Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Checks stepped up at Sort It! recycling centres

Every tonne of waste tipped at Sort It! Centres by people who don't live here or commercial traders costs the council £100 to process. That's something the council can't afford with the increasing pressure on finances. Unauthorised use can also create delays for genuine residents using the site.

To try to stop unauthorised use, SITA are stepping up residency checks at the site. From 1st October, you may be asked for proof of residency - one or more official documents that together prove who you are (photographic ID) and that you live in South Gloucestershire.  Suitable documents include driver's license, utility bill, Council Tax bill and passport.

Badminton Road resurfacing

Major resurfacing work will take place on Badminton Road, Yate from 13th to 16th October. This will involve planing off the existing surface of the carriageway and laying a new surface. The work will start at approximately 8pm at night and continue until approximately 6am the following morning and will mean the road will have to be closed and traffic diverted. If you visit the Filton area at night, you might also be interested to know that similar resurfacing work will be taking place on the Filton roundabout on the A38 from 20th to 28th October.

Update: Works now postponed to spring.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Well done to South West in Bloom winners

The South West In Bloom awards included some fantastic results for locations in Westerleigh ward.

The Dodington Allotments Association (pictured left, who put in the hard work on the new allotment site this year) gained Level 5 Outstanding in the Neighbourhoods on the Pennant Route category.

Wapley Common & the Orchard for the Future (pictured below) also got a Level 5 Outstanding. Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve got a Level 3 Developing in the Neighbourhoods Awards.

Last night the certificates for these and all the other winners in the Yate and Dodington area were presented at a volunteers' evening at Poole Court. Congratulations to all concerned!

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Apply online for school places

If you have a child due to start in reception, move to secondary school or move to a school that has its first admission in year 10 (for example, the Bristol Technology and Engineering Academy), you can apply online now. The closing date is 31st October for secondary school applications and 15th January for primary school applications.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

More consultations on savings proposals

Regular readers will have noticed that every week there are new proposals coming out for ways to save money from South Glos Council's budget. By April next year, the council will have saved £43m from its annual budget – with around another £36m to be cut by 2020.

We have to make these savings because the council tax we pay only covers part of the coucil's costs. Most of the rest comes from central government grants, which are being reduced as part of tackling the deficit.

Some of the latest consultations include:
You can find all current South Glos Council consultations online

All the political parties on the council agreed the savings targets when we set the budget in February. Wherever possible we want to make the savings by making things more efficient – better use of IT for example or cutting senior managers – but that alone is not enough. We have to make difficult decisions and the Lib Dem Focus Team wants to make sure this is done as fairly as possible. We want to protect the most vulnerable, work with you to find new ways of doing things and we want to know what you think are the most important services to save.

There will also be the usual budget consultation later in the autumn – keep an eye on this blog for more information.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Paul's Place - AGM and Harvest Festival

Coalpit Heath charity Paul’s Place is holding its AGM and Harvest Festival Celebrations on Wednesday 15th October at 7.30pm in Coalpit Heath Cricket Club. There will be fruit, vegetables, flowers, pickles, cakes and more to buy. All donations of fresh produce gratefully received - call 01454 777236.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Safer Stronger Community Group on Wednesday

If you live in Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath or Iron Acton, why not come along to the next Safer Stronger Community Group meeting on Wednesday 24th September 2014 at 7.30pm in St Saviours Church Hall, Coalpit Heath (BS36 2RP)? There will be updates from Avon Fire and Rescue and the police and a chance to raise issues in your community.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Ancient and Modern in Harmony

The plans for the demolition and replacement of Church Road bridge were first discussed about 3 years ago soon after the weight limit had been reduced due to the corrosion of the steel reinforcements under the bridge deck.

Cllrs Pat and Dave Hockey insisted right from the start that when the parapets were taken down the stones must be stored and reused to rebuild them.

The Frampton Cotterell councillors said, "We know how strongly local residents feel about loss of local pennant stone walls and the need to retain them. When we consulted widely across Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath to enable the Village Design Statement to be put together, it was clear that residents treasure the local cottages, houses, schools, hat factories and boundary walls that are built using local stone."

"We are delighted that the new, high tech composite bridge deck will be enclosed between parapets rebuilt with the original local stone. When work on the bridge is completed later this year it will look the same as it did before the bridge was demolished. This is especially important as the bridge is close to the Grade 2* listed Saint Peters Church.”

The photo shows Lee Hodge from Streetcare working on the reconstruction of one of the stone parapets on Church Road bridge.

Have your say on pharmacies

The local Health and Wellbeing Board is consulting on pharmaceutical service needs in our area.

Anyone who uses local pharmaceutical services is encouraged to comment on a draft Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA) by completing an online survey. The Board would like to hear what you think services including local pharmacy or chemist shops, pharmacy services in supermarkets, GP practices that dispense medicines for their patients and online pharmacies. Local pharmacies also provide healthcare help and advice and are often the first point of contact when people are concerned about their health.

Your views will help the Board to develop a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment (PNA), which will look at the need for pharmacy services in the area, the level and accessibility of pharmacy services and how these will be maintained and developed in the future. The consultation is available online and is open until 14 November.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Discover Festival - plenty more to enjoy

Photo provided by Rich McD Photography
Last week Howard Gawler, Chair of Council, and Claire Young attended the launch of this year's Discover Festival at Winterbourne Barn. They joined volunteers from the barn, a belly dancer and a small but very lively furry animal!

The festival runs until the end of October so there is still plenty of time to enjoy the events, which take place all over South Gloucestershire and cover everything from sampling local food to exploring our heritage. For more information see the Discover Festival 2014 webpage.

Foster carers needed

South Glos Council has launched an appeal to encourage people to consider fostering one or more of the 170 children in their care and urge people not to rule themselves out.

They stress that foster carers come from a very wide range of ages and backgrounds and get training and support to help them. Carers can be:
  • single, married, widowed, divorced or living as a couple
  • straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual
  • with or without children 
  • of any religious faith or none at all
  • any cultural background
  • homeowners or renting
  • employed, retired or on benefits
  • with or without professional childcare experience
  • with or without qualifications 
If you think you might be interested, there is an open evening at the council's Badminton Road officers on Thursday 25th September where you can learn more. Call 01454 866423 for more details.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Take the Stoptober Challenge

If you are a smoker, why not take the 28-day Stoptober Challenge and quit smoking for good?

The challenge starts on Wednesday 1 October but you can sign up now. You will receive support via email and texts to help you succeed in what is well known to be a tough task. For a free appointment email smokefree@southglos.gov.uk or call 01454 865502. More details, including a link to the national site where you can sign up, are available at www.southglos.gov.uk/stoptober

Last year over 65 percent of people taking the challenge reached 28 days - making them five times more likely to quit for good.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Give your views on advice services

South Glos Council would like your views on the future shape of advice services in the area.

Currently this service is provided by a consortium of organisations from the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector. The service gives residents access to general advice with a focus on welfare benefit and debt. The advice sessions are delivered in the Priority Neighbourhoods, focusing the provision in the areas of most need.

If you have used advice services in the past or have an interest in this area please complete the brief questionnaire for residents.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Have your say on how council engages with the community

South Glos Council is reviewing the work of the Community Engagement Team, as part of the further savings it needs to make.

The review is considering a range of options which could significantly change or impact on the following areas:
  • Priority Neighbourhoods
  • Safer and Stronger Community Groups (SSCGs)
  • Town and Parish Council Forum
  • Community led planning
  • Community speedwatch
  • Information exchange
More information is available on the council's website or from local libraries and One Stop Shops.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Cineworld confirmed for new Yate Riverside cinema, opening late 2015

Cineworld have been confirmed as the main tenant for the new cinema and retail development, which will be called Yate Riverside.

The main construction work will start early next year, aiming for the cinema to be ready late in the year, ready for Christmas.

Councillor Ruth Davis, a member of the Focus Team that has been fighting for a cinema in Yate for well over 10 years, expressed her delight that things are now happening: “Many previous shopping centre owners have told me they will try to get a cinema but nothing has ever come of it. Today Yate Shopping Centre's owners Crestbridge are delivering and I know that local councillors and residents are absolutely thrilled that things are moving forward"

Steve Webb MP welcomed the news and said: “I’m delighted that the plans for the cinema complex have taken another step forward. After years of campaigning we are nearing the finishing line, and I look forward to joining other local residents in seeing films locally, hopefully by the end of next year”.

Children's book giveaway this Saturday

This Saturday, 13th September, Yate Library will be giving away 50 copies of bestselling book Diary of a Wimpy Kid to local children. The giveaway is in support of Good Morning Britain’s ‘Just Read’ campaign, to encourage parents and carers to spend ten minutes reading with their children every day.

Yate Library is one of 200 libraries across the UK taking part in the ‘Just Read’ giveaway which is supported by national charity The Reading Agency and children’s publisher Puffin. The campaign comes as leading charities, teachers, parents and businesses have come together to form  ‘Read On. Get On.’ It aims to support parents and teachers to get all 11 year olds reading well by 2025.

As well as the giveaway, children who visit the library on 13th September will be able to enjoy quizzes, puzzles, games and competitions. Children can come to the library dressed as Greg Heffley (the Wimpey Kid) or in something orange.

This event marks the end of the summer activities at Yate library. Thousands of children took part in the Summer Reading Challenge.

Latest Frome Vale Area Forum next Thursday

It's time once again to have your say at the local Area Forum meeting. The Frome Vale Area Forum is at 7pm Thursday 18th September in Chipping Sodbury Town Hall. There will be presentations by BT on broadband in the area and Network Rail on the Great Western Electrification Programme and bridge works. There will also be decisions on community grant applications and Positive Activities Subsidy grant applications. All meetings include an open session for members of the public to put questions to councillors and officers on any matter in their area.

Tour of Britain passes through

On Wednesday Stage 4 of the Tour of Britain 2014 passed through a number of South Gloucestershire villages on the way from Worcester to the finish in Bristol. Despite it being during the working day, there was a good turnout to cheer them on, including children from local schools. The picture on the left shows the leading group riding along Bristol Road, Frampton Cotterell near the farm shop.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Chair skydives for charity

Last Sunday Chairman of South Gloucestershire Council, and Ladden Brook ward councillor, Howard Gawler plunged 10,000 feet from a plane to raise money for charity.

Howard took part in 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. He has now raised almost £2,000 in total, 50 per cent of his target for the year, the majority of which is thanks to this parachute jump.

The tandem skydive saw the Chairman free-falling through the air (without the parachute deployed) for 5,000 feet at around 120 mph, before safely parachuting to the ground. Howard was harnessed to a professional parachute instructor throughout the descent and his niece Sarah Farthing (from Wick, South Gloucestershire) also took part.

Howard said: “The skydive was a fantastic experience! I must admit I did get rather nervous as the plane began circling before our jump, but as soon as we were falling through the air it was far too thrilling to feel any fear."

“The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity doesn’t receive any government or National Lottery funding, which means they rely entirely on the generosity of local people to continue operating. There is still time to pledge some money to this worthy cause, so please visit the dedicated Just Giving page to make a donation.”

New memory cafe opens Thursday 11th

If you or someone you know is affected by dementia, there is a new memory café launching at Emersons Green library this Thursday 11 September.

Come along to the new memory café and meet other people in a similar situation. This is a friendly and supportive atmosphere where people and families affected by dementia can get together and share their own experiences over a cup of tea and a slice of cake.

Staff and volunteers from the Alzheimer’s Society will be on hand to provide you with information and offer support. Although the café is run by the society with support from South Gloucestershire Council, the café is also suitable for people with other forms of dementia.

The library will be open as usual so you can also take the opportunity to borrow books or DVDs, use the computers free of charge, and find out about library services.

The café is open monthly between 2.30pm and 4.30pm on Thursday 11 September, Thursday 9 October, Thursday 13 November and Thursday 11 December.

If you’d like to find out more contact your local Alzheimer’s Society on 0117 961 0693 or email bristol@alzheimers.org.uk

Friday, 5 September 2014

Latest Severn Vale Area Forum next Wednesday

It's time once again to have your say at the local Area Forum meeting. The Severn Vale Area Forum (covering Charfield ward) is at 7pm on Wednesday 10th September in Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury. There will be a presentation by BT who will be updating residents on broadband in the area, plus decisions on community grant applications and Positive Activities Subsidy grant applications. All meetings include an open session for members of the public to put questions to councillors and officers on any matter in their area.

Still time to sign the "missing link" cycle path petition

If you missed the launch of our petition to gather support for completing the “missing link” of the cycle path from Yate and Westerleigh to Bristol and Bath, there's still time to sign it.

The path currently ends just 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.

The petition is available online at http://tinyurl.com/cyclelink. Paper copies are available from Claire by emailing claire.young@southglos.gov.uk.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Church Road opens on time

Church Road reopened to through traffic Sunday night following the bridge installation on 24th August. Well done to the team for getting it open in time for the new school term. All the bus services have reverted to their normal routes.  Temporary traffic lights will be in place while final works are carried out to redivert utility cables and complete the bridge parapets. It’s anticipated that the bridge will reopen fully in late November.

South Glos has also started reinstating the street lights on the pedestrian refuges on Badminton Road, which were removed so the bridge could be brought through. The 30 repeater signs that were attached to them won't be going back as they are no longer lawful signage.

Find out more about our mining past - and more

The upcoming South Glos Discover Festival includes several opportunities to find out more about our mining past.

On Saturday 13 Sept 2014 from 2pm to 5pm and Sunday14 Sept 2014 from 11am to 3.30 pm the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group will be holding open days at Oldwood Pits, Tanhouse Lane, Rangeworthy, BS37 7PZ. There will be guided tours of the colliery site remains, a display of local mining artefacts and refreshments. For more information please contact: Mrs J. Humphris at Oldwood Pits Telephone: 01454 228160

Also on Sunday 14th September, from 10am to 4.30pm there will be an opportunity to tour the remains of Ram Hill Colliery, including the woodland area and the remains of the Dramway engine house and horse gin.

Nearby St Saviour's Church will be holding open days from 11am to 1pm on Friday 12th September, 10am to 3pm on Saturday 13th September and 10.30am to 3pm on Sunday 14th September.

For more events, covering creative, heritage, nature, health and food topics, please go to the Discover Festival pages on the South Glos website.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Free Road Smart driving courses

The statistics around road safety are scary. 95% of all collisions are caused by human error and a third of all serious crashes involve people aged 17-24. Avon & Somerset Police are therefore keen for as many people as possible to attend a FREE 2 hour session to improve their driving awareness. The sessions are available in Keynsham, Bath, Filton, Weston-super-Mare, Taunton, Chipping Sodbury and Yeovilton and are bookable for 17-24 year olds and for those aged 25 and over. This new and potentially life-saving session is available to all drivers. To see the dates on offer and to book a place visit www.roadsmart.org And if you give them some feedback after the session, you will be entered into a prize draw for a brand new iPad!

Monday, 1 September 2014

Chipping Sodbury police station opening hours reduced

The police have announced that they are reducing the opening hours at the Chipping Sodbury enquiry office from this week. It will be will be open Monday to Friday 10am until 6pm, but will be closed for lunch between 1.30pm and 2.15pm.