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