Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Yet more shop closures

It's been a bad few months for retail businesses in our area. In Yate Shopping Centre Helibeds, Motor World and Woolworths have closed.

Now Card Warehouse is closing down, and Chipping Sodbury hardware shop Lanes is also shutting its doors. Yate children's clothes shop Adams is in receivership but continuing to trade.

Let's hope that 2009 brings better news.

Update 5th January - Adams at Yate has now closed, one of 111 branches shut by the administrators. The Cirencester, Gloucester and Swindon branches have also stopped trading.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Do you drive through Frampton Cotterell? Beware more roadworks!

Between 12th and 23rd January 2009 there will be major roadworks on the B4058 Bristol Road, Frampton Cotterell, between Perrinpit crossroads (next to the garage) and Station Road, Iron Acton (the junction where you can turn off via Latteridge towards the A38)

The road is going to have the old surface planed off and a new surface laid. Temporary multi-way traffic signals will be in use at the crossroads, and two-way signals will be used as work progresses along Bristol Road.

Although the work will be restricted to off-peak hours, significant traffic delays are expected. Alternative routes will be kept clear of all but urgent other works.

Recent roadworks in Church Road caused big delays, and these January works are likely to do the same.

Energy problems - and advice on renewable energy

With the cold weather and economic problems, many people will be worried about their fuel bills this winter. Local MP Steve Webb has discovered that the vast majority of people in "fuel poverty" are missing out on the special deals for vulnerable people. You can read more on Steve's blog and in The Times.

If your thoughts have turned to alternative forms of energy, you might be interested in SG Futurenergy, a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council and the Severn Wye Energy Agency which offers advice on renewable energy. The scheme also offers grants and low interest loans to help people install renewable energy.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Recycle your Christmas cards into trees!

From 2nd to 31st January you can recycle your Xmas cards in aid of the Woodland Trust. Our nearest card recycling point will be at the Tesco supermarket, but other stores collecting are WH Smith, TK Maxx and Marks & Spencer.

Also don't forget to save your stamps - take them into our local charity shops, or drop them off to Paul Hulbert at 35 Blaisdon (he's collecting them for Cancer Research) or leave them at Dodington Parish Council (at the Parish Hall, next to Raysfield School in Finch Rd) for him to collect.

You can read more about the Woodland Trust here.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Woolworths - the final days

In Woolworths at Yate this afternoon the staff were busy dismantling the shop around the last Xmas customers - a very sad sight.

A message to all the friendly faces at Woolworths - we're sorry to see you go.

Merry Christmas from the Focus Team

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team. We hope you have an enjoyable festive season.

If you're wondering about changes to Council services over Christmas, you can find information on the South Glos website. For example you can find out the opening times for the Sort It! centres, the temporary changes in bin collection days and the library opening times.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Xmas brass concert at Wapley Court

Dodington Parish Band at Wapley Court

Dodington Parish Band giving their annual Xmas performance at Wapley Court Elderly People's Home - click image to open slideshow.

Interesting in joining this thriving band? Check out their website or email them at

Friday, 19 December 2008

Ambulances stretched but St John Ambulance provides vital help

Ambulance and health services will be under stress over Xmas and the New Year, but local St John Ambulance volunteers are helping out. They will be providing ambulance crews throughout the winter, and offering support to the over-stretched ambulance service at one of the busiest times of the year.

The ambulance service is under more pressure than ever as more people are calling 999. Crews will be provided across the country as part of the organisation’s role as the ambulance reserve, including London, Bristol, the North West and West Midlands.

Harry Dymond, Chief Commissioner Operations at St John Ambulance, the UK’s leading first aid charity, said: "St John Ambulance has a commitment to support the ambulance service in times of emergency as part of our role as the ambulance reserve"

"We would always expect to provide support at this time of year when calls tend to rise but the demand this year is much higher and we are supporting the service in all areas of the country, in particular London, the North West and West Midlands. We believe this is due to a colder start to the winter which exacerbates cardiac and respiratory problems, as well as an increase in falls, flu and the norovirus"

"Our advice is to call 999 only in a genuine emergency and instead use walk-in clinics, NHS direct and pharmacies. You can also use our first aid advice and podcasts"

Useful links

St John Ambulance - - click on first aid advice for basic advice and downloads
NHS Direct for advice on a wide range of health topics and conditions tel 0845 46 47 or go to

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Health Centre building going on well

Work is continuing apace on the new Yate health centre. In the foreground of this view from Kennedy Way there is an excellent mural by the pupils of the Ridge Junior School.

Police appeal for witnesses after assault outside Riley's, Yate

Police are appealing for information after a man was assaulted in Yate.

The 19 year old victim was outside Riley's in Yate on Saturday November 22nd when he was assaulted at around 1.30am. He was left unconscious and lost a number of teeth.

Police would now like to speak to a man who they believe may have vital information that may help investigations.

He is described as white, aged 19-20 years old, around 5 feet 7 inches tall, and of medium build with brown/blonde spiked hair.

He was wearing a grey McKenzie hooded top, blue jeans and white trainers. He left the scene with 3 other men in a black Volkswagen Golf.

Police would also like to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the incident or may have been in the area at the time.

They are asked to contact police on 0845 456 7000 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Callers do not have to give their names and could qualify for a reward.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

The Clangers on Politics

Following the sad news of the death of Oliver Postgate, creator of the Clangers, Ivor the Engine, Noggin the Nog and Bagpuss, the BBC website has an excerpt from a Clangers episode unseen since election night in 1974.

They don't make cutting-edge humour like that any more...

(Update 19/12/08 - the original link has moved. Use the link above, or even better, go to the BBC Clangers trivia page and click on the Election link at the bottom - this page has more Clanger excerpts)

Sunday, 7 December 2008

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.

Brrrr.... Cold feet at Kingsgate Park

There are some lovely spots for a winter stroll in our parks...

Most of the lake at Kingsgate Park was frozen over today

Some of the ducks decided walking was easier than swimming - don't blame them!

Sunset over the lake

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Steve Webb live Q&A online Monday evening

Steve Webb will take part in a live question and answer session on the Lib Dem Voice website from 6.30pm on Monday evening.

This is a national event - Steve is of course the Liberal Democrat Climate Change and Energy spokesman, as well as being our local MP.

You can submit a question if you want to - Lib Dem Voice has details here.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day - evening highlights

A few pictures from the evening of the well-attended Victorian Day.
Well done to all the organisers, shopkeepers and everyone who took part.
(Music by Bristol Morris Men, who gave an excellent performance)