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.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Call for regeneration action on west fringe of Yate

Local councillor Claire Young has called upon South Gloucestershire Council to kick-start the regeneration of the “western gateway to Yate.”

Although on the edge of Yate, most of the industrial estates are in Westerleigh and Iron Acton Parishes. With the Conservatives proposing thousands of new homes in the area, it's vital we have the jobs to go with them and an improved Yate station that links all the different forms of transport together.

The recent sale of Stover Road Trading Estate and the development of the new Local Plan make this the ideal time to look again at this issue. Claire has asked the Leader of South Glos Council to bring together the owners of all the trading estates and involve local councillors in the process. He was non-committal but your Focus Team will keep pressing for action.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Superfast broadband update

This is the latest update from Connecting South Gloucestershire, a government supported programme bringing faster broadband across South Gloucestershire where it is not economically viable for commercial companies to provide it:

Work is progressing well and over the last month we’ve delivered fibre in Almondsbury, Chipping Sodbury, Downend, Thornbury, Totteroak and Wickwar.

Once fibre has been laid, residents should contact their chosen Internet Service Provider (ISP) directly to see what broadband speeds and packages are available to them.

Important: Not all premises within these areas will get fibre as part of this phase of work and broadband speeds will not automatically improve. Individual householders should check options via the Openreach website and where appropriate contact their chosen ISP directly. There are useful sources of information to guide you through this process on our website

Wayleave, road closures, weather and ducting

The last month has highlighted just how complex a task installing fibre can be.

We’re working hard with local residents and land-owners to gain access to privately-owned land we need to cross to install fibre in a number of areas across South Gloucestershire. This is a time-consuming process, which in some cases has required Openreach to seek legal permissions via a Wayleave.

We’ve also had to gain permissions to close a road which will allow us to deliver broadband to parts of Codrington. We’ve made good progress here and work to complete the deployment is ongoing.

Similarly, on Sodbury Common we have encountered additional work required on some ducting. Again, this work is underway and due to be completed very shortly.

Phase 3: broadband is coming to even more areas

Last July, we secured additional investment to bring ultrafast and Next Generation Access broadband to approximately 4,300 additional homes and businesses in South Gloucestershire by the end of 2018.

Our partner, Openreach has now confirmed which areas will be included within this phase of work. As with previous phases, not all premises within postcodes will be upgraded and individual householders/businesses should check via the Openreach website.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Upper Chalkley Lane in Horton/Hawkesbury - update from South Glos

It's not good news. South Glos tell us:

"We have completed a detailed survey of this road after possible subsidence issues were found before Christmas. There is a slippage and we need to carry out significant reconstruction works to make the road safe. Work will start imminently and we aim to complete the works and reopen within 14 weeks"

"Upper Chalkley Lane will remain closed to traffic until the reconstruction is complete. Access only, pedestrians, cyclists and horseriders can continue to use the road. Diversion in place. We apologise for the inconvenience caused while we carry out these emergency repairs"
The diversion is shown below.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Residents and councillors spring clean on Cambrian open space

 Despite overnight rain, residents and councillors turned out on Saturday morning to spring clean the newly public open space behind Cambrian Drive.

Back in December, Yate town councillors finally won their long fight to save the land from developers. The Town Council managed to buy the land for just £35,000 and immediately opened it up to the public.

Residents who had helped the councillors fight a series of applications to build on the land joined councillors for a spring clean.

John Ford, Mayor of Yate (in blue overalls rather than chain of office!) said "It was a brilliant morning, the best turn out we have  ever had for a spring clean.  We had residents of all ages, from 8 to 80. I want to thank everyone who helped"

This is the first phase of restoring the site for public use, with planting to follow, and further work cutting back brambles and overgrown hedges.  The event collected bag after bag of litter from the hedges and brambles. They cleared the path right back to the kerb, adding about 2 ft to the width of the path, and cut back brambles to try to make the path more accessible.

Tackling loneliness - information evening 20 March

A recent survey by Contact the Elderly showed that a third of people had noticed a lonely older person in their community and been concerned, and 40% did not feel confident that they knew how they could help.

South Gloucestershire Disability Network are hosting an information evening for community members to find out:
  • How to approach this situation
  • What you can do to help
  • What schemes exist to help isolated people locally
The event will take place on Tuesday 20th March at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Registration starts at 6pm, after which attendees can have some nibbles and a look around stalls of local organisations should they wish. The main event will start at 6.30pm, to end around 8.30pm.

The event is aimed at businesses, workers, volunteers and members of the community who have, or might have, contact with lonely people, but who may not be sure what they can do to help. The aim is to increase confidence and provide some new skills in approaching situations with potentially lonely people, as well as provide attendees with information about schemes which may be of use to others in the community – for example First Contact and Community Connectors.

Booking is essential via Eventbrite.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Wellbeing activities alongside the river

There's a new opportunity to take part in some riverbank based wellbeing activities starting March 2018 in the Yate/Chipping Sodbury area:
  • Sessions are free
  • Sessions are for over 18s
  • Sessions will be in the Yate/Chipping Sodbury area
  • Sessions will last 2.5 hours and probably be Thursday or Friday afternoons (maybe 1-3.30)
  • Activities will be linked to conservation and include river clearance, wildlife monitoring, litter clearance along with nature talks and lots of time to just enjoy the space and share a hot drink.
  • Sessions will run for 6 weeks with 2 prior to Easter and 4 after
  • Support with transport can be provided if an issue
  • Ideally they want to recruit people who are likely to show improved well being after taking part
Please get in touch with Steve Spiers
Public Health Programme Lead (Mental Health & Emotional Well Being)
Tel 01454 864616

Saturday, 10 March 2018

After the snow - reporting potholes

A huge thank you to the emergency services, NHS staff, gritter teams and other council staff and everyone else who worked hard to keep the rest of us safe during the snowy and icy weather.

Unfortunately severe cold weather often creates more potholes on our roads. If you spot one you think could be dangerous, you can report it online.

Friday, 9 March 2018

M4 Junction 18a - South Glos Cabinet set to support Western option

Following last year's consultation on a possible new junction 18a on the M4, South Gloucestershire's Conservative Cabinet looks set to support the Western option via Emersons Green as the preferred route.

This option involves re-aligning the motorway at Henfield. Residents have already contacted us to raise concerns. As yet we have seen no plan for how they intend to manage the additional traffic this will push through our villages and the residential roads in the south of Yate. Nor have we seen a plan for how, when or where a link will be provided from the new junction to Yate and how that will feed into the already congested road network in the town. If these issues are not properly addressed ahead of time, this new junction will just add to local transport problems.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Magistrates Court - housing proposed for key Yate town centre site

Local councillors at the Magistrates Court site

South Glos Council is currently considering a planning application for up to 50 houses on the old Magistrates Court site off Kennedy Way. However the site access would be from Stanshawe Crescent.

There is very little available space anywhere near the town centre now. Yate Town Council has objected to the proposal, suggesting that it would be better to have a town centre use here, and put new residential units on brownfield sites in less critical locations instead.

With all the thousands of extra houses already proposed for Yate, perhaps the building could be converted as a new police station? Or will our police still have to operate out of the antiquated building in Chipping Sodbury?

Even supposing the housing goes ahead, Stanshawe Crescent is narrow, lacks a pavement along one side, and is already congested and dangerous. There is no more room for on street parking there.

The open space between the magistrates court and the current residential area is a vital buffer between the town centre and the Stanshawe Crescent community, and should be retained, together with all the trees.

You can find details of the proposals here or by searching for "Magistrates" on the South Glos planning application web page. You can submit comments until Monday 19 March.

Homes England - effectively a government department - has also given notice that they intend to demolish the Magistrates Court building anyway (details here) with a very short consultation period - you may remember a private firm doing the same thing recently at the Railway Inn site. Yate Town Council has objected to demolition because it prematurely removes a community asset.

We understand that South Glos has decided to deal with the application to demolish the magistrates court building in secret, not in open session in a meeting. Why? What's so special about this site, except that it's Government land? Has the decision in effect already been made?

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Severe weather, school closures, waste and recycling changes etc

With snow due for the rest of today and Friday, you can find out the latest information on local services and get other cold weather advice on the South Glos Council website. This includes links to school closures.

Rubbish, waste and recycling

South Glos say: "Waste and recycling collections will not take place on Friday 2 March due to snow and ice. Please return your bins and containers to your property until your next normal collection. For recycling next collection is Friday 9 March, please present any extra recycling. Black bin waste and garden bins will be collected Friday 16 March. Up to two bags of non recyclable waste left next to your black bin will also be collected on Friday 16 March. All four Sort It Centres will also be closed from 2pm Thursday 1 March until 8.30am Sunday 4 March"


All libraries will be closing at 5pm on Thursday 1 March.

Individual library opening times are available online and may be subject to change during periods of severe weather. You can also check for any latest updates from the libraries homepage.