Friday, 28 June 2013

Woodlands Farm - read the officer's report

You can now see the agenda for next Thursday’s committee meeting online - or you can follow this link directly to the report on Woodlands Farm. The officer is recommending refusal.

If you are planning to attend the meeting, please get there early to find parking (the Castle Street car park is the nearest, there is a pedestrian route through Stokes Close, you don't have to walk round via the road). The Gazette will be taking a photo outside the Council offices at around 2.10pm. The actual meeting starts at 2.30pm.

If transport is a problem, let us know, we've already had one offer of a lift.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Woodlands Farm will be decided on 4th July

Officers have confirmed that the Development Control (West) planning committee will determine the Woodlands Farm planning application on Thursday 4th July. The meeting is in the council chamber at Thornbury Council Offices and starts at 2.30pm. We know for some of you that will be a difficult time of day to attend a meeting, but if you are free a big turnout would show the committee just how strongly local people feel about this application.

It’s worth getting there early so that you can find parking (there is a path through from the Castle Street car park into Stokefield Close). If you can offer a lift to someone or need a lift yourself let Claire Young know and she will try to match people up. 

Check back next week for a link to the papers for the meeting so you can read the officer’s report to the committee.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Westerleigh traffic calming update

Claire Young recently asked officers for another update on the Westerleigh traffic calming scheme. The new speed limit signs should have gone in during May but they didn’t. Claire has asked officers to chase this up.

As we previously reported, the installation of the speed table and the road narrowings at the entrances to the village was delayed due to objections to the speed table. Officers are currently writing a report to go to the 4th September meeting of the committee responsible for transport so that they can decide whether or not the scheme is implemented. If you would like to attend the committee to speak on the proposals, the details are here:

If you use an electronic diary, you can download the appointment from there. A week beforehand the committee papers will be published at that url, so you can see what the officer’s report says.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Getting on with going green

The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change joined 10s of 1000s of other visitors to the West of England this weekend to mark the start of Bristol Green Week. Ed Davey MP (pictured right) was the keynote speaker at the Green Liberal Democrat (GLD) conference, Getting on with Going Green, held at UWE and timed to coincide with the environmental festival. The GLD conference attendees included academics, industry leaders and political activists.

Energy & Climate Change Secretary, Ed Davey, said: "It’s great to be here for the Green Liberal Democrats Conference. It provides me with a valuable opportunity to listen carefully to delegates’ views on how we ‘get on with going green’. This year’s focus on delivering the green agenda is timely, and comes at a time when the Liberal Democrats in Government are making unprecedented progress.

The Energy Bill has passed the Commons stages and the overwhelming support it received sends out a clear message we are taking action to keep the lights on, create cleaner energy and green jobs, and keep consumers’ bills down.

GLD Conference volunteer co-organiser Mary Page said, "We have worked hard to bring together environmental and sustainability professionals from both academia and industry to provide expert information to Lib Dem policy makers."

"We did this because we believe, not that Lib Dems in government aren't trying hard enough to implement green policies but that they are doing so against very solid resistance. This means Lib Dem MPs and party policy makers need the GLD & other environmentalists actively engaged in the design, creation and evolution of policies which will help produce a strong green economy in a fair and sustainable society."

Local councillor Claire Young, who attended the conference, said, "It was a fantastic opportunity to share ideas and raise issues with those at the heart of Government and learn from experts in the field."

"We know that the cost of energy is a concern for people locally. Nationally, the Lib Dems are delivering schemes like the Green Deal, which will help people boost the energy efficiency of their homes. Here in South Gloucestershire too we have been pushing for measures to help people. Earlier in the week we won cross-party backing to fund a Switch and Save scheme, using the power of collective buying to cut energy bills, and to kick start a community energy co-op. Community energy offers people a share in the profits of local renewable energy installations and gives us a chance to break away from the dominance of the big six energy providers."

Friday, 14 June 2013

Friends of Ram Hill Colliery AGM

The AGM of the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery (FoRHC) will be held in the Miners Institute (aka Coalpit Heath Village Hall), 214 Badminton Road, BS36 2 QB on Wednesday 19 June at 7:30pm. The Ram Hill Colliery site itself is open to visit at all times and more info can be found at will be an open day there on Sunday 15 September.

After the AGM the Chairman will be giving a talk about Woodchester Mansion, a grade 1 listed building near Stroud. Woodchester Mansion is an incomplete Victorian family house which means that it is possible to see things there that would normally not be visible in a stately home. For more info see

Woodlands Farm - revised plans

You may have received notification that Barratt Homes have submitted revised plans for Woodlands Farm, which are available on the South Glos website. (You need to scroll right down to the bottom of the screen to see the latest documents.) If you feel you wish to reiterate your objections, it can’t do any harm, though we are advised that they will assume that your original objections still stand unless you state otherwise.

Lorry Watch to help police weight limits

The South Glos Trading Standards team has developed a Lorry Watch Scheme for communities to help tackle those who breach weight limits on our local roads.

The scheme is similar to the very successful Community Speed Watch scheme already in operation in South Gloucestershire. The initial trial will involve existing Community Speed Watch (CSW) groups operating in a weight restricted area reporting incidents they see while carrying out speed watch sessions. It is hoped the scheme can later be widened to include town and parish councils where either there isn't a CSW scheme or the weight restricted area isn't covered by them.

Lorry Watch will enable local people to report alleged offenders to Trading Standards, who can then advise the vehicle operator on the alleged breach and provide information on how to avoid the area in the future. It will also allow Trading Standards to gather intelligence on when and where to target their resources for enforcement checks.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Good news on energy

Energy prices are soaring hitting everyone, especially the vulnerable. Your Focus Team has won cross-party backing on South Glos Council for two energy initiatives:
  • At Dave Hockey’s suggestion, officers are investigating a council-run collective energy switching scheme. £5000 has been identified to piggy back on the Bristol "Switch and Save" scheme ( which would allow local residents to gain discounts on their power bills of between £60 and £250 pounds per year.
  • Claire Young successfully proposed setting aside £15,000 of Invest to Save money to help kick-start a Community Energy Co-op in South Glos. These organisations support communities to develop renewable energy projects, including on community buildings and schools, and offer people a share in the profits of local installations. Bath and West Community Energy ( and Bristol Energy Co-op ( are both running successfully in neighbouring authorities.

Monday, 10 June 2013

Retiring soon or already retired?

If you are retiring soon or already retired, why not drop in on the Now I’m Retiring Information Fair on Saturday 15 June 2013, at Yate Library, between 11am and 2pm. Described as "A marketplace of clubs, volunteering opportunities and hobbies to inspire you", you can find out more by emailing or calling 01454 862356.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Core Strategy update

The Council today forwarded an additional response to the Planning Inspector for the Core Strategy, the planning blue print for South Gloucestershire. You can view the information on both the Council’s Core Strategy web page ( and the Programme Officer’s Core Strategy Examination web page (

Local Highways Schemes Planned for 2013/14

Funding has been allocated by South Gloucestershire Council’s Planning, Transport & Strategic Environment Committee to:

  • improve the zebra crossing in Winterbourne High Street
  • construct the next phase of an off road route for cyclists and horse riders along the Iron Acton Bypass
  • carry out a traffic study to review the lorry routes associated with Yate
  • carry out the preliminary work for the Church Road Bridge replacement. 
The delegated funding to the Frome Vale Area Forum will cover:

  • the Traffic Regulation Order for closing Frampton End Road to vehicles
  • consulting on a 40mph speed limit on Bristol Road
  • investigation of possible ways of slowing traffic on Church Road. 
A pedestrian refuge on Park Lane near Woodend Road is being funded from the money remaining from the sale of the Council Houses to Merlin. The developers are funding a 20mph speed limit in The Meads.

Work has started in preparation for replacement of the Church Road bridge due to structural defects. Early in May the traffic lights were up whilst investigations took place to confirm the large number of utilities that cross the bridge.

A temporary footbridge will be constructed in Winter 2014 alongside the bridge. It will double as a carrier for all of the utilities. When the bridge deck has been replaced in Summer 2014 the utilities will be moved back into the footways and the temporary footbridge will be removed.

We will keep you informed of the dates when the existing bridge deck is due to be demolished and replaced and the diversion arrangements when we know them.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Frampton Festival 2013 Bid

The Festival Committee’s funding bid was considered and approved by the Frome Vale Area Committee at the Forum Meeting held at the Frampton C of E School on 16 May.

The bid covered the costs of security equipment, booking attractions and admin for the event being held at the Centenary Field on 20 July.

Your local councillors are delighted that this ‘New Homes Bonus’ bid was unanimously backed. We hope that this year’s festival will be as well attended and successful as last year’s ‘Jubilee Festival’.

People power

Energy prices are soaring hitting everyone, especially those who are vulnerable and who
don’t know how to go about switching their suppliers.

At Dave Hockey’s suggestion, South Glos Council Officers are now investigating the possibility of
signing up to a scheme which would allow local residents to gain discounts on their power bills of
between £60 and £250 pounds per year, with an average saving of £125 per year.

These savings have been assessed from schemes introduced in the last year by over 150 councils
across the UK. More than 100,000 people have already signed up to council-run collective
switching schems saving a massive £10,000,000 on their gas and electricity bills according to a
recent analysis by the Local Government Association.

More details are available online for the Bristol City Council scheme at:

South Glos Council are investigating the possibility of piggy-backing on this scheme.

Dave Hockey said, “We hope that all South Glos residents will soon be able to gain the benefits
from a Council led ‘Switch & Save’ scheme, especially those who are finding it difficult to make
ends meet and who are at increasing risk of fuel poverty as energy prices continue to soar”.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Parish boundary review

The review of Parish Boundaries in South Gloucestershire has been

  • Proposals to move houses and industrial estates between Nibley and the railway line into the Yate Town Council area were rejected after representations from residents, the Parish Council and councillor Claire Young.
  • There will be a small change to the southern boundary of Westerleigh Parish, an area south of the M4 will be added to the new Emerson's Green Town Council. No houses will be moving into Emerson's Green and there will be no loss of income for Westerleigh. All Westerleigh Parish's facilities, including Bitterwell Lake, remain in the Parish.
  • Westerleigh will gain a small piece of countryside to the north of the M4 from Mangotsfield Parish.
  • The houses on the Park side of Court Road will now all be in Frampton Cotterell Parish rather than Winterbourne.

Volunteers needed for play area project

Parents of young children living on the eastern side of Coalpit Heath currently have to cross the busy Badminton Road to get to a play area. Could you help organise the renovation of the play area at the Manor Hall to help fix this problem? If you are interested, please get in touch with Alison Allan on 07873 747513. The Frome Vale Area Forum awarded £500 to get the project started.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Update on planning blueprint

There is still uncertainty about how many dwellings will have to be accommodated in South Gloucestershire in the next five years and where they should go.

 Local residents were delighted when the Engine Common appeal was dismissed but there was a sting in the tail. The Inspector dealing with it accepted the developer’s evidence that South Gloucestershire Council has not identified enough housing sites that are available during the next five years to meet Government requirements.

The Core Strategy Inspector has recognised that this means that he has to give further consideration to the housing figures. South Gloucestershire Planning Officers need to let him have any comments on the issue by 7th June.

A question mark still hangs over the sites such as Woodlands Farm in Coalpit Heath which so far he has not identified for development.

Woodlands Farm latest

Although it is several weeks since South Gloucestershire’s planning committee visited the Woodlands Farm site, it is now possible that the planning application will be considered at the meeting on 4th July.

This is because the publication of the next report from the Planning Inspector dealing with the Core Strategy is scheduled for the end of June. This report will be very important to the decision on the Woodlands Farm planning application. Members of the public are welcome to attend this meeting and some will be able to speak by arrangement with Paul Johnson on 01454 864425.

The strong local opposition to Bloor Homes’ planning application to develop land at Engine Common in Iron Acton was a key factor in the decision to dismiss the appeal against the refusal of planning permission by South Glos Council. It will be important to show that residents in Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell feel just as strongly about the Woodlands Farm proposals.

We will confirm the date of the committee meeting when we know it.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Getting to the new hospital without a car

When the decision was taken to close Frenchay Hospital and concentrate services at Southmead, promises were made that there would be bus services to enable staff, patients and visitors to get there.

Because the new hospital is located within Bristol, the City Council holds the money which was allocated for new bus services.

Current proposals are that the 581 bus from Chipping Sodbury should run half hourly instead of hourly with passengers bound for Southmead Hospital changing to another service at Bristol Parkway to complete their journey.

Your FOCUS TEAM considers this to be very unsatisfactory and is continuing to push with support from Steve Webb MP for a through bus service.

Delays in Codrington

There are likely to be delays in Codrington as temporary traffic lights are in place on the B4465 Wapley Road today and tomorrow (3rd and 4th June) to enable pre-surface dressing works to be carried out.