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 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 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

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

If you have any questions please contact the council at

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

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:

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

View a video of the current state of the viaduct here

If you have any questions please contact the council at

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.

Monday, 16 January 2017

Council tax to increase for social care?

Have you had your say on the South Glos budget yet?

An extra question has now been added to the consultation. Last year South Glos took up the option to charge an extra 2% of council tax as an "adult social care precept" to go towards the spiralling costs of providing care to the vulnerable. It had been expected that this would continue at 2% for the following years but in December the Government announced a proposal that councils could introduce the rise sooner  – so they could increase council tax by up to 3% in 2017/18 or 2018/19 but still could not exceed 6% in total over the three year period 2017-2020. South Glos want to know your views on this. You can have your say online until 23rd January.

It is hard to see how South Glos can plug the funding gap without taking up this proposal but the Liberal Democrats nationally do not think this is the answer to the crisis in social care. Using council tax to raise the money will disproportionately burden the less well off in our communities and poorer parts of the country will be less able to raise money in this way than wealthier ones. Led by our health spokesperson and former Health Minister Norman Lamb we are pushing for a cross-party agreement on funding for health and social care. Is it time to put a penny on income tax to secure the future of the NHS and social care?

Friday, 13 January 2017

Happy Birthday to us!

Today - 13th January - is the tenth anniversary of the Liberal Democrats' Local Focus blog, covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Dodington and the surrounding areas.

In those ten years we've published around 1700 stories. Local information, campaigns, election results - you name it, we've done it. Just like our "big sister" the Focus magazine that our volunteers deliver to every house in the area.

Our very first story was about Network Rail removing trees from the embankment near Rodborough.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning Monday 16th January

Nibley Lane is expected to close for cleaning from its junction with Badminton Road to its junction with Westerleigh Road between 9.30am and 2.30pm on Monday 16th January. 

Monday, 9 January 2017

Abbotswood Action Group open meeting coming up

The next open meeting of the Abbotswood Action Group will take place on Tuesday 17th January at 7.30pm in the Abbotswood Inn pub. Everyone is very welcome to join in - they are hoping for as many neighbours and local residents as possible to come along.

It as an opportunity for anyone and everyone who lives and/or works locally to get together and chat about ideas, issues and offer opinions about things which are going on in the Abbotswood and surrounding area of Yate.

Each year Abbotswood Action Group organises and runs 4 annual Community Events - Spring Clean Up, a Summer Event, Apple Day and Christmas Lights Celebration. The Group has lots more planned for this New Year.

Please do come along if you would like to find out more.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Yate Spur cycle consultation - please send in your views now

Focus Team members Paul Hulbert and
Claire Young at the Shire Way drop-in session
This week's drop-in session at Shire Way was very well attended - 66 residents came along to find out more about the cycle path proposal and to voice support and/or concerns. Please could everyone now let South Glos have their views by email or letter. Full details of the scheme and how to comment are on the South Glos website. The consultation closes on Sunday 15 January.

This is the next stage of linking our area to the Ring Road cycle path and the Bristol and Bath Railway Path so that we're no longer out on a limb as far as cycle routes are concerned.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Lions Club Yate is seeking YOUR views

Lions Club Yate is a newly-formed branch of the international humanitarian organisation that helps within our local comunities and worldwide. They are a group of men and women who identify needs within the community and work together to fulfill those needs. For more information or to get involved with Lions Club Yate, please check out their Facebook page.

To provide a better service, Lions Club Yate is conducting a survey in the community to clearly identify humanitarian services that they could provide.

They hope you will help them identify areas of need within the community, by completing this short  questionnaire. Please help by sharing the questionnaire with your friends.

For more information about Lions Clubs International, visit the Web site at

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Reminder - Drop-in exhibition for Yate Spur cycle path TODAY

Just a reminder of the drop-in at Shire Way Community Centre today (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.

This will be of particular interest to local cyclists, country walkers, residents of Chedworth and Rodborough and motorists that use Nibley Lane as a cut-through.

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.

Click here for more details of the proposals here and click here to see the plans and comment online

The consultation closes on Sunday 15th January. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Spring Clean 2017

It might seem a little early to be talking about spring, but it's not too soon to sign up for the annual Spring Clean.

You can help clean up your neighbourhood this spring by organising a litter pick. The Spring Clean will run from 18 February to 14 May 2017. South Glos is teaming up with Keep Britain Today's new Great British Spring Clean, which will focus on encouraging events over the weekend of 3rd-5th March. However you can organise an event at any time during the three-month campaign and the council is more likely to be able to lend you equipment if you avoid popular weekends.

To get involved, go to the Spring Clean 2017 page and register your event using the booking form. The council can provide free bin bags, recycling bags and gloves and a limited number of litter pickers and hoops. They can also collect the bags if you can't dispose of them.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Still time to nominate for South Glos Chair's Community Awards

There's still time to nominate a "local hero" for a Chair's Community Award. Do you know an unsung hero who is contributing in areas such as community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy and being a good neighbour? Or a group doing the same? For the first time in 2017, the council is taking group nominations as well as individual ones.

You can find out more and download an application form on the South Glos website. The deadline is 16th January 2017.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Important warning - New Email and Letter Phishing Scams

Action Fraud, UK’s national fraud reporting centre, has warned of new email and letter phishing attacks that can put passwords, bank account details and other personal information at risk.
  • Two email scams: supposedly from the Metrpolitan Police, entitled "Crime prevention advice and notice of intended prosecution"
  • One letter scam supposedly from Lloyds Bank about "Unusual activity on your account"
Click here for more details on these scams and important information on how to protect you and others from becoming a victim of this fraud crime.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

Happy New Year, Sir Steve Webb!

Our former MP Steve Webb has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List. He was our MP from 1997 to 2015, and Minister of State for Pensions in the coalition government.

Since last year Steve has been the Director of Policy at the large mutual insurer Royal London, a role that allows him to carry on raising issues about pensions and other areas of public policy. He pops up on Moneybox or the Today programme from time to time, but unfortunately because of this role he's not able to engage actively in party politics.

We wish Sir Steve and Lady Helen all the very best for 2017 and the future.