Friday, 22 July 2011

Pavement to be repaired

After Claire Young took up complaints from local residents, the pavement near "The Wishing Well" pub (formerly the "Codrington Arms") is going to be repaired. The Council will also put up a couple of reflective bollards to stop lorries driving on to the pavement and causing further damage.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Post-16 education travel problems

Are you or someone you know unable to access education post-16 because of lack of transport?

Most young people over 16 have to fund their own transport to school or college. But for some in rural areas there is no bus available and it is too far to cycle or walk. At last night's Council meeting Pat Hockey asked the South Glos Cabinet Members responsible for transport and schools to look into this problem. Please get in touch with Pat if it affects you.

Scammers target businesses

Yesterday we posted a warning about scammers targetting local residents, but consumers are not the only ones to fall victim. Businesses too are targetted. One scam is the ‘advertising scam’.

Your business may receive a phone call about placing an advert in a publication such as a wall planner or directory in aid of drugs awareness in schools, the emergency services or another charitable purpose.You may be told that you have agreed to place an order or that someone else in your business has. This tactic is used to confuse you so you won't question the caller and will pay up. They may even claim to have a telephone recording of you agreeing to the contract.

The message is - don't take the caller’s word for it that you have entered into a contract. If you haven't agreed to advertising then you cannot be held liable for the payment being demanded. Never agree to anything over the phone - a genuine company will be happy to send you details through the post.

If you think you have fallen victim to such a scam, please contact Trading Standards for advice
on 01454 864419 (businesses only)

For consumer advice contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Progress on road safety improvements

Following the consultation earlier this year on plans to reduce speed limits on the B4465, Westerleigh Road and Nibley Lane, the Council is hoping to take the next step in the legal process early in August. As there were objections, the Council's Transport Exec will have to make the final decision, hopefully by the end of the year so the scheme can be implemented early in 2012.
Earlier in the year Sainsbury's agreed to get the lorries from their Emerson's Green depot to use the ring road instead. Claire Young has reported a number of Sainsbury's lorries spotted using the B4465 and Westerleigh Road to the depot manager.  He promised to follow them up. He said there has been a significant reduction in lorries from the depot using the route, the difficulties were generally with lorries from elsewhere. Murco have responded to Claire's letter saying that they want to work with the local community but have to consider their costs.
Claire recently met officers and a resident to discuss road safety and drainage issues on the approach to Kidney Hill. The Council's drainage engineer is going to investigate further.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The future of the Air Ambulance Service at Filton

If Filton Airfield closes, it's essential that the Great Western Air Ambulance stays based at Filton. It's different from the neighbouring air ambulance services, which concentrate on transporting patients. Ours is a true Helicopter Emergency Medical Service, and has a specialist trauma consultant on board - it's one of only four such specialist services in the UK.

The site at Filton is strategically located so that the helicopter can get to any serious incident within our area as quickly as possible. If it had to be moved to Staverton for example, response times would become longer and lives would be at risk.

Please let South Glos Council know what you feel about this by commenting on their Filton Airfield Position Statement (also available in libraries and at One Stop Shops)

Comments need to be made by July 29th to or by post to South Gloucestershire Council, Spatial Planning Team, PO Box 2081, South Gloucestershire, BS35 9BP.

The Air Ambulance is run by a local charity - check out the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity website here

Police looking for cadets

If you are between 14 and 17, live or go to a school in South Glos and have an interest in policing, why not apply to become a Volunteer Police Cadet?

The Avon and Somerset Constabulary will shortly be starting a uniformed Volunteer Police Cadet Unit as a pilot project in South Gloucestershire area. This will involve weekly training sessions and the opportunity to get involved in actual Police operations.

You can find out more on the Avon and Somerset website. Don't delay, there are limited places available and the force will suspend applications when they hit 250.

Watch out for scams!

Trading Standards are once again warning local people to be on their guard against scams. 
  • There are reports of rogue traders targeting residents in the Yate, Westerleigh and Filton areas offering block paving, landscaping and patio laying services. 
  • A new tactic is cold calling residents and offering to clean and seal your path or driveway for a cash payment.
There are some concerns that these traders are not providing consumers with written notice of their right to cancel, which is a criminal offence, and that they are using aggressive tactics to convince residents to agree to the work.

There are a number of steps you can take to try and avoid becoming the victim of a rogue trader.

  • Be wary of traders who cold call and the deals they offer you – it is unusual for genuine tradesmen to need to cold call to drum up work!
  • Do not allow any unknown and unexpected visitor into your home.
  • If they claim work needs doing, get a second or even third opinion from other professional tradesman.
  • If you agree to work you are afforded cancellation rights by law, and these should be given to you in writing.
  • Check any paperwork you are given to make sure it has not been backdated and includes everything you have agreed to.
  • If you are unhappy or feel intimidated by the visitor – shut the door and call the police.

If you do have work you wish to be carried out, why not use a trader who is a member of the Trading Standards operated Buy With Confidence scheme?
For a list of approved traders, visit or contact South Gloucestershire Trading Standards on 01454 864419 or email

If you believe you have fallen victim to a rogue trader, or would like some further pre-shopping advice, please contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bags for cardboard delayed

Acting on complaints from local people, your Focus Team successively campaigned for better arrangements for cardboard recycling now that cardboard can no longer go in the green bin.
The bags had been expected to be available from collection points around the area in early summer. Unfortunately South Glos tell us that due to a quality issue, this has now slipped until the end of September. We will keep you informed.

Parking consultation extended

A consultation on the proposed changes to the parking restrictions around the Badminton Road council offices has been extended until 28th July after minor changes were made to the Notice of Proposal. You can find out more and comment on the South Glos website.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Cheque-mate! Banks back down on scrapping cheques

The Payments Council, representing the banks, has announced that it will not be scrapping cheques in 2018 after all. They now say that cheques will be will be kept "as long as customers need them".

This follows major campaigns by Liberal Democrat MPs, charities and organisations representing older people and voluntary groups. The BBC has more details here.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Update on Westerleigh-Yate cycle path

A South Glos representative told the latest meeting of the Joint Cycleways Group that negotiations are still ongoing with Network Rail, whose consent is essential - several parts of the route are on their land. They have agreed verbally but South Glos are still waiting for Network Rail to send them the conditions they have to agree to.

To add to this delay, certain parts of the work can't legally be done in the bird nesting season, which isn't over yet.

South Glos reckon that they should be able to do the first part of the route, from the Cox Hill end towards Westerleigh, this summer. They're aiming to do the second part into Yate in summer next year. The next meeting of the Joint Cycleway Group is in early October, but we'll put updates here as and when we hear anything.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Reporting bad odours in Westerleigh

Sadly there was a bad airborne smell in Westerleigh village at the end of last week. Claire Young is aware of problems in Kidney Hill, Sunny Bank, Mill Crescent and Old Mill Close. If it travelled further, do please let herknow. Claire has asked for feedback on why these smells are happening and suggested that there may need to be another meeting of the working group.

If Claire isn't available, there are other ways you can report smells. The Environment Agency have a free phone, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year incident-reporting helpline 0800 807060. If it is definitely an airborne smell from the abattoir you could contact Tulip directly on 0117 957 1919. In both cases, it would be helpful if you could email Claire about the incident as well, so she can follow it up later.

Friday, 8 July 2011

New gateway for Kendleshire

Bob Ross, who first had the idea for the Quiet Lanes Scheme, discusses the options with Claire Young
Ruffet Road residents are celebrating the news that there will be a new gateway treatment at Kendleshire crossroads to warn drivers they are entering the Quiet Lanes Scheme.

Since the second phase of the Quiet Lanes Scheme was completed in 2008, Claire Young has been pushing for the next stage to go ahead but the new gateway for Ruffet Road has been repeatedly delayed. In December Claire persuaded the Area Forum to send a message to the Transport Exec that starting new Quiet Lanes Schemes while this one remained unfinished made no sense. It looks like he has finally listened and funding has been found.

Yesterday residents, officers, a Westerleigh Parish Councillor and Claire met to discuss ideas, including the possibility of closing the slip road. Many drivers speed down there only to find they have to pull up suddenly at the give way.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Extension of working hours at Ram Hill Business Park refused

This afternoon the planning committee narrowly voted against plans to extend the working hours at Ram Hill Business Park.

A neighbour spoke eloquently about the impact 6am starts and Saturday afternoon working would have on her family's wellbeing and that of other residents. Claire Young was there too to speak on the three applications and two Greenacres Park residents turned up to demonstrate the concern of residents there.

Claire earlier spoke on an application for a heating fuel distribuion centre on the Badminton Road Trading Estate. After some discussion of the planning policy implications, the committee unanimously approved that application in line with the officer's recommendation.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Light switch-off for Badminton Road

Following the success of switching off some street lights for part of the night along the ring road and in a number of towns and villages, South Glos Council is planning to do the same for Badminton Road. The Council wanted to push ahead without consultation but your Focus team has persuaded them to take a little more time so we can get your feedback. A bit of local knowledge now could save much time and money later!

From the centre of Yate to just past the new Council offices, the lights would stay on all night. Between there and the Wick Wick roundabout (where the A432 meets the A4174 Ring Road), the lights would be switched off in the early hours except around the following:
  • Church Road junction
  • Woodend Road junction
  • Beesmoor Road junction
  • railway viaduct as you leave Coalpit Heath
  • Park Lane
  • Kendleshire Crossroads
  • Cuckoo lane junction, just before Wick Wick roundabout
If you have any queries or comments, please contact Claire Young.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Police ask your views

The police would like to know what you feel should be their key priorities and what services you would like them to provide. You can share your views online until 19 August.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Free local walking guides

If you want to get out and about in our area this summer, get your hands on a free walking booklet from South Glos Council. Each booklet contains easy-to-follow maps, photographs and historical information and walks include the Frome Valley Walkway and the Dramway. You can order a free copy of any of the guides by ringing 01454 863592 or download them from the Council's website.