Saturday, 30 August 2014

News flash - Church Road to reopen Sunday night

We've been informed this afternoon that Church Road is to reopen on Sunday night.

All the civil engineering work has been completed today. The road surface is temporary until the various utility companies have re-diverted their apparatus, following which the final surface course will be laid (which will also take into account surrounding defective areas).

Temporary vehicle restraint barriers and 3-way lights shall be installed on Sunday night, at which point the road can then be re-opened, estimated to be around midnight. The vehicle messaging signs will automatically update to say "Church Road now open" at midnight.

All ready for the new school term on Monday - well done to all involved.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Dairy farm building approved

This afternoon plans to build a dairy farm building next to the wind turbine south of the B4465 at Wapley were unanimously aproved by the DC (East) planning committee.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Have your say on council solar schemes

Next week South Glos Council will be holding exhibitions on plans to install ground mounted solar PV schemes on land it owns next to the Badminton Road Council offices and between the M4 and the A4174 Ring Road at Moorend.

The schemes are much smaller than the commercial schemes in the area, approximately 2.5 acres at Badminton Road and 5 at Moorend, compared to over 100 acres at Says Court Farm for example. The aim is to supply electricity for the Badminton Road offices, reducing running costs at a time of rising energy prices and reducing carbon emissions by 700 tonnes a year. Both of the sites are only low grade agricultural land, having been used for landfill or sewage works previously.

The pre-planning consultation runs until 10th September. When the formal plans are submitted in late September there will be the usual opportunity for local residents to comment then too.

The exhibition will be in the reception area of the council offices on Badminton Road on Monday 1 September between 3pm and 7pm and on Tuesday 2 September between 3pm and 8pm.

Your Focus Team has already asked for assurance that the Badminton Road scheme won't stop the Nibley Park and Ride being built in the future.

Council Chairman to skydive for charity

Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council, and Ladden Brook Ward Councillor Howard Gawler, will plunge 10,000 feet from a plane on Sunday 7 September to raise money for charity.

Howard will be undertaking a tandem skydive to raise funds for the South Gloucestershire based Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC), one of his chosen Chair’s charities for the year. This will involve him free-falling through the air (without the parachute deployed) for 5,000 feet at around 120 mph, before safely parachuting to the ground. He will be harnessed to a professional parachute instructor at all times throughout the descent. Howard's niece Sarah Farthing, from Wick in South Gloucestershire, will also be taking part in the skydive.

Howard said: “I’m really looking forward to my debut skydive in aid of this very worthy cause, the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity. Any one of us may be thankful for the air ambulance’s life saving services at some point in our lives and I’m proud to give them my support."

“The charity doesn’t receive any government or National Lottery funding, which means they rely entirely on the generosity of local people to continue operating. I hope to raise as much money for them as possible, so please visit the dedicated Just Giving page to sponsor my jump or to make a donation.”

To make a donation please visit the Chair’s Just Giving page at You can find out more about the Great Western Air Ambulance at

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

New bridge deck successfully installed

On Sunday the new Church Road bridge deck was on site by 7am, earlier in the day than expected, and installed soon afterwards. You can go back through the photos taken by the time lapse camera at

Work continued through Sunday and Monday fixing the dowels at the bridge ends into place and setting up for the kerb installation over the bridge.

This week they will be finishing grouting the ends of the bridge in place (which is taking a little bit longer than anticipated), surfacing the bridge deck, laying kerbs and installing temporary barriers. The anticipated date when the bridge will be open for use to traffic with three way traffic signals in place is Thursday 4th September.

The street lights on the pedestrian refuges along Badminton Road were removed to allow the wide load to pass on Sunday morning. Initially officers were only planning to reinstate two of them, but after ward councillor Claire Young took up residents' concerns they agreed they would all be reinstated in the next couple of weeks.

Consultation on plans for footpath on Dodington Road

In March, the Frome Vale Area Forum awarded funding for a new length of footpath on Dodington Road, in response to safety concerns raised by local residents.

Local people now have an opportunity to comment on the proposals. You can view the plans online and email comments to - the deadline for comments is Tuesday 9th September.

The consultation period is relatively short so that the work can be done at the same time as an Abbotswood, Yate scheme.

Have your say on Council Tax Reduction Scheme

South Glos wants your views on proposed changes to the local Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

In April 2013, CTRS replaced the national council tax benefit. Depending on their income and other factors, people may be entitled to money off their council tax bill. With reduced funding, last year the council had to make some difficult decisions about how best to protect the most vulnerable. The scheme for 2014/15 placed people into 8 income bands with an 80% discount for the lowest income band and smaller discounts as you went up the bands. The Lib Dems successfully proposed giving the maximum discount to those who would have qualified for a disability premium under the old scheme.

The council is now consulting on further changes. It is proposing to reduce the number of income bands and also wants yor comments on whether young adults leaving care who are liable to pay council tax and are eligible for a reduction in their council tax should receive the maximum discount. Those would have qualified for a disability premium will still get the maximum discount. Older people who are eligible for state pension credit will continue to be assessed under a national scheme and will not be affected by the proposed changes.

The consultation runs until Monday 22 September. You can find out further information and comment online.

Friday, 22 August 2014

New bridge to arrive on Sunday

The existing Church Road bridge deck has been demolished and the abutments have been prepared ready to receive the new bridge deck which will be craned into position.

The new bridge deck is made from Fibre Reinforced Polymers (FRP) which has been selected because of its light weight and high performance. These advantages have enabled the new bridge deck to be constructed off-site in factory conditions with final assembly at the National Composites Centre at Emersons Green. This has cut the time that the road has needed to be closed for the installation.

The new bridge deck will be transported to Church Road with a police escort on Sunday 24th August 2014, between the hours of 4am and 12 noon. It will be coming via the A4174 Avon Ring Road, A432 Badminton Road and Church Road. It will be an extremely wide load, almost 9m wide, therefore in order to travel safely the roads along the route will have to be kept completely clear of all parked vehicles during that time. No waiting cones will be placed along the permitted route and any vehicles contravening these will be subject to enforcement action.

The actual lifting of the bridge is expected to happen at around 2pm.

The road will be reopened to traffic from early September, with a three-way traffic light system in place until November so the bridge's original masonary parapets can be rebuilt, utilities reinstalled and the road surfaced.

Sunday morning update: The new bridge has already arrived and been lowered into place, earlier in the day than expected. You can go back through the photos taken by the time lapse camera at

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Temporary Park Lane closure in October

Park Lane, Kendleshire is expected to be closed between A432 Badminton Road and the junction with Heather Avenue for 5 days from 6th October 2014. This is so that work can be carried out on overhead electricity cables. It could be longer if the work requires it. The alternative route will be via Heather Avenue and Beesmoor Road.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Dairy farm building application to be decided next Thursday

Plans to build a dairy farm building next to the wind turbine south of the B4465 at Wapley will go before the DC (East) planning committee next Thursday (28th August). The meeting starts at 3pm in Kingswood and the agenda and the officer's report on the dairy farm are available online. The officer’s recommendation is just that – a recommendation. It is the members of the committee who will make the decision on the day. As always, both supporters and objectors have a 5 minute slot in which to address the committee, so if there are lots of people it's worth nominating a spokesperson to speak on everyone's behalf. The local ward member, Claire Young, has a separate opportunity to speak.

X27 bus service withdrawn

Back in March we reported that starting in April First Bus would be running a commercial service, the X46, to replace the subsidised X27 that Wessex had been running.The X46 only runs as far as Bristol bus station, not to Anchor Road.

At the time Wessex said they would continue to run the X27 as a commercial service, but with reduced frequency. However they have now announced that they are withdrawing the X27 service from 31st August.

First are amending the timetable for the 46/X46, including introducing an earlier 06:25 service from Yate arriving in Bristol at 07:17. You can find more information about bus timetables on the Traveline South West website.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Check your smoke detector

Have you had a smoke detector fitted by Avon Fire and Rescue service? Unfortunately there was a faulty batch. If you test your smoke detector and find it isn't working please call the fire service on 0800 1412561 or email for advice. The fire service can't give a definite timescale for when the faulty ones were fitted, but the problems to date relate to some that were fitted more than 6 months ago.

Of course regardless of who fitted your smoke detectors, it's worth checking them regularly.

Have your say on Private Sector Housing services

The council is currently consulting on proposals which will affect the work of Private Sector Housing services as it looks to save £168,000 a year (approx. 24%) from its budget by 2015/16 as part of the council’s savings programme.

Services that could be affected include:
  • Disabled adaptations
  • Enforcement of housing standards
  • Empty homes
  • Home energy conservation
  • Home renovations
  • Licensing of houses of multiple occupation
  • Landlord accreditation 
You can find out more at and you have until 10th October to comment.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Let's close the cycle path “missing link” - please sign our petition

Cllr Paul Hulbert and bike with Cllr Claire Young
and petition forms. The existing cycle path ends abruptly
near the Kidney Hill junction on Westerleigh Road.

Liberal Democrat Focus Team councillors have launched a petition to gather support for a project to close the “missing link” on the cycle path from Yate and Westerleigh to Bristol and Bath.

At the moment there is a link from the Bristol-Bath Railway Path – the “M1” of the national cycling network – but it stops south of Westerleigh.

South Glos has been awarded some government money from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The cycle path project was part of the bid, but as ever not enough money has been awarded to do everything. The council will be deciding which projects should go ahead next March.

South Glos Cllr Claire Young said “I am regularly contacted by cyclists wanting to know when this path will be finished. We're know there's strong support for the missing link and we hope to show that with this petition”

Dodington Parish Councillor Paul Hulbert said “I’ve been campaigning for a decent cycle link to the Bristol East Fringe for many years. This path would allow local people to get to the Emerson's Green Science Park, the nearby retail and distribution centres and many more employment and education opportunities”

The petition is available online at Paper copies are available from Paul by emailing

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Don't lose your vote

By the end of this month, you should receive a letter from South Glos Council telling you if you need to take action to join the new Electoral Register.

Most people who are currently registered have been added to the new register automatically, and the letter will let you know if this applies to you. Some people have not been added to the new register automatically and these people will need to re-register. The letter will tell you if you are in this group, and what you need to do to re-register.

The letters are a result of a new registration system called Individual Electoral Registration (IER). The aim is to modernise the way people register to vote and help tackle electoral fraud. You may need to take action to join the new individual electoral register, even if you are currently registered to vote.

Under the new system:
  • everyone is responsible for registering themselves (under the old system the ‘head of household’ could register everyone who lived at their address) 
  • you can now register online 
  • you need to provide a few more details to register (your national insurance number and date of birth). This is to make the electoral register more secure. These details are checked against government records to help make sure that registrations are genuine. 
If you're not on the electoral register, you won't be able to vote in next year's elections. You could also be at risk of an £80 fine if you don't respond to requests for information from the council and you need to be registered to apply for credit, as credit reference agencies use the register to prevent fraud.

If you are a South Gloucestershire resident and you haven’t received a registration letter by the end of August then please contact the electoral services team by calling 01454 863030 or by emailing If you need to register or re-register please visit

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Have your say on how planning consultation works

South Glos Council has to produce something called a Statement of Community Involvement (SCI). This sets out how local people are involved in preparing planning documents and how they are consulted on planning applications.

The first SCI was adopted in May 2008, since when both laws and the council's internal processes have changed. The council now needs to update its SCI to reflect this and wants to hear your views.

The Draft SCI is available to view at

Printed copies of the Draft SCI 2014 are available for inspection, 8.45am - 5pm Mondays to Wednesdays and 8.45am - 4.30pm Thursdays and Fridays, at the Council’s One-Stop Shops, including the Yate one (Kennedy Way, BS37 4DQ - access via West Walk). Electronic versions of the SCI can be viewed at all South Gloucestershire libraries (

Comments can be made by email to or by letter to Strategic Planning Policy and Specialist Advice Team, South Gloucestershire Council, Environment and Community Services Department, PO Box 299, Civic Centre, Kingswood, Bristol, BS15 0DR. If possible, indicate the page number and section number to which your comments refer. Please note that the responses received, including personal details, cannot be kept confidential. If you would like to be notified when the SCI is adopted, please say.

The deadline for comments is 5pm on 13th October 2014. All the responses will be taken into consideration in preparing the final version, which will be presented to the Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee for adoption in early 2015.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Touch Card launched

First Bus has launched the first phase of its smart card programme. Instead of paper tickets, passengers will be able to use a Touch Card to store up to three FirstWeek or two FirstMonth bus tickets.

The Touch Card, which is free from First’s travel shops or by ordering online, will be available to adults using FirstWeek or FirstMonth inner or outer zone tickets in Bristol. In the coming months use will be expanded to include other passenger groups in the region. To enable users to track what tickets they have stored on their cards and track usage, Touch Card users are given access to their own account via the website:

Further developments are planned including allowing customers to top up their cards online. First is also working with the West of England Bus Operations Association and local authorities to enable passengers to use their Touch Card on all bus operators.

To order your Touch Card online go to:

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Footpath diversion at Wapley

South Glos Council is seeking views on diverting a length of public footpath LDO 3/20 at The Old Rectory, Wapley. You can find out more on the council's website. The deadline for commenting is 30th August.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Are you eligible for free childcare?

If you have a two year old and your household income is less than 16,190 then you may be entitled to up to 15 hours of free childcare a week, which will be available from September 1.

The Lib Dems in Government introduced the scheme to improve the outcomes of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The free childcare can be in a nursery or pre-school setting or with a childminder.

For more information see or call 01454 868008. You will need your National Insurance number to hand.

Major delays on ring road at Bromley Heath

Following a burst water main, there are major delays on A4174 Ring Road in Bromley Heath. The water company are on site dealing with the problem but there are expected to be substantial delays throughout the day and possibly into tomorrow, particularly for traffic approaching the ring road from Bristol and Coalpit Heath on the A432 Badminton Road.

You can keep up to date on the situation using the BBC Radio Bristol traffic news online .

Friday, 1 August 2014

Consultation failure on Church Road scheme

Your Focus team was horrified to discover that a "signing and lining" scheme including a new cycle path had been implemented on Church Road this week without any consultation with residents.

Earlier this year Dave and Pat Hockey raised concerns with officers when plans for the scheme arrived out of the blue, with the implication that it was already decided and going ahead. Dave and Pat made it clear that it would be totally inappropriate for it to go ahead without full consultation. Any plans also needed to be compatible with a traffic calming scheme for Church Road that had been investigated by another officer and was on the list for funding in the future.

However, without any warning or any assurances that the two schemes were compatible, the lining scheme went ahead this week. Pat went down on Thursday to see the problem for herself and talk to the residents affected. An officer has now apologised saying:
...our consultation framework shows that for minor signing and lining schemes of this nature, at the very least, information letters should be sent to frontagers 2 weeks before the works are carried out. Therefore I agree that the consultation that was carried out falls short of our own standards and I can only apologise for this error.

The officer goes on to explain:

The scheme involves offsetting the centreline by installing a cycle lane in order to take out the straight line that tends to encourage speeding. It also includes installation of a vehicle activated speedvisor sign and removal of the illegal 30mph roundels that had been painted onto the surface of the road. Other elements include 3 junction warning signs, 2 direction signs and installation of 2 bus stop markings.

We can assure local people that:
  • there are no plans to raise the speed limit on Church Road 
  • although the 13T structural weight limit on the bridge will be removed when its replacement is in place, the 7.5T environmental weight limit on the whole of Church Road will remain in place
  • this is a "signing and lining" scheme, not the full traffic calming scheme that is still awaiting funding - there will be a full consultation on that when it is funded

The officer has now agreed to send a letter of apology to residents and seek their retrospective views on the scheme.

Is self-build housing for you?

South Glos Council is currently carrying out a survey on self-build housing in South Gloucestershire. They want to find out how many people are interested in building their own home, and what help is needed to achieve this. The information provided will help the council to understand the demand for self-build in South Gloucestershire and inform the development of planning policy to support self-build in the area.

Self-build housing can be described as any instance where a person is involved in some way in the production of their new home rather than buying from a speculative home builder. The level of involvement can therefore vary greatly, from simple purchase of the site and appointment of a contractor, to greater project management of design and construction and undertaking all the construction work oneself. There are also examples of community self-build where a group self forms or is brought together by an organisation. Participants either work on each other’s homes until all the units are complete or subdivide land into plots and organise the construction of their home individually, sometimes collaborating to bulk buy materials etc.

Such is the possible scope of involvement in the construction process that the term ‘custom built’ housing is now also commonly used.

You can find out more and complete the survey online. The closing date for comments is Friday 15th August.