Monday, 31 December 2007

Safer, Stronger Commununity Group Meeting

The next meeting of the Safer Strong Community Group takes place at the Manor School, Roundways, Coalpit Heath at 7.30pm on Tuesday 8 January 2008.

You will be able to speak directly to a panel of decision makers from the police, council and key local agencies who will agree the top priorities for your neighbourhood and put an action plan together.

Friday, 28 December 2007

Mobile mast petition

Local residents have started a petition against the proposed Vodafone base station. This an excellent way to show the strength of local feeling. However, it's important that people still make individual comments on the planning application as these generally carry more weight.

The Gazette has covered the story.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team.

PS If you're wondering when your bin will be collected over the Christmas period, you can find the details on the South Glos website.

Friday, 21 December 2007

Badminton Road roadworks

From 2nd January until around 25th January there will be off-peak temporary traffic lights on the A432 Badminton Road in Coalpit Heath near the Church Road junction while electricity cables are layed.

Planning application in for Badminton Road phone mast

The formal planning application for the Vodafone base station on Badminton Road has been registered by South Gloucestershire Council. You can see full details on the South Gloucestershire website, where you can also make objections by clicking on the "Comment on Application" link below the green tabs. Alternatively you can view the plans at the Yate One Stop Shop and submit comments in writing. Either way the deadline for comments is 10th January 2008.

The pre-application consultation was distorted because many residents did not receive the letters telling them of the proposals. It appears Vodafone's agent used the wrong addresses for around half the households. Some were told by concerned neighbours and made objections anyway and Claire Young has talked in person or delivered letters to households near to the proposed site.

A partial explanation?

Claire Young may have uncovered the reason why some residents who were supposed to be consulted did not receive details of proposals for a new Vodafone base station on Badminton Road.

It appears that the wrong addresses were used when sending out the details. The supposed Rose Oak Drive addresses were actually a combination of addresses and postcodes from Rose Oak Lane and Rose Oak Drive, and some of the postcodes for Woodside Road were wrong. Given the Royal Mail's reliance on postcodes, it is not surprising some letters went astray.

That does not explain why some objections have not been acknowledged and the next move will still be the formal planning application. So far this has not been received by the Council.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

New adventure play area for Coalpit Heath

You may have read in the Gazette that a project to create a new adventure play area at Newman's Field off Ram Hill near Coalpit Heath will go ahead after winning £35 000 of lottery funding.

Karen Mitchell, Chair of Friends of Newman's Field, had the idea for the project and it is being led by Westerleigh Parish Council's Newman Field Committee. The funding forms part of a successful bid by South Gloucestershire Council for £454,400 to provide better access to play, better quality play areas and help children to feel safe playing outside.

Tubb's Bottom radio masts application

Back in September, Claire Young visited the site of proposed radio masts at Tubb's Bottom as part of a pre-application consultation. Things went very quiet for a while, but now the formal planning application has been submitted. You can view it and make comments online or view the plans at the Council's One Stop Shop in Yate and make comments in writing.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Vodafone base station - were you consulted?

Vodafone's agents, wrote to Claire Young to say they are going ahead with a formal planning application, "Given the lack of alternative sites, the low level of responses and the urgency of this site requirement". They went on to say that they had written to everyone who contacted them, but residents have contacted Claire to say that they have heard nothing and are concerned their objections have not been considered. Others were not even notified of the original proposals in order to make comments in the first place.

On Wednesday Claire talked to many residents in the area and left letters with others in an attempt to find out just who was consulted and how many objections were acknowledged. She has now written back to the agents - watch this space.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Phone mast latest

Time is running out to take part in the pre-application consultation on the proposed phone mast on Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath.

Claire Young put residents' concerns about interference with Sky, digital and terrestrial TV and other electronic devices to Needham Haddrell.

In relation to Sky equipment, they responded:

In 1989, the European Commission issued a directive governing all forms of electronic equipment (89/336/EEC) regarding interference that such equipment produces and in turn, its immunity to interference from outside. Both Sky and Vodafone's equipment fully comply with this directive.

Any equipment compliant with that directive is unlikely to suffer or cause interference. In addition, Vodafone's RF operating frequencies for this type of installation are around 2.1 GHz, whilst Sky's RF operating frequencies are around 10.8 GHz. Given this large gap between the two sets of operating frequencies, I can guarantee no interference will occur.

When asked to confirm that the same advice applies regarding interference with other equipment - radio, terrestrial and digital television and so on - they replied that yes, it is covered by the same regulations and:

In addition, OFCOM allocate and strictly control the entire radio frequency spectrum (from 9 KHz to 275 GHz) to ensure that no registered user (e.g. Vodafone, BBC, police etc) interferes with another.

Do send in any comments you have on this pre-application consultation.

Work Day at Ram Hill

Friends of Ram Hill Colliery are holding a Work Day at Ram Hill from 10am until 4pm on Sunday 16th December. For more information, contact David Evans pm 01454 863649 or .

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Interested in our mining heritage?

7.30pm Wednesday 5th December at the Miner's Club in Coalpit Heath

An illustrated talk by Steve Grudgings of the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group (SGMRG) on their excavation on the site of the 1790 Newcomen Engine

Success for Paul's Place and Coalpit Heath Cricket Club

The People's Millions application made by Coalpit Heath Cricket Club in partnership with Paul's Place received the most votes last Thursday and they received a cheque for £89,300 during the ITV West local news on Friday night.

Plans are now going ahead to build a ramp down from the cricket club to the pitch and refurbishment of the cricket club.

Paul's Place is the nominated charity of the Chair of Council, Sandra O'Neill, who is the member for Charfield ward.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Work gets underway on next phase of the Quiet Lanes Scheme

Work is getting underway on the next stage of the Quiet Lanes Scheme. Coalsack Lane, Kendleshire will be closed from Monday 3rd December to Friday 14 December while granite setts are installed as part of a gateway treatment.

New mobile phone masts

Claire Young was recently contacted by Needham Haddrell Chartered Surveyors on behalf of Vodafone, who propose to install a mobile phone mast beside Badminton Road near the junction with Woodside Road. They have not made a formal planning application at this stage but the Government encourages mobile phone companies to carry out pre-application consultation.

Claire wrote back indicating her concerns about the proposal and asking them to consult residents in the area. They put the application on hold and promised to write to a number of households in Badminton Road, Woodside Road and Rose Oak Drive. Unfortunately some residents did not receive the letters. If you live close to this junction and have not received a letter, please contact Claire as soon as possible on 864086 or by email ( . The deadline for receipt of comments has been extended to the middle of December but it is vital they know of any missing letters as soon as possible.

Vodafone are also hoping to erect a phone mast within Kelly Brothers Storage Depot off North Road, Yate. This is in an industrial area next to the railway and not overlooked by houses. However if local residents have any concerns, do please contact Claire.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Have your say on housing

What do you think the Council's priorities should be for housing? If you want to have your say, click here to find out more. Alternatively, Council staff will be in Yate Shopping Centre on Tuesday 4 December from around 9am to 2pm.

Your views on day service provision

The Council is asking for the views of users of the Learning Difficulties Day Services and their carers on proposals to change the day services provided. You can find out more by clicking here and selecting "Learning Difficulties Day Services re-provision" from the list.

Over 50?

South Gloucestershire Council are currently consulting on their strategy for the over 50s. You can get involved online here.

Another option is to drop in to the Greenfield Centre, Park Avenue, Winterbourne any time between 10.30am and 1pm on Monday 3rd December. If you need transport, please call Sharon on 01454 865922 or e-mail .

Monday, 26 November 2007

Parish Plan Open Day

Westerleigh Parish Councillors organised an excellent Parish Plan Open Day on Saturday. Despite the poor weather, there was a steady stream of residents dropping in to make their suggestions. As well as completing a questionnaire, residents could also provide feedback by selecting flags with possible improvements or sticking post-it notes up on a board.

There were displays about the play proposals for Newman's Field (pictured above), the mining history of the area, the Manor Hall Trust and the Sensory Garden. The play proposals were generating a lot of interest, with the designer on hand to explain what she is aiming to do. Features such as balance beams and an earth mound with a slide will be arranged around the edge of the field, leaving room for junior football pitches in the centre. Play equipment will be multi-purpose where possible, doubling up as fitness equipment for footballers or seating for spectators at matches, and will be made of natural materials to blend in with the surroundings.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Don't forget the Parish Plan Open Day

Westerleigh Parish Council are holding an Open Day tomorrow (Saturday 24th) for anyone interested in finding out more about developing a plan for the Parish. This is a chance for residents to say what improvements they would like to see. Westerleigh Parish is very diverse, covering Westerleigh village itself, most of Coalpit Heath, Henfield, Kendleshire, Mayshill, Nibley and the Stover Road area, and it's important to have input from all areas.

There will also be more information about the play proposals for Newman's Field.

Roadworks on Westerleigh Road

On Monday 3 December there will be temporary off-peak signals at the double railway bridge on Westerleigh Road to enable a bridge inspection to take place.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Your community needs YOU!

Would you like to see action to improve your area? Both Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh Parishes are gearing up to produce Parish Plans. The first step is to form a Steering Group.

Westerleigh Parish (which includes most of Coalpit Heath) have arrranged a special event at the Manor Hall from 11am to 3pm on Saturday 24th November. There will also be a chance to see the new play proposals for Newman's Field.

Frampton Cotterell Parish (which includes the rest of Coalpit Heath) have pencilled in their Open Day for Saturday 26th January at the Brockeridge Centre. Before that happens, they are having a visit from two leading members of the Congresbury Parish Plan Team tonight (Tuesday 20th November). For more information call Dave Hockey on 773611 or email him at

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Help make South Gloucestershire a Fair Trade area

If you run a cafe, restaurant or shop, or you are a supplier selling Fairtrade products then South Gloucestershire Council would like to hear from you.

Any organisation supplying, selling or promoting Fairtrade products in the district can get a free listing in the South Gloucestershire Fairtrade Directory. Email details of your organisation and the Fairtrade products you provide to by Friday 30 November 2007.

The free directory will be available from local retailers, libraries, leisure centres and council offices in time for Fairtrade Fortnight in February 2008.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Women's pensions - Steve Webb's campaign gets pension justice

Steve Webb MP has been campaigning to get proper state pension payments for women whose computer records had been lost, so that they weren't receiving credit for periods when they were at home raising children.

Steve was contacted by more than a thousand women who have been affected. Steve and his team identified a dozen key cases and took them to the Department of Work and Pensions, who agreed that they had lost out. One woman has received more than £10,000 in back pension and interest.

The Government has now agreed to trawl through millions of National Insurance Contribution records to identify the people affected - the back payments may add up to tens of millions of pounds.

For the full details, see Steve Webb's blog.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Chevron signs

Earlier in the summer, Claire Young asked for chevron signs to be installed on the sharp bend where Broad Lane meets Westerleigh Road in Westerleigh, in addition to the high friction surface being laid. This has now been done. Hopefully the combination of these safety measures will reduce the number of accidents.

Quiet Lanes Scheme - the next phase

Yesterday residents and Claire Young met Highways officers at the Ruffet Road/Coalsack Lane junction, to consider revised proposals for the junction as part of the second phase of the Quiet Lanes Scheme. It was agreed that the priorities should stay as they are and the gateway treatment proposed nearby will be changed to a road narrowing to slow traffic down. The priorities will change at the Coalsack Lane/The Hollows junction and a gateway treatment will be created nearby. It’s hoped that work will start on this latest phase of the scheme before Christmas.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Make a Noise

This Saturday (3rd November) is Make a Noise Day in the local libraries. Events will be taking place at all libraries and will include competitions, storytimes, IT sessions and a guest appearance of the Bookstart Bear.

Yate library recently won a £1.5 million lottery grant to update its facilities. You can read more on our sister blog.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Weekly food waste campaign success

Liberal Democrats across South Gloucestershire are today celebrating that their long campaign for FREE weekly kerbside collection of food waste in the green bins has been successful. The scheme is set to go ahead for all residents by the end of 2008.

“This is great news” said Cllr. Dave Hockey (Lib Dem – Frampton Cotterell). “We have been campaigning on this since 2005 and our success means:

  • good news for local residents because weekly collection will cut problems with smelly food waste and free up space in their black bins;

  • good news for the environment since methane gas, a bi-product of biodegradable waste buried in landfill sites, is 21 times more damaging to the environment than carbon emissions;

  • good news for council tax payers who are set to avoid penalties rising from £1m per year in 2009 to over £5m per year by 2020”.

“One down, one to go” added Dave Hockey. “SITA know from their own Customer Satisfaction Survey carried out at the start of 2007 that residents are even more keen to see the introduction of kerbside collection of plastic bottles, which the Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for strongly over many years – watch this space!”.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

South Glos goes text friendly

Following a suggestion by Lib Dem councillors, you can now text South Gloucestershire Council with general enquiries about services, thanks to the launch of a text messaging service.

By saving the number 07950 080 111 to your mobile phone, you can text in your enquiries - maybe to tell South Glos about a problem while you're out and about. The new service will also help people with hearing impairments.

Texts will go directly to the council's customer services contact centre where staff will try to answer your enquiry and respond by text during the next working day.

Texts may be subject to the normal charge by your mobile phone network provider.

To find out more about this service please visit the South Glos website.

Gordon Brown says no to Frenchay Hospital Review

At Prime Minister's Question Time Gordon Brown has refused to consider an independent review of the Frenchay Hospital decision. See Steve Webb's blog entry here.

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Lib Dems call to account Tory plans to halt Nibley park-and-ride

Liberal Democrat Councillors are appealing to the South Gloucestershire Conservative Administration to rethink their decision to put the Nibley park-and-ride on hold. Councillors Pat Hockey and Claire Young (pictured above at the site) are among five Liberal Democrat councillors who have asked that the decision be reconsidered at the next meeting of the Planning Transportation and Strategic Environment select committee on the 28th of November 2007.

The Executive Member issued a press release and started the decision making process without any consultation, despite having made a commitment a few weeks earlier that he would continue the practice of always consulting appropriate Councillors before publishing his proposed decisions. This leaves very little time to object – and certainly cuts out the local people from having their say.

As the Tories have always claimed in the past that their Transport Policy is based on Park & Ride where does this leave us? They criticised the Lib Dems for not progressing Nibley fast enough as it was to be the first of the proposed “necklace of Park & Ride ” sites to combat the traffic jams.

There is no need for the Tories to take the Nibley money for the P&R at Parkway as they are now suggesting. This was planned to go ahead this year anyway. It can only be used for rail passengers in the short term until the problem of extra buses through Stoke Gifford has been solved. We have Yate station if we want to travel to Bristol or the MOD by train. It certainly won’t do anything to cut the queues on the Ring Road and through Coalpit Heath and Winterbourne!

Claire Young said “Whatever concerns local residents had about the P&R site, I am sure, like me, they will be even more concerned that there may now be other plans for it that we aren’t being told about”.

Grants for local organisations

If you are involved in a local charity or community group, you may want to apply for a South Gloucestershire Council Small Grant. You have until 19th November to get your application in and can apply online. The Grants will be allocated at the Frome Vale Area Forum in March.

Unusually at the September meeting the Capital Grants had been undersubscribed so there is a small pot of money still available. The Council is therefore running a second round of Capital Grants at the same time as the Small Grants.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Lib Dem Leadership - have YOUR say

If you've been thinking about joining the Liberal Democrats, and you would like a say in who the new Leader will be, now is the time to join. Our understanding is that if you join before 4pm on 31 October you will be able to vote in the leadership election.

You can join the Lib Dems online here or you can contact any of the local Focus Team.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Local Democracy Week

This week is Local Democracy Week - you can learn more at the Local Democracy Campaign website. Yesterday Claire Young visited a local primary school to compare notes with members of the School Council and see if there was anything they could learn from each other. Afterwards there was a chance to sample a school dinner.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Detailed plans for new Council offices

The detailed plans for the new Council offices at the junction of Badminton Road and Stover Road are now available online. You can view them using the Search planning applications service on the Council's website. The reference number is PT07/3002/R3R.

Consulting the over 50s

South Gloucestershire Council are currently running a consultation on their draft strategy for the over 50s. You can find it at The consultation runs until 20 Dec 2007 and a photo and poetry competition is being run as part of it.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Applying for a school place?

If you're applying for a school place for next year, it's vital that your application meets the deadline of 4.30pm on Friday 19 October, otherwise it will be treated as a late application and dealt with after those received on time. With further postal strikes possible, the safest bet is to apply online at or hand deliver your form to Student Access and Support Team, South Gloucestershire Council, Department for Children and Young People, Riverside Court, Bowling Hill, Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire BS37 6JX.

There's also another alternative - if forms are handed in to ANY main South Gloucestershire office they can be put into the internal post, which is collected and delivered twice a day. You can save your time/petrol and go to the nearest main office, for example Yate One-Stop Shop.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Civic Service

The five South Gloucestershire Councillors from this area attended the Civic Service at Tortworth Church on Sunday. Sandra O'Neill (Charfield) is currently Chair of Council and the host for this event. As well as Councillors and Council officers, there were representatives from the emergency services and a whole range of community organisations. The collection was split between the church and Paul's Place, Sandra's chosen charity for the year, which has its base near Coalpit Heath.

Afterwards attendees were able to take a tour of Leyhill Open Prison.

Safer Stronger Community Group in the news

The Gazette have covered last week's Safer Stronger Community Group meeting.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Frampton Cotterell/Westerleigh Safer Stronger Community Group

Last night the Safer and Stronger Community Group met at the Zion Church Hall in Frampton Cotterell to set the priorities for the next quarter. The top priorities were:

  1. Drugs and anti-social behaviour at Crossbow park and Park Farm

  2. Speeding at Westerleigh

  3. Westerleigh Village Weight Restriction

MP dishes it out for Meals on Wheels

To help celebrate national Meals on Wheels Week, Steve Webb MP visited King Edmund School and helped to dish up the dinners.

Meals on wheels is 60 years old and here in South Gloucestershire the service is changing to a new and innovative scheme where school kitchens are used to provide fresher and more nutritional meals to older and disabled people.

Six schools are already signed up to the new look service, St Chad's Patchway Primary School, Bradley Stoke Community School, Hanham High School, Kingsfield Secondary School, King Edmund Community School and Mangotsfield Secondary School.

By the end of the year the scheme is expected to roll out to the rest of the district. The benefit to clients is that they will be eating the same fresh and organic produce used by the school meals service, and, they have a direct link with the local school, bringing communities closer together.

When they let the new assistant chef out of the kitchen, Steve helped to deliver meals to the local area.

Picture: Steve Webb and Cllr Howard Gawler delivering to Mrs Jones of Yate.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

New Yate Health Facility

The formal planning application for the new Yate Health Facility has been submitted to South Glos Council. You can view the plans using the Search planning applications service on the Council's website. The reference number is PK07/2712/F.

In the meantime, if you need emergency treatment of minor cuts, bruises, burns, sprains and similar between 8am and 6.30pm you can use the Yate Minor Injury Service. This is up and running at the Courtside, Kennedy Way and West Walk surgeries and is nurse-led with doctor support.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Radio mast update

Last Friday Claire Young met representatives of National Grid Wireless at both the existing site near the ring road and the proposed new site.

Although the proposed masts would be of a different design (a lattice rather than a solid tube with struts sticking out each side for climbing), it did make it easier to visualise the layout at ground level. Each mast would have a tuning shed at the base and there would be fences round these and round each of the points where the stays for the masts reach the ground. The rest of the field could continue to be used for grazing (there were cows at the existing site when Claire visited).

A larger separate building would be required for equipment (roughly the size of a typical block of public toilets). This needs to be secure but it should be possible to disguise it to make it look more like an agricultural building. It would probably be sited at the edge of the field beside Frampton End Road.

This Friday they confirmed that they are still working towards a formal planning application for the Tubb's Bottom site.

The Big Draw

South Gloucestershire Council is running a campaign for drawing, The Big Draw. Leaflets will be displayed at libraries, One Stop Shops and other Council buildings, or you can read an online version .

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Take a look at the latest Science Park proposals

An exhibition of plans for the Bristol and Bath Science Park (SPark) is being held at Emersons Green Library from Thursday 6th September to Sunday 30th September.

It will display information about the Revised Masterplan for the SPark development, which was submitted to South Gloucestershire Council at the beginning of September, as well as more general information. There won't be staff on hand to discuss the displays but you will be invited to submit comments direct to South Gloucestershire Council for consideration through the normal planning process.

Emersons Green Library is open Tuesday and Thursday 10.30am-8pm, Friday 10.30am-6pm, Saturday 9.30am-5pm and Sunday 11am-3pm.

End of Nibley Park and Ride?

As you may have read in the Evening Post, the new Conservative administration on South Glos Council has decided to shelve plans for a Park & Ride at Nibley. For more information, watch this space.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Don't lose your vote!

You'll shortly be getting the Register of Electors form from South Glos - the form that makes sure that you can vote at elections. It also gets checked if you want to apply for credit.

If there aren't any changes from last time it takes literally just a minute to fill it out (maybe a little longer to fold it!). This year you can even avoid that by making a telephone return.

Remember to tick the right-hand column if you don't want your details used for marketing.

Please fill it out or make that phone call now and make life easier for the hardworking people in the Election Office.

Monday, 3 September 2007

More information on radio masts

Tonight National Grid Wireless made a presentation at Westerleigh Parish Council regarding the proposed relocation of masts from Emerson's Green to Tubb's Bottom. I asked a number of questions and requested a follow-up site visit to the existing masts.

National Grid Wireless said that in their search for a site, they went through a "sieving process" and this was the only site considered worthy of detailed investigation. Construction would take approximately three months and they would enter into routing and working hours agreements with South Glos to minmise the effect of the work on residents. I queried the access to the site, as Frampton End Road is narrow and twisty, but was told that the masts came in sufficiently small sections that they could be carried on typical HGVs, no abnormal loads required. They would need to access the site every couple of months for maintenance but that would be an engineer in an estate car.

The installation would be well within health guidelines and the mast could not be shared with, for example, mobile operators as it is live. They were considering planting to mitigate the visual impact on the footpath that runs past the site.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

What's made of plastic, paper, and foil and is not recycled in South Glos?

Answer - lots of those "paper based liquid food and drink cartons". The sort that you buy fruit juice in, and maybe milk from the corner shop. They're actually rather clever multilayer cartons, but this makes them hard to recycle. The manufacturer has set up a dedicated recycling plant - big enough to deal with a fifth of all the liquid food and drink cartons used in the UK.

They offered local councils FREE recycling bins but the Tory administration at South Glos initially turned them down.

Emma Bone (Prospective Lib Dem MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke) said "I'm simply astonished... Lib Dem Councils up and down the country have already signed up to this free win-win scheme”

Lib Dem Councillor Peter Tyzack (Pilning & Severn Beach) commented “I am amazed and appalled that the Conservative administration didn't sign up to this free scheme to recycle them. We get fine words from them promising to improve on the previous Liberal Democrat led Council’s recycling rate but no real action!"

It is now reported that the Executive Member for Communities will meet the company next week.

Emma Bone and Peter Tyzack with cartons that could be recycled

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Radio mast relocation

National Grid Wireless, who own and operate public broadcasting infrastructure, are proposing to erect two 50m radio masts with a building at the base, all in a fenced compound, at Tubb's Bottom near Iron Acton. These would replace two currently sited at Emerson's Green on land that is due to be developed.

The proposed site is on the border between Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell Parishes. I asked National Grid Wireless to attend the Westerleigh Parish Council meeting at 7.15pm on Monday 3rd September to give a presentation on the proposals. Members of the public are as always welcome at the meeting. I also intend to make a site visit with their representatives.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Beech Hill Farm tipping application

Our sister blog has a very comprehensive post about the Beech Hill Farm tipping application, including a useful aerial view of the site. Full details of the application, including the replies received so far during the consultation, can be found here on the South Glos website.

Survey at Wapley Bushes

A recent survey by experts found that the wide range of species at the Lower Meadow at Wapley puts it in the national top grade of grassland. It's of a standard to be considered a Site of Special Scientific Interest, but this is only done if the site is at risk.

Paul Hulbert, a member of the Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, said “This is great news, and confirms that our management plan is working”.

“However, some local people have asked why the Lower Meadow has been cut earlier than usual. This is based on expert advice to stop the spread of meadowsweet and other invasive plants. It's a compromise - some of the valuable species have only partly set seed, but they could be in danger of being strangled”.

The next Wapley work morning will be on Sunday 2 September – for further details contact Paul Hulbert on 01454 315851 or Isabel Ryan on 01454 313055.

Wapley Bushes also has its own blog (online diary) with lots of photos of the reserve – see

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Ram Hill Colliery events

Today I took my two sons to the Children's Activity Day at Yate Heritage Centre. The subject was mining and it coincides with an exhibition about Ram Hill Colliery that runs until 13 September. There was a mock-up of a tunnel which children could crawl through pulling a sledge (pictured right) and a haulage system for lifting coal to the first floor.

Those interested in the mining history of our area might like to join one of the guided tours at Ram Hill Colliery, running from 10am on Sunday 9th September. More details on this and other Heritage Open Days can be found in this leaflet.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Unwanted furniture?

If you have old, unwanted furniture taking up space in your house, rather than requesting a bulky waste collection from the Council or struggling to take it to a Civic Amenity Centre, why not donate it to someone who can make good use of it? The Kingswood Furniture Project recently took a wardrobe (pictured) and a rocking chair that we no longer used. It was very easy to arrange, I simply called them on 0117 961 6226 and they gave me a date when the van would be in my area.

The Sofa Project (0117 954 3567 or online at offer a similar service but ask for a donation to cover the cost of collection.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Network Rail meeting

I had a meeting today with Network Rail regarding a number of outstanding issues in the Coalpit Heath area. Residents may be aware of work being done on the line, this is part of the final phase of a four-phase project to relay track, due to be completed in mid-September.

If residents have any concerns relating to Network Rail, they can contact them using their helpline number, 0845 7 11 41 41. This has agreed response times and problems will be passed to the appropriate team. For more information, including how to email or write to them, click on:

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Temporary lane closures on ring road

Because of maintenance work on the central reservation of the A4174 Ring Road, the outside lane on each side of the carriageway will have to be closed on the dates and stretches shown below.

Monday 20th August - "MoD" roundabout to J1 M32, including the latter roundabout itself.

Tuesday 21st August - J1 M32 to Bromley Heath roundabout.

Thursday 23rd - Bromley Heath to Badminton Road A432.

Tuesday 28th - Badminton Road to Shortwood junction "Sainsbury's roundabout."

Wednesday 29th - Shortwood to Siston Common roundabout, junct. A 4175.

Thursday 30th August - Siston Common to Deanery Road A420, Warmley.

Friday 31st August- Deanery Road to " Aspects " roundabout, junct. Marsham Way.

Monday 3rd September - " Aspects " to Hick's Gate, junct A4.

More information on all road works in South Gloucestershire can be found at:

High friction surface on Broad Lane bend

The high friction surface has now been laid on the sharp bend in Westerleigh Road opposite Broad Lane. The aim is to reduce the number of accidents caused by vehicles losing control on the bend.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Action plan for Beeches Trading Estate

On Thursday I attended a meeting organised by Safer and Stronger South Gloucestershire to discuss the problem of youths congregating on the Beeches Trading Estate. Residents had complained about the noise from youngsters reving car engines and playing loud music, sometimes into the early hours of the morning.

The meeting gave residents the opportunity to hear what action was already being taken and to join in the discussion with the various agencies about future plans. An action plan was drawn up and one important outcome for residents was an agreed procedure for reporting incidents, so they know who to contact and can be confident that everyone involved is aware of what is happening.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Interactive speed signs on Badminton Road, Coalpit Heath

I recently reported a fault with the Vehicle Activated Sign (VAS) on the A432 Badminton Road near the Viaduct as you enter Coalpit Heath from the Bristol direction. I am informed that there have been a number of manufacturing problems with these signs since they were commissioned and the north bound sign has now been removed to the manufacturer for repair. It will be reinstalled as soon as it is returned. The signs will be monitored for future problems.

Road closure postponed

Due to today's heavy rain, it will not be possible to lay the new anti-slip surface tomorrow as planned. The road will now be closed for the work to be done at a later date.

Road closure postponed

Due to the heavy rain today, plans to put a high-friction surface on the Westerleigh Road/Broad Lane junction have had to be postponed, so the road will not now be closed.

Westerleigh Road closure

Westerleigh Road will be closed around the junction with Broad Lane on 26th July 2007 to allow a high-friction surface to be laid. It's hoped this will reduce the number of accidents where cars lose control on the sharp bend.