Saturday, 30 May 2009

Welcome to our French guests

This weekend the Sodbury and District Twinning Association is very pleased to welcome a large party from our twin town Cesson, near Paris. We hope they have an enjoyable stay. Well done to the members of the Twinning Association for all their hard work.

French visitors and hosts meeting up on arrival in Chipping Sodbury

The Chairman of Dodington Parish Council, Cllr Mandy Sainsbury; the Mayor of Cesson, M. Jean-Marc Brûlé; and the Mayor of Sodbury, Cllr Paul Whittle.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Accidental death verdict on Abbotswood road fatality

The Gazette website has a report on the inquest into the tragic fatal accident on Rodford Way near Abbotswood last November. The young girl's friend said that they did not use the nearby underpass because there was a group of youths at the entrance shouting abuse.

The coroner said "There is absolutely no evidence that the girls were larking about, playing running across the road or doing anything other than trying to cross safely" and recorded a verdict of accidental death.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Don't forget - another chance to have your say on health

Tomorrow (Tuesday 26 May) there will be a chance to share your views on local health and social care needs as part of an event in Yate Shopping Centre to celebrate Family Week. For more information, take a look at the consultation website.

Wapley Walk - with a FREE Nature Journal

Next Sunday morning, May 31st, Wapley Bushes Conservation Group will be exploring the Nature Reserve with the new full colour Nature Journal.

Come along and claim your FREE Nature Journal. Meet at 10 am at the Shire Way gate.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Gurkhas - complete victory

The Gurkhas campaign has been totally successful. Well done Joanna Lumley and all involved! The right thing has been done at last!

As we reported last month, the House of Commons voted for a Lib Dem motion rejecting Labour's stance on the Gurkhas.

Now the government appears to have agreed to everything the campaign asked for.

They're willing to fight for this country.
They're willing to die for this country.
They've earned the right to live in this country.

Freeview TV reception - update

Many thanks to our reader who sent in a link to the Digital UK Planned Engineering Works web page.

It's rather technical - it talks about "DTT Muxes", which isn't very user-friendly. However it shows that during May 2009 services from the Mendip transmitter will be affected as follows:

Digital TV - all channels - weak reception and short service breaks
Analogue TV - BBC1, BBC2, ITV, Channel 4 - weak reception and short service breaks
Radio - Kiss 101 FM - short service breaks

Joint Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation

Earlier this year, the West of England partnership carried out the Joint Waste Core Strategy Preferred Options Consultation (we blogged about it here). This was of particular interest to people living near the trading estates on the western edge of Yate as some of the options included a waste treatment plant there.

The partnership are currently considering all the responses and from 5th June you will be able to view a summary of responses and other information on their website There will then be a further chance to have your say until 17th July.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Joint Parishes Garden Competition 2009

The 2009 Garden Competition is a joint competition between Yate, Sodbury, Dodington and Westerleigh and is open to all residents and schools within the Parishes. The closing date for schools has gone by, but you can enter your own garden up until 15 June.

Application forms for the 2009 Joint Parishes Garden Competition are now available to download from this page on the Yate Town Council website.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Could YOU be a school governor?

Could you help one of your local schools by volunteering to be a school governor? Click here to find out what's involved in this important role.

For example, there's currently a vacancy for a governor at Wellesley Primary School. If you could be interested, please contact Kay Crowe on or phone her on 01454 317461.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Problems with Freeview TV reception?

Is anyone in the BS37 area having problems with certain channels becoming very weak or disappearing altogether? This is Freeview, rather than satellite or cable.

For some time our picture on BBC4, and sometimes other channels, has started to break up with flashing bars, or the TV has shown a message "weak signal" or "channel not tuned". Sometimes one make of equipment can view a channel, but another make can't.

If you've been having problems like this please leave a comment with a note of the channels involved and your postcode.

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Last chance to register to vote or postal vote for Euro elections

Just a quick reminder that you need to be registered to vote by the 19th, just two days time. If you may not be able to get to the polling station on June 4th then any applications for postal ballots must also arrive at your local council before the 19th. Click here to find out how to apply for a postal ballot, and find out if you're registered, and how to register to vote at

Friday, 15 May 2009

Tormarton composting facility - Environment Agency withdraw their objection

The Environment Agency have written to South Gloucestershire Council to say that they are now prepared to conditionally withdraw their objection to the planning application for a composting facility near Tormarton. This follows the submission of further technical information by the applicants to the Environment Agency regarding odour management as part of the Environmental Permitting process.

However, there is still the holding objection to the application by the Highways Agency which needs to be resolved before the application could be reported to Committee. There is no indication at this stage of the timescale for the Highways Agency to lift their holding objection.

You can read the letter on the South Glos website.

Beating the Bounds

It's an ancient tradition to beat bounds of parishes on Rogation Sunday - to walk the boundaries so that local people become familiar with them. In our area we beat the bounds of Yate Common.

This year's event will start at 3pm this Sunday (17 May) from the kissing gate on Westerleigh Road opposite St Briavel's Drive. All are welcome for this enjoyable easy walk!

Don't forget - have your say on health tomorrow

Tomorrow (Saturday 16 May) there will be a chance to share your views on local health and social care needs at a Meet and Greet event in Yate Shopping Centre. For more information, take a look at the consultation website.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Apply now for capital grants

Voluntary and community groups in our area have five weeks from today to apply for grants for capital projects. More information on the Community Grants page of the South Glos website.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Frog Lane - Sixty Years On

To mark sixty years since the closure of Frog Lane pit, the last Coalpit Heath coalmine, there will be an exhibition at Yate and District Heritage Centre from 14 May to 4 July.

Those interested in the mining history of our area might also want to look at the latest newsletter for the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The BIG picture - have your say on health

Until 31st July, South Gloucestershire Council and NHS South Gloucestershire are carrying out a consultation on local health and social care needs. They are very keen to get the views of those who can get a "raw deal" from these services and will be holding meet-and-greet events to get the views of everyone involved, including children and young people, older people and people with disabilities.

There will be two events in Yate Shopping Centre where you can have your say:

  • Meet and Greet - 10am-2pm on Saturday 16 May - a chance to meet the people involved in this consultation and share your views on 'The Big Picture' For Health and Wellbeing in South Gloucestershire

  • Family Week Event 10am-4pm on Tuesday 26 May - another chance to share your views as part of an event to celebrate Family Week
For more information, including events being held elsewhere, see the consultation website.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

New bus timetable details

The new timetables are available from the South Glos Council website's Bus Timetables page.

Look down the page, and you will see that each bus that has changed has two timetables - look for the ones labelled "10 May 2009 - until further notice"

Quick links for our most popular local buses:

327 & 329 Yate - Winterbourne - Bristol

342 Chipping Sodbury – Yate - Bristol

482 & 483 Chipping Sodbury - Cribbs Causeway

581 Hanham - Chipping Sodbury

620 Tetbury - Bath

622 Chipping Sodbury - Cribbs Causeway

680 Yate - UWE - Filton College

689 Yate - Bristol

N50 Bristol City Centre – Chipping Sodbury night bus

X27 Yate - North Yate - Winterbourne - Bristol

X42 Chipping Sodbury – Yate - Bristol

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Even a Labour Minister reads our blog...

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Paul Clark) mentioned us in the House of Commons bus debate this week:

Before responding to an Adjournment debate, I always like to ensure that I know what everyone is talking about, and when I looked at the “Focus on Sodbury, Yate and Dodington” website...

How's that for an endorsement?

You can read Steve Webb's speech and the minister's reply in the Hansard report here. Be warned, it's word-for-word so there are a few pages of it.

Or you can read the Evening Post report here.

Swine Flu - Chipping Sodbury

Quite a few people have come to this blog trying to find details of the swine flu case in Chipping Sodbury. We don't need to go into the details, but here are some local links:

Evening Post story

BBC News story and video

Sky News story and phone interview

Chipping Sodbury School home page

We hope the gentleman concerned recovers quickly, and wish him all the best.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Minister says First COULD subsidise less economic bus routes

The debate in Parliament today, led by Steve Webb, raised some interesting points.

First Bus says they're not allowed to subsidise less economic routes from their profitable ones - but the Government doesn't agree. Transport Minister Paul Clark said he didn't know any legal reason why this should be so.

The Minister also said that Councils should get powers to force companies to run routes and to cap fares by the end of the year - if of course South Glos are willing to take up the challenge.

More detail on Steve Webb's blog

Also see the web page for the "Save Our Buses in South Gloucestershire" campaign

P.S. We've just heard that Steve Webb will be talking about this on Radio Bristol at 7.30 am tomorrow morning (Wednesday 6 May

Chipping Sodbury Festival - buy your tickets before they go!

Chipping Sodbury Festival will be held between 12th June and 21st June. There are more than 50 events - indoors, outdoors, daytime, evening, free and paying.

Check out the Chipping Sodbury Festival website for details of all the events.

Tickets will sell quickly, so get yours from Farrago in Horse Street or from the Tourist Information Centre at the Clock Tower.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Where to find information on swine flu

This useful swine flu web page from NHS Choices gives lots of useful information about swine flu, plus a symptoms checker and links to other information sources.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Confirmed swine flu case at Downend School

You may have heard on the news that there is a confirmed swine flu case at Downend School. South Glos Council has issued this press release. For more information on swine flu see the Council's regularly updated information page.

MP to challenge ministers over Bristol bus shambles

Northavon MP Steve Webb will use a debate in Parliament next week to challenge the Government over what he will call the 'shambles' of public transport in Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The MP will lead a 30 minute debate on Tuesday (May 5th) on the 'regulation of local bus services'. The Lib Dem MP has called for the debate in the light of the decision by First Bus to withdraw the X27 service with no consultation and a minimum of notice. Speaking ahead of the debate, Steve Webb said:

"The way public transport is run in our area is a disgrace. We have one dominant company that provides an expensive service and cherry picks the best routes. They are happy to work with councils on the high-profile 'showcase' routes, but pick and choose the rest. Public transport used to be about public service but these days it is purely about private profit. The Government could have got tough with the bus companies through its recent Local Transport Act but instead just tweaked the rules. The new Act did nothing to stop First scrapping the X27 with little notice, and now local taxpayers are having to pay to keep the service running".

In the debate the MP will call for greater powers for local councils to determine what bus services operate in their area and to cap excessive fares. He will quote the views of dozens of local residents who signed the online 'Save our buses' petition who were disgusted by the threat to the X27. A minister from the Department for Transport will respond to the debate which will be held at 1.30pm on May 5th.