Monday, 28 February 2011

Nibley Lane closed Thursday 3 March

Nibley Lane will be closed from the A432 Badminton Road to Westerleigh Road, Westerleigh for a day to allow cleansing - there has recently been some fly tipping on this popular short cut.

Rodford Way accident site - pedestrian safety (?)

South Glos Council has now designed a scheme to deal with hazards to pedestrians crossing Rodford Way near Abbotswood, the site where a child was killed in November 2008. They are proposing a railing along the middle of the dual carriageway to stop people crossing. It would run from the junction with Chargrove, past the pub to the crossing point next to the Kelston Close junction, and would be erected "in early 2011".

South Glos is convinced that encouraging pedestrians to use the underpass, in road safety terms, is the safest way of getting from one side of Rodford Way to the other. They have also arranged:
  • Regular cleaning of the underpass,
  • Additional police patrols, thanks in part to an additional council-funded PCSO
  • Signs on both sides of Rodford Way advising pedestrians to use the underpass
  • Repainting the underpass and installing a flood warning system
  • Clearing vegetation on the south side of the underpass to improve visibility 
  • Extra road safety advice and training for pupils at local school
Do you think this is the answer to the problem - to force people to use an underpass they plainly don't want to? Local councillors have suggested two linked light-controlled crossings, but South Glos has ignored them. The councillors' idea is to have one crossing near the underpass location and one at the Kelston Close crossing point. If the button is pressed, BOTH sets of lights would turn red. The delay would be set so that drivers would never be held up at both sets of lights.

This has been an issue of concern for the last few meetings of the Yate Safer Stronger Community Group. Its next  meeting is at Poole Court this Thursday, 3rd March at 7pm (refreshments available from 6.45pm)

Please come along and let everyone know what you think about the railing idea!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Weight limit at last for Station Road, Yate

Ruth Davis and Sue Walker celebrate the weight limit they have been capaigning for
Campaigners are celebrating after a long campaign to set a weight limit for lorries on a busy Yate road has got the final go ahead. Road signs which will ban vehicles weighing more than 7.5 tonnes from using Station Road will be installed this week.

Cllr Sue Walker, who has championed this issue, said: “The problem is the big lorries from the warehousing and distribution centres going up Station Road, on occasion going the wrong side of islands etc, and making it dangerous for locals trying to cross the road. It’s particularly worrying for the elderly folk who need to cross the road to get to the shops.  Big lorries just do not suit busy town centre roads with lots of pedestrians - and so I’m glad the road will be access only”

She added, “I’ve been fighting for years to stop very heavy huge vehicles going along Station Road between the station and Morrisons. The deliveries are less of a problem but often the road is used as a cut through. It’s been too many years since we first tried to make this happen but now the signs will make it clear there’s a weight limit, and it will have been worth all the effort”

Cllr Ruth Davis, who has also campaigned for the restriction, said “This has taken far too long to get through. The decision was taken several years ago but South Glos just hasn’t seen it as a priority to sort out the legal issues, even though Yate Town Council has been chasing this important local safety issue”

Drivers delivering goods to businesses along Station Road will be exempt from the weight limit.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Local councillors grill bus bosses

Last week the Managing Directors and senior staff from First Bus and Wessex Connect attended the South Glos Transport Select Committee, chaired by CllrPat Hockey. This enabled councillors, members of the public and transport action groups to ask questions and raise problems.

Cllr Claire Young asked First to reconsider their axing of two X42 services, which leaves Coalpit Heath pensioners with no express bus service on which they can use their diamond cards to get into Bristol. She also said passengers had been caught out by the changes due to a lack of publicity. Simon Curzio of First Bus apologised for this and promised to look again at the X42 timings.

When asked about the quality of the buses running to the Yate area, First Bus said they had to meet minimum standards, but the newness of the bus was linked to how profitable the route was. Questioned on pricing, they promised to look at extending family and group tickets, particularly looking ahead to the summer holidays.

Pat Hockey was able to establish that smart cards can be purchased and used on all Wessex Connect services in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, apart from night buses. Details are on their website

These are planned to be replaced in the autumn with a new smart card that can also be used on all First buses operating in the West of England (former County of Avon).

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Bus times by text become free, and some will be real time information

Traveline South West has announced that an arrangement has been negotiated to deliver scheduled data free of charge to mobile phones. The cost was previously 25p plus your normal network charge - it's not clear whether the network charge still applies.

All of First’s Bristol urban network of services are real-time enabled - based on the actual position of the bus - plus those operating from Bristol to Thornbury and Chipping Sodbury. As part of the Greater Bristol Bus Network programme, further services will be real-time enabled including the X27.

So what you do is follow the instructions on the bus stop and send a text including the code on the poster. If it's real information, it will give you an expected arrival time e.g. “4 minutes”. If it's just information from the timetable it will be shown as something like “11:20”.

The new arrangement is expected to run for 2 years initially.

(N.B. Please tell us if you try it, expecting real-time, but don't get it. The 342 doesn't seem to be real-time at the moment - let us know what services you have problems with)

Graham Watson MEP signs up to prevent HGV blind spot deaths

Graham Watson MEP is supporting a European Parliament move to eliminate truck blind spots, which are responsible for 400 deaths on our roads every year.

As part of Brake’s national ‘See Me, Save Me’ campaign MEPs have signed the petition calling for safety rules to be enforced. New technology will allow drivers to fit reversing aids and new radar sensors to detect pedestrians and cyclists.

The campaign was started by the family of Eilidh Cairns who was killed cycling home from work.

It is estimated that 2000 cyclists are killed on EU roads every year and many of these deaths are caused by blind spots. 13,000 children were injured in road accidents in the UK alone last year.

 In Devon and Cornwall three people were killed by moving vehicles at work and 219 were seriously injured during 2007-2008. The campaign has the backing of Frances Reeves, whose husband, Bert, was killed by a reversing lorry at the skip waste site where he worked in Trowbridge. Mr Reeves was in a large blind spot in the lorry's mirrors when he was struck by the rear of the lorry and run over.

Research has shown that the proposed measures to reduce blind spot deaths will only cost about £300 per vehicle.

Graham commented:

‘I strongly support the ‘See Me, Save Me’ campaign and the work of my colleague Fiona Hall, who has been leading the petition in Brussels. Lorries account for 8% of EU traffic, but 30% of accidents, this is a travesty when you consider that these deaths are so preventable. As of this morning 233 MEPs signed the petition but we still need more for the campaign to be a success.’

Station campaigners celebrate cycle parking success

Following pressure for a range of different types of cycle storage at Yate Station, not simply lockable pods, draft proposals have been designed for new cycle parking facilities to meet the demand for cycle parking. There's a need for a mix of types, secure lock-ups for regular users with keys, and parking accessible for occasional cyclists.

There will now be a consultation which will include the Friends of Yate station, local members, the Town Council, and First Great Western. Hopefully once the proposal are agreed funding will be made available in the new financial year.

Cllr Sue Walker (Lib Dem, Yate Central) who chairs the Friends of Yate Station said, “This is something we’ve been fighting for for a long time. The cycle lockers have become a real eyesore and are desperately in need of a revamp, they certainly aren’t encouraging anyone to cycle to the station. Having seen improvements for cyclists at other stations in the area, I’m delighted that Yate is finally getting some attention.”

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh), also a member of Friends of Yate Station, said, “At a meeting last month I asked the Council’s Executive Member for Transport to look into different types of cycle storage, not just the lockable pods. Pods are great for people who regularly cycle to the station, but there also need to be stands that any cyclist can turn up and use. Now that draft plans have been drawn up, we’ve been promised that the Friends of Yate Station will have a chance to comment before things are finalised”

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Frome Vale Area Forum - this Thursday

The Frome Vale Area Forum meets on Thursday at 7pm in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Among other things, the Forum will be allocating money to highways schemes in the area and giving out grants to local groups.

Cardboard campaign success

Our Focus Team has been campaigning for an end to the cardboard chaos that has reigned since the new recycling collections were introduced. With cardboard banned from the green bins, residents have been complaining to us about cardboard being blown around the streets on windy days.

Now the Council has announced that they will be providing free recycling bags to store and present cardboard. They will be available to collect from collection points throughout South Gloucestershire, hopefully in the early summer.

Have your say on safety improvements on B4465, Westerleigh Road and Nibley Lane

After a long wait, you can now have your say on proposed safety improvements on some of our most dangerous local roads.

Local residents and your Focus Team have fought a long-running campaign for action to improve safety on the B4465 and Westerleigh Road. In 2008, Claire Young (pictured left with fellow councillor Sue Hope) presented a petition to South Gloucestershire Council signed by over 100 people. Claire has also been pushing for improvements on Nibley Lane.

Now the Council is proposing to lower the speed limit to 40mph from the Folly pub right through to the other side of Codrington and to 50mph from Codrington to the A46, just above the junction 18 of the M4. This is a change from previous proposals which would have seen 50mph limits at Henfield crossroads and between Westerleigh and Codrington. The speed limit on Nibley Lane will be reduced to 40mph. There are also changes to signing and road lining. You can view the detailed proposals and have your say on the South Glos website.

It’s just as important to comment if you support the proposals as if you object. Other people may object to things that you support and it’s important that the Transport Exec has the full picture when he makes his final decision. The deadline for comments is 21st March.

Delayed date for Scott Way crossing roadworks

South Glos have said that their contractor will now start in the week commencing Monday 7th March, and work will last for 2 to 3 weeks.

The southern part of Scott Way, Yate will be closed for much of this time for construction of the pedestrian crossing. Traffic heading for Hudson Close, Shackleton Avenue and Cabot Close will have to come into Shire Way from the Shopping Centre side.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Yate Common stream frothing at the mouth

Foaming at the mouth - photo by Pat Cotterell
The stream on Yate Common has been contaminated, it's become brown and frothy. This is quite sudden, as it was fine the previous day. The stream runs down to the River Frome.

Friends of Yate Common have informed Yate Town Council and South Glos, and asked them to investigate.

Exciting Developments at Woodlands Primary School

Parents, staff and Governors have been coming together to give overwhelmingly positive feedback to a potential joining for Woodlands Primary, with the Ridings Federation, specifically Yate International Academy. This will create an all through education for 4-19 year olds in the area.

Councillors Ruth Davis and Dafydd Holbrook, also governors at Woodlands Primary, have engaged with the Ridings Federation to gain assurances that any funding awarded to Woodlands Primary stays there.

Councillor Dafydd Holbrook said "This is a very exciting opportunity for the children and parents of south Yate, a welcome injection of extra money for the pupils of Woodlands Primary School, who will also benefit from the extra learning resources found within the soon to be built new facilities of Yate International Academy."

A final decision is set to be taken by the Governing Body of Woodlands Primary School in March.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Station Road resurfacing update

South Glos had planned to resurface the A432 in three phases over three weekends late last year. The two sections around the Stover Road junction were completed, but Network Rail have to allow the Council to work around their bridge structure and the live railway and it has proved difficult to arrange. Add in the December weather and the final phase has been delayed. It will hopefully be carried out early in the new finanical year. In the meantime, the Council will try to keep the road as safe as possible until more permanent repairs can be carried out.

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Steve Webb writes about the Welfare Reform Bill

Steve comments about the Bill and its proposals to radically alter our welfare system.

Road to Nowhere becomes a Casualty of mud

Photo by Pat Cotterell
As local people will know, the BBC TV series Casualty frequently film on the Road to Nowhere, the piece of dual carriageway that was half-built in the 1970s and then abandoned. In fact it's probably been the site of more "major accidents" than any other road in South Glos.

Casualty filmed there this winter, drove large waggons over the slope at the end of the Road to Nowhere, then complained about the muddy conditions. Not surprising! It's also made a mess of this popular walking and cycling route.

South Glos Council has however said that they will be putting down stone to stop it being so muddy - they get an income from the filming.

Yate Bus Station - not only wet, but also too small!!

A quick follow-up from the emergency meeting Lib Dem councillors called last Tuesday.

There is yet another major flaw in the bus station design. Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore commented "It is bad enough that the technical design teams involved have designed something that is useless as a bus shelter, but now we are being told the bus station is too small. It has no scope to take extra buses!"

"As residents and local councillors we demanded a meeting with reps from First Bus, South Glos, Dominion and Tesco. Rather than focus on which of them was responsible for this mess, we urged them to focus on finding a solution"

"Tesco and Dominion were committed to getting a solution quickly. South Glos unfortunately started talking about the fact a change would need planning consent, which would take 6 to 8 weeks. We sent them off to find a solution to cut through that bureaucracy. I have since spoken with the Director of Planning and Transportation to urge him to get the bureacracy sorted. We simply want Tesco/Dominion and South Glos Council experts to sit round a table and agree a solution. Tesco and Dominion were up for that, but it has been proving tricky to get SGC officials round a table"

"What we have demanded is a temporary solution whilst the bureacracy goes through - something that gives us protection from the wind and rain, lights that work, connection to cctv coverage - and bus times"

"The interactive bus signs should be here in April. We have warned SGC that if they end up putting in that expensive technology befgore they have got the basics right, like shelter from the rain THEY will have to account to the public. The public quite rightly want to be DRY as their first step"

"We have been getting terrible complaints from elderly folk drenched to the skin waiting for the bus"

"At the meeting we also persuaded South Glos to consult local coach firms about the traffic order that will ban them from the bus station - to find out the level of need, and find a slot on the town centre for them e.g. by the leisure centre. We asked why they could not use the bus station - and were told it is because all 5 bays are needed for buses, and that the bays are only just enough for CURRENT bus services. If we get any more buses (and we are trying to get a round Yate bus) there will be no room. So space cannot be given to the coach companies"

"Can you believe a council and developer designing a bus station barely big enough for current traffic, with no room for expansion? It is just incredible. How much are the highway experts paid to plan this?"

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The BIG Spring Clean 2011 - register your group now!

Volunteer groups and residents across South Gloucestershire are once again springing into action and cleaning up their neighbourhood or open spaces, helping to transform South Gloucestershire as part of National Big Tidy Up campaign. 

Everyone can join in the South Gloucestershire BIG Spring Clean Campaign 2010 which runs from 1 March – 30 April 2011. Friends, families, neighbours, Parish Councils, community and voluntary groups, church groups, schools and students, youth clubs, scouts and cadets, brownies and guides, and businesses are all taking action against litter! It is an ideal occasion for anyone who cares about their local environment to venture down to their local open space, woodland, river, park or public garden and take action. 

Free gloves, refuse sacks and skips are on offer to groups who organise a community BIG Spring Clean event.  The Council will also arrange to collect all the litter you pick up as long as it is bagged and pick up locations are agreed in advance. 

Click here to register your event on the South Glos website and to order gloves, sacks, skips etc

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Cardboard collection chaos - action on the way?

We wrote a few days ago about the problems caused by the new recycling arrangements, with lots of cardboard blowing around the streets before the collection lorry arrives.

It sounds like South Glos may be taking notice - they've said they are considering introducing free recycling bags for cardboard for residents who are having problems.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Bristol - Yate - Chipping Sodbury bus fares up, changes to services

Local First Bus fares to Bristol are rising by up to 20p, at the same time as changes are being made to timetables - some reroutings, some reductions in frequency, a few extra journeys.

One of the routes affected is the Showcase X42 route. This route is supported by extra funding for things like the new bus shelters and bus lanes to encourage bus use, but the changes are being brought in without discussion with South Glos.

Cllr Claire Young (Lib Dem, Westerleigh) said: "All these changes are being made without any agreement with the council. Cllr Pat Hockey has urged the executive member to remind the new managing director of First that this is a Showcase bus route. The government allocated a lot of money to these Showcase routes on the understanding that the bus company would be working in partnership to increase the number of passengers"

All our local bus timetables can be found on the South Glos Council website here

First Bus advise you to check the new timetables before travelling, and say:

Services 327/329 Bristol – Yate
To improve the punctuality of these services some running times and the following
departure times have been amended.
The Monday – Friday journeys from Bristol, Bus Station to Yate, Shopping Centre which
currently depart at 0840 and 1645 will now depart at 0830 and 1650 respectively.
The Monday – Friday journeys from Yate, Shopping Centre to Bristol, Bus Station which
currently depart at 0825 and 1745 will now depart at 0830 and 1750 respectively.

Services 342/X42 Bristol – Chipping Sodbury
To improve punctuality and reliability of these services we have made a number of
changes to both departure times and journey times. We have also added a number of extra journeys following passenger requests and re-numbered some Service X42 journeys as Service 342 to provide additional opportunities to get to Downend and Fishponds.
The following are additional journeys:
Service X42, Monday to Friday at 0830 from Chipping Sodbury, Wickham Close to
Bristol, Bus Station.
Service 342, Monday to Saturday at 2115, and Saturday at 1837 from Chipping
Sodbury,Wickwar Road to Bristol, Bus Station.
The 0914 Monday to Friday journey on Service X42 from Chipping Sodbury, Wickwar
Road to Bristol, Bus Station is re-numbered Service 342 and re-timed to depart earlier at
0907. The arrival time at Bristol, Bus Station will be at 1013, three minutes later than the
present arrival time of 1010.
The 1850 Monday to Friday journey on Service X42 from Bristol, Bus Station to Chipping
Sodbury,Wickwar Road is re-numbered Service 342.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Yate bus station - signs of progress

Some progress was made at last week's emergency meeting about the woeful new Yate bus station. We hope that Tesco are going to put in a temporary solution, and South Glos are trying to cut through the red tape associated with a planning application for a permanent solution.

Meanwhile, looking at the current design, and remembering that a camel is a horse designed by a committee...
  • If it's got one hump it's a dromedary
  • If it's got two humps it's a camel
  • As it's got three humps, we'll call the bus station Humphrey!

Friday, 11 February 2011

Three-year-old in collision with lorry, Yate

A three-year-old boy has been seriously injured in a collision with a lorry near Morrisons, Yate this afternoon.

The Gazette has more details here

Update Mon 14 Feb - the Gazette reports that the boy is expected to make a full recovery. Police are asking anyone with any information about the accident to call them on 0845 456 7000.

For other local road safety stories, please click here

Reminder and update - Scott Way, Yate to be closed from next Monday (14 Feb)

Just a reminder that the southern part of Scott Way, Yate will be closed for up to ten days from Monday for construction of the pedestrian crossing. Traffic heading for Hudson Close, Shackleton Avenue and Cabot Close will have to come into Shire Way from the Shopping Centre side.

Following that, from 7 March there will be two way temporary traffic signals for a period while the work is completed. Officially they may be in place until 2 April, but we're guessing that work will be finished before then.

The work has been delayed - please see here for a further update 

National ID card register data destroyed

The intrusive National ID Card register was laid to rest today as the hard drives containing a mass of personal data were fed into an industrial shredder.

The ID card system was officially stopped a few months ago, but the government ordered the equipment holding the data to be physically destroyed.

The remains of the hard drives will now be incinerated.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I have always called in the strongest terms for the national identity register to be scrapped, and it was one of the first things the coalition pledged to do"

More details on the ID card story from the BBC here

Lib Dems welcome government-funded Council tax freeze

South Gloucestershire Lib Dems have welcomed government funding for a council tax freeze. The funding, equivalent to a 2.5% rise in Council Tax, is being provided to Councils who freeze Council Tax, to help them meet demand for services without having to pass the burden on to local people.

Cllr Ruth Davis, Leader of the Lib Dems on South Gloucestershire Council, said, “The Lib Dems will not support any increase in South Gloucestershire's Council Tax for residents in the coming year. In these tough economic times it would be daft to turn down the extra government funding and instead place the burden on local people. Cutting waste and bureaucracy must be the priority for savings not cuts to youth services or rural bus routes. The Lib Dem group will fight to protect frontline services such as libraries, street cleaning and services for the vulnerable and elderly, which may be under threat in a number of the Conservative administration's service reviews and proposed budget. We offer an honest commitment of working closely with you to allow you to make real choices for your communities.”

Thornbury and Yate MP and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said, "In these difficult times, my colleagues in Government have set aside an extra £650 million to help local authorities in England freeze their council tax this year."

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fight to stop axing of Tetbury Yate to Bath Bus

Gloucestershire County Council are planning to axe a vital bus, without consulting anyone in the parishes affected in Cotswold Edge, Yate and surrounding areas.

The 620/629 bus links Tetbury, the A46 villages to Yate - so people can get to the station, health facilities and to buses to Bristol - and then links Yate to Bath - so commuters can get to Bath to work.
But now Gloucestershire is planning to axe it. They have consulted BANES Council, i.e. Bath - but have not bothered to even TELL parishes along the route what they are doing.

Chris Willmore, from Yate Town Council found out by chance."I happened to be at a transport meeting, when it was mentioned. We have asked South Glos Council to protest as strongly as possible and need all the parishes along the route to write as quickly as possible to Gloucestershire County Council, South Glos and BANES objecting. This is too important a route to be axed. We fought for it before, and saved it. We need to do it again."

"I know people in Yate who work in Bath for whom this bus is vital."

Cllr Sue Hope is campaigning on behalf of communities along the A46 affected by this cut.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Better promotion needed for young people’s travel card

Councillors who campaigned for a discount travel card for young people have criticised Tory-run South Gloucestershire Council for its handling of the new scheme.

At a recent meeting of the Council’s select committee responsible for transport, Lib Dem councillors said the scheme needed to be promoted better, both to bus drivers and young people.

Cllr Mike Thomas said, “People have complained to me that drivers do not recognise the cards, which is completely unacceptable. It’s about time we made this clear to providers.”

Cllr Claire Young said, “A young person visiting the Council’s website to find out more is likely to find it difficult to navigate to the right information. When they do get there, it is written in very unfriendly language. People of any age would more quickly understand what is meant by a ‘discount travel card’ than ‘concessionary travel’.”

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Ian Blair, the Lib Dem spokesperson for Young People, said, “There is a clear lack of co-ordination between the Cabinet Member responsible for transport and the one responsible for young people and it is hampering the promotion of this very important scheme. It is outrageous that 10 months into the project problems that should have been picked up in the pilots have still not been resolved.”

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Summit meeting to be held on "complete mess" new Yate bus station

If you've travelled into Yate on the bus recently, you will know what a mess the new bus station is. Your Focus Team is fighting to get it sorted. Lib Dem Councillors have called a meeting tonight of everyone involved in the fiasco.

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore explained the aim was to get a commitment from all the key parties to put a solution in place as soon as possible. "As residents, as soon as we saw it, we knew someone had dropped a serious clanger. It is completely useless, it will not shelter anyone, is not lit, has no seats elderly or disabled people could use, only a few benches, has no timetables, has no sides and no shelter, the bus station layout is awful  - need I go on? They have banned coaches and community transport from using it as well, and finally it is too small so buses sometimes cannot even get into a bay."

She added, " At this stage, I want to get everyone together and find a conclusion. The time for working out who is to blame comes later, right now, passengers need solutions not inquests."

At a Transport Forum in Thornbury last night Chris and the Yate campaigners won the first step in trying to get a solution when South Gloucestershire Council accepted the new bus station in Yate is a complete mess and promised to send senior officers to the summit. Tesco, who funded all the works have agreed to come.

Even First Bus has offered to attend. "First Bus has offered to come to the meeting - things are that bad. They have assessed the bus station too and have identified issues."

The campaign to get a solution has now received support from as far away as the Regional Passenger Focus HQ in Plymouth: who offered to get involved. But Chris commented, "I hope common sense prevails this week. The current bus station  is so obviously useless."

Friday, 4 February 2011

Scott Way to be closed for up to ten days from Monday 14 February

The southern part of Scott Way, Yate will be closed for up to ten days for construction of a pedestrian crossing, long campaigned for by local parents whose children cross Scott Way on their journey to school.

The crossing will be where the island is now, level with the corner of Kingsgate Park.

Traffic heading for Hudson Close, Shackleton Avenue and Cabot Close will have to come into Shire Way from the Shopping Centre side.

The work has been delayed - please see here for an update

Hope for safety improvements on Dodington Road

In November, Claire Young met the Council's Executive Member responsible for transport and Highways officers at the railway bridge on Dodington Road to discuss possible safety improvements. Officers suggested a £10,000 package of new road signs, white lining and a stone and dust path to take pedestrians from where the path currently ends to a safer crossing point with greater visibility. Existing edge line markings have already been reinstated and a “SLOW” marking added and the temporary interactive speed sign returned to monitor speeding traffic. Budget funding is very uncertain at present, and the Exec Member made it clear that more drastic measures such as straightening the road will not be possible, but Claire asked him to give these more modest measures a high priority when he's deciding how to allocate next year's funding.

Have your say on changes to planning blueprint

We reported back in December that South Glos Council  had approved the Core Strategy and that there would be a short informal consultation on the changes made. You can make any comments you have - on the changes only - on the Council's website. You have until 18th February to have your say.

Cardboard chaos - let's get it sorted

Dave Hockey, the Lib Dem waste spokesperson, with some loose cardboard recycling
Your Focus team has been pushing for a better way of collecting cardboard for recycling.

When the Council stopped you putting cardboard in your green bin in November, they said at first that cardboard had to be put inside a larger cardboard box or placed under a bin. When people complained, they told those people they could also use their own plastic box or a strong bag, such as a "bag for life". Unfortunately they didn't tell everyone.

 Cardboard is very light and blows away easily if it is not secured in some way. On one recent windy collection day, Claire Young and a neighbour ended up chasing someone's cardboard along the street, trying to gather it up and sort out the mess.

Dave Hockey, who led the Lib Dem campaign for plastic bottle and weekly food waste collections, said, “At meeting after meeting, we told the Tory administration that the new arrangements for cardboard were flawed. Local people want to be able to put out their cardboard and know that it won’t end up strewn along their road and in their neighbours’ gardens. This problem needs to be sorted, and quickly. All residents need to be told what is happening, not just those who have complained to the Council.”

Bright ideas for the half term holiday!

A selection of events for young people during the half term...


Crafty fun with the Ancient Egyptians

Tuesday 22 February, 10.30am to 12pm. Free drop-in event, suitable for children aged four to 11. Further information from the library service on 01454 868006.


Traditional Textile Craft Workshops 

Children between 5 and 12 are invited to create their own objects using traditional methods. Wednesday, February 23, 2011 all day

"Arise Sir Knight" workshops

Make your own Medieval helmet and pennant and design your own Coat of Arms.
Thursday, February 24, 2011, 10:30 am until 12.00 noon

For more details contact the Heritage Centre tel: 01454 862200


Courses cover Bikeability levels one, two and three, designed to give beginners and improvers the skills needed to take to their bikes with confidence.

Chipping Sodbury Secondary School, Bowling Road, BS35 1HT

  • Level 1 – Tue 22nd 9.30am – 12.00 midday
  • Level 2 – Tue 22nd, Wed 23rd, Thurs 24th – 1.00pm – 3.30pm
  • Level 3 - Tue 22nd, Wed 23rd, Thurs 24th – 9.30am – 12.00 midday
  • To book a place call Martina Byrne-Obee on 01454 868449 or email
For further details please download the February Half Term Cycling Training flyer available here

Bikeability courses in South Gloucestershire are currently funded through Greater Bristol's Cycling City project. To find out more about cycling courses for children visit:

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Another step towards getting rid of cheques

A while ago the banks announced that they wanted to phase out cheques in 2018. What is less well known is that we won't be able to use banks cards to guarantee cheques after the end of June this year.

Cheques are still widely used by older people, small tradesmen by local organisations that require clear financial controls – clubs, small charities and local councils. As recently as 2008, cheques were used six times more frequently than online payments.

The proposed phasing out of cheques in 2018 is squarely based on the costs to the banks, not on any consideration of customers’ needs. Stopping the cheque guarantee card facility in 2011 appears to be a deliberate move to make cheques less attractive to use by transferring risk from banks to customers, so accelerating the decline of cheque use.

The obvious paper-based alternative to a cheque is the postal order. However these are very costly – from £10 upwards the fee is 10% of face value, capped at £10, and they are only available up to a value of £250. They are also much more inconvenient to use because they require a visit to the post office (another facility that is in decline) to purchase them.

Even if the banks do not suggest postal orders as a viable alternative, there must be a concern that that postal orders will set the benchmark for the fees banks would levy for their own alternative.
We're campaigning against a change that is principally for the benefit of the banks, and works against the interests of millions of people and the community organisations they support.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Work on temporary Tesco going well

If you've been  to Yate Shopping Centre recently you will have noticed the rapid progress on the temporary Tesco store next to the toilets on East Walk. It should be finished in time for the main store to close on Sunday February 27, with the temporary store opening on Monday February 28.

The old store, which dates from 1975, will then be demolished and the new Tesco Extra superstore will be built on the same site, opening by Christmas.

The Gazette has more details of the Tesco rebuild here.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Yate youth clubs saved from funding axe

Local councillors have welcomed the news that South Gloucestershire Council has pulled back from major cuts to youth services in Yate. Youth clubs had been told that funding to St Nicholas Youth Centre at Abbotswood would be cut by 65%, together with significant cuts to Brimsham Green Youth Centre.

After concerted lobbying from local councillors South Gloucestershire has now guaranteed funding for another year.

Dodington Parish Councillor Paul Hulbert said “South Glos seemed to think that because the Youth Café will be open in a few months time, local services could automatically be scaled back. The Youth Café was never a replacement for existing youth clubs, all along it was intended as an exciting new facility for our young people”

“As a councillor for a ward with one of the highest proportions of young people in South Glos, I was appalled at the prospect of St Nicks being cut to just a couple of ‘pool and pop nights’. Without adequate funding there is no way that local youth work can be developed and improved to tackle existing problems in Abbotswood and the surrounding area”

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore said “I am relieved that proposals to cut funding to St Nicks and Brimsham have been dropped from the Conservatives’ draft Budget"

"All the groups providing youth services in Yate have been working together, and as chair of the Youth Cafe Project I am delighted that funding has been continued for St Nicholas for another year. When we heard it was under threat, all our local councils united to support the project”

South Gloucestershire Councillor Ruth Davis (Lib Dem, Yate Central) said "This is an excellent result for Yate.  It means that the new youth cafe can be opened based on what the new users want rather than be expected to cover evening sessions that were previously covered by Brimsham and St Nicholas Youth Clubs”.

“It's really important that young residents decide what they would like provided, and when, for all three centres to be successful”

South Gloucestershire Council has said that funding for local youth centres will now be reviewed again after the Youth Café has been open for a year.