Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Plans to build on Station Woodland blocked

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Plans  for 2 houses and a bungalow in the woodland behind Station Lodge have been refused. Yate Councillors objected and this time the planners backed them - because of the impact on the woodland, wildlife and the important listed buildings around it - the Station Lodge and the raised history footpath for reaching the old station.
This week we have reported on some cases where planners have now backed locals, here is a case where they have listened to local objections.

Monday, 6 July 2020

New round of Discretionary Small Business Support Grants

Applications are now open until 12 noon on Monday 13 July for a second round of Discretionary Small Business Support Grants.
The Discretionary Small Business Support Grants Fund provides support to some small and micro businesses with ongoing fixed property-related costs that are able to demonstrate a significant drop in income because of pandemic restriction measures. The grants help support businesses that did not meet the criteria for the existing Business Support Grant Schemes.

Sunday, 5 July 2020


From Monday 6 July SOME services will be available at Yate library *by appointment only* in line with the latest public health advice.
📷 Free computer use and free WiFi for an hour a day at Yate Advance booking essential – full details: www.southglos.gov.uk/librarychanges
📷 Click and Collect service: order items to borrow Yate, . Bookings are now live. UPDATE: Due to high demand, collection slots for 6-11 July at Yate library are now full or almost full. *New slots are now available for collection dates 13-18 July*.
To find out more about Click and Collect and to book slots see: sglibraries.eventbrite.com
Their free digital services are still available 24/7 to library members:
📷Stream 1000+ national, regional & international newspapers bit.ly/N3wspapers
📷Download latest issues of 100+bestselling magazines bit.ly/05Mags
📷Choose from 1500+ eComics bit.ly/eCom1cs to download and read
📷Choose from 15000+ eBooks to download and read-on-screen bit.ly/eB0OKS
📷Choose from 3000+ eAudiobooks to download and listen bit.ly/eAudiobks
📷Silly Squad, Summer Reading Challenge 2020 *online* bit.ly/S1llySquad
📷Research your family history with Ancestry Library Edition bit.ly/Ance5try (free access to Ancestry from home has been extended until 31 July 2020)
📷And join in our weekly Lego challenge here on our Facebook page. Look out for the new theme each Friday morning!
For further updates please check o www.southglos.gov.uk/librarychanges

When you do go, the Library will look and feel quite different, as changes have been made to keep users and staff safe. See for full details and information about how to return items you currently have on loan: www.southglos.gov.uk/librarychange

Saturday, 4 July 2020


We've had reports from all over town about late night high speed racers. Congregating and doing wheelies on the Sports Centre Car Park, racing round St Briavels, Shire Way, Rodford Way, Greenways Road, Brimsham ay 80mph or more
We have raised all your concerns with the police, and advised residents to report it shopping centre issues to the shopping centre managers (who also do security on the car park).
Please can you report it to the police whenever you have a problem. They allocate resource by looking at levels of complaint. So your reporting is vital. We have also asked for it to be raised at the next police community meeting - if residents could attend that and explain that would help too.
The current activities are dangerous and disruptive.
We have spoken to the police about possible devices to stop them, but the police say these racers see interactive speed circles as a challenge to see how fast they can go, and are not deterred by speed humps. And South Glos Council won't put in interactive signs or humps unless there is a lot of evidence - too often sadly they only respond after people have been injured or killed. At the very least they need a lot of data from speed checks. Although we have a trained speed checker int he focus team, formal community speed watches, which she can help with, require the police to have identified a problem. So the key is getting the police to recognise the scale of the problem.

Wednesday, 1 July 2020


Another decision this week from the planners. New junior sports pitches have to be provided by the developers at Ladden Garden. But the Tory Councillors who run planning, none of whom live within 5 miles of here, have said they need not provide toilets or changing.
So the new development will three junior pitches, on land land which is currently waterlogged every winter, with hardly any parking and no toilets or changing. And no electricity or water for them to go in later. Absolutely bonkers.
Yate Town Council who have years of experience running local pitches explained the problems. But S Glos planning committee simply ignored that. Once again, it is a case of whatever the developer wants seems to be good enough.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020



Never mind the fact that adjoining residents are opposed. Never mind that every single local councillor in this town is against it.Never mind it is not the strategic Master Plan for the new development, what developers want they get. Yesterday South Glos Planning Committee granted consent for developers to put a major play area, including aerial ropeway and a 'pavilion' without doors, or windows and a flat roof right behind existing houses in Meadow Mead, Brimsham Park. Nobody would have minded the small equipment for young children originally in the plans. But these massive changes will mean gardens overlocked, teenagers on the 'pavilion roof' or in it at all hours.
When as locals we identify ways to improve plans we are told we cannot depart from the Master Plan, but when developers want to, then it gets waived through.
Despite letters from loads of residents, despite representations at the committee from Cllr Mike Drew on behalf of local councillors, the Town Council - a committee majority made up of Tory Councillors who don't live within 5 miles of here dumped it on us, against every local person involved.
A disgrace.
Just look at what they are insisting goes up just yards from people's houses

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Planners give go ahead to massive care home on listed historic park right by listed building in Y ate.

On Thurs 25 S Glos planners gave the green light to a massive 3 storey nursing home occupying the historic gardens of the Grade II Rockwood House. Residents and the town council objected strongly. They were denied the right to speak at the meeting and only allowed to put in written comments - because whilst other councils have managed to retain the right to speak at on line meetings, S Glos still insists it is too difficult. Worse, although they broadcast the meeting live, the live broadcast failed during the meeting, so effectively for part of the meeting the councillors were meeting in private. Cllr Mike Drew spoke passionately in support of residents. Trouble is most of the councillors don't come from round here, and seemed in a hurry to finish the meeting.
This will put a 3 story massive building right next to existing dwellings, and although partly dug into th eground the only way they could think of to screen it is massive 3 storey high leylandii. And the Tories on planning think this building is suitable to go in the listed gardens of by historic Rockwood House (the georgian one). Residents understandably feel cheated.
We need nursing home places but they don't have to be done like this. Surely we can do better?

Friday, 26 June 2020

The importance of staying safe and saving lives by keeping to social distancing guidelines still remains. To make this easier, a number of measures are being introduced:
• on our High Streets
• in parks and open spaces
• outside schools
• at bus stops
• on routes to work.
Some are simple measures like cutting back vegetation to widen footpaths or installing social distancing reminders on pavements. Other schemes will have a bigger impact, such as making our town centres pedestrian areas only or creating pop-up cycle lanes at busy points.

 Unfortunately S Glos are not using 'widenmypath'. To make a comment on these larger schemes people should visit the Sustrans website https://www.sustrans.org.uk/space-to-move/?utm_source=Town+%26+Parish+Councils+%26+MPs&utm_campaign=bcfbec49be-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_04_24_12_45_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_6d5a85e985-bcfbec49be-406510362

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

MAJOR ROADWORKS to CLOSE Westerleigh Rd for 8 weeks

The Highways Agency is doing a complete refurb and safety works on the bridge over the M4 from Westerleigh to the Folly Pub at Emersons Green
Start 6 July, end 29 August
The road from Westerleigh to the Folly / Science Park/Emersons Green will be closed 24/7 to vehicles, pedestrians and cycles.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

More school KEEP CLEAR markings on Sundridge Park

S Glos are consulting on revised plans for more keep clear markings on Sundridge Park. The deadline for comments is 29 June.
You can see the proposals and add your views at:

Saturday, 20 June 2020


Resident have been out walking and cycling and have come up with some ideas to improve cycling - including a detailed plan for an east west route along Station Road - and a number of places where repairs are needed.

If you have an idea for where a path needs repair, needs to be wider - or there simply needs to be A path - do let us know.
South Glos is saying it is improving access and widening paths for social distancing - so NOW should be the moment to get all our ideas in. If you post them here, John Emms from the Focus Team is putting together a report on things we want done and they will get to him.

Friday, 19 June 2020


Meadow Mead play area

Back at the last planning meeting at S Glos before lock down, because a couple of Tory councillors didn't show up or send subs, the Planning Committee was able to back residents and throw out plans for a play area, including aerial walkway and pavilion right behind houses in Meadow Mead. Residents understandably want the play area moved into the park, which is yards away - and don't want the 'pavilion which will become a teen shelter. Local councillors backed residents and persuaded the planning committee at S Glos to back them.
But now the Tories at S Glos have put the application on the agenda of another committee, specifically with the aim of overruling the earlier decision. Never mind what local residents want, never mind what local councillors want, the Tories none of whom live anywhere near here know better.
And worse, they have used COVID as an excuse to BAN the public from speaking at the meeting. Other councils meeting on line have continued to let the public speak, but S Glos says that is too hard, so the residents won't even be able to speak at the meeting. Cllr Mike Drew has condemned this as a farce.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020


Talking with S Glos about expanding the lovely wildflower verges, they have given us the following information. The hatched areas on the maps show the areas they are trialling along the River Frome

As part of a project aimed at improving biodiversity along roadside verges and selected grassed areas, we have started trials that includes some areas in Yate. These can be seen on the attached maps.
The following points should help to explain what we are doing:
Grass on selected areas will be mown by our new cut and collect mower, with small piles of cuttings being created in discreet locations to further benefit nature
Overtime soil fertility will reduce and grass growth will slow down
This will increase the diversity of grasses and flowering plants
These areas will attract bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects and increase biodiversity
This management will maintain green spaces for all to enjoy and nature to thrive
During prolonged dry periods these areas will be more resilient and the grass less likely to brown off compared to areas mown regularly
Regular safety cuts along verge margins will continue to be implemented to ensure visual safety for all highway users

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Have your say on new S Glos Council Plan

South Glos Council would like your feedback on their new Council Plan (2020-2024).
The draft plan sets out key priorities and commitments for the next four years and beyond. You can view it and have your say on the council’s consultation website https://consultations.southglos.gov.uk/consult.ti/CP20/consultationHome

until 26th July.
The council say:
“We find ourselves in truly unprecedented circumstances internationally and the implications of the COVID-19 outbreak are being felt across South Gloucestershire. Through a collective effort headed up by the NHS; the public sector, the voluntary sector, our businesses and our residents have come together to tackle the crisis and in taking this opportunity to go public with our priorities for the next four years, we are marking a transition from emergency response to the initiation of the recovery.

This is a challenging time to deliver public consultation and a challenging time for residents to engage when they are coming to terms with the implications of a period of lockdown. We believe this is the right time however to be preparing for a positive and proactive recovery phase and in doing so, to address the wider challenges and opportunities which we were preparing for before this crisis.”

Monday, 15 June 2020

Sort It Centre closing times back to normal

Having reviewed when people are visiting the Sort It Centres, the council has decided that from this Monday (15 June) they will be closing at 4.30pm in the evenings, the usual closure times prior to the coronavirus pandemic. The operating hours from Monday 15 June will be 6am to 4.30pm.
The Sort It Centres are taking most types of waste, including garden waste. The only exceptions are clothing and textiles.
The council is also asking residents to be considerate to their neighbours by not burning waste. It can create extra problems for people already dealing with breathing difficulties and with the majority of waste and recycling services fully up and running there are better alternatives

Sunday, 14 June 2020


From next Monday (15th June), Diamond Card concessionary travel will start at its usual time again of 9am. The start time was removed when the lockdowns started to allow older people to travel to use the special early slots at the supermarkets. However, the West of England Authority says that public transport now needs to be prioritised at peak times for those people who have no choice but to use it to travel to work then, because thanks to social distancing buses can only hold a quarter of the people they would normally. Diamond Travelcard holders will still be able to travel on any local bus for free after 9am Mondays to Fridays and all day at weekends.

Also from Monday you will need a face covering to use buses or trains. Here are a couple of links to guides on how to make them, whether you make a 1 layer basic or a 3 layer one:

Saturday, 13 June 2020

Brimsham and Ladden Gardens

Watch out - there has been a spate of attempted burglaries and car break ins around the new development. The police are running an operation to stamp it out - which is why they are signs up around the area. Let's work together to prevent it - lock sheds, garages and houses.

Thursday, 11 June 2020


Thank you to everyone who replied to the Focus team on facebook or email in response to the leaflets. Almost everyone who replied supported the proposals, but many wanted the parking controls to go further.

A key part of the problem for many people is all day parking by shopping centre staff who can't use the shopping centre. Some people felt the shopping centre should be doing more to manage this problem itself.

Yate Town Council draft reply is below.

Is there anything you want your Focus Team to add??

Deadline for the Town Council to reply to S Glos is 15 June

Wednesday, 10 June 2020

Council wrong to reject fines for idling engines outside schools

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have condemned the decision of the Council’s Cabinet yesterday not to adopt rules to allow the Council to fine people leaving their car engines running unnecessarily outside schools.
A member of the Yate Sodbury Liberal Democrat  Focus team who is Shadow Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Louise Harris said:
“It is deeply disappointing that the administration is unwilling to take this necessary action to clean up the air quality around our schools. In many other areas these powers have been used to bring about significant changes in behaviour.
 “Whilst South Gloucestershire’s Cabinet believes that a small number of fines being issued in some of those areas of the country which have adopted these powers represents failure, we see it as a sign of success – because it means that people are switching off their engines when they are waiting outside schools.
 “If the council was prepared to adopt these regulations, enforce them and run a serious publicity campaign to help drive a change in people’s behaviour, I have no doubt that this would help bring about the change we need – I am disappointed that the Cabinet as decided to ignore this opportunity.
 “South Gloucestershire’s Tories seem to think that you measure how clean the air is by how much money you can make from it, we think you measure how clean the air is by how clean the air is.”
Image credit: Ruben de Rijcke

Tuesday, 9 June 2020


The new Abbotswood paved area is open, the snazzy planters are in - and Carene from the Armadillo is going to be planting them up. The seats are going to be stripped and repainted. Many thanks to the councillors and staff at Yate Town Council who raised the cash and ran this project to deliver what residents said they wanted.

Do have a look.
But please, DO NOT USE THE PLAY EQUIPMENT. It is really tempting, but play areas are still closed off under government rules, because it is so easy to spread the virus by touch and the equipment cannot be cleaned after every user.

Monday, 8 June 2020


Three types of homemade facemasks or face coverings

*** Parking restrictions are now being enforced again

*** From 15 June - next Monday - you will need a face covering to use buses or trains.
Here are a couple of links to guides on how to make them, whether you make a 1 layer basic or a 3 layer one. It also has links to where to buy them. But rather than using those sources to buy there are a number of residents in Yate who have been making and selling them.

Sunday, 7 June 2020


Work has restarted on the new multi-use sports hall being built by Yate Town Council behind Brimsham green School. Project chair, Chris Willmore commented - it was sad when work had to stop, because of COVID, but now it is leaping forward.

This will be a new home for the Yate Boxing Club and other sport and dance groups, within YOSC

Saturday, 6 June 2020


Contractors are back on site at Abbotswood, laying the resin play area, the benches are being stripped and repainted and new planters will be put in. This is finishing off the work that had to be put on hold during the lockdown. Can't wait to see the finished project. It is being run by Yate Town Council, using money they raised from s.106 contributions (money developers have to put into local play areas etc)


Local MP tells homeless people to move in with family and friends.

The MP for Yate is the minister for homelessness, responsible for finding a solution to the homelessness crisis. His solution? - they should move in with family and friends......
He has written to councils telling councils to get the homeless to move in with family and friends.
If they had family and friends they could move in with, they would not be living on the streets. Homelessness is a LAST resort Luke.

Not surprisingly just about everyone who has ever known a homeless person has rounded on the idea as a complete failure to understand how and why people are homeless.

For more details see:

Wednesday, 3 June 2020


First bus is rolling out changes to its app - so it will tell you if there is space on the bus. They are running more buses, but because of social distancing they get full quickly. So this app will tell you whether there is space on the next bus. The app update will show a bus icon on a map depicting the live location and available capacity of each vehicle nearby.

Extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme The government has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and confirmed next steps for furloughing. If you’re eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, you will be able to claim a second and final grant in August worth 70 per cent of your average monthly trading profits. This will be paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total. From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Extended Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The government has extended the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and confirmed next steps for furloughing.

If you’re eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, you will be able to claim a second and final grant in August worth 70 per cent of your average monthly trading profits. This will be paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.

From 1 July 2020, businesses will be given the flexibility to bring furloughed employees back part time under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.