pm.
Broad Street and High Street, Chipping Sodbury