Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Free school transport to end

Pupils living in most of Westerleigh will no longer be offered free school transport to Pucklechurch from September 2013.

Except for those whose homes are closer to Pucklechurch school than Wellesley, existing pupils will have to pay a concessionary fare of £120 per term (£360 per year). New pupils will be able to travel for the same fee if there is space but there is no guarantee a service will be provided once the existing pupils move on. Families on low incomes will not have to pay.

By law primary age children are entitled to free transport to their nearest school if there is no safe walking route. Since the village school closed, the council has provided free transport to Pucklechurch, even for pupils who live closer to the Yate school, but officers said this was unfair to others not offered similar special arrangements. The Children and Young People committee agreed.

Speaking in support of the service at the committee meeting last week, Claire Young raised wider concerns that rural children may be disadvantaged by the admissions and transport policies. Officers will look at this when they consult on the admissions policy later in the year.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Woodland Farm campaign in the Gazette

The Save Woodlands Farm campaign is in the Gazette today. There was a fantastic turnout for the photo on Saturday despite the atrocious weather. Well done to all involved.

Don't forget, we have posted links to the submissions made by the developers and Richard Merrick's statement in support of keeping Woodlands Farm green. Richard, who is organising the campaign, can be seen on the left hand side of the bottom photo. South Glos Council's policy for the rural areas will be discussed at the Examination in Public on Thursday 12th July.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

New public rights of way needed?

Natural England are running a 2 year funding scheme called Paths for Communities (P4C). From their website:
The aim of P4C is to encourage and support local communities to work with land owners to make improvements to the network of Public Rights of Way. In all cases P4C projects must include some element of new Public Right of Way creation. In most cases projects will include an element of new Bridleway creation but projects that include Footpath creation alone will also be considered where community and economic benefit can be demonstrated.
You can find out more on the Natural England website.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Coalpit Heath Post Office leads the way

Coalpit Heath Post Office has become one of the first in Britain to move to a new way of working which will allow local people to access post office services outside traditional opening hours. 

The scheme, called Post Office Local, is designed to help local post offices which are combined with village stores by enabling postal services to be provided from a terminal behind the shop counter. This should provide extra business for both the shop and post office and extra convenience for local residents. The majority of the usual Post Office services are available from the shop counter terminal including posting letters and parcels, paying bills, collecting a pension, benefits or cash, picking up pre-ordered travel money and paying car tax.

Coalpit Heath sub post masters Sarah and Steve Davis recently met local MP Steve Webb, and local councillors Pat & Dave Hockey and Claire Young to show them the newly upgraded shop and to discuss the benefits of the scheme. Dave Hockey took advantage of the new service to get his car tax at the post office, a service not previously available in Coalpit Heath.

Welcoming the scheme, MP Steve Webb said: “For many years we have been fighting campaigns to save local post offices, so I am delighted that we are now in an era where the Government is investing in post offices instead of closing them down.”

Sub post master Sarah Davis said, “We’ve had a fantastic response from our customers. The flexibility of the scheme means we can provide Post Office services for many more hours. We now have people coming in at 7:30 on a Sunday morning to use the Post Office!”

Councillor Dave Hockey said, “Many local residents like myself will be very pleased at the extended availability of Post Office services. It is much easier to pop down the road rather than having to travel to do things like pay car tax, which I’ve just done.”

At Coalpit Heath Post Office, the services are now available from 7:30AM to 6:00PM on Monday to Friday, 7:30AM to 17:30PM on Saturday and 7:30AM to 12:00PM on Sunday.

Westerleigh-Pucklechurch school transport

The decision on the future of the Westerleigh to Pucklechurch school transport will be made at the Children and Young People's committee this week. The meeting starts at 10am on Wednesday 20th June in Thornbury. You can read the report on the South Glos website.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Yate Safer Stronger Community group tonight

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group, which covers an area including the rural part of Dodington Parish (Wapley, Dodington, Codrington) is tonight at 7pm in Yate Library. This is a chance for you to raise issues that matter to you.

Poor state of Westerleigh Road

Road users, particularly cyclists, are increasingly unhappy about the state of Westerleigh Road between Shire Way and the village. Back in March officers told local councillor Claire Young that they were aware of the problem and although it had not been considered a high enough priority to be resurfaced this year, as an interim measure patching would be carried out in 2012/13 to deal with some of the worst areas.

Claire contacted officers again recently as the road is deteriorating fast. It will be inspected early this week to identify any immediate safety repairs and an engineer will reassess the road to see if the rate of deterioration has changed its priority.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Read what the developers say

You can now read the arguments being put forward on behalf of developers for allocating Woodlands Farm and Engine Common for development at the Examination in Public for the Council’s Core Strategy.

The most detailed submission for Woodlands Farm relates to July 12th, when the policy for the Rural Areas will be discussed. The same planning consultants have also mentioned Frampton Cotterell in their submissions for June 19th (here, here, here and here) and 20th (here and here). Richard Merrick’s statement in support of the Council’s position of not allocating Woodlands Farm can be read here.

Although Engine Common is green fields in Iron Acton Parish, the Inspector is considering it as part of the proposals for development in Yate andChipping Sodbury. It will be discussed on the morning of June 29th. You can view the submission being made on behalf of Bloor Homes here.

Members of the public can attend any of the sessions to show their interest in the issues but cannot take part in the discussions. Morning sessions start at 10am and the afternoon sessions at 2pm in Kingswood Civic Centre, with lunch at around 1pm.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Living open day

Living, a not for profit community interest company, is holding an open day where people with disabilities can try out the very latest independent living aids and equipment. The event will run from 10am to 3.30pm on Thursday 21st June at The Vassall Centre, Gill Avenue, Fishponds, Bristol, BS16 2QQ. Admission is free and there will be free tea, coffee and cake. For more information please phone 0117 965 3651 or visit www.thisisliving.org.uk.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Fanatical about footpaths?

The Joint Local Access Forum for Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City and South Gloucestershire (the JLAF) is looking for new recruits. The JLAF is a statutory body established by the three councils, to provide advice on improving public access to land in the area for the purposes of open-air recreation and enjoyment. They are seeking applications for membership of the JLAF from people of all ages who are enthusiastic about the rights of way network and access to the outdoors. This is an opportunity to contribute views and positive ideas on the potential of the network of paths in the area and on how to make it more accessible and enjoyable for all. For more information go to www.jlaf.org.uk - the deadline for applications is 9am on Friday 22nd June.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Photo - This Saturday - Save Woodlands Farm

The Gazette will be taking another photo of supporters of Save Woodlands Farm at 11am this Saturday (16th June). The venue is the entrance to Woodlands Farm on the public footpath from the green accessed from St Saviour’s Drive.

CANCELLED - Medieval fayre this Saturday

UPDATE: Sadly the organisers have had to cancel this event due to the weather.
A Medieval fayre/reenactment with the "Company of chivalry" is to be held at Winterbourne Medieval barn on Saturday 16th June. Entrance £3, under 16s free. For more details go to www.winterbournebarn.org.uk.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Core Strategy latest

The statements submitted by objectors for the first two weeks of the Core Strategy's Examination in Public have all been published in the online Hearing Statement Library. The Council's responses on matters to be discussed in later weeks are also available, with statements received from respondents on those matters to be added in the early part of this week. The library has also been updated with a number of new documents including community led statements of support, such as those on Woodlands Farm and Engine Common. The library, together with other up to date information, is available on the Examination webpage at www.southglos.gov.uk/corestrategyexamination.

Woodlands Farm and Engine Common

We previously reported that officers had invited Richard Merrick, organiser of the Save Woodlands Farm action group, and Mike Keenan of the Save Engine Common action group, to contribute to the Council’s defence of its Core Strategy. They have now provided written representations, which have been discussed with the Council’s barrister, and will not be called to speak. Written representations carry equal weight with oral representations.
Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th June will be the first occasions on which the issue of Woodlands Farm is raised. The sessions start at 10am in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public will not be able to speak but can attend to show they care about this issue. You can access the arguments being put forward using the link above.

Community Energy Projects - find out more

The next free to attend meeting of Cotswold Edge Sustainability Network will feature a short talk by Pete Capener, Chair of Bath & West Community Energy. Peter has 25 years experience in this field through building a successful community energy company and also as a member of the Energy Minister's Community Energy Contact Group. The meeting will be on Wednesday, 4th July 2012 from 7.30 to 8.30pm at The Major's Retreat, Tormarton. More information is available online.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Planning Inspector backs residents

The planning inspector has dismissed all the appeals against the planning committee's refusal to extend the working hours at Ram Hill Business Park. Residents and local councillor Claire Young (pictured left), who referred the application to the committee after officers had recommended approval, are delighted that the Planning Inspector listened to their concerns. 

Friday, 8 June 2012

Paralympic Come and Try

On Thursday 14th June, South Gloucestershire Council and Airbus UK are hosting a Paralympic "Come and Try" event for people of all ages and abilities with physical and sensory impairments. The event is being held at WISE Campus Stoke Gifford and you can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

LGB patient experience

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation are running a survey to find out the experience of lesbian, gay and bisexual patients accessing healthcare at their local GP surgery. You can complete the survey online.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Safer Stronger Community Group tomorrow

The latest Safer Stronger Community Group meeting for Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Westerleigh and Iron Acton is at 7.30pm tomorrow night, Thursday 7th June, in St Saviours Church Hall, Coalpit Heath. Come along and have your say on how you can make our communities safer and stronger.