Thursday, 31 December 2015

M32 closures

The M32 will have to be closed overnight on a number of occasions to enable work to be done on the new Bus Only Junction between junctions 1 and 2. The first closures will be on the nights of Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th January, when the M32 will be closed between J1 and J2 from 9pm to 6am for the removal of overhead cables. Some traffic signs and lane closures will start to be erected on the westbound approach to junction 1 on 4th January.

Further information on the MetroBus Project can be found at

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

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.

You can find information about Christmas changes to South Gloucestershire Council services on their website.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Read about autism

Your local library has a new collection of books that you might find helpful if you are living with autism or Asperger's, or know someone who is.

The books have been recommended by people with autism and those who live or work with them, including the library service and the South Gloucestershire Autism Planning Group. They provide information and advice, support for living well, advice for relatives and carers, plus personal stories. The interactive list can be found online.

The books can be borrowed free of charge for a special extended loan period of six weeks, and if the book you want is not on the shelves when you want it, the library can get hold of it for you, also free of charge.

It's also worth noting that libraries belong to the Safe Places Scheme. This scheme provides locations for adults with a learning difficulty or vulnerable people to get help when they are out and about. For more information visit

Friday, 18 December 2015

Useful information this Christmas

Here's a round-up of links to Christmas opening times and other information you might find helpful during the holiday period.

Contacting the council
  • The South Glos customer services contact centre will be closed from Christmas Eve afternoon (from 1pm) until 8:45 am on Wednesday 30 December 2015. The offices will also be closed on 1 January 2016. Please note that the adult care contact centre will be open until 5pm on Christmas Eve. When the offices are closed calls will be diverted to a service which deals only with emergencies.
  • One Stop Shops will be closed from Christmas Eve afternoon (from 1pm) until Wednesday 30 December 2015. They will also be closed on 1 January 2016.
  • You can continue to report issues or apply for services using the council's online forms which will be dealt with after the offices reopen.
More information on council services over Christmas and the New Year period is available here.

Recycling and waste
You can find the Christmas and New Year opening times for the local libraries here.

Christmas Last Posting Dates

Saturday 19 December2nd Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Monday 21 December1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Wednesday 23 DecemberRoyal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

More information here.

Bus times
Bus timetable information is available from Travelwest.

Train times
The Network Rail website provides information on travel during the holiday period.

Health services and pharmacies
South Gloucestershire CCG provides this advice on what to do if you are injured or feel unwell. They also have details of pharmacy opening times for Christmas and New Year. They advise anyone with long term health conditions to get their medication before Christmas Eve.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

More cycle path work at Kidney Hill

After Christmas, South Glos is intending to construct a short length of cycle path from the recently constructed refuge on Westerleigh Road around the corner to the bus stop on Kidney Hill. Work is expected to start around 4th January and last for about four weeks.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Low-cost computer scheme launched in South Gloucestershire

A low-cost computer scheme is being piloted across South Gloucestershire to try to help people access the internet more easily.

People on a low income, receiving certain benefits or experiencing other disadvantages can choose from a range of starter desktop and laptop PCs at low prices. The equipment, which is available through an IT provider, is professionally refurbished, ready to use and includes a 12-month warranty. The aim of the scheme is to help people who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford a PC with a view to using it to look for work or access online training and learning.

If you know someone in this situation, you can find out more at

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Another recycling option

You may not be aware that you can recycle clean plastic bags, wrapping and film at the Sort it Centres. Of course since the introduction of the charge for carrier bags many people are reusing those, but this is one way to cut back on the amount of packaging going into your black bin.

Mill Crescent Christmas lights raising money for BUST

Lights in Mill Crescent last year
This year the Mill Crescent Christmas lights will be raising money for B.U.S.T (Breast Cancer Unit Support Trust), established in 1991 at Frenchay by patients and now based at Southmead Hospital. The funds raised by BUST and its supporters enable the clinicians to buy advanced equipment before it is available through NHS funding,with the aim of prevention, early detection and better treatment.

Monday, 14 December 2015

How to have your say on housing

Your Focus Team has been contacted by residents who have found it difficult to access the latest consultation on the Policies, Sites and Places Plan. This is your opportunity to have your say on how the council should allocate land for an additional 1,500 houses in the next 5 years.

The council would like you to use their online response form. To do this, you first need to register with the council’s consultation system on this page and log in. You can then go directly to the consultation document here. There are questions set out in the text with boxes to type your answers. You can answer some or all of them.

To read through the document from beginning to end in order, use the “Next” link with an arrow at the bottom of each page. You can go straight to a specific section by clicking on the links down the left hand side of the page. If you have comments to make but are not sure which section they apply to, you can put them in response to question 12 in Section 22.

  • How to make representations, Question 1 – Fill this in if you are commenting on a particular site or community.
  • Section 3, Question 2 – If you agree that the council should deal with its shortfall in housing over a longer period, because developers cannot feasibly build enough houses each year to do it over a shorter period, say so here.
  • Section 4, Questions 3 and 4 – These questions are about Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury.
  • Section 7, Question 5 – This is a question about how the council works with other authorities.
  • Section 13, Question 6 – This is about the size of sites the council will consider. South Glos is arguing that the developers will not be able to deliver lots of homes on any one site in the next 5 years and so they will only consider sites up to 150 homes. This is your opportunity to say whether you agree or think the sites should be smaller.
  • Section 16, Question 7 – The council is suggesting that sites should be considered in the following order: 1) Sites that are in the existing built up areas 2) Sites on the edge of Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury outside the Green Belt 3) Sites on the edge of sustainable villages within the rural areas outside the Green Belt 4) Sites on the edge of the main urban area in the Green Belt 5) Sites on the edge of Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Thornbury 6) Sites adjoining on the edge of sustainable villages within the rural areas in the Green Belt.
  • Section 17, Questions 8 – Fill this in if you think any other village should be assessed to see whether it is a sustainable place to build.
  • Section 17, Question 9 – This asks if you agree with the range of facilities and services the council is looking at when assessing whether a community is a sustainable place to build new homes.
  • Section 18, Question 10 – The council has gone on to use the assessment in the previous section to rank the towns and villages by their access to different facilities. Question 10 allows you to agree or disagree with this.
  • Section 19, Question 11 – This looks at step 2 of the process, where the impact a new development would have on the character of a town or village is considered. If you want to comment on this, respond to Question 11.
  • Section 22, Question 12 – Your chance to make any comments you have that don’t fit into the other boxes.

If you have any queries, you can contact the Strategic Planning Policy Team at or on 01454863469.

Apply now for Big Spring Clean

The South Gloucestershire BIG Spring Clean 2016 runs from 1 March – 30 April 2016.  This is a chance for community groups, Parish Councils and residents to help clean up their neighbourhood and open spaces.

You don't have to in a formal group - you could get together with friends, family or neighbours. Or you might be part of a group that is already taking part in voluntary clean-ups during the year but want to take the opportunity of the BIG Spring Clean to play a part in a bigger campaign.

Free gloves, refuse sacks, litter pickers and hoops are on offer to groups who organise a ‘community’ BIG Spring Clean event, on a first-come-first-served basis. South Glos Council can arrange to collect the bags of litter you pick up. Unfortunately, they are unable to supply skips for the disposal of rubbish.

If your group is organising an event, please register by completing the BIG Spring Clean 2016 Booking Form available from this page and returning it to South Glos Council by 19 February 2016. 

Friday, 11 December 2015

Survey - TV interference caused by phone masts

Since the summer, people have been contacting the Focus Team about problems with their Freeview TV signal following the installation of new 4G phone masts in the place of old 3G ones.

There is a service, at800, that was set up to help with these problems. However, they won't help if you have access to an alternative service on one TV - such as Sky or Virgin Media - even if you have other TVs in the house that can only use Freeview. We've also heard of a number of cases where the filters they've supplied have not been enough to fix the problem and people have ended up having to take time off work to wait in for engineers to visit.

We're trying to gather evidence of the extent of the problem and have created a short survey. If you've been affected, please fill it in here.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Free Christmas events at libraries

In the coming weeks, there will be a range of festive activities at local libraries. They include:

Saturday 12 December
Festive family rhymetime
Thornbury Library, 11am to 11.30am
Seasonal songs and rhymes for all the family.

Festive family singalong
Yate Library, 11.30am to 12pm
Seasonal songs for everyone to join in and enjoy.

Monday 14 December
Christmas storytime
Thornbury Library, 2.15pm to 2.45pm
Festive fun for pre-school children.

Tuesday 15 December
Christmas storytime
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 2.30pm
Festive fun for pre-school children.

Christmas rhymetime
Winterbourne Library, 9.30am to 10am
Festive songs and rhymes for pre-school children.

Wednesday 16 December
Christmas storytime
Chipping Sodbury Library, 2pm to 2.30pm
Festive fun for pre-school children.

Christmas storytime
Winterbourne Library, 9.30am to 10am
Festive fun for pre-school children.

Thursday 17 December
Stories and songs around the tree
Yate Library, 5.30 to 6.30pm
Christmas fun for 3 to 8-year-olds.

Friday 18 December
Festive fun at rhymetime
Thornbury Library, 11am to 11.30am
Rhymetime for pre-school children.

Festive stay ‘n’ play
Winterbourne Library, 2.15pm to 2.45pm
Christmas fun for pre-school children.

Monday 21 December
Festive family fun
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12pm
Drop in for stories, songs and craft fun for the whole family.

Tuesday 22 December
Festive rhymetime
Winterbourne Library, 9.30am to 10am
Christmas songs and rhymes for pre-school children.

Just chillin’
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Winter crafts drop in for 4 to 9-year-olds.

Festive cheer for all the family
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm
Carol singing and music, free Christmas crafts and stories for children. All ages welcome.

Wednesday 23 December
Stories around the Christmas tree
Winterbourne Library, 10am to 11am
Festive fun for the whole family.

You can find the Christmas and New Year opening times for all the libraries here.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Over 50s provision in Yate

If you are over 50 you are invited for a free cup of tea or coffee in the Pop Inn Cafe, Yate in exchange for completing a survey. You don't have to live in Yate itself to answer it, just be a user of the services there. All surveys completed before Wednesday 23rd December will be entered into a prize draw. The winner will be advised and all results will be posted online.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Have your say on cycling strategy

This week South Glos Council launched a consultation on its draft Cycling Strategy.

The council’s vision for cycling is that South Gloucestershire will become a place where people of all ages and abilities will feel happy to cycle, from ages 8-80. The strategy aims to deliver that vision. You can view it and have your say on the South Glos website until 15th January 2016.

If you would like someone to talk to your group or organisation about these proposals, please email or telephone 01454 868195.

Energy efficiency advice available

Are you planning energy efficiency improvements in your home, business premises or a community building? If so, visit the new Link to Energy website. Run by Severn Wye Energy Agency and supported by South Gloucestershire Council, it aims to help connect local installers with home owners, businesses and community groups.

If you have questions about what technologies might be suitable for your home, want to find out more about the Renewable Heat Incentive, or just would like some free impartial advice before you send an enquiry to a Link to Energy installer member, please get in touch with the Severn Wye Energy Agency by phone 0800 500 3076 or email

Friday, 27 November 2015

Youth provision latest

The working group comprised of representatives from Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh and Winterbourne Parish Councils agreed the spec for the contract to run the Youth Club at their last meeting. Frampton Cotterell Parish Council, who will hold the contract with the provider, has since approved the working group's proposal. Three organisations that provide youth services in and around South Glos are being invited to tender by 10 December.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

North Road to close for cleaning

North Road is expected to be closed for cleaning between its junction with Armstrong Way and the bridge over the River Frome from 6am to 9am on 4th December.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Have your say on approach to identifying extra land for housing

As we previously reported, South Gloucestershire Council has to identify more land for housing - around an extra 1,500 homes over the next 5 years. The council has now started a consultation on the process it proposes to follow to do this.

You can find the consultation document, supporting documents and response forms at:

You have until close of business on Friday 8th January 2016 to make your comments.

You can also find out more and have your say on the proposed process at a public drop-in event between 4pm and 8pm on Monday 14th December at Kingswood Civic Centre.

What about the Local Green Spaces?

Because a number of sites proposed for Local Green Space (LGS) designation have also been proposed as potential housing sites, work on identifying additional housing allocations and on designating LGS needs to be considered together. An update is available at

What happens next?

After the consultation has finished, officers will consider all the responses and prepare a revised draft PSP Plan for the council to consider. If the council decides to submit this revised draft, there will then be a formal public consultation, planned for summer 2016.

What about the comments I made in the summer?

If you commented during the summer on the Proposed Submission version of the PSP Plan (dated March 2015), your representations will be made available with all the others online at and will still be taken into consideration. At the formal consultation stage the council will write to all respondents asking for confirmation that they still wish their comments to be considered by the Inspector, so you won't need to re-submit them.

Have you say at Severn Vale Area Forum

The next Severn Vale Area Forum is on Wednesday 2nd December at 7pm at Turnberries Community Centre, Bath Road, Thornbury.

The agenda includes the council's annual budget consultation, a presentation on the draft waste strategy, community grant allocations, highways maintenance priorities and a progress update on local highways schemes.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Have your say on council budget

You can have your say on the council's budget online. Officers will also be answering questions at the upcoming Area Forum meetings.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

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 30th November 2015.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Have your say at Frome Vale Area Forum

The next Frome Vale Area Forum is at 7pm on Thursday 26 November in Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church, High Street, Chipping Sodbury.

The agenda includes the council's annual budget consultation, a presentation on the draft waste strategy, community grant allocations, highways maintenance priorities and a progress update on local highways schemes.

Network Rail will also be attending to provide an update on electrification works in the area.

Growing support for cycle path petition

The Focus Team is continuing to campaign for the completion of the Yate Spur cycle path. Earlier in the autumn Claire Young met officers to discuss their latest plans for the scheme. At last week's meeting of the South Glos committee responsible for transport, she handed in another batch of signatures that have been added to our petition.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Join the fight against flu

The council has been reminding people that free flu vaccinations are available to all vulnerable groups including people aged 65 or over, pregnant women, those with long-term conditions and children aged two, three and four years old. People living in long-stay residential homes and children of school years 1 and 2 are also eligible. The vaccination has to be done annually to be effective.

This year community pharmacies are also offering free flu jabs for vulnerable groups, as well as GPs.

For more information visit the NHS Choices website or

Friday, 13 November 2015

More new housing

South Glos Council has been warned that until it identifies extra land for new housing, developers are likely to get planning permission to build on land currently intended to be protected. This could mean loss of some Green Belt and Woodlands Farm.

In November and December, the council will be asking for your views on how to identify these extra sites. We’ll provide a link to this consultation on this blog when it's available. The sites will be included in a revised version of the Draft Policies, Sites and Places Document for further consultation next spring/summer.

Confusingly, there is also another major planning consultation already underway - on a Spatial Plan and Joint Trasnport Strategy for the West of England (Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and South Glos). It will say where the 85,000 homes currently predicted to be needed in the region between now and 2036 should go. That’s an extra 29,000 homes over those already planned by the four councils.

At this stage they are asking how the homes should be provided - Urban Intensification, Urban Extension, Town Expansion (for example Yate), New Settlement, Other Settlement Locations (Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath are named as examples) or Dispersed (adding a small amount to all our villages). You can find out more and have your say at before January 29th 2016. Planners will use the answers to help draw up the Draft Joint Spatial Plan for consultation next summer.

We know many are in desperate need of a home, especially young people struggling to get on the housing ladder. How best can new homes be delivered, while making sure our villages keep their identities and we continue to have access to the much-valued countryside? Please let your Focus Team know your views.

Threat to youth service funding

The Conservative council is consulting on restricting youth service funding to directly funded sessions in Priority Neighbourhoods and special needs only. This would mean there would be no youth provision money available from Area Forums, which means that all the youth provision given grants over the last 3 years will have to find alternative means of funding to keep going from April 2016. Have your say on the South Glos website before 11th January.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Charity looking for volunteers and guests

The Marmalade Trust, a charity covering Bristol, South Glos and around, are looking for people who would otherwise be on their own at Christmas to be a guest at their Christmas Day event and volunteers to transport them there and back.

For more information, please call 07511 630027 or go to their website.

Do you know someone who is giving outstanding care?

South Glos Council is asking people to nominate local care and support workers for South Gloucestershire's Care and Support Awards 2015. They are looking for people who have gone the extra mile in providing high quality care.

The categories are:
  • Personal assistant of the year – somebody employed by a direct payment recipient, or a self-employed personal assistant
  • Care home worker of the year – both residential and nursing homes
  • Home care or supported living worker of the year – including those in Extra Care Housing
  • Day services worker of the year
You can download the nomination form from and either email it to or post it to:

Freepost plus RTCT-JXLE-EETT
South Gloucestershire Council
CAH - Partnerships and Commissioning Civic Centre
High Street
BS15 9TR

If you would like to make your nomination over the telephone please call 01454 862356, leave a message with your name and telephone number and someone will ring you to take your nomination.

The closing date for nominations is Monday 14 December. Nominations are only eligible for people living in South Gloucestershire who are carers and support workers of residents aged 18 and over.

There will be an awards ceremony to celebrate the achievement of all those who have been nominated and to present the care and support workers chosen as finalists and winners with their awards.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Have your say on waste - but Tories vote against consulting on free green bin option

Conservative South Glos Council is consulting on changes to your waste service including:
  • Replacing the existing black bins with smaller ones
  • Replacing the recycling bags with additional boxes
  • Introducing weekly recycling collections
  • Changing the rules for additional black bin space
  • Stopping collecting engine oil, household and car batteries at the kerbside.
You can find out more and comment here. You can also attend the Westerleigh Parish Council meeting at 7.15pm on Monday 16th November in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath when the South Glos Waste Manager will be giving a presentation.

Astonishingly, the consultation makes no mention of doing away with the green bin charge, despite Conservative promises before the election. We suggested that if this really is a comprehensive waste strategy for the next 5 years and they intend to keep their promise, the consultation should include the option of removing the charge. Every single Conservative on the committee voted against this. When will they come clean on their plans?

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Badminton Road surface

Following the patching work on Badminton Road, there have been concerns about the finish. Although it is uneven in places, officers have assured local member Claire Young that next summer the whole road will have a dressing that will take out the irregularities.

Firework displays

It may not be the best of weather for it but here are some of the local firework displays this weekend.

Friday 6 November
Where: King George V Playing Fields
Organised by: Round Table - BBC Radio Bristol are hosting the evening, which is raising money for the Jessie May Trust
Time: Gates open 5.30pm, fireworks display at 8pm
Tickets: £4.50 in advance, on the night £6 adults/£5 children, under threes go free.

Saturday 7 November
Coalpit Heath
Where: St Saviour's Church
Organised by: the church
Time: 5pm (activities for children first, adults can go straight to the bonfire)
Where: Sunnyacres Farm, Cloisters Road
Organised by: 1st Winterbourne Scout Group - funds raised will go to the group
Time: Gates open at 5.30pm, bonfire at 6pm and fireworks at 7pm
Tickets: £3 adults/£2 for children, from Daisy's coffee shop or on the gate.

Where: Yate Town FC, Lodge Road
Organised by: the football club
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: £3 adults/£2 children on the door.

Sunday 8th November
Iron Acton
Where: Parish Meadows
Organised by: Local charity Acton Aid
Time: Gates open at 5pm, bonfire at 5.30pm and fireworks at 6pm
Tickets: £7 adults/£3 children, available from The Lamb or at the Acton Aid website

Firework displays - Ladden Brook area

It may not be the best of weather for it but here are some of the local firework displays this weekend.

Saturday 7th November
Where: Mundy Playing Fields
Organised by: Thornbury Round Table
Time: Gates open at 5.30pm, with a children's display at 6.30pm, bonfire at 7pm and the main firework display at 7.30pm
Tickets: £7 adults/£3 children on the night, £5 adults/£2.50 children in advance, available from News 4 U, Horseshoe Lane and Horders Thornbury Press, High Street.

Where: Yate Town FC, Lodge Road
Organised by: the football club
Time: 7.30pm
Tickets: £3 per adult/£2 per child on the door.

Sunday 8th November
Iron Acton
Where: Parish Meadows
Organised by: Local charity Acton Aid
Time: Gates open at 5pm, bonfire at 5.30pm and fireworks at 6pm There will be bonfire, professional Tickets: £7 adults/£3 children, available from The Lamb or at the Acton Aid website


Firework displays - Charfield area

It may not be the best of weather for it but here are two firework displays in the Charfield area this weekend.

Friday 6 November
Where: Charfield Primary School
Organised by: Charfield Primary School
Time: Gates open at 6.15pm with the fireworks starting at 7.15pm.
Tickets: £4.50 adults/£3.50 children in advance from the school, £6 adults/£5 children on the night

Saturday 7 November
Where: WCSF Sports Field in Wotton-under-Edge - parking at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School
Time: Gates open at 6.30pm, starter display at 7.15pm, bonfire lit 7.30pm, main display at 8.15pm.
Tickets: £5 adults/£4 children on the night, advance tickets £4 adults/£3 for children/£14 for a family from Bear Street Garage and Robinsons Florist.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Morning After Campaign

In the long run-up to Christmas, many people will find themselves drinking alcohol at social events. Most have got the message that they shouldn't drive home after drinking but what about the morning after? When is it safe to drive?

The Morning After Campaign is designed to help normally responsible people avoid the risk of a drink drive conviction - or worse still, a collision or casualties while ‘over the limit’ - by highlighting how long it takes for alcohol to pass through the body. As well as their online calculator, they've now launched apps, which can be downloaded via links on the same page.

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Vegetation on Badminton Road viaduct

Since the summer, Claire Young has reported a number of residents' concerns about trees growing out of the Badminton Road railway viaduct to South Glos Council. People are worried that masonry could be dislodged and be a danger to people below. Council officers have passed the concerns on to Network Rail, as they are responsible for maintaining the viaduct.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Have your say on new "20mph when lights flash" signs for Watermore

The council is proposing to install two new ‘20mph when lights flash’ signs in The Causeway and Meadow View to help slow traffic approaching Watermore Primary School. You have until 5th November to have your say - you can find the details and comment online.

Church Road bridge wins award

The new Church Road bridge has picked up a Prime Minister's Better Building Award in the category of Civil Engineering Project of the Year (up to £10m).

The new bridge is one of the first in the UK to be made from layers of glass and carbon fibres bound together with a tough resin in a process more commonly seen in advanced passenger aircraft manufacturing. The materials used are resistant to frost, extreme temperatures and de-icing salts that can cause problems in steel and concrete bridges, and require no painting or waterproofing. It is estimated that this could reduce the bridge’s maintenance costs by up to 35 per cent over its 120-year lifetime. It also needed less time to install than a conventional bridge.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Wapley Agincourt 600 event

Well done to everyone involved in organising the Wapley Agincourt 600 event. Alongside the more formal aspects, such as the opening service and procession to Sir John Codrington’s tomb, there was a wide range of entertainment for the hundreds of people attending to enjoy. A photo album has been started here - and the organisers would welcome further contributions.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Halloween advice

Avon and Somerset Police have issued advice for trick or treaters, householders and shopkeepers in the run up to Halloween. They even have posters for you to to download and print out.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Don't forget the clocks go back this weekend

Don't forget to put your clocks back one hour Saturday night/Sunday morning - especially if you are heading to an event on Sunday like the Agincourt 600 celebration at Wapley Church!

Half term activities for children

Once again a range of fun activities for children will be taking place in South Glos libraries over half term. All are free drop-ins for 4 to 11-year-olds unless otherwise stated and include:

Tuesday 27 October
Castle fun
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Crafts and activities.

Pumpkins, bats and witches’ hats
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Spooky craft activities.

Wednesday 28 October
Halloween rumpus
Winterbourne Library, 10am to 11.30am
Spooky crafts and activities.

A Puppy Called Dez
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12pm
Find out about guide dogs, meet a puppy and play some games. Suitable for children aged 8 to 10-years-old.

Winnie the Witch
Winterbourne Library, 2pm to 3pm
Join Winnie and Wilbur on a magical literacy journey. Have fun with a basic introduction to comprehension, description and characters in these free workshops run by Explore Learning.
Suitable for children aged 4 to 7-years-old. Contact your local library to book a place or call 01454 626764.

Thursday 29 October
Autumn antics
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm
Fun, autumn themed crafts.

Saturday 31 October
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12pm
Spooky crafts and activities.

Ghouls, gunk & goo
Yate Library, 2.30pm to 4pm
A get messy experience.

There will also be Rhyme times and Story times for pre-school children. For further information on all these activities and more visit

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Update on Yate Spur Cycle Path

Claire Young recently met officers to discuss the latest plans for the Yate Spur cycle path.

The original plans for this year included the link between the crossing on Westerleigh Road and Broad Lane. Unfortunately land ownership issues have delayed this. The following is now planned for this financial year (that is, by the end of March 2016):
  • They have already started on improving the Broad Lane track to the west of the railway. This involves scraping the existing surface off off, building it up, widening it and providing a new surface. They will take this through to the houses at Dodmore Crossing, rather than stopping at the railway line, which will improve the right of way for all users and help cyclists who are linking through to the cycle route signed via Besom Lane and across Wapley Common.
  • Putting in level crossing gates where the existing cycle path crosses the railway line south of Westerleigh Road – this will hopefully be complete by Christmas.
  • Once the gates are in place, the direction signs will be installed.
  • Addressing 3 or 4 locations between the M4 and the new level crossing where water has been running across the path causing rutting – this will probably be done after Christmas.
  • To avoid the track going across the Network Rail training centre car park next to the level crossing, a short length of track will be built to take people out on to the Murco access road.
  • Officers are looking at a request from the cycle forum to take the path round the corner from the crossing point on Westerleigh Road to the crossing where the bus stop is on the road down into the village.
  • During February half term, the road part of Broad Lane will be resurfaced and reconstructed in part.
  • It is also hoped to do the section between Nibley Lane and the railway bridge by the Shire Way roundabout, but this wouldn’t include taking the path through one of the unused arches, the path would run down on to the road somewhere before the bridge.
  • Some of the funds will be used to undertake surveys for later sections.

The funding for 2016/17 isn’t confirmed yet, but the Yate Spur is still the council’s priority for using any money they are allocated from the Local Growth Fund. The top priority for next year would be to complete the section from Kidney Hill to Broad Lane, ideally in late spring/early summer, but that depends on resolving the land issues. Officers would then assess what could best be done with any remaining money – whether that’s starting the Dodmore Crossing to Nibley Lane section, doing some work on the other side of the railway bridge on Shire Way or taking the path through one of the railway bridge arches. There is unlikely to be enough funding to finish everything in the next financial year.

How can you help?

Although volunteers helped build some of the earlier sections, that isn’t really an option with the current work. You might be able to help maintain the existing path though. Sustrans Rangers currently cover the Bristol and Bath Railway path up as far as Coxgrove Hill, it would be great if this could be extended up the Yate Spur. If this is something you might be interested in, please contact Viv Mundy the Sustrans Volunteer Project Officer ( or Michael Pearce who is the local contact for Sustrans Volunteers on the Bristol to Bath path & Yate Spur (

Monday, 19 October 2015

Update on Westerleigh smell

Claire Young recently met representatives of the Environment Agency, Wessex Water and Tulip abattoir to discuss odour problems affecting Westerleigh village.

Over recent years, Tulip have made significant changes to how they operate to reduce the risk of smells, including making the whole process more enclosed. This has improved the situation greatly. However residents have recently reported odours from the sewers in the village.

Tulip are concerned by these reports and keen to address any potential issues. As a result, Tulip have now installed a new chemical dosing system to tackle hydrogen sulphide in the sewer (this is the gas that has a “rotten eggs” smell). Dosing has begun and an immediate impact on hydrogen sulphide levels has been recorded, virtually eliminating the hydrogen sulphide. They are also carrying out a wider effluent review, with the help of an external expert, to identify a longer term solution. They won’t stop the chemical dosing until they have an alternative in place.

It is really important that if you experience a very strong smell, particularly inside your home, you report it while it is happening. To enable the Environment Agency to fully investigate and take appropriate action, the odour has to be smelt by an authorised officer. Tulip have asked Claire to give out a new contact number for them, 0117 9571919, which is answered 24 hours a day. If the odour persists, please also contact the Environment Agency’s hotline (0800 807060).

Tulip have also briefed the livestock lorry operators not to park outside the site next to houses. However, on occasion a new driver may not be familiar with the briefing. Please contact Tulip if livestock lorries are parked outside your house.

The Environment Agency don’t regulate smells to the point of no odour leaving the boundary. Brief or faint smells would not be something they would enforce, providing Tulip are following the agreed methods of odour control. Where they would investigate is if strong smells persist for a long period of time.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Grants for community groups

There is still time to apply to South Glos for the next round of grants for community groups. The closing date is 17th November and decisions will be made at the Area Forum next March.

You can find out more information about how to apply here. The amounts left to allocate for each forum are for the decisions the Area Forum will be making this year about the previous round of grant applications. When they make decisions on this round of applications in March the Area Forum will be allocating money from next year's budget. The amount will be set as part of the budget setting process in February.

Celebrate local link to Agincourt

On Sunday 25th October, there will be an event at St Peter's Church, Wapley to celebrate an important local link to the Battle of Agincourt, which took place 600 years ago.

The Battle of Agincourt, part of the Hundred Years War, took place on St Crispin's Day, 25th October in 1415 near the village of Agincourt. The #wapley600 event celebrates the area’s links with Sir John Codrington, who was the standard bearer of King Henry V at the battle, when the English forces defeated a larger French army.

The event runs from 10am to 4pm, finishing with an evening service from 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm. For more information, see

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Have your say on services to help people live independently

South Glos wants your views on proposed changes to Housing Related Support.

Housing Related Support (previously known as Supporting People), includes services to help people to live independent lives in the community, especially around acquiring and retaining suitable accommodation. It does not include personal care or domestic services.

The council is proposing to bring the several different services currently in place together into a single, Housing Related Support service

You can find out more and have your say at:

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Wales and West roadworks rescheduled

Last week we reported that Wales and West Utilities were due to carry out roadworks that would have required stop/go boards on Badminton Road between 9th and 13th October. Concerned that this coincided with the patching work being carried out by the council, Claire Young contacted officers at South Glos. They have informed her that the Wales and West Utilities work will now take place between 16th and 20th.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Reminder - chance to find out more about local history project

A quick reminder that next Wednesday, 21st October, the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group is hosting a talk by Anne Lovejoy of the Know Your Place Project team. It is 7.30pm for an 8pm start and will be held in the Miners (Coalpit Heath Village Hall). The cost for non-members is £2.

Know your place is a web-based local history project allowing the comparison of new and historic maps of the area on-line. Photos can be attached and anyone can add their own. The talk will explain how the project works and how volunteers can extend the information available.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Have your say on how the council helps keep our communities safe

South Glos is asking for your views on the future of its Community Safety and Anti-social behaviour team. You can find out more and have your say here until the 24th December.

Meeting with officials over smell in Westerleigh

Unfortunately after several years when the odour problems in Westerleigh had improved, in recent weeks there have been some significant issues, including a recurrence of smells via the sewers. Claire Young has been in contact with the Environment Agency and Wessex Water and will be meeting officials next week to discuss the next steps.

Don't forget the Environment Agency advice if an incident occurs. They ask you to:
  • Contact Dominic Sugrue of Tulip in the first instance (0117 957 6056, . 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).
It really is important to report incidents as and when they happen, to give the best chance of resolving the problem.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Wooden structure at 20 Boundary Road approved

The large wooden structure in the garden of 20 Boundary Road and the fence was approved by the planning committee this afternoon.

More road works on Badminton Road?

It's good to see Badminton Road being patched, despite the resulting queues caused by the temporary lights. However it now appears that Wales and West Utilities will be adding to the chaos with Stop/Go boards around the Oakwood Gardens junction from 9th to 13th October. Claire has contacted the Street Works team to find out more.

Warning from the police

At last week's Safer and Stronger Community Group meeting, local beat manager PC Finbar Simmons warned people about a series of dwelling burglaries that have happened in Bristol. The properties are being attacked due to the nature of their exterior door handle - a paddle / stub exterior door handle.

The design is that once the door is shut you cannot open the door again from the outside using the paddle / stub handle on the exterior. Victims they believe that once the door is closed that means their door is locked and their home is secure. This is not the case. These doors are still easily opened and this is why burglars are specifically targeting homes with these handles.

The 2 methods of entry of burglars are as follows:
  1. They put their hand in through the letterbox and use a stick or pole to knock down the interior door handle, which then opens the door. If the door was locked using the key, and the key is still in the door, some offenders hook the key out of the lock and use it to unlock the door from the outside.
  2. They place a small screwdriver / bradawl in at lock height which disengages the releaser of the lock, which then makes the exterior handle work and the door can be opened. This style leaves very little visible damage to the door, and can only be seen upon very close inspection.
If the victims used their keys to lock the doors and took the keys out of the lock, then offenders could not break in using the above methods.

Victims also believe that by lifting the interior door handle that means the door is locked. Again this is not the case, it purely engages the lever hooks into the frame, but once the offender disengages the releaser in the lock using a tool, this allows the offender to open the door using the exterior door handle as the mortice lock has not been locked using the door key.

Cycle path update

Due to land issues, plans for spending this year's funding for the Yate Spur cycle path have had to be rejigged. Instead of working on the part from Kidney Hill up to Broad Lane, highways officials are bringing forward improvements to Broad Lane track, which weather permitting will have started this week. They also hope to do work on a couple of other sections. Local councillor Claire Young will be meeting officers next week to find out more.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Engage Festival next Saturday

The Engage festival runs from 10am to 5pm on Saturday 17 October 2015 at WISE Campus, Filton. It celebrates the diversity of cultures across South Gloucestershire’s communities, through food, performances and activities. More information, including a timetable of events, is available online.

Ram Hill bus concerns

At last week's Safer and Stronger Community Group meeting, local beat manager PC Finbar Simmons reported back on the concerns raised at the previous meeting that buses were speeding on Ram Hill.

Between them, the police and Community Speed Watch visited Ram Hill nine times to check the speed of buses. Because they weren’t trying to gather evidence with regards to prosecution, they could do it more discretely, and they tried a number of different positions, including on the steep hill. Eight buses were found to be doing under 30mph, one other was slightly over but still below the enforcement level.

The conclusion was that although there is a perception they are speeding, perhaps because of their size on a comparatively narrow road, there is no evidence they are routinely doing so.

There is still the question of whether 30mph is appropriate on this road. Prior to raising this issue on behalf of residents at the last meeting, ward councillor Claire Young had asked highways officials at South Glos to add investigating a possible 20mph limit on this road to the list of highways schemes to be considered for future selection. That is a long process though, even once a scheme is selected. In the meantime, if you have any views, please contact Claire.

Friday, 2 October 2015

How could maternity services improve?

The NHS Maternity Review wants to hear what you think is good about maternity services and what could be done to improve them. The consultation is open until 31 October to anyone with an interest in maternity, including women and their families, professionals, commissioners and other organisations. You can have your say here.

Road works next week

Anyone who has travelled through Coalpit Heath on Badminton Road will have seen the large illuminated signs warning of road works starting on Monday.

Also starting next week are night time roadworks on the A4174 ring road, between Emerson's Green and Kingswood. The works will be undertaken between the hours of 8pm and 6am, during which time the road will be closed to all traffic and signed diversions put in place. During the daytime traffic may have to run on a temporary surface so speed restrictions will be in place. The work is expected to last until 22nd October, but dates could vary due to problems like poor weather.

Have your say on adult social care changes

South Glos Council is looking to increase its income from adult social care charges. Three areas are being considered:
  • Telecare (sometimes known as “Piper Lifeline” or the “Life Line Service”)
  • Deferred Charges of care fees
  • Home Care Charges (for home care and community based support)
Service users who already receive subsidised charges will not contribute any more, only self-funders will be affected. Further information is available here:

You have until 31 October 2015 to have your say.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Paul's Place Fashion Show

There will be a Fashion Show and Sale in aid of Paul's Place on FASHION SHOW & SALE In aid of  Thursday 29th October at 7.00 pm for 7.30 pm in the Greenfield Centre, Park Avenue, Winterbourne. Tickets are £5.50 and a full range of sizes will be available with an opportunity to try before you buy. For tickets and further information, please contact Paul’s Place on 01454 777236.

Harvest events

Orchrd Harvest DayThis weekend is a popular one for harvest events. Winterbourne Medieval Barn is holding its Orchard Harvest Day 11am - 4pm on Sunday 4th October. As usual there will be all things apple, food and drink to consume on site or take away. There will also be ferret racing, falconry, archery and a working medieval kitchen. Entrance is £2 for adults, under 16s go free. Car parking will be available next to the barn at £2 per vehicle, all proceeds going to the charity Paul’s Place. Note that the diversion due to work on the M4 motorway bridge will not be in place so you will be able to travel along Beacon Lane.

Also on Sunday, St James, Westerleigh is holding a harvest lunch at 12.30pm. More info including a booking link is available on their website.

Businesses in Codrington can apply for broadband connection vouchers

Following a request from a resident, a South Glos official has liaised directly with Central Government's Super Connected Cities Programme team to get Codrington postcodes added to the eligible postcode list. The scheme gives businesses a connection voucher of up to £3,000 for faster, better broadband. You can find out more and apply here:

Friday, 25 September 2015

Sort It Centre changes

South Glos Council is making some changes at the Sort It Centres.

From 1 October the opening times for all of the Sort It centres will change to 8.30am to 4.30pm. These times will apply all year round (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) and mean that the Little Stoke site will reopen on a Wednesday.

Other changes planned for 2016 include a resident vehicle registration scheme, where all residents will need to register their vehicle to access the sites, and an electronic van permit scheme for all vans. These measures will help to reduce the number of people from neighbouring council districts and commercial users from visiting the sites.

The existing automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system will be updated and used to implement the registration schemes. You will be able to register online, over the phone or at the One Stop Shops. The council will let everyone know when they can start to register later this year.

The Lib Dems were concerned about how the changes might affect small business owners and employees who also use their work vehicle for personal use. We secured a change to the proposals and officers are now working on a way to make sure people in that situation can still access the Sort It Centres.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

Your local Focus Team head to Bournemouth

Members of your local Focus Team have been in Bournemouth this week for the Lib Dem conference. Not only is it where members decide party policy, it's also a great opportunity to get training, attend fringe events on a whole range of topics and exchange ideas with people from across the country.

The conference finished with a fantastic speech from the party's new leader, Tim Farron, which you can see below. If after watching it you think you share the same values, why not join the party? You can join online or contact any of your local Focus Team.


Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane (between Badminton Road and Westerleigh Road) is expected to close from 9.30am until 2.30pm on 29th September 2015 for cleaning.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Have your say on 20mph on schools near Manor School

In November last year Claire Young attended the committee responsible for transport to present the findings of her survey on speed limits on the roads around the Manor School.

The council is now consulting on proposals to introduce 20mph speed limits on the following roads: Burcombe Close, Coalville Road, Dormer Close, Heath Gardens, Henfield Road, Rathbone Close, Rose Oak Drive, Rose Oak Lane, Roundways, South View Crescent, South View Rise, St Anne’s Drive, Station Road, Watters Close and Woodside Road.

You can view the proposals and comment online until 9th October.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Have your say at Safer Stronger Community Group

The next Safer Stronger Community Group for Frampton Cotterell, Westerleigh, Coalpit Heath and Iron Acton will be held on Tuesday 29th September at 7.30pm at the Brockeridge Centre (Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2LQ). As well as the usual opportunity to raise priorities for action and get updates on previous priorities, there will be a presentation on the Victim Support Project for Anti-Social behaviour.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Bus fares rise

At the start of this week, First West of England raised bus fares on longer journeys.

The following tickets (bought on bus, at a First Travel Shop or via PayPoint) now cost:
Bristol & Bath Outer Zones
  • Day £6.50
  • Week £23.80
  • Month £86.40
  • Year £907
  • 10 Journey £27
  • Family Day (5 people max 2 adults) £13
West of England Zone
  • Day £7.50
  • Week £27
  • Month £103.50
  • Year £1,134
  • Family (5 people max 2 adults) £15
The above fares are for an adult - children aged 5 – 15 get a 50% discount, young people aged 16 – 21 or students with a valid Student ID receive 30% discount. Single tickets across the West of England will not change and prices will be frozen for customers using mTickets or First’s ‘Touch’ smart card. For more information see the First Bus website

Planning site visit next week

The DC (East) planning committee members will be visiting 20 Boundary Road, Coalpit Heath at around 12 noon on Friday 25th September. Officers have recommended approval for the application for the wooden structure in the front garden. You can read the report here.

Monday, 14 September 2015

New Post Office opens

Postman Pat joined Paul's Place founder Kath Aldom and former MP Steve Webb to officially open the new Post Office in Village Roots (the NISA store) this morning.

Steve thanked Edwina and her team for their efforts and joked that in 18 years as an MP he never opened anything that wasn't already actually open so this was a world first. Kath Aldom talked passionately about the importance of community and supporting local businesses.

It was then time for the official ribbon cutting. Pat was rather too tall for the Post Office area but gamely knelt down to pose for pictures. Then Kath cut the ribbon and it was open for business. One of the services the new post office will be offering is passports - and Dave was their first customer.

Apologies to anyone who expected the opening to be at 1pm as advertised. Unfortunately it was changed at the last minute. If you were hoping to meet Postman Pat there is another chance to see him on Saturday 19th September between 2pm and 3pm.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Events this weekend

With the Discover festival in full swing, there are a number of local events this weekend.

St Saviour's Church is having an open doors weekend, open 10am-4pm on Saturday and 11am-3pm on Sunday (plus services at 8am, 10am and 6pm). There will be children's activities all day Saturday and they will be doing a short walk to St Peter's Frampton Cotterell starting at 1.30pm to raise money for the Gloucestershire Historic Churches Trust. Afterwards you can have a cup of tea at St Peter's and walk to Bridge House where the trains will be running (50p per ride).

On Sunday the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery are holding an open day from 10am to 4.30pm. You can tour the remains of the 19th century coal mine, visit the woodland area, Dramway connection, engine house and horse gin. Refreshments are provided and there is wheelchair access to most of the site. Sensible footwear recommended. For more information see

Slightly further afield, Winterbourne Medieval Barn and Winterbourne Parish Church are opening their doors on both 12 and 13 September (2pm to 5pm). The church is located next door to the Medieval Barn, so offers a great opportunity to view both buildings in one visit.

For more Discover 2015 events, see

Don't forget - new Post Office opening on Monday

The shop fitting is all completed at Village Roots (the NISA) and the new Post Office will officially open for business at 1pm on Monday (14th September).

Edited: It will now be opening at 11am. Kath Aldom, founder of Paul's Place, will officially open it and Postman Pat will be there too.

Beech Hill Farm refused, Mafeking Hall approved

Yesterday the planning committee turned down the retrospective application for the caravan storage at Beech Hill Farm, Westerleigh. The applicant had asked for the application to be deferred to enable them to bring forward a report on the contamination of the site, which formed part of their Very Special Circumstances argument. However the majority of committee members decided to go with the officer recommendation.

The majority of members also supported the officer recommendation to give the go ahead for the change of use for the pre-school at Mafeking Hall, Serridge Lane. Members did stipulate that they should only be given one month to comply with the conditions related to the highways impacts rather than three as officers had suggested.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Dodington Road railway bridge

It's now nearly three years since Westerleigh Councillor Claire Young and highways officials from South Glos met Network Rail representatives to talk about their plans for raising the parapets on the railway bridge on Dodington Road, Chipping Sodbury. At the time we had expected the work would be done by 2014 but nothing has happened. Now though a temporary road closure notice has been published. This enables the road to be closed at the bridge for the works at any time in the 18 months from 4 January 2016, although the work is expected to take two weeks. The work is being done as part of the electrification of the line.

Have your say at Severn Vale Area Forum

The next Severn Vale Area Forum (which covers Charfield ward) is at 7pm on Wednesday 16 September at Turnberries Community Centre, Bath Road, Thornbury. On the agenda will be the allocation of grants and a progress update on the highway schemes for which we have previously allocated funding. There will also be the usual open session where you can put questions to councillors and officers.

Have your say at Frome Vale Area Forum

The next Frome Vale Area Forum is at 7pm on Thursday 17th September at Chipping Sodbury Baptist Church, High Street, Chipping Sodbury. On the agenda will be the allocation of grants and a progress update on the highway schemes for which we have previously allocated funding. There will also be the usual open session where you can put questions to councillors and officers.

Friday, 4 September 2015

Foster carers wanted

The council is always looking for foster carers from all walks of life to care for children and young people who have had a difficult start in life. Next week they are holding another Fostering Information Evening where you can find out more about what it involves. It will be held at the council offices, Badminton Road, Yate on Tuesday 8 September from 7pm to 9pm.

For more information, call the fostering team free on 0800 206 1443, email or visit

Have your say on child health services

The South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wants to hear your views on their new plans for integrated children's community health services. To find out what they're proposing and let them know what you think please take a look at between 3rd September and 25th November 2015. If you have any questions, you can contact or 0117 976 6600.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Free local courses

If you're looking to get back into work or improve your skills, why not sign up for one of the following free courses?

  • Steps into Work - 12-3pm on Tuesdays for 4 weeks starting on Tuesday 6th October at St Nicholas Family Centre  
  • Improve your Maths - Mondays 7-9pm at Yate Library
  • IT For Work - Tuesdays  7-9pm at Yate Library
  • Improve your English - Wednesdays 9.30-11.30am  at Yate Library
To book a free place go to the enrolment sessions at Yate Library 5-7pm on  Monday 7th September or 10-12 noon on Thursday 10th September or ring 01454 864613.

Planning committee to consider Beech Hill Farm and Mafeking Hall next week

Next Thursday 10th September the Development Control (East) Planning Committee will be considering applications for Beech Hill Farm and Mafeking Hall in Westerleigh ward.

You can see the agenda online, including links to the officer's reports. Beech Hill Farm is recommended for refusal and Mafeking Hall is recommended for approval with conditions.The meeting starts at 3pm in Kingswood Civic Centre.

Time to discover your local area

Claire Young with then South Glos Chair Howard Gawler
 at the launch of last year's Discover Festival
Photo provided by Rich McD Photography
Once again, the Discover Festival will be bringing together events from local community groups, businesses and council services that showcase our local area. Discover 2015 runs from 10th September to 30th October and you can find full event details at

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Horticultural show this weekend

This Saturday, 5th September, starting at 2pm St Saviour's Church will be holding their annual Horticultural Show. For more information, see their website.

Friday, 28 August 2015

Westerleigh Road closure

Westerleigh Road will be closed temporarily from its junction with Besom Lane north for 150m to enable signing works to go ahead. The closure order starts on 6 September for a maximum period of 18 months but it won't be closed for the whole period - the work is only expected to take one day.

Find out more about local history project

If you're interested in local history, here's a date for your diary. On Wednesday 21st October, the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group is hosting a talk by Anne Lovejoy of the Know Your Place Project team. It is 7.30pm for an 8pm start and will be held in the Miners (Coalpit Heath Village Hall). The cost for non-members is £2.

Know your place is a web-based local history project allowing the comparison of new and historic maps of the area on-line. Photos can be attached and anyone can add their own. The talk will explain how the project works and how volunteers can extend the information available.

Paths to close for crossing works

The bridle way between Broad Lane and Dodmore Crossing in Westerleigh and the path that links in to this from Westerleigh Road, between The Bungalow and The Old Stores, will be temporarily closed so that level crossing works can be carried out. The closure order will be in place for 6 months from the 21st September 2015 but it's anticipated the works will take seven weeks during that time. The alternative route is to go down Broad Lane to Westerleigh Road and then along Westerleigh Road up to Dodmore Crossing.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Site visit changes - no Boundary Road, now visiting Mafeking Hall

Last week we reported that the DC (East) planning committee would be visiting 20 Boundary Road and Beech Hill Farm tomorrow, Friday 28th August.

The visit to 20 Boundary Road has now been postponed until the next round of site visits on 25th September, with the decision likely to be made at the committee meeting on 8th October. Instead the committee will be visiting Mafeking Hall, to look at the Prior Notification Application for a change of use to allow Coalpit Heath Pre-School to open there.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Have your say on minor injuries services

 How do you think the NHS locally should deal with minor injuries? NHS South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is proposing a pilot of community-based minor injury services at local GP practices. They are looking for your views on the proposals.

For further details and to complete the questionnaire, please visit The survey will be open until 7pm on Friday 11th September 2015.

There will no doubt be particular concern about how this might affect the Minor Injuries Unit at Yate, especially following the worrying noises from the new Government we reported on in June. The CCG say they have no plans to close the minor injuries unit and they want to make sure it works alongside the new pilot. If you value the Yate MIU, make sure you say so when you fill in the questionnaire.

Survey for disabled taxi users

South Gloucestershire Council wants to hear from taxi users, especially those with a disability, about their experience of the accessibility of "hackney carriages" (ie taxis) locally. You can find out more and have your say here - you have until 7th October to comment.

The council is particularly keen to find out if you feel that all relevant areas are being considered and whether you think there are any specific impacts or alternatives that the council and its partners should consider. Information is also available from your local South Gloucestershire library and One Stop Shop.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Planning committee site visits next Friday

Next Friday, 28th August, the Development Control (East) committee will be visiting two sites in Westerleigh ward - 20 Boundary Road (at approximately 10.15am) and Beech Hill Farm (at approximately 10.35am). You can view the agenda, including links to the relevant reports, online.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Have your say on council's licensing and gambling policies

Are you concerned about the impact of licensed premises?

South Gloucestershire Council is the Licensing Authority for the local area. That means it is responsible for granting premises licenses, club premises certificates, temporary event notices and personal licenses with regard to the sale and/or the supply of alcohol, the provision of regulated entertainment and late night refreshment.

The council has just published its draft Statement of Licensing Policy, which sets out the policies the council will apply when making decisions on applications. Now is your chance to have your say on this. The council is particularly keen to find out if you feel that all relevant areas are being considered and whether you think there are any specific impacts or alternatives that the council and its partners should consider.

You can read the draft statement and comment on it here - you have until 28th October to make your views known.

The council is also the Licensing Authority for the area for granting premises licenses and permissions in South Gloucestershire in respect of casinos, bingo & betting premises, tracks, adult gaming and family entertainment centres, club and prize gaming permits, temporary notices and the registration of small society lotteries. It is currently asking for your views on its Statement of Principles for gambling. You can read the document and comment on it here before 16th October.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Friends of Ram Hill Colliery look for new treasurer

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery are looking for a new Treasurer. They say there are not many entries and the committee meets every two months. They can be contacted via their website -

If you would like to find out more about this historic site, their next Open Day is to be held on Sunday 13th September 2015. 10am – 4.30pm.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Concerned about abuse?

If you are concerned that a child, young person or adult is being abused, you can find out what to do on the new South Gloucestershire Joint Safeguarding Board Website. This brings together information that was previously held in different places. The clear message is if in doubt, speak out - and the website tells you how to do that.

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Changes to parking at new Sainsbury's

The developers have made an application for some "non-material amendments" to the planning permission for the new Sainsbury's. These would:
  • Create a break in the low wall at the front for pedestrians to go through.
  • Following the removal of the play area, which Wadworths felt was not needed for the customers they attract, part of that space has been tarmacked. Three car parking spaces will be relocated here from along the side of the pub. In turn this will enable 2 extra spaces to be provided along the back wall.
If you want to find out more, you can view the application on the South Glos website by going here and entering the reference number PT15/3296/NMA.

Some residents had raised concerns that the store was not being built to the approved plans. Claire raised this with the planning enforcement team at South Glos, who have investigated and confirmed it is in accordance with the plans.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Coalpit Heath road safety issues

Pat and Claire recently spent a very wet morning looking at a number of road safety issues in Coalpit Heath with a South Glos highways official. The issues had all been raised at the July Safer Stronger Community Group meeting.
Residents were concerned that the pedestrian crossing outside Coalpit Heath Village Hall is too close to the junction of Woodend Road and reported a number of near misses. Unfortunately due to entrances to driveways and so on it would not be possible to move the crossing and keep it close to where people want to cross, to get to the hall and to get to the shops on Woodend Road. The officer suggested warning signage on Woodend Road.
We then looked at the junction of Southview Road and Badminton Road near the corner of the playing field. The concern here was about cars parking when there are events on the field making the junction unsafe. The officer suggested an advisory keep clear marking on the playing field side of Southview Crescent (there is already one on the other side).
Finally we looked at the problem of speeding traffic making it difficult for residents to exit properties near the sharp bend on Beesmoor Road. Before making any proposals, the officer has arranged for some speed monitoring to take place during the school term (as traffic is heavier then).
The next Safer Stronger Community Group meeting is on Tuesday 29th September 2015 at 7.30pm at The Brockeridge Centre, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2LQ.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Warnings after fires

Following two fires in Coalpit Heath this week, Avon Fire Service has issued advice which you can view online regarding disposable barbecues and getting out safely in the event of a fire.

Have you had a bike stolen?

Avon and Somerset Police recently arrested five people and seized seventy stolen bikes after a year long investigation. As of 29th July, twenty eight of these had no known owners and photographs have been posted here:

If you think one of the bikes might be yours, call 101.
You can read more on the story here.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Manor Hall AGM on 11th August

The Manor Hall Trustees are holding their Annual General Meeting at the hall at 7.30pm on 11th August 2015. All Westerleigh Parishioners can attend and the agenda, last year's minutes, financial information and Trustees' report are available on their website.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

South Glos show this weekend

The 2015 South Gloucestershire Show takes place this Saturday and Sunday (1st and 2nd August). The show is held at the Windmill Fishery Showground situated just off the Westerleigh Road between the Henfield cross roads and Westerleigh. More information can be found on their website.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Success again for Wapley Bushes

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve and the Orchard for the Future have won the Green Flag Community Award for the third year running - the only Green Flag Award in South Gloucestershire.

The Green Flag Award scheme recognises quality parks or green spaces. In total, 1,582 parks, cemeteries, universities, shopping centres and community gardens in the UK have met the high standard needed to receive the Green Flag Award or the Green Flag Community Award.

The Green Flag Awards are judged by an army of more than 700 green space experts, who volunteer their time to visit applicant sites and assess them against eight strict criteria, including horticultural standards, cleanliness, sustainability and community involvement. The Green Flag Awards Scheme is run by the environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy.

Obviously Wapley Bushes Conservation Group, who manage the Reserve, and landowners Dodington Parish Council are very pleased with this success. They are now looking forward to hearing the results of their South West in Bloom award entries.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Planning committee to consider caravan storage site

The application to continue caravan storage at Beech Hill Farm, which we reported on in April, is to be considered by the planning committee later this summer. Officers have recommended refusal on Green Belt grounds. A site visit is expected to take place on Friday 28th August.

Friday, 24 July 2015

New garden at Winterbourne Library

If you use Winterbourne Library, you may be pleased to know that the new garden is now officially open for visitors to enjoy. It will be used as an extended library space for storytelling, outdoor crafts and play activities.

The library is on the look-out for volunteers of any age to help look after the garden and contribute ideas for using the space. Pop in to the library and talk to the staff if you would like to be involved.
For further information contact the library on 01454 868006, email or speak to a staff member next time you visit.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Changed circumstances?

If you're claiming Single Person Discount on your Council Tax but your circumstances have changed, you have until Saturday 1st August to take advantage of a short amnesty to tell the council.

Maybe you are a single parent and one of your children has turned 18 or you've started renting a spare room out to a lodger. If you tell the council about this before Saturday 1st August the change will not be backdated to 1 April 2015. If you don't, action will be taken on any discount incorrectly claimed.

If you think this might apply to you - or if your circumstances have changed the other way and you think you could now be claiming Single Person Discount where you weren't before - you can call 01454 868003, email or call into one of the council's One Stop Shops.

Protecting access to Sort It centres

At Wednesday night's Communities committee, anyone who uses a works van as their only vehicle was nearly banned from using South Gloucestershire’s Sort It centres for their personal waste. Fortunately we were able to change the Conservative's proposal.

It originally said that vehicles will need to be registered to use the Sort It centres and “any vehicle registered to a business will be declined”. If this had passed, anyone who owns or works for a small business who has their work van as their only vehicle would have been stopped from using the Sort It centres. They would have had no way to dispose of their personal household waste.

Claire Young successfully proposed an amendment asking officers to come up with a scheme to enable those people to continue to use Sort It centres. They will only be allowed to transport household waste, not business waste, but it's right that they should be able to access these services like other residents. Your Focus Team thinks it's important to stand up for the people who run and work for our local small businesses.

Friday, 17 July 2015

Councillor emails inaccessible this weekend

Once again, your South Glos councillors will be unable to access their emails this weekend as work is being done on the servers. We should have access again on Monday.

Have your say on Henfield Road proposals

Back in March, the Frome Vale Area Forum agreed to back the second phase of the traffic calming proposals for the rural part of Henfield Road. Warning signs and road markings were installed last year as part of the first phase. The second phase proposes further measures to increase driver awareness - a gateway feature and cycle lane.

Now is your chance to have your say. You can see the plans and make comments via the South Glos website. You have until Sunday 9th August to respond.

Safety check on bad decisions removed

At Wednesday’s South Gloucestershire Council meeting the Conservatives used their majority to remove the rights of opposition councillors to force a rethink on bad decisions.

Previously the lead member for any of the political groups on a committee could “refer up” a decision to full council for further debate, if they felt a mistake had been made or more information was needed to make a properly informed decision. Only a few months ago this safety check was used when the planning committee initially decided to approve the planning application for Top Yard in Westerleigh. Given the chance to review their report and consider case law, officers changed their recommendation from approval to refusal and the application was eventually refused. If our former colleague Alan Lawrance had not had the opportunity to refer up the original decision the application would have been approved and there would have been no way to overturn that.

By referring a decision up to council it also gave a chance for concerned members of the public to go along and have their say. Almost every council in the country has some ability for minority political groups to force administrations to think again. Obviously ultimately the majority view will prevail, as you would expect in a democracy. Sometimes though, having heard differing views or got more information, they make a different decision from their original one. Isn’t that also something you would expect in a democracy? As we saw with Top Yard, referring up was one way to help the council make better decisions. Why is the new administration afraid of that scrutiny?

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Have your say on Church Road safety improvements

When we reported back in March that the Frome Vale Area Forum had selected the first phase of the Church Road safety proposals for funding, we said there would be further consultation. That consultation is now underway. You can view the proposals and make comments at:

The deadline for comments is 31st July.

Friday, 10 July 2015

Council web services and email down this weekend

Major electrical work is taking place across South Glos Council offices this weekend. Many systems including the website, telephones and planning applications will be unavailable from 5:00pm on Friday 10 July until 6:00pm on Sunday 12 July. Apologies if you are trying to contact your Focus Team using our council email addresses.

Wickwar Community Centre get money for redecoration

Wickwar Community Centre was awarded £1000 at last night's Frome Vale Area Forum towards its redecoration.

Crossbow Pre-School win funding for shelter

At last night's Area Forum, Crossbow Pre-School was awarded £1000 towards building a canopy over the main entrance to St Peter's Hall. This will protect the children and their parents or carers when they are waiting to go in or collect the children and will also be used by other users of the hall.

Merlin hold summer celebration

Another event taking place this Saturday is the Merlin summer celebration at 35 Ridings Road, Coalpit Heath.

Until 14th July, this house is open on weekdays from 10am to 6pm as the Coalpit Heath Memory House. You can see what a typical front room would have looked like in the 1950s when the houses were new and hear stories of what life was like in the village back then.

On Saturday it's open 11am to 2pm for the summer celebration. You can enjoy children’s activities, hedgehogs and slow worms, a splat the rat game and a house painting competition.

You can also get a glimpse of what the future holds with a 3D printed model of the new homes Merlin is building.