Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Tell the Council your priorities

Over the last 6 years South Glos Council has already cut £63.6m from its annual budget and they're intending to cut another £10.5m per annum across 2018/19 and 2019/20. Even that leaves the council with a predicted hole of £15.7m by 2021/22 so watch out for more cuts being announced.

What do you think the council's priorities should be? Fill in the budget survey to let them know. Your Liberal Democrat Focus Team will be fighting to protect services for the most vulnerable.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Abbotswood Christmas event Sat 25 November - fun for everyone!


The 4th annual Abbotswood Christmas Event takes place on Saturday 25th November in the Abbotswood shopping centre starting at 4pm. The attractions include:
  • Dodington parish brass band
  • Christmas bazaar
  • Father Christmas  
  • Street magician 
  • Face painting 
  • Living nativity with live donkeys
  • Local school choir 
  •  Big Christmas Lights switch-on by the Mayor of Yate

Monday, 20 November 2017

Consultation events on Ageing Better Plan

We told you recently about South Glos's "Ageing Better" consultation. The Ageing Better Plan aims to guide South Glos's work to support older people (age 65+)

They are holding two consultation events, one of which is a drop in event, open to the public and is taking place on Wednesday 22nd November 2017, Yate Outdoor Sports Complex between 9.30am – 12.30pm. Everyone is welcome and they would encourage everyone to attend, as it is really important that people have their say.

The second event is being held for voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations, on Wednesday 29th November, 10.00 am – 12.00 pm at The Batch, Cadbury Heath.

For full details of the events,  further information, and copies of all consultation documents, please go to the South Glos Ageing Better Plan website link

Early morning closure of part of North Road for cleaning 23 November

North Road, Yate, from its junction with Armstrong Way to the bridge over the River Frome, is expected to close from 6am to 8am on 23rd November so the leaves can be cleaned away.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Partial victory in health campaign - but more cuts to come

Your Focus Team welcomes news that local health managers have rowed back on proposals to cut the upper age limit for which women are eligible for IVF treatment on the NHS after protests - but more cuts are to come.

Faced with a growing deficit, NHS chiefs proposed a series of cuts to local health services, including limiting fertility treatment to women between 30 and 35 years of age. They already only fund one treatment, rather than the NICE recommendation of up to 3. They have now decided to keep the age limit for IVF treatment at 40. However they are still proposing that any woman whose partner has a child from a previous relationship will not be eligible for IVF treatment. On top of this, we have been warned that there will be millions in cuts announced after the New Year.

Together with Bristol and North Somerset, South Gloucestershire is one of only 14 areas in the country targeted for extra cuts under the Conservative Government’s Capped Expenditure Process. Many of our NHS services are already being stretched close to breaking point. We are calling for greater investment in the NHS so that health managers can concentrate on how to improve services, not how to cut them. Thank you to everyone who has already signed our petition to protect local NHS funding. If you haven’t already, you can sign it here.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Consultation on new homes starts next week

All four West of England councils have now agreed that the consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) should go ahead so it will start on 22nd November. The JSP proposes:
  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, between Engine Common and Nibley and down to Westerleigh, with at least 1,000 being built by 2036 
  • 1,200 at Charfield 
  • 3,000 at a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being built by 2036 
  • 500 at Thornbury 
Some headlines have given the impression that the plan has already been approved - it has not. A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation, which runs until 10th January 2018.

This will be your last chance to have your say - don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes. 

The new South Glos Local Plan will just be adding in the details and possibly allocating smaller sites. It can't put the homes in a different place entirely from that allocated in the JSP.

The JSP document, supporting evidence and details of how to make a submission will be published online at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk on 22nd November. If you would like to help spread the word to those who aren't online, please contact us.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Road closures coming up Pucklechurch to A46



South Glos Council has announced road closures on Feltham Rd (Pucklechurch) and Pucklechurch Rd (Hinton) for essential resurfacing 23 Nov-8 Dec. A diversion route has been signposted - this is a popular cut-through between the A46 and Pucklechurch.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Time to nominate community heroes



Nominations are now open for The Chair’s Community Awards 2018. If you know a volunteer or group who has gone the extra mile to help your community, please nominate them using the forms available on this page by 5th January.

Suggested areas of contribution include community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy and being a good neighbour. The chosen nominees will be notified in February and invited to a prestigious awards evening on 7 March to receive their awards. The Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter, attends the awards ceremony and selects an individual from the winners to receive a special Lord Lieutenant’s Award.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

No online access to South Glos Council this weekend - Library Open Access also affected

Due to essential electrical work all of South Glos Council's online forms will be unavailable this weekend from 6pm on Friday 17 November until 4pm on Sunday 19 November 2017.

What's more, Open Access will not be available in libraries from Friday evening until Monday morning. IT services will also not be available in libraries in staffed opening hours. South Glos apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Volunteers start major tree planting programme at Wapley Bushes


Wapley Bushes Conservation Group is carrying out a major programme of tree planting this autumn and winter, to deal with the threat of Ash Dieback Disease. This disease is carried by a fungus. Mature trees are the most affected - they lose their leaves and the crown dies back. It's within a dozen miles of Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. If something isn't done now, within twenty years we will have lost all the high canopy in Wapley Woods.
The Conservation Group has come up with a scheme to plant other large native species throughout the woodland. This season they will be planting 90 to 100 trees - Oak, Lime, Black Poplar, Whitebeam and Wild Service trees. They are all native to the West of England area.

Hopefully members of the local community will come along and help preserve this wonderful woodland. Families with children are particularly welcome - it's really planting for the future. The Conservation Group supply the trees, the tools and gloves, people just need to wear wellies or stout footwear.
The first planting morning will be at 10.00 am on Saturday 18 November at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve, opposite the road entrance to Cherington, BS37 8US. There will also be planting sessions on Sunday 18 February and Saturday 18 March. The trees and preparation work are being financed by the landowners, Dodington Parish Council.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Special Educational Needs and Disability advice

Supportive Parents provides the Special Educational Needs & Disability Information, Advice and Support (SENDIAS) Service in South Gloucestershire, as well as Bristol and North Somerset.  They are an independent organisation offering free, confidential and impartial advice to parents, children or any young person aged 16 – 25, about SEND. You can find out more on their website.

Friday, 10 November 2017

Network Rail update - M4 motorway NOT closed this weekend, but Bristol Parkway still closed

Network Rail have told us:

"Due to the progress made with our electrification work on the M4 Blue Bridge last weekend, the motorway will not be closed at Junction 19 this weekend (11/12 November) as previously planned.

We will keep you informed of progress with our upgrade works around the Bristol Parkway area which continue this weekend (11/12) and next (18/19) with no trains calling at the station. Please check before you travel at gwr.com/bristol2017 or crosscountrytrains.co.uk"

So the M4 motorway will be open this weekend, but Bristol Parkway Station will still be closed.


Worried about someone sleeping rough?

If you are worried about someone sleeping rough, you can use Streetlink to inform the local council of your concerns. They can then visit the rough sleeper to offer them support and try to help them find accommodation.

You will also find advice on Streetlink's site about where to find help for someone at risk of becoming homeless.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Have your say on access to GPs

Concerns were raised at a recent meeting of the Health Scrutiny Committee that some people find it more difficult than others to access GP and other healthcare services. This could depend on appointment booking systems, public transport, how rural the area they live in is and how close they are to a boundary with another council area.

Healthwatch has agreed to undertake a piece of research on the committee's behalf to find out people’s experiences of accessing GP services. You can share your experiences at:

http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/tcfsurveyhominoid/your-gp-healthwatch-sglos/

If you would like to discuss the survey with someone from Healthwatch, please call 01454 543 402.

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Make the A46 temporary traffic lights permanent

Cllr Claire Young at the Tormarton junction

Temporary traffic lights have been installed on the A46 at the Tormarton junction while the Bromley Heath viaduct works are being carried out. Local people have told us that overall these have improved safety but the lights will be removed once the viaduct works are complete.

We believe that a permanent solution is needed. We are calling on the council to work with Highways England to resolve any concerns about the manoeuvres allowed and traffic building up on the J18 roundabout so that permanent traffic lights can be installed. If you agree, please sign our petition.

Dodington Parish Council has also written to South Glos asking for these lights to be made permanent. They have also asked for traffic lights at the Nibley Lane bridge - the temporary lights there made things a lot easier for local drivers.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Reminder - Owl Prowl at Wapley Bushes this Friday

Justa  reminder that the Owl Prowl at Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve, which had to be postponed last month due to high winds, will take place this Friday 10 November at 7 pm.

This Owl Prowl will be led by well-known local expert Ian McGuire. Ian's owl prowls are a night-time walk in woodlands for all the family where you can learn about British owls through his iPad video presentations and through the evening he will be calling wild tawny owls in the hope that one will call back and possibly fly in for everyone to view.

Owl prowls are suitable for all age groups from 5 to 95 and usually involve a limited amount of walking. They are fun and fascinating and will leave participants much more aware of how amazing owls are and what they need to survive in the wild.

No captive owls are used at this event but Ian's success rate for calling in wild owls is approximately 60% so the anticipation of seeing a wild one is always very great. We're hoping that the tawny owls we saw last time on the edge of Wapley Common may put in an appearance once again.

Meet 7 pm at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve. Please wear sensible footwear and bring a torch.
(Organised by Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, sponsored by South Gloucestershire Council)

Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Dodington Community Engagement Forum 16 November

The Community Engagement Forum will be meeting 7 pm – 9 pm on 16 November at Poole Court, Poole Court Drive, Yate BS37 5PP.

This is your chance to talk directly to local Police and Fire and Rescue representatives, and Town/Parish and South Glos Councillors about issues of local concern.

There will also be a presentation about the work done by Abbotswood Action Group and the progress made in the Abbotswood area.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Speaking out on housing plans

Last Monday plans for 2,600 homes at Yate and Chipping Sodbury and 1,800 at Coalpit Heath were discussed by the West of England Joint Committee in Bath. Local councillors Claire Young and Pat Hockey attended, with Claire speaking out on the plans. Despite the concerns raised, and despite both the Leader of North Somerset and the Mayor of Bristol saying they hadn't had time to read the document, the West of England leaders voted to recommend the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) to the four councils.

The BBC asked if anyone would be available for filming the next day in Coalpit Heath. They were expecting one or two people and were astonished by the crowd that turned out at such short notice. They were left in no doubt about the level of concern and while they were there also filmed the danger signs around the old mine shaft that has been fenced off in the corner of the field.

The Joint Spatial Plan will be considered by the South Glos Cabinet at 2pm today and then by all councillors at a meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 8th November in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

If South Glos and the other three councils all approve the JSP for consultation, you will be able to have your say from 22nd November to 10th January. We'll give you more information on how to do this when the consultation starts. 

Consultation on 30 mph limit for Frampton Cotterell

Many drivers from our area go through Frampton Cotterell on their way to and from Bristol. At the moment the stretch of the B4058 Bristol Road from the Church Road traffic lights almost to the Swan is 40 mph.

The proposal is to reduce the speed limit to 30 mph in order to cut the number of accidents. You can see the information and respond to the consultation here - it's open until 17th November.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Be Winter Ready - some easy advice


Be Winter Ready is a national campaign to encourage people to prepare in case they experience a power cut or gas emergency this winter.

Here's some simple advice:
  • Know your free emergency numbers: In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999.
  • Prepare your home: Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Register as a vulnerable customer: Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. If you live in the Midlands, South West or South Wales you can register with Wester Power Distribution here. If you live in a different area you can contact your gas or electricity network to find out more. Visit www.energynetworks.org to find out who your network operator is. 
  • Keep your eyes open: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, please check on your neighbours. 

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Please vote for Kingsgate Park!




Kingsgate Park in Yate has been nominated as Fields in Trust's UK's Best Park, and it's now up to the public to vote! Voting is open until this Friday, 3rd November.

Please vote here: www.fieldsintrust.org/bestpark/southwest


Thank you to Yate Town Council and Friends of Kingsgate Park for keeping our park tidy, vibrant and a key asset that's enjoyed by all the community.

Night time closures of Nibley Lane from 6 November

For five nights from 6th November, Nibley Lane between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road will be closed between 9.00 pm and 6.30 am for roadworks.