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.