Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Action on Westerleigh smell

There was lots to discuss at the latest meeting of the working group set up to tackle the bad odours affecting Westerleigh. Wessex Water has been monitoring the sewers for odours at various points around the village and the Environment Agency has been analysing the data and suggesting improvements.
  • Since the particularly bad airborne smell in the last week of March, Tulip, the owners of the abattoir, have changed their processes. They are now dosing the effluent in their effluent tank with a chemical that kills the bacteria causing the smell.
  • Tulip have also made changes to reduce the chances of odorous gases building up in the rising main that joins the abattoir to the public sewers. The monitoring carried out by Wessex Water suggests that this has improved the situation significantly, although more work needs to be done investigating a small number of isolated incidents.
  • The monitoring also shows that the dosing at the Kidney Hill pumping station has been successful in addressing the problems originating from there, so Wessex Water will install a permanent dosing system. Wessex Water have promised to look more closely at what appears to be a separate problem in the sewers on the eastern side of the village.
  • Action is being or has been taken on a number of more localised problems, such as a ditch contaminated with sewage from an overflowing cess pit on Westerleigh Road, an obstructed venting column at Broad Lane and a blocked private drain in Old Mill Close.
Since the meeting, Claire Young has asked Street Care to clear some blocked rainwater drains in the village and South Glos Environmental Health officers to re-investigate a chemical smell at the Shorthill/Westerleigh Hill crossroads. They said the TCP-like odour was definitely from the high friction road surface but the smell appeared to be reducing, albeit over a longer time than we were promised. They also provided reassurance that a roof on a nearby building, which some were concerned posed an asbestos risk, was not a danger to public health.

The Environment Agency are happy to co-ordinate smell reports if you are not sure what the cause might be and don’t know who best to contact. You can ring them on 0800 80 70 60.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Ring road to close for resurfacing

Weather permitting, the A4174 ring road between Emersons Way and the Shortwood Roundabout and between Siston Roundabout and the Deanery Road Roundabout will be resurfaced between 18th and 21st April. The work will be done during the night (8pm-6am) and there will be lane closures with convoy vehicles controlling traffic. South Glos promise they will make every effort to keep the disruption to a minimum but it's best to avoid the area during the works if you can - please check the local media for more information.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

South Glos Council email problems

South Glos Council have been suffering email problems this week, so apologies if your Focus Team Councillors haven't been able to respond to you. If the problem is urgent, please phone instead - find the contact details here.

Westerleigh Road closure - now starting at 9pm Friday

Your Focus Team has been informed that the closure of Westerleigh Road between the Follybrook pub and the ring road for resurfacing will now start at approximately 9pm on Friday 15th April and go on to around 6am on Monday.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Any bin will do

The South Glos dog wardens are currently overwhelmed with requests for new dog bins. The good news is that if there isn't a dog bin available, you can put bagged dog mess in any litter bin. Claire Young asked officers if they would be putting notices on the bin to promote this and has been told that they have ordered some stickers based on the Keep Britain Tidy “Any bin will do” dog fouling campaign to use in relevant areas. Unfortunately many of the litter bins have a textured surface in order to prevent fly posters being applied to them, which also makes it difficult to add the Council's own signs!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Deadline looms for postal vote applications

Don't forget - you only have until 5pm on Thursday 14 April to get your postal vote application to South Gloucestershire Council. Download the form here.

If you've moved into your house since last October and haven't yet registered to vote here, the deadline for registering is the same. Download the form here.

New proxy voting applications can be received up until 5pm on the 21 April. Download the form here.

Postal votes will be issued on the 18th April 2011 by first class post.

Have your say on local issues this Wednesday

The next Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton Safer Stronger Community Group meeting will be between 3pm and 5pm this Wednesday (13th April) in the Brockeridge Centre, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell.

It will be a drop in where people can leave their issues, plus there will be an interactive workshop on local crime and community sentences being run by the Avon and Somerset Probation Trust at 3.30pm.

Westerleigh Road closure this weekend

Westerleigh Road, from the Folly public house to the ring road will be closed from 6pm on Friday 15 April 2011 until 5.30am on Monday 18 April 2011.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Safer Stronger Community Awards

The South Gloucestershire Strong Safer Communities awards 2011 aim to celebrate everyone in South Gloucestershire who has helped to tackle Anti Social Behaviour and keep our communities safe.

Every year many people in South Gloucestershire do great work in their communities to help tackle Anti Social Behaviour. For most of them their commitment and hard work goes unrecognised in their wider communities.

South Gloucestershire Council has launched a new scheme to praise and reward people who have helped the Council and its partners tackle Anti Social Behaviour.

Do you know people who are helping to make your community a stronger, safer, better place to live and work?

Nominate them by Friday 13th May 2011.

The Award categories are:

  •     Community Award
  •     Young People’s Award (18 years and under)
  •     Professionals Award
  •     Project Award
  •     Individual Award
Elected councillors (currently in post) are not eligible to be nominated, unless the nomination is for work not associated with the Councillor role.

More details and nomination link on the South Glos website here.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Charfield Station and Falfield Park and Share?

South Gloucestershire Council has now submitted to the Secretary of State its proposals for how and where development will take place up until 2026 - the "Core Strategy". These proposals will be considered by a Government Inspector at a public inquiry expected in June or July.

The Core Strategy includes proposals for investigation into a rail station at Charfield and a Park and Share site at Falfield. Last year your FOCUS TEAM carried out a survey to find out local views about a station. Local Councillor Sandra O'Neil, along with her husband, John, are considering the responses, both written and on-line along with discussions they have had with local residents and will report the general views in FOCUS.

Sandra is hoping that the proposals for a Park and Share site will come forward as soon as possible. "The informal lay-by at the bottom of Tortworth Hill is an eyesore and is clearly nowhere big enough to meet the need. Drivers are parking their cars in various parts of Falfield and leaving them there all day. It is great that so many people are car sharing but they need somewhere safe that doesn't cause problems for local residents," she points out.

Monday, 4 April 2011

What next for Green Dog Walkers initiative?

Back in December, Claire Young won the backing of South Glos Council for an investigation into whether a Green Dog Walkers scheme or similar could work in South Gloucestershire. When Claire asked recently about progress on the scheme, she was disappointed with the apparent lack of enthusiasm shown by the Conservative Cabinet Member responsible for Community Services for progressing the idea.

Claire said, “Parish Councils might well be interested in taking up the idea. However for the scheme to work people across the area need to recognise the arm bands and collars and it makes financial sense for South Glos to take advantage of their ability to bulk purchase the equipment."

Charfield Councillor Sandra O'Neill and husband John are the owners of much loved dog Jack. Sandra said, “There is really no excuse for the problem in Charfield, bags are easily available and most dog owners are very careful not to leave a mess behind them. Sadly, however, some just don’t bother at all or actually pick it up and leave it hanging on a bush or hedge. I know that Charfield certainly isn’t the only place where there are constant complaints from local residents”.

Tytherington Post Office and Shop

The community shop continues to run successfully with the help of many willing volunteers. The committee under the guidance of Chair, Daphne Brown, is looking to expand the building to give the staff more office and work space and to enable them to offer some takeaway food for the first time.

The Post Office staff have been working extra hard in order to help out with Cromhall during the illness of the Postmistress, Mrs Sue Baines. They have done this successfully and residents of both villages are extremely grateful for their efforts. Looking to the future, they would like to increase their hours to something nearer the 21 hours offered by Cromhall, as business is being lost due to restricted opening hours. Your local councillor, Howard Gawler, has allocated just over £3000 from his Merlin Transfer funding allocation to help out with this project.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Much needed Tortworth Road improvements

Local resident Mrs Marie Meredith with John and Sandra O'Neill
As local councillor, Sandra O'Neill will be discussing with highway officers the full picture of the improvements for Tortworth Road.

"Now that further funding has been allocated from the Severn Vale Area Forum I am making arrangements to see what is the best way forward. Cemex are funding a footpath on the Tortworth Road as part of the Tafarn Bach junction scheme. I will report back to local residents as soon as possible," she has promised.

Victims can track crimes online (Avon and Somerset Police)

Avon and Somerset police have launched a new online service for victims of crime.

TrackMyCrime is now being offered to all victims of crime across Avon and Somerset. It will allow them to track the progress of their crime as it's investigated by police officers by providing access to information extracted from police systems.

Deputy Chief Constable Rob Beckley said: "We've introduced TrackMyCrime to keep victims informed about the status of their crime in a more streamlined and efficient way. It combines policing with modern technology and gives victims more choice about how they want to receive information from us."

The system will revolutionise the service that victims receive. It will cut the time spent waiting for police officers to call them back about their crime as they will automatically be updated either by e-mail or text as officers fill in information on police computers.

Victims can also send messages back to the investigation team and view information about their stolen or damaged property.

Scott Fulton, Head of eServices, for Avon and Somerset Police said; "No one wants to be the victim of a crime but if you are then you want it to impact on your life as little as possible. We developed this system to provide victims of crime with more choice about how they are updated and with a better service.

"You can check your bank account and track parcels on-line, it makes sense to provide a service where you can check details about your crime too."

The access the site go to http://asp.trackmycrime.police.uk

Friday, 1 April 2011

Odour problems in Westerleigh village this week

Claire Young has received a high number of complaints about a bad odour in Westerleigh village this week. On Wednesday she experienced it for herself and was able to confirm that it was the same as the one when she accompanied Penny Gadd of the Environment Agency on an odour survey in the village one evening some weeks ago. As then, the source was identified as a failed effluent filter at the abattoir. Tulip took delivery of a complete new Carbon Filtration unit at 10.30 this morning and had installed it by 12.00. Tulip are monitoring closely and hope that will resolve the problem.

In preparation for the next meeting of the working group on 18th April, Wessex Water have installed monitoring equipment in six locations in the sewers and have already downloaded their first set of data for analysis. Claire has been in discussions with the South Glos drainage engineer. No problems have been found with the rain and foul water systems interacting, but during the investigation an officer spotted that tree roots were blocking the connection from the foul sewer to a vent column that is supposed to vent the sewer. Wessex Water have fixed this.

Investigations are ongoing into a problem on Westerleigh Road, where an overflowing cesspit has contaminated a ditch. This may have caused localised problems but is unlikely to cause odours down in the village. A blocked private drain connection has been fixed in Old Mill Close, but there continue to be complaints of a smell there and in other locations around the village. Please keep reporting your issues to Claire and the Parish Clerk, as well as to Wessex Water (0845 600 4 600) and Tulip (0117 957 1919) as appropriate.

New burial ground for Charfield Parish

Work has now started on creating a burial ground on the land next to the old church in Churchend kindly donated by the Earl of Ducie some years ago. KLH Landscaping and Absolute Archaeology are already on site carrying out excavations. Charfield Parish Council is very pleased that the Severn Vale Forum has allocated a grant of £2,000 which will be used to help setup the operational arm of the facility.

Local Councillor, Sandra O’Neill , who attended the Forum meeting said, “I am so pleased with this extra financial help. The Parish Council has been raising money for the burial ground since 2007. It is a beautiful place for loved ones to be laid to rest locally, next to the lovely old church with a wonderful view."

Consultation on Wickwar street lights

In January, we reported that Wickwar Parish Council was in discussion with South Glos about switching off street lights in the early hours.

Howard Gawler and members of Wickwar Parish Council together with the Police, have met with South Glos Street Lighting Team to further discuss the possible introduction of the switch off of streetlights in Wickwar after midnight to cut energy bills and carbon emissions.

A plan has now been produced with input from the Police and Highway Engineers. The plan will be consulted on at the Wickwar Annual Parish Meeting on May 9th. Further details of the meeting may be obtained from Mrs.Trull, the Clerk to the Parish Council. If approved, the changeover would take about two weeks and be ready for the Autumn.

Community facilities for Coalpit Heath

As we reported in January, Claire Young was trying to find out how people living in the former Council houses thought a small pot of money left over from the transfer of the houses to Merlin should be spent. It had to be spent on facilities that would benefit current Merlin tenants, as well as hopefully the wider community.

The good news is that Claire got a good response knocking on doors with a letter and return slip in February and money has now been allocated for a proper dropped kerb on Rose Oak Lane near the junction with Badminton Road and for contributions towards the following:

  • £700 for toddler play equipment and £600 for disabled toilets at the Manor Hall
  • £700 for flooring, cupboards and blinds in the side room at St Saviour's Church Hall
  • £100 (and 91p!) for planting in the community garden