Friday, 21 October 2016

Blindfold walk in Yate

Cllr Tony Davis and Claire Young with Guide Dogs' representatives and three dogs in Yate Shopping Centre

On Wednesday, Cllr Claire Young, Cllr Tony Davis and Yate shopping centre manger Andy Lowrey got an appreciation of some of the problems faced by visually impaired people when they went on a blindfold walk round Yate Shopping Centre with a trainee guide dog called Vince. You can see how Claire got on here.

They also discussed the challenges of A-frame signs outside shops, vehicles parked on pavements and taxi drivers not wanting guide dogs in their vehicles. They found out how people with visual impairments use smartphones and what the council needs to bear in mind when providing services online.

Thank you to the Guide Dogs charity for arranging the walk. They are always looking for more volunteers to do everything from puppy walking to setting up stalls at fundraising events. For more information on the local branch, see their Facebook page.

Half term events in libraries

If you're looking for something to do with your children or grandchildren during half term, there are a range of free drop-in activities for 4-10 years at the local libraries. These include:

Monday 24 October
Magic mayhem, Thornbury Library, 11am to 12pm

Tuesday 25 October
Ocean commotion Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm

Spook-tacular Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 12pm Spooky themed craft fun.

Hats off Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm Craft and activity fun.

Wednesday 26 October
Leaf it out Winterbourne Library, 10am to 11.30am Autumn themed fun and crafts.

For more information, contact the libraries by telephoning 01454 868006 or visit There will also be rhyme times and story times for pre-school children, visit for more details.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Housing and transport questions asked of West of England leaders

Last week Claire Young asked the West of England leaders questions about their housing and transport proposals for our area.

Claire submitted written questions about the Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study (JSPTS) to the Strategic Leaders Board. This is made up of the Mayor of Bristol and the Leaders of South Gloucestershire, Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset Councils. On Friday the Board was agreeing to the JSPTS going out for consultation. You can read the questions with the answers given here and the statement Claire submitted here

What's clear from the answers is that planners and residents see the world in quite different ways. In her follow-up question, Claire asked the leaders to commit to bridging this gap, so local people can have a say.

South Glos respond to bus petition

South Glos Council has given Claire Young the following response to the petition she submitted calling for the council and bus operators to work together to reinstate the bus links to Southmead, Bristol Parkway and UWE:

I am writing in response to the Petition that you presented to the SGC public Transport Forum on the 10th October 2016 in respect of the changes to the local bus network that were implemented in September 2016.

The petition raised the concerns of the petitioners in relation to cuts to bus services from Yate and the Chipping Sodbury area to Parkway Station, Southmead Hospital and UWE, in particular the loss of direct services and the reduction in frequency of those services that remained. The Petition called upon South Gloucestershire Council to work with local bus operators to reinstate these bus services.

I am able to confirm that South Gloucestershire Council will continue to work with the commercial sector to try and deliver as comprehensive as possible network of bus services to the whole of the South Gloucestershire area. Where public funds are used to provide financial support to services (either entirely or in part) the Council will always seek to obtain the maximum benefit possible within the available funding; it may be that in some cases the most effective use of the funding available is to develop the network by making use of the available interchange points rather than by direct routing.

Where services receive financial support from the Council, we will work with the commercial operator to encourage the development and growth of the service with the aim of making it more sustainable for the longer term.

It is not possible for the Council to automatically replace commercial services that have been withdrawn. Where services are withdrawn we will work with operators and other key stakeholders to identity and investigate possible alternatives, albeit this will need to within the available funding.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Latest libraries consultation launched

When we reported recently on the library cuts, we said there would be a further consultation coming up. That consultation has now started - you can find it here and have until 2nd January 2017 to respond.

There will also be a public meeting in Yate Library at 7pm on Tuesday 1st November and you can also hear more at the next round of Community Engagement Forums. You can find out more details about those here.

Mobile library scrapped

The proposals include scrapping the mobile library. If this will affect you and you'd like to do something positive to help, please get in touch.

Chipping Sodbury Library not saved yet

Contrary to what you may have read in the Bristol Post, there are no plans to build a new Chipping Sodbury Library. What is proposed is that the council would pay for the costs of running the existing building but only if there is a commitment from a group of volunteers to run it. The council would not pay for any staff. Last week Claire Young attended a meeting of Friends group. It was spelt out there by the head of the library service that the council  are looking for volunteers to staff it for at least 15 hours a week, it cannot be a totally unstaffed library.

Have your say on phone box removal

BT is consulting on removing 93 phone boxes across South Gloucestershire. You can see a full list in the consultation document and a map of the approximate locations here. In the Ladden-Frome area these include:
  • Henfield Road, Coalpit Heath
  • Wotton Road, Charfield
  • Dodington Ash
  • North Road, Yate
  • High Street, Iron Acton
  • Bagstone
  • New Road, Rangeworthy
  • Manor Road, Rangeworthy
  • Ruffet Road/Badminton Road, Kendleshire
  • Church Road, Frampton Cotterell
  • Park Lane, Frampton Cotterell
  • Lower Stone Close, Frampton Cotterell
  • Sundays Hill Lane, Falfield
  • Court Road, Leyhill
  • Longcross, Cromhall
  • Heathend
  • Stover Road, Yate
  • Codrington
  • Duck Street, Tytherington
  • Buckover
  • Gloucester Road, Rudgeway
You have until 7 November to make comments, after which they will issue an initial decision, which will be open for another 4 weeks, with a final decision on 15th December.

You can find more information here.

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Bus petition handed to First Bus and Council

On Monday, Claire Young handed over our petition to First Bus and council officials at the Public Transport Forum, calling on them to work together to reinstate direct bus links to Southmead Hospital, Bristol Parkway Station and the University of the West of England. The petition contained over 240 signatures.

The withdrawal of the 81 service has left people living in Yate, Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell with fewer buses to Southmead and Parkway. Terminating the 82 at Yate means those living in Chipping Sodbury, Wotton-under-Edge and the villages in between have no direct link at all. In addition, there are now almost no direct buses from the Yate area to UWE.

Claire and others also gave examples of the poor reliability of the 82 service. Having to change buses is bad enough, especially if you are infirm, but it's even worse if you're not sure the other bus will turn up. People will only use a service if they can rely on it.