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.