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 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 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 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 . 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