Monday, 23 June 2008

Sea Stores Site update - exhibition coming up

Taylor Wimpey, the developers who have bought the Sea Stores site, will be holding an exhibition at Poole Court from 1st to 5th July. This is the latest in a set of consultation stages, and they want to hear residents' reactions to their ideas before they apply for planning permission in a couple of months time.

Please visit the exhibition and make your views known. You can also find out about and comment on Yate Town Council's ideas for the section of the land set aside for community purposes.

The exhibition will be open as follows:

Tue 1 July 12.00 - 9.00 pm
Wed 2 July 9.00 am - 9.00 pm
Thu 3 July 9.00 am - 9.00 pm
Fri 4 July 9.00 am - 9.00 pm
Sat 5 July 9.00 am - 5.30 pm

Representatives of Taylor Wimpey will be there on the Thursday from 2.30 pm to 7.30 pm to answer questions and hear your views.

In the meantime, what's happening on the site? As we reported recently, the demolition contractors have started work. They are starting by cutting off the services and fencing the areas that are important from a wildlife point of view.

Next, any the asbestos on the site will be removed by specialists. Then they will remove the buildings above ground, and later in the summer the concrete slabs and other ground structures.

A letter has gone out to all houses in the nearby streets, giving a point of contact for any concerns or problems. If they've missed you, please let us know using the email form in the right hand column of our contacts page (click here), and we'll put the developers in touch with you.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Festival to Finish with a Flourish!

The final weekend of the Chipping Sodbury Festival has lots to offer:
  • Street Fayre 8.30 am - 5.00 pm
  • Carnival Procession 3.00 pm Broad Street
  • Last Night of the Proms with the Emerald Festival Orchestra - 8.00 pm (Tickets from Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre or Farrago, 5 Horse Street - if there are any left!)
  • Festival Cycle Rides - 11.30 am (long ride) or 12.30 pm (short rides) at Clock Tower - click here for more information and contacts
  • Wildlife Trust Duck Race - 2.00 pm, Jubilee Park - great fun for the kids!
  • Try your hand at boules - 2.00 pm, Jubilee Park
  • Festival Songs of Praise, Baptist Church, 6.30 pm
There are lots of other events - you can pick up your copy of the Festival Programme from the Tourist Information Centre.

For more event details and booking arrangements click here.

Get on your bike this Sunday!

Just a reminder about the Chipping Sodbury Festival bike rides this Sunday, all starting from Chipping Sodbury Clock Tower.

At 1130 we have the 25 mile ride heading out towards the east. 1230 is the start of the short rides - there will actually be two alternative routes. A 9 mile ride goes round the town and nearby lanes, including the brand new Wickwar Rd cycle path and Yate Common. A 13 mile ride goes further west, passing through seven parishes including Iron Acton and Frampton Cotterell, and returning via the fairly new off-road Broad Lane route from Coalpit Heath to Westerleigh.

The 9 and 13 mile rides have a competition for the children, with clues to find as they cycle round. For safety reasons children under secondary school age need to be accompanied by an adult.

All the rides finish in Jubilee Park, Chipping Sodbury, where there are boules matches and the Wildlife Trust Duck Race - very popular with the children. We look forward to seeing you there. For more details please email or tel 07771 562505.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Tesco in a tent

"If wet, in the marquee..." - Tesco are thinking about having a tent-type temporary building while they build the new superstore at Yate. It would be marquee construction but look like a normal store inside, with heating, air-conditioning and all - very ingenious, and a good way of keeping the supermarket open and the staff employed.

From a customer viewpoint, the main problem during the building works will probably be the parking. Tesco are currently waiting for a decision on its planning application from South Gloucestershire Council.

The Gazette has more details about the temporary Tesco here.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Climate Change - an Oxfam Film

A simple yet compelling short film from Oxfam about climate change and what we can all do about it.

Thanks to Robert Wright's blog for drawing it to our attention.

Great minds think alike... about rubbish!

A parliamentary posting from Steve Webb today "Stop the Drop" goes well with our post yesterday "We're planning to cause more fly-tipping, says council".

Sodbury Specials

A few events from the next few days at the Chipping Sodbury Festival:

  • Wednesday - Festival Team Quiz
  • Thursday - An Evening with the Sodbury Youth Drama Group and Sodbury Vale Musical Comedy Club
  • Friday - Poetry Please with Richard Carter
There are lots of other events - you can pick up your copy of the Festival Programme from the Tourist Information Centre.

For more event details and booking arrangements click here.

3000 enjoy Music Festival in Kingsgate Park - well done everyone!

3000 people attended the third Kingsgate Park Music Festival on Saturday - twice as many as last year. Congratulations to Yate Town Council and all their helpers.

You can read more about the Music Festival in the Gazette here.

Sea Stores - demolition starting

Demolition contractors have moved onto the Sea Stores (former Highways Agency) site, which was sold to house developer Taylor Wimpey a few weeks ago. A letter has gone out to some nearby households, though not to all the people who would be concerned. In case you didn't get one, the text is below.

Responding to concerns from local people, Yate Town Council has asked how the contractors are going to deal with asbestos and any other hazardous substances.

So why is demolition starting now, as there's no planning permission yet? Simple - the longer they leave the buildings up, the longer the developers have to pay business rates.

In a couple of weeks there is planned to be an exhibition of the developer's ideas for the site, plus Yate Town Council's suggestions for the community part of the land. We'll publicise it here when we have firm details.


Text of hand-delivered letter:

Dear Sir/Madam

Demolition of Highway Agency Stores, Kennedy Way, Yate, Bristol

We write to inform you that Lawson Demolition Limited has recently been awarded the demolition and site clearance contract for the above site.

Please understand that demolition and construction sites are very dangerous areas, particularly during demolition. Safety is a priority with Lawson Demolition, therefore should you have children we would appreciate you reiterating this to them and distracting them away from all scaffold/fencing and machines that should be present.

We aim to keep any disruption and inconvenience which may be caused, to an absolute minimum but apologise in advanced should any be caused.

Should you have any queries with the above or wish to discuss further please do not hesitate to contact me on 01793 782000.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience whilst these works are being carried out.

Yours faithfully...

Monday, 16 June 2008

We're planning to cause more fly-tipping, says council

The latest edition of South Gloucestershire News says: "The council is getting tough on those who blight our landscape with fly tipping and litter... The amount of illegal dumping is expected to increase for a number of reasons. European rules make it increasingly difficult and expensive to dispose of waste legally. The council is also likely to have to introduce charges for every bulky waste collection soon, to raise income for other initiatives"

So the Tories are not only blaming litter on the EU, they're admitting that their new policies will increase fly-tipping.

At the moment households get one free collection of up to three bulky items free per year. This looks likely to be scrapped to save money, but they're planning to spend money on enforcement action against fly-tippers!

SG News quotes Cllr Heather Goddard, the executive member for community services, as saying "It is also widely recognised that areas where fly tipping takes place are much more likely to attract other forms of anti-social behaviour and crime, such as drug use, arson, flyposting, graffiti, littering and dog fouling"

And yet you're planning to do something that will increase these problems. Haven't you ever heard of tackling problems at source? Don't wait until the fly-tipping has already happened - make proper disposal the easy option!

Friday, 13 June 2008

5000 plus houses - comments by the bagful

Local people have been sending in hundreds of paper and electronic responses to the South Gloucestershire Core Strategy consultation - and they're not at all happy at the options the Conservative-led council is putting forward.

The photo shows Lib Dem Cllr Pat Hockey with the latest bagful of responses.

In another move, local residents in the St John's Way area of Chipping Sodbury have set up their own website to protest about plans to build 1500 houses on the open countryside opposite their homes, alongside the River Frome.

Among their concerns are the increased risk of flooding, increased traffic congestion in Chipping Sodbury and Yate, and potential damage to the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Well worth a click!

Make a difference to YOUR community

Many of our local communities are putting together a Community Plan, to shape what their are will look like over the coming years.

This is not just something for councillors - it's an opportunity for "real people" and community groups to get involved.

The Community Plan aims to produce a profile of the community - the people, the businesses, the housing, the transport, the open spaces and anything else that local people think is important.

From the profile the Plan group identifies needs and aspirations, and then produces an Action Plan, a document aimed at turning what you need into what you have - how do we get our communities from what they are now to what we want them to be?

Think you might be interested? There is a talk by Jacqui Ward of Community Action at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall on Monday, starting at 10.30 am.

The Yate Town Plan is already well under way - see their website They can be contacted through their coordinator Duncan Innes, tel: 01454 866 506, email

The Dodington Parish Community Plan, covering the Shire Way / Rodford Way area, The Birds and the villages of Wapley, Codrington and Dodington, will be launched at a Community Plan Open Day on Saturday 5 July, 2 pm to 6 pm. More details will appear here, or you can contact Dodington Parish Council on 01454 866546 or email to find out more.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

The Big Event - Chipping Sodbury Festival

Our largest community event programme is about to get under way. Chipping Sodbury Festival, which starts tomorrow (Friday 13 June), has something for everybody - brass bands and bikes, rock music and rocks in the quarry, tales from (antiques) roadshows and the ever-popular Last Night of the Proms.

Oh, and a street fayre and a carnival procession and duck races and...

The Festival has been running for over 20 years. There are almost 50 events in this year's programme, which runs until Sunday 22 June. Here are just a few of this year's events:

  • Polysteel brass band concert – One of the most popular events at the festival
  • ‘Have you had it long Madam’ – Experts, Hillary Kay and Paul Atterberry, from the Antiques Road Show – likely to be a sell-out
  • Tuesday 'Music in the Street' – totally FREE concert
  • Schools combined concert
  • Fascinating Rhythm and Dodington Band concert
  • Ever Changing Sodbury – another regular event at the Festival
  • Music Workshop – for school children
  • All Day Street Fayre and Carnival
  • Last Night of the Proms
  • Chipping Sodbury Festival 2008 cycle rides
Tickets are available from:
Chipping Sodbury Tourist Information Centre at the Clock Tower (tel 01454 888686)
and from Farrago, 5 Horse Street (tel 01454 317852, email

Click here for the full programme on the Chipping Sodbury Festival web page, or click on the link in our right hand column - look for the Festival logo.

Chipping Sodbury Library to close for refurbishment

Chipping Sodbury Library will be closed from Monday June 16 until Monday August 5 for major refurbishment and redecoration. Readers can return and borrow books at Yate Library instead.

Books can also be renewed by phoning 01823 334334, or you can renew them online.

Read more library details from the Gazette here.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Nautical flytipping

Not exactly on our patch, but we couldn't resist this story from the Bristol Evening Post:

Council workers called out to deal with a complaint of fly-tipping found a 12ft speedboat dumped at the roadside.

The boat was reported to the authority by residents living in Perrinpit Road, in Winterbourne.

A South Gloucestershire Council spokeswoman said: "This was a first for us. It has been removed and taken to a council amenity site."

Music Festival in Kingsgate Park this Saturday

Kingsgate Park Music Festival is taking place this Saturday, June 14 from 1 pm to 9 pm. The event, which is completely free, will showcase the best of local musical talent, including young bands Sox and Area 51, cover band Tundra performing hits from the Police, Status Quo, Dire Straits and Elvis and headliners Beach Boys tribute band Good Vibrations.

There will also be a bouncy castle, face painting and Punch and Judy.The Kingswood Bus Project will also be in the park with a BMX display and interactive activities for teenagers.

The new treetop play area will no doubt be very busy, and there will be craft and food stalls.

The Friends of Kingsgate Park are organising the event. Local councillors will be acting as car parking attendants - festival-goers can park in King Edmund Community School.

More details from the Gazette here.

Two "X" buses saved - but other services to go

First Bus has announced the results of their public consultation on bus service changes. In the Yate / Chipping Sodbury / Dodington area, the headlines are:

  • Two "X" express services will now remain and run down the M32
  • South Yate will get two express services per hour instead of one
  • Cotswold Road keeps its bus service
  • Cranleigh Court will lose its bus services
  • North Yate will only have one bus per hour to Bristol and Yate Shopping Centre
  • Chipping Sodbury will lose its direct First Bus service to Frenchay Hospital
  • But don't forget that the Cotswold Edge 200 service will still run from Chipping Sodbury to the hospital
The new services will start from Sunday 3 August - we'll have to wait for the timetables to see how quick the X services will actually be, as the routes have been changed in places.

To find out the impact on Coalpit Heath, Frampton Cotterell and Iron Acton please see our sister blog Focus on the Ladden-Frome Area.

More information is available from First Bus as follows:
Summary of changes
Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath areas
Map of Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath areas
Close up map of Chipping Sodbury and Yate

Monday, 9 June 2008

New cycleway and footpath opens

A new cycleway and footpath has been opened along the edge of the Wickwar Road from St Johns Way to Southfield Way, near Peg Hill skateboard park. This will benefit local youngsters, whether travelling to the skate park or to and from Chipping Sodbury and Brimsham Green Schools. It will also provide a very pleasant walk and a link from North Yate to Chipping Sodbury, avoiding all the risks of the dangerous Wickwar Rd.

The land for the route, along the edge of the playing fields, was donated by Chipping Sodbury Town Trust. The path was funded by a £94,000 Natural England grant from the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) - in other owrds the tax on quarrying in the area - plus extra funding from South Gloucestershire Council and a donation of stone from Hanson Aggregates.

The project was originally proposed by Cllr Paul Whittle at the Joint Cycleways Group meeting.

Congratulations to all concerned, especially South Glos Council who managed the project.

Photos show the path being opened by Cllr Brian Freeguard, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council, Sodbury Town Mayor Paul Tily, and David Shipp of the Chipping Sodbury Town Trust.

Your correspondent is the one wearing the cycle helmet...

Photos by John Davis

Here is a map of the route:

Red line shows proposed cycle track
View Larger Map

Ten Green Bloggers

Steve Webb has got together a cross-party group of ten bloggers to try to use the power of the internet to force action on climate change.

Steve says "Our particular focus was on getting the Government's climate change bill amended so that the target for cuts in CO2 emissions by 2050 was not the current rather modest 60% but a bolder 80% - the least that most people think is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change"

Their first step has been to set up a website - - to start a campaign to get ‘real people’ to go and see their MP, explain why 80% cuts in C02 by 2050 are needed, and then report back via the website. The website has the contact details of every MP in the country.

The site went live in ‘beta’ version today, 9th June, to coincide with the Second Reading of the Climate Change Bill.

If you live anywhere except Steve's constituency, please use the site to arrange to meet your MP and lobby them. Even if you live in Steve's patch, go to anyway and sign up for the newsletter.

You can read more about this on Steve's blog and on Lib Dem Voice.

You can also sign up for our Facebook Group Climate Change - 60% cut is not enough.

Friday, 6 June 2008

YOUR local phone box may be under threat

Many of our local phone boxes are threatened by a BT plan to remove all "uneconomic" phone boxes from our streets - whether they are needed for emergency purposes or not.

The local boxes on their hit list are:
North Road, Yate
Goldcrest Road
Shire Way (we think that's the Woodchester one)
Cherington / Shire Way
Little Sodbury End
Horton Hill, Horton
Rectory Close
"outside Westerleigh Post Office" (well, where it used to be)
at the layby, Stover Road
Colts Green, Old Sodbury
Brimsham Green Shopping Centre
Sundridge Park

Since 2002 BT has removed 31,000 kiosks around the UK.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Chipping Sodbury Festival 2008 cycle rides, Sunday 22 June

The Joint Cycleways Group will be organizing the annual Chipping Sodbury Festival Cycle Rides on Sunday 22 June as part of Bike Week 2008.

There will be a choice of two rides, 12 and 25 miles. The twelve mile event will be suitable for families, and as usual there will be a quiz with prizes. Children from five or six upwards manage twelve miles quite easily (it’s the adults who have more trouble!) For safety reasons children under secondary school age need to be accompanied by an adult.

The longer ride is a little more challenging and will explore the countryside around Chipping Sodbury. This is a good area for cycling - come and join us.

The events will start from Chipping Sodbury Clock Tower. The 25 mile ride will set off at 11.30 am, and the 12 mile ride will begin at 12.30 pm. Both rides will finish in Jubilee Park by about 2 pm – just in time for the Festival boules match (equipment provided) and the Avon Wildlife Trust duck race!

More details are available by telephoning Paul Hulbert on 07771 562505 or Granville Olive on 01454 317461, or by emailing

Details of more events from the Chipping Sodbury Festival are available from here

Rail theft no light matter

A man has admitted stealing 171 tonnes of railway track at Acton Turnville, near Yate and Chipping Sodbury. He pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court.

Unsurprisingly police said he could have caused a "serious rail crash".

According to the BBC the track had already been removed and put next to the line for a renovation project. A crane was used to load it onto five lorries which took it to scrap metal merchants in Newport.

Hat-tip to Teletext West News for this item.