Monday, 29 June 2009

Closure of section of ring road next weekend (3-6 July)

The eastbound carriageway of the A4174 Ring Road will be closed to all traffic between the Hambrook traffic signal junction and the Bromley Heath Roundabout from Friday 3rd July 2009 at 8pm until Monday 6th July 2009 at 5am. If bad weather stops the work being carried out then, it will be done the following weekend (10th to 13th July).

This section of road is being closed so that a defective bridge movement joint in the carriageway can be replaced. At the same time, the road across the viaduct will be resurfaced and other maintenance work carried out.

A contraflow will be put in place but significant delays should be expected and motorists are advised to find alternative routes if possible.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Music Fest - Saturday 4 July, Yate

Music Fest is a special fundraiser for the very valuable organisation
Yate Sodbury & District Community Transport

It's being held at Yate Town Football Club on Satursday 4 July from 4:00 pm until late.

Headliners are: Back Trax, Crossfire, and Clayfield - and there's much, much more!

For tickets £5 ring 01454 228706 or call 390 North Road, Iron Acton, Bristol BS37 7LW

This year's Festival would not have been possible without the incredible support of all the volunteers, companies and bands who’ve so generously given their time.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

We regret to announce the death of the planning appeal system

The Planning Inspector has decided to overrule South Glos Council and permit yet another mobile phone mast on a short stretch of Rodford Way. Just look at this aerial view. There's already an O2 phone mast built (blue marker), plus approval for a "3" mast as well (yellow). Now the inspector has approved a mast for Vodaphone (red).

Click here to see detailed map from Google Maps.

There's yet another approved "3" site at the eastern end of the main road, just a couple of hundred yards away. And T-Mobile has shown interest in putting a mast a similar distance west.

Is there any fairness in the planning appeal system? Evidently not. We asked South Glos for details of mobile phone applications which had been refused and then went to appeal. Their list included ten urban sites - four of them are in this small cluster. Out of the ten, the planning inspector has allowed nine masts to go ahead.

In other words, if you object to a proposed phone mast, however good the case you make, you have only a one in ten chance of being successful.

The planning inspectors' judgements simply ignore many of the points made by South Glos and the parish and town councils. The inspectors are simply not doing their job - there is a culture that the mobile phone companies' requirements over-ride any other consideration, even if there are alternative, better sites only a few few yards away that haven't been considered.

We have concluded that the Planning Inspectorate is simply not fit for purpose, and needs to be reformed. We have written to John Denham, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He's the minister responsible, but all he did was pass it on to the Planning Inspectorate's own complaints department - we don't hold out any hope from that direction.

We asked for local comments. Most were unprintable, but Cllr Mandy Sainsbury said "My neighbours and I, living near the proposed Vodafone installation site, are naturally bitterly disappointed by the Planning Inspector's appeal decision".

"However we have all vowed to carry on fighting this decision which flies in the face of a very robust campaign by ourselves, local councils & MP. To that end we have contacted the minister and lodged complaints with the Inspectorate whose decision we deem to be incompetent - we could call it something less polite!"

Just to remind you, we objected on the grounds of overdevlopment, loss of visual amenity, cumulative street clutter and quite simply that Vodaphone hadn't considered nearby less sensitive sites and hadn't even followed the procedure that they are supposed to.

If you wish to add your voice to the protest, you can email the minister at

MP forces Government to u-turn on MP's pensions

Local MP Steve Webb has succeeded in forcing the Government to re-think its plans to increase the amount of money taxpayers put into the MPs' pension scheme. You can read more on Steve's blog.

Horsecam - an alternative view of Glastonbury!

Click here for a view straight from the horse's - ummm... - eye?

Friday, 26 June 2009

Funders Fair

CVS South Gloucestershire are running a Funders Fair on Thursday 9 July 2009, 9.00am - 2.00pm at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex. This is an opportunity for local groups to gain information and advice directly from representatives of key funders, including The Big Lottery, Quartet Community Foundation, Children In Need and South Gloucestershire Council, and to network with other groups who are addressing similar fundraising issues. More information including booking details at:

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Floral Fantasy - Wapley Flower Festival 26-28 June

This spectacular event only takes place every three years. St Peter's Church at Wapley (the one on the hill that looks out over Wapley Common) is filled with creative and unusual flower decorations - it's well worth a visit.

The Flower Festival, which is staged by Chipping Sodbury Floral Society, is on from 26 to 28 June.

The church is open from 9 am for viewing. Morning coffee, lunches and cream teas are available daily.

On Saturday there is an evening of wine and music with `Footloose' at 8 pm. Tickets available.

On Sunday there will be Festival Evensong at 6.30 pm with The Archdeacon of Malmesbury.

Telephone 01454 315436/311083 for tickets and further details.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Community Music festival in Kingsgate Park this weekend

The Community Music Festival was so successful last time that this year's Festival will stretch over two days, Sat 27th and Sun 28th June.

Saturday 1pm to 9pm - Local bands and groups of all sorts.

Sunday 10.30am to 2pm - Praise in the Park – a joint Yate and Sodbury Churches celebration. Hymns in the park, followed by a puppet show and treasure hunt.

Sunday 3pm to 5pm - Picnic in the Park – bring a picnic, sit back, and chill out listening to the Phil Dando Big Band.

And there's more - face-painting, bouncy castle, fairground rides, craft and refreshment stalls plus lots of activities for children and teenagers.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Chipping Sodbury Festival - well done!

A big round of applause please for the organisers of the annual Chipping Sodbury Festival, with its multitude of events - there was something for everybody.

Here's a three-minute slide show of the Festival parade and street fair on Saturday - a very enjoyable event.

(Photos by Paul Hulbert and Mandy Sainsbury)

Click here for the Gazette report on the Carnival.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Decision on new homes delayed

Your Focus team has long campaigned against Government plans for thousands of new homes to be built in South Gloucestershire. We had expected a final decision on the numbers from the Secretary of State by the end of June. Now though it has been delayed indefinitely due a legal challenge to a similar plan elsewhere in the country. Until the implications of that can be considered, no new timetable can be set for the decision. We will keep you posted.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Cutting out the junk mail

Cutting out junk mail can save you time and help the environment. To cut down on addressed items, you can sign up with the Mailing Preference Service. For unaddressed items delivered by the Royal Mail, see the information on their website. For other unaddressed items, see the Direct Marketing Association's website.

Monday, 15 June 2009

See "The Age of Stupid" this Friday

Sustainable Thornbury, a Town in Transition, is screening the environmental/climate change film “The Age of Stupid” at Cossham Hall in Chapel St, Thornbury this Friday (June 19th). It starts at 7.45pm and admission is £3. Refreshments will be available from 7.15pm when the doors open.

Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off) stars as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, looking back at archive footage from 2007 and asking: "Why didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?"

It will be followed by a Q&A with a panel made up of Steve Webb MP, Paul Ashford (member of the International Panel on Climate Change-IPCC), Ian Page (member of International Futures Forum) and Chris Sunderland (Agora).

Click here for link to trailer for Age of Stupid.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Wapley Woods - a priority

At last week's Yate Safer Stronger Community Group, which covers Dodington Parish, one of the top priorities identified was to tackle groups of youths setting fires in Wapley Woods. The youth service will liase with the youths and follow up work will be done in schools to prepare for the leaving parties next year.

Another priority was engaging young people in the Safer Stronger Community Group meetings. For more about the meetings, see the Avon and Somerset police website.

On Your Bike! Chipping Sodbury Festival Bike Ride next Sunday, 21 June

There will be a choice of two rides, 12 and 25 miles. The twelve mile event will be suitable for families, and as usual there will be a quiz with prizes. “Children from five or six upwards manage twelve miles quite easily,” said Councillor Paul Hulbert, one of the organizers. “It’s the adults who have more trouble! For safety reasons children under secondary school age need to be accompanied by an adult.”

The longer ride is a little more challenging and will explore the countryside to the north and east of Chipping Sodbury.

“As usual, we’re showcasing some new routes this year, including the new cyclepath on the Iron Acton to Yate road” said Cllr Hulbert.

The events will start from Chipping Sodbury Clock Tower. The 25 mile ride will set off at 11.30 am, and the 10 mile ride will begin at 12.30 pm. Both rides will finish in Jubilee Park by about 2pm – just in time for the Festival boules match (equipment provided) and the Avon Wildlife Trust duck race!

More details are available by telephoning Paul Hulbert on 07771 562505 or Granville Olive on 01454 317461, or by emailing The rides have their own website at

Don't forget to check out the Chipping Sodbury Festival website for details of other Festival events, and the main Bike Week website for other cycling events.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Chipping Sodbury Festival has started!

The Festival kicks off today with a performance by the Sodbury Players Youth Section. There's lots happening from now until Sunday 21st June. Check out the Chipping Sodbury Festival Website for details - there's something for everyone!

Another police appeal after assault on pizza delivery driver

Police are appealing for information about an assault on a pizza delivery driver at the rear of Domino's Pizza in North Parade, Yate at around 10pm on 19th May.

The delivery driver had parked his car behind the rank of shops when an N-registered white Vauxhall Corsa pulled alongside.

One of the occupants assaulted the delivery driver, causing him facial injuries, and then damaged his car.

Police think this could have been a more serious assault, because an offensive weapon was left behind by the offender.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information is asked to contact Staple Hill police on 0845 456 7000 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Police appeal for witnesses after sexual assault on teenager in Yate

Police are appealing for witnesses after a teenager was sexually assaulted in Yate.

The incident occurred on Sunday 31st May 2009 at around 9.45pm.

The victim, a 15-year-old girl, was walking on the footpath that runs along Westerleigh Road in the direction of Quedgeley.

She was approached by a man who was riding a BMX bike. He indecently assaulted her and then rode off.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or has any information which may help with the investigation is asked to contact police in Chipping Sodbury on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Rodford Primary School to close

South Glos Council is proposing to merge Rodford Primary School with Kings Court School on Sundridge Park with effect from next year. This follows falling pupil numbers in both schools over the last few years. If the amalgamation goes ahead Rodford School's Barnwood Road site will close.

Once formal notice is issued in September people will have six weeks to comment before the executive member for schools formally approves the proposal, but the merger is very likely to go ahead.

The Gazette has more details on the schools merger.

Find out more on local walks

There are free leaflets to download from the South Glos Council website on The Dramway, The Frome Valley Walkway and other walks throughout the area.

Monday, 8 June 2009

European Election results for SW

South West seats result: Con 3 seats, UKIP 2 seats, Lib Dem 1 seat, Green 0, Lab 0 in 5th place - Well done Lib Dem Graham Watson!

Full voting figures from BBC here

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Please remember to vote today

Today's election is important - it would be a tragedy if the current disillusion with politics resulted in a low turnout.

If you don't like the system, vote for change, vote for the party that can make a difference.

Remember, if you have a postal ballot you've not posted, you can still deliver it to a local polling station.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

A new feature - Search This Blog

You can now search for any stories on this blog (or on pages linked from it) by using the Search This Blog box in the sidebar on the right.