Thursday, 27 December 2018

Liberal Democrat campaigners call for action on New Year’s buses to Southmead Hospital

The Leader of South Gloucestershire’s Liberal Democrat councillors, Claire Young, has written to local First Bus managing director James Freeman calling on him to review his decision not to lay on any buses to Southmead from Yate or Thornbury on New Year’s Day. A decision that could leave hospital staff and those visiting patients high and dry.

Claire Young said: “Initially First said that they were not going to run any Yate or Thornbury buses at all on New Year’s Day, which would have been a ludicrous situation. Thankfully First relented after we and others wrote to express our concern. There is now at least a basic service with a few buses running to Bristol and back but it is still far from adequate. The lack of a direct service to Southmead is a real worry. This will mean that residents will struggle to visit sick loved ones on New Year’s Day, and hospital staff who usually take the bus will be left out of pocket. I wrote again to James Freeman asking him to address this problem.”   

North Yate Lib Dem councillor Ian Blair said: “I raised this issue with the Conservative Executive Member for Transport Cllr Colin Hunt at last week’s meeting of Council. He said that his hands are tied because he has no control over the level of service provided by operators. This is untrue. First is subsidised by the council to provide bus services on bank holidays, with the level of service expected being set out in the contract. It is ridiculous if the council has neglected to make New Year’s Day subject to that contract. Once again the Conservatives have shown that they don’t care about Yate residents or bus users.”

Local resident Paul Hulbert said:  "I was astonished to hear that there weren't going to be any local buses on New Year's Day. I am pleased that there will now be a basic service into Bristol, but it's very disappointing that there still won't be any direct buses from Yate to Southmead Hospital for staff or visitors. Let's hope that First Bus and South Glos Council get their act together for future bank holidays."

Sunday, 23 December 2018

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from your local Focus team!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone at your local Liberal Democrat Focus Team!

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Lib Dem Louise Harris WINS South Glos Dodington ward by-election

Congratulations to Louise Harris, who has won the South Glos by-election for the Dodington ward by a very convincing margin, after a very hard-fought campaign.

The full results are as follows:
  • HARRIS Louise - Liberal Democrat Focus Team    693 votes (49.3%)
  • LIVERMORE Ian - Conservative    554 votes (39.4%)
  • MALONE John - Labour    158 votes (11.2%)

New Tory election tactic - distracting drivers near accident sites

Local residents have complained to the police about Conservative volunteers in the Dodington by-election distracting traffic near the sites of road traffic fatalities during this morning's rush hour.

One resident said "There was a group of people waving Conservative banners at passing cars, right on the busy junction opposite the entrance to the Centre (one of the polling stations). They're being a real nuisance distraction to drivers"

This was along the road from a recent road traffic fatality, and not far from where the Tory candidate and the Tory MP stood for a road safety publicity photo the other day:

What's more, they were also waving banners in the middle of the dual carriageway near the other polling station - not very far from where another person was killed in a road accident a couple of years ago.

Is it a case of "Do what I say, not what I do?"

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

South Glos by-election radio interview - Tory fails to show up

Radio Bristol did a live broadcast from Abbotswood this morning about the by-election for the South Glos by-election for the Dodington seat (Shire Way and Abbotswood areas). 

The Tory candidate was invited but didn't turn up - the interviewer speculated that possibly the Conservative didn't want to answer searching questions.

Liberal Democrat Focus Team candidate Louise Harris came over very well. The Labour candidate took part too. There was a good discussion about what opposition councillors can achieve, and Louise made some very good points.

You can hear these two candidates on BBC Radio Bristol's website - the interview was on the Emma Britton show (31/10/2018) starting at about 2 hours 7 minutes in.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Please support Yate Men's Shed by voting for Aviva funding

Yate Men's Shed has applied to the Aviva Community Fund for a storage container and needs your help! If you haven't already voted please have a go and encourage your colleagues, friends and family.

Anyone can vote, but you'll need to register with Aviva first. You will then get 10 votes in total, and you can cast all ten of them for YMS if you choose to do so. If YMS win this £1,000 Aviva grant, they plan to use it to erect a materials storage shed on their site. Somewhere to store their wood, metal, fixings and other supplies which will be very handy for their projects.

You can vote for the project now here

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Reporting graffiti

 South Glos Council has confirmed its policy on removing graffiti:
  • All graffiti should be reported to the Council
  • Graffiti on public property will be removed in 3 working days
  • Offensive/hate crime graffiti is removed within 1 day unless police investigations are ongoing
  • Graffiti can be reported online here
  • Graffiti on private property is the responsibility of the property owner
  • The Council will report graffiti on utility boxes (phone, electricity etc) to the utility provider 
But if they DON'T deal with it in the 3 days / 1 day after you've reported it, please let your nearest Focus Team member know (see list here)

Friday, 26 October 2018

Rail closures 27 October to 18 November

Network Rail will be doubling the tracks between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood over the next few weeks, which will mean that from Saturday 27 October to Sunday 18 November buses will replace trains between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway, and some services will be diverted.

Please check with National Rail Enquiries before you travel how your journey will be affected.

Sundridge Park roadworks mean bus diversions

As we previously told you, the Sundridge Park roadworks are taking place from Monday 29th October until Tuesday 6th November, from 8 am until 5 pm each weekday (except that on the days that clash with school term, the work will take place from 9.30 am until 5.30 pm)

This will affect the Y1, Y2, 967 and 620 bus services.

The Y1 and Y2 buses will travel along St Briavels Drive and then turn right onto Sundridge Park, left onto Rodford Way and left into Scott Way and vice versa.  There will be temporary bus stops in Scott Way for both directions, which will only be in operation during the road closure.

This has a very strange effect at one bus stop on Rodford Way. If you're planning to catch a bus from the stop near Dovecote, please CHECK THAT IT'S GOING TO THE RIGHT DESTINATION. As far as we can see, buses going both ways will be stopping at the same bus stop!

The 967 school bus and the 620 Old Sodbury to Bath bus will also use Scott Way instead of Sundridge Park.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

South Glos By-Election - Shire Way, Rodford Way and Abbotswood areas

Louise Harris with Lib Dem Focus Team colleagues
If you live in the Shire Way, Rodford Way or Abbotswood areas, it won't have escaped your notice that there is a by-election for the South Glos Dodington Ward seat following the sad death of Cllr Gloria Stephen. The election will be held on Thursday 1st November, but postal vote forms have already been sent out.

The Lib Dem Focus Team candidate is Louise Harris, who grew up locally after being born in an RAF hospital where her father was serving. She shares our problems, like finding an affordable home, travelling to work and making sure our families get a fair deal.

Louise brings with her a wealth of experience. Professionally she is a front line worker in disability charities, and she is involved in lots of voluntary groups such as Fair Trade and Abbotswood Action Group. She is an unpaid councillor on Dodington Parish Council.

So what are the election issues? The main points seem to be:
  • The BIG problems with the bus services, due to the new timetables and lack of drivers, compounded by the rail closures needing replacement buses
  • Conservative cuts - both by South Glos and the Government - affecting local services such as police, schools, youth work and sports facilities
  • The effect of Conservative austerity on our local community, for example the number of families who have to use the Food Bank and the growing potholes on our roads
  • Speeding on many of our local roads
  • Conservative-controlled South Glos Council refusing to let developers' money due to the Abbotswood area to be spent on what local residents really need
There are three candidates. Labour have never won a South Glos seat ANYWHERE near here. The realistic choice is between hard-working Lib Dem Louise Harris - backed up by the Focus Team, with a proven track record of getting things done for local people, and a Conservative that almost nobody locally has ever heard of, who would just vote the way he's told, rather than sticking up for what local people want and need.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

New dates for Sundridge Park roadworks

The postponed roadworks on Sundridge Park, Yate have been rescheduled for Monday 29th October until Tuesday 6th November 2018, 8 am until 5 pm each day.

On the days that clash with school term, the work will take place from 9.30 am until 5.30 pm.

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Need to get to work, doctor or hospital by bus?

Paul Hulbert and Louise Harris at Yate Bus Station
The recent changes in the bus services have improved things for some people, but made them worse for others. For example, the Y1 bus now goes straight down the M32, which has made the service quicker and more reliable. BUT we still have to get to Yate Shopping Centre or Chipping Sodbury to get the bus to Southmead, AND there are fewer services to Frenchay and Downend.

Strangely the Downend issue is causing a particular problem for some patients of the Abbotswood medical surgery, because they are asking some of their patients to travel to their Downend branch to see a GP. This is fine if you have your own transport, but on the bus it's now TWO buses with a wait in between. And you STILL need two buses to get to Southmead or the East Fringe employment area from a lot of our town.

What's more if you're using a Diamond card to do one of these double journeys, South Glos Council is now being charged for 2 trips each way rather than one.

We've started a petition for the south of the town saying "We want a better bus service from Shire Way, The Birds and Abbotswood to Downend Surgery, Southmead Hospital and jobs on the East Fringe" - you can click here to sign it.

Of course if you live in another part of the town you may have different problems with the new services - please get in touch with Louise Harris.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Tern Inn appeal withdrawn - but what next?

Focus Team members Tony Davis, Louise Harris
and Paul Hulbert at the Tern Inn

Great news - the developers have withdrawn their appeal, so their plan to demolish the Tern Inn pub and build flats right across the car park is now dead in the water.

But does this mean that we've won? Not necessarily. It just means that the developers reckon that they have no chance of getting their CURRENT plan approved.

They might submit a slightly revised planning application, so that the whole process has to start again. They might "land bank" the site for a few years and see what the economic situation is like then. Or they might even be willing to sell the site to the community or a brewery.

So we need to wait and watch to see what the developers do next. Whatever happens, the Focus Team will continue to support all the hard work being put in by the Birds Resident Group and Dodington Parish Council on behalf of our community.

If you're on Facebook you can follow the Birds Resident Group here.

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

In memory of Gloria Stephen

As many of our readers will have heard from other sources, long-standing councillor Gloria Stephen died recently after a long illness. Gloria served as a Dodington Parish Councillor for 23 years, becoming Chairman of the Council. More recently she joined South Gloucestershire Council as a Councillor for the Dodington Ward.

Gloria was active within the community for many years, her particular passions being young people and the environment. She was a Guide Leader and a Governor of Raysfield Infants School. She was a committee member of the Southwold Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust, and volunteered regularly on work sessions at Wapley Bushes and other local conservation sites. Gloria was also the Chair of the Tourist Information Centre, and served on many other groups.

Gloria's funeral will be held at Westerleigh Crematorium next Monday, 24 September, at 2.45 pm.

Our thoughts are with her husband Malcolm and their family.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Work starts to extend changing rooms at Sunnyside

Lib Dem Focus Team Councillors, Yate Town Council staff and contractors celebrating work starting work on extending the changing rooms for all the sports users of Sunnyside Lane and Yate Common using grants they worked hard to get.

Friday, 31 August 2018

Railway works - trains to be cancelled, some disturbance for neighbours

Network Rail will shortly be testing and adjusting the overhead electrification equipment they have already installed. They will also be carrying out track and drainage surveys in and around Chipping Sodbury tunnel.

There will be a big impact on train services - Bristol Parkway will be closed from Saturday 15 September until the morning of Sunday 7 October, and then again on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 October. Buses will be available at Parkway to take passengers to nearby stations. When the railway is closed some trains are diverted, and buses will replace trains on certain routes. Further information can be found here and here

Disturbance for neighbours

Between Saturday 15 September and Sunday 7 October 2018 Network Rail will be working day and night, seven days a week on the railway near us, and again over the weekend of Saturday 13 to Sunday 14 October. This work will take place while the railway line between Wootton Bassett Junction and Bristol Parkway is closed.

There will be vehicles and staff on the track across the route over the three weeks. When the teams are working, Network Rail say that you may experience some disturbance but the work is not especially noisy, though all railway vehicles will sound their horns before moving to ensure the safety of staff working on the line.

They will be using their existing compounds and track access points around the clock and you will notice more activity at these sites - the Shire Way access point is one of these.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

First Bus launches new bus services for Yate

Local Liberal Democrat Focus Team members joined First Bus this morning at the publicity launch for the new "South Glos Lynx" services starting on 2nd September. The distinctive bright yellow buses, numbered Y1 to Y6, will take contactless payments - hence the "Ricardo" character in the photo.

Strangely quite a few non-local Conservatives turned up for the launch. However First Bus confirmed again this morning that they gave us the Cranleigh Court bus back because of a meeting with Yate Town Council, nothing to do with the Tory MP who as usual is trying to claim all the credit.

All the timetables are available from First Bus's South Glos Lynx web page which also explains how the new routes relate to the old ones.

You can also download their very useful leaflet with maps and timetables

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Could YOU be a school governor?

From September 2018 Yate Secondary Academy and Woodlands Primary School will be operating as two individual schools, and each school will have its own local governing body – and they are looking for people to become school governors. Here is their description of the role:

"Yate and Woodlands are happy, energetic, welcoming and inclusive schools; Woodlands has a nursery and Yate has a thriving sixth form, and there is a Hearing Impaired Resource Base for students from 3 to 19. Having joined the Greenshaw Learning Trust in September 2017 as an all-through school, rapid improvements in behaviour and the quality of teaching are significantly improving outcomes, giving all our students a better chance of success"

You can find out more on the school website:

"Each school in the Greenshaw Learning Trust is led by its own leadership team and local governing body and strong governance is key to the schools’ success – providing strategic leadership, oversight of financial and academic performance, and challenge and support for the headteacher and leadership team.

Being a school governor is an important and rewarding role. School governors apply their knowledge and skills to ensure their school does the best for all its pupils and its local community, learn about aspects of education and gain experience that will benefit other parts of their life. No particular qualifications are required and support and training is provided.

The local governing body normally meets at least six times per year and governors are asked to take on particular tasks including serving on ad-hoc committees, visiting the school and meeting with members of staff, and taking part in training and development activities.

We want our governing bodies to reflect the diversity of their school population and local community and we would welcome interest from people of all ages and backgrounds.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in joining us as a school governor, please find further information and complete and return the form at: or contact Susanne Wicks, Head of Clerking at
The Greenshaw Learning Trust is successfully supporting and improving primary and secondary schools in Gloucestershire, Bracknell Forest, Sutton and Croydon – see the Trust website:"

Monday, 13 August 2018

82 bus - campaign for real time info

Thank you to everyone who has got in touch about 82 bus reliability problems since we alerted you in June to the fact that it is sometimes missing out the Chipping Sodbury section.

At a face-to-face meeting last week your Focus Team councillors challenged First Bus bosses about this failure. They said that because the route goes through a number of traffic hot spots it is vulnerable to getting badly delayed and if that happens they cut out Chipping Sodbury and turn round at Yate.

When we asked what happens to people waiting at the Clock Tower, their reply was that the sign will switch to cancelled. So we explained there is no real time information sign there, to which their answer was that people could check their app or website! We suggested they get real - not everyone has a smart phone or knows how to use their app.

Focus Team Cllr Phil O'Rourke, pictured below, is campaigning to get real time information at the Clock Tower. That way if a bus is running so late it is going to be turned round at Yate, people can decide if it is better to walk down to Yate or catch another bus instead. First Bus are refusing to install a new real time sign at a cost of about £7k - we have suggested moving one from a stop where there are no longer any buses.

Phil O'Rourke, Claire Young and Ben Nutland
campaigning for the return of the 82 bus to
Chipping Sodbury in 2016

Friday, 10 August 2018

Success - bus campaign victory!

Great news - First Bus have listened to the concerns your Focus Team councillors raised when we met them this week and have had a rethink. The Cranleigh Court and North Road areas, which were left high and dry by the previous plans, will have a bus to Bristol.

The revised Y3 service will go along Iron Acton Way to the Brimsham traffic lights, turn into Greenways Road and then head down Cranleigh Court Road to Station Road on its way to the town centre.

Thanks to all the local residents who got involved - it's your voices that make the difference. We’ve won round one of the battle because you told us your concerns and gave us the evidence and we got in quickly to put the case to First Bus.

The fight goes on to help those living in the Halifax Road and Wellington Road area.

Save our bus - sign our petition!

Changes to the 46 and X46 buses, which many residents only heard about when we told them here and in Focus, will leave many people in North Yate without a service to Bristol.

As we reported last week, the X46 is being replaced by the Y3 and the 46 by the Y4. Although the Y services are better for some, they cut out the following parts of the old routes:

  • Cranleigh Court Road and Greenways Road from the Cranleigh Court to Church Road junctions
  • Iron Acton Way, Goose Green Way, Greenways Road from the western Goose Green Way junction to the Halifax Road junction, Halifax Road and Wellington Road from there to Goose Green Way.

Effectively First Bus are cutting services to parts of Yate so they can improve them for the Metro Mayor's village of Winterbourne!

We know many rely on this service, so we’re trying to save it. Please sign our petition at and share it with other bus users who stand to lose out.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

All change on the buses

New high speed buses with special Yate numbers are being introduced from 2 September. The numbers change, and the times will change slightly - so you need to check YOUR journey carefully. Most of it is rebadging, so all the Yate buses have a Y number, making them easier to find.

But tucked in there are some significant changes. In particular, Cranleigh Court and Wellington Road areas lose the 46/X46 route - the route will exist, but it won’t go through Cranleigh Court / Halifax/Wellington Road. Nearest bus stops will be Church Road or Station Road. For many people it looks like their nearest stop will be in Randolph Avenue – with no shelter although the stop opposite that will no longer be served has a shelter.
  • Y1 - Every 30 minutes Mon - Sat (hourly on Sundays) via M32 high speed - old 47 route around Yate/Sodbury. In Bristol it goes to the BRI and the Centre, but not Bristol Bus Station. All other Bristol services go to the Bus Station.
  • Y2 - Hourly 7 days a week  on the old 47 route evenings, but day time it will start at Yate shopping centre.
  • Y3 - Hourly Mon to Sat, same route as old X46 but it will come into Yate along Station Road and do a one way route around Brimsham Park.
  • Y4 - Hourly 7 days a week same as old 46 as far as Yate Station, but will not serve Cranleigh Court Rd / Greenways Rd  area - it will go direct to Yate Bus Station  (so the 202 and 622 will be the only buses in Cranleigh Court)
  • Y5 - Hourly Mon to Sat (2 hourly on Sundays) on same route as old X49.
  • Y6 - Hourly Mon to Sat (2 hourly on Sundays) on the same route as old 82 

Please encourage people who use the buses to check their journeys and tell Ian Blair (, tel 864099) about any other problems e.g. changes of times or precise routes. The new timetables are available here - just type in the new "Y" route number, click Submit, then click the "Display, Download and Print" button.

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Sundridge Park resurfacing delayed until October

South Glos have said: "Unfortunately, we have had to postpone these resurfacing works.
I anticipate that they will be rearranged for the school holidays in October and will send out a confirmation letter nearer the time"

We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, 22 July 2018

Works near Chedworth - rail clearup has started

The Network Rail works next to Chedworth ground to a halt a while ago when the main contractors Carillion went into bankruptcy. The good news is that Network Rail's new contractor is now on site for the remaining 4 weeks  or so of work, so we hope to see an improvement there soon.

On the project to electrify the main line, the Besom Lane temporary compound just across the footbridge from Shire Way is expected to remain until February 2019.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Wickwar Road to be closed 23 July to 4 August

More road works... A length of the B4060, the main road between Wickwar and Chipping Sodbury, will be closed from 23 July until 4 August 2018.

Drainage works will be taking place from 700m south of the junction with Frith Lane, heading 50 metres towards Chipping Sodbury.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Part of Sundridge Park to be closed for roadworks in August

Update 24/07/2018: South Glos say "Unfortunately, we have had to postpone these resurfacing works. I anticipate that they will be rearranged for the school holidays in October and will send out a confirmation letter nearer the time" - We'll keep you posted.

South Glos has advised that they will be resurfacing the length of Sundridge Park from the Kennedy Way junction with Kennedy Way southwards for 410 metres. That's down to the St Paul's School and yate International Academy entrances. Work should start around 6th August and take 10 days, working from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm.

The notice officially says that it will be in force "from the 6 August 2018 for a maximum period of eighteen months" but in practice the road will only be closed when the signs are in position.

What's more, the length of Kennedy Way from the Lidl junction to the Courtside Surgery junction will be closed for one night 8 pm to 6 am some time from 3 August, again for resurfacing.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Major roadworks in Winterbourne coming up

South Glos Council will be carrying out road drainage repairs and improvements on the B4058, High Street, Winterbourne, for up to 6 months from Monday July 23rd. There will be two-way traffic lights and partial road closures that are bound to have a significant effect on this busy commuter route.

Most of the time there will just be temporary traffic signals, but sometimes they will actually have to close the road, in which case diversions will be signed.

The aim is to stop the periodic flooding that happens there.

South Glos are holding a drop-in this Wednesday, 11 July, from 3 to 6 pm at Winterbourne and District Community Association, Watleys End Road.

Shire Way traffic scheme consultation

If you've driven down Shire Way in the last few days you may have seen the yellow "Proposed traffic scheme consultation" signs, but even if you've looked on the South Glos consultation web page it's not very easy to find.

It's actually listed as “Yate Spur - Link to Central Yate” because it's to do with improving the access to the Yate Spur signed cycle route. The aim is to enhance safety for cyclists and encourage additional non-motorised journeys.

The proposal is to put two advisory cycle lanes, each 1.5 metres wide, down Shire Way from the Rodford Way junction to the zebra crossing that leads to Sargeant's Farm Bridge and the path and cycle track across Wapley Common.

Under this plan, the space for the cycle lanes would be freed up by removing the speed-restricting build-outs and the centre line. There would also be a short diagonal cycle path to the gate next to zebra crossing, so that cyclists and pedestrians would meet at the gateway.

The consultation is only open until 25 July, so please could people make their views known to South Glos.Here are a few things to think about:
  • If you're a local motorist, do you think that removing the build-outs would increase traffic speeds on Shire Way? Would removing the centre line increase road hazards?
  • If you're a cyclist, would the proposed arrangement make you feel any safer?
  • If you walk across to Wapley, would you want cyclists and pedestrians coming together right on the gateway, next to the notice boards?
  • If you're a local resident, can you see parking problems if the cycle lanes are installed on this stretch, bearing in mind that there have been efforts to stop people parking on the grass?
 You can get direct to the consultation by clicking on this link

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Ready Steady Go for Yate Town Council's inclusive athletics project

Signing on the dotted line: Councillor Chris Willmore (chair of the Project Steering Group),
is pictured seated next to Councillor Karl Tomasin (vice-chair of the Project Steering Group),
with Councillors Mike Drew, John Serle and Tony Davis behind (from left – right).
Yate Town Council is delighted to confirm that they have signed and sealed legal agreements with South Gloucestershire Council so that its project to enhance and refurbish the track and field facilities at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC) can start.

The development of the new track and field facilities at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex is scheduled to start on 9th July 2018 and will continue over the next few months.

Councillor Chris Willmore, the Yate Town Council Chair of the Project Steering Group stated:
"This is a wonderful step forward for sport in Yate.  It will give us modern athletics facilities that will last a generation.  It has been designed so para-athletes will have equal access, and includes innovative sports such as target sprint.  We thank the volunteers at YOSC who run the facility, Yate Athletics Club, the kind donors and governing bodies who have made this project possible.  We are delighted that Sodbury & Yate Business Association has adopted YOSC Ltd as their charity of the year, bringing a whole range of local businesses in to helping all the sports at YOSC, including boxing, football, hockey, rugby and walking football.”

Yate Town Council would also like to acknowledge a very generous donation received from an anonymous donor towards the project in the sum of £50,000.  The additional money will enable the project to provide enhanced facilities at the site.

The remainder of the funding for the replacement and enhancement project was secured by Yate Town Council through external funding and grants.

For further information please contact Yate Town Council via email or phone 01454 866506.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Beware grass fire risk

Beware of very high fire risk at present - please do NOT light fires, BBQs etc on grassland areas. This was a burnt-out area today near Shire Way, Yate.

Monday, 2 July 2018

Louise Harris joins Dodington Parish Council

Liberal Democrat Focus Team member Louise Harris has been co-opted to fill a vacancy on Dodington Parish Council. She will be representing the North West Ward, which covers the Shire Way and the south side of Rodford Way.

Louise has a lot of council experience, having previously been an elected member in London and Hampshire.  She grew up in the Bristol area and moved back last year.  Louise works for a charity that supports adults with learning disabilities. She is a committee member of Abbotswood Action Group and Chair of Yate Fairtrade.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch - 800 years and a time capsule!

This year’s Chipping Sodbury Big Lunch event will be exactly on the 800th anniversary of Chipping Sodbury being granted a Market Charter by King Henry III. This allowed William Crassus, the Lord of the Manor, to hold the first market in Chipping Sodbury in 1218.

The 2018 Big Lunch will be medieval themed and for this year only is taking place in August instead of June. It will be held on Sunday, August 12th 2018 from 12 noon to 6 pm.

Lots of medieval themed entertainment is planned including maypole dancing, a special medieval play performed by Sodbury Players, stocks, local bands and dance groups, plus much more to be announced! There will be a Knights and Princesses fancy dress competition for children.

It is planned to bury a time capsule on the day, sealed to be opened in 100 years. All businesses, groups, charities, organisations, schools and nurseries based in the town are invited to contribute items to the capsule which will be buried at the Millennium Garden. The aim is to provide a snapshot in time of life in Chipping Sodbury in 2018.

If you would like more information please email

Items being included in the capsule will be displayed at the Big Lunch on 12th August. If anyone would like to help cover the costs of this historic project please get in touch.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Autumn Brook - problems with play areas and open spaces

Cllr Mike Drew has held an initial meeting with residents in the new Autumn Brook development. They are paying a fee to a management company for maintaining the play areas and open spaces, but they're not being looked after properly.

All your Yate Councillors have pressed for these areas to be handed over to the Town Council and the management fee to be scrapped. they believe that you should not be treated any different to the rest of the Town where the Town Council manages the play areas and parks.

If you think you're not getting value for money, please email Mike Drew on or phone him on 07966 228864.

There's a useful Facebook Page for Autumn Brook

Thursday, 14 June 2018

New timetable for 82 Southmead bus - your views please

The new timetable for the 82 bus has now been in place for a few weeks. Although the route has been extended to Chipping Sodbury, we've heard that from time to time late-running buses have turned round at Yate and left out the Sodbury part of the route.

Has this happened to you? How good have the buses been at keeping to time?

Also what do you feel about the Sunday service, which runs every two hours, and only comes as far as Yate?

If you're a staff member, how does the new timetable suit you?

Please let Claire Young have your feedback.

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Tern Inn - date set for Planning Inquiry - UPDATED

Many thanks to everyone who helped with the Heron Way traffic count (and kept us topped up with tea and coffee!)

This information is being analysed at the moment and will be passed on to the Government's Planning Inspector who is considering the plan to replace the pub and the car park with flats, with all the traffic chaos that will bring.

The Planning Enquiry will have a public hearing - it won't just be done on documents.

UPDATE: The hearing has been delayed, and we expect the hearing to be held at a local venue around 20th November. As a result the date for comments has been extended to the 31st July 2018.

You can submit any other (factual) comments of your own between now and Tuesday 31 July 2018 at the Planning Inspectorate website - please note that this will be offline between 9pm and midnight on Wed 13 June.

You can follow the Save The Tern Inn Facebook page here

Monday, 11 June 2018

Works near Chedworth - less mud but rail clearup delayed

We're glad to see that there is visibly less mud on Westerleigh Road from the tipping at Beech Hill Farm. The road is generally being kept pretty clear, though there have been occasional lapses.

On the Chedworth side the Network Rail works are still at a standstill following main contractors Carillion going into bankruptcy. The good news is that Network Rail have appointed a contractor for the remaining 4 weeks work, so we hope to see an improvement there soon.

On the the project to electrify the main line, the Besom Lane temporary compound just across the footbridge from Shire Way is expected to remain until February 2019.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Changes proposed for B&Q roundabout

At long last South Glos has come forward with some draft proposals to improve Yate's confusing B&Q (salt truck) roundabout. Their plans show much clearer road markings and signs, plus two puffin crossings.

The plans are open for comment until Monday 2 July - you can see the details and comment here

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Tern Inn - please help with traffic count

Dodington Parish Council, in partnership with the Birds Resident Group, is organising a traffic count on Heron Way to help the case opposing flats being built on the Tern Inn and car park site. This would be presented as evidence for the planning enquiry that will be held in the next few months.

The count will take place over the week commencing next Monday, 4th June (Yes, we know that next week includes an Inset Day and the School Sports Day etc - this will give us a week with varying activities so that we have a realistic picture of traffic patterns on the road)

Community volunteers are needed to help with the traffic count. If you follow the Birds Resident Group on Facebook you can contact them there, or you can email Dodington Parish Council on

The survey will just count the number and types of vehicle (car, bus etc) - it won't be checking traffic speeds, and traffic won't be held up at all. Please just use the road as you normally would.

Update: Because we already have some data from South Glos, we just need to do a count on one day at peak times. The count will be this Wednesday (6 June) but you may see photos being taken at other times during the week.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Casualty filming big bang now happening on Thursday evening

*** UPDATED 10TH MAY ***
As many people will know, BBC TV's Casualty programme has been filming on the Road to Nowhere. The storyline involves a motorway crash and a petrol tanker blaze.

The BBC has now told local residents that the big bang(s) will now happen by 10.30 pm today Thursday, May 10th (Not Saturday 5th or Wednesday 9th - they're running behind schedule)

More details and photos of the set are on the Gazette website

If you want to watch an impressive video of the explosion, it's on the Gazette news item about the final night's filming.

Friday, 4 May 2018

Casualty filming big bang now happening on Thursday evening (delayed again)

*** UPDATED 10TH MAY ***
As many people will know, BBC TV's Casualty programme has been filming on the Road to Nowhere. The storyline involves a motorway crash and a petrol tanker blaze.

The BBC has now told local residents that the big bang(s) will now happen by 10.30 pm today Thursday, May 10th (Not Saturday 5th or Wednesday 9th - they're running behind schedule)

More details and photos of the set are on the Gazette website

Monday, 30 April 2018

Beating the Bounds on 6th May

Yate Town Council's annual Beating the Bounds walk takes place on Sunday 6 May - an ancient tradition revived as a family walk to explore Yate Common. Meet at the kissing gate opposite St Briavel's Drive at 3 pm.

Beating the Bounds is a traditional local activity for Rogation Sunday, walking round the boundaries of the Common so that people know what they hold as a community asset. In some places they beat the bounds of an entire parish, or ride round the boundaries of larger parishes.

The Common was nearly sold off for housing some years ago, but a determined campaign by local people (many now in the Focus Team) kept it in public ownership. This gives beating the bounds of the Common a special meaning. Please bring your children to show them what a lovely area we have just on the edge of the town.

Please come and join the walk. Dogs are welcome, and if you can bring a small child even better.  As long as they are don’t mind (too much) they get turned upside down at each kissing gate/corner and then given sweets, which is the local take on the original practice of beating them with sticks and then giving them a coin.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Reminder - have your say on Local Plan

Don't forget you only have until 30th April to have your say on South Gloucestershire Council's new Local Plan at

This is your chance to have your say on how up to 1,800 extra homes can be delivered in smaller developments in our rural areas. This is in addition to the thousands of new homes already proposed in large developments at Coalpit Heath, west and north west of Yate in Westerleigh and Iron Acton Parishes, Charfield, Thornbury and Buckover.

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Ring Road section closed this weekend

As the long-lasting works on the Bromley Heath Viaduct come to an end, the contraflow will be removed this weekend.

To do this safely there needs to be a full closure of the A4174 Ring Road in both directions from the Wick Wick roundabout to the Hambrook traffic lights from 8pm on Friday 27 April until 6am on Monday 30 April. Signed diversions will be in place.

Further information is available from

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Campaigners welcome new cycle path link

Cllrs Claire Young (left) and Paul Hulbert (centre)
joined cyclists Kate Kelliher, Denis Butterworth
and Bob Keen and rider Ann Fay on the new section
Campaigners who have been pushing for the completion of the "Yate Spur" cycle path are celebrating the opening of the latest section, which is designed for use by horse riders and walkers as well.

The off-road cycle path will eventually link Yate to the Bristol Bath Railway Path, opening up the cycle network to many more people. The latest section links Broad Lane, Westerleigh with the cycle crossing point on Westerleigh Road.

Paul Hulbert and Claire Young with
the cycle path petition in 2014

Cllr Claire Young, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Thornbury and Yate, started a petition in 2014 calling for the completion of the cycle path. She said:

"It is fantastic to see another important link in this route open. Hundreds of people showed their support for completing the path by signing our petition. When finished it will make commuting to work by bike an option for more people as well as being a great way for families to get out into the countryside."

"We will keep pushing for the final sections to be completed. The link from Dodmoor Crossing to the Nibley Lane junction and the section under the railway bridge by the Shire Way roundabout will bring some of the biggest safety improvements. I look forward to celebrating the opening of the finished path."

But there's disappointing news too. Paul Hulbert, chairman of the Joint Cycleway Group, said "The JCG has just been told that the next leg - from Broad Lane to Nibley Lane Corner - will cost more than is available in the current spending round because of drainage and access problems. We've asked South Glos to look at alternative ideas and funding sources. However we have been told that some small improvements we requested on the A432 Kennedy Way will be done this financial year"

Tuesday, 24 April 2018

Winter road gritting to be reduced? Have your say!

South Glos Council is consulting about which roads should be salted and gritted during icy weather - it's yet another "saving" they have identified to help cope with the reduction in grant funding received from central government.

They are proposing to reduce their fleet from 11 gritters to 9, and take 30 km of roads off the list that are salted when freezing conditions seem likely.

In our area Claypit Hill, part of Dodington Road, Gibbs Lane and Sodbury Lane would no longer be gritted.

Other nearby roads include Park lane and Perrinpit Road (Frampton Cotterell), Tormarton Road / Shire Hill / part of Marshfield Road and Ashwicke Road / St Martins Lane (Marshfield and Tormarton) and Old Down Road (Badminton)

The consultation is open until 18 June. There will be a drop-in sessions with StreetCare staff in the meeting room at Yate Outdoor Sports Complex, Broad Lane, Yate, Bristol, BS37 7LB, from 15:00 to 17:00 on Wednesday 2nd May.

You can read more and have your say on the consultation here

Monday, 23 April 2018

More buses for Chipping Sodbury - but Sunday 82 services reduced

Thank you once again to everyone who signed our 82 bus service petition. The great news is that both the 82 and X49 bus services will be extended to Chipping Sodbury from 27th May.

Our petition in autumn 2016 showed that hundreds of people wanted the 82 service to run to and from Chipping Sodbury again, so they wouldn't have to change buses in Yate. At the time we were told that wasn't possible, but we have kept up the fight. We are delighted that First Bus has finally listened.

Not all of the changes being made by First Bus are good news though. On Sundays, the 82 service drops to 2 hourly. Also the X49 will not serve Chipping Sodbury on Sundays or Bank Holidays. We will continue to campaign for better bus services for local people every day of the week.

You can check out the new timetables on the Traveline South West site

Friday, 20 April 2018

Have your say on housing for older people

With life expectancy increasing and people from the post-war "baby boom" reaching old age, the number of older people in South Gloucestershire is increasing. To help them plan for older people's housing needs, the council are carrying out a survey.

You can find out more and complete the survey via the consultation web page. The survey will run until the 27th April.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Viaduct re-opening but A46 traffic lights going

Claire Young at the traffic lights on the A46
 The good news is that the council is planning to re-open the Bromley Heath Viaduct over the weekend of 27th April.

The bad news is that this coming weekend they will be removing the temporary traffic lights on the A46 near Tormarton, at the junction with the B4465 Westerleigh Road, which were installed to manage traffic diverted by the viaduct works. To carry out the removal there will be four-way lights in operation from 8am on Saturday until 6pm on Sunday.

Many local people believe these lights have made the junction safer. With the help of all of you that have shared your views with us, we've already convinced the council to start looking into a permanent solution. If it's to happen though we need to make sure this is a high priority for funding. If you would like to see permanent traffic lights installed and you haven't already signed our petition, please do it today.

They couldn't have had the temporary lights operating during the Badminton Horse Trials anyway - this junction will be controlled by the police as part of their traffic management for the horse trials. 

The A46 junction lights have been put on South Glos's list for future investigation and assessment, but if a new scheme is put forward it won't be for ages. Please sign our petition to keep up the pressure.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Yate sports and play project grant successes

In the recent edition of Focus we promised to tell you more about the various projects that Yate Town Council has got a total of £1.4 million funding for. The success of these bids is due to a lot of local teamwork by the Focus Team councillors, Yate Town Council staff, volunteers, friends groups and residents. Here are the "main headlines":

Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC)

Yate Town Council successfully bid for funding to replace the track and athletics facilities. They raised £850,000 in total, from developers' "Section 106 money" to develop outdoor sporting facilities in the area), Sport England and by running their own fundraising campaigns. Construction begins week commencing 9th July 2018 to be completed by the end of September 2018.

Sunnyside upgrade

It wasn't very "Sunny" that day...
Yate Town Council ran a Public Consultation to find out views of local people about extending the Changing Rooms at Sunnyside Playing Field. They successfully bid for unding from S106 money to the sum of £128,205.73 to develop outdoor sporting facilities in the area. Construction will begin mid-June and be completed by 12th November 2018.
There will be two more changing rooms at Sunnyside Playing Fields which will enable:
• Female football to take place alongside male match fixtures;
• Provision of an adequate amount of changing rooms in relation to the amount of teams using the pitches and neighbouring Tennis Court facility;
• Improvement of disability access to the facility to promote inclusive sport taking place on site


Yate Town Council successfully bid for S106 funding of £89,535 to develop an informal play area on the green in Abbotswood Shopping Centre. This includes installing new equipment to expand the opportunity for children and families to engage in informal play. At the Abbotswood Apple Day the town council will give an update and talk with local people to discuss the overall plan. It is anticipated that the work will be completed by Spring 2019.

Kingsgate Park

Yate Town Council will get £72,380 of S106 money for Outdoor Exercise Equipment at Kingsgate Park. The park will benefit from the installation of Yate’s first and only set of Outdoor Exercise Equipment, which will provide a free opportunity for visitors aged 14+ to increase their fitness and strength whilst enjoying the surroundings of the Play Area and Lake. There will be a range of equipment aimed to exercise multiple areas of the body, including the ability to undertake cardio workouts at a range of levels.

A public consultation will take place at the Yate Rocks 2018 Festival and it is planned that construction will be completed by Spring 2019. This will be coordinated with Dodington Parish Council's project at Lilliput Park to avoid duplication of equipment.

Howard Lewis Park

Yate Town Council will received £49,628 of Section 106 money to develop the Howard Lewis Play Area. Following consultation with residents and pupils of the local school regarding ideas, extra equipment will be installed including a multi play unit, a basket swing and bike trail markings. Other areas of the park will also receive attention such as signage and landscaping. Construction to begin by
September 2018.

Brinsham Fields
Consultation is vital to getting funding on this scale!
Earlier this year, Yate Town Council began work on the project to enhance Brinsham Park. The works are part of a long term aspiration to improve the rest of the play area, in line with the new housing development taking place nearby. YTC were awarded £25,370 to develop and enhance the play area further. Construction is starting this month to create a fort, sandpit play area and an outdoor trampoline. The work should be be completed by the middle of May.

Member Award Funding (MAF)
The magnificent Ridge Sculpture was funded by MAF money

Yate Town Council has launched a ‘Yate Ageing Better Project’ to establish the needs of the fast
expanding ageing community of Yate. The Council is working together with Age Concern. The first steps have been to launch a new lunch club and Men in Sheds. They have been awarded MAF funding totalling £2156.73 to fund this project, which will be launched this summer with a public consultation to seek the opinions and experiences of those who are involved in existing groups and activities as well as identifying any additional interest and/or hobbies.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Mud success

Focus Team members Louise Harris, Claire Young and Paul Hulbert check
out the rocks they picked off the road - all big enough to crack windscreens
Good news for anyone driving on Westerleigh Road or walking along the pavements - the mud and stones are being cleared and tipping stopped until further notice.

Local people were horrified when tipping started at Beech Hill Farm three weeks ago, leaving the roads strewn with mud and debris. Claire Young raised it with the council's planning enforcement team and since then has been continuing to share residents' complaints with them and Street Care, the team that looks after our roads. She also wrote directly to Keyway, the firm carrying out the tipping.

When Claire spoke to the Head of Street Care last week he told her that Keyway had been told to get a sweeper and team of workers with shovels out that day to clear the roads, otherwise the council would do the job and charge them for it. Even by the time this picture was taken the situation was much improved and as you can see a sweeper was in action (we were photobombed!)

Now someone has been out with a pressure washer hosing down the pavements and a sweeper has been cleaning all the roads around and leading to the land fill. Keyway have confirmed to Claire that they have closed the tip until further notice - but there's a lot more landfill to be done.

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

Mud firm told to clear it up or pay

The company doing landfill at Beech Hill (the other side of the railway from Chedworth) and spreading all the mud up Westerleigh Road has been told to clear it up or pay for South Glos to do it.

After Focus Cllr Claire Young intervened, South Glos Streetcare put their own sweeper out on Friday and Keyway have been told to get a sweeper and a team out with shovels to clear the road today or the council will do it and re-charge them for it.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

Annual Abbotswood Clean Up Day Saturday 14 April - please come and help!

It's less than a week now until this year's Annual Abbotswood and local area Clean Up Day. Last year about 50 people, of all ages, took part and the weather was brilliant.

AAG does things across the whole local area (much more than just Abbotswood) and takes in an area of Yate from Witcombe to the West, Shire Way to the East and Badgeworth to the South as well as Abbotswood, Chargrove and Hardwicke.

As numbers and equipment allow people are encouraged to litter pick wherever you would like to in the area, or you can do do painting and planting near the shops and St. Nix Church. There will even be free refreshments to keep you going!

Maybe you could come with your street or nearest park in mind? We really hope to meet you there this coming Saturday, 14th April from 11 am until 3 pm.

Do please pass the invitation on too your friends, neighbours and family. Everyone is very welcome.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

New high speed bus service to improve Yate commuting

Focus Team members at the timetable display in Yate Bus station

A proposed new bus service looks set to bring major improvements to commuting from and to Yate. At the moment there are big gaps in the high speed direct services in the rush hour. There are slower services of course, but even they only go to Bristol Bus Station and don't serve the central business area, Harbourside and Clifton.

After discussions with Yate Town Council, First Bus are now planning a new route three times an hour and going as far as Colston Street in the City Centre. It will serve South Yate as well as the Shopping Centre.

In 2016 Yate Town Council produced the Let’s Get Yate Moving report, analysing the town's transport problems and proposing solutions. It was their report and the supporting evidence that convinced First Bus that the service would be viable.

“We have been campaigning on it ever since, lobbying to get parts of it implemented,” said Cllr Chris Willmore "And now we’ve won the battle of getting into Bristol”

First Bus have submitted their route application to the Traffic Commissioners, and all being well the new service will start in the summer. More details of the route, stops and timetable will be available closer to the time.

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

The part of Westerleigh Road alongside Chedworth is getting plastered with mud from the works on the other side of the railway arch at Beech Hill Farm. They are supposed to have wheel washers, but if they are there, they're not working very well! There's a road sweeper going up and down but it's not dealing with the situation properly.

There is mud all along the Chedworth pavement and on roads up to half a mile from the site. What's more they're not sticking to the agreed HGV routes - lorries are coming in down Westerleigh Road. Cllr Claire Young of the Focus Team has raised this with the relevant officers at South Gloucestershire Council, who have promised to investigate.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Kingsgate Park - congratulations and Easter Eggs!

Congratulations to Yate Town Council, their staff and all the volunteers of the Friends of Kingsgate Park! The park has been awarded FIVE STARS in South West in Bloom's Pride in Parks Award. It's a very well deserved recognition of all the hard work that has been put in.

Yate Town Council in conjunction with the Friends of Kingsgate Park will be holding the annual Easter Egg Extravaganza on Easter Monday from 10 am - until all the eggs are gone!

This is a free event, but please be aware the number of prizes available is limited. Judging of the Easter Bonnet Parade is at 11 am.

For more information, please contact Yate Town Council on 01454 866506.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

South Glos bus services to get upgrades to reduce emissions

The government’s Clean Bus Technology Fund has awarded major grant funding to South Glos Council which will be used to cut emissions and improve air quality.

The money will be used to retrofit emissions reductions technology on the 78/79 service buses that run from Thornbury to Bristol, via Filton and Cribbs Causeway, the X46 which runs from Yate to Bristol, via Winterbourne, and the 47 which runs from Chipping Sodbury to Bristol via Downend.

All 81 buses will be upgraded from Euro IV/V standard to Euro VI, which is the best environmental standard available and will cut the release of harmful Nitrous Oxides from these buses by up to 94 per cent.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Planning to travel by train at Easter?

Network Rail have warned us that they will be carrying out their largest ever resignalling project this Easter, from Friday 30 March to Tuesday 3 April, in and around Bristol Temple Meads. The aim is to improve reliability and increase capacity to meet growing demand. No trains will run to, through or from Bristol Temple Meads during this time.

While this is bad news for those planning to travel over Easter, they promise that in the long run it will mean fewer delays and faster journey times, and enable an increase in trains from 2019. Passengers will benefit from almost twice as many trains between Bristol and London Paddington from 2019.

You can find out more on the Network Rail website.