Monday, 30 June 2014

New Wapley allotments officially open

On Saturday the new Dodington Parish Council allotments at Wapley were officially opened by the council's Vice-Chair John Davis.

He was joined by Wendy Mayo, Clerk to the Parish Council, who did a huge amount of work to get the project up and running. There was also a representative from Merlin, who provided grants towards parts of the project, and of course there were allotment holders of all ages.

Claire Young was there as the local ward councillor. The land used to be part of the South Glos Council-owned Wychwell Farm. When the council decided to sell it off, as it was too small to be viable, Claire had a meeting with an officer and suggested the Parish Council might be interested in purchasing some of it for allotments. That was the easy part! It was then over to Dodington Parish Council to do all the hard work involved in a project of this kind.

The allotment holders are doing a fantastic job, looking at the thriving plots it was hard to believe they only started at Easter. As one of them commented, it really is bringing together people of all ages, from tiny tots to pensioners.

Church Road bridge replacement latest

South Glos Council’s Highway Engineers are aiming to close the bridge starting on Sunday 20 July until Monday 1 September to enable the existing bridge to be demolished and replaced by a new hi-tech composite bridge deck over the peak holiday period.

Lessons were learnt from the closure at Easter and as a consequence the following key changes are being made:
  • No other avoidable road works will take place at the same time on the diversion route;
  • Large interactive display boards will be keep residents and drivers updated;
  • Improved signage of the diversion will be put in place;
  • Arrangements for bus service changes will be put in place in good time;
  • The South Glos website will be kept up to date.
The new bridge will be re-opened under 3 way traffic light control to enable the parapets to be rebuilt re-using the original local stones which have been safely stored, the services (water, phone lines, broadband etc) to be relocated from their diversion via the temporary footbridge to under the new bridge deck and the pavements and road surface to be relaid. The plan is to reopen the road fully by the end of November.

You can read the council's press release here.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Frampton Cotterell Youth Club Closure - key documents

Following widespread consultation across Frampton Cotterell Parish in 1998, the Parish Council decided to build the Brockeridge Centre as its Millennium Project. The results of the consultation showed that the top priorities of local residents for the centre were to provide:
  1. Somewhere for young people to meet, hopefully to cut the level of antisocial behaviour then experienced across our community
  2. A community café for use by groups who book the centre
  3. An IT Suite where local residents could learn about computers
  4. A public base for the Parish Clerk and Council.
Cllr Dave Hockey was the first Youth Leader at the club for the 9 months after the centre was opened on 5 May, 2000 - he was supported by local volunteers. Since then 6 other Youth Leaders, plus a Deputy have been appointed by the successive Parish Councils to run the club. When a Youth Leader handed in their notice, the Parish Council advertised and appointed another in time for a smooth handover.

Frampton Cotterell Parish Council took a decision on 28 May, 2014 to close their youth club pending the results of a review. They did not consult residents first.

This post aims to gather together the key documents provided to the Parish Council to inform their decision on 28 May. This will allow any interested resident to gain a better understanding of the way in which the decision was made.

The documents provided are:
  1. Agenda for Parish Council Meeting on 28 May, 2014
  2. Agenda Item 5 - Parishioner Observations 
  3. Agenda Item 12 – Notes of the Youth Services Working Group 8 May 2014 plus: 
    •  Appendix 1 – Chart provided by Cllr Michaela Crumpton showing attendance figures that she had obtained for local groups which cater for young people. 
    • Appendix 2 – Comments from young people who attended the Brockeridge Youth Club when they realised it could be closed. 
    • Appendix 3 – Final Report on the Youth Club by Faye Jackson, Brockeridge Youth Club Leader. 
    • Appendix 4 – Faye Jackson’s week-by-week summary of Youth Club attendance and events between April 2013 and May 2014. Note that the actual weekly attendance is 25.
  4. Minutes of Parish Council Meeting of 28 May, 2014. Note that Item 1295, Parishioners Observations, and Item 1294 both relate to the 4 recommendations included in the Notes of the Youth Services Working Group (ref Item 3 above).
If you wish to comment on the Parish Council decision or the way in which it was made, please contact Dave Hockey.

Friday, 27 June 2014

Charfield ward - Have your say at Area Forum

For those living in Charfield ward, the next Severn Vale Area Forum is at 7pm on Wednesday 2nd July in Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury. This is your chance to go along and influence local decision making.

As well as the usual open session where you can put your questions on local issues to councillors and officers, there will be a presentation about the current consultation on community composting sites, applications for community grants and Positive Activities funding for your people, updates on the New Homes Bonus scheme and progress reports on local transport schemes.

Work to start on radio masts

Claire at the site in 2007
 Back in 2007, planning permission was granted for the construction of a new radio transmitter station at Tubb's Bottom, off Frampton End Road. This was to replace the one at Emerson's Green, which is on land that was due to be developed. The permission was renewed in 2011 and with work on the new Emerson's Green development now underway, construction of the new radio station will start soon.

The original planning permission was obtained by National Grid Wireless, which has since been acquired by Arqiva. The company says the first stage will be to carry out some preliminary works, probably starting in August. Your Focus Team has asked for a pre-works meeting with the company and the surrounding Parish Councils.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Henfield Paddock will NOT go to committee on 3rd July

The Henfield Paddock application will not be appearing before the next planning committee meeting on 3rd July. It will be deferred until 31st July as further work is needed on some of the issues raised at the site meeting.

Chance to raise issues at Safer Stronger Community Group next week

The next Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton Safer Stronger Community Group meeting will be on Wednesday 2nd July 2014 at 7.30pm in the Brockeridge Centre (Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2LQ).

There will be updates from Avon Fire and Rescue and the Police, information about the Good Neighbours Scheme and Precious Time Project and the usual opportunity to discuss issues and set priorities for action.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Bus fares and reliability

Following a consultation, First Bus have announced new fares for our area. The main changes are:
  • The cost of single tickets will be based on the distance you travel within your chosen area.
  • There will be no return tickets but First Day tickets will still be available and are probably the best option for multiple journeys.
  • Up to 2 children under five travel free with each fare-paying adult or young person.
  • There will be a 50% discount for children aged 5-15.
  • There will be a 30% discount for 16-21 year olds and students.
You can find out more on what's changing and the fares in our area online.

Cheaper fares make bus travel more attractive, but what's your experience of the reliability? We're hearing stories of delays on some services. If you regularly experience problems, please send us details. 

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

"Living Well with Dementia" roadshow

There will be another ‘Living Well with Dementia’ roadshow, this time at BAWA in Filton on Thursday 26th June.

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 6pm to 8.30pm however places must be booked in advance. You can do this online at or you can call 01454 862356. For more information and details of future roadshows visit

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Church Road bridge parapets taken down

This photo taken last Thursday 12 June shows the demolition in progress of one of the parapets on Church Road bridge. Both parapets have now been taken down.

Local residents were alarmed that the hi-tech, composite replacement bridge deck to be installed over the peak holiday period in late July / August may be fitted with modern, gleaming metal parapets.

Cllrs Pat and Dave Hockey were however involved with a team of local residents in the preparation, consultation and adoption of the Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath Village Design Statement. This important planning document fully recognises the importance to local residents of retaining and reusing the attractive local stone whenever possible. Pat and Dave therefore made sure that the contract for the bridgeworks covered the requirement to reuse the existing stones. So the stone from the bridge is being cleaned, bagged and safely stored so it can be used to rebuild the parapets as they were after the new bridge deck has been installed.

After the new bridge deck has been installed, the road will be reopened with the 3 way traffic light kept in place until the parapets have been rebuilt and the services which have been diverted via the temporary footbridge are rerouted back under the new bridge. All works are due to be completed by the end of this November.

One day closure for Nibley Road

Nibley Lane between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road is expected to close on Friday 20th June for drainage works to be carried out.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Have your say on draft Climate Adaptation Plan

Last year South Glos Council adopted the first part of its Climate Change Strategy, the Low Carbon Plan. That sets out how the council is working with others to reduce dangerous emissions.

Now it's time to have your say on the second part of the strategy, the Climate Adaptation Plan. This Plan aims to provide a guide for managing the impacts of climate change. The key questions are:
  • Does the Plan highlight all of the key issues and risks? 
  • Are there any other relevant activities in progress or planned that should be included in the Plan? 
  • Are there any other actions you think need to be considered? 
For further information and to view the draft Climate Adaptation Plan please visit The consultation runs until 31 July.

An open consultation on the Climate Adaptation Plan will also be held at the South Gloucestershire Environment Forum meeting on Wednesday 9 July between 7pm and 9pm at the Park Centre, High Street, Kingswood, BS15 4AR. Places are limited, so please email to book a space if you would like to attend.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Have your say on the future of our Parishes

South Glos Council is asking for your views on the future of our Parishes.

Earlier this year South Glos adopted its Core Strategy, a planning blueprint for the area until 2027. Now the council is preparing another document, the Policies, Sites and Places DPD. This adds more detail to the policies in the Core Strategy and also includes a section for each Parish setting out local needs and aspirations.

For example:
  • Westerleigh Parish  has said it wants no more development in Coalpit Heath, but it does want a small amount in Westerleigh village, to help its vitality and support facilities like the shop.
  • All the parishes have identified pieces of land they would like designated a "Local Green Space". Both Westerleigh and Frampton Cotterell Parishes have put forward Woodlands Farm for this protection, as well as a number of other sites.
  • Westerleigh, Frampton Cotterell and Winterbourne Parishes have proposed having separate settlement boundaries for Coalpit Heath, Frampton Cotterell and Winterbourne.
You can find the draft plan and information on it at - at the moment, the draft plan still needs updating with the amendments listed in a separate document, so you need to look at both. The amendments will be incorporated into the Draft Plan and that will be published again on 26th June. Take a look at the section for your Parish - do you agree with what's proposed?

To designate land as a "Local Green Space" the Government requires it to be considered very special to local people – so we need evidence to show this.

One of the sections covers Gypsy and Traveller policies. Officers have proposed that the need for pitches in the next 5 years is delivered through intensification of existing sites (putting more homes on them without extending the boundaries) including Henfield Paddock, Elm Farm and Hill View in Westerleigh Parish. They have also suggested that all the safeguarded sites that currently have personal or temporary permissions are designated permanent gypsy sites, which involves taking them out of the Green Belt.

There is also a proposed extension to Wickwar Quarry and a section on the Oldbury Nuclear Site, which could include infrastructure changes at Junction 14 of M5 with a proposed reconfiguration of the junction and park and share facility.

There will be drop-in sessions where you can find out more on all these issues and have your say:
  • Iron Acton - 5pm-7pm, Thursday 3rd July in the Village Hall
  • Westerleigh Parish - 5pm-7pm, Monday 7th July in Westerleigh Village Hall
  • Frampton Cotterell - 5.30pm-7pm, Wednesday 9th July in the Brockeridge Centre
  • Charfield - 3pm-8pm, 16th July at Charfield Memorial Hall
  • Cromhall - 4pm-8pm, 17th July at Cromhall Village Hall
Protecting our rural environment is a priority for your Focus Team. To help us to fight on your behalf please:
  • let us know your views, so we can speak for the community
  • make your own comments directly to South Glos, to add weight to what we are saying.
 You can find our contacts here.

Good news for users of the 967 bus service

There was good news on Wednesday for users of the under-threat 967 school bus service.

After hearing from local parent Eva Hailstone and Westerleigh councillor Claire Young (both pictured left), the council’s Planning, Transport and Strategic Environment Committee voted unanimously to back a motion proposed by Pat Hockey to keep the 967 service along with several other threatened local bus routes.

The vote came after a campaign by local residents and Lib Dem councillors to save the 967 service, which serves pupils at Chipping Sodbury Secondary School and Brimsham Green School travelling from Westerleigh and other areas.
Claire said, "This is excellent news for all those local residents who fought to save this service. The 967 route covers a stretch of road without any footpath. Many parents are not in a position to drive their children to school and there was considerable concern that cutting this service would have left some children in Westerleigh without a safe route to school."

"Encouraging the use of public transport from an early age is vital if we want to see fewer cars on the road in the future. There will be a lot of relief locally that the service has been saved."

Henfield Paddock site visit details

The site visit for the Henfield Paddock application will take place on Friday 20th June, with the committee members being expected to arrive at the site at approximately 10.55am. You can view the agenda and the officer's report online.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Your views on lighting on Bristol-Bath Railway Path

South Glos is consulting on proposals to install lighting on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path in South Gloucestershire.

The path is well used by walkers and cyclists from our area, both to commute to work and for leisure. The lighting will be installed from Siston Hill roundabout to Mangotsfield Station, Mangotsfield Station to Station Road and from Station Road to the Bristol boundary. The aim of this scheme is to improve visibility, encourage greater use of the path by cyclists and walkers, and to provide a greater sense of personal security for all users.

The council proposes using energy efficient LED lights positioned on 6 metre high columns that minimise any light spillage towards nearby land and properties. These lights would be switched off between 1am and 5am in accordance with the council’s part night lighting policy. They are not proposing to make any changes to the current lighting arrangements in the Staple Hill tunnel.

These proposals are estimated to cost £125,000 and will be funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) and the council’s capital programme. If it is agreed that the proposals should go ahead, works are likely to start later this summer.

A copy of the plans are available to view or download online at: . The consultation runs until 30 June 2014.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Have your say on the future of youth club

The controversial closure of the Brockeridge Youth Club by Frampton Cotterell Parish Council has hit the front page of the Gazette.

The youth club has a successful track record of providing for young people who have rejected the alternative organisations in the village, many of whom need the support, guidance and understanding of a professional youth worker. The Parish Council provided the club in the first place to tackle the anti-social behaviour associated with young people hanging around with nowhere to go.

Figures provided by the Parish Clerk show the average weekly attendance over the last 14 months is 25.  At the meeting, volunteer youth worker Chris Harris, manager of the Nisa Martin Harris, Jen Dunford from Village Action and local beat manager PC Finbar Simmons all spoke in support of the youth club.

Cllr Pat Hockey said, “We should always evaluate what we do but not close down what we have got and what is working well until we have consulted on it and found, without a shadow of a doubt, what is proposed is better than what we have.” She successfully proposed an amendment to the closure vote requiring a consultation to take place over the next few weeks. If you believe the Brockeridge Centre should re-open in September with the available money, it’s vital you write in to the Clerk to Frampton Cotterell Parish Council to have your say. Let Pat and Dave Hockey know your views too.

Cllr Dave Hockey, who has previously worked at the youth club and wanted to see it saved, said: “I am disgusted by the way this has been handled and I will make sure the whole village knows it. The club has helped many young people facing troubling circumstances.”

Views wanted on Chipping Sodbury highways plans

South Glos Council is consulting on proposals for a new traffic management scheme in Chipping Sodbury. The plans include introducing a new 20mph speed limit around the centre of Chipping Sodbury and enhancing the existing pedestrian crossing facilities at the junction of High Street and Wickwar Road, High Street and Broad Street. There would also be a new traffic calming feature on Hounds road near St John's School and there are plans to introduce waiting restrictions around Chipping Sodbury and Station Road.

For further information please visit  -  the deadline for comments is Friday 27th June.

A public exhibition will also be held upstairs in the Town Hall in Chipping Sodbury on Monday 9 June between 2pm and 8pm. You will be able to talk directly to the scheme’s designers and provide feedback.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Have your say on pharmacy services

South Gloucestershire Council, on behalf of South Gloucestershire’s Health and Wellbeing Board (HWB), wants to hear what you think of the current pharmacy services in our area. These include local pharmacy or chemist shops, pharmacy services in supermarkets, GP practices that dispense medicines for their patients and online pharmacies.

The results will help develop the Pharmacy Needs Assessment (PNA), which will look at the need for pharmacy services in South Gloucestershire, the level and accessibility of pharmacy services and how these will be maintained and developed in the future.

You can find further information and respond on the South Glos consultation site. The consultation runs until 5 July 2014.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Howard Gawler elected Chair of Council

Ladden Brook Councillor Howard Gawler has been elected chair of Council for 2014/15, having served as Vice-Chair for the last year.

The Chair and Vice-Chair of the council are elected each year at the council’s annual meeting and represent the council at civic functions, as well as chairing full meetings of Council.

Cllr Gawler said: “I am very much looking forward to the year ahead. I will be supporting two South Gloucestershire-based charities during my year in office; the Great Western Air Ambulance which provides such a lifeline to people in need and the Hosanna Primary School Support Group. The group is based in Yate, in association with Brimsham Green School, and helps primary school children at Hosanna Primary in Kampala, Uganda.”

Another phone mast upgrade planned

Vodafone are planning to upgrade the phone mast on Park Lane, at the junction with Clyde Road. As with the Badminton Road upgrade we reported last week, this is not a full planning application. The council cannot stop them installing the new mast but can comment on its position and design. Pat Hockey has talked to the immediate neighbours about the plans. You can comment on the South Glos website by going to the Simple Search page and searching for PT14/1851/PN1. The deadline for comments is Monday 9th June.