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