Friday, 29 February 2008

Standing room only at Yate housing meeting

Steve Webb explains the impact of the new housing on South Gloucestershire

Chris Willmore points out some of the problems that the proposed development will bring

Around 300 people packed into this evening's meeting at Brimsham Green School to hear Steve Webb MP and Cllr Chris Willmore explain the impact of the proposed 5000 new houses for the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area. It is intended to set up an action group to fight the plans.

We need to plan now - when the minister makes a decision we'll only have a few weeks to make our comments. Under the new planning arrangements local people have so far had no say - but the housing developers were all allowed to put their views forward!

Send us your details via the Focus contact form if you would like to help us fight this over-development - or follow the same link to find out how to get in touch with your local councillor.

Click here for the Gazette report of the meeting.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

5000 new houses - a question of scale

With the plans for 5000 new houses on the fringes of Yate and maybe Chipping Sodbury or elsewhere, we wondered what this many houses would look like.

Turns out it's about 2/3 the size of Bradley Stoke. Just part of a total of FOUR more Bradley Stokes across South Glos.

Steve Webb described the problems recently in the House of Commons:

"We have a rather poor and expensive bus service, and a train service that is so poor and unreliable that people drive from Yate to the north fringe of Bristol, so the idea that that is the basis for 5,000 more homes seems absolutely incredible.

"What about health care for these people? The local hospital is actually being closed, on the basis of population projections that are out of date. What will happen there?

"What about drainage? Downstream from Yate, we are already getting substantial flooding. Where is the evidence that this number, which really feels as if it has been plucked from the air, will not make things worse?"

Please come to Steve's public meeting at 7.30pm this Friday (29 February) at Brimsham Green School. It's YOUR TOWN. Have YOUR SAY.

Reminder - Barnhill Quarry (Chipping Sodbury Waitrose) exhibition this week

Just a reminder - don't miss the...

Barnhill Quarry development exhibition (Waitrose supermarket and houses)
- Wed 27 Feb and Thurs 28 Feb, 3.00 pm - 7.30 pm in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. The developers are displaying their latest plans, modified after local people's feedback from the previous exhibition and consultation.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Is your bin being completely emptied?

A resident contacted Claire Young this week to say that for two collections running their black bin had not been completely emptied. Had they not rung the Council to complain, food waste could have been sitting in the bottom of their bin for a month.

The Council can penalise SITA if bins are missed or not emptied properly, but they need residents to report problems so they can be logged with SITA and performance monitoring started. To do this, call Street Care on 01454 868000 and select option 1.

(Thanks to Claire and our sister blog Focus on the Ladden-Frome Area for this item)

5000 new houses - your chance to do something about it

We reported several weeks ago that a government panel is recommending 5000 new houses for Yate and area. This is equivalent to an extra two or three Chipping Sodburys on our doorstep.

If these new houses all go north of Yate, the town will reach all the way up to Wickwar. Or some could go south, near Wapley; west (the Common?) or east (the fringe of Sodbury)

And all without any local consultation as well.

Steve Webb and local councillors are forming an Action Group. Come to a PUBLIC MEETING at 7.30pm on Friday 29 February at Brimsham Green School.

Postscript: The Gazette previews the meeting here

Station Road Post Office to be scrapped

Although the official list doesn't come out until Tuesday, it is now clear that the post office in Station Road, Yate, is on the list to be axed. It is among nearly 30 post offices across the former Avon area to be closed by Royal Mail (for which read the Government)

Another local post office to go is the village post office in Old Sodbury. Together with the one that closed at Brimsham Park when Tesco took over, it means that we will have lost three of our local post offices in four or five years. Nationally 2500 are targeted by the current round of closures.

Which post offices could go in the next round? Abbotswood? North Road? Chipping Sodbury?

Come and join the queues at the main Yate Shopping Centre office. (Can we even assume that this one is safe?)

Steve Webb's website has more details - join our campaign to stop the post office closures.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Police appeal for crash witnesses

Police are appealing for witnesses to a fatal collision on the B4465 Wapley Road near Dodington Ash on Friday (February 15), shortly before 8pm.

A Fiat was travelling along the B4465 towards the A46 at Tormarton when it collided with a Hyundai travelling in the opposite direction.

The driver of the Fiat, a man aged in his 20s, sustained serious injuries and died at the scene.

Anyone who witnessed the collision is urged to contact the police collision investigation unit on 0845 4567000.

(Thanks to Avon and Somerset Constabulary local website for the details)

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Can you help US to help YOU?

Delivering our paper Focus newsletter relies on an army of volunteers who each deliver a small area. If YOU could help deliver in the Yate, Dodington or Chipping Sodbury areas please ring Paul on 01454 315851.

We also have some questionnaires that need putting into envelopes - could you do some "stuffing" for us? Please give Sheila a ring on 01454 882812.


Anonymous clothing collectors come round again

We reported on this clothing collection last October - they're back again. You can't tell from the leaflet who runs it - there's no mention of a charity or company name. To be fair, it doesn't claim to be for charity - that would be illegal.

It's up to you, but remember that it's almost certainly a profit-making concern. We suggest not leaving anything out for their collection that our excellent local charity shops would accept.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Barnhill Quarry, supermarket and houses - new exhibition

The developers have worked up their proposals in more detail, and a further exhibition will be held at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Wednesday 27 and Thursday 28 February, from 3pm to 7.30pm. This will be a drop-in session - come any time when it's open.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Kerbside Collection of Plastic Bottles:If you want it, demand it!

If you want SITA to collect your plastic bottles from your home along with the green box, make sure you make this clear in your response to South Glos. Council's 'Local Waste Strategy 2008 to 2014' consultation document.

The consultation form is designed to make this difficult!

The only way to do it is to answer NO to the question 'Do you support our current policy of collecting plastic bottles using a network of local recycling banks?'. Then in the space for the answer to the next request 'Please tell us where you think we should install addition plastic bottle banks' write 'We want kerbside collection of plastic bottles'.

Copies of the consultation form can be obtained from local libraries or you can reply online. The deadline for responses is 31 March.

To reply online go to this link and look down the list for "South Gloucestershire Waste Strategy 2008 to 2014".

(Thanks to Cllr Claire Young for this post, which first appeared on our sister blog Focus on the Ladden-Frome Area)

Sunday, 3 February 2008

More houses - more comment (animation video)

For an alternative take on urban development, look at this short animation from Japan that shows a place changing from a rural area to a metropolis:

"Musashino Plateau" - Click the arrow to play the video.

Hat-tip to the City of Sound blog for drawing this to our attention.

Thousands more houses for Yate - some thoughts

As reported by the Gazette, a recent report suggests to the Government that Yate is the right place to put 5000 new homes between now and 2026.

The report says that Yate is suitable because the town:

  • is well linked by public transport facilities including bus and rail services
    (overcrowded trains, and buses that mainly only go to Bristol)
  • education, shopping and leisure facilities
    (leisure facilities - did we hear anyone say cinema? Ah, of course, they must mean the pubs in Sodbury)
  • is well served in terms of employment
    (mainly in the North Fringe, where the buses don't go)
  • has opportunities attractive to commercial and business investors
    (that's more like it - a nice little money earner)
  • is a sustainable location for the housing
    (depends on your definition of sustainable)

Friday, 1 February 2008

Sea Stores housing development set to go ahead after all

As we reported in September, the Sea Stores development was held up by a claim by previous owners of the land. The development of 250 homes is now back on the rails again after the claim was rejected. The Gazette gives more details of the Sea Stores claim here.

Before the hold-up there had been consultations agreement on a "concept statement" setting out a general idea of what would go on the site. The next step will be for the government to find a buyer for the site and for the new owner to apply for outline and then detailed planning permission. These stages will provide more opportunities for comment - we'll keep you posted when something happens.

Railway - Birds tree cutting to start in a fortnight

All the tress on the railway side of the fence are to be cut down

With all the landslips, you may have wondered whether Network Rail had forgotten all about cutting the trees on the cutting from the Birds roads (Goldcrest Road, Robin Way) behind Chipping Sodbury school up towards Gaunts Road.

However Network Rail tell us that the works are due to start on 18 February. As there is a fairly large area to attend to, it will take about a fortnight to complete.

Waiting restriction proposed to stop car sales at Rodford Way roundabout

South Glos has been consulting about a waiting restriction at the Rodford Way / Westerleigh Road roundabout, where residents have been complaining about vehicles parked for sale - it often looks more like a used car lot.

The proposal is to restrict waiting to 2 hours in any 4 between 8am and 6pm, seven days a week. This should deter car sales but two hours might not be long enough for some people visiting the Common, maybe doing conservation work over there.

Unfortunately people only knew about this if they saw the poster on site (see photo). South Glos didn't put this proposal on their website, and their agents refused to send us a copy. Apparently the consultation is now over, even though there wasn't a closing date on the posters.

However the agents say that there will be another opportunity to comment: "When the final scheme is decided the legal notices for the proposed waiting restrictions will be posted and all interested parties will be invited to comment/object as they wish. This will include posting all of the drawings on the Council’s Consultation website".