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.