Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Cycling City exhibition - route via Westerleigh

A public exhibition is planned on Tuesday 13th October 2009 between 1.30pm and 7.30pm at Shire Way Community Centre, Yate showing details of the proposed new cycle route between Station Road, Yate and the end of the existing Bristol and Bath Railway Path at Coxgrove Hill.

More information on the proposals can be found online.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Government thinks again on housing?

The Government has announced that it will be looking again at plans to build more than 32,000 new homes in South Gloucestershire, many of them in the Green Belt.

The most recent draft of the 'Regional Spatial Strategy' (RSS) for the South West proposed that over 32,000 houses should be built in South Gloucestershire by 2026, more than 10,000 more than local people believe is needed to meet local need. Following a legal challenge to a similar document for the East of England, the Government has now announced that it will be setting up a new 'sustainability appraisal' for the South West to think again about whether the approach to identifying housing sites is the best way forward. This review is expected to be completed in the New Year.

Local MP and countryside campaigner Steve Webb MP said, "At long last, the Government has agreed to look again at whether the planned location for all these houses is really sustainable. We have been arguing for years that these plans risk destroying the valuable countryside which we all value so much. It is a shame that it took legal action for the Government to finally start listening. It is therefore vital that this further review is not simply a whitewash but does look properly at the way these tens of thousands of houses could have a devastating effect on the qualify of life in our area".

Monday, 28 September 2009

Safer Stronger Community Group on Tuesday

The next meeting of the Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Iron Acton and Coalpit Heath Safer & Stronger Community Group (SSCG) is on Tuesday 29th September at the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath at 7.30pm. The meeting is open to the public and everyone is welcome.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Friday, 25 September 2009

Want to improve healthcare locally?

The South Gloucestershire LINk (Local Involvement Network) is a network of local people,
organisations and groups that want to make health and social care services better, open to anyone who receives health or social care services in South Gloucestershire.

The LINk is holding a Stakeholder’s Open Meeting from 6pm -8pm on Wednesday 6th October in Bradley Stoke Community School, Fiddlers Wood Lane, Bradley Stoke BS32 9BS. There you will be able to find out about its work so far, its plans for the future and hear the announcement of its Core Management Group.

Refreshments will be provided. To book a place please contact Genise Hilton on 0117 9589348 or

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New parking charges at local stations

On Sunday, huge increases in car parking charges were introduced by First Great Western. The daily charge for parking at Bristol Parkway has gone up by more than a third from £5 per day to £6.90, whilst the charge at Yate has more than doubled from £1 to £2.10. Train companies are looking for new sources of revenue because the current low level of inflation means that they are not allowed to increase many of their principal rail fares this year. However, there is a risk that these very high car parking charges will simply put people off using the train altogether and force even more people onto the roads.

Local MP Steve Webb said, "These huge increases in car parking charges are outrageous. It is ridiculous that the Government tries to cap the cost of rail travel by putting a limit on fare increases but stands idly by while the train companies simply rake in the money through increases in car parking charges. First Great Western should also think again. If higher car park charges put people off travelling altogether then the company will be doing long-term damage to its business by this short term measure".

Steve said that he was also concerned that the large increase in charges at Yate would worsen the problem of rail commuters parking in the residential side streets near to the station. He said that he would now be writing both to the Department of Transport and to First Great Western to protest about the increases.

Have the police gone the extra mile for you?

Avon and Somerset Police have just launched the third Community Policing Awards. The Award Categories are:

  • Neighbourhood Beat Manager of the Year
  • PCSO of the Year
  • Special Constable of the Year
  • Neighbourhood Team of the Year
  • Outstanding Customer Service Award

For more details and to nominate someone online, go to the dedicated awards website.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Fancy some star-gazing?

A stargazing evening has been organised by conservation groups in Chipping Sodbury and Yate to give local people the opportunity to learn more about the sky at night.

The free event will start at 7pm on Tuesday 29 September in the Watkins Room, Old Grammar School, High Street, Chipping Sodbury.

The evening will begin with a presentation by Callum Potter of the Cotswold Astronomy Society. If the skies are clear participants will then proceed to the wildflower meadow on St John’s Park estate to view the night sky, at approximately 8pm. People wishing to attend the viewing of the night sky without attending the presentation should meet at the River Frome bridge on Wickwar Road at this time.

The event, which is supported by South Gloucestershire Council, is open to all. Budding stargazers should bring along their own binoculars or telescopes if they have them. In the event of thick cloud the evening will be restricted to the presentation in the Watkins Room.

For more information please contact Chris Giles at South Gloucestershire Council on 01454 863725.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Nibley Lane closed on 23 September

Nibley Lane will be closed on 23 September 2009 between 9.30am and 2.30pm for street cleansing and drainage maintenance. Access to properties will be maintained during the works.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Help say "No" to Windmill Green

If you would like to help protect the fields next to Park Farm from disappearing under 220 houses and flats, offices and a shop, please sign our petition. You can also let one of the Focus Team know by phone, email or letter that you would like your opposition to the proposed building put on record.

If you are available on October 20th/21st, you might also like to attend the Public Inquiry in The Ship, Alveston and even speak against the development.

Pat Hockey is representing the Parish Council at the Inquiry. She and others will be discussing how to make the most impact at the Inquiry at Frampton Cotterell Parish Council Planning Committee meetings on Monday October 5th and 19th in the Brockeridge Centre at 7.30pm. Please come along for further information, to let us know if you are going to help or have any suggestions – or contact us.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Changes to local bus services

First have announced changes to some of the local bus services with effect from 27 September.

Timetables for the X42 and 342 services have been adjusted to reduce some journey times, notably in the late evening when journeys have been decreased by just under ten minutes (end to end).

First's website says that on "Service X27 the timetable has been altered slightly to improve punctuality and reliability" - the only change we can see is that they have altered an ingoing stop in Bristol, so the X27 will now drop off at The Haymarket (Stop Rg) instead of Bond Street (Stop B).

Local bus timetables are available on the South Glos bus timetable web page - if a service has changed, the new is shown as "from 27 Sept 2009 until further notice".

Some relief for overcrowded Yate rail passengers

First Great Western is putting an extra carriage on an overcrowded morning service from Yate via Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads. From December there will be three carriages on a re-timed train at 8.16 am, instead of just two carriages at 8.09 am.

This follows a campaign by the Friends of Yate Station and Steve Webb MP, who took a senior First GW manager on the train to show how overcrowded it was.

This still leaves an overcrowding problem in the evening service back from Temple Meads.

Steve Webb described the changes as just a small step forward and commented "It's good news but we need three carriages on all peak services. We also need to be confident that trains will always turn up. They should also be running with greater frequency."

So how about it, First Great Western? You'll be able to take some people into Bristol but you won't be able to bring them back. That's not exactly integrated thinking.

For more details see the Evening Post report here.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Waste plan - more detail on Yate

The West of England Partnership, made up of the four unitary authorities covering the old Avon area, is currently developing a plan setting out where waste facilities should be sited. Earlier in the year, we expressed concern that no specific site was stated for Yate, making it hard for local people to comment. They have now published a document that identifies a "Strategic Area" within Yate and they would like your views on it by 1st October. Contact details can be found on this page.

Frome Vale Area Forum tonight

The Frome Vale Area Forum starts at 7pm tonight (Thursday 11th September) in Frampton Cotterell Primary School. There will be an open session for you to raise issues that concern you, an update on the new Yate Community Health Centre and Southmead redevelopment, and the committee will allocate capital grants.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Autumn events

If you'd like to get out and about this autumn, there is a range of fun and often free events being run by South Gloucestershire Council with local organisations and community groups. Whether you fancy bat detecting, making apply juice or foraging for fungi, you can find out more in this online leaflet.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Local food and drink festival

The fifth year of South Gloucestershire's "Taste" local food and drink festival runs from Saturday 12 September to Sunday 11 October. Events include the chance to visit Shipton Flour Mill, a tour of Thornbury Castle and vineyard and a butter making demonstration. For more information visit the South Gloucestershire Local Food website.

While we're on the subject of food, today sees the launch of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which aims to get all of us to waste less food. A food waste diary competition is being run, more details on the South Glos website.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Heritage Open Days coming up

This year's Heritage Open Days run from Thursday 10th to Sunday 13th September. They include a chance to go on a guided tour of the remains of Ram Hill Colliery near Coalpit Heath on the Sunday. The information leaflet is available to download from the South Glos website.

Coal mining buffs might also like to attend the free Open Day at Oldwood Pit between Yate and Rangeworth. There will be guided tours approximately every half an hour 2-6pm on Saturday and 11-5pm on Sunday, so it will be possible to visit both Ram Hill and Oldwood in the same weekend. More information can be found on the South Glos Mines Research Group website.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Composting application to be resubmitted

SITA have withdrawn their application for a composting facility near Tormarton but intend to re-submit a revised application later in the autumn. They say that this will include additional supporting information that has been collected following consultation with the Highways Agency and Environment Agency.

Your local Focus team has welcomed the withdrawal, for which they have been campaigning, but now awaits the new application. We will of course keep local people informed.

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group tonight

The Yate Safer Stronger Community Group will meet tonight (Thursday 3rd September) at 7pm in the Courtside Suite at Yate Leisure Centre. Come along to air your views on issues in the Yate beat, which includes the rural part of Dodington Parish.