Friday, 28 February 2014

Nominate your community hero

There is still time to nominate your community heroes for the Chair's Community Awards, but hurry, the deadline for nominations is Friday 21 March.

The annual awards event celebrates the hard work and dedication of volunteers in the community who display outstanding commitment in giving up their time and effort to help others. Suggestions for nominations include those who have contributed to community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy or have simply been a good neighbour. From charity fundraisers to local football club managers, sports coaches and arts festival organisers, these awards have seen South Gloucestershire Council honour the dedication and commitment of hundreds of unsung heroes across the district.

You can nominate online. The winners will be invited to a ceremony at the South Gloucestershire & Stroud College WISE campus in Filton on Sunday 18 May.

Advice on apprenticeships

The council is working with its partners to make sure small businesses have information about apprenticeships. Recently Ladden Brook councillor Howard Gawler in his role as Vice Chair of Council attended an event aimed at doing just that. The free event at the Bristol and Bath Science Park was organised by the council, the Federation of Small Business (FSB), the National Apprenticeship Service and South Gloucestershire and Stroud College. It offered business owners the chance to learn more about how to employ apprentices and how they can make a positive contribution.

For more information visit

Thursday, 27 February 2014

A bus ride in the right direction

Your local Focus Team has cautiously welcomed the new Yate-Southmead bus service.

It's good news for people living in Yate and villages like Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell as the new service will mean seven day a week access to Southmead hospital. But it will not extend to Chipping Sodbury, and some passengers will need to change at Bristol Parkway station.

Liberal Democrat transport spokesperson Cllr Pat Hockey said: “The service First has registered is a mixed bag - we’re pleased that local residents will be able to get to Southmead all days of the week, but we always wanted it to go as far as Sodbury. Patients or visitors from Sodbury will have to change in Yate, and sometimes then change again at Parkway - or go all around the houses. That is not good enough.

“This is a step in the right direction, but our campaign for good bus links between the Yate-Sodbury area and Southmead will go on.”

Local MP Steve Webb said: “I was disappointed to learn that Sodbury constituents have been left out. The new service meets a lot of what we've been campaigning for, but it's sadly short.”

Monday, 24 February 2014

Unemployed? Need help with transport to work or training?

Wheels to Work West offers three schemes to help people get transport to work or training - a Bike Loan Scheme, a Bus Ticket Scheme and a Loan to Buy Scooter Scheme. More information is available on the South Glos website.

Have your say on Flood Risk Management Strategy

If news of the flooding elsewhere this winter has left you wondering how flood risks are managed in our area, why not take part in the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy consultation?

Under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 South Gloucestershire Council has a duty to co-ordinate flood risk management within the council boundary to ensure that flood risks from surface water runoff, groundwater, smaller watercourses and ditches are identified and managed. The council has to produce a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy to set out how this will be achieved and they would like you to help them develop it by giving your thoughts and experiences. Your comments, as well as the council's own records and other data, will be used to develop a draft strategy that will then be consulted upon in the summer.

You can find out more and have your say on the council's website.

Wapley Bushes - footpath closure

The footpath on Wapley Bushes from Shire Way south westwards for 172 metres will be closed from 7th March so that a railway bridge can be demolished and replaced. Although the notice allows for up to 6 months closure it is anticipated the work will take about 3 months. A temporary footpath will be provided to the east.

Friday, 21 February 2014

Pothole problems?

South Glos Street Care promised to fix the damage around the gulley pictured left within 1 working day after Dave Hockey raised it with them on behalf of a resident.

The pothole was at least 7cm deep around the gulley. After the frequent spells of heavy rain, it filled with water and was then very difficult to see, especially after dark.

Cyclists and pedestrians were especially at risk as the exposed metal gulley plate is a real hazard.

Your Focus Team is always pleased to pass on concerns like this or you can report them directly. South Glos has recently introduced new web forms for reporting problems. You can find them on their website.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Area Forums - your chance to get involved

At the latest round of Area Forums there will be updates on the Local Transport Capital Programme, Small Grant awards, the New Homes Bonus grants scheme and funding for youth activities. As always, there will be an open session where you can put any questions to councillors and officers. Why not come along, join in the debate and have a say where local funding is spent:
  • Frome Vale (including Frampton Cotterell, Laddenbrook and Westerleigh wards) - Thursday 6 March, 7pm, Shireway Community Association, Yate. 
  • Severn Vale (including Charfield Ward) - Wednesday 5 March, 7pm, Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury

Friday, 14 February 2014

Church Road bridge repair closures

We've previously reported that highways engineers have decided that the bridge over the Frome on Church Road, Frampton Cotterell needs replacing for safety reasons. There is currently a 13-tonne weight limit in place to stop heavy vehicles being driven over it.

We can now report that the work is expected to be done in two phases. Subject to confirmation from the utility companies and the Environment Agency, the section of road including the bridge will be shut to motorised vehicles for three weeks in April, so utilities can be diverted on to a temporary bridge. This is planned to include the Easter school holidays.

South Glos Council will inform properties within 250m of the bridge directly, temporary signs will be erected by the bridge with the closure dates and large electronic signs will be set up at either end of Church Road two weeks before the closure. Drivers will be diverted via Yate and Iron Acton. Pedestrians and cyclists will still be allowed through.

Businesses on Church Road are keen to let people know that they will still be trading.

The section of road will then be shut in July and August for six weeks, again timed to coincide with school holidays.   The demolition of the bridge will inevitably create noise, with impact hammers and diamond saws being used. Work will only take place between 7.30am and 6pm to minimise the impact on residents.

When the work is completed the 13 tonne weak bridge restriction will be lifted, but the 7.5 tonne environmental weight restriction will remain in place.

Frampton Cotterell councillor Dave Hockey said, "The bridge is falling to bits. The weight limit was put on it because it is vulnerable but repair work has to be done. The safety of the bridge and that of the people crossing it is paramount."

Health and safety advice for small businesses

South Glos Council and its partners are inviting small businesses on three Yate trading estates to sign up for free health and safety training and advice as part of a national scheme to reduce workplace accidents.

The Estates Excellence scheme brings together local businesses and other organisations including councils to offer free health and safety assessments and training to eligible firms. Unlike other initiatives it is entirely voluntary, with a strong emphasis on helping small businesses to help themselves.

The Yate scheme takes place during February and March with participants offered free ‘bite-size’ training sessions on a range of health and safety topics, a free occupational health assessment and a month’s free access to the Praxis 42 health and safety e-learning facility.

The scheme is being delivered by partners including the Health & Safety Executive, South Gloucestershire Council, Indesit, Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Business, Avon Fire & Rescue and others.

South Gloucestershire Council vice-chairman Cllr Howard Gawler said: “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy in South Gloucestershire and provide jobs for many local people.

“However due to their size they can find it difficult to recover from the effects of a workplace accident.

“Productivity can drop and in some cases they may close but never re-open, with a loss of jobs for local people and knock-on effects for the whole community.

“So for small businesses in particular, good health and safety makes good business sense. This scheme will give them a helping hand towards the training and information they may need and I hope lots of our local firms will get involved.”

Friday, 7 February 2014

Council seeking views on sale of trading estate land

South Glos Council is seeking views on the possible disposal of land at Culvert Avenue on the Badminton Road Trading Estate.

It was was originally acquired by the then local council to construct a road but has been unused for many years. There has been recent interest from the adjoining owner so the council would like to hear your comments on the future of this site. A report on it will then be prepared with a recommendation as to whether, and how, it should be retained or disposed of. You can find out more on the South Glos website. The deadline for comments is 27th February.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Waiting restriction review

South Glos Council is planning to change the waiting restrictions on the roads on and around the trading estates on the edge of Yate. This includes a residents parking permit scheme outside the rank of cottages on North Road. You can find out more and comment on the South Glos website - the deadline for comments is 20th February.

National Voter Registration Day

Wednesday 5th February was the first ever National Voter Registration Day. The organisers, Bite the Ballot, are particularly encouraging young people to add their name to the electoral register. Although you must be 18 to vote, anyone aged 16 or above can register. Young people aged between 16 and 24 are currently the most under-represented age group on the electoral register.

As well as giving you a say in how you are governed, locally, nationally and at European level, being registered is important because it can help when applying for a student loan, opening a bank account, or buying a mobile phone – in fact anything to do with finance. Lenders use the electoral register to investigate potential borrowers, so once you are on the list credit reference agencies will be able to verify who you are.

Following a Lib Dem council motion, South Glos Council has been working with local schools on a special campaign to encourage young people to register for their vote. Since it started, the number of young people registered has increased. More information on how to register is available on the South Glos website.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Hilly Field path back in action

On Tuesday, just five working days after the work started to restore the path across Hilly Field, it was finished, in time for the end of the school day. Pupils from Winterbourne International Academy can now cycle down the newly relayed path without needing to plough through deep mud.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Bus fare consultation

First Bus have started a consultation on fares, which runs until 16th March. More information about the consultation can be found at and hard copy questionnaires will be available on buses, in libraries, in council one-stop-shops and in First’s own travel shops. There will also be a series of roadshows.