Thursday, 23 December 2010

Season's Greetings from your local Focus Team!

Merry Christmas
and a
Happy New Year
to all our readers

Best wishes from the
Sodbury, Yate and Dodington 
Liberal Democrat
Focus Team

Abbotswood shops - Councillors welcome emergency action on lethal walls

Crumbling brickwork falls onto walkway below

Local councillors have welcomed emergency action by South Gloucestershire Council to deal with falling brickwork at Abbotswood shopping centre, Yate. Since May South Glos has been called out on a number of occasions to deal with reports of damage and hazards to public safety.

The ownership of the walkways and stairs to the flats is in dispute, so the council has stepped in to carry out emergency works. So far they have put up temporary boarding and safety barriers at a cost of £800.

The problem is still getting worse as a result of frost damage and coping stones being removed, possibly by vandals, so that the wall cavity is exposed. The wall is 4 metres high, and falling brickwork could be fatal for anyone walking underneath.

The emergency work will be carried out as soon as the freezing weather finishes – mortar won’t set properly in the current temperatures. South Gloucestershire will then consider legal action to recover the costs from the owner, once identified.

Councillor Alan Lawrance (Lib Dem, Dodington) said “The Abbotswood community welcome South Gloucestershire’s recognition of the maintenance and health and safety problems within the shopping area and their willingness now to take action”

“Local councillors and the Abbotswood Action Group have sought to bring the absentee landlord to task for a number of years and will continue to strive to make the area a fit place for our community”

Alan was interviewed on the Steve le Fevre breakfast show on Radio Bristol this morning - listen again here (starting just after 1 hour 8 minutes, available for the next week)

This is one of the busiest accesses to Abbotswood

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Nibley Lane closed

Nibley Lane has been closed both ways except for access between Westerleigh Rd and Badminton Rd due to ice.

Planning for our future - where we are now

Last week the Cabinet and Council approved the Core Strategy, the planning blueprint for South Gloucestershire until 2026, with a number of changes. These have now been published. There will not be a formal consultation but there will be an opportunity to make comments up until Friday 18 February, only on the changes. The following documents can be accessed on the South Glos website:

  • Schedule Summary Report, December 2010 - the main issues raised in representations to the Pre-Submission Consultation Draft Core Strategy and the Council's response;
  • Schedule of Proposed Changes to the Core Strategy, December 2010;
  • The proposed changes version of the Core Strategy, December 2010;
  • The South Gloucestershire Core Strategy Sustainability Appraisal and Appendices, dated March 2010 with December 2010 updates; and
  • Changes to the Proposals Map, December 2010.
The Council will not formally respond to any further comments received, but any comments, together with earlier representations and other information, will be submitted to the independent Inspector appointed to hold the Examination into the Core Strategy, as matters to be taken into consideration. The Council expects the Core Strategy to be formally submitted to the Government no later than March 2011 for independent examination.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Snow latest

South Glos have a severe weather page where you can find out the latest on Council services during the current snowy weather. Tonight, we've been told that:

All roads are currently open and South Glos Council will continue to work around the clock to keep main roads open and routes into all communities.
Waste Collections
Most collections have been completed despite the slippery conditions and there will be an extra vehicle out tomorrow to help catch up with the properties that haven't had their food waste collected today. Providing the situation doesn't detoriorate further, they hope to be back on track by the end of tomorrow. SITA say:
If the bad weather has prevented us from collecting your waste and/or recycling please take your materials back in and present them on the next scheduled collection day. Should the bad weather continue beyond week commencing 27th December we will review this arrangement. To check the latest arrangements over the Christmas and New Year period please check the Council website or listen out on local radio for any further updates.

Day Care Centres
Currently only Downend and Chipping Sodbury Day Care centres have closed. Other arrangements are being put in place to give people appropriate support.

Libraries closed at 4pm today but are scheduled to resume normal services tomorrow unless there are further weather problems.

You can find out more about helping you and your family cope with severe weather on the South Glos website. If you know of any vulnerable people who may need extra help in these conditions, for example because their heating has broken down, let the Council or your local Councillor know.

Green Dog Walkers to tackle dog fouling

Cllr Claire Young (right) with Cllr Linda Boon and her dog Cocoa

Dog owners could soon be helping to tackle dog fouling in a scheme that would see responsible owners wearing armbands and carrying extra bags to hand out to other dog walkers.
At a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council last week, the Liberal Democrats won backing for a proposal to investigate a Green Dog Walkers scheme for South Gloucestershire. One such scheme, which originated in Scotland, has spread across the UK and even won an award from the Kennel Club.

Local Councillor Claire Young, who proposed the idea, said after the meeting, “Dog fouling is not just unpleasant, it is a health hazard, particularly for young children. It’s also a difficult issue to tackle, with only two dog wardens to cover the whole of South Gloucestershire. That’s why I think it’s important to get responsible dog owners involved in tackling the irresponsible or ill-prepared minority who give everyone else a bad name. By wearing an armband or putting a special collar on their dog, and carrying extra waste bags, owners can not only be a visible reminder to their fellow dog walkers but also make sure they have no excuse not to clean up after their dogs.”

Cllr Linda Boon, said, “As a dog owner, I always carry extra bags for picking up mess left by other dogs as well as my own, and I know there are others who do the same. I would be very happy to hand out a spare bag to someone caught out without one. A Green Dog Walkers scheme would make our commitment more visible and send a message to other owners that everyone has to clear up after their dogs.”

Chipping Sodbury Town Councillor, Adrian Rush, said, “Some people seem to find it embarrassing to pick up the mess and carry it in a bag to a bin, but surely it is far more embarrassing to leave a mess that could put children at risk. A green dog walkers scheme is about changing attitudes in a friendly, non-confrontational way.”

Claire got thinking about how to involve the responsible majority of the dog owning community in tackling the problem after taking part in a community litter pick on the Manor School playing field. She was interviewed on Radio Bristol this morning - listen again here (starting just after 42 minutes) or read the article on the BBC website.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Yate Sports Centre - how about clearing some snow?

It was quite noticeable today that Yate Shopping Centre had cleared paths, and South Glos had cleared footways to the Library and the One Stop Shop building.

But there was no route cleared to the Sports Centre from the shops. Obviously it takes manpower, but you would think they could come to an arrangement with somebody to clear a safe route to their entrance.

Update 20th Dec - Pathways have now been cleared to the Sports Centre. Well done!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Link Road - weather causes further delay

Link Road in Yate will remain only partially open for the time being. The unusually low temperatures are preventing the contractors from laying the final surface on the road. With temperatures due to remain low over the Christmas period it is unlikely the works will be finished in the next couple of weeks.

It's been evident that they contractors have been working long hours in cold, dark conditions to make progress - we've felt quite sorry for them when we've gone past recently. They're obviously doing the best they can in the circumstances.

The works on the new bus station will continue until the end of January when work starts on the new Tesco store.

Mobiles, wi-fi and more at South Glos libraries

South Gloucestershire libraries have become exciting technology hubs. Free wi-fi access is available at Emersons Green, Bradley Stoke, Yate and Staple Hill libraries, it is free for the public to use with their own laptops or mobile phones.

So next time you need to use your laptop or wi-fi enabled mobile whilst you’re out and about, why not drop in to one of these libraries?

In addition to the wi-fi access at these libraries, all libraries in South Gloucestershire provide free access to the internet through library PCs.

And there's more - puzzled by that new mobile phone? Every Friday during January libraries in South Gloucestershire will also be offering residents lessons on how to use their mobile phones. Although the service is principally aimed at older residents, anyone is welcome to come along and get some free advice at how to operate their new (or old) mobile phones.

The staff providing the advice will be the Future Job Fund trainees from South Gloucestershire Council, who are young people working in the council to gain work experience to help them find a job.

Cllr Heather Goddard, executive member for communities, said: “Over Christmas many people may be given a mobile phone or own one that they don’t really know how to use. Mobile phones are very helpful for emergencies or to keep in contact with other people whilst away from your home. It is great that we are able to use the skills of these young people to help residents get the most from their mobiles.”

Basic instructions will be given on answering, making a call, saving useful phone numbers and sending text messages - South Gloucestershire libraries lk 4wd 2 cn u.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

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.

Don't be put off clearing snow and ice

Last winter there were reports in the media that people were put off clearing snow and ice for fear of being sued if someone later fell. The Government has tried to reassure the public - you can find their advice online.

Fun for children at our local libraries

If you're looking for something to entertain the children this Christmas, take a look at what's going on in our local libraries.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Yet more recycling - you can now recycle envelopes

At tonight's South Glos Council meeting it was announced that you can now put envelopes of any colour in the paper recycling, providing you remove any plastic windows from them.

Recycling over Christmas

With Christmas Day falling on a Saturday this year, there will be no change to your bin collection day, everything will be collected as normal. This also means that no extra waste will be collected. If you haven't received any of your new containers or have any concerns about the new recycling scheme, please call the Council's Contact Centre on 01454 868000. You can find some tips on the Council's website.

Yate SORT IT! centre

The Yate SORT IT! centre will be CLOSED on the following days during the holiday period:

Saturday 25 December
Sunday 26 December
Saturday 1 January

and the following days are treated as Bank Holidays with reduced opening hours:

Monday 27 December – 8.00 am – 4.00 pm
Tuesday 28 December – 8.00 am – 4.00 pm

For all other days the site will be open as usual:

Weekdays: 8.00 am – 4.15 pm
Saturdays: 8.00 am – 4.00 pm
Sundays: 9.00 am – 1.00 pm

Christmas trees

If they are not too big, Christmas trees can be chopped up and put into your green bin. The trunk or branches must be no more than 4 inches in diameter and the bin lid must close. Please remove all decorations. If your tree is too big then it can be taken to your nearest SORT IT!* Centre where it will be separated out for composting.

Christmas cards

Christmas cards cannot be recycled as part of the normal collections due to the plastic, tinsel etc attached. The Woodland Trust card recycling scheme this year involves TK Maxx, Marks and Spencer and Homesense and locally, you can recycle cards at these stores:

ASDA Longwell Green - Starting 29/12/10 until 21/01/10
ASDA - Cribbs Causeway - Starting 29/12/10 until 21/01/10
Sainsbury's - Emersons Green - Dates to be confirmed

Wrapping Paper

Wrapping paper cannot be collected as part of the kerbside collection service for the same reason as cards cannot be collected.

£371,000 extra for schools in Thornbury & Yate constituency

The government has unveiled further details of the Pupil Premium – a key Liberal Democrat policy which will ensure the most disadvantaged children in our country get the help they need.

From April next year every school in England will get £430 for each child in their school on Free School Meals. Based on latest estimates from Sarah Teather MP, Minister of State at the Department for Education, this will mean at least an extra £371,520 for schools to spend on the students who need it most in the Thornbury & Yate constituency.

Each year between now and 2015 the amount spent in our constituency will rise – by 2015 we will be spending a total of £2.5bn nationally on the pupil premium.

This is money on top of what is already being allocated for schoolchildren – no school will lose money as result of the Pupil Premium. And it will be given to Head Teachers to spend at their discretion on what they think works best for their school – be it extra one-to-one classes, breakfast clubs or after-school clubs.

The Pupil Premium was one of four key front page manifesto commitments on which the Liberal Democrats fought the last General Election. Making it a reality will help improve the social mobility and life chances of hundreds of thousands of children from less privileged backgrounds over the coming years.

That is the real difference our party is making in government.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

More things to recycle!

South Glos Streetcare have just confirmed that teabags and eggshells can be put in the food waste bins.

And don't forget that they still take textiles, clothes, batteries, shoes etc for recycling in the green box.

Watch out for bogus Council officials

South Glos Trading Standards warn that suspected Rogue Traders are posing as Council officers and purporting to carry out property surveys and asking for personal financial details. Trading Standards advice on keeping safe is:

  • Council officers will have identification, which can be verified by contacting the relevant local authority
  • Never give personal or financial details to strangers unless you are satisfied you know who you are giving them to
  • Do not allow anyone to enter your home unless you know who they are
  • Remember, it is your front door! It is not rude to close it on someone if you feel uncertain or unsafe.

If you would like to report a scam or would like further advice on this or any other consumer issue, please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06. If you feel you have fallen victim to such a scam, report it to the Police.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Cold weather delays completion of Link Road works

The realignment works on Link Road, Yate have been delayed by one week due to the recent severe cold weather.

The road was due to reopen fully this coming Monday, 13th December. However, with the sub-zero temperatures it was impossible to lay the tarmac and set some of the kerb stones in concrete.

The aim now is for the road to be fully re-opened fully on Monday 20th December.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Nibley Lane closed Tuesday 14 December

Nibley Lane, from Badminton Road A432 to Westerleigh Road, will be closed for the day for deep cleaning and drainage maintenance.

Previously we've tried to get them to sign it before the Shire Way mini-roundabout, but most times drivers only find out when they get to the Nibley Lane junction. By then it's too late, and people have to take a long detour. We wish they would think these things out...

Update: According to the road sign, the lane will be closed from 9.30 am to 2.30 pm.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Fast broadband - we're getting left behind in the slow lane!

You may remember that we told you a few weeks ago about BT's Race to Infinity survey to see which communities are most interested in fibre-optic broadband.

We've just heard that Almondsbury has got 800 requests, but we've still only got 139 people who seem to be interested, out of more than 15,000.

If you've got a landline and you think our area could benefit from having faster broadband, please visit and fill out  the form before the end of the month!

Update: Please note that this survey is now closed - please see update here 

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas fun at Yate Library

South Gloucestershire Libraries are once again holding festive events during the school holidays.  Events at Yate Library (all free) are as follows:

Sunday 12 December

Festive fun - drop in between 11.30am and 2pm. Suitable for three to seven-year-olds.

Tuesday 21 December

Christmas Chill Out: Crafts and games for all the family - drop in between 2 and 4pm. Suitable for all ages.

Thursday 23 December

Stories around the Christmas tree. 6 - 7pm. Suitable for four to nine-year-olds

Plus, win a Blu-ray player and other Shrek Forever After goodies with the Shrek Forever After quiz.  Simply pick up a quiz sheet from any library and correctly answer all the questions, closing date 4 January 2011.    

For more information, contact the Libraries on 01454 86006.

Link Road, Yate - parking and turning restrictions

South Glos Council is consulting about the revised parking and turning restrictions on Link Road, Yate. The planning permission for the Tesco redevelopment required improvements such as better access to Yate bus station, and safer pedestrian links and routes for cyclists on the B4059 Link Road.

If you haven't seen the plans for this area before, these are worth a quick look - for example, you can see the new bus station layout, and what the road layout will look like when the current works have been finished.

Drivers coming out of the Shopping Centre car park at the exit between the petrol station and the new bus station will still be able to turn either way. Right turners will now have a refuge in the middle of the road so that they don't have to cross both lines of traffic at once, which should make that manoeuvre a lot safer.

The consultation is open until 22 December.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Grants for local groups

Are you involved in a local group that would be interested in applying for a small grant from South Gloucestershire Council? The latest round of Small Revenue Grants opened for applications on Wednesday 1st December with a closing date of 4th January 2011. If you are are interested, you can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Reading Station closed over Christmas

Reading Station will be closed for redevelopment between December 27, 2010 and January 2, 2011 - this will affect many regular passengers. You can find out more on the First Great Western website.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Anti-bullying campaign

The UK Youth Parliament are launching a huge new survey for children and young people across the South West who are or have ever been bullied, as part of their regional anti-bullying campaign. You can fill in the survey online. It closes on Friday 17th December 2010.

Snow information

With the possibility of more snow on the way, now would be a good time to bookmark South Glos Council's snow page, which gives up to date information about any services affected by the weather.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Frome Vale Area Forum - this Thursday

If you have an issue you'd like to raise or would like to know more about the Council's Street Care services, come along to Shireway Community Association at 7pm on Thursday 2nd December for the Frome Vale Area Forum.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Nibley Lane parking

Residents and local councillor Claire Young met a highways engineer in Nibley Lane this morning to look at changes to the yellow lines there. Following the recent resurfacing, the lines needed reinstating, but having seen "no parking" cones all the way down to the river, residents were concerned the double yellow lines might extend that far. The engineer was able to reassure everyone that the cones were actually there to keep the road clear so it could be swept.

Residents wanted double yellow lines around the junction with the Badminton Road to be reinstated, as there have been problems with cars parking there, but wanted the road outside Rockleigh to be free of restrictions. On the other side of the road, it was agreed to take the yellow lines down to the entrance of the Bird Farm to make it easier for people exiting. The engineer sprayed yellow paint to show where the lines should now end and said the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) relating to the lines would be amended when they were tidying up all the TROs for the restrictions around the new council offices.

Have your say on nuclear power station proposals

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be holding a consultation event in Thornbury next month. It will give local residents the chance to hear how the Government’s proposed policies for energy have changed and also to ask questions about the inclusion of Oldbury in the list of potential new nuclear power stations.

Representatives from DECC will attend the meeting, as part of the national consultation on the revised Draft Nuclear National Policy Statement, which runs until 24 January. The listing of proposed sites for new nuclear power stations is part of the national policy statement. The DECC representatives are planning to give a presentation and answer questions afterwards.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 16 December, 7pm – 9pm, Severnside Hall, Thornbury leisure centre.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day - next Friday!

Yes, Victorian Day is back, on Friday 3 December. This very popular event is supported by BBC Radio Bristol. There will be lots of attractions and music right through from 1.30 to 9.30 pm - see the Chipping Sodbury Lions Club website for full details.

Yate waste facility latest

The Joint Waste Core Strategy is a planning document that sets out where waste facilities should be provided in the West of England. It is currently going through its independent Examination by the Planning Inspectorate and the hearing sessions finished on Tuesday. Yate Town Council made representations about the plans for a waste facility on the trading estate to the edge of Yate.

On Wednesday, the West of England authorities submitted their proposed changes. There is no further consultation. The Inspector will now consider all the information in preparing his factual report for the Partnership Authorities. It is anticipated this will be no later than 28th January 2011. The Inspector's final report will follow. Further information will be available on the West of England website as it becomes available.

Monday, 22 November 2010

Progress continues on Yate Town Centre works

The 70 new parking spaces on the site of the former Swan pub have now been opened, just in time for the very busy Christmas shopping period. Work is carrying on to realign Link Road, which has now been reopened to single file traffic in both directions.

The mains electricity works are taking a little longer than expected, but Link Road should reopen fully on December 13th. Work will start to install new traffic lights in Link Road on January 13th, and the new improved bus station will open on Monday, January 31st. (More in the Gazette)

Meanwhile the car park under the proposed Tesco Extra store is to be slightly redesigned to provide for an extra emergency exit.

The Gazette quotes Tesco  as saying they will erect the temporary store in East Walk after Christmas, and that demolition of the existing store will start in February.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Chipping Sodbury Waitrose development gathers pace

Several recent moves show that the developers are serious about this site. Chelverton Deeley Freed has bought the former Lanes hardware shop in the High Street. This would give them a way through to the river and onwards to the Waitrose site.

The Gazette quotes a company director saying that they want to create a pedestrian link with three, four or five new shops at the rear of the building.

In another move Sodbury Town Council has agreed to give up its lease on the Wickwar Road car park. There are currently 180 free spaces. Under the Waitrose plan the free spaces will be reduced to 92 but there would be a further 208 short-term spaces for shoppers to the supermarket and the High Street. Again, more from the Gazette here.

A revised planning application is being submitted, and South Glos Council is expected to make a decision in December or January.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas decorations go back to nature

All the family can learn how to make a Christmas wreath and tree decorations using natural material found in woodland, at an event organised by South Gloucestershire Council and the Friends of Ridge Wood.

The event is taking place on Sunday 28 November at the Ridgewood Centre, Yate and the workshops will be run by local expert Jo Wright from Organic Blooms, Iron Acton. All the ingredients to make perfect decorations will be supplied.

Participants will learn some basic basketry skills and how to work with willow, twist a wreath for the door, and find out how twigs, pine cones and other natural woodland materials make the perfect ingredients to create unique Christmas wreaths and decorations. 

The event, for adults and children over 10, runs from 10am – 1pm and is limited to 20 places per session.The Friends of Ridge Wood will be providing mince pies and hot drinks on the day.

The cost is £10 per place and early booking is recommended. Children should be accompanied by an adult.

This year the Friends of Ridge Wood are also running a Children’s Christmas Decoration session at the same time, for children of 5 – 10 years of age. Two sessions will run from 10.15am - 11.30am, and 11.30 - 12.45 providing a range of exciting creative activities for children. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and the cost is £2.50 per place payable on the day (includes refreshments and materials). The number of places is limited so pre-booking is essential.

How to get there: The Ridgewood Centre is located on Station Road, Yate, between Yate and Chipping Sodbury – post code BS37 4AF.

For more information and to book a place, please call: 01454 863725 / 863592.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Latest on new recycling collections

The new recycling services start on Monday (22nd November). You should receive your new containers by Sunday afternoon, but some people won't get their plastic bottle bags due to the ship carrying them being delayed. Instead you will be given two large clear plastic bags as a temporary measure or you can use any other sturdy re-usable bag you might have, such as an Ikea bag or a "bag for life". Don't use lightweight plastic carrier bags. If you haven't received your new containers by Sunday evening, please ring the Contact Centre on on 01454 868000 Monday to let them know. This is also the number to ring if you have any other enquiries.

Some people are concerned about the fact cardboard will no longer be allowed in the green bins. Initially, the advice was to put it inside the largest cardboard box you are sending for recycling or to put it under your green been. Now we are told you can place cardboard in a sturdy re-usable bag and place it by the side of the bins. The cardboard will be collected and the bag returned.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Small saving for one person costs community £thousands

To avoid a small collection charge someone recently dumped a sofa in an underpass on Shire Way. Subsequently it was set on fire. Smoke blackening the walls and the roof of the underpass was damaged. The heat was so intense that the paving slabs cracked.

Cllr Mandy Sainsbury said "The whole appalling incident could have been avoided if the householder who dumped the furniture had organised for a collection from South Gloucestershire Council.

"It would have cost the householder just £17 but now the council will have to foot the bill to clean and repair the subway, which will run into thousands of pounds, such is the extent of the damage."

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Swan gone

After a delay for asbestos to be removed, the Swan Inn has now disappeared from Yate Shopping Centre car park. This is all that's left:

70 extra parking spaces should be available by next weekend - more details in the Gazette.

In the meantime, there's the world's least helpful pedestrian diversion:

Sorry, couldn't resist that...

Friday, 5 November 2010

Resurfacing of the A432 in Yate

From today, Stover Road will be closed and the lights at the junction with the A432 Badminton Road will be replaced with temporary ones so that the road can be resurfaced and the detector-loops cut. The estimated completion date is 17 November.

Similar work is being carried out at the junction of Station Road and Cranleigh Court Road. It's hoped this will finish by Sunday.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

More details on flat fare bus services

We now have more details about the new flat fare bus tickets. The Hopper ticket will cost just £1 single or £1.50 return, and Chipping Sodbury will be included as well as Yate. The Hopper tickets will be valid in a zone extending from St Johns Way, Chipping Sodbury in the East to the Badminton Road Council offices in the West.

The following services will be covered by the Hopper ticket:

  • X27 Yate to Bristol via Brimsham Park
  • 84 Yate to Wotton-Under-Edge via Chipping Sodbury
  • 85 Yate to Emersons Green
  • 86 Wotton-Under-Edge to Kingswood (South Gloucestershire) via Chipping Sodbury and Yate
  • 87 Chipping Sodbury to Longwell Green via Yate
  • 88 Chipping Sodbury to Iron Acton via Yate
  • 200 Chipping Sodbury to University of the West of England
  • 482/3 Chipping Sodbury to Cribbs Causeway via Yate
  • 581 Chipping Sodbury to Hanham via Yate
  • 620 Tetbury to Bath via Yate and Chipping Sodbury
  • 622 Chipping Sodbury to Cribbs Causeway via Yate
  • 689 Yate to Bristol via Pucklechurch
Please note that if you buy a return ticket, you will need to use the same company's buses coming back.

Flat rate bus fare success for Yate

Local transport campaigners are celebrating the news that you will soon be able to travel anywhere in Yate for £1. The flat rate will apply on all buses within Yate run by Wessex Connect and Severnside Transport buses.

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore said, “This is something we’ve been fighting for for over three years. It makes taking a bus within the town cheaper and simpler. People will be able to get on the bus knowing exactly how much it will cost them and knowing it won’t be an arm and a leg.”

Cllr Sue Walker (Lib Dem, Yate Central and Chair of Friends of Yate Station) said, “Now it’s cheap enough, we all need to get out there and use the buses so we don’t lose them. This flat rate fare will be a real boon for rail users, who up to now have had to fork out nearly as much for the short bus ride to the station as they have for their rail tickets in some cases. Taking a bus to the station and then travelling further afield will now be a real option for many more people.”

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said, “This is excellent news for the people of Yate, we now need something similar for people living in the surrounding villages. When it costs over half as much to get the bus from Coalpit Heath to Yate station as it does for the train trip from there to Bristol and back, it’s no wonder people are put off using the services.”

The photos show Lib Dem Cllr Alan Lawrance at a bus stop and a group of campaigners including Chris Willmore (left) with green survey forms. The top demand in our green survey was cheap bus transport round town so people can leave the car at home.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Campaigners hopeful of winning battle on rail shelters

Local rail campaigners are winning their battle to keep Yate commuters dry this winter. Last month, rail user Chris Willmore slammed First Great Western’s decision to leave Yate commuters with no shelter from the rain after Perspex panels in the shelters were destroyed by vandals. At Monday’s Friends of Yate Station meeting, she and other campaigners met representatives of the rail company face to face to push for action.

After the meeting, Chris Willmore said, “First Great Western are now investigating using the sort of metal mesh with holes that Yate Town Council has used successfully on its bus shelters, such as the one on Church Road. We are delighted, as this will give a longer term, vandal-resistant solution. Anyone who has waited for a train in the recent wet and windy weather will be keen for the shelters to be fixed as soon as possible.”

The photo shows local rail campaigners and Lib Dem Focus councillors Chris Willmore, Wully Perks and Martin Monk doing a  spot of amateur weather forecasting - currently an essential skill for Yate rail passengers. 

By the way, this is the 700th item posted on our blog since it started in January 2007. It's nice that it's some positive news. Best wishes to all our regular readers!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Clearing fallen leaves

From Monday, South Glos suspended the routine mechanical sweeping programme to concentrate on clearing leaf fall - targeting known problem areas and responding to requests from residents reported through the Street Care Helpdesk. Initially the sweeping programme will be suspended for three weeks.

If you want to report a concern, please contact Street Care on 01454 868000 or e-mail

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Date for your diaries: a Community Carol Service with a difference, 7th December

Come and join in this really traditional carol service, accompanied by Dodington Parish Band!
It's being held at 7.30pm on Tuesday 7th December at Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Road.
Together with the Parish Band, this event is organised by Tyndale Baptist Church and Dodington Parish Council.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A listening council? Only if you shout loud enough!

South Gloucestershire residents will have to get a massive 2,500 signatures on a petition to require their Council to debate an issue after Tory and Labour Councillors blocked Lib Dem plans for a lower figure.

At last week's Council Meeting, the Lib Dems argued that 500 was a large enough number to deter time wasters and said there should be the option to debate any petition or explain why not. They expressed concern about the impact on people in rural areas, as small communities would struggle to get 2,500 signatures.

Frampton Cotterell Councillor Pat Hockey said, “If we send out the message that we are interested in the issues raised by petitioners and ready to debate them, they may come along and make Council meetings more lively and worthwhile. If 500 people want their Council to debate something then I certainly believe it must be important and that it is our duty as a listening council to do so.”

Dave Hockey added, “The Council claims on its website that ‘We’re committed to getting involved – working with, listening to and involving local people in our decision-making and action.’ Our proposal would have put those words into action. Why are the other parties so afraid of discussing what local people would like to be done?”

Pat Hockey explained the reasons behind the Lib Dem proposals on Radio Bristol this week - fast forward to the 7 o'clock news (30 minutes in) then the report and discussion (37 minutes in)

Foray for Fungi

Ever wondered how to tell the difference between mushrooms and toadstools? Find out on Monday 1st November at Wapley Bushes. Meet at 2pm at the Shire Way entrance for a two hour foray with Justin Smith.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Vote to lobby for faster broadband!

BT is offering fibre optic upgrades to the five local exchanges where the highest proportion of premises show an interest.

Up until the end of 2010, BT is conducting a survey of the UK to help assess community needs and guide future fibre-optic broadband rollouts.

You can lobby for our local exchanges to be brought forward in BT's plans by completing the form at

At the moment only 41 local people have voted for the Chipping Sodbury exchange out of a total of 15,416, so we're not exactly top of the list!

Update: Please note that this survey is now closed - please see update here

Friday, 22 October 2010

Interested in archaeology?

Are you interested in forming an archaeology group and undertaking research into your local historic environment?

South Glos Council has recently launched SCARP (South Gloucestershire Community Archaeology Research Project) to encourage local communities to get involved in archaeology. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project will provide training to local archaeology groups in non-intrusive archaeological techniques and provide the opportunity for people to become Heritage Wardens, undertaking conservation of threatened archaeology in South Gloucestershire.

If you are interested in forming a group, are part of an existing history society who would like to start doing archaeology, or are an already existing archaeology society, contact Paul Driscoll on 01454 862175 or email .

Thursday, 21 October 2010

South Glos Council says YES to Fair Votes!

South Gloucestershire Council has voted to support a change in the voting system. In a lengthy debate, amendments seeking to undermine the proposal were put first by Labour and then by Conservatives. Cllr Peter Tyzack (LibDem) argued the case for a fairer voting system and that the Council should be proactive in encouraging people to take part and vote.

Cllr Tyzack said, “The Labour amendment sought to turn the debate onto other issues and so was rejected, we also resisted the Conservative amendment, which tried to withdraw council’s support. We don’t care how this will affect the main parties, we just want to make the system fairer for the voter. In the case of the Conservatives' amendment, they seem to have little idea about fairness or true democracy as they just want to protect a system which favours them not the other 26 or so political parties”

He also commented, “There are a number of councillors wearing the purple or mauve colours of Emeline Pankhurst and the universal suffrage movement. Whilst recognising that for some it may be no more than just a fashionable colour, I believe that it is appropriate that we follow the principles of that movement and continue to promote fairness in our future elections”

After the meeting Peter Tyzack said ‘In the case of Labour they were clearly more interested in keeping the unfair constituency boundaries which mean that not everyone’s vote counts for the same. We firmly believe that one person one vote should mean just that and that one vote should count the same whether cast in Filton & Bradley Stoke or in Thornbury and Yate”

The motion was passed without amendment.

As a result of the decision it is now the policy of South Glos Council to ‘support moves to change our parliamentary voting system, which will see South Gloucestershire’s Members of Parliament elected under a fairer system’. And for the Council’s Returning Officer ‘to take steps to promote participation in the Referendum’.

Consultation on Yate Common - more football pitches, car parking?

Yate Town Council is consulting about providing additional football and car parking facilities on Yate Common.  Please complete The Common Consultation on Additional Football Pitches and Car Parking questionnaire as your views are very important in deciding whether to go ahead with the proposals. The questionnaire has a detailed map of the areas involved.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Yate Youth Venue and Cafe - naming competition!

Work on the Youth Venue and Cafe is well under way. It will offer a 7 day a week informal cafe, a disco / music venue and cinema facilities.

A £1.3 million complex is now being built between the Leisure Centre and the roundabout. Young people have been involved at all stages of the design.

You can win a year’s free entry by helping name the new building
- download the competition entry form here!

The closing date is the end of October.

You can find out more about the new building by visiting

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Yate station - First Great Western dig their heels in, refuse to repair shelter panes

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore
shows the extent of the damage

First Great Western are still refusing to replace the broken shelter glazing at Yate Station despite protests by passengers, even though winter is on its way.

They say it's too expensive to keep replacing panes broken by vandals. But on the same logic they wouldn't replace broken office windows or train windows.

We wouldn't tolerate bus shelters or phone boxes being left smashed up. But just because the station is tucked out of the way, First think they can get away with penny-pinching at the expense of their customers who pay very high fares.

Get your act together, First!

The Yate Station Users Group will be meeting shortly to decide the next steps to be taken.

Wildflower planting, Yate Common on Saturday - all welcome!

Please come and help the volunteers of the Friends of Yate Common doing some wildflower planting this Saturday (23 Oct) and help make this popular area ever better.

Meet at 10.30 am at the Reed Pond.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

It's Your World - a successful event!

Thanks to all involved in the It's Your World environmental event at Yate Sports Centre today.

It was good to see just how many local and regional environmental organisations there are. Quite a lot of the people attending are involved in several of the local groups - we have quite a "Green Network" in our area!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Community Festival of Culture, Sat Oct 16

The 2010 South Gloucestershire Engage Festival is taking place on Saturday 16 October at the WISE Campus, Filton between 10am and 6pm. More than 250 performers will be taking part in a variety of live performances, youth and environmental activities, interactive information stalls, and there will be an impressive feast of Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese and British food. For more information, visit the South Glos web page.

If you go to the event, look out for the young people of extreme sports group Yate Parkour - they're spectacular!

Warm music on an autumn evening - Sat 9 Oct

Dodington Parish Band are giving a concert at St John's Church, Wickwar Rd, Chipping Sodbury at 7.30 pm this Saturday, 9th October.

Our excellent local brass band will be performing at this Sodbury and District Twinning Association event.

Tickets are £8, available from Vickers Stationery (2 High St), by telephoning 01454 882760, and also on the door.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

First Great Western Refuse to repair Yate Station Shelter

Rail user, Chris Willmore, has slammed First Great Western's decision to leave Yate commuters with no shelter from the rain whilst they wait for their train.

At the best of times it is a scramble for the hundreds of commuters waiting for morning trains from Yate to Filton and Bristol to find space in the tiny shelter. But now, even the shelter will not protect them from the rain. All but one panel of the shelter is broken, and rail users were horrified when First refused point blank to repair them.

Chris Willmore, who was the person who reported the problem and asked for action said "This is mad. It leaves users with no shelter. There had been some vandalism, but the police have caught the culprit. Now we need the shelter back. Otherwise we are saying the countless decent rail users, who pay huge sums to use the train must wait in the wind and rain, unprotected. I can see why they didn't repair it whilst the culprit was at large, now he has been caught they should restore it"

"We will be taking it up with First face to face at the next Yate Station Users Group - but frankly First seem more interested in trying to persuade passengers to plant flower beds than actually providing a service to train users."

Monday, 4 October 2010

Peg Hill - developers to hold another exhibition - Sat Oct 16h

Barratt Homes is holding a second exhibition on their plans to build 250 homes at Peg Hill, Yate. there wil be more detailed plans than were available at their exhibition back in the summer.

The exhibition will take place on Saturday, October 16 (11am-5pm) at Yate Parish Hall.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Good behaviour at the recent Chipping Sodbury Mop Fair

Local police have praised young people after Chipping Sodbury's traditional "Mop Fair".

The neighbourhood team of police officers and police community support officers (PCSOs) were joined by Special Constables in patrolling the two-day event on Friday and Saturday September 24-25.

The Avon and Somerset Police website says

Sergeant Adrian Fallows said: "It was a great opportunity for us to engage with local people. It was nice to see families with young children enjoying the event alongside teenagers. The atmosphere was friendly and relaxed."

As part of Operation Relentless, focusing on keeping young people safe, police checked the parks and other areas where teenagers gather and seized a small quantity of alcohol before the event. Officers also checked local off-licences and convenience stores for under-age alcohol sales, issuing one shop worker with an £80 on-the-spot fine for making a sale to an under-18.

PS Fallows said: "It was apparent that some teenagers had taken alcohol from home as we confiscated a couple of bottles of liqueur as well as lager.

"We have taken the details of the young people who had alcohol, and will be in touch with their parents. Under-age drinking can make young people more vulnerable as well as more likely to get involved in anti-social behaviour."

Police made just one arrest in the town over the two nights of the fair. A teenage girl was arrested and charged with a public order offence after abusing officers.

Officers are investigating an assault on a 16-year-old girl after the Mop Fair closed on Saturday night, at about 10.30pm.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw a group of teenagers involved in an altercation in Hounds Road near its junction with the High Street to contact South Gloucestershire CID at Staple Hill Police Station on 0845 456 7000.

Alternatively contact the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or through They never ask your name or trace your call.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

It's Our World - big local environment event Oct 16th, Yate Leisure Centre, 10am - 1pm

Come and join about 30 local environment organisations at this major event. There will be all sorts of stalls, children's activities and a talk by BBC Weatherman Richard Angwin!

Come and find out how you can get involved in looking after our local environment and help safeguard our world for future generations.

10 am - 1 pm Exhibition (Sports Hall)

10 am - 1 pm Produce market and outside events (West Walk)

10 am - 1 pm Children's trail and activities (Sports Hall)

11 am            Schools Poster Prize Presentation (Sports Hall)
by Richard Angwin (The BBC Points West Weather Man!)

11.15 - 11.45 am  Talk by Richard Angwin on the weather and climate change.

Check out the It's Our World website here

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Link Road, Yate to close for 5 weeks from Mon 11th October

Link Road will be closed for five weeks while preparatory works are carried out for the extension to Yate Shopping Centre. 

However, shoppers will still have access to the Shopping Centre and the Total petrol station from the Kennedy Way direction on a temporary access road. Buses will also access the existing bus station along this temporary road. Traffic can then rejoin Link Road by taking a left turn out of the shopping centre car park. 

Traffic wishing to use the overflow car park can access Link Road from the Station Road end and will have to leave by a right turn. All other traffic that normally uses Link Road will be diverted along Kennedy Way and Station Road.

The aim is to get the disruption out of the way before the busy Christmas opening in late November.

The contractors will be widening Link Road on the eastern (ooverflow) side; diverting the cycle and foot paths; infilling the Link Road underpass; and installing traffic management measures. The bus station remains unaffected although work will follow to build the new station ready for opening early in 2011.

This week's Gazette article includes local comments about the closure.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Badminton Road and Station Road, Yate - resurfacing

Claire Young has been given the following dates for the resurfacing work on Badminton Road and Station Road in Yate:

Station Road, Yate: From its junction with Westerleigh Close to North Road
20:00hrs on Friday 29th October - 06:00hrs on Monday 1st November 2010

Station Road, Yate: At its junction with Cranleigh Court Road
20:00hrs on Wednesday 3rd November 2010 - 06:00hrs on Thursday 4th November 2010
20:00hrs on Thursday 4th November 2010 - 06:00hrs on Friday 5th November 2010

Badminton Road, Yate: From the new joint at North Road down to the roundabout outside the new offices (inc. remaining area in Stover Road)
20:00hrs on Friday 5th November 2010 - 06:00hrs on Monday 8th November 2010

Badminton Road, Yate: From the new joint at North Road down to the roundabout outside the new offices (inc. remaining area in Stover Road)

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Wapley Bushes path works about to start!

The works on site will start next Tuesday, 5th October.

They should last approximately 10 days, weather permitting.

During that time the Ride will be closed and walkers will be asked to use the path through the Woods instead.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Chipping Sodbury split down the middle over Waitrose development

As we previously reported, Sodbury Town Council circulated a voting slip to all their households to gauge opinion on the proposal. The question was:
"Do you approve of the proposals for a Waitrose Store and residential housing on the Barnhill Site in Chipping Sodbury as per Planning Application PK10/1675/O?"

The results were as follows:

  • Yes: 393
  • No: 435
  • Unsure: 57
That's 885 households responding out of 2286 - a 38% response, which is very good for this sort of consultation. So well done Sodbury Town Council, even if the overall town result seems to be "Don't know".

There was then a Town Council meeting at which the councillors voted 5 in favour, and 5 against the development, mirroring public opinion.

The plans now go to South Glos Council's Development Control Committee in December.

More details in the Gazette report here.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Police awards

If you would like to nominate a police officer or member of staff for an award recognising their hard work, now's your chance. The Avon and Somerset Police are looking for nominations for their fourth Community Policing Awards. To find out more and make a nomination visit the Community Policing Awards website.

Celebrating Age Open Day

Living (dlc), the local Disabled Living Centre, is holding a “Celebrating Age” OPEN DAY at the Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2QQ on Wednesday 29th September 2010 10:00 am – 3:00pm. Admission is free, as is the tea/coffee and cake, and all are welcome. For information please phone 0117 9653651.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Stover Road lights

If you've found yourself stuck in long queues at the Stove Road/Badminton Road junction lights, there is hope that the problems may be fixed soon.

When Claire Young passed on complaints from residents, they informed her that all the vehicle detecting loops for the traffic signals are damaged. Although Siemens have made some temporary alterations to alleviate the situation, they have only been partially successful and the traffic signals are not functioning at their optimum. The loops will be repaired in October when Badminton Road is resurfaced.

Engage Community Festival of Culture - Sat Oct 16, 10am - 6pm, WISE campus, Filton

South Gloucestershire Engage Festival is an event for the whole family. A chance for all cultures to come together and have fun!

More than 250 performers participate in a variety of live performances, youth and environmental activities, interactive information stalls, and an impressive feast of Indian, Mediterranean, Chinese and British food.

Come along and join in with the dynamic and colourful celebration of music, dance, drama, food, cookery, crafts and workshops. Witness the exciting live performances, showcasing many talented musicians, singers and dancers in South Gloucestershire.

More details on the Engage Community Festival of Culture online here
, or you can ring 01454 868152. There's still time if you would like to register your group to get involved!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Sodbury in Bloom wins regional awards!

Sodbury in Bloom has won two awards at the South West In Bloom Award Ceremony. Not only did they gain a Silver Award, they were also awarded the very prestigious "Best Newcomer Award" - in all they gathered two plaques and a Bristol Blue Glass statuette.

Although the group was only formed a few months before the judges arrived, they put in so much hard work and enthusiasm that the judges said that all the other groups should watch out for them in future. They certainly impressed the judges with their efforts and enthusiasm.

Congratulations to all involved!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Have your say on Council budget

Back in July, Lib Dem group leader Cllr Ruth Davis won the Council's backing for a full public consultation on the Council's budget, similar to the Bristol City Council Big Budget Conversation. With the current serious economic situation the Council faces some tough decisions and the Lib Dems felt it was important that local people should have a say on how those decisions might affect the services they use. You can take part in the discussion here.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Local transport campaigners win fight for better consultation

The Joint Transport Plan is the most important road, rail and bus plan for the next few years. Campaigners fighting for better road and public transport links from Yate were horrified when South Gloucestershire Council's only local effort at public consultation was three hours at Yate Shopping Centre on a Tuesday lunchtime.

Cllr Chris Willmore complained "Yate shopping centre may be the centre of the universe to some people, but thinking you can get a proper understanding of public views by standing there one Tuesday lunchtime is mad. Our biggest problem is commuter traffic and by definition anyone who commutes out of town to work won't be on Yate Shopping centre on a Tuesday lunchtime - and even those who work around the industrial estates of Yate aren't there"

When campaigners complained, they were told that the policy was only having one Saturday public consultation event, and that had been scheduled for Bradley Stoke!

Again campaigners replied "But Bradley Stoke already has lots allocated to it in the scheme. They have virtually no transport proposals for Yate, yet they plan to add 3000 extra houses at Yate - we need to be talking with officials for them to hear our problems and find solutions"

Eventually, after a struggle, officials have agreed to do another consultation - on Yate Shopping Centre next Saturday, 25th Sept from 10 to 12 am.

Campaigner Chris Willmore is now calling on local people who have any travel worries - commuting, getting to hospital, shops, the cinema - and whether it is about cars, roads, buses or trains to come along and tell officials.

Chris added "Officials have told us that the public are not interested, which is why they were not bothered - let's show them they are wrong!"

Getting into public life

If you are interested in representing your local community, whether as a local councillor, school governor or magistrate, but don't know where to start, there is a free community learning programme to support you.

The 10 week course starts at 7pm on Monday 27 September in Yate Library. For more information, see the leaflet online.

If you are interested in standing as a Liberal Democrat Councillor in next year's elections, for South Gloucestershire Council or your local Town or Parish, please contact a member of your Focus team.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Appeal to trace cyclist who helped victim of attempted robbery in Yate

From the Avon and Somerset Police Website:

Police are trying to trace a cyclist who helped a woman after she was punched by a man who tried to take her handbag.

It happened as the 28-year-old woman was walking along Goose Green Way to catch the bus to work at about 6am on Wednesday September 08 2010.

A man came out of bushes as she neared Lye Field Park at the junction with Station Road, Yate,

He tried to grab her bag and as she struggled with him he punched her in the face before making off empty-handed.

The would-be robber was described as white, about 5ft 10ins to 6ft tall, clean shaven with a square jaw and wore a black hooded top and black trousers.

DC Mark Gilbert said: "A male cyclist stopped to help the woman while she was still lying on the floor and I am very keen to hear from him as he may have valuable information which could help our enquiry.

"This lady has been left shaken and bruised by the attack. We very seldom see incidents like this in the town and we need people to help us catch this man.

"Anyone with any information about the incident is asked to contact South Gloucestershire CID on 0845 467 7000. Alternatively contact the independent Crimestoppers charity by calling 0800 555 111 or via They never ask your name or trace your call."

Thursday, 9 September 2010

£10k funding boost for Wapley Bushes project from SITA Trust

Dodington Parish Council has received a £10,495 funding boost from SITA Trust to fund a project called ‘Track to the Top’. The money will be used to rebuild a well-used public path in the Local Nature Reserve. Until now the path to the upper meadow has had no drainage, resulting in water flowing across the path and, in the winter, making walking extremely slippery and dangerous.

Wapley Common is a beautiful area of open and wooded land which lies between the Shire Way estate in Yate and the hamlet of Wapley in the rural southern edge of Dodington Parish.

"The Ride is an important route for walkers and for vehicles used to maintain the Reserve" explained Cllr Paul Hulbert. "Without it we would have to take heavy machinery across flower-rich meadows, which would damage them".

For several winters the Ride has been closed for safety because of mud

SITA Trust provides funding through the Landfill Communities Fund. Funding is available for community and environmental groups to carry out a range of improvement projects.

The scheme is also being supported by a community contribution of £1,200 from Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, who manage the Local Nature Reserve on behalf of the Parish Council.

"We are very grateful for SITA Trust’s support – this is one of our largest projects, and we couldn’t do it without them" said Tim Fairhead of the Conservation Group. "As well as improving access, upgrading the Ride will preserve the vegetation of the woodland edge and maintain it as one of our best areas for butterflies and other insects"

Technical support and advice is being provided by South Gloucestershire Council, the other partner in managing the Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Yate Tesco - movement at last!

Yate Shopping Centre management has issued a leaflet detailing the timescales for the initial steps in the Tesco development.


  • Creating works compound in car park
  • Demolishing the Swan and creating extra parking spaces
  • Closing underpass
  • Creating temporary access to current bus station
  • Relocating footpath/cycleway from Kennedy Way towards underpass
  • Start of work on new bus station (12 weeks)
  • Widening Link Road carriageway from Kennedy Way towards Station road (4 weeks)
Work will start on the main Tesco Extra store in February next year.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Have you seen pensioner's stolen scooter?

The Gazette reports a very mean theft - a Yate pensioner's red sapphire mobility scooter was taken at around 5.50pm on Sunday after youths were seen around the scooter in Stanshaws Drive.

The owner is 83, and the scooter is her only means of getting around.

Have you seen it, or been offered it? Please call the police on 0845 456 7000.

Consultation - should Yate Town Council take over Brinsham Fields?

Brinsham Fields, with its lake and the new play area, are currently run by South Gloucestershire Council. Yate Town Council has suggested that they could run it more effectively, and they are consulting Yate residents about it. Households in Yate should have a leaflet through their door shortly.

If the takeover goes ahead, responsibility will be handed over in 2011. By that time South Glos will have finished the play area improvements, upgraded the paths, put in three notice boards, and installed a kissing gate in the north west corner.

Your comments are welcomed until 30 September. The consultation page on Yate Town Council's website includes a link to an electronic version of the leaflet.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Discover the unexpected - South Glos Heritage Open Days, Thu 9 to Sun 12th September

Over the next few days there's a chance to visit some places that are normally closed to the public, and to take a behind-the-scenes look at some more familiar buildings.

Local buildings open include the Moda Hotel (originally the Bank of Chipping Sodbury), Rounceval House and Tudor House in Chipping Sodbury. A special treat is the chance to look inside Chipping Sodbury Police Station (they've promised to let you out again afterwards)

In Yate you can visit St Mary's Church, and subject to weather conditions you will be able to climb the 92 ft high tower. The nearby Yate Heritage Centre will be celebrating its tenth anniversary with a special event.

Further afield, in Coalpit Heath there's Ram Hill Colliery and St Saviour's Church. Winterbourne Medieval Barn, dating from 1342, is worth a visit. On Saturday 11th only there is free admission to the National Trust's mansion, garden and deer park at Dyrham Park.

For details of opening hours and any requirements for pre-booking, and for other locations open in South Glos, you can download the Heritage Open Days leaflet here.

If you're interested in places further afield, look at the national Heritage Open Days website. For example there's Bristol Blue Glass or the Clifton Rocks Railway. There's even a local building that seems to have been left out of the South Glos leaflet - the Masonic Hall in Chipping Sodbury - look in the Events Directory section under "Bristol" (!)

Chipping Sodbury Waitrose - for or against?

The controversial Barnhill Quarry development proposal provoked a lot of discussion at a recent public meeting in the Town Hall. It appears that local opinion is split for and against the Waitrose store and the housing development.

To gauge public opinion, Sodbury Town Council has circulated a voting slip to all households in the parish. they are asking for the papers to be returned to the Town Council by midday on Monday next week, 13 September.

The question is "Do you approve of the proposals for a Waitrose Store and residential housing on the Barnhill Site in Chipping Sodbury as per Planning Application PK10/1675/O?"

There are three options - yes, no and unsure. Please return the voting slip even if you're unsure, so that the Town Council knows whether the matter is of considerablepublic concern or not.

The details of the planning application are on the South Glos website here.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Have your say on transport - this Tuesday

South Gloucestershire Council and the other three councils that make up the West of England Partnership are currently putting together the Joint Local Transport Plan for the next 15 years. There will be a consultation event in Yate Shopping Centre on Tuesday 7 September from 11am to 3pm. Residents can complete a questionnaire at or pick up a paper copy at the library, where you can also read the draft plan. The consultation deadline is Monday 4th October.

Update - All completed questionnaires will be entered into a free prize draw to win a day out at one of the region’s best local attractions, including the Avon Valley Railway, the SS Great Britain in Bristol, the Helicopter Museum in Weston-Super-Mare or the Boating Station in Bath.

You can read a printed version of the draft plan at your local library or council office. The South Glos press release says that you can also read the draft plan and all the supplementary documents online, but it doesn't tell you where it is on the South Glos website - it's not immediately obvious.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Cycle routes - new proposal for Chedworth section of link to Railway Path via Westerleigh

Some months ago South Glos produced proposals for a much-needed cycle route from Yate to the Bristol and Bath Railway Path. Most of the public comments were in favour, but residents of Chedworth objected to a section of the path that would have run between their homes and the railway.

South Glos has now produced a new plan which shows the path entering the south end of Chedworth (nearest to the mini-roundabout). Cyclists would then go up the full length of Chedworth and join a new and upgraded path close to the railway side of the Common, leading to the far end of the Road to Nowhere and then on to Station Road.

This seems to be an improvement, though more detail is needed about the Nibley Lane junction. That would come a little later, as it's just a planning application at the moment.

You can see the new plan on the South Glos website - look for "Revised Plan SPUR - ROUTE 15 - SHEET 03" at the bottom of the list of documents. It's a big file, so if you have any difficulties loading it you may have to right-click and "Save As".

Then near the top of the web page, just under the heading "Summary", you can click on "Comment on Application" to make your views known. So that all points of view are represented properly, we suggest that you put in a comment whether you're for or against the new version of the scheme. Comments should ideally be submitted before mid-September to allow South Glos staff to prepare their report for a meeting about the planning application.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Local bus changes from Sunday September 5

Several changes have been announced to bus services between Yate and Bristol, via Iron Acton and Winterbourne:

Timetables for all other services are available from the main South Glos Council bus timetable page.

A Levels - well done, and ignore the cynics!

Congratulations to everyone who got the A Level results they wanted. At this time of year there's always negative press comment saying "It was harder in our day". Ignore it! It's not easier now, it's just different - and often taught better too. Enjoy your success, it's well deserved.

And if you didn't get quite what you wanted, keep an open mind - this year there are fewer universities and colleges with places still available, but maybe you could consider other opportunities such as apprenticeships.

There's an interesting article about the A Level results on the website of Stephen Williams, the MP for Bristol West. 

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Involved in a local voluntary group?

The RDPE Community and Social Enterprise Funding is a possible source of funding. They warn that they expect to run out of money before the scheme ends.

If you'd like to find out about other funding possibilities and network with people from other voluntary groups, why not attend the Funders Forum from 9.30am to 3.30pm on Wednesday 15th September at Turnberries in Thornbury. You must book in advance as places are limited - ring 01454 865205 or email .

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Have your say on housing strategy

South Gloucestershire Council are updating their housing strategy and would like to know what your thoughts are on the "Next steps in delivering More Housing, More Choice-Affordable, Sustainable and Better Quality". You can find out more on their website. The deadline for comments is 30th August 2010.

Waitrose plans on view again tomorrow

In case you missed the previous display, the current plans for the Waitrose supermarket and housing development in Chipping Sodbury will be on display again at the Town Hall tomorrow (Thursday 12 August) from 7pm to 9pm, at the request of Sodbury Town Council.

As we mentioned the other day, the plans are also available online here and you can make your comments on the proposal until this Friday, 13 August. On the same web page you can check out the comments other people have already made.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

South Parade, Yate: restaurant planning application rejected - for now

A Planning Inspector has rejected the plan for restaurants on South Parade because of the proposed car park that would have replaced the open area around the kiosk and in front of the Post Office. The Inspector said that it would create a hazard near the busy Sundridge Park junction, and that many people would be tempted to walk through a busy car park on their way to the Post Office.

He offered to approve the restaurants without the car park, but the developers didn't accept this. The inspector said that when the new Tesco is in place, with 24-hour opening, there would already be reasonable parking nearby.

We expect to hear more about this area when Tesco is well under way.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Useful information from Trading Standards

Trading Standards have issued some very useful information sheets - click the links to see them:

  • Distraction burglaries - vulnerable people can now protect themselves with a password
  • Rogue Traders - offering to repave driveways, paint roof tiles and repair fascias
  • Unsolicited callers - these come in many forms, but for example there's a scam offering to paint roof tiles with a special micro-porous paint, but it's often just ordinary paint.

Scott Way - zebra crossing consultation

Many children cross Scott Way on their way to and from school, Kingsgate Park and other destinations. At the moment there's just a refuge island in the middle of the road near the footpath to Merlin Way.

Raysfield Junior School's travel plan group identified the need for a zebra crossing. Investigations have show that the improvment is necessary for improved safety, especially for children (43% of people crossing there are children) and people with mobility problems.

South Glos Council has now produced plans, and the formal consultation (click here) is open until 10 September. If the scheme is then approved it is hoped to do the work by the end of March.

This is a good example of how a community-based group can influence road safety. Well done Raysfield!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Bus fare increases from today

From today (Sunday 8th August), First Bus are increasing all single and return fares in the Bristol Area by 10p for adults and 5p for children, except for longer distance peak returns (those costing over £4 for adults or £3 for children). The First Day ticket in Bristol remains unchanged at £4 for adults.

Joint Waste Core Strategy - the next stage

The four authorities that used to be Avon have been developing a Joint Waste Core Strategy (JWCS) setting out where new waste processing sites should go. On 30th July 2010 they submitted the JWCS Submission Document to the Secretary of State for independent examination. The Secretary of State will appoint a Planning Inspector to examine the ‘soundness’ of the Core Strategy, considering the representations received.

As part of the examination, the Inspector is likely to hold a public hearing. This is currently expected to take place in November 2010, but will be subject to confirmation from the Planning Inspectorate.

The Joint Waste Core Strategy and other supporting documents are available to view on the West of England Partnership’s website.

There have previously been suggestions of a major waste facility being built on the Stover Road estate or the Great Western Business Park.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Are you 14 to 18 years old and a bus user?

Have you got your Youth Unltd discounted bus pass?

If you are a young person in full-time education living in South Gloucestsrshire, the Youth Unltd card gives you half price adult fares on single and return journeys. It is not valid for day/weekly/monthly/annual tickets. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

What next for Rileys in Yate?

Rileys snooker club in Yate, which closed in February, has been offered to Yate Town Council for community use.

It's not yet clear how much it might cost, and what conditions there might be.

The Town Council has asked for more details of the offer.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Yate International Academy building project to go ahead

Education Secretary Michael Gove has announced that Yate International Academy is among the building projects that will go ahead after all, despite a delay while government cuts were being decided.

Steve Webb MP said "I am delighted that the building project at Yate International Academy has been given the go-ahead today"

Meanwhile the Winterbourne International Academy building scheme will have to wait a while for a decision - the government list describes the situation as "capital allocation for notification after spending review", presumably the the Comprehensive Spending Review in October.

Click here for full official list of projects.