Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Latest on Yate Spur Cycle Path

Thank you again to everyone who signed our Yate Spur cycle path petition. Just before Christmas Claire Young had a response to the petition from a council highways officer. It confirmed that:
  • The completion of the route is a priority for the council
  • The new crossing point on Westerleigh Road was due to be completed before Christmas.
  • Subject to final approval of the funding, the next significant section, providing an off-road cycle path from the Westerleigh Road crossing to Broad Lane and improving the existing track from Broad Lane to the Dodmoor level crossing, will be implemented in 2015/16. The funding would also cover drawing up plans for the final section.
  • Subject to planning, agreements over the lease/purchase of non-Council owned land and the approval of a future funding bid, the aim would be to complete that final section in 2016/17.
  • The council continue to look for further funding opportunities that might allow earlier completion of the route.
At Claire's request, the petition was passed to the Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Investment Board, which was considering funding for the 2015/16 work at its meeting on 12th December. They approved it, but the programme has to be formally signed off by the Strategic Leaders Board at their meeting on 9th January. Hopefully this will be a formality, but the Investment Board kindly referred the petition on to them so they too would be aware of the strong support for this scheme. The Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee on South Gloucestershire Council will then have to approve the Local Transport Capital Programme, including externally funded schemes like this one, at their 25th March meeting.

Although we are close to securing funding for the next section, we still need to get funding for the final section. We are therefore keeping the petition open and will continue to press for the path’s completion.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Westerleigh Parish Council to consider new homes questions

At their meeting starting at 7.15pm on Monday 5th January in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath, Westerleigh Parish Council will be considering questions posed by residents of Westerleigh about the proposals for up to 20 new homes in the village. You can find the agenda on the Parish Council's website.

It is extremely important that as many Westerleigh residents as possible respond to the consultation being run by South Gloucestershire Council on two possible sites for building up to 20 new homes. Links to information about the proposals and a response form can be found at www.southglos.gov.uk/policiessitesandplaces. Comments must be submitted to the Council by Tuesday 13 January at the very latest.

Claire has created a page giving more background information for those interested in how we got here and what the next steps are.

Recycling Christmas trees

If you have a real Christmas tree, South Glos Council say there are a number of ways you can recycle it when the festivities are over:
  • If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put your real Christmas tree in your green bin for kerbside collection on your collection day. Please cut the tree into manageable pieces and make sure the tree is not wedged into the bin.
  • You can buy a single use garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest South Gloucestershire library. Please attach the sack to the tree and leave out for collection on your bin collection day (you don’t need to worry about cutting the tree to fit it in the sack).
  • You can also recycle your tree at one of South Gloucestershire’s four Sort It centres. 
Please remember to remove all decorations, pots and stands before recycling your Christmas tree. Recycled trees will be processed with the rest of South Gloucestershire’s garden waste and turned into fertiliser and mulch. To check your collection day please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/localconnection

Friday, 19 December 2014

Merry Christmas from your Focus Team

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers from your Focus Team. We hope you have an enjoyable festive season.

Planning application submitted for council office solar scheme

The planning application has now been submitted for the proposed solar scheme on land next to the Badminton Road Council Offices at Nibley.

Last week we reported on a meeting we had with officers about the proposals. You can now view the plans and make comments online.If for any reason that link doesn't work, go to the planning application search page and enter the reference number PK14/4785/R3F. You have until 6th January to make comments.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Time for young people to have their say on youth service

Are you a young person living in Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Westerleigh or Iron Acton? If so, follow this link before 21st January 2015 to tell Frampton Cotterell Parish Council what you want and need for your new youth service. And if you're not aged 11-19, please pass this link on to anyone you know locally who is.

After months of bitter arguments over the future of the Brockeridge Youth Club, Frampton Cotterell Parish Council unanimously agreed to appoint an experienced, qualified Youth Work Leader from the very successful Chipping Sodbury Youth Club to liaise with local young people and find out what they would like for the Frampton Cotterell & Coalpit Heath area.

Since a large part of Coalpit Heath is in Westerleigh Parish, Cllr. Eve Carey has joined the Youth Working Group representing Westerleigh Parish Council - just like Frampton Cotterell Parish Council they are  interested in ensuring that local youngsters have somewhere to go where they can enjoy themselves and get professional support when needed. The provision of 'Outreach Services' to young people who prefer not to attend a youth club will also be considered.

Dave Hockey said, "I'm delighted that we have at last managed to find a way forward that is constructive and has the full support of Frampton Cotterell Parish Council. I look forward to finding out what local young people want for their youth club and to get the advice of the appointed Youth Work Leader."

Free Christmas events for children

Our local libraries are once again running free Christmas events for children including:

Saturday 20 December
Festive fun
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12pm
Drop in to make Christmas cards and decorations.

Stories round the Christmas tree
Winterbourne Library, 2.30pm to 3.30pm
Festive stories around the Christmas tree, crafts and refreshments. Most suitable for two to eight-year-olds accompanied by a parent or carer.

Tuesday 23 December
Help yourself crafts
Winterbourne Library, 2pm to 4pm
Help yourself crafts in the children’s library - using up materials from craft sessions from throughout 2014. Bring a parent or carer to give you a helping hand.

Tuesday 30 December
Stir your senses
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm
Make your own pomanders, mobiles and shakers.

Help yourself crafts
Winterbourne Library, 2pm to 4pm
Help yourself crafts in the children’s library - using up materials from craft sessions from throughout 2014. Bring a parent or carer to give you a helping hand.

Wednesday 31 December
New Year crafts
Winterbourne Library, 10am to 11.30am
Welcome in the New Year with a craft drop in - making masks, calendars and sharing good memories.

Saturday 3 January
Winter craft fun
Chipping Sodbury Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Seasonal crafts.

Winter crafts and fun
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Seasonal crafts.

Some libraries will also be holding free storytime and rhymetime sessions for babies and toddlers and their parents or carers to enjoy stories, action songs and rhymes together. These include:

Tuesday 23 December
Rhymetime fun
Winterbourne Library, 9.30am to 10am
Festive rhymetime.

Tuesday 30 December
Rhymetime fun
Winterbourne Library, 9.30am to 10am
Festive rhymetime.
For more information contact the libraries on 01454 868006 or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/libraries

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Christmas opening times

Local MP Steve Webb has sent out the following useful round-up of local Christmas opening times:

Constituency Office of Steve Webb MP - Opening Hours

The office will be open as usual over the holiday period, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2nd January. You can contact me on 01454 322100 or steve@stevewebb.org.uk.

Christmas Posting Dates

The last posting dates for Christmas are as follows:
Thursday 18 December    - 2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Saturday 20 December    - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Monday 22 December - Parcelforce Worldwide 48 hours delivery
Tuesday 23 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

South Glos Council Services

One Stop Shops

One Stop Shops will be closed from Christmas eve afternoon (from 1pm) and on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2 January.

Recycling and waste collections

Recycling centres

All sites are open as usual, apart from 25 December to 28 December and 1 January.

Christmas collections

Bin collections will continue as normal, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. You will still have the usual amount of collections over Christmas, but the days might change. You can also check the dates using the Council’s collection date checker.

Recycling your real Christmas tree

There are several options to dispose of your real Christmas tree.

a) Using the garden waste service

If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put it in your green bin, or alternatively you can purchase a garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library or Country Stores at 48 High Street Marshfield SN14 8LP. You don’t need to worry about the cutting the tree to fit it in the sack.

b) Taking it to a recycling centre

You can recycle your tree at one of the four Sort It centres

Train times over the holiday period

Network Rail will be conducting essential engineering works over the Christmas period.  Details of changes to the usual schedule are as follows:

Christmas Eve

Timings of trains will start to change from 1700 across the network, and from 1500 in the London and Thames Valley area. The last train will leave Paddington before 2130.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day

No scheduled train services.

Saturday 27 December

Local services into London will start from around 1100 because of work in the Hayes and Harlington area, and long distance services into and out of London will be limited. We are advising customers to use other routes where possible, or to travel after 1100.  Tickets will be valid on other routes.

Saturday 27 December – Sunday 4 January

A reduced timetable will operate and diversions will be in place. Journey times may take longer than normal.

First Great Western have set out the changes in detail for each route on their website: www.firstgreatwestern.co.uk/Christmas2014

Emergency Pharmacy Opening Times in South Gloucestershire

Pharmacy opening times for the December and January Bank Holidays 2014/15. 

Asda Pharmacy, Craven Way, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 3012810
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

*Asda Pharmacy, Highwood Lane, Patchway, BS34 5TL
Tel: 0117 3172410
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1, Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke Way, Bradley Stoke,  BS32 8EF
Tel: 01454 202327
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, 116, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, BS34 5UP
Tel: 0117 9509744
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1a, Emersons Green Retail Centre, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9575893
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

*Boots Pharmacy, Unit D, Gallagher Retail Park, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 9678963
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00
Thursday 1st January: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00

Boots Pharmacy, 15-17, North Walk, Yate, BS37 4AP
Tel: 01454 312589
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 17:30
Thursday 1st January: closed

Bradley Stoke Pharmacy, Brook Way,  Bradley Stoke,  BS32 9DS
Tel: 01454 612855
Thursday 25th December: 10:00 - 12:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed

Frome Valley Pharmacy, Frome Valley Medical Centre, 2 Court Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2DE
Tel: 01454 773755
Thursday 25th December: 12:00 - 14:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: 12:00 - 14:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Emersons Way, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9569849
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Fox Den Road, Filton, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8SS
Tel: 0117 9793412
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 15:00

Westbourne Road Pharmacy, 26, Westbourne Road, Downend, BS16 6RX
Tel: 0117 9565836
Thursday 25th December: 14:00 - 16:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed
*These pharmacies have a specialist medicines service.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas lights in Westerleigh

Once again Mill Crescent is lit up for Christmas to raise money for charity. This year the collection will go to St Peter's Hospice.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Latest on collection of unused green bins

On Friday, we reported on plans to collect unused green bins locally. Unfortunately the leaflet company let down the council and didn't deliver the leaflets telling people about the collection dates. This means that some of those included in the Frampton Cotterell pick-ups (parts of Coalpit Heath as well as Frampton Cotterell) missed out. Claire Young has taken this up with council officials and has been promised there will be another collection in the new year. Bin tags will be used instead of leaflets through doors to deliver the information. You can also request a collection or take your bin to the Sort It centre.

A large part of Westerleigh ward is due to have their unused green bins collected on Friday 19th September. You need to put it out by 7am and it must be empty. If you currently receive help putting out your bins and require assistance to put your unwanted green bin out, please contact 01454 868000. This is also the number to call if you have any other queries.

Don't forget that if you've found another use for your green bin you can keep it. And if you do subscribe to garden waste collections, don't leave it out empty when the unused bins are being picked up to avoid any confusion.

All Westerleigh housing documents now online

The technical issues that affected the South Glos website last week have been sorted and you can now view all the information from the exhibition on the options for up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh.

As we explained on Friday, the council has agreed to extend the deadline for comments because of this delay. So now you have until 13th January 2015 to respond - even if some of the documents still say 9th January.

It's very important that whether you support housing on one of the two sites, both or neither, that you respond to the consultation to let the council know your views. Please let Claire know what you think too.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Westerleigh housing options consultation documents now online

The information from last week's well-attended exhibition on the options for up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh was due to be made available on South Glos Council's website this week.

Unfortunately this has been delayed due to technical issues with the website. The council has therefore agreed to a request from Claire Young and the Parish Council for that deadline to be extended from 9th January until 13th January. The consultation form can be accessed here.

It's important that whether you support housing on one of the two sites, both or neither, that you respond to the consultation to let the council know your views. Please let Claire know what you think too.

Campaigners call for cycle path to be finished

Paul Hulbert and Claire Young launching the petition in August
Westerleigh Councillor Claire Young delivered a petition to a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council on Wednesday as part of an ongoing campaign for the completion of the ‘Yate Spur’ cycle path. The petition has so far been signed by over 300 residents from Yate, Westerleigh and further afield.

Claire said: “This petition shows there is strong support for completing the “Yate Spur” cycle path, which currently stops just south of Westerleigh but is planned to link up the village and Yate with the Bristol-Bath railway path and the wider cycle network. When it’s finished, it will provide a safe, off-road route for travelling to the Science Park at Emerson’s Green, Bristol city centre, Bath and beyond. Families will be able to enjoy leisure rides and it will make commuting to work by bike a realistic option for many more people.”

Local resident Rob Bushill spoke at the meeting in support of the petition.“There are just two ways in and out of Yate towards Bristol. Via Badminton Road, which has a lot of heavy traffic, or via Westerleigh, a narrow rat run of twisting bumpy country lanes that is so off putting and dangerous that even experienced cyclists avoid it. Yate has become an island to anyone bar the car driver, which is incredible considering that 30 plus miles of great cycleway is available just 2 miles away."

“By constructing this small but complex stretch of pathway, it will open up the shops of Emerson’s Green, the things for the family in Bath and Bristol, even provide a safer but longer route to the offices of Emerald Park and the Science Park. It’s 50 minutes to Bristol by bike, it’s a viable means of transport in the week and a source of family enjoyment at the weekends. It’s definitely not just for lycra-clad cyclists. By building these last few miles of cycleway, a huge barrier to people making those trips would be taken away.”

The Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Investment Board are due to consider further funding for the scheme at a meeting today. Claire called upon the Council to present the petition to them and lobby for the extra funding. We will continue campaigning until we have secured this vital sustainable transport link You can add your support here.

Unwanted green bin collection

If you live in Frampton Cotterell or Westerleigh ward and don't want to keep your green bin, you can put it out next week for it to be taken away.

Whether you do that on Monday 15th December or Friday 19th December depends on which road you live in and doesn't exactly follow either the ward boundaries or the postal addresses. It depends on which bin round you're on. You should get a leaflet through your door telling you which day it is - if your bin is being collected on Monday, you should have received the leaflet today or will get it tomorrow. It is being delivered by a delivery company so may come mixed in with advertising flyers - check carefully and don't just stick it in the recycling with everything else!

You need to put it out by 7am and it must be empty. If you currently receive help putting out your bins and require assistance to put your unwanted green bin out, please contact 01454 868000.

(Edited on Friday evening as updated information provided by the council).

Park Lane speeding

At the recent Safer Stronger Community Group, Claire Young raised the issue of speeding on Park Lane on behalf of residents.

In the year to the end of October 2014 the camera van visited Park Lane (outside number 66) 21 times for an hour each and 223 tickets were issued. Beat manager PC Simmons also carries out checks on foot and he suggested co-ordinating those with the camera van, the mobile Vehicle Activated Sign and the Community Speedwatch teams.

If you are concerned about speeding on Park Lane between Badminton Road and the village boundary and would like to help, please contact speedwatch co-ordinator John Pearce on 07843 871387.

Westerleigh Road resurfacing

Claire Young was pleased when the council responded to her repeated requests on behalf of residents for Westerleigh Road to be resurfaced through Westerleigh. The prepatory patching work was carried out recently, ready for the resurfacing to be done in the spring/summer next year. Unfortunately at this site and others where patching has been carried out, there has been what officers believe is a problem with the material used. They are awaiting the results of formal independent tests before taking further action.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Solar scheme at Badminton Road

Earlier this year, we reported that the council was proposing to put solar panels on land next to the council offices at Nibley. This morning Claire Young and fellow councillors met officers to discuss the plans before an application is submitted.This would be a very small scheme compared to the commercial solar farms that have sprung up in the area recently, the aim being to provide electricity for the council offices.

While keen for the council to save money in a positive way and use greener energy, your Focus Team was concerned that enough space should be left for the long-planned park and ride.This now needs to be bigger than originally planned due to all the new homes being built in Yate. The good news is that the latest plans allow for a 236 space car park, with the possibility of further spaces behind the offices. The solar panels would go on the slightly higher ground towards the back of the site in the top picture, which isn't suitable for car parking.

Your Focus Team is campaigning to get the park and ride built, along with other transport schemes in the Yate area. Go to http://letsgetyatemoving-ldthornburyandyate.nationbuilder.com  to back the campaign and share your experiences and ideas about local transport.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Frampton End Road to be deep cleaned

Next Wednesday (10th December) Frampton End Road is scheduled to get a "deep clean". A digger will be used to get mud off the road, the vegetation will be cut back with a flail and there will be highways and cleansing teams on hand to do other tasks.

Don't forget that local resident Alan Bracey is looking for volunteers to help keep the road clean and tidy for all to enjoy. If you can help, please contact Alan on 01454 772837 or email him at: aljenbracey@blueyonder.co.uk

Shop locally this Saturday

This Saturday (6th December) is Small Business Saturday UK. In South Gloucestershire, participating traders and independent shops will be getting involved, including in Yate, and you can win £100 to spend at one of the businesses.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply tweet the South Gloucestershire Council Twitter account @sgloscouncil on Saturday 6 December and tell the council why you like to shop locally and/or suggest your favourite independent shop in South Gloucestershire. All tweets must include the hashtag #southglos and the best tweet will win the voucher.

For more info about Small Business Saturday events and offers in South Gloucestershire visit www.southglos.gov.uk/smallbusinesssaturday

South Glos Council to start collecting unwanted green bins

If you don't use your green bin, South Glos will be collecting them shortly. Obviously they won't collect it if you use it for green waste, and you can keep it if you use it for anything else (for example, some people have found that they're handy for garden tools)

Details of the green bin removal day will be provided on a leaflet that will be delivered to your address one week before the collection. This is a one off service and if you no longer want your green bin it must be put out for removal on the date on the leaflet you receive.

All green bins for removal must be outside by 7 am on the appropriate day and must be empty. They will not take any bins that contain waste, including garden waste.

If you currently receive help putting out your bins and require assistance to put your unwanted green bin out, please contact 01454 868000 or e-mail sortitteam@sita.co.uk prior to your removal day.

Warning - if you subscribe to the green bin collection service, please make sure that your bin is not outside on "removal day" or it will disappear!

Full details are on the South Glos website here.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Could you be a school crossing patrol person?

The Manor School is currently looking for a new school crossing patrol person. Parents feel much happier walking children to school, or allowing older children to walk by themselves, if there is someone to help them across the road at the school. Contact Claire Young to find out more.

Latest on parking problems

As we reported last month, parking continues to be a problem on some of our local roads.

School run parking

Although the 3 strikes scheme recently introduced by PCSO Andy Pound has been positive, some residents expressed concern that there wasn’t sufficient police presence to support it fully, as only the police can issue tickets. On Friday local councillor Claire Young attended a meeting at the school with the headteacher, governors, residents and PC Finbar Simmons. During the meeting, PC Simmons committed to giving the issue extra attention, and at last night's Safer Stronger Community Group meeting it was selected as a priority, which will help him argue for prioritising it over other work.

South Gloucestershire Council now has a parking enforcement camera car and while Claire was presenting the results of her survey to the committee on 12th November she also asked for the necessary steps to be taken to enable it to be used at the Manor School. At Friday’s meeting, she agreed to arrange an on-site meeting with the police and a highways officer to discuss this further and that is being done.

As well as enforcement, it’s also important to try to reduce the number of people driving to school. Claire has spoken to the Road Safety Officer at South Glos and she has now sent the headteacher details of a new scheme, "Five Minute Walking Zones", to promote children walking at least part of the way to school.

Other parking concerns

School run parking isn't the only concern for local residents, something Claire raised at last night's Safer Stronger Group meeting. Following concerns from residents, Claire wrote to both the football club and Fitquest asking them to remind their members to park considerately. Both responded positively - the football club are putting it on their next agenda and Fitquest have assured her that they remind their users every session and do spot checks.

In Claire's survey, people also expressed concern about people parking too close to certain junctions and Claire took this up with officers. White lines were introduced at the junctions off Roundways following a previous meeting she had on-site with highways officers. They are now proposing similar advisory keep clear lines at the junctions of Heath Gardens/Henfield Road and Station Road/The Brake. Although they are only advisory, the fact that someone is parked on them does help the police build a case for issuing a ticket for obstruction.

At last night's meeting, PC Finbar Simmons explained how the police approach parking problems. They need to be able to build a case that will stand up in court if the ticket is challenged. An obstruction has to be more than an inconvenience and courts will take into account how long it lasts, its nature, extent and purpose. Being prevented from leaving your driveway is an obstruction, but being temporarily blocked from entering isn't because you could park your vehicle elsewhere. With pavement parking, he will look to see if you can get a double buggy through. If there is an element of danger officers are more likely to be successful at court. If you are in any doubt, he advised you to call the police using the 101 number.

Have your say on Sort It! Centre changes

South Glos Council is consulting about possible changes to the Sort It Centres (recyling centres) to save money by limiting the amount of commercial waste and material brought in by people who don't live in South Glos. This could affect the way YOU use the Sort It Centres - options include:
  • Limiting business use by clarifying the definition of a van, introducing van permits and limiting the number of times a van can visit in a year
  • Asking local residents to pre-register for permits before visiting to reduce the number of non-residents using the sites
  • Introducing a charge for the collection and disposal of some non-household waste items
  • Changes to opening hours and the days sites are open
You can download the consultation document here. The consultation is open until 14 February,

You can find out more and let South Glos know your views by:
  • Completing the consultation feedback survey (you can fill it in online or download and print it)
  • Email: consultation@southglos.gov.uk          
  • Write to: FREEPOST RTCT-JXLE-EET, South Gloucestershire Council, Corporate Research & Consultation Team, Sort It Centre   Changes Consultation, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, BRISTOL, BS15 9TR
  • Phone: 01454 868154
If you would like someone to talk to your group or organisation about these proposals, please contact South Glos using the details above to arrange.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Update on Westerleigh cycle path "missing link"

Work is currently under way to widen the carriageway on the northern side of Westerleigh Road near on the the Kidney Hill junction to accommodate a new refuge for the cycle route crossing. If you've driven out of Westerleigh towards Bristol recently you will have encountered the temporary traffic lights we warned you about in October.

The funds currently available for cycling schemes won't cover much more work, however. The major part of the scheme will be to bypass Westerleigh on a largely off-road track that will emerge under an unused arch of the railway bridge near the Shire Way mini-roundabout. We talked about the reasons for this strategic scheme in our blog post back in August when we launched our petition to get the final section of the route done as soon as possible.

Two lots of money will be needed - one lot for the detailed design work, consultations with residents and legal work, and one lot to carry out the actual construction. Probably the trickiest part of the design will be the last leg through to Shire Way, but it also brings opportunities to sort out the notorious Nibley Lane / Westerleigh Road junction, which will benefit motorists, and to get better pedestrian facilities too.

We think South Glos are now well aware of the need to carry out proper consultations for schemes like these, but we'll keep on their case to make sure that they do.

So whether you're a cyclist, a motorist or a pedestrian - and lots of people are all three - please sign our online petition here: http://tinyurl.com/cyclelink to make sure that the "missing link" is completed soon as possible.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Let's Get Yate Moving!

Local MP Steve Webb and Lib Dem Focus Team councillors have launched a campaign to improve public transport in and around Yate.

The campaign comes as thousands more houses are set to be built in and around Yate over the coming years, on top of hundreds already built in the last few years.   Campaigners are calling on South Gloucestershire Council to plan ahead for the new housing and make sure that there are proper public transport options for new and existing residents.

In particular, the Lib Dem team are calling for:
  • A Park and Ride for Yate and the surrounding area, next to the Council offices at Badminton Road;
  • For the Yate-Bristol rail route to be included in the electrification project for the Great Western mainline;
  • For improved bus services in residential areas, especially for North and South Yate and Dodington, not just services from Yate town centre.
Go to http://letsgetyatemoving-ldthornburyandyate.nationbuilder.com  to back the campaign and share your experiences and ideas about local transport.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Good news at Frome Vale Area Forum

Last night's Frome Vale Area Forum had a packed agenda:
  • Schemes to introduce 40mph limits on the B4058/B4059 Iron Acton and 20mph limits within Iron Acton and on surrounding roads including Nibley Lane were approved.
  • We awarded New Homes Bonus money to Coalpit Heath Village Hall ("The Miners") to put solar panels on their roof and to Iron Acton Parish Hall for an extension to the entrance lobby
  • Station Road, Coalpit Heath and Lower Chapel Lane, Frampton Cotterell were among four resurfacing schemes we chose for 2015/16.

Healthwatch issues report on Southmead Hospital

Healthwatch, the consumer group concentrating on health and social care, has been consulting patients and the public about their experiences at Southmead Hospital - their report is available here.

North Bristol NHS Trust has responded in fairly general terms - for example, they say "Parking is an area of continuous improvement for us whilst waiting for the completion of the phase 2 development in spring 2016"

The report concentrates on matters within the hospital, so it doesn't really touch on issues such as bus services. Please let Pat Hockey pat.hockey@southglos.gov.uk know about any excessive delays or missing services on the Southmead routes.

Warm Up South Gloucestershire

Are you the landlord of a rented property in South Gloucestershire? Is it cold and draughty? If so, take a look at the new initiative Warm Up South Gloucestershire which has been launched by the council this week.

The scheme offers landlords significant help to improve inefficient properties in a bid to protect tenants against cold, draughty houses. It offers a range of measures, including heating upgrades, cavity wall and loft insulation, draught proofing and double glazing. There is also a limited amount of additional support available to landlords for installing a new gas connection if required.

The initiative applies to landlords who own properties with an F or G energy rating, which means they’re very energy inefficient, and offers two thirds off, up to a maximum of £3,000, for home improvement measures.

The council has secured government funding to deliver the measures and work will be completed by a largely local small and medium sized enterprise (SME) supply chain to ensure that South Gloucestershire businesses benefit. The funding was secured in conjunction with Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council who are running their own Warm Up campaigns.

The funding for the scheme is limited, so you need to act quickly to take advantage of it.

If you're a landlord, go to www.warmupsouthglos.co.uk and call 0800 980 09 02 to find out more. If you're a tenant, speak to your landlord about the scheme.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Scrap the severn tolls campaign

A new campaign by local MP Steve Webb and the local Liberal Democrats to scrap the tolls on the two Severn Bridges has got off to a strong start. The ‘no more tolls’ campaign is calling for the toll to be scrapped on the two bridges once the construction costs of the bridges have been paid off in a couple of years’ time. At that point the bridges will return into public ownership and Steve Webb is arguing for remaining maintenance costs to be transferred to the Highways Agency budget so that the tolls can be completely scrapped. An online petition calling for the tolls to be scrapped attracted over 1,000 signatures within a week, with support coming from both sides of the bridge. Speaking to campaigners, Steve Webb said:

“We have always known that the tolls would be needed to pay for the construction of the two bridges. But once the bills are paid, there is no longer any need for a separate maintenance charge for the bridges. We already pay through our taxes for the maintenance of the rest of the highway network, including local motorways, and there is no reason for local people to go on paying for routine maintenance for the bridges"

“We have had a huge positive response to this campaign with people keen to see the tolls scrapped to make it easier for people who live and work on different sides of the bridge, or for those who have family and friends on each side of the Severn. Scrapping the tolls would be good for local businesses and the local economy and we will be stepping up our campaign in the coming months to get the tolls ended”

To sign the petition, or for more information on the campaign visit

Smile campaign

South Glos Council is running a campaign to encourage people to think about the small things that they can do that will make a big difference to other people. Find out more at www.southglos.gov.uk/smile

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Get more out of your library with new mobile apps

Libraries from across the West of England work together as LibrariesWest. They've just launched free apps for iPads and iPhones and for Android devices. Using the apps you can:
  • Search the catalogue
  • Place reservations
  • Renew your loans
  • Manage your library account
  • Find your nearest library
  • Access eBooks and online resources
  • Follow LibrariesWest on Twitter
The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and Windows Phone and Kindle Fire versions will be available soon. To find out more, including the download links, go to http://www.librarieswest.org.uk/mobile/

Next Severn Vale Area Forum on 3rd December

The next Severn Vale Area Forum (covering wards including Charfield) is at 7pm on Wednesday 3 December in Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury.. Why not come along and have your say?

On the agenda will be information about the council’s budget consultation, applications for the Positive Activities Subsidy (PAS) grants programme and New Homes Bonus (NHB) grant allocations. The Forum will also be asked to identify local roads and/or pavements for resurfacing.

You can view the papers here.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Next Safer Stronger Community Group on 2nd December

The next Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Iron Acton and Coalpit Heath Safer Stronger Community Group meeting will take place at 7.30pm on Tuesday 2nd December at The Brockeridge Centre (Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2LQ). Come along and raise local issues of concern to you.

Monday, 24 November 2014

STOP PRESS - Church Road lights removed

The resurfacing and road markings on the new Church Road bridge have now been completed and the traffic lights removed just before 6pm this evening. Pedestrian facilities will be reinstated in the next couple of days.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Have your say on up to 20 new homes in Westerleigh Village

A public consultation event on possible sites for up to 20 New Homes at Westerleigh village is being held on Monday 1st December 2014, from 4pm to 7 pm, at Westerleigh Village Hall. 

The Parish Council has been working with South Gloucestershire Council to look at the need for a small amount of new housing development at Westerleigh village. This could help to meet local housing needs e.g. for younger people and support existing facilities and services such as the village shop. Any new homes would be allocated in the new planning document, the Policies, Sites and Places Plan (PSP Plan), being prepared by South Gloucestershire Council.

The possibility of a small number of new homes being built in the village was considered at a public consultation event in the village hall this summer, which formed part of the wider consultation on the PSP Plan. The Parish Council has subsequently resolved to ask SGC to undertake an assessment of possible sites for up to 20 new homes at Westerleigh village.

A public exhibition will be held on Monday 1st December 2014, from 4pm to 7 pm, at the Village Hall.

This public event will provide the opportunity for local people to learn more about the possible new housing sites – their advantages and disadvantages. A copy of the exhibition material and the response form will be provided on the Policies,Sites & Places webpage from 8th December 2014 and comments can be made until 9th January 2015.

This is your opportunity to have your say about the future of Westerleigh village.

Volunteers wanted for ‘Frampton End Road tlc Team’

Since Frampton End Road was closed to through traffic earlier this year walkers, cyclists and horse riders are able to enjoy safe use of this narrow, bendy picturesque country lane in the Frome Valley.

Children are able to learn to ride their bikes in safety, much to the delight of their parents. Walkers from Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Iron Acton and further afield using the delightful Frome Valley Walkway can now enjoy circular leisure walks including Frampton End Road.

Coalpit Heath resident and ‘veteran cyclist’ Alan Bracey is hoping to form a group of local volunteers to help keep Frampton End Road clean and tidy for all to enjoy. Alan reported “I cycled through Frampton End Road this morning and for the second day running Streetcare are cutting back the hedges and making a very good job of it. I look forward to being part of a regular team to keep it clean. Believe me, this road is now a real pleasure to ride”.

If you would like to be part of the ‘Frampton End Road tlc Team’, please contact Alan on 01454 772837 or email him at: aljenbracey@blueyonder.co.uk

Your Focus Team is thrilled that local parents are now to be able to teach their children to ride their bikes in safety on Frampton End Road.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Church Road bridge update

Residents will be delighted to know that work on the demolition and replacement of the bridge is due to complete on target by 30 November ready for reopening to 2 way traffic on Monday 1 December.

The seven utility companies have taken turns to divert their services from bypassing the bridge to going over it following the closure over the school summer holidays. The pavements are now being reconstructed prior to the final surface being laid for the road and white lining replaced.

Thankfully the  new composite bridge deck has a 120 year life.

Next Frome Vale Area Forum on 27th November

The next Frome Vale Area Forum (covering wards including Frampton Cotterell, Ladden Brook and Westerleigh) is at 7pm on Thursday 27th November in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. Why not come along and have your say?

On the agenda will be information about the council’s budget consultation, applications for the Positive Activities Subsidy (PAS) grants programme and New Homes Bonus (NHB) grant allocations.

The Forum will also be making decisions on proposals for a 40mph speed limit on most of the Iron Acton Bypass into Frampton Cotterell and a 20mph limit along Nibley Lane and Hope Road and through Iron Acton village.

Funding has been allocated to introduce both of these schemes in the current financial year. Before they go ahead, however, the Councillors representing the Frome Vale wards have to consider the objections that were made during the formal consultation period. They have the option of going ahead with the advertised proposals, modifying them to take on board objections or abandoning them and leaving things as they are.

The proposals for the Bypass are that the existing 40mph limit on Yate Road should be extended beyond the Esso Garage and the existing 40mph from Frampton Cotterell should be extended to the junction with Bristol Road, Iron Acton.

If you go to the Forum you will be able to let the Councillors know your views before they make their decisions.

You can view the papers here.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Mediation process for Manor Hall and Coalpit Heath Pre-School

Following recent concerns in the community about the future of Coalpit Heath Pre-School, we are pleased to report that the Pre-School and the Manor Hall Management Committee have committed to an independent mediation process, sharing the costs between them. We hope that they will now be given the time and the space to complete this process, not only to help with the immediate issues but also to build a better relationship for the future. In the meantime, we have been assured again that the Pre-School has not been given notice.

Latest on Westerleigh smell

Last month I passed on some reports of smell incidents to the Environment Agency to investigate. The agency believe the most likely cause is related to the handling and storage of Animal by-product (ABP) waste. The waste is collected in a road trailer within a building. The doors of the building are closed and air inside is extracted through a carbon filter, but when the trailer is full, it has to be changed. This occurs once or twice a day and involves opening the doors to the building, removing the full trailer and replacing it with an empty one. This takes 30-45 minutes and could potentially produce an odour detectable away from the site.
To tackle this, an action plan has been agreed with Tulip:
  • Tulip have installed a new cleaning station and have implemented regular housekeeping of the ABP waste area.
  • Tulip, along with the ABP waste contractor, have agreed to cover the full trailer before removing it from the ABP storage building.
  • Tulip are instigating a procedure to regularly check that the carbon filter is operating effectively.
The Environment Agency will continue to work with Tulip to improve all areas of odour control. However, if you are disturbed by odours which you believe to be from the abattoir, they ask you to:
  • Contact Dominic Sugrue of Tulip in the first instance (0117 957 6056, Dominic.Sugrue@tulipltd.co.uk) . Tulip are obliged to investigate, they must also record details of the complaint and their response. This information can be audited by the Environment Agency.
  • If the odour persists and the response is unsatisfactory, please also report the odour to the Agency’s hotline (0800 80 70 60).

Friday, 14 November 2014

Call for road safety action around the Manor School

Thank you to everyone who completed Claire Young's survey on speed limits on the roads around the Manor School.

Other local schools have a 20mph limit around them, either permanent or when the lights are flashing. Claire wanted to find out if there was support for this at the Manor, and if so which roads people thought should be included.  A majority of those who filled in the survey supported a 20mph limit on the roads immediately around the school  - Roundways, St Anne's Drive and Henfield Road. On Wednesday, Claire attended the council's committee responsible for transport to present them with the results and call for action.

Dangerous parking was also a concern for many who replied. There are no simple solutions and a number of ideas have been tried over the years, including white lines on the roads and a PCSO working with the children to create flyers to hand out. At the meeting, Claire called for the necessary steps to be taken so that the council's parking enforcement car can be used outside the Manor School to help tackle the problem.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Henfield "signing and lining" proposals

Last night Westerleigh Parish Council considered all the views passed on by ward councillor Claire Young or raised by residents at the meeting and decided to ask South Glos Council to go ahead with the "signing and lining" proposals for Henfield Road.

The "gateway treatment" will be considered for funding at the Area Forum next spring. If funded, there would be further consultation before anything was implemented.

Calling all community heroes

It's time to make your nominations for the Chair's Community Awards 2015.

The annual awards recognise and celebrate the huge contribution local unpaid volunteers make to our communities. The celebration will take place in March and you have until Friday 9th January to nominate your local "community hero". You can do it online at www.southglos.gov.uk/communityawards, call 01454 863019 or email communityawards@southglos.gov.uk

Monday, 10 November 2014

Chance to question the police

The Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens is, holding her next public forum on Wednesday, December 3rd from 6.45 - 9.00pm at The Shire Way Community Centre, Yate, Bristol, BS37 8YS.

It's a chance to hear from North East's Area Commander Chief Superintendent (C/Supt) Caroline Peters, and to ask any questions to the PCC, C/Supt Peters and other senior police officers.

If you would like to attend, you are asked to register here, email the PCC team at pcc@avonandsomerset.pnn.police.uk or call 01275 816377. They would also like questions emailed to them ahead of the event, so they can bring the relevant information to the meeting and so those who cannot attend can still ask questions. You can also tweet your questions to @AandSPCC using the hash tag #YPCCYV

Friday, 7 November 2014

Update on lights on Church Road

Council Officers have been checking and observing the situation with the Church Road bridge traffic signals. There is no fault on the sensors. They are still of the view that the problems have occurred when heavy traffic is accompanied by a vehicle crossing on red. The sensor then reacts by going into "safe mode" which reduces the the green time on the following cycles.
If after monitoring the situation this evening they believe the problem will continue they will be switching the signals to manual during peak periods on Monday.

Have your say on council budget

Having already cut £43million from its annual budget, South Glos Council is expecting to make tens of millions of pounds more savings in the next few years, as it continues to help the national government reduce the deficit. That means it's more important than ever to have your say on the council's budget.

Find out more at www.southglos.gov.uk/budget or at one of the local libraries or One Stop Shops. You have until 19th December to have your say.

Please let your Lib Dem Focus Team know your views too. We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable and working with you to find alternative ways of doing things where possible.

Another Living Well with Dementia Roadshow

Anotherr ‘Living Well with Dementia’ roadshow is being held, this time at Turnberrie’s Community Centre in Thornbury on Monday 17 November. These roadshows offer practical, emotional and health advice aimed at anyone who has recently been diagnosed with dementia, their carers or relatives of people with dementia.

The free event runs from 10.30am to 1pm however places must be booked in advance by using one of the following methods:
For more information and details of future roadshows visit www.southglos.gov.uk/dementia

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Church Road bridge latest

We are aware there has been a traffic light problem on the bridge works on Church Road. Pat Hockey is investigating.

The road works have been extremely frustrating for local people. We've made sure officers are aware of this and they have given us an update on the schedule. They are currently planning for the footways and carriageways to be completely reinstated and final surfacing complete by the 30th November 2014.

Some people have commented that they are not seeing much work happening. Officers say they are coordinating a complicated set of third party activities, tying in with the utility company programmes, so there may be periods where it would appear nothing is happening. South Glos are also working on the site but not always in the sight lines of other road users. It is to everyone’s advantage to get the job completed and for the council to get off site as delays mean cost.

Could you adopt siblings?

This week is National Adoption Week and South Glos Council is looking for people who would consider adopting siblings, so that brothers and sisters can stay together.

Adopters who have adopted siblings say the idea of having a ready-made family, only going through the adoption process once and enabling children to stay with their brothers and sisters are reasons to adopt brothers and sisters.

For more information about adoption in South Gloucestershire, visit www.southglos.gov.uk/adoption

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Have your say on flood risk mangement strategy

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on its draft Local Flood Risk Management Strategy. More information is available on the council consultation pages and you have until 20th January to comment.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Grants for community groups

Local voluntary organisations, community groups and Parish Councils have until Wednesday 26th November to apply for a range of grant funding from South Gloucestershire Council - Community Grants, New Homes Bonus (NHB) and Positive Activities Subsidy (PAS) grants.  The final decisions on all three will be made by councillors at the area forum meeting in March.

Community Groups are aimed at projects that benefit local people. Generally the grants are less than £3,000 but more can be awarded if the Forum thinks it is justified.

New Homes Bonus funding is a grant which the council receives annually from central government, based on the number of homes built or brought back into use. This money would typically be used for larger projects. It's worth contacting your ward councillor to find out more, as the number of new homes built has varied greatly between the wards.

The Positive Activities Subsidy grant funding is to help local young people aged 13 to 19 (up to 25 for disabled people) to take part in, or initiate, activities.  Applications should be for projects which are accessible, affordable, wanted and valued by young people. Frome Vale has very little of this funding left to allocate.

To apply visit www.southglos.gov.uk/grants (free internet access is available at all South Gloucestershire libraries). For more information call the grants helpline on 01454 865865 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm) or email grants@southglos.gov.uk

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Valuing You event

"Valuing You" is an event for people with learning difficulties, their families, carers and service providers. It's being held at BAWA in Filton on Wednesday 26 November, from 10am to 3pm, and you can book your place now.

The event will be opened by Paralympian Karen Baxter and give you the chance to find out about activities and opportunities for people with learning difficulties in South Gloucestershire. Activities will include fencing, dancing, boccia, knitting and drumming. There will also be an art competition, and you can find out more information about Dementia Friends and shared reading.

There is no charge to attend the event but you will need to book your place and choose the workshops you might like to take part in:

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Work to start on next stage of "Yate Spur" cycle path

Work is due to start on the next stage of the Yate Spur cycle path next month.

People living near the Kidney Hill junction are receiving letters telling them that work to widen the carriageway on the northern side of Westerleigh Road to accommodate a new refuge is expected to start on 17th November and last for four weeks. Temporary traffic lights will be used during the work and access to properties will be available at all times.

Your Focus Team is still campaigning for the Yate Spur to be completed. You can sign our petition online at http://tinyurl.com/cyclelink or we can supply paper copies if you would like to help collect signatures that way. 

Resurfacing at Hambrook lights

From 5th to 12th November 2014 major resurfacing work will take place at the Hambrook lights junction. The work will start at approximately 8pm and finish at 6am each day. The road will be closed and all traffic will be diverted. Bad weather or other problems could change the plans so keep an eye on the travel news.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Henfield Road proposals

Earlier this year the Frome Vale Area Forum agreed that one of this year’s highway investigation schemes should look at the problem of speeding traffic on Henfield Road within the Quiet Lanes Scheme. Recently representatives of Westerleigh Parish Council and ward councillor Claire Young met highways officers to review their findings.

Officers have made two proposals. The first is for some “signing and lining” measures (plans available here) which can be implemented this financial year from existing budgets.

If you have any comments please contact Claire or the Parish Clerk, Fiona Thornton, before Monday 10th November. Alternatively, you can attend the Parish Council meeting that evening, at 7.15pm in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath, where the councillors will be agreeing their response to South Glos. Note that the SLOW markings could be closer to the bend but not further away.

The second proposal is for a gateway treatment, high friction surface and a cycle lane along part of Henfield Road. This proposal has been added to the Local Transport Priority List and will be considered for funding along with all the other schemes for the area at the Frome Vale Area Forum meeting at 7pm on Thursday 5th March in Shireway Community Centre (venue subject to change). Residents would be very welcome to attend to explain why they think this scheme should be funded, as a number of local people did earlier this year when the investigation scheme was chosen.

Edited 1st November 2014 - We've had a complaint that the plans aren't viewable in some browsers so have uploaded the signing and lining proposals and the more comprehensive scheme to an alternative cloud storage service. If you are still having problems, please email Claire and she will email them to you.

Temporary road closure at Henfield Viaduct in January

Henfield Road is expected to close between 10pm and 5am for three nights from 20th January 2015 between the Station Road and Ram Hill junctions. This is to allow the bridge to be inspected.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Street lights and the clock change

When the clocks changed last autumn, the photocells controlling the switching off of some of our street lights in the early hours fell out of sync due to a fault. This meant that the lights switched off earlier than intended, at approximately 10.45pm.

The South Glos Street Care team has replaced thousands of faulty photocells ready for the clock change this Sunday (26th October). The units have been replaced by the manufacturer at no charge to the council and 9,000 will have been installed by the time the clocks change. Unfortunately, there are 3,000 units still to replace, which are due to be done by the end of November, and some of those units are in the Ladden-Frome area - in Cromhall, Dodington, Falfield, Iron Acton, Rangworthy and Westerleigh. This means the street lights there will switch off at around 10.45pm and will slowly come back into line over two weeks (unless the units are replaced sooner than that).

Church Road bridge on track

The Church Road bridge works are currently on track to be completed by the end of November. Most of the council works are completed and the various utility companies now need to re-divert all their apparatus before the footways and road can be resurfaced.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Get your reading passport

Do you fancy reading something new and sharing your favourite books with others? If so, why not take part in the South West Reading Passport challenge.

Everyone who takes part gets a South West Reading Passport to record and reivew the books they read. The passport highlights six authors from the area for inspiration and provides reading lists to give you ideas of new books to try. Find out more at www.readingpassport.org

 If you are a library member aged 16 and over and you review your reads, you can enter two prize draws. There will be a regional prize of a £150 book card gift, plus a South Gloucestershire Libraries draw for a £50 book gift card. The closing date to submit any prize draw reviews is 30 December 2014.

For details of your nearest library visit www.southglos.gov.uk/libraries

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Making food recycling easier

You can now use ordinary plastic bags to line your food recycling caddy, thanks to new mechanical sorting techniques that separate the bags from food waste.

This will hopefully make it easier and cleaner to use the kitchen caddies and so encourage more people to do so. At the moment, about a fifth of the waste put in black bins is food that could be recycled. Not only is this bad for the environment, it also costs taxpayers' money - money that could help protect front line services as our central government funding reduces.

Further information is available at www.southglos.gov.uk/foodrecycling and you can also find out more at roadshows including:
  • Waitrose Chipping Sodbury, 25 October, 8am to 4pm
  • Sainsbury’s Emersons Green, 27 October, 9am to 6pm
  • Yate Town Centre, 31 October, 9am to 4pm

Monday, 20 October 2014

Free children's activities for half term

As usual, our local libraries will be running activities for children in half term. All are free drop-ins for 4 to 10 year olds. They include:
  • 10.30am to 12pm, Tuesday 28th October, Yate library - Monstrous monsters (craft activity)
  • 10-11.30am, Wednesday 29th October, Winterbourne library - Autumn antics (making scarecrows, pumpkins and bats)
More information is available on the South Glos website.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Out and about finding out your views

Thank you to everyone who returned our survey in Coalpit Heath, Mayshill and Park Lane, Kendleshire. Steve Webb and Claire Young really appreciate you taking the time to let them know your views.

It was no surprise that protecting the local countryside, in particular Woodlands Farm, was a high priority. Also that both the volume and speed of traffic on our roads is a worry.

One concern raised by a number of people was the future of Coalpit Heath Pre-School. As a parent, Claire appreciates the importance of good childcare. We are very lucky in Coalpit Heath to have both an outstanding-rated pre-school and a community facility like the Manor Hall and as the local councillor she has offered her help to both sides in finding a resolution. Those involved need to be able to sit down and talk together, with appropriate mediators, to find a solution, as happened when a similar sort of issue arose at Crossbow. Claire has been talking to organisations that might be able to help.

Council celebrates gymnast's success

On Wednesday, South Gloucestershire Council held a civic reception to celebrate the success of local gymnast Claudia Fragapane at the Commonwealth Games.

Chairman Howard Gawlger congratulated Claudia on behalf of the council and presented her with flowers and a shopping voucher in recognition of her four gold medals at the games in Glasgow this summer. The medal haul put her in the record books as the most successful English woman at the Commonwealth Games for 84 years.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road is expected to close for cleaning from 9.30am until 2.30pm on 24th October.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Electricity works in Westerleigh

Yesterday Claire Young contacted Western Power Distribution after a Westerleigh resident complained that their contractors had stopped her accessing her drive and that the bus stops were suspended. I was reassured by a council officer that the bus services are still operating, picking up and putting down as close to the original stops as it is safe to do so.

Today Claire has spoken with the person responsible for the works in Westerleigh village. Normally the contractors would have notified residents verbally if they were doing work that would obstruct access, so he will follow up on this. He also explained that the purpose of the work is to reinforce the network, to increase capacity and make it more robust. These works are part of a wider programme covering a wide arc from Coalpit Heath via Henfield, Ram Hill and outlying areas around the abattoir, through Westerleigh and ending up at Says Court Farm. Hopefully it should mean fewer power cuts in future, though you can never eliminate problems entirely.

Unsure? Close the door

A nasty scam, this one...

Age UK South Gloucestershire has been made aware of an incident where a bogus caller, claiming to be one of their representatives, cold called an older person offering to undertake some home decorating and repairs.  The rogue caller then asked for money to buy materials.

Age UK South Gloucestershire want to remind older people across the area that they never make unsolicited cold calls to people’s homes.  Their representatives help many older people, either their volunteers who offer a befriending service or their Information and Advice workers who help with benefits advice and form completion.  However, their visit will never be unexpected.  Age UK's professionals always make appointments and never cold call.

In addition Age UK South Gloucestershire will never ask for any money for their advice.  Neither will they ask if you keep money in your home.

Their professionals carry official identification and will encourage you to scrutinise it.  If you are ever unsure about a caller who claims to be from Age UK South Gloucestershire please close your front door and call Age Concern's office number.  The professionals will not be offended if you are cautious.  If you feel unhappy or intimidated please call the police on 999.

If you think that you or someone you know has been a victim of a bogus caller please contact Trading Standards, Age UK South Gloucestershire or the police on 101.  However if you feel a crime is in progress call 999.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

NEWS FLASH - Buses still running in Westerleigh despite bus stop suspension

Due to work being carried out on behalf of Western Power Distribution (WPD), some bus stops in Westerleigh village have been suspended with very little notice. The bus services are still running though and will be picking up and putting down as close to the bus stops as they can.

Local councillor Claire Young has contacted WPD to find out why no notice was given to householders who are affected by the works. We will update as soon as we can.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Nominate your sporting heroes

There is just over one week left to nominate for the 2014 South Gloucestershire Council Sports Awards. These recognise the achievement, dedication and contribution of local people involved in playing, coaching and organising sport across South Gloucestershire.

The closing date for nominations is Sunday 19 October. If you know someone who deserves to be recognised for their achievements please visit www.southglos.gov.uk/sportsawards to nominate them.

Reading Well success

In a week where Nick Clegg announced new mental health waiting time standards, there was also positive news closer to home. Today is World Mental Health Day and the council announced that over 1,000 people locally have benefitted from the ground-breaking Reading Well Books on Prescription programme.

This involves the library service working closely with LIFT Psychology, part of the South Gloucestershire Wellbeing therapies service, to offer book-based therapy for common mental health conditions. GPs and health professionals prescribe books through the scheme, but they are also available for anyone to borrow from any public library.

South Gloucestershire Council was the lead authority for the bid to the Arts Council England which resulted in the national scheme being implemented and then rolled out to public libraries across England. Since launching in June 2013, the national Books on Prescription scheme has reached around 275,000 people across England and has played an important role in helping to meet the huge need for mental health support.

Following the success of the programme, a new Reading Well Books on Prescription for dementia scheme will be launched in South Gloucestershire libraries in January 2015.

For more details of the scheme pick up a leaflet from your local library or visit www.southglos.gov.uk/readingwell

Young people join in the political debate in Yate

A packed house attended a special meeting in Yate to discuss getting young people more involved in politics. The visiting speaker was Cardiff Central MP and Government minister, Jenny Willott, who was first elected to Parliament at the age of 31, and at the time was one of the youngest MPs in the country.  In addition, the meeting also heard from Eva Lily Fielding, aged 20, from Alveston, and Liam Monsell, also aged 20, from Thornbury who explained how young people see politics and why they believe it is important for them to get involved.

Jenny Willott talked about her experiences of campaigning as an MP in a university town with a predominantly young electorate, and the need to make political campaigning fun and a social activity as well as tackling serious issues.  The meeting featured a lively question-and-answer session where a number of people said that they felt that schools were not doing enough to prepare young people to understand politics and how government works.  A number of the young people who attended the meeting were already members of the local Liberal Democrats and others joined on the night.

The meeting was chaired by Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb who said, after the event, “It was great to hear not only from a fellow MP but also from local young people about their passion for getting involved in politics.   Although we keep hearing that young people are not interested, I find that many local young people care very strongly about a range of issues, from the very local to the global.   I think that politicians have sometimes put people off from getting involved when instead we should be making it easier for people to try to change things”.

The meeting was organised by the local Liberal Democrats as part of an annual series of events in memory of former Avon County Councillor, Heather Larkins, which raises funds to enable a local young person to attend the Lib Dem conference and learn more about politics. 

Manor Hall Open Day

On Saturday 18th October, the Manor Hall will be celebrating the latest stage of their £100,000 renovation with an Open Day. Doors open at 10am, with a short ballet performance at 11am. Local MP Steve Webb will be officially unveiling the refurbishments at 2pm. Why not come along, enjoy the refreshments and find out what the Manor Hall can offer?

The Manor Hall management committee is always looking for new volunteers to become trustees. If you think you would find it rewarding to help take responsibility for this Grade II listed building and manage it for the benefit of the local community, please contact Jean Butler.

We're aware of concerns about the future of the Coalpit Heath Pre-School, which is held in the Manor Hall. Both the hall and the pre-school are very much valued by local people and local councillor Claire Young has offered to help them both with any issues they may face. We have been reassured that the Manor Hall committee has not given notice to the Pre-School.  The committee has offered the Pre-School a new contract and are hoping that this issue will soon be resolved by mutual agreement. If you have any concerns, please do get in touch.

Flu jab reminder

Free flu jabs are available for:
  • Pregnant women
  • Children aged two, three and four years old on 1st September 2014 (via a nasal spray)
  • People with certain health conditions
  • People aged 65 and over
  • Frontline healthcare staff.
The World Health Organization recommends people in the vulnerable groups above should be vaccinated to prevent the virus being able to circulate at a harmful level. You can find out more on the NHS Choices website and the South Glos website.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Extra commitments on broadband

Some parts of our area are broadband "not spots", where residents struggle with connection speeds slower than 2 Mbps. The picture varies massively, sometimes even within communities. Some places have been helped in the first phase of the Government's Broadband UK project - it was recently announced that businesses at Westerleigh Business Park  should be able to order superfast Broadband from next spring. Others, such as Tytherington and Tortworth, have been prioritised for the second phase, although there are no guarantees.

It's clear that even Phase 2 of the project won't give everyone fast broadband though and that's why when we came to vote on it earlier this week, the Lib Dems made some additional proposals, which Westerleigh ward councillor Claire Young was pleased to second. These included looking into the possibility for DIY/community broadband schemes, with the use of grants or vouchers.

Our colleague, Sue Hope, drafted the proposals. She said afterwards, “We have secured promises from the Council to work with BT to improve communication with residents and to investigate alternatives schemes and technology so that rural areas are not entirely dependent on BT’s plans. We have also asked the Council to lobby government to ensure that future public contracts of this kind are more transparent, so that residents know what is happening with their services."

There is understandable frustration that, while some in South Gloucestershire are now enjoying access to superfast broadband, many rural residents are stuck in the slow-lane. We're pleased we were able to get these extra commitments from the Council but there is still a long way to go. To back our 'mind the gaps' campaign for improved broadband coverage, sign up on the website:


Friday, 3 October 2014

World Mental Health Day event

South Glos Council is holding an informal event in Bradley Stoke to mark World Mental Health Day on Friday 10 October. The event, to be held at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre between 10.30am and 2pm, will provide practical advice and information about mental health and give visitors the chanceto try out various sporting activities that help lift the mood, including table tennis, badminton, swimming and exercise classes. The physical activity sessions will be followed by talks about mental health and associated issues from a range of experts including Anthony Lacny and Maria-Paloma Sequeiros from the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (AWP).

Throughout the event there will also be a marketplace of stalls and information available so you can find out what’s happening locally and where you can go for help and support. There will also be a performance from the South Gloucestershire Carers Choir who will be performing uplifting songs. Children are welcome and there will be activities to keep them entertained taking place throughout the day. For more information or to book please call 01454 868274, 01454 865473 or email cchengagement@southglos.gov.uk