Monday, 28 February 2011

Next Yate Safer Stronger Community Group this Thursday

The next Yate Safer Stronger Community Group meeting (which covers the South ward of Dodington Parish) is being held this Thursday 3rd March at 7pm in Poole Court, Yate. This is your chance to raise issues with South Gloucestershire Council, the police, fire service and other agencies.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Grants for groups at Area Forum

At last night's Frome Vale Area Forum, the following groups that serve the Ladden-Frome area won grants:

Manor Day Centre - £300 towards the running costs for this volunteer-run day centre for the elderly
Village Action - £1140 for activities including archery and a multi-games wall and urban art wall for an interactive day for young people living in Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell
Tytherington Village Shop Association - £600 towards running costs
St Saviour's Church - £200 towards servicing the clock
South Gloucestershire Mine's Research Group - £1400 towards training and tools for lime mortaring and moving earth at Serridge in Henfield
Wickwar Playing Fields Association - £1100 towards community field maintenance

Other grants awarded included £3000 towards training a vulnerable young person to work as a catering assisant in the Armadillo (Yate Youth Cafe), £2000 towards Shopmobility and £2000 for Survive, a charity supporting survivors of domestic abuse.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Local councillors grill bus bosses

Last week the Manging Directors and senior staff from First Bus and Wessex Connect attended the South Glos Transport Select Committee, chaired by local councillor Pat Hockey. This enabled councillors, members of the public and transport action groups to ask questions and raise problems.

Claire Young asked First to reconsider their axing of two X42 services, which leaves Coalpit Heath pensioners with no express bus service on which they can use their diamond cards to get into Bristol. She also said passengers had been caught out by the changes due to a lack of publicity. Simon Curzio of First Bus apologised for this and promised to look again at the X42 timings.

When asked about the quality of the buses running to the Yate area, First Bus said they had to meet minimum standards, but the newness of the bus was linked to how profitable the route was. Questioned on pricing, they promised to look at extending family and group tickets, particularly looking ahead to the summer holidys.

Pat Hockey was able to establish that smart cards can be purchased and used on all Wessex Connect services in South Gloucestershire and Bristol, apart from night buses. Details are on their website.

These are planned to be replaced in the autumn with a new smart card that can also be used on all First buses operating in the West of England (former County of Avon).

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Area Forum this Thursday

The Frome Vale Area Forum meets on Thursday at 7pm in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Among other things, the Forum will be allocating money to highways schemes in the area and giving out grants to local groups.

Have your say on safety improvements on B4465, Westerleigh Road and Nibley Lane

After a long wait, you can now have your say on proposed safety improvements on some of our most dangerous local roads.

Local residents and your Focus Team have fought a long-running campaign for action to improve safety on the B4465 and Westerleigh Road. In 2008, Claire Young (pictured left with fellow councillor Sue Hope) presented a petition to South Gloucestershire Council signed by over 100 people. Claire has also been pushing for improvements on Nibley Lane.

Now the Council is proposing to lower the speed limit to 40mph from the Folly pub right through to the other side of Codrington and to 50mph from Codrington to the A46, just above the junction 18 of the M4. This is a change from previous proposals which would have seen 50mph limits at Henfield crossroads and between Westerleigh and Codrington. The speed limit on Nibley Lane will be reduced to 40mph. There are also changes to signing and road lining. You can view the detailed proposals and have your say on the South Glos website.

It’s just as important to comment if you support the proposals as if you object. Other people may object to things that you support and it’s important that the Transport Exec has the full picture when he makes his final decision. The deadline for comments is 21st March.

Monday, 21 February 2011

Cardboard campaign success

Your Focus Team has been campaigning for an end to the cardboard chaos that has reigned since the new recycling collections were introduced. With cardboard banned from the green bins, residents have been complaining to us about cardboard being blown around the streets on windy days.

Now the Council has announced that they will be providing free recycling bags to store and present cardboard. They will be available to collect from collection points throughout South Gloucestershire, hopefully in the early summer.

Friday, 18 February 2011

New cycle parking for Yate station

People who cycle to Yate station will be pleased to know it's in line for new parking facilities for bicycles. 

Lib Dem Sue Walker, who chairs the Friends of Yate Station said, “This is something we’ve been fighting for for a long time. The cycle lockers have become a real eyesore and are desperately in need of a revamp, they certainly aren’t encouraging anyone to cycle to the station. Having seen improvements for cyclists at other stations in the area, I’m delighted that Yate is finally getting some attention.”

Local Councillor Claire Young, who is also a member of Friends of Yate Station, said, “At a meeting last month I asked the Council’s transport exec to look into different types of cycle storage, not just the lockable pods. They’re great for people who regularly cycle to the station, but there also needs to be stands that any cyclist can turn up and use. Draft plans have now been drawn up and we’ve been promised that Friends of Yate Station will have a chance to comment before the plans are finalised.”

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Progress on Yate bus station

Some progress was made at last week's emergency meeting about the woeful new Yate bus station. We hope that Tesco are going to put in a temporary solution, and South Glos are trying to cut through the red tape associated with a planning application for a permanent solution.

Station Road resurfacing update

South Glos had planned to resurface the A432 in three phases over three weekends late last year. The two sections around the Stover Road junction were completed, but Network Rail have to allow the Council to work around their bridge structure and the live railway and it has proved difficult to arrange. Add in the December weather and the final phase has been delayed. It will hopefully be carried out early in the new finanical year. In the meantime, the Council will try to keep the road as safe as possible until more permanent repairs can be carried out.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Ruffet Road emergency drainage work underway

The emergency drainage works that have forced the closure of Ruffet Road are underway. Fingers crossed this stops the flooding that has blighted this junction for a number of years. The road closure notice covers the whole of this week but it's hoped the work won't take that long.

Meanwhile Stidcot Lane in Tytherington is closed all this week for resurfacing work.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

New Yate bus station "a complete mess"

If you've travelled into Yate on the bus recently, you will know what a mess the new bus station is. Your Focus Team is fighting to get it sorted. Lib Dem Councillors have called a meeting tonight of everyone involved in the fiasco.

Yate Town Councillor Chris Willmore explained the aim was to get a commitment from all the key parties to put a solution in place as soon as possible. "As residents, as soon as we saw it, we knew someone had dropped a serious clanger. It is completely useless, it will not shelter anyone, is not lit, has no seats elderly or disabled people could use, only a few benches, has no timetables, has no sides and no shelter, the bus station layout is awful  - need I go on? They have banned coaches and community transport from using it as well, and finally it is too small so buses sometimes cannot even get into a bay."

She added, " At this stage, I want to get everyone together and find a conclusion. The time for working out who is to blame comes later, right now, passengers need solutions not inquests."

At a Transport Forum in Thornbury last night Chris and the Yate campaigners won the first step in trying to get a solution when South Gloucestershire Council accepted the new bus station in Yate is a complete mess and promised to send senior officers to the summit. Tesco, who funded all the works have agreed to come.
Even FirstBus has offered to attend. "First Bus has offered to come to the meeting - things are that bad. They have assessed the bus station too and have identified issues."

The campaign to get a solution has now received support from as far away as the Regional Passenger Focus HQ in Plymouth: who offered to get involved. But Chris commented, "I hope common sense prevails this week. The current bus station  is so obviously useless."

Friday, 4 February 2011

Cardboard chaos - let's get it sorted

Dave Hockey, the Lib Dem waste spokesperson, with some loose cardboard recycling
Your Focus team has been pushing for a better way of collecting cardboard for recycling.

When the Council stopped you putting cardboard in your green bin in November, they said at first that cardboard had to be put inside a larger cardboard box or placed under a bin. When people complained, they told those people they could also use their own plastic box or a strong bag, such as a "bag for life". Unfortunately they didn't tell everyone.

Cardboard is very light and blows away easily if it is not secured in some way. On one recent windy collection day, Claire Young and a neighbour ended up chasing someone's cardboard along the street, trying to gather it up and sort out the mess.

Dave Hockey, who led the Lib Dem campaign for plastic bottle and weekly food waste collections, said, “At meeting after meeting, we told the Tory administration that the new arrangements for cardboard were flawed. Local people want to be able to put out their cardboard and know that it won’t end up strewn along their road and in their neighbours’ gardens. This problem needs to be sorted, and quickly. All residents need to be told what is happening, not just those who have complained to the Council.”

Hope for safety improvements on Dodington Road

In November, Claire met the Council's Executive Member responsible for transport and Highways officers at the railway bridge on Dodington Road to discuss possible safety improvements. Officers suggested a £10,000 package of new road signs, white lining and a stone and dust path to take pedestrians from where the path currently ends to a safer crossing point with greater visibility. Existing edge line markings have already been reinstated and a “SLOW” marking added and the temporary interactive speed sign returned to monitor speeding traffic. Budget funding is very uncertain at present, and the Exec Member made it clear that more drastic measures such as straightening the road will not be possible, but Claire asked him to give these more modest measures a high priority when he's deciding how to allocate next year's funding.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Good news for Tortworth

At long last work is about to start on a roundabout at the Tafarn Back junction where the motorway traffic joins Charfield Hill.

Local Councillor Sandra O’Neill is delighted with the news. “Anyone who has to walk along the main road through Tortworth or even step out on to it has been taking their life in their hands. At least part of it will now have a pavement, along with dealing with this dangerous junction. Local people were beginning to think nothing was ever going to be done”.

The work is funded by Cemex as part of the requirement for their planning permission to extend the area for quarrying limestone at Churchwood Quarry.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Big YES to lights off consultation

Frampton Cotterell parishioners have given overwhelming support to the proposal to turn off streetlights from midnight to 5am except for those identified by Highway Officers and Police be left on for safety reasons.

In the consultation which was kicked off at the Open Day held at the Brockeridge Centre on 9 October, 65% gave full support to the proposals, 27% gave qualified support and just 8% opposed them. After careful consideration the Parish Council has written to local residents who commented on the proposals.

Cllr. Dave Hockey said “It was great to see such a positive response with more than 9 out of 10 local residents backing the scheme. Frampton Cotterell Parish Council backed the plan at their January meeting. Adjustments to the draft plan were made to take account of comments made by many local residents. The approved scheme will now go ahead in March-April. A review of the effectiveness of the scheme is planned for March 2012."

Frampton End Road petition presented

More than 650 people from Iron Acton, Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath and further afield signed the petition to get something done to improve the safety of Frampton End Road for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and drivers.
Marilyn Wright with the petition at Algars Mill on Frampton End Road with other members of the organising team
Nick Carver, seen in the photograph with his dog, presented the petition to South Gloucestershire Council at their meeting on 15 December. The Executive Member for Planning & Transportation agreed to arrange to walk Frampton End Road with Senior Highways Officers to consider what actions can be taken to improve the safety for all users of this very narrow, windy lane.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Have your say on changes to planning blueprint

We reported back in December that South Glos Council  had approved the Core Strategy and that there would be a short informal consultation on the changes made. You can make any comments you have - on the changes only - on the Council's website. You have until 18th February to have your say.

Extra parking bays

Digging out the extra parking bays
Most residents of Chilwood Close and Algars Drive were delighted to see that construction of the much needed 6 new parking bays finally got under way at the start of the New Year to help to ease their parking problems. The extra bays were funded by Dave and Pat Hockey using money allocated to local councillors following the transfer of council houses to Merlin H.A. South Glos. Streetcare backed the scheme with the additional funds needed and carried out the construction work. Pat and Dave carried out a door to door survey before this project was launched to establish that it was a high priority for the residents. At last week's Safer Stronger Community Group meeting a resident commented that the bin lorries were now able to get down the road without reversing.