Friday, 23 June 2017

Yate Rocks this weekend!

The popular Yate Rocks Festival will take place in Kingsgate Park again this weekend. The main music festival 12.00 - 8.00 pm on Saturday 24 June will have a wide range of music from local bands such as Toby, Tail Lights, Uncle Buck, Limited Edition, Elevation, Atlantic, Fire Blisters, and the Yate Rock Choir.

There will be dance shows, arts and crafts, refreshments and children’s games and activities.

On Sunday morning there will be a church service from 10.30am to 12 noon, followed by a picnic in the park at 1.30pm.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Temporary closure of Yate Road


Yate Road will be closed for up to 5 days from 26th June from the junction with Armstrong Way to approximately 50m south of the road over rail bridge. That's the road that runs from the big roundabout on the Iron Acton road, heading south to join up with Stover Road.

This is to allow urgent repair works to be carried out on the bridge. The 7.5t Weight Restriction on the A432 Station Road between its junctions with Longs Drive and Westerleigh Road will be temporarily suspended.

The diversion route will be B4059 Iron Acton Way, B4059 Goose Green Way, B4059 Link Road, A432 Kennedy Way, A432 Station Road, A432 Badminton Road, B4059 Stover Road and vice versa.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Advice sessions on South Glos Member Awarded Funding

Last year South Glos launched the Member Awarded Funding (MAF) scheme that gives Councillors the opportunity to make awards to projects and services that benefit residents in their ward. From 1 April 2017 each councillor has an allocation of £3,000 to award to local projects and services before 31 March 2018.

South Glos is offering voluntary, community and social enterprise organisations and Town or Parish Councils the opportunity to drop-in at one of their advice sessions to meet with a Grant Officer for help and support with the MAF process, such as:
  • How to register your organisation on the grants on-line system
  • How to create or revise policies
  • How to apply to your Councillor(s)
  • How to complete an application form
  • How to apply if your project crosses ward boundaries
The sessions are being held in Room 0013 at the Council Offices, Badminton Road, Yate, BS37 5AF:
  • Wednesday 21 June 09:00-13:30
  • Monday 24 July 09:00-13:30
  • Monday 14 August 12:30-15.30
For more information please contact the Grants Helpline, Mon-Fri, 9am to 4pm, on 01454 865865 or grants@southglos.gov.uk.  The sessions are open and so please do just drop-in. However, if you would prefer to book a place, please contact the team to arrange.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Retirement flats proposed for green space in densely packed development

Councillors and residents at Normandy Drive

A development company has announced plans to build upmarket retirement flats on land at Normandy Drive, Yate, that was previously promised as community space.

Churchill Retirement Living has announced the proposals, claiming the development would meet an “urgent need” for elderly housing.

But residents who bought their homes from previous landowner Taylor Wimpey say they were told that the land would be kept for community use.

The only community space on the densely-packed development is a small nature reserve area on land that was unsuitable for building anyway, and there is no provision for children to play safely. Elswick Park is also one of the most congested areas in Yate for parking.

Local councillors are opposed to the proposals.

“We have fought hard to stop this land being built over completely, it was meant to be used by the community,” said Cllr Ruth Davis. 

More roadworks on B4465 Codrington road


South Glos Council will be undertaking essential works on the B4465 between 3 and 14 July. For quite a bit of the time the road will be closed at two locations:

Site ‘A’ is at Watts Barn, where works involve the installation of road gullies and a new drainage system.

Site ‘B’ is located in Codrington village itself. The works comprise of carriageway reconstruction / resurfacing. The limits of the surfacing are from the Wishing Well Public house westwards for 500m through the village.

The closure times etc are as follows:



Local premises will shortly receive a letter with more details.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Wanted - your views on bus services


South Glos Council currently subsidises a number of bus services in our area. They are now asking for your views on these in an online survey.

Printed copies will be available at all South Gloucestershire libraries and One Stop Shops and there will also be roadshow events:

Saturday 24th June, 11.00-14.00, Yate Shopping Centre
Tuesday 27th June, 10.00-14.00, Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke
Friday 30th June, 10.00-14.00 The Mall, Cribbs Causeway
Thursday 6th July, 11.00-14.00 St Mary’s Shopping Centre, Thornbury
Wednesday 12th July, 08.00-10.00, Bristol Parkway Station

The consultation runs until 3rd September.

Have your say on changes to Policies, Sites and Places Plan

Following the hearing sessions on the Policies Sites and Places Plan (PSP Plan), a number of Main Modifications to the plan are now being released for public consultation. You have until 24th July 2017 to have your say using the official response form. You can only make comments on the Main Modifications, not on any other part of the PSP Plan.

The Schedule of Main Modifications, a response form, along with supporting information are available to view online here.

The Planning Inspector for the examination will consider comments received on the Main Modifications, before publishing her Report on the overall soundness and suitability for adoption of the PSP Plan.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Weekly recycling starts this week

Don't forget that from the week beginning 19th June 2017 your recycling will be collected every week. You can find out more at www.southglos.gov.uk/wastestrategy

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Rail electrification - noisy work ahead

Major electrification work will be taking place in our area from 19 August to 15 September, night and day. Some of the work will be noisy, and deliveries to Network Rail compounds along the route (e.g. Shire Way access point) will be made by road, so nearby roads will experience an increase in traffic.

The work will be on the main line from Royal Wootton Bassett, Wiltshire, to Patchway/Filton junctions, via Old Sodbury, Chipping Sodbury and Yate to Westerleigh Junction.

In addition, from 2 September to 15 September 2017, the work area will extend to include Westerleigh Junction towards Yate station, Coalpit Heath, Winterbourne, Stoke Gifford and Bristol Parkway station, up to Patchway/Filton junctions.

Network Rail say "We are electrifying the line to bring passengers quieter, more frequent and more reliable services between London Paddington and Cardiff"

The work includes:
  • Carrying out the piling required to install the foundations which will support the electrification equipment. That's the really noisy part.
  • Installing the equipment, including trackside masts and overhead wires at some locations.
  • Installing electrification equipment in Chipping Sodbury tunnel.
  • Improving flood resilience at Chipping Sodbury sidings.
  • Preparing Bristol Parkway station for the arrival of new InterCity Express trains, including the construction of a fourth platform.
How can you find out more?

1. Network Rail are setting up a dedicated web page at www.networkrail.co.uk/westernupgrade which will be available from Monday 19 June. It contains more detailed information about the work they will be carrying out and will be updated regularly as the project progresses. It also has a useful introductory video.

2. Network Rail will also be running drop-in sessions, when members of the project team will be on hand to explain the work and answer your questions. The sessions nearest to us are:
  • Thursday 29 June, Coalpit Heath Village Hall, 4.30pm to 7pm
  • Tuesday 4 July, Ridgewood Community Centre, Yate, 4.30pm to 7pm
  • Tuesday 11 July, The Old School Rooms, St Michael’s Centre, Stoke Gifford,
    4.30pm to 7pm
  • Wednesday 12 July, Chipping Sodbury Town Hall, 4.30pm to 7pm
  • Thursday 13 July, Trinity Primary School, Acton Turville, 6pm to 8pm
  • Tuesday 18 July, Old Sodbury Village Hall, 4.30pm to 7pm
  • Tuesday 25 July, All Saints Church Hall, Winterbourne Down, 4.30pm to 7pm.
3. If you have any questions about the work, you can email Network Rail at crwest@networkrail.co.uk or call the 24-hour National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41. For updates, you can follow them on Twitter @networkrailwest



Friday, 16 June 2017

Tern Inn - flats recommended for refusal

The Planning Officer has now compiled his very detailed report on the proposed flats development on the site of the Tern Inn and car park at Heron Way. In summary, the report recommends refusal because of:
  • The effect on the Heron Way shops
  • The loss of the Tern Inn, which is listed as an Asset of Community Value
  • The loss of the car park, which is also listed as an Asset of Community Value
  • The added on-street congestion and effect on visibility 
As well as the petitions against the development, there were 309 objections to the scheme but only 3 people who wrote in to support it. There were strong objections from Dodington Parish Council, Yate Town Council, Cllr Claire Young and Luke Hall MP, plus of course the Birds Resident Group.

The report will now go to South Gloucestershire Council to decide whether to allow or refuse the planning application.

If the application is refused, the developer can appeal to a government inspector. Alternatively they might put in a different planning application for the same site.

We'll keep you posted with any news.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Temporary traffic lights coming at A46 / B4465 junction

Temporary traffic lights will  be installed shortly at Dodington Ash, where the road from Westerleigh and Codrington meets the A46. The lights are needed because this will be a major diversion route when work is taking place on the Bromley Heath viaduct on the Ring Road.

The installation work will take place between 9.30 am and 3.30 pm from now until 2 June. The temporary lights will then be in operation for the duration of the viaduct works, which will be aroind 52 weeks (or 33 weeks if South Glos find the money to work extra hours to speed up the viaduct works)

Friday, 9 June 2017

Thornbury and Yate General Election result 2017

The results of the 2017 General Election in the Thornbury and Yate constituency are as follows:
  • Luke Hall (Conservative) 28,008 ELECTED
  • Claire Young (Liberal Democrats) 15,937
  • Brian Mead (Labour) 6,112
  • Iain Hamilton (Green) 633
Many thanks to everyone who supported us, and to all those who worked so hard on our campaign.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Fair Funding for Schools campaign


Claire Young recently joined thousands of people marching for fairer funding for our schools - parents, children, teachers and fellow Lib Dems - at the Fairer Funding for Schools rally.

The Liberal Democrats would invest £6.9bn more in our schools and colleges over the next parliament, to ensure no school and no child loses out. That would mean £26m more in schools and colleges in South Gloucestershire, including £1.3m to protect the Pupil Premium, introduced by the Liberal Democrats to help the most disadvantaged children.

In contrast, the Conservative government is proposing deep cuts in many school budgets - schools with the most disadvantaged children are likely to face the biggest funding cuts. According to figures from teachers' unions NUT and ATL, local secondary schools face cuts equivalent to up to a dozen teachers. Primary schools face cuts of 1, 2 or 3 teachers.

You can look up the impact on your local school here: http://www.schoolcuts.org.uk - it's noticeable that although Claire has pledged to support the campaign against the school cuts, at the time of writing neither the Conservative nor the Labour candidates for this constituency have even responded.

Claire has been continually pressing for clarity about the situation at Winterbourne and Yate International Academies and supporting parents campaigning for better funding for schools. Please support our campaign by signing our petition at www.claireyoung.org.uk/schoolcuts

The photo shows Claire with fellow Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidates Stephen Williams and Karen Wilkinson at the Fair Funding for Schools rally.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Half term holiday activities in South Gloucestershire libraries

South Gloucestershire’s libraries have a range of fun activities planned to help keep children entertained over the half term holidays including story times, rhymetimes and crafts. All activities are free drop-ins for primary school aged children unless otherwise stated.

Find your nearest library at www.southglos.gov.uk/libraries

Tuesday 30 May

Feathered friends
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm
Crafts and activities.

All around the world in 60 minutes
Filton Library, 2pm to 3pm
Crafts and stories.

Fantastical fairy tale crafts
Patchway Library, 10am to 11.30am

A jungle jaunt
Staple Hill Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Craft fun.

Spring into summer
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12pm
Crafts and stories.

Mini beasts
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Crafts and activities.


Wednesday 31 May


Maytime mayhem and madness
Kingswood Library, 2.15pm to 3.15pm
Spring themed crafts.

Go wild
Winterbourne Library, 10am to 11.30am
Jungle themed craft drop-in.


Thursday 1 June

Under the sea
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Craft fun.

Fantastical fairy tales and nursery rhymes
Cadbury Heath, all day 9am to 5pm
Drop in throughout the day for fun crafts and activities.

Carnival capers
Downend Library, 10am to 11.30am
Crafts and activities.

Spring surprise
Hanham Library, 2pm to 3pm
Crafts and activities.


Friday 2 June

Fantastical fairy tales and nursery rhymes
Cadbury Heath, all day 9am to 5pm
Drop in throughout the day for fun crafts and activities.


Saturday 3 June

Fantastical fairy tales and nursery rhymes
Cadbury Heath, all day 9am to 5pm
Drop in throughout the day for fun crafts and activities.


Some libraries will also be holding free story time and rhymetime sessions for babies and toddlers and their parents or carers to enjoy stories, action songs and rhymes together.

For more information visit www.southglos.gov.uk/childrenslibrary, follow them on Facebook.com/sgloslibraries or Twitter @southgloslibs, or telephone the libraries on 01454 868006.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Developer consults on housing at Trinity Lane, off St John's Way

Developer Cotswold Homes is asking for local people's views on a proposed housing development at Trinity Lane, off St John's Way, Chipping Sodbury (Trinity Lane is the road that goes up to the golf course)

They describe their scheme like this: "A total of 60 dwellings is proposed in a mix of detached, semi-detached and terraced housing; a small number of flats and bungalows are also proposed to address local housing needs for smaller affordable, and accessible lifetime home properties"

The sorts of questions they are asking are:
  • Do you consider that open market and affordable housing are required in this location?
  • What types of affordable housing are most needed in the area (i.e. rented or shared ownership, family housing or flats)?
  • Are there any infrastructure constraints in Chipping Sodbury or wider area that the proposals should be looking to help address?
  • What recreational facilities do you think would be most appropriately incorporated into the area of public open space that the development will provide (for example play area, trim trail, ecological areas, pond etc.)?
  • Having reviewed the draft plans for the site do you have any comments on the emerging layout?
  • Do you have any suggestions with regards to the appearance of the housing put forward?
  • Would you suggest a contemporary or traditional design approach in respect to the appearance of the new dwellings?
  • Would you suggest any changes to improve the proposals?
It's a good idea for developers to carry out early consultations with the public like this, but note that this is not an official consultation - they intend to apply for planning permission during the summer. If you answer their questionnaire, please bear in mind that they are assembling evidence to make their planning application more likely to be successful.

The consultation website can be found here.


Friday, 19 May 2017

Railway modernisation - Great Western main line

GWR have told us that work to widen the platforms at Bath Spa has now been successfully completed and Network Rail have moved on to work on the track around Swindon and Chippenham.  This will affect rail services through Didcot Parkway, Swindon, Chippenham and Bristol Parkway over the late May bank holiday (27-29 May) and the weekend of 10 and 11 June.  Full details of the revised arrangements are on their dedicated web page www.gwr.com/Swindon2017

There will then be further work at Chippenham from Saturday 8 July through to Sunday 16 July.  Services between London and Bristol Temple Meads will be diverted and there will be a reduced service for Swindon and Bath Spa during this period.  More details are on www.gwr.com/Chippenham2017 where they also set out arrangements for weekend replacement services to Westbury and Melksham.

There will be additional staff at stations to help customers and they are using both traditional and social media, as well as information at stations and at ticket sales points, to highlight the changes. 

GWR say: "We want the electrification upgrade to be as painless as possible, of course we recognise that any timetables changes, however temporary, cause some inconvenience, but these works will allow us to put brand new ten car trains on this route in 2017, and the work has to be completed while we continue to run services"

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Beating the Bounds of Yate Common

After all the problems on Yate Common lately, here's some good news - an event for all the family.

Come and join the Friends of the Common and the Yate Town Mayor. On Rogation Sunday each May, an ancient custom, Beating the Bounds is practised on The Common in Yate.

The Reverend, Town Mayor, Friends of the Common and local residents will walk the boundaries of The Common this coming Sunday, 21st May 2017.

Traditionally, children are turned upside down at the corners to teach them the boundaries of their Common, which they must protect.

Beating the Bounds of Yate Common starts at 3pm from the St Briavels Drive entrance of Yate Common. The walk is suitable for pushchairs and takes about 60 to 90 minutes.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

More of B4465 Westerleigh Rd to close for resurfacing

There are going to be road works on another length of the B4465 Westerleigh Road from just west of Codrington to just east of Springs Farm.

The usual alarming notice says that the closure "will be operative from the 3 July 2017 for a maximum period of eighteen months. The closure however may not be implemented for the whole of the period but only when signs are in position and only for so long as is necessitated by the works which are anticipated to be of 1 WEEK duration."

So one week in the next eighteen months - once again, if the warning signs are up, the road is closed; if they're not, it's still open.

The official diversion is incredibly long - via Emersons green, Coalpit Heath, Yate, Chipping Sodbury and the A46 - but that's really for heavy vehicles. Local people will doubtless know the short way round!

Monday, 15 May 2017

Many young people not registered to vote - but there's still time

Young people aged 17 or 18 are being urged to register to vote in time for the General Election on 8th June.

New figures just released by the Electoral Reform Society show that the proportion of school leavers on the electoral roll dropped by over a quarter between 2013 and 2016 – with most of these missing voters now eligible to vote in this election. Shockingly, in one parliamentary constituency 75% of young people are not on the voting register. This follows the change from registration by household, to each voter having to register individually.

Claire Young, Liberal Democrat candidate for the Thornbury and Yate parliamentary consituency, said:

"This election is about the type of country we want to live in, a chance to change Britain's future. Young people will be living with the results for many years to come. It's vital that they get a say in that future"

"Whatever your age, if you haven't already registered, you need to do so before 11:59pm on 22 May if you want to be able to vote in the General Election on 8 June. You can do it online at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote - you may need to have your National Insurance number at hand to prove who you are"

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Tern Inn - have your say again

It's time to have your say - again - on the latest ideas for the Tern Inn and car park. The developers still want to build flats on the whole site, but now they are offering a community cafe as an alternative to the pub.

The cafe idea is sketchy, to say the least. It would not provide the community functions that the Tern Inn currently hosts. No evidence is provided that such a cafe would be viable, and there is no analysis of how the various activities currently hosted by the pub could realistically be run in a cafe setting.

We suspect that the cafe proposal is set up to fail, and if it is allowed we speculate that there would be a later proposal to turn the cafe back into residential dwellings.

We still think that the entire proposal should be rejected, and that the site should be maintained as it is currently used - the pub and the associated car park.

Over to you now - what do YOU think? Please submit your comments, even if you've already commented on the origina; plans. You can do this online here - search for Heron Way. Click on the top result - the one that says 28 flats - then click on the "Make a Comment" button. You can read what other people have said by clicking on the Documents tab.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It's Rogue Trader Week!

The police are asking all Neighbourhood Watches (and observant locals) to help them. They are asking that you give them information on anyone currently working in your neighbourhood, especially anyone doing driveways, roof repairs and garden work.

Whilst the vast majority of workmen are legitimate they are targeting those whose intention is to provide a poor service at an inflated cost, and who are looking for the potential to steal cash and valuables. Please give them any details you can provide of those working in your area, especially descriptions and registration numbers of vehicles and the people driving them.

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Warning to dog owners

During the bank holiday weekend local vets dealt with a number of dogs with symptoms of poisoning. Three of those dogs had been at Wapley Common. In one case the vet suggested that the dog had eaten something natural like very mouldy food, mouldy poop etc. We have established that at least two of the dogs had eaten poop in the same location, the picnic field. So we now suspect that this was from an infected animal. The area has been checked and nothing else has been found, and no weedkiller etc is used in the area.

There have been some other cases in the wider area recently. In one place - not Wapley - some chicken carcasses had been thrown out on public land. Elsewhere at least one dog tried to eat something that looked like dog food, and was immediately violently sick. Add to this the number of common plants that are poisonous to dogs, all we can suggest is that owners keep a very close eye on what their dogs might try to eat while they are out and about.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Update on M32 Eastville viaduct works

Since starting work at the end of March, contractors have been making good progress with the removal of the central reservation barrier at the Eastville Viaduct on the M32. Over the last two weeks they have been removing the worn-out barrier.

They are now working to remove covers and install steel plates to 49 manholes and inspection chambers to provide a flat surface on which the new concrete central barrier can be placed.

They now moving into a new phase of work, with the overnight traffic management changing from the beginning of May. Instead of being closed between Junctions 2 (Fishponds) and 3 (Bristol City Centre), the M32 will be closed southbound from Junction 1 (Hambrook) and Junction 3 (Bristol City Centre). A fully signed diversion taking traffic via the A4174, A38 Gloucester Road and the A4044 Bond Street will be in place instead.

The closures mostly affect the southbound carriageway, but there may be times where they need to close the northbound carriageway too.

To keep updated with the closures of the M32, please visit www.trafficengland.com. You can also follow @HighwaySWEST on Twitter for updates.

If you have any concerns or issues regarding these works you can contact the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000.

Caravan crime risk

A few nights ago there was an unsuccessful attempt to steal a caravan in Ram Hill, causing damage.  The thieves then returned and tried again. Once again they were unsuccessful but caused even more damage in their attempt. A caravan was also stolen in Rangeworthy recently so it could be the same gang going around.

We suggest that neighbours be extra vigilant, noting details of any suspicious persons or vehicles - perhaps particularly those equipped with towbars, and report any suspicious activity to the police. If a crime is in progress then use the '999' system. It would also be wise to check your existing caravan and trailer security.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Yate Spur cycle route - general support but some concerns remain

The results of the consultation on the latest parts of the Yate Spur cycle route have been published by South Glos - full details here - scroll down and click on "Consultation Feedback Statement".

This consultation - including a very busy exhibition at Shire Way Community Centre - covered Westerleigh Road between the mini-roundabout and the Common and a refuge on the Nibley Lane arm of the Nibley Lane/Westerleigh Road junction.

In brief, the responses to the consultation were very positive. A total of 67 responses were received:
  • 49 responses were in support of the scheme (73%)
  • 3 responses objected to the scheme (4%)
  • 15 responses stated no preference either for or against the scheme (22%)
The South Glos report responds to all of the points made, and many of the points have been taken into account in the final design.

Local cyclists still have worries about the plans for the Nibley Lane junction, where South Glos say "Funding limitations mean we are unable to carry out a radical remodelling of the junction.... The provision of a mini roundabout has been considered but there is insufficient space available to provide one that provides sufficient visibility without taking additional land which would increase time and costs significantly". In answer to the concerns, South Glos say "the proposals will be subject to the Road Safety Audit process which should identify any safety issues with the proposals"

The likely timing of the path works is now:
  • Westerleigh Road (Shire Way to Rodford Way) section starting July
  • Nibley Lane junction late 2017 / early 2018

That will leave two gaps:
  • Under the Rodford Elm railway arch to join the existing Westerleigh Road path to the new section - this needs engineering design that has to be agreed with Network Rail, who have already agreed in principle. Design discussions are in progress.
  • The "Westerleigh bypass" from Nibley Lane to Dodmoor Crossing. The design is being done this year, and again network rail have agreed in principle. Some land ownership needs to be clarified in case the route is not all on Network Rail land.
The gradual progress is welcome, but with some reservations about Nibley Lane junction. When the whole scheme is complete - hopefully by April 2019 - there will be a safe cycle (and pedestrian) route from Yate to the Bristol - Bath Railway Path and the Ring Road Path.


 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Ram Hill Colliery Open Day

There will be an Open Day at the historic Ram Hill Colliery on Monday 29 May from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm.

You will be able to visit this 19th century mine site, with the remains of the mine shaft, horse-gin, bunkers and Dramway. You will also be able to take a walk through the Woodland area and enjoy some refreshments .

You can find the Colliery across from 1 Railway Cottages, Broad Lane, Coalpit Heath, BS36 2TY

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery offer guided walks, and recommend sensible footware. Dogs and children must be supervised, with respect shown to this registered Heritage England site. Donations welcome.

For more information please check out www.ramhillcolliery.org.uk or contact Liz Hillyard on 01179 236595

Friday, 21 April 2017

St George comes to Yate!


Tomorrow (Saturday 22 April) is the big St George's Day celebration at Yate Heritage Centre. It's going to be full of music, fun and interesting happenings - there's something for everyone!



Claire Young to fight General Election battle for Lib Dems in Thornbury and Yate


Well known local councillor Claire Young says she is looking forward to the General Election. She will be the Lib Dem candidate for the Thornbury and Yate constituency, working to regain the seat that was held until two years ago by Steve Webb.

Claire is currently the South Glos councillor for Westerleigh ward, and deputy leader of the Liberal Democrats on South Gloucestershire Council. She has many years of experience of helping local people and campaigning with them to get things done. Recent campaigns have included working with bus users to press for improvements to the Southmead 82 bus service, speaking up on behalf of parents and pupils about the difficulties at The Ridings Federation schools and challenging the Conservatives' poorly thought through development plans for our towns and villages.

Claire said: “Theresa May repeatedly said she would not be holding a snap election. I am ready for the challenge ahead and will be looking forward to standing up for the people of the Thornbury and Yate constituency”

Length of B4465 Westerleigh Rd to close for resurfacing


The B4465 Westerleigh Road is going to be resurfaced (surface dressing) from the top of Shorthill Road to Wapley Road just west of the Wishing Well pub.

The notice rather alarmingly says that the closure "will be operative from the 15 May 2017 for a maximum period of eighteen months. The closure however may not be implemented for the whole of the period but only when signs are in position and only for so long as is necessitated by the works which are anticipated to be of 8 weeks duration"

However the actual works will only take a couple of days, but they need the weather to be pretty dry. Hence the pessimistic timescales on the notice.

In summary - if the warning signs are up, the road is closed; if they're not, it's still open.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Wildlife in your garden and nearby - new group for Shire Way and area

If you live off Shire Way or Rodford Way, you could be interested in a new group aimed at encouraging wildlife in gardens and nearby.

Local residents Clare and Mat Woodman said "The group will be launched to give people the chance to share ideas, tips and suggestions in helping to make the area more wildlife friendly and a wonderful place to live.  From backdoor wildernesses to public open spaces we all can play a part in helping to protect and nurture our outdoor areas.  In our busy lifestyles we sometimes lose contact with nature and our projects will be a chance to step back and enjoy the basics again"

"Gaining volunteers to help put up bird feeders and nest boxes along Shire Way will be one of our many initiatives. We're going to have the first meeting of the Shire Way Conservation Group on Tuesday 9th May 2017 at 7.00pm at Shire Way Community Centre - everyone will be welcome"

"The area already plays host to a variety of birds and animals including green woodpecker, tawny owl and goldfinch.  Part of our work will be to ensure the continuing protection of these species plus the additional support needed for the declining number of bees and hedgehogs affecting us nationwide"

"In collaboration with local councils we will be actively looking to develop roadside 'micro meadows' as well as working towards projects in other areas."

Dodington Parish Councillor Paul Hulbert, who is supporting the project, said "I've always concentrated on larger scale projects like Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, but I'm keen to find out more about these important small scale initiatives closer to home"

"As well as our gardens we have a lot of green spaces in our part of the town, perfect for wildlife. This very local initiative could also be a way for families to get even small children interested in the natural world on their doorsteps"

"This will very much be an ongoing community based project, aiming to reach out to local schools, organisations and existing conservation groups to develop awareness and support. We're hoping to get local experts to come and speak to the group"

For further details please contact either Clare or Mat Woodman by phoning 07907 733056, by emailing clare_woodman@yahoo.co.uk or by checking out Shire Way Conservation Group on Facebook.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Southmead bus improvements to include later last service


First Bus have responded to pressure from Cllr Claire Young, Dodington Parish Council and local campaigners by adding an extra bus at the end of the day, Mondays to Fridays. From 30th April, the last service back from Southmead will be at 8.30 pm (instead of 7.15 pm), calling at Cribbs Causeway at 8.45 pm and Bristol Parkway Station at 9 pm, reaching Yate at 9.26 pm.

The full timetable is available here

Please be sure to show your appreciation for this later journey by making use of it and help to encourage usage by making your family, your friends, work colleagues or anyone else you know who uses the 82 service aware of this positive change to the service.

Let's hope that the changes of service management First promised us recently will result in better reliability.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Overnight Ring Road closures this week


There will be overnight closures of the ring road this week as South Glos Council will be carrying out more resurfacing work from Tuesday 18 April to Friday 21 April.

The resurfacing will take place between the Hambrook traffic lights (Bristol Road) to the Bromley Heath Roundabout eastbound on Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 April and between the Bromley Heath Roundabout to Wick Wick roundabout westbound on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 April.

This will involve overnight closure of the westbound and eastbound carriageways of the A4174 between Hambrook traffic lights/Bristol Road junction and Wick Wick Roundabout between 8pm and 6am. During the overnight closures, traffic will not be able to access part of the A4174 ring road. Full diversion routes will be in place and will be clearly signed.

The westbound and eastbound carriageways will remain fully open at all other times.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Stephen Williams for Metro Mayor

On the 4th May, we have the chance to choose a new "Metro Mayor" for our region, covering South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset, and Bristol. The Metro Mayor will have powers over important issues like transport, housing, the local economy, skills and jobs - on a par with the Mayor of London.

As a former Government minister,  Liberal Democrat Stephen Williams has the experience to be a strong voice for our area. Working closely with the local Focus Team, he understands the problems we face here in South Gloucestershire, and has set out his plans to tackle them in his manifesto. You can find out more about Stephen on his web site and Facebook page.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Find out more on recycling service changes


In the summer, South Glos Council will be launching a simplified recycling service, with weekly collections for paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, cartons and glass, alongside the existing weekly food waste collections. You will be able to put all recycling out every week.

You will still need to sort your recycling for collection but can choose to use green boxes instead of bags for plastics and cardboard or stick with your existing bags. You will be able to get extra green boxes if you need them.

Once the new service is up and running, your black bin will be replaced with a smaller one, which will still be collected fortnightly. If you have extra needs, you may be able to get extra capacity.

You can find out more about the changes online and there are also roadshows across South Gloucestershire. In and around our area these include:

Tuesday 11th April, 3:30pm - 4pm,  Bradley Stoke - Leisure Centre
Wednesday 19th April,  2:30pm - 4pm,  Thornbury - Leisure Centre
Thursday 20th April.4pm - 5:30pm,  Yate - Leisure Centre
Tuesday 25th April, 10am - 2pm,  Sainsburys - Downend
Tuesday 10th May 10am - 2pm,  Winterbourne High street
Saturday 20th May, 10am - 6pm, Waitrose - Chipping Sodbury
Tuesday 6th June, 9:30am - 4:30pm, Yate Shopping Centre
Wednesday 14th June, 9am - 4pm, Willowbrook Centre - Bradley Stoke
Tuesday 20th June, 12pm - 4pm, Charfield Village Hall
Tuesday 27th June, 10am - 6pm, Waitrose - Chipping Sodbury 
Wednesday 12th July, 10am - 3:30pm,  Sainsburys - Downend
Thursday 20th July, 10am - 2pm Winterbourne High street

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Positive news on 82 Southmead bus

Campaigning last autumn for improvements to the 82 bus
After many months of campaigning with bus users for improvements to the notoriously unreliable 82 service, we are delighted to be able to report some more positive news.

Alan Barrett of First Bus attended Dodington Parish Council on Wednesday to give councillors and parishioners an update on the problems affecting the 82.

He said that at the end of April they would be transferring responsibility for running the 82 service to the team that currently runs the more reliable 46 and 47 Yate to Bristol services. It is hoped this will improve reliability.

We have also been calling for the 82 to continue to Chipping Sodbury and beyond, as it did before the cuts last September. He said that once they have resolved the reliability issues they would look again at this - and he promised to come back to the Parish Council to get their feedback on any proposals before making the final decision.

Several times he mentioned the representations we'd made at the Public Transport Forum meetings in October, when Claire Young presented a petition, and in January. Thank you again to all who signed the petition, you really helped to make an impact.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Dodington Road bridge to close for two weeks



Dodington Railway Bridge, near Chipping Sodbury School, will be closed from Monday 10 April for 2 weeks.  Network Rail will be working to raise the height of the bridge parapets and provide anti-climbing measures, all associated with the electrification of the railway line.

South Gloucestershire Council will then be working there to install 2 speed tables (long flat "speed bumps") to reduce speed on this dangerous bridge. The works have been timed to coincide with the school holidays.

The diversion route will be signposted along the B4465, A46 and A432, but "locals" will of course know some short cuts.

Flood risk plans now online

Cllrs Tony Davis and Claire Young at the flooding exhibition
At the Environment Agency's drop-in exhibition on the risk of river flooding in the Yate and Chipping Sodbury area in March, local councillor Claire Young asked them to make the plans available online for those who couldn't attend.

They have now published the plans on their website. If you would like to make comments, you can email them to mark.goldingay@environment-agency.gov.uk

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Do some spring cleaning this weekend!

There are three local events this Saturday (8th April) where you can make a real difference to your local area.

Dodington Parish Council Spring Clean will start from the Changing Room at QE2 Playing Fields Kelston Close at 10am, and spread out around the Shire Way / Rodford Way area. Litter pickers, black bags and gloves will be provided. Everyone is welcome, though children must be accompanied by an adult.

If you’ve still got some energy afterwards, why not join in the Abbotswood Spring Clean and Planting just across the road? Starting at 11am in front of Abbotswood shops – just come along and choose something you would like to help with. As well as litter picking there will be planting, painting and lotes more to keep you busy.

Meanwhile the Old Sodbury Spring Clean will start at 10am at the Village Hall.

Bromley Heath Viaduct works - initial traffic proposals


We've previously reported on the Bromley Heath viaduct works on the ring road, which will involve the southern viaduct being closed for up to a year. South Glos council has published traffic management proposals for our area during the works.

A number of people have raised concerns about these proposals. Claire Young has discussed these with the relevant highways officer, who has reassured her that all the concerns people are raising will be taken into account when drawing up the final plans.

All public meetings are currently on hold because of the “purdah” period for the Metro Mayor election. There will however be further public drop-ins in May and June, including:
  • 6-8pm Tuesday 9th May at Frampton Cotterell C of E School
  • 10am-12 noon Saturday 27th May in Emerson’s Green Village Hall
South Glos Council has made bids to both the Department for Transport and the West of England Partnership for additional funding in order to shorten the works.

For more information about the work visit www.southglos.gov.uk/bhviaduct

If you have any questions please contact the council at bhviaduct@southglos.gov.uk

Monday, 20 March 2017

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning Wed 29 March

Nibley Lane, between its junction with Badminton Road and its junction with Westerleigh Road, is expected to close for cleaning from 9.30am until 2.30pm on Wednesday 29th March.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Future of the Over 50s Forum

The South Glos Over 50s Forum is for all residents who are over 50 years old. They are now holding meetings around the area in a bid to reach out to more people. The upcoming meetings locally are:
  • Tuesday 28th March, 10am to 12 noon - Thornbury Methodist Church, High Street, Thornbury
  • Thursday 30th March, 2pm to 4pm - The Ridgeway Community Centre, Station Road, Yate
For more information, email southglosover50s@gmail.com

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Abbotswood Clean-Up Day 8 April, wildflower preparation 25 March


There are just 3 weeks to go until the Abbotswood Clean-Up Day on Saturday, 8th April at 11 am.  As well as the usual litter picking, Abbotswood Action Group and friends are hoping to trim shrubs, paint benches, plant plants and generally make the area more attractive.  The more people that come along, the more can be achieved so please spread the word.

Next Saturday - 25 March from 11 am - they will be preparing for wild flower planting near the underpass by lifting the turf. Your help would be very much appreciated!

Friday, 17 March 2017

82 bus service problems continue - but new evening journey promised

Local resident Ian Muirhead with
Cllrs Claire Young and Paul Hulbert

Your local Focus team has been campaigning for a more reliable Southmead Hospital 82 bus service with a later bus back. Some buses have been manned by drivers who don't know the route and rely on passengers' directions - one tried to drive into the Ministry of Defence by mistake. Many of the buses on this route are old and leak water onto passengers when it rains.

Sadly, we are still regularly receiving complaints about late running and cancelled buses, as covered by the Gazette newspaper this week. However there is some good news - from 30th April there will be a later journey for people returning from Southmead Hospital and the Mall at 8.30 pm.




Thursday, 16 March 2017

Help with tree planting and litter picking at Wapley Bushes




There will be a tree planting, litter picking and conservation morning at Wapley Bushes on Saturday 25th March 2017 from 10am until 12 noon.


We will be planting some young trees in the woodland and doing a "spring clean" of the Nature Reserve and Common.

Meet at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Litter pickers, black sacks, disposable gloves will be provided. Please wear walking boots or wellies.

Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Dodington Community Engagement Forum 27 March

The next Community Engagement Forum for Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Dodington (which includes the rural part of Dodington Parish) is at 7pm on Monday 27th March at St Nicholas Family Centre, Abbotswood, Yate BS37 4LG.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Every Little Helps for local causes


Bags of Help is Tesco’s community grant scheme  where the money raised from the 5p bag charge is being used to fund thousands of local projects.

This month the choices at our local Tesco include two very valuable projects in our area:
  • The Armadillo Youth Venue and Cafe are aiming to create a green sporty space featuring fruit and veg growing boxes to promote healthy eating
  • St Nicholas Under 15 Girls Football Team hope to buy winter kit and football equipment to keep their players warm and dry while training.
If you find you need to buy a 5p bag, please consider using your token to support one of these very valuable causes.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

New shelter at Yate Station

Lib Dem Metro Mayor Candidate Stephen Williams met
Yate councillors Mike Drew, Sue Walker and Ruth Davis and
 Parliamentary Candidate Claire Young to discuss further
improvements at Yate Station

Passengers at Yate railway station will soon be able to buy their tickets in the dry, thanks to a new shelter that is being installed over the ticket machine and kiosk. The roof could be treated with anti-solar glare material to make it easier for passengers to see the screen on the machine.

Your Focus Team has been campaigning with local rail users for improvements at the station for many years, after winning the battle to get it re-opened in the 1980s. Last year Yate Town Council submitted a funding bid for a shelter for the ticket machine and met South Glos transport officials to push for action.

Last week Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat Metro Mayor candidate, met rail campaigners at the station to discuss further improvements. As Metro Mayor, Stephen would push for extra trains and carriages to tackle the overcrowding at Yate, as well as re-opening stations like Charfield.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Bristol to Chipping Sodbury Night Bus to stop running

First Bus have decided to stop running the weekend 47A Night Bus service from Bristol through Downend, Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Yate and Chipping Sodbury after the end of April. This means that the services at 1.31 am and 3.31 am Saturday and Sunday will stop, and the last bus will be 11.35 pm from Bristol Bus Station.

These late night buses have in the past been supported by town and parish councils along the route, but now First have have doubled the amount of money they want as a council subsidy, and the passenger numbers have fallen - on average only 13 passengers are using each bus.

Other bus companies have been contacted, but they wanted even more money to run the service. It's just not economic any more - councils would have been paying First a subsidy of £6 for every passenger journey. Many young people now use the internet to arrange their own lift-sharing and prefer that to the bus.

This service has been running for more than ten years. We're sorry to see the end of it, but if you add up the subsidy and the £4 bus fares for 4 people, it comes to more than the cost of a taxi. At £6 subsidy per person First have simply priced the bus off the road.

In recent years this service has been supported by Yate Town Council, Dodington Parish Council, Downend and Bromley Heath Parish Council, Frampton Cotterell Parish Council, Mangotsfield Parish Council, Sodbury Town Council and Westerleigh Parish Council.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Living well with Dementia

A meeting for people who may or may not be affected by dementia and their carers and families will be held at Ridgewood Community Centre, 244 Station Road, Yate BS37 4AF at 1.30 pm on Wednesday 15 March 2017.

The guest speaker will be Dr Judy Haworth, Dementia Specialist (NBT) and there will be other specialist speakers.

If you wish to attend, please notify Ms. Liz Wilkie on 07593 980538 or 01454 319886 by 10 March.

Monday, 27 February 2017

M32 closures

From 20th March for 11 weeks there will be night time southbound closures of the M32 to enable the central reservation barrier over the Eastville Viaduct to be replaced.

To try to minimise disruption, the contractors will carry out the work between 8pm and 6am Monday to Friday, so the M32 will remain open in both directions during the day. At night the southbound carriageway will be completely closed. There may also be times when they need to close a section of the northbound carriageway too, but these times are not yet finalised. They will be liasing with contractors on other nearby projects, such as MetroBus.

Unfortunately they won't be able to lift the 40mph restrictions when this work is complete because futher work needs to be carried out on the viaduct parapets.

If you have any queries or comments about the works and would like further information, please contact the Highways England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 123 5000 or by email: info@highwaysengland.co.uk.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Police warning following distraction burglary

Following on from last week's Trading Standards warning about rogue traders, this week the police have issued a warning about distraction burglaries after an incident in Yate.

At approximately 11am on Thursday February 16th, two unknown men came to an address in Priors Lea, Yate, saying that they were there to do some work inside. They pushed a large hole in the ceiling before leaving, saying they would be return to fix it. The victim later discovered that they had stolen a box of valuables.

The Police are reminding residents to be wary of unexpected visitors. Use a door chain whenever possible, and check all other entrances are locked before opening the door.

Remember: Not Sure, Don’t Open The Door! Genuine callers will always be prepared to return or wait while you check their credentials.

If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact the Police on 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Best of Brass charity concert Friday 31 March


Fundraising event hosted by Dodington Parish Council and Dodington Parish Band on Friday 31st March 2017, 7:30pm in Dodington Parish Hall, Finch Road, Chipping Sodbury.

Experience the best of our local community brass band, with music chosen by the Band themselves.

All proceeds to be split between South Gloucestershire Youth Housing and Childhood Cancer Charity.

Tickets are only £2 per person, but numbers are limited - reserve yours now by contacting the Parish Office on 01454 866546.

Raffle & Refreshments Available.

Don't forget - call now to secure your tickets!


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Join in your local litter pick!

Dodington Parish Council is arranging three litter picks this spring, one in each ward, to coordinate with some other local events:
  • Saturday 25th February 2017 10am - 12 noon
    Litter Pick: Meet at Parish Hall, Finch Road
    Or join in the conservation work at Lilliput Park from 10am - meet at Kingfisher Road gate
  • Saturday 25th March 2017 10am - 12 noon
    Litter Pick and conservation morning at Wapley Bushes
    Meet at Shire Way entrance to Nature Reserve
  • Saturday 8th April 2017 10am - 12 noon
    Litter Pick: Meet at Kelston Close, Front of Changing Rooms
    Or join in the Abbotswood Action Group Spring Clean and planting 
All children must be accompanied by an adult.
Litter pickers, black sacks, disposable gloves will be provided.
Please join us and do your bit this spring.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Time running out to have your say on basis for Local Plan

You only have until this Thursday, 23 February, to have your say on the South Glos Local Plan Prospectus.

As we reported last month, South Glos has to publish a new Local Plan for 2018-2036. One of the things it will do is allocate specific sites for development - so, for example, if the final Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for the West of England says there should be another 2,600 homes around yate and Chipping Sodbury, this plan will say more precisely where they should be built. It will also allocate smaller sites, to go towards whatever figure the JSP says South Glos must provide outside the large sites.

Work on the new Local Plan is just starting and the council is asking for your views on what it should cover and what the vision and priorities should be for our area. What do you think the vision and priorities should be? How would you balance concerns like protecting community identity and our countryside with the need for housing?  You can let the council know what you think by answering questions 2 and 3 of the consultation.

Friday, 17 February 2017

River Frome flood risks - exhibition 1st March


The Environment Agency is looking into the risk of river flooding in Yate and Chipping Sodbury and what options there might be to reduce this. Their study is at a very early stage.

They are holding a public exhibition in the Charter Suite at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Wednesday 1st March from 2.30 to 7.30 pm.

The area involved runs from St Johns Way through the centre of Sodbury, The Elms, The Ridge, then right past the Riverside complex, and out along Greenways Road and Cranleigh Court through to Stover Road. So anyone living in those areas might want to come along - if you're not at risk of flooding yourself, you might still be interested or concerned about potential flood works along the river.

Come along to their public exhibition to find out more about your current flood risk and what might be possible as part of a future flood alleviation scheme.

Your views and your local knowledge really matter! At the exhibition they would like to hear your views on:
• any flooding problems in the past
• their initial plans and options

You can call in at any time during the exhibition. They will be on hand to answer your questions, hear your views and to give you more information about flood protection, flood warnings and community flood plans.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Plans to demolish Railway Inn and barbers


An application has been submitted to South Glos Council to demolish the Railway Inn near Yate Station and the Barber's Shop next door, with a view to redeveloping on the land - but it doesn't say what the redevelopment might be.

This local landmark is almost 200 years old and "locally listed", but that doesn't seem to be adequate protection against redeveloping the site. There's no sign of any effort being made to reuse this historic building, which is part of the character of this old part of Yate.

Even if it's shown that it can no longer be used as a pub, couldn't at least the facade be saved? And of course another local business will go with it, the barbers.

Local Focus Team councillors are objecting to the application - if you want to make your opinion heard, please click on this link for the South Glos planning website and search for application PK17/0445/PND

This is urgent - you'll need to comment by Thursday next week, 23 February. 

There's more coverage from the Gazette here 

Monday, 13 February 2017

Rogue Traders in South Glos – Let Trading Standards Know

South Gloucestershire Trading Standards have repeated the warning given recently to residents to be extra vigilant when dealing with unexpected callers at the front door.

Officers are aware that rogue traders are currently operating in the area and are offering to buy gold or jewellery or carry out, amongst other things, paving, roofing and gardening work. Reports suggest they are currently operating in Yate and Frampton Cotterell areas.

South Gloucestershire Council Trading Standards advise residents:
  • Do not to deal with unexpected visitors at your door you do not know who they are or what their history may be.
  • Do not allow any unknown and unexpected visitor into your home. If possible, try to deal with them through a window or use a door chain.
  • Ensure your front and back doors are closed and locked if your attention is elsewhere.
  • If you are unhappy or feel intimidated by the visitor – shut the door and call the police.
  • If you think you or someone you know may have been targeted by scammers or rogue traders, please contact senior Trading Standards enforcement officer Neil Derrick on 01454 864565 or 07801 200104 as soon as possible.
Remember: Not Sure, Don’t Open The Door

For advice on this and other consumer matters, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06, Monday to Friday between 9am-5pm.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Better news about Yate Fire Station


Some positive news on Yate Fire Station. At the end of last year, Avon Fire Authority was consulting on cutting Yate Fire Station from a full time service 24 hours a day to having a full time crew 8am to 5pm and just one crew on call at night. We were very concerned that this could put people in the Yate area at risk - you can see Claire Young's response to the consultation here.

Our Yate colleague Cllr Mike Drew has been working hard with the Deputy Chief Fire Officer to develop an alternative. Instead of taking us down to one on call crew, the Fire Authority has now agreed there will be two part time crews on call. While not the full time crew we wanted, it's a step in the right direction.

Having two crews, even coming from home, makes a big difference. Because there will be two crews there at about the same time, they are allowed to do things like doing rescues. If there was only one local crew they could assess the situation but then they would have to wait for a second crew e.g. from Kingswood before they could actually enter a burning building.

The agreed two-crew manning is supported by the Fire Brigades Union, so we think it's a reasonable answer to the problem. A big thank you goes to Mike and everyone who has campaigned for a better outcome.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Could YOU become a St John Ambulance First Aider?


St John Ambulance are looking for volunteers to join their team of First Aiders. You will be trained to a high standard to provide first aid treatment to patients at events covered by St John Ambulance in the community, at concerts, sports events etc. at local, regional and national level.

No previous training is required – it will all be provided – they just look for a desire to help people and the readiness to deal with situations that can be distressing. 

Click here for more details - the closing date is 28/02/2017 and interviews will be held on 08/03/2017.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Barn Dance for St Nicholas Family Centre

At 7.30pm on Saturday 4th March there will be a Barn Dance at St Nicholas Family Centre, Yate BS37 4LG. Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 for children under 12, with the money going towards making further improvements to the family centre. While you're there for the dance, you will have a chance to see the ambitious new kitchen plans for St Nix.

Phone 07788111626 or 07879680118 for tickets, or pay on the door.

Stephen Williams chosen as Lib Dem candidate for Metro Mayor



Congratulations to Stephen Williams on being chosen as the Liberal Democrat candidate to be the first Metro Mayor for the West of England, ina  campaign that will last for 90 days up to the election in May.

Across the West of England area, the campaign is between the Tories and Liberal Democrats. By electing Stephen, the region will benefit from someone with both experience of local government and Whitehall.

The new Metro Mayor will have a range of powers and over the coming days and weeks the Lib Dems will be fleshing out plans to improve the transport, housing and infrastructure of the region.
You can send a message to the Tory government that this region cannot be taken for granted.

Monday, 6 February 2017

82 bus campaign continues

Your Focus Team is continuing to fight for a better 82 bus service, after the last bus of the day was cut in January. On Monday, local councillor Claire Young spoke out again at the South Gloucestershire Council Public Transport Forum.

Losing the last bus of the day is a blow not just to those visiting relatives in hospital but also to workers at the Mall, Cribbs Causeway. They are having to catch buses into the centre of Bristol and back out to places like Yate and Coalpit Heath, getting home very late at night. Your Focus Team is pushing not only for the last service to be restored but also for a later service that would come back from Cribbs after the shops have closed at 9pm.

First Bus said that they had changed the timetable to improve reliability. By reducing the frequency and not having drivers changing mid-route, they said it gave more time to recoup delays, especially at peak times. They admitted that due to roadworks, including the temporary traffic lights in Winterbourne, there had been problems in the first couple of weeks of the new timetable, but they claimed that reliability had improved since, though there was still work to do.

The poor reliabilty is having a knock-on effect on our highly valued Community Transport services. Because people don't feel they can rely on the 82 bus to get them to their hospital appointments, they are turning to Community Transport, while others are being referred by their GPs because they don't meet the strict criteria for the Patient Transport Service. Claire met Green Community Travel representatives on Wednesday to discuss this and other issues.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Tern Inn car park gated off


Contractors moved in today to erect gates across the Tern Inn car park. The landowners, who have applied to build flats there, appear determined to prevent public parking, even for customers of the pub and the Heron Way shops. The businesses will have access for delivery etc, but that's all.

Dodington Parish Council contacted the schools to warn the parents, as the traffic on Heron Way is likely to get significantly worse, with consequent danger to children. They have also asked South Glos to investigate the gates as a possible planning enforcement issue.

The developers' is possibly a response to the recent successful application for listing as a Asset of Community Value.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Temporary swimming pool at Yate for 6 months


Because of essential maintenance work at Yate Leisure Centre, both swimming pools will be closed from the end of March until the Autumn. Public swimming WILL still be available using a temporary swimming pool.

The pool and plant equipment requires essential maintenance work for it to remain in operation. The  pool pipework and plant will be replaced with new environmentally friendly equipment.

We contacted Circadian Trust for more details about the temporary pool, and they've told us:
"It will be 18m in length X 10m in width X 1m deep. The frame will be constructed mainly of wood, then lined with a sand based and a pool liner. The whole structure will be secured in a marquee in the rear of the Kennedy Way car park. Customers will access the pool from the corridor of the main building (customers will not be outside, there will be an enclosed walk-way). The admission costs and opening times will be the same as normal and a specific pool timetable will be created for this period. All swimming lessons will continue and lesson days and times will remain UNCHANGED."

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Bromley Heath Viaduct work to go ahead, delays inevitable

Bromley Heath Viaduct will undergo a £5.9 million maintenance programme to strengthen the 1960s structure and provide improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.

The improvement works will be carried out west bound, between the Bromley Heath roundabout and the Hambrook / Bristol Road junction. Work will begin in June/July this year for a maximum duration of one year, but South Glos will try to secure additional funding to accelerate the work programme and reduce the timescale. Essential maintenance of the viaduct structure will be combined with improvements to widen the shared footpath for cyclists and pedestrians, which means that the total maximum time required on site would be one year rather than two.

Because of the extent of the work, the southern viaduct will be completely closed to all traffic for the duration of the project. This is because the removal of the worn out parts of the structure will mean it is too weak to safely carry any traffic until the maintenance is complete. During the closure, all traffic will be diverted on to the northern viaduct as other options would require a significant one to two mile diversion onto narrow roads. Unfortunately this will cause significant delays, as this is one of the busiest sections of the A4174, and the impact will be felt on other local roads too. Ultimately if the work wasn't done, the southern viaduct would become too unsafe to use.

For more information about the work schedule visit www.southglos.gov.uk/bhviaduct

View a video of the current state of the viaduct here https://vimeo.com/184502794

If you have any questions please contact the council at bhviaduct@southglos.gov.uk

Monday, 23 January 2017

Yate International Academy to become part of Greenshaw Learning Trust

The Department for Education has announced that Yate International Academy will be "re-brokered" into the Greenshaw Learning Trust, with the changeover happening no later than September 2017. You can read more here.

Winterbourne International Academy will remain the responsibility of The Ridings’ Federation Academy Trust, who, with the support of The Olympus Academy Trust and Castle School Education Trust, will take responsibility for responding to the issues identified by the Department, EFA and Ofsted.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Rodford Way No U-turn Consultation

South Glos has already gone some way towards stopping dangerous U-turns across the Rodford Way dual carriageway by putting an island in the mouth of the Abbotswood junction, which was the favourite turning place.

It hasn't totally solved the problem yet, because some people are still doing U-turns - we even saw a large articulated vehicle do it the other day. Even worse, some of the drivers are going through the wrong gap in the central reservation and meeting legitimate turning traffic head-on, or turning through the three-way Sundridge Park / Rodford Way / Shire Way junction. There have been a number of injuries, both motorists and cyclists.

It is proposed to put legally enforceable "No U-turn" signs for eastbound traffic at the central reservation gaps near Abbotswood, Glenfall, Bredon, Sundridge Park, Dovecote and also at the eastern end of central reservation near the Scott Way roundabout.

You can see the plans and the explanation on the South Glos website. The consultation is open until 12 February,

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Tern Inn now officially an "Asset of Community Value"


 The Tern Inn on Heron Way and the associated car park, the subject of a planning application to demolish the pub and build 28 flats on the site, has now been declared an "Asset of Community Value".

Dodington Parish Council and the Birds Residents Group applied for the ACV status so that if the landowner decides to sell, the community will have six months to put a bid together.

The ACV will be recorded at the Land Registry, but the landowner can appeal against the ACV decision.

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Another big planning consultation

No sooner is one planning consultation out of the way, than another one comes along.

By the end of 2018, South Glos has to publish a new Local Plan for 2018-2036. It will review and eventually replace existing local planning documents, including the Core Strategy and the Policies, Sites and Places Plan.

The Joint Spatial Plan for the West of England, which was consulted on before Christmas, will set out the overall amount of residential and employment development and where it should be located in the West of England, as well as the infrastructure to support it. One of the things that the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan will do is to allocate specific sites for development - strategic sites at the locations identified in the JSP and smaller, non-strategic ones.

The Local Plan will also set out the planning policies that will be used when the council determines planning applications.

Work on the new Local Plan is just starting and the council wants your views on the "prospectus", a document setting out the programme for preparing the plan and the proposed scope. They also want you to share your priorities for the area and how the council will deliver new development.

You can have your say online until Thursday 23rd February.