Saturday, 22 December 2012

Christmas recycling collections

Share the gift of time

Some older people feel lonely and isolated or need help to get out and about. South Glos Council has funded 5 organisations to help support older people.

You can find out more on the Precious Time website. There's information for residents, potential volunteers and organisations, stories about some of the amazing work already going on and a section where you can pledge an action.

There is also a "Being a Welcoming Organisation" toolkit to help groups welcome and involve older people.

 If you would like more information on volunteering or are in need of support, email or call 01454 862356.

Friday, 21 December 2012

Nominations open for community awards

Do you know someone whose work in your community deserves to be recognised? If so, you have until 22nd February to nominate them for a South Gloucestershire Chair's Community Awards. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Magic your old carpets away - courtesy of South Glos

At the moment around 1600 tonnes of carpets and underlay at Sort It!* Centres has been going gone to landfill each year because there hasn't been a way to do recycle it .

From 14 January however there will be a new carpet recycling service at each of the four Sort It!* Centres at Yate, Mangotsfield, Stoke Gifford and Thornbury, with clearly signed containers.

Collected carpets will be taken away and shredded to use as a sustainable alternative to coal in cement kilns. Even better, there is no waste from this process as the ash is then used as an ingredient in manufacturing the cement. Clever!

Technology is being developed to separate recyclable fibres optically and extract the polypropylene content of the carpets and convert this into a plastic pellet to sell back to the plastic manufacturing industry. 

Duvets, pillows, cushions and cushions from soft furnishings will also be accepted in with the carpets, potentially increasing recycling rates even more. 

The new system should achieve a reduction of 222 tonnes of CO2 each year. Well done South Glos!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Have your say on Police and Crime Plans

For the first time ever there will be a Police & Crime Plan for each of the six policing districts of Avon and Somerset. The views of residents, community groups, businesses and victims of crime are being sought to make sure that the Police and Crime Commissioner and the police are concentrating on the things that matter to local people.

The Police and Crime Plan for Avon and Somerset and the six policing districts of Bristol, North Somerset, Somerset West, Somerset East and South Gloucestershire will set out the vision, aims and objectives for the new PCC Sue Mountstevens' term in office.

You can have your say online or you can call the Commissioner's office on 01275 816377 or email for a hard copy of the survey.

Help stop spread of ash disease

South Gloucestershire Council is asking local people to report sightings of a fungal disease killing local ash treea in order to prevent it spreading further.

Ash die back originated in Europe and has spread into the UK, including parts of South Gloucestershire. Symptoms of the disease include leaf death, with dead leaves typically hanging on the tree. This is followed by death of the tree’s branches.

As well as reporting suspect sightings, if you have an affected tree on your land it needs to be burnt on site to destroy spores that spread the disease. You can find more information on the council's website. Trees on private land are the responsibility of the landowner, and the council website includes advice on choosing a tree surgeon for people who may need to deal with affected trees.

Members of the public can report suspected sightings of the disease by telephoning 01454 868000 or emailing the team at .

Mental health news

The Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust is asking people who care for someone who uses their services to complete their latest survey. These surveys are conducted twice a year to help the Trust track the experience of carers and assess whether the improvements they are making are effective. You can complete the survey online.

South Glos Council is currently looking for groups and organisations to bid for funding to support initiatives that will involve and benefit people with mental health problems. They are particularly keen to hear from organisations that would not necessarily see themselves as "Mental Health" organisations but may have interesting ideas. Ideas put forward by people with mental health difficulties include a Friday night supper club, a choir, a drama group, radio project, photo exhibition, steam train enthusiasts and various sporting ideas. For more information email but hurry - expressions of interest have to be in by 8 am on Monday 21st January 2013.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Merry Christmas from the Focus Team!

Could you help older people get cooking?

Let's Get Cooking for Older People is a new national project funded by the Health Lottery targeting people over 55. It aims to reduce isolation, increase confidence and independence, help people cook for themselves more often and provide information on healthy eating.

Now they are looking for volunteers to help set up two Cooking Clubs in South Gloucestershire. An information session is being held on January 16th and training will take place in February over 2 days.

You can find out more at Let's Get Cooking's website or there is a flyer on the South Glos website.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Chipping Sodbury Christmas events

It's Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day today (Friday 7 December) running through until 9.30 pm - see the Chipping Sodbury Lions website for details. Well worth going to - all sorts of stalls, entertainments, music. Shops will be open, with many shopkeepers in Victorian dress.

And did we mention the camel? The Living Crib and Lantern Procession will come along the High Street to St John’s Church at 5.30pm with a parade of nativity animals including Joseph the Camel.

Tomorrow (Saturday 8 December) is Chipping Sodbury Christmas Market, organised by the Sodbury Chamber of Commerce - click here for details of the market

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Getting it right for people with learning difficulties

The South Gloucestershire LINk has recently produced a DVD: GPs are there to listen to us. Getting it right for People with Learning Difficulties.

They sent postal surveys and had face to face conversations with people with learning difficulties about their experiences of using their GP services. You can view the DVD on You Tube or via their website.

Progress on Westerleigh traffic calming plans

The next stage in plans to introduce traffic calming to Westerleigh village are up for consultation.

Earlier in the year, South Glos asked local people for their views on proposals to reduce the speed of traffic on Shorthill Road and Westerleigh Road. Based on the comments made, officers have been drawing up plans to extend the 30mph limit, put in a raised speed table by the village hall and create road narrowings at the entrances to the village. The first two of these require Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) and the council has just published the Statutory Notice, part of the formal legal process it has to go through. You can view the notices and make comments via the following links:

Monday, 3 December 2012

Wind turbine proposed near Wayleaze, Codrington Road

A planning application has been submitted for a wind turbine behind the White House on the B4465 near Wayleaze, Codrington Road, Wapley. You can find out more and make comments online.

Well done Network Rail - line open again ahead of schedule

Congratulations to Network Rail on completing repairs to the landslip at Westerleigh Junction ahead of time. Their staff worked day and night to complete the work so that rail sevices can resume.

You can read the BBC report here.

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning 6th December

Nibley Lane is expected to close for cleaning between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Thursday 6th December.

Friday, 16 November 2012

A good day for Independents

Congratulations to Sue Mountstevens on becoming the first Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset - a tough job, and the public are going to have high expectations of her.

Also congratulations to George Ferguson, the newly elected Mayor for Bristol. He will have some hard decisions to make in the next few weeks about budget cuts.

We wish them both well and hope that they will be able to work effectively with local communities for the good of the whole region.

Yate by-election result: Lib Dem Focus get more than 60 percent of vote

Margaret Marshall has been elected as the new councillor for the South East Ward of Yate Town Council, replacing the late Cllr Arthur Adams.

Margaret gained nearly two thirds of the vote. Full results were as follows:

Margaret Marshall (Lib Dem Focus) 386 votes (63.9%) ELECTED
Mike McGrath (Labour) 94 votes (15.6%)
Fred Watts (Conservative) 78 votes (12.9%)
Michael Dollin (Independent) 46 votes (7.6%)
Turnout: 19.1%

Result last time (May 2011): Lib Dem 74 % Con 26%
Lib Dems maintain 100% of Town Council seats.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Election day - double for some

Just a reminder that today is election day for the Police and Crime Commissioner post. 

Please support Pete Levy, Lib Dem Focus Team candidate for the new Commissioner role.
Pete Levy

If you live in the Yate South East ward, there's also a by-election for the vacancy on Yate Town Council. Please vote for Lib Dem Focus Team candidate Margaret Marshall. 

These elections are important - please use your vote!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

It's your town - make your voice heard!

If you have an opinion on what works and what could be improved in our town, Yate and Dodington Priority Neighbourhood Steering Group want to hear from you.
  • Does there need to be more for younger people to do?
  • What about more opportunities for improving employment prospects or health?
  • What one thing would make the biggest difference?
  • What works well now that there should be more of?
Drop in to Yate Library between 10.30am – 12.30pm and 4.00pm – 6.30pm on Thursday 15th November and have a quick chat with the team.

Free mince pie and hot drink – plus everyone who comes along to talk will get entered into a Merlin Housing Society sponsored draw to win a JD bug scooter or £100 of shopping vouchers .

If you can’t make it but want to be involved or get more information contact the team on 01454 864625 or email

An extra election for some parts of Yate

Margaret Marshall and Steve Webb campaigning
Margaret Marshall and
Steve Webb campaigning
at the weekend
If you live in the Yate South East ward, which stretches from Elswick Park to the Common, and from Yate Shops to just north of Abbotswood, you have an election for a vacancy on Yate Town Council caused by the sad death of Cllr Arthur Adams.

Lib Dem Focus Team candidate Margaret Marshall is a former town councillor - she stood down a while ago to look after her elderly mother, who has since passed away. Margaret is an experienced campaigner and a key member of the Focus Team.

Focus has a record of not only keeping but also improving our local services - look at imaginative projects like the Armadillo youth cafe, for example. Most recently the Common has been declared a Field in Trust so that it can never be built on.

If you live in this ward, please VOTE MARGARET MARSHALL on Thursday.

Monday, 12 November 2012

It's Police and Crime Commissioner election week!

Pete Levy is the Lib Dem
candidate for the Police and
Crime Commissioner role
The whole of our area has an election on Thursday for the new post of Police and Crime Commissioner.

The new Commissioner will cover the whole of the Avon and Somerset police area, so it's going to be an important job.

A lot of people are asking what the PCC will do, so here are a few key points:

What are the objectives for the new Commissioner?

The PCC is supposed to bring a public voice to policing and hold our police force to account for delivering the kind of policing you want to see. Their aim will be to cut crime and to ensure your police force is effective.

What will the PCC actually do?
  • engaging with the public and victims of crime to help set police and crime plans
  • ensuring the police force budget is spent where it matters most
  • appointing, and where necessary dismissing, the chief constable.
So this is a key appointment. If we elect the wrong candidate, we could find our local police services cut drastically.

What are our choices?

Lib Dem candidate Pete Levy has served in both the civilian and military police and has been a member of the Police Authority for several years, so he's got lots of relevant experience. He has pledged to keep police services rather than cut them - you can read all about his proposals on his blog.

You get two votes, a first and a second preference, so naturally we suggest that you give Pete Levy your first preference vote.

There are three other choices - Conservative, Labour and Independent. You can read about the various candidates here - but there's one key difference between them. The Conservative candidate has a record of cutting funding for police services - in Somerset he chopped the council funding for PCSOs, the Police Community Support Officers who provide much of our local police front line. So please don't even give the Conservatives your second preference.


Friday, 9 November 2012

Water supply problems in Yate and Chipping Sodbury

Many properties in the area are suffering low water pressure or even have no water at all following a burst major water main near the B&Q roundabout in Yate.

Bristol Water have been switching supplies around to be people's water back on. They worked through the night to get the main repaired, but low pressure and interuptions of water supply may continue for a while until they get the system back to normal.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Could YOU help link Yate to the National Cycle Network?

Work is under way on the section of cycle path from Westerleigh to the M4 bridge (the part from Yate to Westerleigh will follow afterwards). Volunteers are needed to work one day a week to help prepare, lay and construct the dust path, assisting South Gloucestershire council's Streetcare team of contractors.

The work parties are every Sunday, with the next one being held this Sunday 11th November from 9am until 4pm. If you can't attend for the whole day, the volunteers would be very grateful for whatever time you can spare - be it just for a couple of hours or maybe a morning or afternoon shift. You would be made most welcome.

Thanks to those volunteers who have already given their time to the project and helped lay the first 150 yards of path. Phase 1, Pucklechurch Coxgrove Hill to the M4 bridge, was a great success and was enjoyed by all the volunteers who took part, and it's hoped to replicate this success for Phase 2.

Work includes spreading and laying path dust surface prior to rolling. Some rubbish clearance of the path is also needed.

It's moderately hard work, but fun and very rewarding. You will be helping to build a fantastic local community resource for the future.

If you would like to join this cheerful band of volunteers, please call Matt Skidmore on 07553 052183, or email him on for more details.

The rendezvous point for workers to meet in the morning is the level crossing next to the Network Rail depot off Westerleigh Road, via Murco Oil Depot entrance. For more detailed directions please contact Matt on the number above.

Work will be between the hours of 0900 until 1600hrs. You will be made most welcome and your services would be put to good use to further this exciting local project. Please wear sturdy workwear boots and old clothes/overalls.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Clearing leaf fall

From Monday 5th November, South Glos Council's Street Care team will be concentrating on clearing leaf fall rather than routine street sweeping. Initially this will be for a period of four weeks, but it depends on the weather. The mechanical footway sweepers will continue to sweep the town centres, but no other routine sweeping will be done. You can report areas with heavy accumulations of leaf fall by:

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Have your say on council's parking enforcement policy

In 2007 South Gloucestershire Council introduced decriminalised parking enforcement. This means that for certain offences, council officers rather than the police enforce the law. Since then the Department for Transport have introduced a number of new powers, including some which the council can choose whether or not to take up. At the same time, the council has been developing its own "custom and practice". All these are now being brought together in a comprehensive parking enforcement policy.

You can read the proposed policy and make comments on the Council's website. The deadline for comments is 14 December 2012.

Small grants - apply now

If you are a local voluntary or community group in need of a small grant, now is the time to get your applications in. You can apply for up to £3,000 from South Glos's Small Revenue Grants - do it now on the council’s website. The closing date is 26 November 2012 and if you need help you can call the Grants Helpline on 01454-865865 for an informal chat. The decision on how much to award each group will be made by local councillors at the spring Frome Vale Area Forum.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Day care services - give your views

You have until Sunday 28th October to tell South Glos Council what you think day services in South Gloucestershire should look like in the future. You can fill in the survey online.

Badminton Road overnight closure 26/27 October

The A432 Badminton Road will be closed at the railway viaduct from midnight to 6am on 26th October 2012. Pedestrians will be escorted through the site when it is safe to do so.

Yate Bus Station update - good news and bad news

Good news: There's some progress on reducing the draughtiness of the bus station shelter - the "baffle boards" should be fitted to the bottom of the timetable and Real Time Information boards.

Bad news: South Glos have got a quote for a second shelter but say they haven't got any money for it. They say that if Yate Town Council want another shelter they'll have to fund it themsleves (even though it was South Glos that decided to install a smaller shelter than had been agreed)

Monday, 22 October 2012

First Bus abandons North Yate in the evening

As one of our readers has pointed out, the First Bus changes mean that there will no longer be an evening service from Bristol to North Yate - just in time for the cold dark evenings!

Yate Town Council are on the case - Ian Blair raised this at the council meeting last week and they have complained to South Glos for precisely this reason.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Changes to First Bus services

With effect from 4th November there are some changes to First services affecting our area. Passengers are advised to check timetables before travelling - new timetables should be uploaded on the South Glos Council bus timetable page shortly.

Service 327 (Bristol - Yate)
  • Monday to Saturday there will two additional journeys at 20:50 and 22:50 from Bristol to Yate.
  • Monday to Saturday there will be an additional and later last journey at 2140 from Yate to Bristol.
Service 329 (Bristol - Yate)
  • The Monday to Saturday evening Service 329 will be withdrawn.
  • The Sunday and Public Holiday daytime journeys operated by another operator will continue to operate.
  • The following Monday to Saturday evening journeys will be withdrawn:
       20:50 Bristol, Bus Station to Yate, Shopping Centre
       22:45 Bristol, Colston Street to Yate, Shopping Centre
       21:37 Yate, Shopping Centre to Bristol, Bus Station
       23:37 Yate, Shopping Centre to Bristol, Colston Street
  • Please see changes to Service 327 and Service 342 for details of alternative journeys.  
Service 342/X42 (Bristol – Chipping Sodbury)
  • Monday to Saturday there will be an additional Service 342 journey at 22:30 from Bristol to Chipping Sodbury. This additional journey will mean that there is now an hourly service from Bristol to Chipping Sodbury throughout the evening.
  • The Monday to Saturday 22:17 Service 342 from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol, Colston Street will terminate at Bristol, Bus Station and re-timed to depart at 22:30.
  • Monday to Saturday 23:15 Service 342 from Bristol, Colston Street to Chipping Sodbury will start from Bristol, Bus Station at 23:30.
  • Monday to Friday 05:50 Service 342 journey from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol will be brought forward to 05:40.

Need some careers advice or help choosing a university course?

Need advice? Visit Ambitions 2012 at UWE and talk to an expert.

The event takes place over two days on 23 and 24 October at the University of the West of England Exhibition and Conference Centre. Featuring more than 100 local and regional organisations, including employers, universities, colleges, training providers and volunteering organisations, this is a great opportunity for all 13 to 19 year-olds to kick-start their future career.

More details available here

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Want a job? Aged 16 to 18? This training could be just what you need!

KTS Training is starting an exciting, brand new 'I Just Want a Job' course at the Ridgewood centre in Yate.

It is aimed at young people aged between 16- 18 who are not currently in employment, training or education and will give them the opportunity to achieve a qualification and enhance their employability skills.

The eight week intensive programme will cover employability skills including mock interviews, CV work and help and expertise in job applications.

The full range of subjects the learners will study on the programme includes first aid, customer service skills, target setting, CV and Cover letter work, numeracy skills at work, mock interviews and techniques, work standards, rights and responsibilities in the work place and team work.

The portfolio driven work that learners will complete will result in an Employability qualification at Level 1 and learners will be matched to a 2 week work placement at the end of their programme and will be provided with interview clothes completely free of charge.

Places are limited to 10 initially and they are recruiting now so contact 07722994238 or email

Thursday, 27 September 2012

North Yate development news

Nearly 40 residents attended a workshop yesterday in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall to discuss the development principles - building style, traffic measures etc - for the big North Yate development that is included in the South Glos Core Strategy.

Planning officers and developer representatives also attended, and they seemed to be listening to what residents told them. Perhaps we can have some influence on these smaller matters, even if the development is now likely to go ahead, judging by the Planning Inspector's preliminary response to the Core Strategy.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Badminton Road surface repairs

Many residents are concerned about the state of Badminton Road through Coalpit Heath, a major commuting route from our area. Not only is the uneven surface dangerous, it also increases the noise of passing lorries. Claire Young has met officers on site several times to discuss residents' concerns.

In August, officers carried out a “walk through” of Badminton Road. They have highlighted three areas of priority:
  • Priority 1 – Area on dual carriageway section heading towards the A4174.
  • Priority 2 – Area from Frog Lane to Woodside Road.
  • Priority 3 – Sporadic areas through Coalpit Heath including the section from Beesmoor Road to the viaduct.
They do not believe they will be able to get all three priorities completed in this financial year, although they can not be sure of the exact costs at this stage. They have already been tackling priority 1.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Nibley Road closed Wed 26 September

Nibley Lane, a popular local cut-through, will be closed to traffic for deep cleaning on Wednesday 26th September. The length from Badminton Road to Westerleigh Road is expected to be closed from 9.30 am until 2.30 pm.

Safer Streets with Pete Levy

Former Police Officer and Bristol City Councillor Pete Levy has launched his campaign to become the first elected Police Commissioner for Bristol, Avon and Somerset.

Pete is a leading member of the Police Authority and is a former Police and Military Police Officer. He will use this experience to deliver safer streets here in South Gloucestershire. His priorities include:
  • Protecting frontline police services
  • Effective community sentencing that cuts reoffending and delivers a benefit for local people
  • Better support for victims of crime
You can find out more about Pete on his website.

His main opponent is the former Conservative Leader of Somerset County Council. Somerset councillor Sam Crabb said, “Our police are too important to put in the hands of a man who cut funding for Police Community Support Officers and who tried to close vital local services like libraries.”

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Yate Recycling Centre to reopen tomorrow (Mon)

SITA have just tweeted:  "We’re pleased to advise that the Yate recycling centre in South Glos will be open on Mon 24 Sep (8am - 6.30pm). Normal service resumed"

Beech Hill Farm tipping approved

Planning permission has been granted to Churngold for importing clay, subsoil and topsoil on the site at Beech Hill Farm, Westerleigh Road (known locally as "the place that sells the fireworks")

However there are quite a few conditions. They have to complete tipping within two years from starting, and then plant the area within the following three months. Nothing except uncontaminated excavated natural materials can be deposited on the site.

Hours of work are limited to 08.00 - 18.00 hours, Monday to Friday and 08.00 - 13.00 hours on Saturdays. Wheel washing facilities and on site turning areas have to be provided, and heavy goods vehicles have to turn left into the site and turn left out of the site to reduce traffic problems.

Full details are on the South Glos website under Planning Reference PT11/0339/MW - click on the Documents tab and look for Decision Notice at the bottom.

Westerleigh Road surface repairs

The state of Westerleigh Road between Wot Not and the Shire Way roundabout has been a growing concern for local people - it's a nightmare for cyclists in particular.

South Glos has told us that patching is to take place late September/early October from Nibley Lane to The Old Parsonage. This is to rectify the two trenches that are causing significant problems.

In addition to this Westerleigh Road, from Shire Way right through to the Kidney Hill junction, has been added to a surface dressing programme which will be carried out in the summer of 2014. In order for this to take place they will have to first carry out extensive patching work in the following locations:
  • Shire Way to Nibley Lane
  • Junction with Besom Lane
  • Southbound lane through Westerleigh village (Besom Lane to the triangle).
  • Triangle to Broad Lane junction
This work will be carried out in the 2013/14 financial year.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

NEWS FLASH - Yate Recycling Centre closed until further notice

South Glos Council has announced that the SITA Recycling Centre at Collett Road will be closed until further notice.

No details have been given but we imagine it's connected to a Post report of a major rubbish fire in nearby Dean Road early this morning.

Update from SITA 23/09/2012: "We’re pleased to advise that the Yate recycling centre in South Glos will be open on Mon 24 Sep (8am - 6.30pm). Normal service resumed"

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Learn how to save a life this Saturday!

 Leading first aid charity St John Ambulance will be teaching people in Bristol vital first aid skills on Saturday as part of its annual Save a Life September campaign.

It is the second year the charity has run the campaign. In 2011, the scheme was hugely successful and more than 70,000 people received free first aid guides as part of the campaign.

This year the charity aims to reach even more people to equip them with life saving first aid skills.

St John Ambulance volunteers will be giving free demonstrations at the Galleries Shopping Centre on Saturday 22 September between 9am and 5pm.

People will be able to learn how to save a life using five easy to follow techniques and will receive a free pocket-sized first aid guide to carry in case of emergency.

Research carried out by St John Ambulance before the campaign showed that up to 140,000 people die every year in situations where first aid could have given them the chance to live. This includes nearly 900 people who choke to death, 2,500 who asphyxiate from a blocked airway and 29,000 who die from heart attacks. 

In addition, the charity found that fewer than one in five people (18%) know basic first aid.

Naomi Chillingworth, from Avon St John Ambulance, said: ‘Learning first aid is one of the single most important things you can do in your life. You never know when you may need it – at work, at home, in school, playing sport – and what could be more important than saving someone’s life?

‘By holding first aid demonstrations across the country as part of Save a Life September, we want to reach as many people as possible so that more people are equipped with the skills to save a life. Anyone who needs first aid should get it and armed with this knowledge we can all be the difference between a life lost and a life saved.’

To find out more about events in your area, visit or call 0117 953 3880.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Core Strategy - NEWS FLASH

The Inspector's preliminary findings on South Gloucestershire's Core Strategy have been published on the South Glos website. You can read the Council's press release or read the inspector's report online.

Council officers will now begin preparations for a six-week consultation on the proposed modifications, expected to start in early October. The results of that will be considered and reflected in the Inspector’s final report later this year. We'll update you further when we know more.

Lloyds Bank, Yate - temporary arrangements

Lloyds Bank in the middle of Yate Shopping Centre is closing from 1 pm tomorrow (Saturday 15 September) until 9 am on Tuesday 30 October while it undergoes a major refurbishment.

While they are closed, the Lloyds branch at 1 North Parade will maintain normal services.

Yate loos on the move

As part of the East Walk shops development, the existing public conveniences in Yate Shopping Centre will close on 7th October for demolition. Good quality temporary toilets will be open on West Walk from 8th October while permanent toilets are built near the Westgate Centre.

Coopers site, Westerleigh Road - improved plans submitted

After the Cooper phase 2 planning application was turned down recently on the grounds of highway safety issues and overbearing development on Stanshawes Drive, the developer has submitted new plans that have addressed residents' concerns.

The entrance to the office development will now go through the housing development, and the three storey part of the elderly persons building has been reduced to two, with the three storey part being moved back from Stanshawes Drive.

Residents were shown the plans before they were submitted and are delighted with the result.

As well as all these changes, Tony and Ruth Davis from the Focus team even got a dropped kerb moved that was too close to someone's drive. It shows what can be done with concerted community effort.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Work to start on new shops opposite Tesco

Construction will start next month on the new units on East Walk opposite Tesco at Yate.

The largest unit will be M&S Simply Food. Sports Direct's unit will be spread across two floors, and Costa Coffee is taking a smaller unit. There is also another small unit which has not yet been let.

Work is expected to be complete by March 2013.

Key Youth Services vote ensures continued provision in areas that need it most

A special South Gloucestershire Council meeting this week listened to many young people speaking passionately about the services they need, then voted to safeguard youth centres in the Priority Neighbourhood areas and still make funds available across South Glos to help communities provide for young people, while a Tory effort to slash funding to young carers was defeated. The issue was originally discussed by the Council's Children and Young People Committee on 25th July, but Conservative councillors then referred it to a meeting of the full council.

Lib Dems proposed that one youth centre be provided as a council service in each of the council's six Priority Neighbourhoods, and also to provide £437,700 for youth services in other areas across the council.

Speaking to support the Lib Dem proposal, Cllr Pat Hockey said "Of course we have vulnerable people in all communities, so we must keep all the youth centres open - hopefully the councillors here go back to parishes and communities and say "come on, get up, let's keep these clubs open"

Speaking afterwards, Cllr Ian Blair said: "Under the Conservative proposals, no youth centre in South Gloucestershire would have been guaranteed to continue. We've safeguarded centres in the most deprived areas, and have made funds available to communities across the district to decide what works for their communities, what their young people want."

After the Liberal Democrat motion had been passed by Council, the Conservatives tried to amend it further, to move £100,000 away from support for vulnerable young people including young carers, and towards Conservative wards. Cllr Ruth Davis, leader of the Lib Dem group was appalled. "This is playing politics with young people's expectations, and the council's very limited resources"

The Tories tried to pass the £99,000 costs of the Armadillo Youth Cafe to the Frome Vale area from 2014/5, which would probably have used up all council funding for the area, but this was defeated. Eventually Liberal Democrats and Labour agreed that each priority neighbourhood should have 2 sessions a week  of South Glos youth work in a youth centre.

A further £210,000 of "targeted youth provision" money was added to the amount already agreed at the CYP meeting.  This was to shore up the areas that had no deprivation weighting, such as rural areas and Thornbury. This money will allocated based on population of young people.

A further Tory proposal suggested moving another £100,000 from targeted provision (e.g. young carers, drugs and alcohol, youth offenders services) to subsidise general provision, but this was defeated because it would have put the vital target provision at risk.

The final outcome is a balance between support for Priority Neighbourhoods (e.g. Abbotswood and Cranleigh Court in our area) and targeted services. Some Council Youth Service provision has been maintained, strategically sited across the authority, and the Area Forums have been given some money with which to support youth services in their area.

The next step is to decide the best way to deliver a Youth Service to the priority neighbourhoods and importantly from where they will be delivered. To have a service that is the same as at present ALL youth centres are going to have to find some alternative source of income.

If an external organisation takes on a centre it will have to be self sufficient in everything including management, performance management etc. These management aspects will no longer be provided by the Council. Some tough decisions have been taken in the light of the restricted finance available, but hopefully and with community support the new financial structure will provide a basis for youth work to continue where it is most needed and in a way that meeds community needs.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Lib Dems win Dodington ward by-election for South Glos Council with over half the vote

Tony Davis in the South Glos Council Chamber
shortly after the result was announced

Tony Davis gained a convincing victory in the Dodington ward by-election this week, with more votes than the other candidates put together. The opposition parties were very divided, with the Conservative vote collapsing so that they finished last.

The full results are as follows:
  • Tony Davis, Liberal Democrat Focus Team 787 votes ELECTED
  • Mike McGrath, Labour Party 243 votes
  • Aaron Foot, UK Independence Party 213  votes
  • Kate Duffy, Conservative Party Candidate 139 votes
Tony will take his seat at the first meeting of South Gloucestershire Council next week.

Boundary note: The Dodington ward of South Glos Council covers the Shire Way, Rodford Way and Abbotswood areas. The Birds Estate is in the Chipping Sodbury ward and didn't have a by-election.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Don't forget to vote today!

If you live in the Shire Way, Rodford Way or Abbotswood area please don't forget to vote today to choose who represents you on South Glos Council. This is very important - there are some critical decisions coming up like youth funding, and the future of the Rodford School and Wapley Court sites.
Vote for Tony Davis - your local campaigner.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Steve Webb keeps ministerial role in government reshuffle

It's good to see that our MP Steve Webb has kept his post as Minister of State for Pensions in the major government reshuffle. Steve is now apparently the longest-serving pensions minister ever, as he's been in the post for two and a half years.

The Department for Work and Pensions will be a key area during the rest of this government's term. Some stability in the DWP ministerial team will be welcome, in contrast to the number of changes in other departments.

We could have had a Yate Park and Ride...

... if the Tories on South Glos Council hadn't "postponed" it.

Instead they built this white elephant up the road from Parkway Station at a cost of £1.2 million - a Park and Ride with no bus service!

This photo was taken on a recent weekday afternoon - there were 11 cars. That's a busy day for Parkway North.

And far from being critical of the Tories, a South Glos Labour councillor told BBC Points West that it would come in handy in 2015 when the bus rapid transit is built.

By then we could have had a Yate Park and Ride in operation for four years, and reduced the traffic on our local roads.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

South Glos by-election this Thursday

Steve Webb and Tony Davis out
talking to residents earlier this year

If you live around Shire Way, Rodford Way and Abbotswood you will have seen a flurry of leaflets for the by-election this week. The Liberal Democrat Focus Team candidate is Tony Davis, a long-term campaigner for our area.

If you haven't made your mind up who to vote for, please ask yourself when you last heard from any of the other parties before the election was declared. Indeed, have you ever heard of the other candidates before?

Compare that to getting Focus on a regular basis, and indeed everything that appears on this blog.

Please vote for Tony Davis - getting things done for you.

Time to Discover

Would you like to discover...

...our great outdoors by going on fossil forays or star gazing?
...our fantastic local food?
...our rich heritage, from Rolls Royce to Ram Hill Colliery?
...your creativity, with Chinese origami or writing "flash fiction"
...what's going on in your local area for older people? for all ages, including Discovering Dinosaurs workshops?

Discover is a new festival of over 200 events being held throughout South Gloucestershire between 6th September and 4th November. It brings together a number of different events including the Celebrating Age Festival, Active Mind Month, South Gloucestershire Taste Festival, the Out and About in Nature Programme and Heritage Open Doors. You can find out more online.

Most events are free and are able to be booked on line at Why not see what you can discover this autumn?

Change of date for Area Forum Meeting

The date of the Frome Vale Area Forum meeting originally scheduled for Thursday 6th September has been changed. It will now be held on Thursday, 20th September, 2012 at 7pm at Frampton Cotterell C of E Primary School.

Free part-time courses

South Gloucestershire Community Learning Service is offering a range of FREE part-time courses in community venues to help you gain a qualification, improve your job skills, help your children's learning or get more involved in the local community. The courses are aimed at people aged 19 years and over. You can find out more in the online prospectus.

September bus service changes

Some changes are being made to local bus services from 2nd September 2012. Those that most affect us locally are:

The "Eighties services" 85, 87 & 88 have been replaced by a new service 222. This service will connect Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Iron Acton and Frampton Cotterell with Emersons Green, Kingswood and Longwell Green. Sections of the route in North Yate, Iron Acton, Ram Hill and the Emersons Green Treatment centre will be served on a Demand Responsive Basis, this means that the bus will only call at demand responsive stops if requested by a passenger on the bus, or booked in advance by calling 01454 868 368 at least 2 hours before departure.

The X27 Yate to Bristol has a minor timetable amendment to the first journey into Bristol to improve reliability.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Snap up studio photos in aid of Help For Heroes!

Fancy having some really good quality photos done at a moderate price, and helping this worthy cause at the same time?

Come along to Castle Combe Village Hall next Saturday to have some studio photography shots done. Three prints for £10, and/or pay £10 to get all your photos on CD. All profits go to Help For Heroes.

It's a great way for people to get professional photos done of themselves and their family at a low price, and support charity at the same time.

More details available about the photographers here

Monday, 13 August 2012

Ram Hill Colliery - dates for your diary

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery will once again be holding an open day as part of the South Glos Heritage Weekend. It will run from 10.30am to 4.30pm on Sunday 9th September and light refreshments will be available.

If you fancy getting more involved, why not join them for a work day, 10am-4pm on Wednesdays and the second Sunday of the month from April to October. Or attend their next committee meeting at 7.30pm on Monday 3rd September 2012 in the Miners Institute Coalpit Heath.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Make the most of your library!

Yate Library offers a wide range of facilities and runs lots of special events, ranging from children's workshops to talks by authors. During the summer there is a series of art exhibitions too - check out Yate Library's MyYate page for details. The children's Story Lab summer reading challenge runs in all South Gloucestershire Libraries until September 16, and it’s free to take part.

And did you know that you can borrow audio books and ebooks online? It's free. You'll need your library number and PIN. You can borrow up to 3 eBooks at a time for up to 21 days maximum - they work on most ereaders (except unfortunately Kindles), and they work on tablets and PCs. Audio books are mainly in unprotected MP3 format so they should work on almost any device. Find out more from the Libraries West home page.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Rail electrification works

Paul Hulbert at the Wapley footbridge
The main London to South Wales line – the one that runs next to Shire Way - is going to be electrified (we don’t know the timescale yet)  and this will involve quite a bit of engineering work. For example we understand that the footbridge to Wapley Bushes will have to be raised by half a metre. This means that slopes up to the bridge will be steeper and the RADAR disabled access gate will have to be moved. We’re awaiting more details from Network Rail.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Prinknash Court flats to be upgraded

Local councillor Tony Davis at Prinknash Court
Following consultation with the residents Merlin Housing Association have decided to keep Prinknash Court at Abbotswood for the elderly and will refurbish the accommodation so there are no bedsitting rooms any more.  Effectively 2 existing bedsitters will be made in to either 1 or 2 bedroomed flats.  Empty units will not be filled from January 2013 to enable work to begin later that summer. Anyone living there will have first options on returning once the development is complete.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Don't forget - Rodford School plans drop-in tomorrow!

South Glos Council’s consultants, Kendall Kingscott and an officer from South Gloucestershire Council, will be at the library tomorrow, 7th August, from 3.00 - 7.00pm, to answer your questions about their plans for the Rodford School site.

Tell the officials what you think

  • Fill in the survey form at the Library (but also keep a copy!)
  • Email: the South Glos Officer in charge of the consultation:
  • Write: South Gloucestershire Council, Property Services, The Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1HF 
  • It’s really important for residents to let them know what you think of their plans. If you can’t get your views in by the deadline, then tell Tony as soon as you can - and he will  make sure your views count, whenever you get them to him.
  • If you want to join Tony campaigning to stop this proposal, contact him. Together we CAN get our voice heard. 

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Tony Davis wins first stage in Common campaign

Tony Davis, a life long campaigner to protect the Common has managed to get agreement from the landowners (South Gloucestershire) to apply to make it a Diamond Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II Field in Trust. A bit of a mouthful - but what it means is that the Common and the Fox Covert will have extra protection from developers and others.

The Fox Covert, part of what we think of as the Common is not actually common land, so it has always been particularly vulnerable. This new label will make it as safe as we possibly can get it. Now the experts are filling in the paperwork - and Tony is trying to make sure they do it as quickly as possible, so before the year is out, so we can celebrate 25 years of saving the common AND its new protected status.

To give it even more protection, he has got the landowners to offer to lease the lot to the local community for 50 years - and is trying to get the owners to GIVE the entire common to the town.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Help fight plans for Rodford School

Yesterday we reported your views on what should happen to Rodford School and Wapley Court. But council officials and developers have other plans...
...and officials are only giving you 10 days to comment! 

South Glos want to sell it to developers for housing. If they are going to sell the land it’s important to make sure they know what it’s worth, so some developer doesn’t come along and rip off the taxpayers - so it’s right to work out what to do with it NOW - but  their housing scheme can’t be the right answer.

South Glos  are willing to keep the playing field  for open space, sports and allotments but want to:

  • Scrap the landscaping put in by local residents, pupils and parents along Barnwood Road 
  • Build 66 houses (with just 101 parking spaces)  right up to the Barnwood Road edge of the site
  • There’s no promise to keep the trees. 

Where to see their plans

You can find their plans online or at Yate Library but they’re only bothering to put it on show for just 10 days - until 10th August . That’s absurd,  particularly in the school holidays.

Tell the officials what you think

South Glos Council’s consultants, Kendall Kingscott and an officer from South Gloucestershire Council, will be at the library on 7th August 2012 from 3.00 - 7.00pm, to answer your  questions.
  • Fill in the survey form at the Library (but also keep a copy!)
  • Email: the South Glos Officer in charge of the consultation:
  • Write: South Gloucestershire Council, Property Services, The Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury, South Gloucestershire, BS35 1HF 
  • It’s really important for residents to let them know what you think of their plans. If you can’t get your views in by the deadline, then tell Tony as soon as you can - and he will  make sure your views count, whenever you get them to him.
  • If you want to join Tony campaigning to stop this proposal, contact him. Together we CAN get our voice heard. 

West of England Care and Repair Service

Most older and disabled people want to live in their own home for as long as possible, but sometimes they need a bit of extra support to be able to do so.

South Gloucestershire Council has agreed a new contract with West of England Care & Repair to deliver services that do just that. The agency will provide information and advice on housing related issues, ensure that homes are suitable for people leaving hospital and support those requiring major adaptations to their homes.

A new centre has also been opened in Waterloo Street, Bristol where people can test out equipment to aid their mobility such as level access showers, kitchen equipment and seat raisers. A ‘smart house’ in Yate, offering similar facilities, will be provided later in the year in conjunction with Merlin Housing Society.

The services will help people identify their options by addressing problems such as disrepair, home health, accident hazards, fuel poverty and debt or by finding alternative suitable accommodation. The core customer groups are all older and disabled households, and mostly owner-occupiers. Information and advice and support for those leaving hospital will be provided for free. The agency will also advise on any grants, charities and low cost loans.

Coopers site development refused

Residents have thanked Tony and Ruth Davis from the Focus team for speaking out about concerns over the Coopers site planning application.

The planning committee were convinced by their arguments and refused the application due to the effect of highway safety issues and overbearing development on Stanshawes Drive.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Citizens Advice Bureau funding

Dodington Parish Councillor Paul Hulbert
at the CAB office in Yate
Yate Town Council and Dodington Parish Council are working to persuade other local councils to pay their fair share of the running costs of the Citizens Advice Bureau. This cash-strapped organisation is providing an invaluable service to local people in the current difficult economic situation. Yate and Dodington have always paid the "going rate" and it's time other some local councils did the same.

Your spaces - your choice

In a recent Focus, Tony Davis asked for your views on what should happen to Wapley Court and Rodford School. Loads of residents phoned, emailed and sent back the survey form. Thank you to everyone. So, what was your verdict?


Your Verdict

Rodford SchoolWapley Court
Open Space54%31%
Social Housing2%5%
Redevelopment for Housing4%3%
Extra Care Housing for the Elderly20%46%
Commercial Development eg shops0%5%
Special School3%

Other suggestions included - skate park, sports area and changing rooms, petrol station, larger GP surgery, open air swimming pool, enclosed dog training area, sensory garden, formal gardens, youth centre, housing for older people.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Traffic accidents on Rodford Way

Tony Davis checking out the fast-moving traffic
As well as the pedestrian accidents on Rodford Way, there’s another cluster of accidents on the eastbound carriageway near Kelston Close and Witcombe that each involve only a single vehicle. For example, recently a car overturned above the Abbotswood subway.  Focus councillors have requested South Glos traffic engineers to investigate this piece of road, and Yate Safer Stronger Community Group has asked for a flashing speed sign to warn motorists and gather speed data.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Ideas for the summer holidays part 2, a walk on the wild side

Some more ideas for parents - checking out our local green spaces. Children love wildlife!

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve

Woodland, meadows and lots to explore - you can get a leaflet from the Tourist Information Bureau or check out the Wapley blog. Wapley has recently won the Green Flag Community Award as an outstanding public space.

Ridge Woods 

A lovely walk through historic woodland - see their MyYate page and the Ridge Wood website.

Yate Common

Grassland and woodland to explore - it's bigger than you think! Check them out here

Kingsgate Park

Our biggest local play area, with something for all ages of children. Plus the new water feature area, which is great fun -make sure the children bring their wellies!

Everyone knows the big lake where you can feed the swans and the ducks. But have you explored the long pond in the nature reserve section?

Check out the park here

Brinsham Fields

Another great wildfowl lake, with excellent play areas - details here.

Look out for the giant wood carvings here and in other parks!

Other parks and open spaces to visit

Do you know all of these?
  • Lilliput Park
  • Goose Green
  • Lye Field
  • St Marys Green
  • Tylers Field
  • Wellington Road
  • Jubilee Park
  • Sodbury Common
Plus of course all the local play areas.

And further afield?

Check out these suggestions from the Avon Wildlife Trust 

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Chipping Sodbury Library to close for repairs

The Town Lands Trust, who own the building that hosts Chipping Sodbury Library, is carrying out urgent repairs to the floor. These will involve excavating the basement in the rear half of the library, so the service will be moved to the back of the Grammar School from Tuesday July 31st until Wednesday August 29th.  The library will be closed on four days -  Friday July 27th, Saturday July 28th, Friday August 31st and Saturday September 1st to move shelving, book stock and equipment.

Although the library will operate normally, there will unfortunately be no access to public computers or the fax.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Rodford School site consultation

South Gloucestershire Council is going to apply for planning consent for a possible future residential development on the site of the former Rodford Primary School, Barnwood Road, Yate.

The Council has appointed consultants to develop a concept plan and an outline planning submission for the site, and now it wants to consult with local residents. This is your opportunity to view the plan, raise any questions you may have and give your opinion.

Please note that the plan you will see is for overall concept only. This means that it is merely describing the issues to be taken into consideration in planning the development; it is not a plan of an actual proposed development on the site.

The concept plan will be on display at Yate Library, 44 West Walk, Yate, from 1st – 10th August 2012. ‘Comments Forms’ will be available for you to express your views.

The Council’s consultants, Kendall Kingscott who undertook the concept plan work will be present, with an officer from South Gloucestershire Council, at the library on 7th August 2012 from 3.00 - 7.00pm, to answer any questions about the proposals for the site.

The consultation documents are available online here - the consultation closes on 17 August.

Have your say on changes to Council Tax benefits and discounts

Councils across the country are currently developing schemes to replace council tax benefit.

South Gloucestershire Council is proposing a scheme which is broadly similar to the current council tax benefit, which maintains the premiums and allowances for 2012/13 with the exception of removing the second adult rebate. Currently, second adult rebate can be claimed by people whose own income is too high to receive council tax benefit but who have other adult(s) in the household whose income is low.

There will be no change to the amount of help pensioners currently receive. People who have reached the age for state pension credit will be assessed under a national scheme which will be decided by the government. The national scheme is likely to be very similar to the current one.

These proposals will not fully cover the reduction in central government funding for the scheme. Rather than reduce other services to meet this shortfall, the council is proposing to review some of the council tax discretionary discounts that are going to be introduced from 1 April 2013 and apply an additional levy on properties that have been left empty for two years or more.
For more information about the council’s proposals and to have your say, you can:

The consultation runs until 9 October.