Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Steve Webb answers public questions - item in The Independent

The NHS, dealing with unemployment, cutting the deficit - Steve responds to an interesting range of questions from readers of The Independent:
Read the article here

Chance to see inside new Council offices

Tomorrow night (Wednesday 31st March) at 7pm there will be a chance for local people to see inside the Council offices. To arrange a place on the tour, please ring Lisa Hooper on 01454 863858.

Monday, 29 March 2010

Vince's wisdom on the economy in 60 seconds

More local roads being resurfaced

Down Road, Winterbourne Down will be closed from 29th March to 1st April so that it can be resurfaced. This will involve planing off the old surface and laying a new one between Kendleshire Farm and the western side of the bridge over the river.

There is also a great deal of work going on around the new Council offices, with both resurfacing and pedestrian/cycle path works on Badminton and Stover Roads.

On Westerleigh Road in Westerleigh there will be temporary traffic lights on Tuesday 30th and Wednesday 31st March so that the road can be repaired.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

If you read only one story this year, read this one. And weep.


To find out more visit the UK Chagos Support Association at www.chagossupport.org.uk.

New bus services - how Green is their Travel Plan?

The new service 88/630 being provided as part of the Green Travel Plan for the new South Glos offices will be good news for Iron Acton, because it will pick up in Iron Acton High Street where the X27 no longer goes.

However there are problems at the other end of the route. The bus will start in Chipping Sodbury, then run via Yate shops and the station. This means that a lot of the all-day parking spaces in Chipping Sodbury (proposed to be reduced under the Waitrose scheme) will be occupied by South Glos workers.

Far from getting rid of the problems of South Glos workers parking in Sodbury, this new route will perpetuate it - remember that there is only limited parking at the new S Glos offices, and the park and ride site next door was "postponed" by the Tories.

Yate Town Council suggested a different bus route that went round the estates in a figure of eight, picking up workers near home and stopping the parking problem at source. Yate TC even offered substantial money towards it.

Instead the Tory Cabinet on S Glos insisted on a cheaper direct route from Chipping Sodbury to Iron Acton, but had the cheek to ask Yate to still pick up a large part the bill for a route that didn't benefit most local people.

If S Glos is going to save as much as they calculate by combining offices, they need to go a step further with their Green Travel Plan.

New bus services

On 4th April, some new and changed bus services start to support the Green Travel Plan for the new Badminton Road Council offices:

  • Service 85 Emersons Green – Yate (proposed service 688) will operate every half hour Mondays to Fridays via Blackhorse and Coalpit Heath. A few evening peak journeys will also extend to/from Chipping Sodbury.
  • Service 86 Kingswood – Yate – Wotton-u-Edge: Service renumbered from 686 with only minor timetable changes.
  • Service 87 Longwell Green – Chipping Sodbury (proposed enhancement to service 686) will operate during peak times only. It will also serve Kingswood, Emersons Green, Coalpit & Yate.
  • Service 88 Chipping Sodbury – Iron Acton (proposed service 630) will operate hourly Mondays to Fridays via Yate Shopping Centre, North Yate and Station Road.
Your Focus team continues to campaign for a bus to link Westerleigh with Yate station.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Wapley Road, Codrington closed tonight

Wapley Road in Codrington will be closed from 8pm tonight (Friday 26th March) until 6am tomorrow morning for further resurfacing work.

Steve Webb writes in Guardian - Focus remains firmly on redistributive policies and fairness

There's an interesting article by Steve Webb in the Guardian this week. Here's a short extract:

"The Lib Dem policy of raising the tax allowance to £10,000 per year is described by Horton (Tim Horton of the Fabian Society) as "a juicy middle-class tax cut to sell in Conservative marginals around the country". Yet this tax cut, and the progressive tax increases which finance it, are hugely redistributive.  

A £10,000 tax allowance means that people on the minimum wage should no longer have tax taken out of their paypacket – surely something progressives should support? 

And the money for this tax cut comes overwhelmingly from high earners – ending the extra pension tax relief that higher rate taxpayers enjoy, taxing capital gains properly, and taxing those with properties worth over £2m"

When we look around our area, particularly in wards like West Yate and Dodington which have just been declared priority neighbourhoods, it makes sense to help these low-earning but hard-working people. They are the carers, the shop workers, the people who make our towns function. Let's give them a bit of a boost.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Parking restrictions starting 6 April

The parking restrictions around the new Badminton Road Council Offices will come into force on 6 April, in time for people moving into the offices. The scheme will be monitored for three months and changes made if necessary. You can read the report on the decision on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Looking for grants?

Local community grants in search of funding might like to look at the Quartet Community Foundation website. If you get your skates on, you might be able to benefit from some of this financial year's Grassroots Grants, the deadline for which is the end of March.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Campaigners celebrate extra rush-hour train from Yate

Claire Young, Wully Perks (Vice-Chair) and Sue Walker (Chair)
of Friends of Yate Station with Steve Webb MP at Yate Station

Following pressure from local MP Steve Webb and the Friends of Yate Station, First Great Western have agreed to put on an extra morning commuter train from Yate in the new timetable to be introduced in May.

Late last year, the MP held a meeting at his Yate office with First Great WesternChief Executive Mark Hopwood to register his complaint about overcrowding on rush-hour trains between Yate and Bristol. The company considered these concerns and has now announced that from May there will be an additional train leaving Yate at 0712, calling at Filton Abbey Wood, Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads before going on to Westbury. This is a train that was previously running empty through the station, starting in Cheltenham Spa and only beginning to pick up passengers at Bristol Parkway.

Commenting on his web site, Steve Webb said:"An extra morning train from Yate to Abbey Wood and Bristol is a big step forward. For passengers who have had enough of overcrowding on the later trains, this will provide an additional option of a less crowded earlier train. For workers with some flexibility on working hours it may mean that they can then travel back home slightly earlier, and thereby avoid the peak rush-hour trains out of Bristol in the evening. Coming on top of the additional carriage that we have secured for the 0815 service, this is another sign that where we campaign effectively we can get things improved".

In addition to the new 0712 service, there is an improvement in service for those travelling to Swindon, with the 0740 service now going on from Bristolto Swindon without the need for changing trains.