Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Another chance to have your say on composting application

SITA have submitted a number of new documents in an attempt to overcome objections to their plans to build a composting facility near Tormarton. There will now be a new round of consultation, ending on 26th January.

Have your say - Gypsy and Traveller Sites consultation

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on proposals for 53 permanent and 25 transit pitches for Gypsies and Travellers across South Gloucestershire, including a number in the wards covered by this blog. The "Towards Preferred Options" document sets out possible sites and asks people to comment on them. You have until Thursday 29th January 2009 to have your say.

You can view the consultation documents on the South Glos website.

You can respond in several ways:

Send a letter or response form to: Spatial Planning Team, South Gloucestershire Council, The Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury, South Glos BS35 1HF

Email comments or response forms to: planningLDF@southglos.gov.uk

Complete the electronic response form via the Council's online consultation system: consultations.southglos.gov.uk.

However you respond, it's important to state which part of the consultation document your comment relates to and what change(s) you would like to see made. As with all planning consultations, comments cannot be made confidentially.

For further information, there is a dedicated answering service on 01454 863738. If you leave your name, contact details and what information you require, someone will get back to you, usually within 24 hours. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday until 29 January and leaving the message will be charged at mobile rates.

Roadworks on B4058 Bristol Road

Between 12th and 23rd January 2009, the B4058 Bristol Road, Frampton Cotterell, between Perrinpit crossroads and Station Road, Iron Acton, will have the old surface planed off and a new surface laid. Temporary multi-way traffic signals will be in use at the crossroads, and two-way signals will be used as work progresses along Bristol Road.

Although these roadworks will be restricted to off-peak hours, they are expected to cause significant delays to traffic. Alternative routes will be kept clear of all but urgent other works.

Monday, 29 December 2008

B4465 roadworks suspended for bank holidays

There have been temporary traffic lights on B4465 Wapley Road "Codrington Hill", from the water bottling/ brewery works to A46 while the carraigeway is reconstructed. These works have been suspended over the bank holidays.

Bridle way closure

The bridleway between Dodington Lane and Wapley Road (B4465) is closed temporarily because of adverse ground conditions and the works needed to remedy them. The work is likely to take 3 weeks. The alternative route for walkers is Dodington Lane, footpath, Gibbs Lane, footpath,Wapley Road (B4465), and vice versa and for horse riders is Dodington Lane, Gibbs Lane, Wapley Road (B4465) and vice versa.

Energy problems - and advice on renewable energy

With the cold weather and economic problems, many people will be worried about their fuel bills this winter. Local MP Steve Webb has discovered that the vast majority of people in "fuel poverty" are missing out on the special deals for vulnerable people. You can read more on Steve's blogg and in The Times.

If your thoughts have turned to alternative forms of energy, you might be interested in SG Futurenergy, a partnership between South Gloucestershire Council and the Severn Wye Energy Agency which offers advice on renewable energy. The scheme also offers grants and low interest loans to help people install renewable energy.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team. We hope you have an enjoyable festive season.

If you're wondering about changes to Council services over Christmas, you can find information on the South Glos website. For example you can find out the changed days for bin collections and the library opening times.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Weekend flooding

Saturday's downpours left many parts of our area flooded. Newman's Close and Old Mill Close in Westerleigh suffered and the A432 Badminton Road was affected opposite St Saviours Church in Coalpit Heath. There was flooding once again at the junctions of Ram Hill and Henfield Road and Ruffet Road and Coalsack Lane. The latter three sites had only been looked at recently. On Monday Claire Young spoke to the Council's drainage engineer about the problems, which will be investigated.

One small piece of good news was that The Quadrangle, which has been affected by flooding in the past, was clear this time.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

New crossing for Westerleigh

At Thursday's Frome Vale Area Forum, local Councillors voted to support the creation of a new crossing on Westerleigh Road in Westerleigh.

Local Councillor Claire Young said, “This road is used by commuters as a rat run. Some form of crossing is desperately needed to make it easier for those getting off buses at the bus stop to cross the road and to slow the traffic through the village.”

The Area Forum also highlighted the high accident rate on Church Road in Frampton Cotterell. Cllr Dave Hockey called on the Cabinet Member responsible for Transport to tackle this under the Council’s Casualty Reduction Programme and the Forum agreed that creating a pedestrian refuge on the road should be a priority.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Views on revised bus services?

At last week's meeting of South Glos' Transport select committee, Cllrs Pat Hockey, Howard Gawler and Claire Young told Justin Davies of First Bus about the problems some people are experiencing with the revised bus timetables. The company will be fine-tuning bus times now that the recent changes have bedded in so if you have any concerns, let your Focus Team know as soon as possible.

The good news is that many of the buses that serve our area will be replaced next year. The older buses will be withdrawn and replaced by some three-year-old vehicles from elsewhere. Second-hand, but better than what we've got at the moment.

New deadline for schools consultation - 19th Dec

Local Councillors Pat Hockey, Dave Hockey and Claire Young with the consultation document outside Brockeridge Infant School

Parents and other residents now have until Friday 19th December to have their say on plans to merge Brockeridge Infant and Highcroft Junior Schools.

There was widespread concern at the public meeting that residents were being asked to support the merger without any idea of whether the merged school could continue to use both sites or how pupils would be accommodated if all ages were on the Highcroft School site. Many were worried that it would mean their children being taught in “temporary” classrooms.

It is crucial that people fill in the questionnaire and make their views clear to the Council and Governors. If you support the merger, but only in certain circumstances, for example:

  • Only if the infants and juniors remain on the existing separate sites

  • Only if the infants stay at Brockeridge until there are new permanent buildings to accommodate everyone on the Highcroft site

then you need to answer "No" to question 1 and use the space provided for reasons to say "unless...". There is no space for reasons if you say "Yes".

The deadline was extended after parents complained and Councillors Claire Young and Pat Hockey took their concerns to the Council's Cabinet. Your views can make a difference - reply to the consultation now!

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Brockeridge-Highcroft consultation raised at the Council's Cabinet

Yesterday local Councillor Claire Young took parents' concerns about the Brockeridge-Highcroft consultation to the Council's Cabinet. She explained that people wanted more information to make a decision and that the presentation given at the public meeting did not match the consultation document. Officers promised to look into whether they need to provide parents with updated information and extend the deadline to give people time to consider the new information.

And further still...

SITA's application to build a composting site near Tormarton will now not go to the planning committee until 5th February 2009 at the earliest.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Composting application further delayed

SITA will shortly be submitting additional information to the Council regarding such issues as odour management/bio aerosols, public rights of way, highway safety and landscaping. This means there will be a further consultation and the earliest that the application could be considered by the committee is 8th January 2009.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Brockeridge-Highcroft public meeting

Last night saw a packed public meeting at Highcroft Junior School to discuss the proposed merger of Brockeridge and Highcroft Schools. There was clearly a great deal of concern about the uncertainties in the process and the information being provided to parents and interested members of the public.

It is very important that everyone has their say on the proposals before the deadline of 5th December. You can respond to the consultation online or email, write a letter or return the form on the back of the consultation document.

It would help your local Focus Team to represent your views better if you also contacted one or more of the team:


Roadworks in Kendleshire

It's a busy time for roadworks in the Kendleshire area. Firstly, there are two way temporary traffic signals outside the Golden Hart on Down Road to enable cables to be laid. This should be done by 21 November. Secondly, emergency road repairs are being carried out on the A432 Badminton Road between the Viaduct and Cuckoo Lane. These roadworks are due to be completed by 27 November.

Your chance for online chat with S Glos police chief

People living and working in South Gloucestershire have the chance for an online chat with the man in charge of local policing later this month, says the .
Avon and Somerset Police website
Chief Superintendent Andy Francis is the South Gloucestershire Police District's commander. He will be available for a webchat on the police website between 6.30 and 8pm on Wednesday November 26 2008. C/Supt Francis said he hoped local people would take the opportunity to log on and have their say.

He said: "We are working really hard to make sure our priorities reflect the needs of local communities. We know people are concerned about anti-social behaviour and we're tackling this with Safer South Gloucestershire and other partner agencies.

"We are using high-profile patrols of hot spot areas, talking to the young people we find there and their parents, and making good use of Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and Anti-Social Behaviour Contracts."

But C/Supt Francis stressed that the most important resource for police was local people.

He said: "It's vital that people get involved. The key to making our neighbourhoods safer and stronger lies with the residents. We need them to tell us about the problems that concern them the most – and help us find lasting solutions.

"One of the best ways to do this is to come along to your neighbourhood's Safer Stronger Community Group meetings, held regularly in a local venue. Details can be found by visiting www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/inyourarea

"The Government's recent 'Not in My Neighbourhood' week of action showcased a number of initiatives where local people have taken the lead and really made life better for everyone in their neighbourhood.

"Residents of a road In Filton have clubbed together, with the support of the neighbourhood team and Safer South Gloucestershire, to install lockable gates preventing access to the lanes behind their homes.

"This has helped to cut crime and make residents feel safer – but it could not have happened without the active support of the locals."

To make your point to C/Supt Francis simply visit www.avonandsomerset.police.uk between 6.15 and 8pm on Wednesday 26th and follow the link.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Shorthill crossroads traffic lights

From 9th to 12th November there will be temporary traffic lights in place of the permanent ones at the Shorthill crossroads while cable work is carried out.

Leaf fall problems

For the next few weeks, the Council's Street Cleansing Team are suspending their routine sweeping programme to concentrate on clearing leaf fall. If you are concerned about an area with high levels of leaf fall please contact the Streetcare help desk.

Footpath closure

If you follow the track that runs off to the west at the Nibley Lane-Westerleigh Road junction you come to a footpath on the other side of the railway line. This has had to be closed where the path crosses a bridge as the bridge has collapsed. It is planned to reopen on 27th November.

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Requests from the community police team

In the run up to Halloween, if you have any problems with youths etc, please report them as soon as possible. Police/PCSOs will be patrolling on the 31st October.

Graffiti is becoming an issue in side streets, in the Coalpit Heath/Frampton Cotterell locality. If you see anyone in the process of spraying paint dial 999, or if you notice graffiti at a later time please advise the community police team of the location.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

220 new dwellings proposed for Park Farm

Barratt Homes Bristol are proposing to build "Windmill Green" on the fields overlooked by Heather Avenue, Park Lane, St Saviour's Rise and Kelbra Crescent. A shop is included.

You have until Tuesday 4th November to have your say. It is vital that everyone who has views makes them clear to the planners by letter or email before the deadline. It would help your local Focus Team to represent your views better if you could let one of your Focus Team and your Parish Council have a copy.

You can view the plans online or drop in to the Brockeridge Centre on any weekday morning.

Frampton Cotterell Parish Council will be deciding their comments on 27th October at 7.30pm at the Brockeridge Centre. Parishioners are welcome to attend and give their views. We expect South Gloucestershire's Planning Committee to make their decision in a meeting starting at 2.30pm on 11th December in the Council Chamber at Thornbury Council Offices after visiting the site on 28th November. It will help them know the importance to local people if you attend, but please check before you go by phoning the Council on 01454 864425 or by contacting one of your Focus Team.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Academy School consultation

Last night South Gloucestershire Council held a consultation meeting for parents at The Ridings School on plans to close The Ridings and King Edmund Schools in order for them to reopen as Academies. A similar meeting will be held tonight at King Edmund School.

Officers explained that the Council consultation was only about the closure, there will be a separate consultation run by the lead sponsor of the Academy proposals, The Ridings School, on those proposals. Meetings for that will be held on 10th and 11th November, while the deadline for comments in the Council's consultation is 14th November. Parents were concerned that they were being asked to comment on the closure without knowing the full details of the Academy proposals.

You can read the Council's consultation documents on the South Glos website. For the latest information on the Academy proposals, go to The Ridings' website.

32,800 homes - time running out to have your say

The deadline for comments on plans to build 32,800 new homes in South Gloucestershire over the next 20 years is 5pm on Friday. You can make your comments online or you can download a response form to complete and email or post back to the Government Office of the South West.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

SITA submit amended composting plans

Cllrs Sue Hope and John Wells at the Site Inspection meeting

SITA have submitted amended plans for a composting facility near Tormarton. There will be a new round of consultation ending on 24th October and the application will not now be considered by the planning committee on 30th October as originally planned.

Rush hour road works on the ring road

On Tuesday 21st October, work on widening the A4174 ring road at Hambrook will start at 9.30am as usual but will continue on beyond the normal end time of 3.30pm (weather permitting). This is because the surfacing work needs to be done in one go and cannot be completed in the restricted hours. There will be fewer lanes in use than normal and the traffic lights will be adjusted to keep traffic moving as best as possible but there will inevitably be delays.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

Do you know an outstanding sports person or coach?

If so, you might want to check out the annual South Gloucestershire sports awards. There are 13 categories for which you can nominate sports people. All nominees must live within South Gloucestershire or be involved with a South Gloucestershire club or school.

To find out more, visit the South Gloucestershire website. The closing date for entries is Monday 27 October.

Roadworks outside Westgate House on Tuesday

There will be temporary traffic lights outside Westgate House, Westerleigh on Tuesday 14th October so that a new water supply can be installed.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Green Belt protection "rigid and old-fashioned", says minister

During the House of Commons debate yesterday on the massive housing developments proposed for South Gloucestershire, Communities Minister Iain Wright described the principle that brown field (previously used) land should be built on before green belt as "rigid and old-fashioned", and said that what was needed was flexibility.

Speaking to the BBC outside Downing Street, Steve Webb MP said:

“Every MP who was at the debate was shocked by what the Minister said. He said that the green belt was fair game.

“We cannot tell developers to go to the brown field and developed areas first. They can go to the prime sites on day one. It was a disgrace.”

The debate was arranged by Steve Webb after the government raised the number of proposed houses by 50% despite already overburdened roads, inadequate bus services and minimal train services.

Steve describes the debate here. You can read the debate in full or watch it (for the next 28 days).

Following the debate Steve delivered a protest petition to Downing Street.

Whether you signed the petition or not, it's still important to put in your comments to the government. The more voices they hear, the more likely they are to tone down their plans. You only have until 24 October. If you would like to object to the Government's proposals on housing, but don't know what to say, you can click here to download some suggestions: Word version
(Note - we've had occasional problems with this link - if it doesn't work for you, please email paul.hulbert@gmail.com for a copy)


Get the blank Government form online here
- you can fill it in electronically or fill in a paper copy

Use our 'specimen' as a guide – but put it in your own words, because people take more notice of personalised objections

Send completed forms to the email or postal addresses on the form to reach the Government Office for the South West not later than 5.00pm on Friday 24th October

This is important. Please do it NOW.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Latest Safer Stronger Group priorities

Tonight's meeting of the Safer Stronger Group identified three broad priorities:

1) Bad behaviour on the roads - speeding and parking issues
2) Streetcare/Highways issues - a pedestrian refuge on Church Road, vegetation around road signs, white lines on corner of Ram Hill/Broad Lane
3) Anti-social behaviour at a number of locations

Friday, 3 October 2008

Yate library to close temporarily

Due to the refurbishment of Yate Libary, it will be closed from Wednesday 29th October 2008 until Sunday 2nd November 2008 to enable the service to transfer stock and IT equipment to temporary premises.

From Monday 3rd November 2008 until December 2009 the service will be operating from those temporary premises at 23 South Parade in Yate Shopping Centre (next to Adams and opposite Lidl). Due to the space within the shop they will only be able to offer a limited service compared to the normal service provided at Yate Library. The opening times will be the same as for the current library.

Chipping Sodbury Library (which has recently been refurbished) will also be open at the following times:

Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Saturday 9.30 – 12.30 1.30 – 5.00
Sunday - Closed

Monday, 29 September 2008

Bench by the Post Office

Visitors to the Post Office may have noticed that the bench that has been out of bounds behind the fence to the building site can now be used again.

Claire Young approached the builder after residents complained and he quickly resolved the problem. They have a pavement licence for their scaffolding, so it will be unusable while that is in place, but afterwards it will be open to all again.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Energy savers wanted!

South Gloucestershire residents are being asked to take part in anew energy saving competition.

Communities will go head to head in the competition to see who can reduce their energy consumption the most over a 6 month period. Winners will be awarded an Eco Hamper for each household as well as tickets to travel to an International Awards Ceremony in Brussels.

All participants will receive a variety of energy saving gadgets and eco goodies throughout the competition, including energy saving lightbulbs, eco kettles and hot water tank jackets, and will have the chance to win spot prizes of standby saver gadgets, water powered clocks, fridgesaver plugs and wind up radios and torches.

Competition organisers are looking for 10-15 households in South Gloucestershire

To take part or find out more contact the Severn Wye Energy Agency (www.swea.co.uk) on 0800 512 012.

Concerned about local ambulance services?

The South Gloucestershire LINk, set up to enable the whole community to have a say in local health and social care issues, is currently gathering views on local ambulance services for the Great Western Ambulance Joint Health Scrutiny Committee.

You can send comments to epowell@swindon.gov.uk by the 10 October on how
satisfied you are with ambulance services in your area, anything you would
like to change about the ambulance services in your area and any issues that
you think the committee should consider in more detail.

Local MP Steve Webb challenged the Great Western Ambulance Service earlier in the year about the impact on journey times of Frenchay being downgraded.

Friday, 26 September 2008

Time to apply for local grants

The next round of Revenue Grants will run from Monday 29th September with a closing date of 3rd November. You can read more information on the South Glos website. Select G from the A-Z then Grants, Communtiy Grants.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

King Edmund-The Ridings consultation

South Gloucestershire Council are now counsulting on plans for King Edmund School and The Ridings to become academies within the Federated Academy Pathfinder Programme (which will include the technical legal closure of the existing schools).

You can read more about the consultation on the South Glos website.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Yellow Woods Challenge 2008

Once again, some of our local schools are collecting old Yellow Pages directories, to be recycled into notice boards in Gloucestershire. You can't put the Yellow Pages in your usual recycling, so if you know a school that's running the challenge why not donate your old copy and possibly help the school to win a prize.

If you can't donate to a school, you can take your Yellow Pages to the SORT IT! centre in Yate.

You can read more on the South Glos website.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Art walks

South Gloucestershire Council is running a series of Art Walks in conjunction with the Walking to Health Scheme. You can view the leaflet on the South Glos website.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

Planning committee to visit proposed composting site

The planning committee that will decide whether to grant planning permission for a proposed in-vessel composting facility near Tormarton will visit the site on Friday. Their estimated time of arrival is 10am. You can read the officer's report online.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Grants for local organisations

Congratulations to the following groups who won funding for their projects at the Frome Vale Area Forum held at the C of E School on 11 Sept.
• Village Action - £1,324 for developing a local heritage walks trail booklet with help from the Local History Group. The 5 walks included will cover Coalpit Heath, Frampton Cotterell, Mining, a children’s walk and a wheelchair users route.
• Friends of Ram Hill Colliery - £1,000 to help to remove contaminated soil that blocks the dramway and the remains of the mine’s steam raising plant.
• Coalpit Heath Community Garden - £1,000 towards themed planting, a raised flower bed and a heritage information board.
• The Manor Hall - £2,870 to replace ‘disgusting looking’ lino and floor.
• Crossbow House Community Centre - £1,000 to provide some much needed new tables and chairs.

South Glos food festival

The fourth South Gloucestershire Local Food and Drink Festival runs from Saturday 13 September to Sunday 12 October. For more information go to the South Gloucestershire Local Food website.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

32,800 new homes - have your say

Secretary of State, Hazel Blears, is proposing that there should be 32,800 new homes built in South Gloucestershire by 2026, most of them in the Green Belt, land that is supposed to stop our villages being swamped by development.

We need more affordable homes, but this figure is unrealistic. If local targets are not met, which is likely with the current downturn in the housing market, it's been made clear that Councils will find it difficult to stop houses being built on land not earmarked for development.

They're planning to shut our major hospital, Frenchay. They're planning to cut the number of hospital beds. The roads are beginning to seize up already. And the Government has deleted public transport proposals like the Yate rail turnback from their consultation (this is vital to get more trains to stop at Yate Station)

What you can do:

(1) Tell the Government what you think by responding to their consultation:
The Government has not made this easy! However, a big response is ESSENTIAL. If you want to reply by post you can obtain a response form by ringing 0117 900 1743.

Replies must be sent to: Regional Planning Team, Government
Office for the South West, 2 Rivergate, Temple Quay, BRISTOL, BS1 6ED

The easiest way to respond is by going to http://tinyurl.com/6z6pdz. Please use the form to say what 32,800 houses in South Glos would mean for your local area, in terms of impact on:

Green Belt
Traffic and transport
Local services

Copies of the proposal documents are available on-line
or at libraries or by appointment at GOSW by ringing 0117 900 1743.

The deadline is 5pm on Friday 24 October.

(2) Sign our petition (by 3 Oct) so that Steve Webb can present the petition in the special debate in Parliament - online at http://www.stevewebb.org.uk or by filling in the form on the special Focus leaflet that's being delivered at the moment. Watch for it dropping on your doormat!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Change of venue for Area Forum

In a break from recent practice, this Thursday's Frome Vale Area Forum will be held in the Main Hall at Frampton Cotterell Primary School (rather than the Ridgewood Centre, Yate). Doors open at 6.15pm for a 7pm start and the agenda includes a chance to give your views on the Government proposals to impose 33000 new homes on South Gloucestershire, decision making on grants and an open forum for your to have your say on whatever is concerning you.

Friday, 5 September 2008

Anti-skid surfacing at Shorthill crossroads

Anti-skid surfacing is going to be laid on Westerleigh Road, Shorthill Road and at Shorthill Crossroads. This will mean temporary traffic lights replacing the new permanent signals while the work is carried out.

Drainage problems by Coalpit Heath Post Office

The entrance to Church Lane, between the Post Office and the building site where Brookmans used to be, is covered in water (see left). Your Focus team have reported it and someone from Streetcare should be visiting the site today.

Don't lose your vote!

It's that time of year again when the Register of Electors forms start arriving on our doormats. This is the form that makes sure that you can vote at elections. The electoral register also gets checked if you apply for credit.

It doesn't take long to fill out the form or if there are no changes you can simply do it by telephone. Remember to tick the right-hand column if you don't want your details used for marketing (if you do it over the telephone they will confirm if you have that box ticked).

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Consultation on merger of Brockeridge and Highcroft

South Glos Council are going to hold a public consultation on whether Brockeridge Infant School and Highcroft Junior School should merge to form an all-through primary school. It is the Council's policy to review paired infant and junior schools if there is a headship vacancy on one of the schools and the projected pupil numbers are falling.

There will be a consultation event for parents and other members of the public on Tuesday, 18 November 2008 at 7.30 pm – 9.30 pm in Highcroft Junior School. Local people will then have until Friday 5th December to make their views known formally.

For the full details, you can read the report that accompanied the decision online.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Nibley Lane to close on Thursday

Nibley Lane, Yate (from its junction with Badminton Road to its junction with Westerleigh Road) will be closed on Thursday 4 September 2008 between 9.30am - 2.30pm to enable street cleansing works to be undertaken.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Did you see anything?

At approx 11am on Thursday 28th August a distraction burglary occurred in the Coalpit Heath area. Two persons attended the address claiming to be from the water board. No vehicles were seen in the vicinity.

To pass on information please either call 0845 456 7000 or email: forceservicecentre@avonandsomerset.police.uk quoting the log number 376.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

Composting meeting

Tormarton Parish Council have arranged a public display of the SITA planning application from 6.30-9pm on 3rd and 4th September in Tormarton Parish Hall. A Parish Meeting to obtain views on the application (which people from neighbouring parishes are welcome to attend) will be held in Tormarton Parish Hall, starting at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th September.

Deadline looming for phone box comments

BT have asked South Gloucestershire Council to co-ordinate the local response to the proposed phone box closures. Comments must be sent to the Council not BT directly by 31st August 2008. For more information, see the South Glos website.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Paul's Place Grand Reopening Event

Local charity Paul's Place are holding a grand reopening event tomorrow (Bank Holiday Monday) from 2pm-5pm at their home, Coalpit Heath Cricket Club. Not only do they have the opening of their new ramp down to the cricket pitches to celebrate, they are also delighted that on Thursday the planning committee granted them permission to build a new extension.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Tormarton composting application

The consultation period has started for SITA's in-vessel composting application for the highways depot site near Tormarton. You can view the extensive case file and make comments on the South Glos website. According to the website, the deadline for comments is 9 September, but local Councillors were told it was the 8th. Either way, there isn't long to make your views know.

Residents and Parish Councils affected by the previous composting application near Westerleigh were angry that no residents were notified of that application because none lived within 100m of the site. Claire Young took these complaints to the Executive Member at the Select Committee and this time the Council have contacted all those within 900m. This includes some people living in the part of Dodington Parish within Westerleigh ward.

If you would like further updates on this application, you can join our composting mailing list by sending an email to:


Phone mast - deadline for comments 2 September

Don't forget that if you wish to comment on the proposed O2 phone mast, the deadline for comments is 2 September.

First bus prices to rise

First Bus has announced price rises of around 6 percent in the Greater Bristol area with effect from Sunday 1st September. They say this is due to the rising cost of fuel.

The announcement from First is here.

For more details you can click on the "Bristol fares information" link at the bottom of First's announcement.

(Thank you to our sister blog for this story).

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

New phone mast application off Park Lane

O2 are proposing to erect a phone mast on land off Park Lane, Frampton Cotterell. You can view the application details on the South Glos website.

Radio mast application goes to committee

The application to build two radio masts off Frampton End Road will be considered by the Development Control (West) committee on Thursday 21 August. The meeting starts at 2pm in Thornbury. Officers are recommending approval, you can read the report on the South Glos website.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

Water problems continue

According to Bristol Water it will now be Monday or Tuesday before the bad taste and smell will be gone from the local water supply. They have reiterated that the water is safe to drink (though the taste makes it pretty undrinkable - Editor). They have a duty to provide water that is not only safe but free of bad taste or smells. There appears to be nothing about the incident on their website.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Funny tasting water?

Claire Young contacted Bristol Water to complain about the "earthy" tasting water currently coming through taps in Coalpit Heath.

This is a known issue affecting Bristol and surrounding areas, caused by organic matter in the source. Claire was told that it is completely harmless but they are taking steps to deal with the odd taste and the water should be back to normal in a couple of days.

Station Road Post Office closure date

The Post Office have announced that the PO counter in Station Road, Yate (Tesco Express) will close at 1pm on September 5th.

This despite the effect this will have on the large number of elderly people in the area, who may find it difficult to get to the Shopping Centre or to stand in the long queues that are a regular feature of the Post Office there.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Rising energy costs

Local MP Steve Webb has recently blogged about the massive gas price hikes.

Those looking to renewable energy to help with the problem of rising fuel costs can find more information on the South Glos website.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

IVC application submitted

Earlier this week, SITA submitted the formal planning application for
an In-Vessel Composting facility near Tormarton. It will take around
seven to ten days to register, after which the Council will have a
target of 13 weeks in which to determine it as it is classified as a
major application. There will be a public consultation process and the
application will go before the Development Control (East) committee,
rather than being decided by a planning officer.

New bus timetables

The new bus timetables that come into action tomorrow can be seen on the South Glos website. Make sure you click on the new rather than the old timetables where both are listed.

Local residents will be particularly interested in the X27, X42, 327 and 342 services.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Lib Dems call for legal challenge to housing numbers

At Wednesday's Council meeting, the Lib Dems tabled an amendment to a Council motion on housing numbers, demanding that the Council investigate taking legal action if the Secretary of State doesn’t reduce the housing numbers destined for South Gloucestershire.

The number of homes that would have to be built each year is highly unrealistic but if the targets are not met there is a real danger that developers will be able to win appeals to build on land not earmarked by the Council for development.

Another concern is that the minister's recommendations would not ensure that the infrastructure needed to support the new homes would be built first. The Lib Dems succeed in gaining three party support for their motion demanding funding from Government to give first class transport for South Gloucestershire residents.

Wind turbine plans for new Council offices

South Gloucestershire Council has agreed to look into erecting a wind turbine on land adjacent to the new Council offices on Badminton Road. If installed, it would provide part of the power needed for the offices.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

New housing bombshell - Secretary of State recommends an extra 2000 new homes

Local people horrified at a Government panel's recommendation that 30,800 new homes should be built in South Gloucestershire by 2026 will be shocked to hear that the Secretary of State has now recommended increasing that number by 2000.

Lib Dem Leader and councillor for Yate Central Ruth Davis explains, “I am horrified that the Minister has ignored the huge outcry from the public against the proposed housing within South Gloucestershire. We have already said that an increase of 23,500homes would be difficult to deal with properly if not impossible. In reply the Government panel suggested 30,800. Now instead of reducing that number to a manageable and sustainable level of growth the Secretary of State Hazel Blears MP has put it up further. As far as we’re concerned she’s living in the house of commons fantasy land.”

“Our worst fears have been founded with the figure going up even further. As there will now be a 12 week public consultation period on these proposals I urge the public to put their views forward in writing as it appears the Minister is just not listening.”

“We need time now to analyse these new figures in detail as whilst it appears the number for Yate are reduced to 3000 additional houses, this means 4000 more houses for the rest of South Gloucestershire. Being swamped with a flood of new properties was not what Yate residents wanted but they certainly wouldn’t have wished 4000 upon their neighbours in the rest of South Gloucestershire.”

The Lib Dem planning spokesman Cllr Pat Hockey said, "The Government needs to think again about the totally unrealistic number of new homes being proposed for South Gloucestershire. It is ridiculous that the Minister has not taken into account that development appears to have ceased on a number of major sites in South Gloucestershire due to the downturn in the housing market. This makes these housing targets unrealistic, unachievable and pure fantasy figures."

A map showing the previous housing figures

Monday, 14 July 2008

Shorthill crossroads traffic lights go live tomorrow

The new traffic signals at the junction of Westerleigh Road and Shorthill Road will be switched on tomorrow, Tuesday 15 July.

There will be some testing to start with and the traffic light specialists will be there through the first afternoon and morning peaks to fine tune the system and make sure everything is working OK.

Hopefully the lights will reduce the accident rate on this very busy junction.

Vodafone win appeal

Sadly Vodafone have won their appeal against the planning committee's decision to object to their plans to erect a phone mast near the junction of Woodside Road and Badminton Road.

On the effect on the street scene, the inspector says:

“Inevitably, any utilitarian roadside structures such of[sic] those proposed will detract from the street scene, adding visual clutter, but in my view the effect on the character and appearance of the area would not be at all serious.”

On residential amenity he says:

“...it seems to me that the public perception of the effect of the pole on amenity is strongly influenced by what it would represent, and concern about possible health effects, rather than its likely appearance.”

He found no reason to doubt the need for the mast and was satisfied that Vodafone had undertaken a sufficiently thorough assessment of alternative sites. With regard to the health concerns, he noted that the proposed mast would meet ICNIRP Guidelines and “found nothing specific to this case that would justify taking a different approach to health considerations.”

This decision, which you can read in full online, means that Vodafone now have approval to erect the mast as proposed.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Yate International Festival

Yate International Festival is taking place tomorrow (Saturday 12 July) from 10.30am-5.30pm at Yate Heritage Centre and St Mary's Church and Green. There will be a free programme of performances, workshops and activities celebrating different cultures. More information here.

Revised lorry movement figures

SITA have clarified the revised lorry movement figures for the proposed composting facility at Tormarton, reflecting the fact that from next year green bins will be collected weekly rather than fortnightly. They are:

14 collection vehicles, doing 2 collection rounds & deliveries per day = 28 deliveries per day = 56 movements

2 "widget" (narrow access) collection vehicles doing 1 round & delivery each per day = 2 deliveries = 4 movements

3 bulkers per day removing compost product = 6 movements. Compost removal will remain the same regardless of weekly or fortnightly collections

Total HGV movements per day = 66 movements per day for weekly collection of organic waste

In addition there will be 6 staff generating 12 light vehicle movements per day.

SITA have still to provide the detailed breakdown of the routes those lorries will be using.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Safer Stronger Community Group - latest priorities

At tonight's meeting, the following priorities were agreed:

1. Upgrading youth facilities in both Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh parishes.
2. Continuing to work on the motorbike problems at Dodmore Farm.
3. Tackling speeding in the Quiet Lanes Scheme, Perrinpit Lane and Westerleigh.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Composting application presentation at Dyrham and Hinton PC

SITA's presentation to Dyrham and Hinton Parish Council on Thursday and the one made by the Parish Council in response provoked a lively and interesting debate. Points made by SITA and Agrivert representatives in response to questions included:

  • Both VOSA and the Highways Agency are expected to continue to use their parts of the site, there is no intention to take over areas outside the training agency land.

  • They are still working on the detailed traffic assessment. As the vehicles are arriving outside peak times, they don’t expect the impact on the motorway junction to be a problem. They provided revised vehicle movement figures to take account of weekly collections, but Claire Young has written to SITA since the meeting requesting further clarification.

  • The facility would revert to SGC-ownership in 2025.

  • The capacity required was modelled and provided by South Gloucestershire Council. SITA currently collect 20 000 tonnes of green waste from the kerb-side, 3000tonnes from civic amenity sites that could continue to go to open windrow as it wouldn’t include food waste and expect to collect 5000 tonnes of kitchen waste.

  • They denied that they had been unable to use a site in Avonmouth because Tesco didn’t want it next to their warehouse because of fears of contamination.

  • Agrivert will have to repay SITA if there are problems with the site in the first two years.

  • They conceded it wasn’t ideally located, being on the edge of South Gloucestershire and not near the centres of population, but it has the advantage of being near agricultural land. However they anticipate the end product going on arable land, not grazing land.

  • Both SITA and Agrivert insisted this wasn’t a cheapskate option.

  • They would not exceed the licensed capacity, aside from that not being allowed it would cause odour problems and result in a poor end product. They mention 30 000 tonnes in the title of the application as that cannot be varied in the way that conditions can, so any increase would have to be through a new planning application.

  • The site would be sealed with fences to stop vermin getting in and nets between buildings to keep out birds. It is interesting to note that you cannot graze animals on fields on which the compost has been spread for 8 weeks.

  • To pass Animal Byproducts regulations, 27 random tests are carried out and if a single one fails the product has to be landfilled. Agrivert has never had a plant shut in 26 sites across Europe in 14 years.

Claire Young pointed out, as she did at the Westerleigh presentation for the previous application, that it was wrong to say that all of South Gloucestershire outside towns and villages is green belt. She also asked SITA to clarify why they had ruled out the Hallan site that New Earth Solutions are considering. Gareth Phillips of SITA said he had visited the site personally and thinks that both it and a nearby site are unsuitable because there is a problem with access for the "bulkers" that take the compost away.

Latteridge Road closure

Latteridge Road, Iron Acton will be closed to traffic from 10pm today (Sunday 29th June 2008) until 5.00am tomorrow morning, due to essential works on the Railway Crossing after a vehicle collided with it.

The alternative route for vehicles is via Bristol Road B4058, Perinpit Road and Old Gloucester Road B4427 to A38 and vice versa
Bristol Road B4058, Wotton Road B4058, Stidcote Lane, Duck Street, Stowell Hill Road, Tytherington Road to A38 and vice versa.

Next Safer Stronger Community Group meeting on Tuesday

The next Safer Stronger Community Group meeting for Frampton Cotterell/Westerleigh is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 1st July 2008 at Frampton Cotterell C of E School. This is your chance to raise issues with the police and local Councillors.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Composting facility presentation tonight

SITA will make a presentation at Dyrham and Hinton Parish Council tonight (Thursday 26th June). The meeting is at 7.30pm in the Parish Hall.

Ram Hill foul drain smells fixed?

Claire Young recently wrote to Wessex Water about foul smells coming from the drains on Ram Hill. They investigated and identified a fault at Henfield Sewage Pumping Station. This fault has led to the contents being kept for long periods at the site and in the rising main that discharges near Ram Hill Business Park, which has caused septicity and ultimately the foul odour.

Wessex Water have now rectified the fault, which they say should resolve the smell problem. If this is not the case, please contact Claire Young on 01454 864086 or claire.young@southglos.gov.uk

Friday, 20 June 2008

Ram Hill Colliery work party

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery have organised a work party for 10am-3pm this Sunday (22 June). They say it will help if you can bring along your favourite spade or shears.

Monday, 16 June 2008

An extra 30 800 homes - 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 the Lib Dem's planning spokesperson Pat Hockey with the latest bagful of letters she has received from worried residents.

The official deadline for commenting on the Core Strategy was last Friday but there will be another consultation later in the summer when the minister publishes her response to the recommendation that an extra 30 800 homes should be built in South Gloucestershire. Watch this space for more information.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Composting facility will take weekly green bin collections

It's been confirmed that there will be weekly green bin collections including food from next April, not fortnightly as SITA have been telling residents.

At the Parish Council meeting at Tormarton on Monday, SITA said their plans were based on fortnightly green bin collections, with food being collected in green bins one week, black bins the next.

Lib Dem councillors queried this with Council officers, as the Council has committed to weekly green bin collections from April 2009. It's now been confirmed that SITA's plans should accommodate weekly collections.

Claire Young has asked for SITA to provide revised vehicle movement figures as a matter of urgency.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Latest bus service proposals from First Bus

Coalpit Heath - The X42 which goes via the M32 will be retained, giving one express service an hour, but off-peak buses will be reduced from 4 buses per hour to 3 as both the X30 and X40 will be withdrawn. The X30 will be replaced by the new 327, which will go into Bristol via Frenchay hospital.

Frampton Cotterell - There will now be no express service as the X30, which goes via the M32, will be replaced by the new 327 which will operate via Hicks Common and Frenchay.

Iron Acton - The new X27 service via the M32 will replace the 328 and within the village buses will avoid the High Street due to parking problems there.

Composting application presentation at Tormarton PC

Last night SITA gave a presentation about their In-Vessel Composting application and answered questions about it at the Tormarton Parish Council meeting. Claire Young attended along with fellow Lib Dem Councillors Sue Hope and Sarah Turley.

The questions were wide ranging and topics included:

Choice of site - SITA acknowledged this wasn't ideal, being in the Green Belt and the AONB, and that an industrial site would be better, but this was the result of a long search. They did secure planning permission at a site in Avonmouth but that area is changing rapidly and moving from heavy industry to warehousing. They also agreed a more central location would be preferable, but again argued there was a lack of alternatives.

Back up plans - They are still looking at alternatives and would withdraw this application if a better site became available.

Timing of application - SITA are now looking to put in the planning application towards the end of July.

Enclosing the tunnels in a building - They are reviewing with DEFRA whether they should enclose the tunnels but operationally this wouldn't be as good.

Vermin - Nothing stays still in the open for more than 8 hours, during which time there’d be too much movement of vehicles for animals to want to go on site. There will be baiting stations around the site, it will be fenced and the whole area kept clean.

Odours - The Agrivert spokesman claimed residents wouldn’t even know this site was there.

Bioaerosols - These will be monitored before and after the site is commissioned.

Claire Young asked about:

  • The inclusion of cardboard, which isn't treated at Agrivert's Edmonton IVC. Agrivert assured the meeting that they had learnt their lessons at their open windrow site in Oxfordshire, which takes cardboard, although he didn't elaborate on how these lessons would be applied at this site.

  • The market for the end product - Agrivert insisted farmers were falling over themselves for the compost.

  • Whether the predicted vehicle movements allowed for taking waste from other authorities, which they said it did.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Local roadworks

In the coming weeks there wil be several sets of roadworks that might slow your journey locally:

  • From 9th to 11th June there will be a trench surface repair on the Badminton Road/Station Road A432 from near the railway bridge to Stover Road. This will require off-peak traffic signals and lane width restrictions.
  • The railway bridge on Westerleigh Road, Westerleigh will have two way traffic lights on 12 June while the bridge is inspected.

  • The A4174 Ring Road between the Bromley Heath roundabout and the Wick Wick roundabout will have lane closures for approximately 12 weeks from the end of June for essential bridge strengthening

Have Your Say surgery tomorrow

Don't forget that tomorrow local Councillors Pat and Dave Hockey and Claire Young will be holding a surgery at the Brockeridge Centre from 10.30-12.30 for anyone who wants to discuss their responses to the "Core Strategy" consultation.

Phone boxes 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 following phone boxes are under threat in the Ladden-Frome area:

Henfield Road, Coalpit Heath
North Road, Yate
Sundays Hill Lane, Falfield
Charfield Hill, Charfield
Little Bristol Lane, Charfield
Court Road, Leyhill
Longcross, Cromhall
Heathend, Cromhall
outside the old Post Office, Westerleigh
At the layby, Stover Road, Yate

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

The Evening Posts reports the phone box story here.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Composting drop-in sessions - today and tomorrow!

Drop-in sessions will be held on Tuesday 3rd and Wednesday 4th June at Tormarton Parish hall between 6pm-8pm. SITA will be in attendance at the Wednesday session.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

All change in Yate

Yate town centre is currently undergoing a great deal of change. Work started on the new Health Centre earlier in the year(as you can read on our sister blog). The leisure centre is about to undergo a revamp, during which it is hoped it will stay open.

Not to be left out, the library will be extended and developed using £1.5 million from the Big Lottery Fund. The plan is to close Yate Library in September and operate from a temporary base for about 12 months. They will also be extending the opening hours of Chipping Sodbury Library during that time. In preparation for this Chipping Sodbury Library will be closed from 14th June – 5th August for internal redecoration and refurbishment.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Station Road Post Office to close

The Post Office have announced the results of their "consultation" about closing 29 Post Offices in the Greater Bristol area and, surprise, surprise, all 29 are to close. This includes the Post Office in the Tesco Express Store in Station Road, Yate. Local people will have to join the already long queues at Yate Post Office.

Steve Webb told the Gazette, "The depressing thing about the whole consultation process was that we always knew that if we got the post office to change their mind about one of the offices on their list they would simply substitute another one.

"As soon as the government decided that 2,500 offices had to go, the die was cast."

See the Evening Post for a full list of closures.

Hope for bus services?

Steve Webb met the Managing Director of First Bus this week, and it sounds like First may possibly be going to listen to all the comments they've had about their proposals to restructure the bus service and withdraw the "X" express buses from the Yate/Sodbury routes. You can read Steve's account of the bus meeting here.

Thursday, 29 May 2008

More information needed on composting facility

As we reported recently, SITA now hope to site the in-vessel composting facility next to the Highways depot off the A46 near Tormarton. Lib Dem Councillors from the area (including Sue Hope, pictured above with Chair of Tormarton Parish Council, John Wells) are calling on the Council's waste contractors SITA to provide more information so residents can understand the full impact and for consultation events to be held for the public.

Claire Young has asked SITA for details of the current routes used by collection vehicles and where they would travel if this proposal went ahead so that residents can compare the two and see whether there would be a significant impact on local roads.

ETA: You can read more in the Gazette.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Don't forget! Have your say on the buses

It's important that everyone tells First what they think - you still have time to make comments via their website www.firstgroup.com/haveyoursay/bristol. The deadline is tomorrow, Sunday 25th.

Nibley Lane to close on Tuesday

Nibley Lane, Westerleigh will be closed on Tuesday 27 May 2008 between 9.30am - 2.30pm to enable street cleansing work to be undertaken.

Residents call for action on B4465/Westerleigh Road

Residents are calling for action to improve safety on the B4465 and the unclassified Westerleigh Road, which link the A46 close to the M4 with the ring road.

Local Councillor Claire Young said, "Residents all along the B4465 and the unclassified Westerleigh Road are worried about the speed of the traffic. There are currently three national speed limit sections along this route. The first section between the A46 and Codrington is very twisty and narrow in places and there have been a number of accidents there this year, including a fatal one. Between Codrington and Westerleigh there is the junction with Codrington Lane and between Westerleigh and the ring road lies Henfield Crossroads, concealed in a dip.”

“This week I presented a petition on behalf of residents calling on the Council to lower the speed limit on those derestricted sections. I also explained to the Council that many local people are concerned about the HGVs that use the route. They believe that the heavy traffic is damaging the road and increasing the risk of accidents.”

Thursday, 22 May 2008

X factor bus bombshell petition

Lib Dem Councillor Sheila Mead and fellow councillors handed in a petition from residents affected by the proposed cuts to the bus services in Chipping Sodbury and Yate to the Executive member of S Glos Council. Sheila believes it’s vital to make sure the Conservative Council listens to their concerns.

Sheila Mead said, “Those people who’ve signed the petition really want their concerns taken seriously. We want the Council to make sure First Bus understands that these cuts are unacceptable without offering better alternatives. If streamlining one part of a service to make it better then leaves other people without any buses it will not improve or increase the public use of bus transport. I also hope that everyone who signed the petition will respond to the consultation by First which ends on 25th May.”

The petition reads: Due to proposed changes in the bus routes provided by First, there will be no bus servicing Cotswold Road from the end of July 2008. We feel that the removal of this service will seriously affect people’s ability to access local amenities, including Doctors Surgeries and shops. The extra distance people would have to travel to reach a bus stop would be beyond many local members of the local community and could effectively isolate people in their own homes. In a day and age when we are being encouraged to use public transport, it is extremely important that this service is maintained.

Cllr Ian Blair said, “It is disappointing that the Council failed to give prompt information to Councillors over the proposed bus timetable changes and consultation. There’s only 5 days to go before the deadline but the Council only saw fit to give members a briefing yesterday.”

He added, “As well as the petition presented from residents at today’s Council I asked the Executive member what is he going to do for Yate and Sodbury residents now that the Council has withdrawn funding for the Nibley park and ride? The answer I have received states the funding was reprioritised to fund a Park and Ride at Parkway Station. That’s all very well for the Executive members residents near that station but it still doesn’t reassure the public living in the Yate and Sodbury area about what this Conservative Council will be doing for them! And at the moment it looks as if they are doing nothing."

"To make matters worse the Council bus briefing given to us yesterday stated, 'There appear to be some positive proposals in the consultation package', this does nothing to reassure me that this Council is taking the bus timetable changes seriously.”

Can you spot YOUR local councillors in the photo?
- Front centre: Kay Crowe.
- Middle, right to left: Linda Boon, Howard Gawler, Sheila Mead, Dave Hockey.
- Back, right to left: Claire Young, Jon Williams, Sue Hope, Ruth Davis, Mike Drew, Mike Robbins, Alan Lawrance, Ian Blair.

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Electricity supply in Coalpit Heath

At the Parish Plan Open Day on Saturday, a resident raised the issue of frequent power cuts in Coalpit Heath. In particular, they felt that they were often off when the Winterbourne area (which they can see from their home) was not.

Claire Young checked with the electricity supply company, Central Networks, who investigated. They found that in the last 2 years there has only been one high voltage outage (which would affect a wide area) but several low voltage outages that would be more local. They could not compare with the Winterbourne area as they don't supply it.

The engineer advised that the reoccurring fuse operations on the low voltage side have been cleared off the network with the overlaying of cable. There have been a series of faults with totally unconnected causes some of which were entirely beyond the company's control so there are no actions they can take which would have avoided these unfortunate events.

They have promised to continue to monitor the performance of the circuit and produce an action plan if a trend of poor performance is noted. In the meantime, if anyone has any further concerns they can call Central Networks on 0121 530 8224 and one of the Customer Liaison Team will be more than happy to help.

Next round of community grants

The application period for the next round of Capital Grants will run from Tuesday 20th May to 23rd June. These will be allocated at the local Area Forum in the autumm. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Adding insult to injury

As if the lack of information about the bus service changes wasn't enough, residents of Coalpit Heath have received the wrong information altogether.

At Saturday's Parish Plan Open Day a number of residents told Claire Young that they had received the North and East Bristol consultation leaflet in their Observers, rather than the one for the Chipping Sodbury, Yate, Winterbourne and the Coalpit Heath area.

When she got home, Claire found that she too had the wrong leaflet and contacted First Bus. They were unaware of the problem and promised to put their marketing team on to it first thing Monday morning, but with the end of the consultation only a week away it seems unlikely that people will get the right information in time.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Bus information still lacking

Yesterday Claire Young contacted First Bus to try to find out more details of the service changes. Amazingly, she was told that they couldn't say what the journey times would be and exactly which bus stops would be involved as the detailed timetables haven't been drawn up yet.

The reason given was that they will depend on public opinion - so get writing!

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Steve Webb speaks out on bus service changes

Read the full story in today's Bristol Evening Post.

Sarah Turley joins the Lib Dems

Cllr Turley (second from left) is welcomed by (l to r) Cllr Marilyn Palmer, Cllr Ruth Davis and local MP Steve Webb

Councillor Sarah Turley (Boyd Valley) has left South Gloucestershire’s ruling Conservative group and joined the Liberal Democrats.

Sarah says, “When I stood for election last year I was determined to stand up for my local community. Unfortunately, over the last year I have found that my work has been undermined by members of the Conservative group on the Council."

“In particular, when I wanted to speak up on behalf of local residents against the in-vessel composter, I was discouraged from doing so. At the same time I have worked closely with community campaigners, many of whom are members of the local Liberal Democrats, and this is the way that I want to work."

“I look forward to working alongside local MP Steve Webb and Cllr Marilyn Palmer in standing up for the people of Boyd Valley over the coming years".

Lib Dem council group leader Ruth Davis greeted her new colleague warmly, saying, “We very much welcome Sarah to the team. She is a very capable and respected councillor and shares our commitment to the environment and to standing up for her local community."

New composting site announced

SITA have finally announced their latest proposals for an In-Vessel composter for South Gloucestershire's food waste. The site is next to the Highways depot on the A46 near Tormarton.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Bus services axed - tell First what you think

First Bus are proposing major changes to bus routes and timetables between Bristol and Yate and Chipping Sodbury, affecting services to Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath and other communities on the route. Some places will get more frequent buses, but some will get fewer or none at all. The express “X” services will be withdrawn, and none of these buses will go down the M32, making journeys longer.

Your local Focus Team say that First's consultation is totally inadequate, with local people only having until 25th May to have their say. Cllr Pat Hockey said “I am concerned about the lack of opportunity to discuss this properly and would be horrified if there’s any cutback in services through Frampton Cotterell.”

Cllr Claire Young added, “There is simply not enough information in the consultation leaflet for people to work out what impact these changes would have. I urge First Bus to provide more details and extend the consultation period to allow local people to have a real say about these changes”.

It's important that everyone tells First what they think via their website www.firstgroup.com/haveyoursay/bristol or by writing to Have Your Say, Freepost 3782, Bristol BS5 0ZX.

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Environment fun day at Yate library

This Saturday there will be a free event, "A wish for your world", at Yate library where families can take part in a range of environment-related activities.

Activities aimed at 4-7 year olds will start at 10am, those for older children at 12.30pm. Activities will include junk modelling, paper making, stories, quizzes, music and songs, plus there will be a chance to win a fruit tree. A Sort-it adviser will also be available to answer questions about recycling, composting and waste minimisation.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Housing bombshell - have your say

As you may have read in the last Focus, the Minister is currently considering recommendations for an extra 30,800 homes in South Gloucestershire. At the same time, South Gloucestershire Council has to consult on where the new housing should go. If you care about how much Yate and our villages should grow over the next 20 years you need to get involved NOW!

Yesterday South Gloucesterhire Council officially launched its "Core Strategy Issues and Options" consultation. This runs for only 6 weeks, which means your comments have to be in by June 13th. You can read the document on line at www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategy. Alternatively printed copies should be at the One Stop Shops in Yate, Thornbury and Kingswood, at all South Gloucestershire libraries, including the mobile and at the Brockeridge Centre.

You can have your say either on-line, by following the link from the Core Strategy page, or by using the Questionnaire Response Booklet. These can be obtained by phoning 01454 863469 or emailing planningldf@southglos.gov.uk . Alternatively, you can download the 47 page response booklet to print yourself from the consultation website by clicking "Respond to Consultation" and then "Respond by Post".

Don’t be put off by the length of the Core Strategy document! You may be interested in some or all of it. The section that deals with Yate/Chipping Sodbury starts
on page 99 and the section that deals with our villages, headed Rural Settlements, on page 117.

At this stage no villages are mentioned. There are 3 alternative Options put forward to get views on the best way to decide where development should be allowed. Questions 79-82 in the Response Booklet cover these. It is important to let the Planning Team know your view as they will use the responses they get as a basis for the next stage of consultation – the Preferred Options.

If you need help with this or have difficulty accessing the document, please contact one of your FOCUS TEAM (see the link on the right).

Steve Webb at a packed public meeting to discuss the proposals for 5000 new homes in Yate

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Still no sign of new composting site

It is now five weeks since SITA withdrew their application to build a massive composting facility in the green belt near Westerleigh.

At the time, they suggested that they were switching their attentions to a nearby brown field site, still in the green belt. Last month Claire Young took the opportunity to question the council's Cabinet member responsible for Waste Heather Goddard.

While agreeing with Claire that the best place for an IVC was on an industrial park, the Executive Member said we don't have such sites in South Gloucestershire. She did say however that SITA are looking at two sites not in the green belt. That would appear to be a change from what SITA had said previously in public.

During the public consultation on the previous SITA application, some residents were concerned that the technology SITA were proposing to use was out of date with a reputation elsewhere for odour problems. When Claire put this to the Executive Member she was told that the Council has the chance to influence the details of the technology but the type of facility is specified in the contract and if a major change of technology was requested the contract would need re-writing, with the costs and risks involved falling on the Council rather than SITA.

Your local Focus team strongly supports weekly food waste collections, so Claire was also keen to find out what fall back plans there are in place if SITA fail to construct a facility in time. The Cabinet member said that SITA were looking at interim arrangements and promised a written response to the question of whether SITA or the Council would bear the cost of this.

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

More on the takeaway application

The plans to turn the old Post Office into a takeaway were raised at tonight's Safer Stronger Community Group meeting. Concerns raised included parking problems, litter and smells.

Local Councillor Claire Young spoke to the case officer about the consultation with residents on Wedensday morning. He explained that for applications of this nature, only those properties that share a boundary (or are directly opposite) are consulted. This appears to have been done. The plans should be available to view in the Yate One Stop Shop. Issues such as youths hanging around late at night or litter could be dealt with by approppriate conditions on opening times, provision of bins and so on.

At the SSCG meeting, one resident said that the plans had disappeared from the website. They appear to be there at the time of writing this post but if anyone has further concerns about this, please contact Claire Young.

The Chair of the Parish Council confirmed that this application will be considered at Monday's Parish Council meeting in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath.

Safer Stronger Community Group - latest priorities

At tonight's meeting of the Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh Safer Stronger Community Group, the following top three priorities were identified:

  1. Speeding motorbikes and vandalism along Broad Lane and in a neighbouring field

  2. Drug problem in Frampton Cotterell

  3. Request for traffic calming in Westerleigh village

Other issues discussed included the takeaway application (more in a separate post), vandalism at Westerleigh Village Hall and speeding on Park Lane.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Takeaway plans in Westerleigh

An application has been made to turn the old Post Office at Westerleigh into a takeaway. If you have any comments you would like to make either for or against the proposals you can do so online by viewing the case file and clicking on the "Comment on application" link.

Safer Stronger Community Group on Wednesday

The next meeting of the Frampton Cotterell and Westerleigh Safer Stronger Community Group is at 7.30pm on Wednesday 2nd April 2008 at Westerleigh Village Hall. You can read more on the Avon and Somerset police site.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Barratt Homes proposals

Last week Barratt Homes held an exhibition in Zion Church Hall showing how they would like to develop land next to Park Farm. As you may have read in the Evening Post, your local Focus team believe this is jumping the gun. The Council's consultation on where the thousands of new homes being imposed on South Gloucestershire should be built hasn't even started yet!

If you oppose these proposals, you might like to write to Barratt Homes. If you do, keep a copy of your letter. It will be really important that you also respond to the Council's consultation. Watch this space for more information on how to do this when the time comes.

Ruffet Road flooding - a solution?

Last week South Glos Council's drainage engineer visited the Ruffet Road/Coalsack Lane junction to investigate the recurrent flooding problems. He and his team probed the highway culvert and located a blockage/collapse half way across the road.

Next week (week beginning Monday 31 January) Ruffet Road will be closed between the Coalsack Lane and Henfield Road junctions so that the repair gang can dig down and either repair the culvert or lay a new one.

Phone mast appeal - how to comment online

All the original objections will be passed on to the planning inspector considering the Badminton Road phone mast appeal, but you can also make additional comments or comment if you didn't first time round. To do this online, go to the case summary, click on the link under "Documents" and then click on "Comment on this case". Fill in the form and submit it.

To find out more about the appeal process, try these links:

Helpful guidelines from the Planning Portal

Advice notes on electronic submissions

More advice from the Planning Inspectorate

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Phone mast - the appeal process

The Planning Inspectorate have now written to South Gloucestershire Council about the phone mast appeal. You can see the letter on the website.

The Council has until 3 April to write to all those who made comments on the original application informing them of the appeal. Comments made before will be forwarded on but if you want to make additional comments you should send three copies to the Inspectorate by 1 May 2008.

Sunday, 16 March 2008

Composting - the latest developments

Recent newspaper reports have suggested that the new site SITA are considering is in the same area as the withdrawn application, outside Westerleigh.

At the same time, New Earth Solutions who have already proposed building a composting facilitiy at Falfield, are reported to be weeks away from submitting plans to build one at Avonmouth, to process Bristol City food waste which is currently sent to Poole in Dorset. This is an industrial site, much like the location of the facility local Councillors visited in North London. While it remains to be seen whether permission will be granted for the Avonmouth site, an industrial site would seem a more appropriate location for this type of facility.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Could you help at Ram Hill colliery?

Last week the Frome Vale Area Forum gave a grant to the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery to put towards spoil heap clearance and tools for cutting back vegetation.

The Friends group completed a series of working parties last year that cleared away vegetation at the site and made a start on removing a top soil heap. Over the winter they have been putting together a programme of work for 2008 and you can hear more about this at their AGM at 7.30pm on Wednesday 26th March at Coalpit Heath Village Hall (Miners' Club).

Your first chance to help out on site this year starts at 10am on Sunday 30 March. For more information contact the Chair, Steve Hillyard, at steve@hillyard.demon.co.uk.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

MP launches fight against PO closures

Steve Webb MP has launched a campaign against PO closures.

Residents of Nibley and the Stover Road area of Yate may be particularly concerned about plans to close the Post Office in the Tesco Express store in Station Road. Yate is a growing town and if this post office closes people will have to use the Crown post office in Yate shopping centre which already has long queues at peak times.

To find out what you can do to help, go to the Save our Post Offices website.

Steve Webb MP welcomes withdrawal of composting application

Local MP Steve Webb has welcomed the decision by SITA to withdraw their application for a giant composting plant in the Green Belt between Pucklechurch and Westerleigh. You can read more on his website.

Mayshill roadworks

There will be temporary traffic lights on the A432 Badminton Road, A432 at Mayshill on March 9th for a water supply pipe.

Westerleigh roadworks

Work is due to start on 10 March on installing the traffic lights at the crossroads of the B4465 with Westerleigh Road and Shorthill Road. There will be temporary traffic lights in place, mainly during off-peak times, and the work is expected to finish in mid-May.

There will also be temporary traffic signals from 7th to the 14th March on Westerleigh Road in Westerleigh village for the installation of bus boarder kerbs.

Composting - new site?

SITA have not yet revealed the new site they are considering. However, in their letter formally withdrawing the application to build a composting facility off Batchfield Lane they say it is a brown field site but still in the green belt. Clearly they are not looking at an industrial area such as Avonmouth, which would be more like the site of the facility that Claire Young and other local councillors visited in London.

Friday, 7 March 2008

LATEST - Composting application withdrawn

SITA have withdrawn their application to build an in-vessel composting facility in the Green Belt near Westerleigh.

They now say that they are pursuing an alternative brownfield site in the area, which has only become available in the last two weeks.

This is excellent news for residents, who opposed the application in unprecedented numbers. More news as it becomes available.