Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to have your say on new homes plan

The consultation on thousands of new homes in our area is now underway.

You can comment online - you can step through the Joint Spatial Plan section by section and there is a button at the bottom of each section that allows you to add a comment. You'll need to register with the site, if you haven't already done so for a previous consultation, and log in. Do make sure you submit each comment before moving on to the next section.

Particular sections of interest include:

Don't be misled by policy 7.12 being labelled Yate - the land involved is actually in Iron Acton and Westerleigh Parishes. These proposals will affect Engine Common, Nibley and Westerleigh and development will come close to Iron Acton and the development proposed at Coalpit Heath.

If you cannot comment online, you can download a form. You can email the completed form to or post it to West of England Joint Spatial Plan C/o South Gloucestershire Council, Planning PO Box 1954 Bristol BS37 0DD.

Before making your comments, it is well worth reading this page on how to comment and this guide to commenting.

You only have until 10th January 2018 to comment - don't forget in the Christmas rush!

A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation. When commenting, you can say whether or not you would like to be called to give evidence at the public inquiry.

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

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Broadband latest

South Glos has launched its new Connecting South Gloucestershirewebsite, dedicated to the Superfast broadband programme.  This is the place to go to find the latest information on broadband within South Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately it is not all good news for the Codrington area. Because traffic is being diverted along the B4465 due to the Bromley Heath viaduct works, the traffic management is more complex than it would otherwise have been. This has delayed the installation, although they are looking at alternative ways to deliver as much of Codrington as possible by the end of December. We also understand that the businesses around Cotswold Spring will not be updated.

Also, not everyone will necessarily be upgraded in a particular area. You can check whether your property will be upgraded by going to

Phase 3, starting later this year, will benefit communities including: Cromhall, Dodington, Falfield, Frampton Cotterell, Iron Acton, Rangeworthy, Westerleigh, Wickwar and Yate.

Two events in revamped hall

There are two events coming up in the revamped Coalpit Heath Village Hall (aka The Miners):

  • From 12 noon until 3pm on Saturday 2nd December, the hall will be having its 90th Anniversary Celebration. There will be tea, coffee, mince pies, cake, and a ukele band. 
  • On Wednesday 6th December (7.30pm for 8pm start) there will be a talk about the South Glos Mines Research Group archaeological excavation at Serridge. 
 Both events are a chance to celebrate the village's mining heritage.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Tell the council your priorities

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

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

Friday, 17 November 2017

Consultation on new homes starts next week

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

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

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

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

Partial victory in health campaign - but more cuts to come

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

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

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

Public consultation on new school building

There will be a public consultation session on the new school building at Watermore Primary School. The drop-in will be held from 2.45 to 7pm on Tuesday 28th November at the Meadow site (the old Highcroft Junior School site).