Friday, 25 July 2008

Lib Dems call for legal challenge to housing numbers

At Wednesday's Council meeting, the Lib Dems tabled an amendment to a Council motion on housing numbers, demanding that the Council investigate taking legal action if the Secretary of State doesn’t reduce the housing numbers destined for South Gloucestershire.

The number of homes that would have to be built each year is highly unrealistic but if the targets are not met there is a real danger that developers will be able to win appeals to build on land not earmarked by the Council for development.

Another concern is that the minister's recommendations would not ensure that the infrastructure needed to support the new homes would be built first. The Lib Dems succeed in gaining three party support for their motion demanding funding from Government to give first class transport for South Gloucestershire residents.

Wind turbine plans for new Council offices

South Gloucestershire Council has agreed to look into erecting a wind turbine on land adjacent to the new Council offices on Badminton Road. If installed, it would provide part of the power needed for the offices.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Fewer new homes for Yate and Sodbury but 2000 more for South Glos as a whole

The Secretary of State has recommended reducing the number of new homes to be built to the north of Yate and Chipping Sodbury from 5000 to 3000 but has increased the number of new homes proposed for South Glos as a whole by 2000 to 32,800.

Lib Dem Leader and councillor for Yate Central Ruth Davis explains, “I am horrified that the Minister has ignored the huge outcry from the public against the proposed housing within South Gloucestershire. We have already said that an increase of 23,500homes would be difficult to deal with properly if not impossible. In reply the Government panel suggested 30,800. Now instead of reducing that number to a manageable and sustainable level of growth the Secretary of State Hazel Blears MP has put it up further. As far as we’re concerned she’s living in the house of commons fantasy land.”

“Our worst fears have been founded with the figure going up even further. As there will now be a 12 week public consultation period on these proposals I urge the public to put their views forward in writing as it appears the Minister is just not listening.”

“We need time now to analyse these new figures in detail as whilst it appears the number for Yate are reduced to 3000 additional houses, this means 4000 more houses for the rest of South Gloucestershire. Being swamped with a flood of new properties was not what Yate residents wanted but they certainly wouldn’t have wished 4000 upon their neighbours in the rest of South Gloucestershire.”

The Lib Dem planning spokesman Cllr Pat Hockey said, "The Government needs to think again about the totally unrealistic number of new homes being proposed for South Gloucestershire. It is ridiculous that the Minister has not taken into account that development appears to have ceased on a number of major sites in South Gloucestershire due to the downturn in the housing market. This makes these housing targets unrealistic, unachievable and pure fantasy figures."

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fun Day at St Nicholas Nursery, Abbotswood - 26 July

St Nicholas Church is fund raising to improve the outdoor environment - they want to enclose the grass area at the side of the building to make it a safer area for children to play. As their contribution, St Nicholas Nursery will be running a fund raising fair on Saturday 26th July from 11am to 3pm.

As well as many attractions, they also need people to sell and buy at the table top event, and they hope to include a car boot sale. If you are able to help in any way please ring 07879 680118.

Wind farms for South Gloucestershire?

South Glos Council is considering building wind farms on seven council-owned sites in the area. Some sites would only take one wind turbine, but four sites could accommodate up to four turbines each, so that's about twenty turbines in all. The turbines would be connected to the electricity grid, and each could earn up to £25,000 a year (note the "up to").

The sites have been identified by a "desktop planning" exercise - looking at sites more than 450 metres from the nearest house, not actually visiting sites or telling occupiers yet. We presume they've picked sites with reasonable wind velocities.

The proposal is included in a report which is about to be presented to members of the South Glos cabinet. The council will not reveal the site locations until all occupiers have been contacted.

The Evening Post has more on the wind turbines here.

Monday, 14 July 2008

New theatre for Yate?

At the recent consultation display about the Sea Stores housing development, Yate Town Council unveiled their vision for the public part of the site - a three-storey theatre and arts venue. It would include a 300-seater theatre, performance rooms, an exhibition space, bar and restaurant. If the project goes ahead it could be open by 2013. It would cost £2.5 million - largely funded by developers, who have to contribute towards community facilities as a condition of getting planning permission. Nevertheless £1 million will have to be raised to make the scheme a reality.

The new venue aims to respond to demand from members of local amateur dramatic societies, community groups and audiences. For example, Yate Town Councillor and member of the University of the Third Age Sue Walker said there was a real need for a new theatre and meeting place in Yate. "The U3A has 450 members and 26 different groups and we have nowhere to meet at the moment. It is such a job booking places and there really is nothing around".

Those behind the project hope it will result in Yate staging leading dramatic productions and hosting prestigious arts events. "The town centre needs somewhere for people to go in the evening and there is nothing for people aged between 30 and 60," said Cllr Chris Willmore. "There is no other venue like this around."

Read more about the theatre project in the Gazette article here.

Guided nature walk, 21 July - St John's Park area and Ridge Wood

You are invited to take part in a guided nature walk on Monday 21 July starting at 7pm.

The walk will follow the wildflower meadows and riverside grasslands in St John's Park Estate in Chipping Sodbury, as well as visiting nearby Ridge Wood.

The walk will be led by Pauline and Richard Wilson from the Southwold branch of Avon Wildlife Trust.

The walk starts from the bridge over the River Frome, Wickwar Road, Chipping Sodbury, at 7pm.

The St John's Park Conservation Group is made of local residents, wildlife trust members and councillors. The group is supported by South Gloucestershire Council and its aim is to help care for wildflower meadows, woodlands and the riverside environment at St John's Park Estate.

For more information on the event contact Chris Giles of South Glos on 01454 863725.

(Thanks to S Glos for this information)

Westerleigh traffic lights go live tomorrow

The new traffic signals at the junction of Westerleigh Road and Shorthill Road - where the Westerleigh to Pucklechurch road crosses the B4465 - will be switched on tomorrow, Tuesday 15 July.

There will be some testing to start with, and the traffic light specialists will be there through the first afternoon and morning peaks to fine tune the system and make sure everything is working OK.

Hopefully the lights will reduce the accident rate on this very busy junction.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Have YOU visited the Sea Stores exhibition yet?

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore (centre) points out some of the details to Cllrs Sue Hope (South Glos Council) and Paul Hulbert (Dodington Parish Council)

Please don't forget to visit the Sea Stores housing exhibition at Poole Court - it's open until Saturday. The exhibition shows the developers' ideas for the site, and you can also find out about and comment on Yate Town Council's ideas for the section of the land set aside for community purposes.

The exhibition is open until 9 pm tonight (Thursday), then 9.00 am - 9.00 pm tomorrow, and 9.00 am - 5.30 pm on Saturday.