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."