Thursday, 30 April 2009

Gurkhas victory

Last night the House of Commons voted for a Lib Dem motion rejecting Labour's stance on the Gurkhas. More on the victory in Steve Webb's blog.

They're willing to fight for this country.
They're willing to die for this country.
They should have the right to live in this country.

Monday, 27 April 2009

Buses - a partial victory - maybe TV coverage tonight

Just to let you know that South Glos Council has responded to our petition and all your emails. They've agreed to subsidise the X27. Key points are:

Good news:
- Hourly X27 service retained from Yate via North Yate, main road past Iron Acton, Winterbourne to Bristol.
- It will bypass Bristol Bus Station and continue to the Centre, which will be helpful for some people
- Still run by First, so no problem with tickets if you're changing to another bus in Bristol

Bad news:
- Only two X27 buses before 0900, instead of five (standing room only?)
- No X buses for South Yate loop
- South Yate / Birds drop from daytime service of two X buses plus one slow service per hour, to two slowcoach services only

We're expecting TV coverage on ITV local news tonight - watch it if you see this in time.

We'll post more details here in due course.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Voluntary Voices

South Gloucestershire Voluntary Sector Forum has organised a "Voluntary Voices" event for all members of voluntary and community groups in South Gloucestershire - volunteers, staff and trustees. The event will take place at 2.00pm – 4.00pm this Monday, 27 April, in the Greenfield Centre, Winterbourne, BS36 1NJ.

They will be discussing the South Gloucestershire Safer & Stronger Communities Partnership Strategy Consultation April – July 2009 and there will be an update on the Local Area Agreement, covering the results of the Third Sector survey and planning the next steps in "Participation in Regular Volunteering".

Please contact Gillian Graham on 01454 865205 or email info@cvs-sg to register your interest.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Spring clean and woodland work day

Residents are being invited to help take part in the annual spring clean-up of Ridge Wood on Sunday 26 April from 10am.

Organised by the Friends of Ridge Wood Community Group and South Gloucestershire Council, volunteers with a few hours to spare are invited to help clear litter and rubbish throughout the wood as part of continuing efforts to help managing the woodland.

Local schools use the wood as an outdoor classroom, which makes keeping it litter-free even more important.

You can also take part in other woodland management work, including digging out invasive Spanish bluebells and helping tidy around the woodland entrances.

South Glos Council will provide all the necessary gloves, bags and tools. If you're interested in taking part, people are meeting at 10am on Sunday 28 April on the public footpath at the top of Melrose Close entrance to the woodland.

Anyone who is interested in helping with the future management of the woodland, and those interested in the wildlife and historical features of the site, are welcome to join the Friends of Ridge Wood Community Group.

For more information you can visit or contact the Friends of Ridge Wood Community Group/South Glos Council on 01454 863725.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

MOT Tests - an obvious question

When your car insurance is about to run out, you get a reminder.
When your car tax is about to run out, you get a reminder.
So why can't we have a reminder when our MOT is about to run out? It's all on a computer database, after all.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Potholes away at Shire Way

Part of Shire Way in Yate has recently been resurfaced, but we've still been asking for attention to the dinner-plate size potholes on the rest of it, especially a whole colony of them between Kingscote and Badgeworth.

We're glad to hear from South Glos that they should be repaired today and tomorrow.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

FREE launch event for new walks leaflets!

For some time a dedicated band of local walkers and councillors have been working on a series of leaflets based on walks between local churches.

The leaflets will be launched at an open event in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Saturday 2nd May from 10 am to 12 noon. There will then be an organised walk from St John's to St Mary's Church in Yate.

Please come drop in, collect your FREE walks leaflets and maybe join us on the inaugural walk!

Friday, 17 April 2009

Teenager to move home because of bus cuts

The Gazette is running a rather depressing bus story this week. (The coverage is good, but the details are depressing)

P.S. You can still have your say - email Cllr Brian Allinson, the Conservative Councillor who will be deciding about replacement services. His email is

And please sign up to the Save Our Buses in South Gloucestershire campaign.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Bus campaign coverage expands to Bradley Stoke

The bus campaign has now been covered in the excellent online magazine Bradley Stoke Examiner - many thanks for the coverage!.

Bradley Stoke lost some of its bus services in February when First Bus axed the 74 and X74 bus services.

Like our area they are vulnerable to future reviews of First's bus services.

Remember, the petition is still going at

Saturday, 11 April 2009

Clothes stores to take over Woolworths unit at Yate

The Gazette reports that Peacocks and Bon Marche will be taking over the empty Woolworths store.

The two clother retailers are part of the same group but will trade as separate units. They are expected to open in June.

Bus campaign covered in Evening Post

There was a good article about the campaign in the Evening Post today - "First urged to cut Bristol bus fares"

It's attracted a few readers' comments - you might like to add to them.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Bus cuts - what you can do THIS WEEKEND

South Glos now has to make its mind up how much it wants to spend towards plugging the gaps left by First Bus. The person who will make the decision is Cllr Brian Allinson, the Conservative South Glos cabinet member responsible for transport issues.


His email address is

Tell him –
- Where you live
- How you and your neighbours and friends are affected by the bus cuts
- What you want him to do about it


Thursday, 9 April 2009

400 name petition handed to South Glos

You may have seen on ITV's West Country Tonight last night that the first stage of our bus cuts petition has been handed to South Glos Council. The petition is ongoing - if you haven't signed up yet, do it now!

The 400 name petition, calling for immediate action to restore adequate bus services for the areas affected by the First Bus cuts to the services from Yate and Chipping Sodbury through Iron Acton and Winterbourne, was presented to the Council's transport select committee by Liberal Democrat councillor Paul Hulbert. He said, "The effects of this are profound. People have contacted me saying that because of the lack of buses some people will have to move house and move away from their communities. Some people will have to give up their jobs or will have much reduced employment opportunities."

"There are elderly people who are now mobile but will be trapped because they cannot walk far enough to reach the nearest bus service."

"Many people will spend much longer every day getting to work and back. And there are hidden price rises too - even if there are some replacement services, many people will have to pay more to travel because different companies won’t accept each others’ tickets."

In just over three weeks 400 people have signed up to the Save Our Buses in South Gloucestershire petition on paper, online and on Facebook. More than 80 people have left individual messages on the petition at explaining the effects on their lives and their communities.

There is particular concern about the disappearance of the X27 service. Steve Webb MP said "Whilst South Glos has not yet committed any money, it has invited local bus companies to say what they would charge for running a service, possibly on a somewhat reduced timetable. The Council will shortly decide whether or not to fund this 'emergency' tender."

"It is therefore vital that anyone who wants to see the X27 maintained contacts the councillor in charge of transportation, Brian Allinson (, as a matter of urgency to let him know how important it is that the Council finds the money."

"We do not have long to act if we want to ensure that the service continues after May 10th, so please ensure that Cllr Allinson knows how much local residents want the Council to find the resources to keep the bus on the road."

Cllr Hulbert commented, "What we need is a bus service that actually meets community needs, not just what suits First, with South Glos papering over the more obvious cracks. We will continue to collect signatures to keep up the pressure."

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Government underfunding bus passes - councils left to pick up the tab

An article in the Mail highlights a Government underfunding of £30 million for bus passess, leaving councils to pick up the difference. Some of the biggest shortfalls affect councils in popular tourist areas.

The Government is also restricting the services on which passes can be used, so that you can't now use them on routes where more than half the seats can be booked, such as long-distance services, and buses 'intended primarily for tourism'.

Not something that is likely to affect this area too much, but you may not get a free ride on a seaside open-top bus any more.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Subsidy hope for axed bus service?

Today's Evening Post (Saturday, April 04, 2009) carries a report on a meeting between Steve Webb, First, villagers at Iron Acton and local councillors (click link for full story) including Yate and Frampton Cotterell. Hope for some services, provided that South Glos can be persuaded to subsidise.

At the meeting First's commercial director Simon Cursio was told how axing of the X27 on May 10 would affect local people.

Students told how they would be unable to get to college and others said that older people without their own transport might have to move house.

South Gloucestershire Council has put out an emergency tender to replace the X27 and despite not yet finding the money to pay for it, hopes to have a bus back on the road, though at a reduced frequency - it sounds like they considered a full replacement service but felt the council couldn't afford it.

Steve said: "This was a very productive meeting. As well as highlighting the damage that the loss of this route would cause for local residents, we concentrated on how we can fight to keep it going after May 10.

"It is vital that the council finds the cash to keep the service going, routes it through Iron Acton as before and in the longer term consults with local residents in Yate and along the route about the timings which would be of most value to them."

"Residents stressed they would be cut off if the service was to cease, both in north Yate and in Iron Acton.

"One young resident said the end of the service came right in the middle of her A-level exams and that she would have to live somewhere else in order to be able to get to college"

Mr Cursio was also presented with seven pages of detailed comments and views that people had sent in to the Save Our Buses in South Gloucestershire campaign website.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Rodford Way fatality - traffic and pedestrian surveys due this month

As promised after the fatal accident in November, South Glos Council will be carrying out two lots of surveys on Rodford Way near Abbotswood.

There will be speed surveys (in both directions for 7 to 10 days starting in the week commencing 20th April, and a count of pedestrians crossing the road (including approximate age and where they cross) is programmed for 27th April.

Last few days to object to latest mast in Phone Mast Alley

Giving phone masts the bird

You only have a few days left to object to Vodafone’s appeal to put yet another phone mast on Rodford Way, just yards from the existing O2 mast.

Bad news - the closing date is next Wed, 8 April. Good news – you can now do it online. Here's how.

First write out your objection. Write a letter with this reference on it:
Case APP/P0119/A/09/2098204

They know the site as “Highway Land Junction of Rodford Way and Shire Way, Yate

Possible grounds for objection include
(a) Overdevelopment – the cumulative impact of FOUR masts in such a short distance – Merlin Way and Harescombe (approved sites), Blaisdon (existing O2 mast) and this new Blaisdon one.
(b) Lack of demonstrated need – Vodafone have only done a desktop exercise – so far as we know they haven’t done any measurements on site. Other sites like Shire Way Community Centre might still be viable.
(c) Network mergers – Vodafone and O2 have just announced that they will be combining their network infrastructure. So why would Vodafone now need a mast next to O2’s?
(d) Lack of consultation – Vodafone did not follow the process they are supposed to – involving local councillors and groups. Even when they did finally meet councillors and other sites were suggested, they paid no attention and just put in an appeal for the same site.

Please use your own words rather than just copying and pasting – standard letters carry less weight. Save your objection letter as a .doc file (Word 2003 – the Planning Inspectorate doesn’t “do” Word 2007’s .docx format!)

Now go to this website:

At the bottom, it says “Click here to view the documents for this case, and to access facilities to Comment” – click on the link.

On the next screen, click on the FIRST "Comment on this case" link (the second one is for Local Planning Authority use)

Under “Your details” select “Interested Party/Person” and “No” (unless you’ve done this before).

Continue to the screens where you put in your details and upload your letter.

It’s not as complicated as it sounds, honest!

Please send in your comments as soon as possible. We believe we have a real chance of getting this one refused. Your help is vital.

Save Our Buses campaign goes live on Facebook too!

Our campaign "Save Our Buses in South Gloucestershire" now has its own Facebook group. If you're on Facebook or know anyone who is, please look at / join the group.

A quick link to get you there is - you'll need to sign in with your Facebook ID.

Also - or if you're not on Facebook - please visit the campaign website and petition at where you can sign the petition online, join our email group and print off petition forms.

There are also regular updates here, and on our sister Focus blog for Charfield, Frampton Cotterell, Ladden Brook and Westerleigh wards

and of course on Steve Webb's blog

Please spread the word!