Saturday, 24 December 2011

Nominate a community hero

Do you know someone in your community whose work deserves to be recognised? If so, go to before 3 February 2012 to nominate them for a community award. The award winners will be invited to a ceremony at BAWA, Filton on 29 March 2012.

Friday, 23 December 2011

South Glos moves out of the slow lane

Fast broadband is vital for many local residents and businesses. While some local authorities have already claimed their share of Government money for improvements and others have submitted plans, until now South Glos had only got as far as starting a consultation to gather evidence of demand:

Now though there is good news as South Glos has announced it is joining Wiltshire and Swindon’s project, described as the most advanced in the country. This will speed up the roll-out of superfast broadband to rural areas and should bring significant savings. The process of inviting bids from commercial suppliers is set to begin in spring 2012, with the contract announcement due in the summer. Work to install the network is expected to begin by December 2012, with the first residents and businesses able to sign up for superfast broadband from 2013. The Council has changed the deadline for completing its surveys to 29th February 2012 to fit in with these plans.

Local MP Steve Webb, who has been campaigning for faster broadband in our area, has urged local people to fill in the online surveys and spread the word to friends, family and colleagues. As well as holding meetings with South Glos, Steve has spoken to Virgin about getting cable to more areas and has met BT at Westminster. He stressed to them the urgent need to get improved broadband in South Glos and BT is providing information to help South Glos in preparing its plans.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Royal Visit - photos now available

Photos from the Royal Visit to the Yate Armadillo Youth Venue and Cafe are now available on the Armadillo website - click on the Cafe icon, then Royal Visit.

Bins and buses over Christmas

If you're wondering when your recycling and rubbish will be collected over Christmas, you can find out on the South Glos website. On the same page you can also find out the opening times for the Sort IT centres and the best way to dispose of your Christmas tree and cards when the time comes.

South Glos has also provided details of changes to local bus timetables over Christmas.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Season's greetings to all our readers

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to all readers of the  Local Focus blog.

Thank you for your support for our community campaigns and our petitions.

Your Local Focus Team

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Royal seal of approval for Armadillo

HRH The Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) came to Yate on Tuesday 13th December to visit the Armadillo Youth Cafe and Venue. Despite a storm which delayed his helicopter flight, the Earl spent a long time talking to the young people and the organisers behind the venture.

There was some good coverage in the newspapers - check out the reports on the Gazette and Evening Post websites.

The Armadillo has its own website where photos of the visit are now available (click on the Cafe icon, then Royal Visit)

The purple-walled building is now a distinctive feature of Yate Town Centre. The Armadillo is the name local young people chose because of its shape. Here's a virtual tour of the building (photos from the Armadillo):

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Bus stop upgrades

The Greater Bristol Bus Network project has been trying to encourage more people to use buses by improving bus shelters and other infrastructure on key routes.  As part of this, South Glos is going to install some additional raised kerbs on the Bristol-Yate corridor and change some of the existing bus stop clearway markings so the buses can line up properly with the raised kerbs. You can see what's planned and make any comments you may have on the South Glos website - the closing date is 23rd December. Subject to comments, the work is expected to be carried out in the new year.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

You know why it's raining...

... They've started work at long last on the proper bus shelter at Yate Bus Station!

More information and photos will follow...

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Bags for cardboard recycling - update

South Gloucestershire Council took down the web page we advised you to check for updates on when more bags for cardboard recycling would be available. We're now told that you can ring 01454 868000 and ask for a bag to be delivered to your home.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Yate Bus Station - today's update (?)

Chris Willmore reports:

The officer now responsible has gone on holiday, but his boss, Mark King has picked up the story. He replied to my chasing email today " Although we have been promised an update from Trueform, who are manufacturing the shelter we have not received it. They promised we would get an update by the end of last week." 

Before he went on leave the officer had called them twice last week to chase, and Mark has also spoken to them. They seem to be saying they will finish making it by the end of November, so will install in December. 

Mark says he has asked for a definite date and has been promised more information following a production meeting this afternoon. He will let us know when there is a definite. But don't pack away the first birthday balloons etc just yet, I still sense we might get undermined again........

More cardboard recycling bags coming!

Despite having insisted there would be no more bags for cardboard recycling, South Glos have caved in to the huge demand and ordered some more.

Over the last few months your Focus Team has been challenging the Tory Cabinet Member responsible to sort out the chaotic distribution of the first 40,000 bags and last week he admitted lessons needed to be learnt. Many people were unaware the bags were ready to collect and where from as the Council didn’t tell them. By the time they found out via the grapevine the bags were gone. Others who did strike lucky were able to walk off with dozens at a time. Trying to find out which distribution points still had bags was nigh on impossible with the website not reflecting the situation on the ground.

We’re now told the new bags will be distributed in the same way as all the other recycling bags. You will be able to call the Council Contact Centre on 01454 868000 to request one and it will be delivered to your house. The Council don’t yet know when the new bags will arrive but they promise that the latest updates will be on their website. Let’s hope this new process works much more smoothly.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Royal visit to Yate to see Armadillo Youth Cafe 13 December

Prince Edward will be coming to Yate on Tuesday 13th December to visit the Armadillo Youth Cafe and Venue. Members of the public will be very welcome to see him arrive. There will be an unveiling ceremony in the garden so the public can see via fence. Free flags and drinks will be provided for the public.

Local councillors are asking schools to allow young people to come, and hope they will recognise the educational value, despite it being during the school day.

Cllr Chris Willmore said "This is an honour for residents who have backed the scheme from the start, to the young people who have made it a reality and to all those who have given time and money to make it happen. It is the first public visit by a member of the royal family to Yate for 20 years".

"We are surprised, and honoured at the recognition of our project. it is a real boost for our town and the visit of our young people and residents. We hope it will be a day to remember for young people, many of whom will be personally presented to the prince, who will spend time with young people in the cafe itself"

We'll publish more details - times etc - in due course.

Monday, 31 October 2011

So where's the proper bus shelter for Yate?

You may remember we were promised that the new bus shelter would be done by the end of October? No sign of work on the ground, so as councillors we chased. We've now been told that the South Glos officer who was dealing with it has left.

We've spoken to another officer who has a record of being able to fix problem projects. He told us that the officer who left had passed on some notes, but as far as we can establish no firm date was agreed for installation, though it's thought that "this is likely to be before the end of November"

We've gone back and said this isn't good enough. The specification was agreed in July, we were told the end of October, and this sort of delay just isn't acceptable.

In the meantime, as some local people have remarked, it's ironic that Tesco's trolleys are now under shelter but bus passengers aren't.

We're continuing to chase, but it's like banging your head against a brick wall, it'll be lovely when we can stop...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Nibley Lane closure Thursday 3 November

Nibley Lane is expected to be closed from 9.30am to 2.30pm on Thursday 3rd November. This is to allow the road to be cleaned.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Nominate your local sporting hero now

You have until Friday 28th October to nominate your local sporting hero for an "Active South Gloucestershire" sports award. There is a range of categories:

  • Sportsman of the Year
  • Sportswoman of the Year
  • Young sportsperson of the Year (awarded to members of a Sport England ‘Accredited’ Sports Club)
  • Young sportsman, sportswoman and disability sportsperson category
  • Sports coach award
  • The Sports Link award (awarded to a Sport England ‘accredited’ sports club which has done the most to promote club/school links. Proposals must be independent of the club)
  • School sport award (separate primary and secondary school category, awarded to the school which has done the most to promote school sport and physical activity to young people. Proposals must be independent of the school)
  • School sport award individual - primary and secondary category (proposals must be independent of the school)
  • Team award (awarded to teams who have excelled i e school, adults, Sport England ‘accredited’ sports clubs)
  • Personal Achievement Award - sponsored by the Active Partnership
  • James Clifford Memorial Award (awarded to sporting and leisure industry professionals for innovation, creativity and / or provision of excellent customer service) James was the popular marketing manager for Circadian Trust (who run SouthGloucestershire Leisure & Sports centres) who sadly passed away this year.
  • Community sport award - sponsored by Airbus UK (awarded for outstanding contribution to a lifetime of sport)
All nominees for the awards, which are sponsored by Airbus and the Active Partnership (a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council, South Gloucestershire Leisure Trust and NHS South Gloucestershire to increase participation in physical activity) must live within South Gloucestershire or be involved with a South Gloucestershire club or school.

You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Yate Tesco opens today

Yate's new Tesco Extra store has opened today after a remarkably short construction period that is a credit to the builders and the project manager.

Work on four more shop units will start after Christmas. It is anticipated that two of these will form a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store.

Yate Shopping Centre has also launched a new website which carries details of events and stores at the Shopping Centre.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Westerleigh Road, Westerleigh - emergency overnight closure


South Glos now say that the work will not now be tonight but will take place on the evening of 1st November from 8.00pm to 6.00am.


South Glos has just said that Westerleigh road ,Westerleigh will be closed overnight to ALL vehicles from its junction with  Besom Lane to a point 50m north of the Railway Arches for emergency repair works Network Rail need to carry out on the rail bridges crossing the road.

In other words, the stretch of Westerleigh Rd affected is from the lane that leads to Wapley, under the two railway arches, and finishing a short distance from the arches on the chapel (Yate) side.

However it is anticipated that the works will occupy 21st  October only,  from 8pm to 8 am.

Still trying to get a cardboard recycling bag?

We previously told you about FREE bags for recycling cardboard. South Glos's stock has run out and they're not ordering any more, but some of the local collection points MAY still have them:

  • Yate Leisure Centre
  • Yate Library
  • Chipping Sodbury Library
  • Yate Town Council (Poole Court)
  • Dodington Parish Council (Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Rd)
  • Frampton Cotterell Parish Council (Brockeridge Centre)
As at 20th October there are 50 or so still left at at Dodington Parish Council (Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Rd). You can ring 01454 866546 to check availability and working hours before you call. We don't know whether any of the other places still have stocks. First come, first served!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Dodington Parish Band 15th Anniversary Concert this Saturday!

Come and listen to this very popular local brass band. They've been going now for 15 years, and would like you to help celebrate their anniversary this Saturday (22nd October) in Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Road, Chipping Sodbury, BS37 6JZ.

Tickets are £4 (including refreshments) from Wendy or Krystina at Dodington Parish Council - call in to the office in Dodington Parish Hall, phone 866546 or buy at door. Under 15s free.

Temporary Tesco buses Yate to Bradley Stoke

During the Tesco closure this week there is a free bus from Yate to Tesco Bradley Stoke. It leaves Yate on the hour from 9.00 am until 4.00 pm, and returns from Bradley Stoke on the half hour from 9.30 am until 4.30 pm.

Reminder - Yate Tesco now closed for a week

Just a reminder that the temporary Tesco store in Yate Shopping Centre has now closed so that the site can be cleared and car park restored before the new Tesco Extra store opens at 8am next Monday, 24th October.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Bus service changes

  • The London Bus X2C service into Bristol, which only started in June, has been withdrawn from service as there have been fewer passengers than expected.
  • From 30th October, there will be an additional 327 journey at 1940 (1935 Saturdays) from Yate to Bristol.
  • Also from 30th October, there will be minor changes to early morning and evening times and on Mondays to Fridays the 0833 X42 journey from Chipping Sodbury will be withdrawn.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Recyling banks being removed

Recycling banks are being removed from a number of places across South Glos including:
  • Yate - shopping centre overflow car park, Broad Lane Council offices, and YOSC
  • Westerleigh - Ye Olde Inne
Resources are being re-allocated to providing recycling facilities for blocks of flats that don't currently have them. Please let your Focus Team know if you have concerns.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Filton Airfield consultation

A few weeks ago we posted about our concerns that the delay in the Public Inquiry for the Core Strategy may leave our countryside at risk of unwanted development.

Officers at South Glos have been working hard to provide the extra information the Inspector has requested. One area of extra work is on the closure of Filton Airfield. The Council will be holding some drop in exhibitions, some staffed, others unstaffed. You can find details of all the exhibitions and view the exhibition material online. The deadline for comments is Monday 24 October 2011.

Your Focus Team is also very interested to hear your views. You can find all our contact details here.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Is your home safe for winter?

Avon Fire and Rescue Service want to help you make sure you stay safe this winter. They offer advice on:
Nationally, around 1,000 fires are caused by faulty electric blankets each year. Before you buy a blanket make sure it carries a recognised approval mark, such as the British Electrotechnical Approvals Board (BEAB) mark, or the International Standard number EN 60967.Don’t buy second hand and have your blanket inspected by the manufacturer or a qualified electrician in accordance with their instructions, usually every three years.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Victory on Yate train overcrowding

We're happy to announce the end of the long fight to get extra train carriages from Yate. From December the 7.40 and 8.09, and the return journeys from Temple Meads at 14.41, 15.41, 16.41 and 17.10 will each have an extra carriage. First Great Western told us this good news at the rail users meeting this evening.

Also for those affected by the complete failure of the commuter train service to Bristol on the morning of Monday 26th, Nigel at the station has forms for users to obtain refunds, or you can claim via the passenger charter.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Gorilla auction exceeds all expectations

Bristol Zoo's gorilla auction this evening raised an incredible total of £427,300.

Chipping Sodbury's very own Funky Gibbon went for £8,600.

Proceeds from the auction will be split between gorilla conservation work and local Bristol charity Wallace and Gromit's Grand Appeal, which raises funds for the Bristol Children’s Hospital and St Michael’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (Special Care Baby Unit)

Congratulations to Bristol Zoo and all involved in the Wow! Gorillas project, which encouraged so much public participation - a real community event.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

NHS Consultation - meeting tonight

North Bristol NHS Trust plan to become a Foundation Trust from December 2012. They want to know your views on the plans and are holding a meeting at Frenchay Hospital tonight, Wednesday 28 September. The meeting runs from 7pm to 8.30pm in the Monica Britton Museum. More information is available on the Trust's website.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Vote to get a community radio station in Yate!

Would you like a community radio in Yate?

If so, use your finger between 26 September and 23 October.

Go to
(see instructions below on how to vote)
and vote for Yate Armadillo Community Radio.

If we get enough votes, we will get £6000 – enough to kit out a radio studio in the Armadillo, which will be led by young people, but will broadcast a full range of news, sports reports, adverts for local firms and groups – including live gigs by local bands. Unlike many community radio stations this will be youth led, a social enterprise giving a voice to our community. If you want in on this, vote today.

If you are unable to access the online site to vote, contact the Nat West CommunityForce helpline on 0800 2100 246. Or if you need minicom etc. call 0800 0155 545. They will be happy to let you know which charities, projects and groups have applied in your area.

You will be able to see all of the applications made in your local area.

Each person can vote up to three times, in any area. You can only vote once for each cause. You may decide only to vote for one cause, or may pick up to three. Multiple voting is controlled by way of email address therefore you will be required to register before you can vote.

How to vote

To register please go to and put in your email address and a password. Once complete an email will be sent to you, please click the link to register. You are now ready to vote!

You can then go to, log in and click to vote.

Please get your colleagues to join in. Why not post it to your Facebook, Twitter, blog or other page?

Links to the CommunityForce site can be posted on social media sites etc. This is a great way to help us get as many votes as possible. So do please join in the fun and get posting!

Thank you for your support.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Go batty with the BBC on Wednesday!

A BBC Autumnwatch film crew are coming along next Wednesday to the bat walk at Goose Green at 7pm. They wish to film the walk and interview participants. They are hoping to get people to ask wildlife related questions to the camera which will then be aired during the Autumnwatch ‘unsprung’ show, where the questions will hopefully be answered by the team.

We are therefore hoping for a good turnout of local people and a handful of questions to ask. Here's what South Glos say about the bat walk:

"Walk around Goose Green Fields and along the River Frome in search of our magical native bats that can eat up to 3000 insects a night! Meet at the site entrance off Oak Close, Yate. 7pm to 9pm.

Free event! Children should be accompanied by an adult. Please wear sensible footwear and warm clothing. Bring a torch. No dogs allowed.

For more information call ✆ 01454 863592 text 07950 080 111”

Monday, 19 September 2011

Marks and Spencer want to come to Yate

The owners of Yate Shopping Centre have submitted a planning application for a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store in East Walk at the Yate Shopping Centre. They would occupy two of the four new units proposed for the extension to the rank where Superdrug is. The new shop would also sell some non-food goods. It is hoped that the new store will be open by late 2012.

The Shopping Centre has ambitions to attract other major brands now, perhaps to the other two nw units.

Five awards for Yate and West Dodington in Bloom

Committee members received the cup and five certificates  from award
winning TV broadcaster, author and horticulturalist Toby Buckland

At their first attempt Yate and West Dodington in Bloom have scooped a total of five awards in this year's Royal Horticultural Society South West in Bloom. They not only won a Silver Award in the St Bridget Cup category, there were also Neighbourhood Awards in the morning for Abbotswood Primary School, Jacobs Well Community Garden and the Friends of Kingsgate Park.

There was a particularly exciting moment when it was announced that Abbotswood School was being given a discretionary composting award and had won the Viridor School Composting Award.

Yate and West Dodington in Bloom has brought together many community groups and individual volunteers - congratulations to all involved!

Chipping Sodbury in Bloom, entering for the second year, also continued their success by winning a Silver Gilt award in the Preece Cup.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Temporary Tesco to close a week early

It has been announced on the YatePeople website that the temporary Tesco store in Yate Shopping Centre will close at 4pm on Sunday, 16th October, a week earlier than planned so that the site can be cleared and car park restored before the new Tesco Extra store opens at 8am on Monday, 24th October.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Beware unsolicited phone calls from "Microsoft" - they're a scam

One of our readers reports receiving phone calls from "Alternate Windows Tech Support" or "Microsoft Computer Support". We've had a call too, but cut them off. Our reader went along with one of the calls to see what would happen.

The foreign-sounding caller asked them to carry out several "tests" on their PC, and when the PC brought up quite normal results, they said it was evidence that it was infested with viruses. Then they asked our reader to open up Remote Access so that they could control the PC and "cure" it (potentially downloading confidential data from the machine)

At this stage our reader stopped the call, but according to this article from the Guardian they then go on to ask for an appreciable sum of money to deal with the so-called "viruses"

It's suspected that they are targeting names from the phone directory, so it's quite possible that they may contact other local people.

As Microsoft themeselves say, "We do not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer. If you receive an unsolicited email message or phone call that purports to be from Microsoft and requests that you send personal information or click links, delete the message or hang up the phone"

Don't get caught out - these callers are after your money.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Local groups successful in grant applications

Community groups in our area had a successful night at the recent Area Forum. Grants were awarded to:
  • Shireway Community Association and Midway Social Club - Outdoor Performance Area - £2,000
  • Yate and West Dodington in Bloom - £2,000
  • Dodington Parish Band - Music and uniforms - £1,950
  • Jacobs Well - £1,030
  • Chipping Sodbury Festival Society - £750
  • Horton and Little Sodbury Village Hall-Village hall enhancement 2011- £800
The next round of revenue grants will launch on 24th October with a closing date of 5th December. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Don't lose your vote

The Register of Electors forms are arriving on our doormats. Don't forget to return yours! If you aren't on the electoral register you can't vote in elections - and the register also gets checked if you apply for credit.

It doesn't take long to fill out the form. If there are no changes you can simply do it by telephone or online. Remember that if you won't want your details used for marketing, you need to tick the right-hand column on the form, confirm that to the person on the telephone or tick the box on the online-form.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Countryside at risk

Your Focus Team is worried that more of our countryside could be at risk.

The Public Inquiry to consider the plans for future development in South Gloucestershire, the Core Strategy, will not go ahead in October as planned. The Inspector appointed by the Government has told the council it must think again about how many homes will be needed, in the light of the latest population forecasts and the Minister's view that development should go ahead where possible. He also wants the Council to put forward proposals for the development of Filton Airfield and to justify the Green Belt boundaries.

It is really important to get the Core Strategy in place as the Minister has indicated he will be minded to give permission for planning applications when Councils have not got up to date plans. South Glos Council has written to the Inspector saying they can be ready for a Public Inquiry in February. Local people will be invited to workshops to discuss possible new proposals and there will then be public consultation on any changes towards the end of the year.

The Inspector's letter and the Council's response can be viewed on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Yate Bus Station update - shelter coming, but a few weeks yet

We've just had confirmation from South Glos that the bus shelter is now on order, and that it will be the larger (7 bay) version.

The delivery date is expected to be in the next 6 to 7 weeks with installation then likely to take around a week, but the dates are subject to confirmation - we'll let you know as soon as we hear.

The shelter is of the "Gullwing" design with full side panels on all sides (except entry/exit points) and roof as we've previously mentioned. It will include seating with arm rests within the shelter along with internal lighting.

There will be a single central entry point on approach from the shopping centre side and two exits to the bus stops, which is what we asked for.

Bags for cardboard - out of stock, more promised

South Glos seems to have been taken by surprise by the demand for the bags for cardboard recycling.  According to this page all distribution points are out of stock at the time of writing. There will be a second wave of bags available in mid-September.

Actually we've found a small quantity still in stock at Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Road - first come, first served!

Sadly we know some residents didn't even realise the bags were available. Officers say it would be too expensive to notify everyone with a tag on their bin, so people who don't read blogs like this one or the local papers may well have missed out. We know from the surveys we did in the spring and winter that many of you were concerned about the lack of containers for cardboard. Let's hope that when the next batch of bags becomes available everyone who wants one can get one.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Yate Bus Station - let's ramp up the pressure

One of our readers has suggested that we increase the pressure on South Glos to get moving by submitting complaints via the FixMyTransport website. If enough of us do that, maybe they might take notice? Please go to the site and put your view in.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Yate Bus Station - Why the delay? Why is it all taking so long?

Quite rightly people have been contacting us asking why the big new shelter hasn't gone in during the summer as we were promised. We've been trying to find out. Chris Willmore reports on the latest position:

"The officer responsible is refusing to answer phone calls today. He was on holiday in August and everyone else in the dept said they did not know what was going on and we should ask him when he got back on Monday. So people did. And he has not been returning calls or been available"

"Earlier in the summer he said he did not have the money after all. Ruth Davis found him another pot of cash to get rid of that excuse. So, as we can all see, despite cast iron promises in writing from officers, the work has not even started. This Tory run council thinks it can ignore us. It is a disgrace. Incompetent does not even begin to describe the position"

"So, we as your councillors are back to square one, phoning and emailing and trying to get hold of officers. The one light in the tunnel, Steve Evans, a South Glos Director who was brilliant at getting action from his staff, had a heart attack in July, and shortly after things ground to a halt. I hope Steve gets well and comes back soon, as we very much need him as the none officer with a consistent 'can do' mentality"

"At this rate the new Tesco will be open and providing a bus shelter inside it before South Glos gets itself sorted."

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Road closures in Winterbourne

You might want to avoid driving through Winterbourne in the evening and overnight for the next week.

From 31st August - 7th September, road resurfacing will take place in Flaxpits Lane, Dragon Road and Beacon Lane. The work will be done between roughly 8pm and 6am. From 31st to 2nd, Flaxpits Lane and Dragon Road will be closed to through traffic overnight with diversions in place. When the work moves to Beacon Lane there will be temporary traffic lights.

All times and dates are subject to change due to bad weather or other problems. Access to properties and amenities fronting the site will be available at all times and every effort will be made to keep the disruption to local residents to a minimum for the duration of the works.

Monday, 29 August 2011

First Bus raise fares

On Sunday, First Bus increased the price of adult and children, single and return tickets between 5p and 20p depending on the length of the journey. They have also introduced three new season tickets and are reducing prices for a limited period on some of the existing ones.
More information on the First Bus website.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

New police non-emergency number - 101 coming soon

From 19th September you will be able to contact Avon and Somerset Police by calling them on 101.

Part of a national programme to make it easier for you to contact your local police, 101 will be used for non-emergencies such as:
  • reporting a crime
  • contacting local officers
  • getting crime prevention advice
  • making us aware of policing issues in your local area
  • making an appointment with a police officer
  • for any other non-emergency

Key Facts

101 will not replace 999, which will continue to be used for emergencies.
It will replace the existing 0845 number, although there will be a period when both numbers will be available.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired, you can textphone the police on 18001 101
Calls to 101 from landlines and mobiles cost 15 pence per call, no matter what time of day you call or how long your call lasts.
International callers, those in the UK residing outside of England and Wales and those residing in local force areas currently awaiting access to 101 should call 0845 456 7000 to contact Avon and Somerset Police.


999 should be used for an emergency, when a crime is happening, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, someone is injured, being threatened or in danger.

For more information about 101, please take a look at the police Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Bus stop in Chipping Sodbury High Street to be moved?

Local people have been concenrned that travellers waiting at the bus stop near no. 39 High Street (near Nelsons butchers shop) have to step between parked vehicles in order to get onto the bus, something which is difficult for those with mobility issues and those with pushchairs.

Councillors at the local Area Forum meeting asked South Glos Council to investigate the problem, and they've come up with a proposal to move the bus stop.

It is proposed that the existing bus stop is relocated in front of 29a/31 High Street (near Sante Et Beaute salon) and a build out is constructed incorporating a standard bus boarder (raised kerb). The build out will replace five existing car parking spaces.  A bus stop marking is proposed on the carriageway to protect the bus stop from parked vehicles.

More details of the bus stop proposals are on the South Glos website. The consultation runs until Friday 9 September.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Elswick Park consultation - Kennedy Way, Shackleton Avenue and Mulberry Crescent - Waiting Restrictions and Banned Right Turn

South Glos is consulting on restrictions associated with the Sea Stores development:
  • At the junction of Kennedy Way / Normandy Drive (the new entrance road) to protect visibility;
  • In the new layby in Kennedy Way (constructed for refuge collection vehicles) to prevent parking in the area;
  • In the culs-de-sac of Shackleton Avenue and Mulberry Crescent (part of the new development) to prevent parking in the area around the emergency access to the development
It is proposed that vehicles leaving Elswick Parkwillonly be able to turn left towards Yate. They will not be able to turn right onto Kennedy Way.

Full details of the Elswick Park consultation are on the South Glos website - the closing date for comments is 2nd September.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Work at footbridge over railway to Wapley Bushes

On Wed 31 August  Network Rail will be carrying out survey work for electrifying the railway line, so they will be digging a couple of test trenches in the approach slopes to Sergeant's Farm Bridge.

Despite the warning notices the footpath will not need to be closed, so you can still get across from Shire Way to Wapley Bushes. Network Rail will also attend to the sunken patches in the path near the Radar Gate when they reinstate the survey trenches.

Tetbury bus service axed - we were right all along!

Back in February we predicted that the Tetbury - Yate - Bath bus service would be vulnerable to cuts in Gloucestershire County Council's bus budget. At the time this was denied by the GCC Cabinet Member for Transport (see the comments on our February article)

Well, we were right. GCC have withdrawn their support, and from 4th September the bus will start in Old Sodbury, then run through Yate, Pucklechurch and Wick to Bath - the new 620 timetable is here

Update 30/08/2011 - details of the new No.27 Tetbury to Old Sodbury link have now been published - many thanks to our commenter who pointed this out. The 27 connects to the 620 to Yate and then Bath - details are on the same timetable. The service frequency has been reduced to match the demand, and passengers now need to change at Old Sodbury.

There will also be some minor changes to the 482, 483 Chipping Sodbury - Yate - Cribbs Causeway route from 18 September. On Mondays to Fridays the timetable is altered and journeys on 482 towards Cribbs Causeway are re-routed to operate direct from Highwood Road to the Bus Station, omitting the loop via The Venue and Asda. There will be no change to Saturday or Sunday arrangements. The new 482/483 timetable is available here

Other bus timetables are available on the South Glos website. Note that there are two timetables for some services like the 620 - one before the service changes, and one from the change date onwards.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Latest on speed limit reductions

You may have read in the Gazette that the Council has now advertised the B4465, Westerleigh Road and Nibley Lane scheme. This is the next stage in the legal process for introducing the speed limits. 

In the paper it says that the deadline for comments is 1st September. However, Claire Young spotted a mistake in the Notice of Proposal and raised this with officers. As a result a corrected Notice of Proposal has been issued and the deadline has been extended to 12 September 2012. 

Free cardboard recycling bags

To help stop cardboard blowing around our streets, South Gloucestershire Council is providing local residents that want one with a FREE bag for recycling cardboard. 

They will be available from 22 August on a first come, first served basis (one per household) from the following local places:
  • Yate Leisure Centre
  • Yate Library
  • Chipping Sodbury Library
  • Yate Town Council (Poole Court)
  • Dodington Parish Council (Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Rd)
  • Frampton Cotterell Parish Council (Brockeridge Centre)
Other locations are listed on the South Glos cardboard recycling web page

If you have a disability or mobility issue and there is no one else that can collect a bag for you, South Glos may be able to arrange delivery. Please contact 01454 863593 or email to talk about your situation.
(Delivery may take up to 10 working days)

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Church Road, Yate to be closed for resurfacing

Church Road will be closed to through traffic from Greenways Road to Lawns Road for carriageway resurfacing this week, from Tuesday 16 August to Friday 19 August.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Police appeal for witnesses to assault in Chipping Sodbury, early hours of Sunday July 31

Police are appealing for witnesses to an assault in Chipping Sodbury.

The assault occurred at around 12.45am on Sunday July 31, 2011. The victim, a woman in her 30s, was outside the Portcullis pub in Horse Street. She received a fractured wrist and a grazed knee after being pushed to the ground.

An investigation into the assault is underway. Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to contact Avon and Somerset Police on 0845 456 7000. Alternatively, phone the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. They never ask your name or trace your call.

Could you help the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery?

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery are still looking for a new Chair and also volunteers for gardening at the site on a Wednesday or the 2nd or 4th Sunday of the month. If you can help please contact David Godden at .

If you'd like to find out more about the site, why not go along to the Heritage Open Day between 10am and 4.30pm on Sunday 11th September. Or if you'd like to raise money to help the work of the Friends, get a quiz team together for Thursday 22nd September in the Miners Institute. To book a table call Steve and Liz Hillyard on 0117 923 6595.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Yate X-Ray - your views please!

We reported recently that the X-ray facility in the new West Gate Centre at Yate has started closing at 5pm due to lack of patients in the early evening. Focus councillors persuaded health chiefs to run a survey that asks you, the residents of the area about the hours and services you want at the Minor Injuries Unit, the X-ray facilities, and the outpatient clinics.

You can click here to complete the survey online, or download a copy to print out and send to a Freepost address or drop in to the NHS reception desk at the Yate West Gate Centre.

This letter from the NHS to residents explains more about the background to the survey.

Please take part in this survey to make sure that we get the local health service we want and need. The survey will run until Friday 30 September.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Watch out for scams!

Trading Standards are once again warning local people to be on their guard against scams. 
  • There are reports of rogue traders targeting residents in the Yate, Westerleigh and Filton areas offering block paving, landscaping and patio laying services. 
  • A new tactic is cold calling residents and offering to clean and seal your path or driveway for a cash payment.
There are some concerns that these traders are not providing consumers with written notice of their right to cancel, which is a criminal offence, and that they are using aggressive tactics to convince residents to agree to the work.
There are a number of steps you can take to try and avoid becoming the victim of a rogue trader.
  • Be wary of traders who cold call and the deals they offer you – it is unusual for genuine tradesmen to need to cold call to drum up work!
  • Do not allow any unknown and unexpected visitor into your home.
  • If they claim work needs doing, get a second or even third opinion from other professional tradesman.
  • If you agree to work you are afforded cancellation rights by law, and these should be given to you in writing.
  • Check any paperwork you are given to make sure it has not been backdated and includes everything you have agreed to.
  • If you are unhappy or feel intimidated by the visitor – shut the door and call the police.
If you do have work you wish to be carried out, why not use a trader who is a member of the Trading Standards operated Buy With Confidence scheme?
For a list of approved traders, visit or contact South Gloucestershire Trading Standards on 01454 864419 or email
If you believe you have fallen victim to a rogue trader, or would like some further pre-shopping advice, please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The future of the Air Ambulance Service at Filton

If Filton Airfield closes, it's essential that the Great Western Air Ambulance stays based at Filton. It's different from the neighbouring air ambulance services, which concentrate on transporting patients. Ours is a true Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, and has a specialist trauma consultant on board - it's one of only four such specialist services in the UK.

The site at Filton is strategically located so that the helicopter can get to any serious incident within our area as quickly as possible. If it had to be moved to Staverton for example, response times would become longer and lives would be at risk.

Please let South Glos Council know what you feel about this by commenting on their Filton Airfield Position Statement (also available in libraries and at One Stop Shops)

Comments need to be made by July 29th to or by post to South Gloucestershire Council, Spatial Planning Team, PO Box 2081, South Gloucestershire, BS35 9BP.

The Air Ambulance is run by a local charity - check out the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity website here

Bags for cardboard delayed

Acting on complaints from local people, your Focus Team successfully campaigned for better arrangements for cardboard recycling now that cardboard can no longer go in the green bin.

The bags had been expected to be available from collection points around the area in early summer. Unfortunately South Glos tell us that due to a quality issue, this has now slipped until the end of September. We will keep you informed.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Cheque-mate! Banks back down on scrapping cheques

The Payments Council, representing the banks, has announced that it will not be scrapping cheques in 2018 after all. They now say that cheques will be will be kept "as long as customers need them".

This follows major campaigns by Liberal Democrat MPs, charities and organisations representing older people and voluntary groups. We have reported the campaigns here before, and many of our readers will hopefully have signed the petition by Lib Dem MP David Ward.

The BBC has more details here

Monday, 11 July 2011

Update on Yate to Westerleigh cycle path

The latest meeting of the Joint Cycleways Group took place last week. The representative from South Glos told us that negotiations are still ongoing with Network Rail, whose consent is essential - several parts of the route are on their land. They have agreed verbally but South Glos are still waiting for Network Rail to send them the conditions they have to agree to.

To add to this delay, certain parts of the work can't legally be done in the bird nesting season, which isn't over yet.

South Glos reckon that they should be able to do the first part of the route, from the Cox Hill end towards Westerleigh, this summer. They're aiming to do the second part into Yate in summer next year. The next meeting of the Joint Cycleway Group is in early October, but we'll put updates here as and when we hear anything.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Police ask your views on priorities

The police would like to know what you feel should be their key priorities and what services you would like them to provide. You can share your views online until 19 August.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Free local walking guides

If you want to get out and about in our area this summer, get your hands on a free walking booklet from South Glos Council. Each booklet contains easy-to-follow maps, photographs and historical information. They include a set of six walks around Chipping Sodbury, two books of Easy Access Trails, and of course the Frome Valley Walkway. You can order a free copy of any of the guides by ringing 01454 863592 or download them from the Council's website.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Wildlife and history walk at Wapley - Sunday 3 July 2pm

Natural England has recently declared that Wapley Bushes is an Ancient Woodland - that means it's more than 400 years old.

To celebrate, there's a guided walk through the woods and meadows on Sunday. The meadows are currently full of wild flowers and butterflies. The walk will also showcase some of the major projects that the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group has undertalken over the past year.

Everyone welcome - meeting at the Shire Way gate, next to the zebra crossing. Please wear suitable footwear.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

New Tesco halfway there...

Tesco's development seems to be going on rapidly.

Almost everything is on programme and the new store is scheduled to open on 24th October 2011.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Elswick Park - 20 mph speed limit in estate

There is currently a South Glos consultation about a 20 mph speed limit within the new development - this is normal nowadays for similar new cul-de-sac streets. It probably won't make much difference except for deterring young motorcyclists from racing up and down the roads.

You will probably have seen the road works on Cotswold Road outside Elswick Park - the 30 mph speed limit is going to be lengthened, there will be a toucan crossing and people won't be able to turn right out of Elswick Park.

Yate International Festival - Saturday 2 July, 10.30 am - 4.30 pm

Back for the fifth year, Yate International Festival offers a wide range of music and dance from around the world - Irish, Egyptian, Chinese,cto name just a few - plus performances by Ridge School Gymnastics, Raysfield Dancing Group and Sodbury Community Choir. Mix in drumming and salsa, and it promises to be a good day.

The events take place on St Mary's Green, running continuously from 10.30 until 4.30.

There will also be Hindu Puppet Theatre performances in the Heritage Centre at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Chipping Sodbury Waitrose development given outline planning permission

At their meeting last week, South Glos Council's Development Control (East) Committee agreed to give outline planning permission to the controversial application for a Waitrose supermarket and 170 houses on the Barnhill Quarry site.

Chipping Sodbury appears split down the middle on the issue. A poll carried out by Sodbury Town Council showed a narrow majority of residents against the development. Some traders have come out against the scheme, but the Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce has commented in favour of it.

More detailed plans will now be submitted to South Glos by the autumn, and Waitrose hope that the new store will be open in time for Christmas 2012.

Click the links for more coverage from the Gazette and the BBC

Yate X-ray change not so transparent!

As you may have read in the current Gazette, from 30th June NHS South Gloucestershire intend to stop the extended evening hours of the X-ray facility in the new Westgate centre, with the facility closing at 5pm. They say that very few people have been using the evening service, so it's not worth running.

This raises several questions:
  • Why didn't they consult anybody locally about this? They didn't tell anyone that numbers were low, despite all the excellent joint working in the run-up to the opening of the centre.
  • Why are the numbers low? Have people been told that they can get their X-rays done locally, or out of "normal hours"?
Cllrs Ian Blair, Ruth Davis and Chris Willmore asked for an emergency meeting with local health chiefs and achieved a breakthrough. The change of hours has already been put in process, but is now being treated as a suspension whilst discussions take place, not a permanent decision.

Your local councillors are working with health chiefs to draw up a survey that asks you, the residents of the area what hours you want the Minor Injuries Unit and X-ray open, and why you've chosen to go to X-ray or A and E at Frenchay rather than the MIU / X-ray at Yate.

We also want to find out how the move of A and E exclusively to Southmead will affect your choice of where to go in a crisis (bearing in mind that Frenchay will only have a MIU at Frenchay exactly equivalent to Yate's) .

The health authorities are pulling together data and then are going to work with us to do a public survey between now and the end of September. So, it is not saved yet, but the final cut has been suspended.  Please watch this space for more news...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Chipping Sodbury Jazz Festival 29 July to 31 July - get your tickets now!

Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen will be headlining at this year's Chipping Sodbury Jazz Festival.
Tickets (£18.50) are available from the Tourist Information Centre (Clock Tower), Penny Farthings or Vickers Stationers.

Armadillo wins major regional award

Yate's Armadillo Youth Venue and Cafe has won the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) West of England Building Excellence Award for the Best Community Building.

In a ceremony on Friday at Bristol’s Royal Marriott Hotel, Cllrs Chris Willmore and Ian Blair, the four young people on the committee and Armadillo manager James Dunn, together with the architect and the contractor, were presented with a trophy and certificates.

Chris Willmore commented "Many thanks are due to everyone on Yate Town Council, you all have a share of the credit for this, having the trust to let young people take such a leading role. It makes the project unique"

The project now goes forward to the national finals.

Chipping Sodbury School sports hall was among the other nominees in the same category.

LABC is an organisation that works with local authorities to encourage excellence in technical innovation, sustainability and high standards in the construction industry.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Chilling out on a hot afternoon

Cool music for a hot afternoon - the Apollo Big Band and Pauline Richings at Picnic in the Park this afternoon (Yate Music Festival, Kingsgate Park)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

KIngsgate Park Community Music Festival success

Appreciative crowds at Yate Music Festival in Kingsgate Park today
Well done to all the acts, organisers and community groups involved in the Festival. Remember, there's more to come tomorrow. You can join in with Praise in the Park at at 10.30 am, and chill out to Picnic in the Park from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The future of Filton Airfield - and the impact on Yate housing developments

If you are interested in the Planning Blueprint for South Glos, the Core Strategy, there is now an extra publication you may like to look at and perhaps comment on.

The decision by BAE Systems to close Filton Airfield means there is a large area of land that will be left vacant. Should this be a higher priority for housing than the North Yate area?

The Government Inspector who will be holding the Examination in Public has asked South Glos Council to put forward their views for discussion on what should happen about this.

You can find the Council's Filton Airfield Position Statement online, as well as in libraries and at One Stop Shops.

Any comments on the suggestions have to be made by July 29th to or by post to South Gloucestershire Council, Spatial Planning Team, PO Box 2081, South Gloucestershire, BS35 9BP

Kingsgate Park Community Music Festival this weekend (25th/26th June)

Yate Town Council's free 2-day Community Music Festival will take place in Kingsgate Park this Saturday and Sunday.


  • Festival opens at 1 pm
  • Features local bands, including Live Wire, LA Boolaheads, Midlife Crisis, Uncle Buck, Tundra, Oblio, Blackwolf and One for the Fallen.
  • Performance area, where local dance groups and clubs can promote their acts.
  • Children's rides, side shows, craft and food stalls, face painting, play areas, beer tent.
  • Praise in the Park event at 10.30 am, organised by local Churches. 
  • Picnic in the Park from 3 pm to 5 pm featuring the Apollo Big Band. Please come along, relax with a picnic and listen to the big band sound.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group this Thursday

The next meeting of the Yate Safer Stronger Community Group (which covers Yate Town Council's area and Dodington Parish) will be on Thursday 23rd June at 7pm in South Glos Council's Badminton Road offices.

As well as the opportunity to raise issues, there will also be an update on the Armadillo Youth Cafe and Venue and a presentation from the Community Lead Group for the Priority Neighbourhood in Yate and Dodington.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Could the banks change their minds about scrapping cheques?

The Payments Council, representing the banks, had a pretty rough ride when they appeared before Parliament's Treasury Select Committee. The Treasury has written to MPs on the Committee saying that they might consider blocking plans to abolish cheques in 2018 if suitable alternatives are not found.

David Ward MP however suspects that the banks may just reduce the level of service - like they've scrapped cheque guarantee cards - until they can quietly stop cheques completely by 2018.

More on this story here

Sign the Save Our Cheque petition here

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Heron's ideas for North Yate on show Friday and Saturday

Heron is putting on an exhibition of their latest proposals for North Yate over the next couple of days. The exhibition will display a masterplan as well as further details on key issues raised during the first consultation. The sessions are as follows:

Friday 17 June 2011 2pm - 8pm
Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC), Broad Lane, Yate

Saturday 18 June 2011 10am - 4pm
Yate Library, 44 West Walk, Yate

If you are unable to visit the exhibition, you will be able to view the exhibition material in full on Heron's project website from 20 June 2011. An online comments form will also be available.

Please note that this is a developer's exhibition rather than an official council consultation, but please take a look even if you think the development isn't desirable - it'll give you an idea of Heron's current thinking.

Armadillo's first live gig this Friday!

The Armadillo (Yate Youth Cafe and Venue, next to the Sports Centre) hosts its first live gig this Friday (17 June) 7 to 11pm, featuring

Full live band - Hip Hop / Electro / Reggae / Breaks

MC Frilla
Troy da hybrid Brown
DJ Skint

£2 entry, tickets available from the Armadillo Youth Cafe.
R.O.A.R., alcohol and drugs strictly prohibited
ID and/or search on entry may be required

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Outline drawings for new shelter at Yate Bus Station

We've just received the outline plans, so that you can see where the new shelter might go. Click on the links for the seven-bay version and the six-bay version

Unfortunately there's nowhere near here with this particular model, but here's a photo of one of these shelters at Treliske Hospital in Truro - there are others at Heathrow, Manchester and Leeds.

It has been confirmed that the design has been developed to provide a level of vandal-proof protection, and it should be covered by the Yate Centre CCTV system.

We are awaiting some details on seats and have requested these along with quotes for the shelter and the signage.

Update: Chris Willmore tells me that Yate Town Council discussed the outline plans this evening, and they've asked for lighting proposals and details about the CCTV coverage.

A fun afternoon at the races (duck races, that is!)

Please join us on Sunday 19 June for the annual Chipping Sodbury Festival Duck Race on the River Frome, in aid of the Wildlife Trust.

Why not come along, have a flutter, and join us for an afternoon of races, a cup of tea and a doughnut? Great fun for all the family!

You are very welcome to come along and bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.

The races start from 2.00pm in Jubilee Park, Quarry Road, Chipping Sodbury.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Looking for a bike ride on Sunday?

If you missed out on Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride due to its last-minute cancellation, or if you want something closer to home, try the Chipping Sodbury Festival Bike Rides this coming Sunday, June 19th.

Two rides are on offer  - 25 miles for more experienced cyclists, and a 12 mile family ride. Even quite young children can usually manage 12 miles - it's the parents who have the problems!

The rides both start at the Clock Tower in Hugh Street, Chipping Sodbury. The 25 mile ride starts at 11.30 am, and the 12 mile ride begins at 12.30 pm.

Both rides will finish in Jubilee Park at about 2.00 pm, just in time for the Wildlife Trust Duck Race (great fun for the kids!)

The rides are organised by the U3A Cycle Group - if you would like more details you can email Bob Keen on or ring him on 01454 881966.

Yate bus station - some real progress in sight?

Chris Willmore reports:

Well flatten me with the feather! S Glos officers asked for a meeting urgently this week to discuss the survey. Dave Buckland (the officer who had the guts to come to meet us back in Feb) met Ruth Davis, Paul Hulbert, Ian Blair, Martin Monk and me - and came with draft plans!!! AND THEY HAVE LISTENED!!!! The plans reflect what you said in the survey.

We made some practical comments and suggestions and he has gone off to refine the drawings and then get quotes.

£15-20k has been found from the source we suggested (traffic management "Section 106" monies). He is proposing a proper shelter, under the canopy, running most of the distance from one end pillar to the other, and pretty deep, so it will be much bigger than the old ones combined; has two exits out to the buses, and one entry point at the back.

The existing benches will be moved to the two ends of the canopy, and new seats in the shelter will be a mix of perch, bench and property seats with arms. He has promised to ensure the floor comes to the ground so our ankles do not freeze. He had even checked the wind directions to work out where we needed the doors to minimise impact.

It's still not perfect, and we have yet to see the final version following this meeting, but, it is a mile better than the current position.

I am really sorry everyone is drowning there at present. Dave Buckland says they can use an existing contractor so do not have to go out to new tender, but that the lead time on installation is about 6 weeks - so, it looks to me as if the work will be done during the school holidays......

We did not have electronic copies of the papers at the meeting, so we cannot post them, but you can see the type, called Gullwing at As soon as we get electronic copies of the final plans, we will post a link here on the blog.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Planning and tipping applications approved

This week the South Glos Development Control (West) planning committee considered the Beech Hill Farm tipping and Mayshill in-vessel composting facility applications. Local councillor Claire Young spoke on residents' concerns on both applications.

After some discussion of the highways issues and how rejected loads should be dealt with, the committee granted a 2 year temporary permission for the Mayshill composting facility. They added a condition requiring a travel plan and, if there isn't more specific legislation covering it, a requirement that rejected loads are taken away immediately in the van that delivered them.

Highways issues were also the main concern with the Beech Hill Farm tipping application, but the committee decided to approve the application in line with the officer's recommendation.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The First Year as a New MP - meet Duncan Hames MP in Chipping Sodbury 24 June

Ever wondered what happens behind closed doors in Westminster? Come and listen to a new MP talk about his first year in Parliament.

Duncan has had an extraordinary first year in Parliament since being elected as MP for Chippenham in 2010. He has become a Parliamentary Private Secretary to a Lib Dem Minister, and has seen more about how Government works in one year than most people do in ten.

This lecture is in memory of Heather Larkins, a former Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Northavon who sadly passed away. All proceeds go towards sending a young person to experience Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in September.

Chipping Sodbury Town Hall, Friday 24 June, 7.30 pm.

Tickets £5 each (£1 if under 21) from Joanna Wallis on 0117 9574119 or email    Alternatively, pay on the door.

Campaigners angry as council refuses to budge on care home closures

Campaigners have blasted the South Glos Tory Administration for their response to local people’s concerns about care home closures.

In March, local resident John Williams presented a petition to council with over 2,600 names, triggering a debate.The petition challenged the closure of Wapley Court Elderly Persons Home and other residential homes before the promised replacement homes had been built – planned for 2014. Mr Williams spoke of the failure of the Executive Member, Tory Councillor Matthew Riddle, and the Director to engage fully with residents, their families and staff in the implementation of the programme.

Speaking after receiving a letter from the Executive Member Mr Williams said, “This is exactly the sort of response we feared. Despite all our efforts and despite everyone on the council, including Cllr Riddle himself, voting for a rethink, nothing has really changed. I heard him saying on the radio that the petition didn’t change anything because the existing homes are not fit for purpose. Presumably if every resident in South Glos signed he still wouldn’t change! I am deeply disappointed”

Local councillor Alan Lawrance (Lib Dem, Dodington) said, “It took Matthew Riddle two months to say he’s not moving on this issue. His inflexibility shows scant regard for the residents, staff and families connected to the residential homes. Where is his understanding of people or his respect for the democratic process?”

Cllr Maggie Tyrrell, the South Glos Lib Dem’s spokesperson for Community Care and Housing, said, “The letter simply goes over old ground, rather than actually responding to the petition. We support moves to help more people stay in their own homes and to provide more modern facilities for those that, despite this, still need residential care. These changes need to be made sensitively though and the Tory administration needs to show some flexibility”

Cllr Lawrance added, “Having provided specific undertakings in Alexandra Way and Woodleaze, Matthew Riddle was not prepared to do the same for the other residential homes. His only concession is a ‘promise’ to bring forward the construction and opening of two new care homes by a few months, presumably if weather and developers permit. While he talks about people he shows little real concern for them”

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Planning committee to consider tipping and composting applications

On Thursday 9th June, South Glos's Development Control (West) planning committee will consider the Beech Hill Farm tipping and Mayshill in-vessel composting facility applications.

The case officer has recommended approval for the tipping and a 2 year temporary approval for the composting application.

You can view the agenda for the meeting, with links to the officer's reports, online.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Results of Yate Bus Station questionnaire

Here are the results of our Yate Bus Station online survey - thank you to everyone who took part.

The majority of people (58%) preferred the "green" position for the shelter, followed by the "red" position at 39%. Blue came last at 3%.

The KEY ISSUE is that shelters should shelter people from wind and rain. Most people wanted shelters to be 4 sided, see-through, with several entrances, going down to the ground or very close, and they should be vandal-resistant.

Seats are wanted inside the shelters, 5 or 6 seats PER BUS BAY - quite a lot - with extra room for wheelchairs under the shelters as well (that's a new point). Some people suggested seats outside the shelters as well.

70% want backs to the seats. Some people wanted arms, but others feel this might restrict the number of people that can be accomodated (Maybe a mixture?). Others don't mind benches, but people in general HATE perch seats. Several people said "like the seats at Bristol Bus station".

There were various suggestions about where the Real Time Information sign should go, but general agreement that it needs to be visible from the shelter.

Static timetable positions (i.e. notice boards) are not as critical, but they should be grouped together. One person also suggested having static timetables in the middle of the shopping centre and outside the new Tesco, which makes sense.

We had 33 online responses, which appear to be a good cross-section of bus station users. All are from BS37 postcodes, and ages range from 20s to 80 and over. There is a spread of daily, weekly and monthly users. 4 of them have mobility disabilities. 12 usually carry shopping etc, 21 sometimes. 3 use a pushchair or wheelchair.

Yate Town Council has sent the results to South Glos, and we're now waiting to hear back. We'll keep you updated, but South Glos hasn't given us a timescale for a decision. In the meantime our petition is still open - please click on the link in the right hand column.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Jazzing up Sodbury - Kenny Ball is on his way!

Chipping Sodbury Jazz Festival (featuring Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen) will held on the weekend of 29th-31st July 2011.

Tickets at £18.50 are available from the Tourist Information Centre, Penny Farthings and Vickers Stationers,  or email

For the full Jazz Programme click here

Check out the Visit Chipping Sodbury, the website of the Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, for many more events happening in the town, local businesses and much more.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Yate bus station improvements - online survey closes this Tuesday

We're planning to close our online survey at 9 pm tomorrow (Tuesday 24th), so that we can pull everything together ready for South Gloucester's consultation deadline later in the week.

You can view the outline options from the links in the box in the right hand column of this blog. Then you can complete the survey online, or download the form and print it if you prefer.

Update 24/05/2011: The online survey is now closed. We'll report back on this blog with details of the survey findings. But our petition is still open - see the link in the right hand column

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Traffic lights in Westerleigh this Monday (23 May)

There will be temporary traffic lights outside Copp Cottage on Westerleigh Road in Westerleigh on Monday 23rd May to facilitate tree cutting.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Bus station survey consultation - have you filled in the survey yet?

We're getting some very interesting comments on our bus station survey - have you given us YOUR views yet?

You can view the outline options from the links in the box in the right hand column of this blog. Then you can complete the survey online, or download the form and print it if you prefer.

Update 19/05/2011: The South Glos deadline for replies is 27th May. We will collate the replies that come via us just before then and send them to South Glos, and then we'll publish a summary here. South Glos have not indicated how quickly they will take a decision after that.

Thanks to the Gazette for publishing a link to this blog, as the consultation isn't on the South Glos website.

Update 24/05/2011: The online survey is now closed. We'll report back on this blog with details of the survey findings. But our petition is still open - see the link in the right hand column

Arts festival on your doorstep

Take HeArt is an arts festival which brings together the very best local amateur art groups for a week of exhibitions at Yate Library throughout May and June.

The festival is a great opportunity to see some wonderful art, find out about local art groups and maybe even purchase your very own masterpiece made in South Gloucestershire.

It's already been running for a couple of weeks, but here are the remaining dates:

  • Thursday 19 May to Tuesday 24 May - Doynton Painting Group
  • Thursday 26 May to Tuesday 31 May - Frome Valley Artists
  • Thursday 2 June to Tuesday 7 June - Palettes of Pleasure
  • Thursday 9 June to Tuesday 14 June - Winterbourne Down Art Group
  • Thursday 16 June to Tuesday 21 June - Hanham Art Club
  • Thursday 23 June to Tuesday 28 June - Patchway Watercolourists
The exhibitions can be viewed during library opening hours which are Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays  9.30am – 7pm, Saturdays 9.30am – 5pm and Sundays 11am – 3pm (except for bank holidays)