Friday, 23 December 2016

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Drop-in exhibition for Yate Spur cycle path

As we told you last week, South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on plans for the next stage of the Yate Spur cycle path to link our area to the Ring Road cycle path and the Bristol and Bath railway path.

The plans propose changes to the Westerleigh Road / Nibley Lane junction and creating a joint pedestrian / cycle path alongside the length of Westerleigh Road between the mini-roundabout and the big Rodford Way roundabout.

South Glos has arranged a drop-in at Shire Way Community Centre on Thursday 5 January from 4pm to 8pm to give an opportunity to see a display of the plans and to discuss them with the StreetCare Team.

You can also click this link to see the plans and comment online

When you’re reading the plans, please bear in mind that they’ve mislabelled the section between the roundabouts as part of “Shire Way”, when it’s actually Westerleigh Road.

The consultation closes on Sunday 15th January.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Views wanted on Dodington Road traffic calming

Back in September, South Glos Council asked Network Rail to install traffic calming measures on Dodington Road. Highways officials were concerned about reduced visibility caused by Network Rail raising the parapets on the bridge ready for the electrification of the railway line.

The work will be carried out by the council but Network Rail will pay for it. There is a legal process to go through to install speed cushions and the consultation on the proposals has now started. You can view the plans and comment online until 11th January 2017.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Caravan storage at Beech Hill Farm allowed on appeal

Last year, to the dismay of hundreds of local people who'd signed a petition, the planning committee refused the application to allow land at Beech Hill Farm, Westerleigh to continue to be used for storing caravans. The applicant appealed and this week it was announced that the appeal had been allowed and the use can continue.

This will be a relief for many local caravan owners, and there will be a few less cars parked on local estate roads because of caravans on driveways.

To read the decision, go to the planning applications search page and search for the reference number PK15/1339/F. Select the documents tab and click on the image of a document next to "APPEAL DECISION AND COSTS".

Monday, 19 December 2016

Yate fire station to lose full-time status?

Avon Fire and Rescue Service needs to save £5 million a year thanks to cuts in the funding it gets from Government. They are now asking you to have your say on their proposals on how to do this.

Their ideas include Yate station losing its full-time status - instead of it being staffed by crews 24 hours a day, it will only be staffed in the day time with "on-call" firefighters (Retained Duty System) at night. Retained Duty System crewing adds 3.5 minutes to target response time from the moment of the call to the fire engine leaving the station overnight, including the evening rush hour.

This takes Yate Fire Station back to more or less where it was in 2009. The 2009 change to a 24 hour duty system was because of higher risk in a growing, and now still growing area. According to the consultation, the number of fires in the area has reduced so the full-time crewing is no longer justified.

However we have been told that the reduction in fires is that is because of the large amount of preventative and community work that has been carried out. But this work is done by full-timers, who will now be available only in the daytime, unless extra overtime costs are incurred.

You can find out more and have your say on the Avon Fire and Rescue Service website until the end of December.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Santa's sleigh on practice runs Monday and Wednesday

This Monday (19 Dec) the International Space Station rises in the West (Bristol direction) at around 5.08 pm and goes down in the East at 5.14 pm. If there's no cloud it will definitely be visible - the pass is classed as "bright".

There's another chance to see "Santa's Sleigh" on Wednesday from 5.01 pm to 5.05 pm, but it will be much lower. Weather permitting, the Monday pass will be much easier to spot.

Details of other passes are available from:

Just the thing for families with small children. We can't promise that you'll see any reindeer, though some children have reported that they've seen Santa waving...

Please save your stamps for charity!

Most of our local charity shops collect used stamps - foreign, UK commemorative or just plain "ordinary" stamps - and sell them on to dealers. Please keep all those stamps you get at Xmas or indeed any time of year and take them in.

Alternatively you can drop them off to Paul Hulbert at 35 Blaisdon (he's collecting them for Cancer Research) or leave them at Dodington Parish Council for him to collect.

Useful information this Christmas

With the festive season getting underway, here is some information you might find useful over the Christmas and New Year period.

Christmas Last Posting Dates

Tuesday 20 December - 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Wednesday 21 December - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Thursday 22 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®
Friday 23 December - Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed

Waste and Recycling

There are some changes to waste and recycling collection over the Christmas period.

If your collection should be on:   It will instead take place on:
Monday 26 December Tuesday 27 December
Tuesday 27 December Wednesday 28 December
Wednesday 28 December Thursday 29 December
Thursday 29 December Friday 30 December
Friday 30 December Saturday 31 December

You can check your precise date and what will be collected on the South Glos website.

Your tree might not even be up yet, but once the festivities are over you can recycle real trees in a number of ways:
  • If you have subscribed to the garden waste service, you can put your tree into or next to your green bin.
  • You can buy a single use garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library and attach it to the tree.
  • You can take it to one of the Sort It recycling centres and put it in the garden waste (not wood waste) skip.
Whichever you do, don't forget to remove all the decorations, pots and stands first and if it's over 6ft tall you must cut it up into smaller sections if you're having it collected. 

Out of Hours Pharmacies Times

Over the Christmas and New Year period, many pharmacies are closed. You can find out which ones are open here.

As we posted earlier this month, from Saturday 24th December until Thursday 29th December London Paddington will be closed to all rail services.

This will mean that GWR rail services will start and finish at Ealing Broadway, from where you can take the underground or a bus. However, the station does not have step-free access. So if you are travelling with heavy luggage or find steps difficult for any reason you will need to change at Reading and use services from there to London Waterloo. Unfortunately that will mean a longer journey.

You can find out more on the GWR website.

Bus services
Over Christmas and the New Year some buses will be running to different timetables from normal. You can find out more on the TravelWest site.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Time running out to have your say on housing plans!

Don't forget, you only have until the end of Monday 19th December to have your say on plans to build thousands of homes in our area (See our previous post here)

The West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP, or in plain English "What might be built where"!) proposes:

  • 2,600 around Yate and Chipping Sodbury
  • 1,500 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 1,000 homes at Charfield 
  • 600 homes at Thornbury 
  • 2,200 homes at a new garden village at Buckover near Thornbury
Although the final plan will only talk about broad locations, as part of the supporting evidence the West of England has produced a series of "dashboard" maps showing where they think the development could be accommodated at each location.You can view those maps here (Yate and Chipping Sodbury are on page 27)

Local councillors Claire Young, Ruth Davis
and Mike Drew at the recent drop-in
We know it's a very busy time of the year but it's vital that as many local people as possible have their say on these plans. To do that, go to the JSP consultation home page. From there, you have two options. You can view an interactive version of the document, where you can make your comments  as you go along. Alternatively, you can download a PDF of the whole document and fill in the online survey
You don't have to answer all the questions. If you think there are reasons why the houses could not be built at a particular location, you can put those in answer to question 5. For example, people in Coalpit Heath are concerned about the old mines under the fields. If you think the West of England is taking the wrong approach to deciding where all the new houses should go, you can explain why in answer to question 6. This would also be the place to suggest an alternative strategy.
At the same time, the West of England is also consulting on a Joint Transport Study (JTS). This proposes transport improvements for the different parts of the West of England (or again in plain English, "How on earth are people going to get round when all the houses are built"). To view the plans and make your comments, go to the JTS consultation home page. Again, you can view an interactive version of the document or download a PDF and fill in the online survey.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Yate Spur cycle path consultation - Westerleigh Rd and the Nibley Lane junction

 A consultation has just opened on new parts of the Yate spur cycle path. South Glos Council are looking for your views on them providing a shared use cycle/pedestrian path along the western side of Westerleigh Road between the mini-roundabout and the Common and a refuge on the Nibley Lane arm of the Nibley Lane/Westerleigh Road junction. Depending on the feedback, construction of both is expected to take place next summer.

We have stressed that the Nibley Lane junction has additional problems - it's not an easy junction at the best of times - and that nearby residents will need proper consultation about the Westerleigh Road length. So this consultation isn't just for cyclists - if you drive along Westerleigh Road or you live in Chedworth or Rodborough you will have a particular interest in the proposals. The consultation is open until 15 January.

The council engineers are awaiting results from recent ground investigations before starting the design of the section going under the Shire Way railway bridge in early 2017. They are liasing with Network Rail, who they hope will approve the design in the spring so construction can take place in the summer. Progress is also being made on a legal agreement with the landowner to enable the Westerleigh Road to Cornerways section to be completed, hopefully next spring.

That leaves the section from Dodmoor Crossing to the Nibley Lane junction. The engineers aim to approach landowners, process legal agreements and develop the design during 2017, so it can be constructed in 2018 if funding is available.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Kingsgate Park Christmas Event Friday 16th Dec 6pm.

Kingsgate Park Christmas Event in Kingsgate Park on Friday 16th December 2016 at 6pm.

This is an event for all the family, so please come along for a sing along, mince pie and glass of mulled wine (soft drinks will also be served)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Christmas rail disruption

From Saturday 24th December until Thursday 29th December London Paddington will be closed to all rail services.

This will mean that GWR rail services will start and finish at Ealing Broadway, from where you can take the underground or a bus. However, the station does not have step-free access. So if you are travelling with heavy luggage or find steps difficult for any reason you will need to change at Reading and use services from there to London Waterloo. Unfortunately that will mean a longer journey.

You can find out more on the GWR website

Friday, 2 December 2016

Don't forget it's Chipping Sodbury Victorian Day tomorrow

Fun for all the family, 1pm to 7.30 pm. Father Christmas arrives on his sleigh at 7.15 pm!

First Bus announces cuts to Southmead bus service

First Bus has announced yet another cut to an important bus service. This time the No. 82 service from Southmead Hospital via Cribbs Causeway to Yate will lose its last journey. From 8 January the last bus will leave Southmead at 7.15 pm from Monday to Friday, almost an hour earlier and well before the end of visiting time.

This impacts people who work at Cribbs causeway too, not to mention shift workers boarding at other points along the route, and anybody who attends SGS Filton College in the evening. It makes it very hard for young people and those on minimum wage who work at the Mall, for example - their last bus will now be 7.30 pm instead of 8.24 pm.

If you use this service, please contact First and ask for the later journey to be brought back.

As for public consultation, what public consultation? South Glos Council's website doesn't even mention the early finish - it just says "Service 82 – First Bus (Southmead Hospital – Cribbs Causeway – Yate) timetable amended to improve punctuality but frequency remain the same across all days of operation, no change to route"

What's more they haven't even written to local councils (not to ours, anyway) to give notice of the changes so that we can object. South Glos Council doesn't seem to be able to do anything about it either - government cuts mean that they haven't got the money to subsidise routes or journeys that bus companies decide they don't want to run.

Flashback - it was only in August that First reduced the service frequency between Yate and Southmead, chopped the Chipping Sodbury link to Southmead and got rid of most of the services to UWE, as we reported here

Did we mention that First Bus is one of the contenders to run the MetroBus system? As and when this gets to Yate with a splendid new service, how long will it be before they begin to stop journeys that they see as inconvenient? Based on their record of cutting services in the Yate area, are they really fit to be bidding for MetroBus?