Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Worrying noises from Government about Yate Minor Injuries Unit

Focus Team councillors demanding better use of the MIU
A letter from Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, has cast doubts on the effectiveness of Yate MIU in reducing the number of people going to casualty at Southmead Hospital. Although he hasn't shared his evidence, he's using that as an excuse to stop the project for another MIU at Cossham Hospital.
But the health service locally is hindered by the lack of services being provided at the Yate MIU:
  • It doesn't open on Saturday afternoons when lots of sporting and children's accidents happen.
  • It shuts its doors early when they've got too many patients (i.e. they haven't got enough staff to deal with a rush).
  • People still have to go to Southmead for outpatient clinics that could be delivered locally.
Some parts of the service work well, such as the walk-in X-Ray facility, where you can often be seen very quickly. But until this very good facility is opened and staffed properly, it won't have the desired impact on Southmead casulaty numbers. We need to make sure that we keep the services we've already got and stop the Government even thinking that it's ineffective. More clinics and longer hours please!

Severn Vale Area Forum tomorrow

The Severn Vale Area Forum (which covers Charfield ward) takes place on Wednesday 1st July at 7pm at Turnberries Community Centre, Thornbury.

As well as the usual open session, the agenda includes the allocation of community grants, presentations about food/waste recycling plus a presentation from BT about broadband.

Friday, 26 June 2015

Time running out to have your say on Plan

Time is running out to have your say on protecting our countryside.

You only have until 5pm on 3 July 2015 (not 2nd as we previously reported) to make comments on the Policies, Sites and Places (PSP) Plan which South Glos Council approved for submission to the planning inspector in March.

There have been a number of concerns in our area - including the rejected proposals for new development in Westerleigh and the proposals to change the designation of some traveller sites.
Claire will make sure that the petition that local residents collected in relation to the latter gets to the Inspector but we strongly advise people to write again with their comments as individual letters always carry more weight.

At this stage comments should focus on whether the Plan was prepared according to the legal requirements and whether it is “sound”. This is explained in more detail on the consultation pages on the South Glos website. The best way to comment is using the Council’s online consultation system or you can  email PlanningLDF@southglos.gov.uk

Don't forget there is a separate, informal consultation on the sites put forward for Local Green Space designation, which runs until 30th July. We'll be writing more on this shortly.

Latest news on the Manor Hall and Coalpit Heath Pre-School

There was a lengthy debate at the Manor Hall SGM on Monday evening about the issues surrounding Coalpit Heath Pre-School being given notice. This ended with the Parishioners present voting on whether the notice should be withdrawn, although the Trustees said that under their constitution they would not be bound by the outcome. In the event the Parishioners voted 54 votes to 36 against withdrawing the notice.

Pat Hill said that she wishes to stand down as Chair of the Trustees at the AGM, which is due to be held on 11th August. Notices will be posted at least 14 days before. She invited new people to come forward to apply to be trustees by 1st July - more information is available here.

It was announced that a new pre-school provider had already agreed to move into the Manor Hall as early as possible in the new school year. The new provider will be circulating information shortly.

Coalpit Heath Pre-School has announced they will be moving to Mafeking Hall off Serridge Lane from September. They will have sole use of the building during the day, which will enable them to offer an increased service for 2-5 year olds, with a breakfast club, longer opening hours and a large outdoor forest school play area. They are putting in place assisted travel arrangements. For more information phone 07715 531066 or 07979 475757 or email Charnicholls12@hotmail.co.uk

Roadworks on Badminton Road

Wales and West Utilities are due to start work outside 294 Badminton Road today. They will be using Stop/Go boards and the work is expected to be completed by 30th June.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Refresh 2 Impress

South Gloucestershire and Stroud College are holding a "Refresh 2 Impress" event aimed at the over 50s.

The course offers:
  • Free Maths qualification
  • Option of choosing 3 fun and interactive sessions including:
    •  2 Art options – Painting/Photography
    • Sport options – Gentle gym (strength and conditioning) or bowls/Table tennis/Golf 
    • First Aid at home
    • Technology – Tablets, Skype, Emails/Using the Internet to save time & money – Ebay, Uswitch, Online shopping, On line banking, Booking trips
  • Free Lunch each day
  • Free tea/coffee with biscuits/cakes
  • Chance to have an amazing 3 days, meet like-minded people and just have fun…
There are 2 start dates: Monday 13th July – Wednesday 15th July and Wednesday 15th July - Friday 17th July. Each day will start at 9.30 finishing no later than 4pm. Both taking place at WISE campus, New Road, Stoke Gifford. Bristol, BS348LP (plenty of free parking available). For more information read the online flyer or contact 0800 056 6940.

Have your say on solar farm

South Glos Council is currently considering options for a ground-mounted solar panel project at Leigh Farm 1 in Pucklechurch, near the boundary with Westerleigh Parish.

The consultation is now open and runs until Wednesday 15 July. There will be a drop in exhibition where council officers will be available to answer questions about the proposals at Pucklechurch Community Centre, Abson Road, Pucklechurch, BS16 9RH on Tuesday 30 June from 3pm to 7.30pm.

Officer want to hear your views on whether this is a suitable site, would you prefer a council owned or community owned project and would you like to be involved in taking it forward?

You can find out more on the consultation web page.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Steam engine talk this Thursday

On Thursday 25th June at 7.30pm at the Miners Club, Coalpit Heath there will be a talk , "Steam Engines of the Coalpit Heath Collieries".

The event is being held by South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group to launch their new book “The History and Industrial Archaeology of the Steam Engines of The Coalpit Heath Colliery Company. “ The book covers Mayshill, Nibley, New Engine and of course Frog Lane Colliery and tells the story of the engines and the men that drove and maintained them

The author, Steve Grudgings will be telling the stories behind the pictures, many of which have not been published before and showing additional pictures that could not be included in the book. Bring your old pictures, documents and artefacts to show them - entry is FREE!

If you'd like a copy of the book but can't make it on Thursday, please contact Chairman Roger Gosling 01454 883607 or email chairman@sgmrg.co.uk

Friday, 19 June 2015

Further statement re Coalpit Heath Pre-School and the Manor Hall

In May, we published a joint statement from parent Wendy Silcock on behalf of Coalpit Heath Pre-School and the Trustees of the Manor Hall. Ahead of Monday's SGM meeting (details here), a further joint statement has been released:

Thank you to all the Parishioners and Hall users who were able to adhere to my request for restraint and patience whilst the diplomatic wheels turned to de-escalate the breakdown in the working relationship between the Pre-school and the Trustees of Manor Hall.

Thank you to the Pre-school staff through what has been a very emotional time personally for them after the death of one of the long serving, popular members of staff following a distressing illness. Despite this sadness, they have worked with me to amend and improve a number of routine practices to co-exist more amicably with other hall users for the remaining term of their contract. Thank you also to Jean Butler who has permitted me to intercede where necessary and communicate with the Trustees.

I can report that a number of simple measures have been put in place. It is not necessary for me to list these here but suffice to say, all changes on both sides have been implemented with input and consent by all concerned. On a day to day basis things are running much more smoothly now. The Hall Manager has been accommodating of my constant asking of questions and has contributed positively to finding solutions. This process has highlighted several areas which are already being addressed in order to ‘future proof’ the use of Manor Hall for all users.

What I hope will happen now is the discussion at the s.g.m. will be able to concentrate on the factual instead of the emotional in order that a mature discussion can ensue. In many ways, all that has passed is just that – the past and has been aired many times before. How can we all make things better now? Part of the answer will be respect, communication and transparency.

Aude Sapere – Dare to be wise.

Wendy Silcock
For and on behalf of Coalpit Heath Pre-school and the Trustees of Manor Hall

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Have your say on protecting our green spaces

When we reported recently on the consultation on the Policies, Sites and Places DPD, we said there’d be a separate, informal consultation starting soon on designating pieces of land as Local Green Spaces. That consultation starts today and runs until 30th July 2015. You can find it at www.southglos.gov.uk/lgsd15

Designating land as Local Green Space gives it similar protection to Green Belt status. To designate land it has to be close to the community it serves, demonstrably special to that community (for example, because of its beauty, historic significance, tranquillity or richness of its wildlife), local in character and not an extensive tract of land.

That last point  has raised concern about larger sites like the land at Woodlands Farm, which many of you wrote to the council in support of last year. This makes it even more important that you let the council – and later the Planning Inspector – know how special this land is to our communities by responding to the consultation. Developers will be looking for any opportunity they can to make their case.

Whether or not the land is designated, in the next few years there will be a Green Belt review and we will be looking for your help to get the land at Woodlands Farm included.

Don't forget that you only have until 2nd July to have your say in the formal consultation on the rest of the Policies, Sites and Places DPD.

1950s themed Summer Fayre

St Saviour's Church is having its Summer Fayre on Saturday 27th June from 2-4:30pm. The theme is 1950’s – why not come dressed in your 1950’s finery!They will be having a (planned) visit from Yate Fire Brigade, plant sale, ballet show, model boats, games, tea and cakes and more!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Health drop in at next Yate and Dodington SSCG meeting

The next Yate and Dodington Safer Stronger Community Group meeting (which includes the Dodington Parish part of Westerleigh ward) is on Monday 22nd June and has a health theme:

Friday, 12 June 2015

Gas boiler safety

Following the tragedy in Yate last year, we had a presentation at the Area Forum about gas boiler safety. We've now been sent a link to advice on the HSE website - it's well worth a read.

Driving licence changes

At the start of the week, the paper counterpart to current photocard driving licences ceased to have any legal status and should be destroyed. However paper driving licences issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998 will remain valid and should not be destroyed.

Endorsements (penalty points) will now be recorded electronically and the information held on the DVLA's driver record, which can be viewed online by phone or post. This has implications if you employ drivers or simply want to hire a car. More information is available on the DVLA website.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Developers win appeal for up to 106 dwellings in Charfield

Developers have won their appeal against the council's refusal of permission for a new development at Charfield. They will now be able to build up to 106 homes on land south of Wotton Road.

Charfield ward councillor John O'Neill said, "Like many local people, I am very disappointed by this decision. The Parish Council has been very responsible in its attitude to development. This was not a case of “nimbyism”, it was a Parish working to the strategy set out in the Core Strategy, which was endorsed by a Government Inspector only a few months ago. It appears from this decision that the commitment to Localism has been abandoned by the new Government."

Could you help cut the grass at St Saviour's?

We've received the following plea from St Saviour's Church:

Trevor has been cutting the grass at St Saviour’s Church (Coalpit Heath) for the last 23 years as a volunteer. This is a big job, taking about 7 hours a week in the summer. He has to carefully strim round all the graves, but it is job that Trevor has taken great pride in doing for the benefit of the whole community. In February he was advised by his doctor that sadly it was time to give it up. The church has been looking for a volunteer since then, but so far no-one has come forward. The grass is currently being cut by a paid gardener.

Trevor has done a fantastic job; it is well known that St Saviour’s Churchyard always looks fantastic and to have kept up such a good job for so long is brilliant. Thanks Trevor.

If you can volunteer to help with some of the cutting or would like to help towards the cost of maintaining the churchyard, then please contact Andy on 01454 882867.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Top Tips on staying safe from rogue traders and distraction burglars

It is that time of the year when the police see a rise in cold callers, rogue traders and distraction burglars. The local team have issued the following top tips on staying safe:

 · Check the identity of the caller by telephoning the company they claim to be from. Use the telephone numbers listed in your local directory or provided independently by your service provider.
· Genuine callers won't mind making an appointment for a date when you can have someone with you. This gives you time to check their identity too.
· Never use companies who make unsolicited calls, who don't provide contracts, or who offer to do work for cash.
· Call a neighbour or friend nearby to come along and check out the caller before you open the door to them.
· Many service providers provide password schemes and it can be helpful to sign up to these. When unannounced callers knock at your door they should know the password if they are genuine.
· Keep doors locked and windows secure at all times.
· Where possible, have a safety chain fitted and always attach the chain before opening the door to strangers.
· Remember it's your doorstep, your decision.
· Check whether traders are members of the Local Authority Assured Trader Schemes (www.oft.gov.uk) or the government Trust Mark scheme (www.trustmark.org.uk).
· The key message is: 'Not sure? Don't open the door'
· If you suspect a rogue trader is at your door dial 999

If you know anyone who is not online who might benefit from this advice - an elderly or vulnerable friend or relative for example - why not print these tips off for them. And keep an eye out for neighbours who might be vulnerable to tactics employed by rogue traders and distraction burglars.

There is more advice at:

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Paul's Place Pig Race

Next Friday, 12th June, at 7.30pm Paul's Place is holding a Pig Race at Coalpit Heath Cricket Club to raise money. Contact 01454 777236 for more details.

Ram Hill buses

Concerns have been raised once again about the way buses are being driven down Ram Hill. It's a narrow country road, well used by walkers and horse riders as well as motorists. Claire Young has been passing details of incidents on to both the police and South Glos council officials and has asked for the issue to be considered at the next Safer Stronger Community Group meeting (7.30pm on Tuesday 30th June in the Manor Hall, Coalpit Heath). Please email Claire details of any incidents that happen between now and then. We would also be interested to hear the experiences of people who use the bus.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Coalville Road garages redevelopment

You have until 11th June to comment on Merlin's plans to redevelop the Coalville Road garage site into two 2-bedroom bungalows and a 2 storey building containing 2 1-bedroom flats.

You can see the plans on the South Glos website. If that link doesn’t work for any reason, go to www.southglos.gov.uk and click “Search Planning Applications” in the Popular column on the left hand side. Then enter the reference number PT15/2099/F in the search box.