Friday, 29 April 2016

Continuing risk to countryside

Houses are still not being built quickly enough on the major sites in South Gloucestershire that were supposed to provide the new homes we need. This means developers are likely to get permission for houses on land intended to be protected. It’s already happening in Thornbury, which is rapidly expanding across green fields towards the A38.

Strategic planning documents are never an easy read, but it’s vital for all our futures that new housing is properly planned and in the right place. So a huge thank you to everyone who waded through the draft Policy, Sites and Places (PSP) planning document for South Glos and the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) for the West of England and made comments.

Your input will be needed again!

Overall housing numbers for the West of England, including South Gloucestershire’s share, are currently being reviewed as part of the draft Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). Planners are currently analysing the hundreds of responses to the first round of consultation earlier this year and you can find out more on the emerging themes on the West of England website. The first draft of the JSP including recommended transport investment is due to be published for consultation in September.

In June, councillors will be making a decision on the next steps for the Policy, Sites and Places (PSP) planning document. The PSP was originally intended to provide both detailed planning policies to be used when making decisions on planning applications and allocations of additional land for houses. The planners are now recommending it should just focus on the policies, with the additional land being allocated through the new Local Plan after the numbers and broad locations have been identified in the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). You will get the chance to have your say on the Local Plan later this year and next and it will be completed during 2018. For more information about the PSP visit

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Overnight closures on A38 Filton roundabout

For those travelling through the Filton area, watch out for overnight closures at the A38 Filton roundabout.

Essential resurfacing work will be carried out at the roundabout from 3 to 13 May. The work will start at approximately 8pm and take place overnight until approximately 6am (adverse weather conditions may affect these times and dates).

The roundabout was recently resurfaced by an external contractor, however the road surface has deteriorated and no longer meets the council's standards, so it is essential that these remedial works are completed as soon as possible. These remedial works are being completed by the contractor, not at the public’s expense.

Have your say on changes to community grants

Local councillors used to award grants to local community groups and charities at the Area Forum meetings. Now the forums have been scrapped, the ruling Conservatives are replacing community grants with a scheme of "Member Awarded Funding". This means each councillor would be given a small sum of money to spend locally - for grants to groups, matched funding for local projects or topping up local council services.

Your Focus Team still believes that the Area Forums, where councillors came together in public to make decisions across an area, were a more transparent method of awarding funding. Unfortunately the Conservatives disagree. If you are involved in local community activities, please take the time to look at the details of what's proposed and have your say before 15 July.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Ring road closures

The A4174 ring road will have to be closed to allow essential maintenance to be carried out between the Dramway and Rosary roundabouts and connecting road.

There will be full closure of the road between the Lyde Green and Siston Hill roundabouts as follows:

  1. Complete weekend closure during the day and night from the night of 6th May at 20:00 hours to be reopened by 06.00 hours on 9th May.
  2. Night time full closure from 9th May to 12th May between 20:00 hours and 06:00 hours.
  3. Complete weekend closure during the day and night from the night of 13th May at 20:00 hours to be reopened by 00.60 hours on 16th May.
  4. Night time closure from 16th May to 18th May between 20:00 hours and 06:00 hours.
Diversion routes will be in place and will be clearly signed.

The works are being carried out as part of the Challenge Fund project where South Gloucestershire Council was awarded some £14million from the Department for Transport for improvements to the carriageway, footpaths, cycle- ways, drainage systems and structures. You can find out more at

Friday, 22 April 2016

Free books and events on World Book Night

Saturday 23 April is World Book Night and over 40 enthusiastic readers across South Gloucestershire will be handing out free books in their communities. The full list of this year’s 15 titles are available online at

Saturday is also UNESCO international day of the book and William Shakespeare’s birthday. These occasions are being marked with events across South Gloucestershire - find out more on the South Glos website.

Yate cinema here we come!

The Yate cinema that we've all been campaigning for over many years finally opens to the public on Friday 29 April - they're starting with "Captain America: Civil War" in 2D and 3D versions.

There will be a launch event the previous evening for an invited audience, so by the time we all get there we can be pretty sure that everything will work!

You can find out more on their facebook page.

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Emergency closure of Henfield Road

Henfield Road has had to be temporarily closed between the Ram Hill and Serridge Lane junctions to allow a large void that has appeared in the road to be investigated and repaired. The diversion is via Ram Hill.

Have your say on substance misuse services

South Gloucestershire Council wants to hear your views on the re-commissioning of substance misuse services (SMS).

Substance misuse is defined by the World Health Organisation as “the harmful or hazardous use of psychoactive substances, including alcohol and illicit drugs [which] can lead to dependence syndrome.” The services to be re-commissioned will provide not only treatment to drug and alcohol users but also address other underlying societal problems such as homelessness, unemployment and poor physical health.

You can read more and have your say online.

Dementia Reminiscence Session

There will be a Dementia Reminiscence Session at the Dementia CafĂ© at Yate library on April 28th at 2.30-3.30pm. People from Yate Heritage Centre are leading the session using the centre's handling collections.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Police appeal for information about stabbing

Avon and Somerset Police want to hear from anyone who was in the Starbarn Road area of Winterbourne at approximately 12.20am on Sunday 17th April. A 41-year-old man suffered stab injuries and was taken to Southmead hospital for treatment. His injuries are not deemed to be life threatening or life changing.
Two boys, aged 16 and 17, have been arrested and have since been released on bail.

The police believe it to be an isolated incident. Anyone with any information is asked to call 101 quoting crime reference number 5216081699.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Have your say on taxi licensing

South Glos is currently asking for your views on its draft Hackney Carriage (Taxi) and Private Hire Licensing Policy 2015-2020. You can view the consultation documents online and submit your comments up to 1st July.

The policy is intended to provide clarity for licensed vehicle owners, drivers, operators and the public as to how South Gloucestershire will undertake its licensing functions. It will assist the Licensing Authority in making decisions.

Help people save energy and money

Would you like to help people save energy and money? The Centre for Sustainable Energy is looking for people to become local energy advice volunteers.

The Centre for Sustainable Energy is a charity working across the former Avon area, Somerset and Wiltshire to support people living in cold homes or having difficulty managing their energy costs. They are looking for people who can spare some time to help provide home energy advice to people in their local area.

No experience is necessary as you will be given basic training in energy efficiency and giving advice and will receive lots of "on the job" training as you are out and about with their advisors. All out-of-pocket expenses will be reimbursed. For more information, email

And don't forget if you're in fuel poverty, you may be eligible for a grant towards installing central heating - more information here. The scheme has now been extended to cover oil where gas is not available but if you think you are eligible, apply quickly as funds are limited.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Planning committee to visit former church

Next Friday (22nd April) members of the Development Control (East) planning committee will be visiting the former Grace Evangelical Church just outside Westerleigh. The school that is now running there has proposed changes to the building.

To see the applications (one a full planning application, the other for Listed Building consent), go to the planning search page on the South Glos website and search for the reference numbers PK16/0978/F and PK16/0979/LB.

You can read the agenda for the site visit online. The committee members are expected to arrive at around 11.15am.      

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Friends of Ram Hill Colliery looking for volunteers

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery are looking for volunteers to help them protect this important piece of local heritage.

They urgently need a web master. This post does not involve any work at the site, it can all be done in your own home. If you are interested please email David Godden or phone him on  0117 9322602 for further details.

They are also looking for more committee members, again please contact David or Marian Godden using the above details. The committee meets every two months at the Miners Institute for about one hour. On Work Days you can be on site any time between 10.00am and 4.30pm.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Paul Crossley to stand for Police and Crime Commissioner

Paul Crossley, an experienced local community leader from Bath, has been announced as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Avon & Somerset Police & Crime Commissioner.

Local people across the Avon and Somerset force area will have the chance to vote for a new Commissioner in elections to be held on Thursday 5th May 2016. The Commissioner’s role is to hold the service to scrutiny and account on their behalf,

Paul’s top priorities are to:

  • improve the way public services and communities work together
  • cut the costs of the Commissioner’s office.
Paul was the Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council from 2002-7 and from 2011-15, turning it into one of the most successful Councils in the area with low unemployment, high investment, great schools and low crime.

Paul Crossley said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate. My experience running a large Council enables me to improve efficiency whilst cutting waste and bureaucracy. I have the highest regard for the people who make the Police their career. I want to help Avon and Somerset Police be the best and most effective Police Force in the country. My full manifesto will be issued at the start of the election in early April and I encourage all residents to have their say in the vote on May 5th”

Police Officers, PCSOs and Special Constables want to make a difference and keep us safe. Paul believes that they need the personnel, equipment and resources to do this. Since 2010 the number of police in our area has reduced by over 500. And far too much police time is spent on issues that should be addressed by other services, for example for those relating to people who are vulnerable or with mental health problems. Paul believes this is a shared responsibility across the public sector and much more partnership working is needed.As your Police and Crime Commissioner Paul Crossley would prioritise five areas:
  • Closer working with Councils, Health and Social Services to ensure that people with mental health problems get the proper care they need rather than ending up in a police cell because there is nowhere else to go.
  • Rejuvenate community schemes such as Neighbourhood Watch and Farm Watch to ensure that communities feel involved and want to work with community based policing. Encourage the work of the 'Street Pastor' schemes that help keep our city and town centres safe at night and also help people who have had a good night out get home safely
  • Increase the use of restorative justice and work to ensure that proceeds from crime are reclaimed from criminals and returned to victims and communities affected by criminal behaviour. We must improve the resolution rate in solving crimes so that victims of crime can get closure on the event and not feel blighted by worry.
  • Ensure that young people at risk of getting into a life of crime are diverted into positive channels for their lives.
  • Reduce bureaucracy, to enable our police to spend more time working in the community and less behind a desk, and cut the size of the office of the PCC to save vital funds.
You can  join Paul on, email him at and follow him on Twitter @paulncrossley

Ring road closure

The A4174 ring road will be closed east-bound between the Bromley Heath and Wick Wick roundabouts between 9pm Sunday 10th April and 5.30am Monday 11th April. Vehicles will be directed south on Bromley Heath road, left on to Cleeve Hill, then left on to the A432 Badminton Road to rejoin the ring road at the Wick Wick roundabout.

This will allow narrow traffic lanes to be put in, which will be in use until the end of October 2016, while a new bus lane for the upcoming MetroBus is built. During the work there will be a 30mph speed limit in place and wide vehicles will be able to use one lane only.

There is also expected to be heavy traffic on the ring road on Saturday night due to a closure on the M4.

Work on Halfpenny Bridge, Ram Hill

As part of the electrification works, Network Rail are extending the parapets on Halfpenny Bridge, Ram Hill to 1.85m to prevent access to the new electric power cables when they are installed. As the bridge is narrow, they will have to close the footpath to the general public while works are being undertaken, but most of the works will happen at night. Pedestrians and cyclists will be able to cross the bridge as normal when no works are being undertaken.

Work will take place between 22.00hrs and 08.00hrs on the following dates:

Weekend nights in April - 9th, 16th, 23rd
Midweek nights in April - 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th
Weekend nights in May - 7th, 14th, 21st, 22nd

They will do everything possible to minimise the impact on neighbours. For more information contact Toby Elliott, Public Affairs Manager at or 07734 648 408 or Claire McGine, Communications Manager at or 07734 647 240.

Bus service changes

There are a number of changes to the 47/X47 services from 24th April:
  • There will be two more X47 journeys departing Chipping Sodbury at 0620 and 0850.
  • Extra time and an extra bus has been added to Service 47 to ease some of the current issues of poor punctuality and reliability.
  • An additional evening journey from Bristol on Service X47 will also be added. The times of the departures of Service X47 in the evenings will change.
  • Following customer requests an additional 0500 departure from Bristol Bus Station has been added to Service 47, this will allow customers to arrive into Yate before 0600.
Following agreement with the parish councils, a nightbus service will be running but it will be renumbered and will go straight down Badminton Road rather than round Frampton Cotterell (Beesmoor Road/Woodend Road/Church Road) as it used to.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Make sure you're registered to vote

If you want to be able to vote for the next Police and Crime Commissioner on 5th May but are not yet registered at your current address, you can do it online at before midnight on Monday 18 April.

If you can’t go to the polling station on Thursday 5 May, then if you have registered by 18 April you can apply to vote by post or you can appoint a proxy to vote on your behalf. The deadline for postal vote applications is on 5pm on Tuesday 19 April 2016, while the deadline for proxy vote applications is 5pm on Tuesday 26 April 2016.

Registering now for the elections in May will also mean you are registered in good time before the EU referendum on Thursday 23 June.

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Short walks around Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell

To help people enjoy the beautiful countryside surrounding Coalpit Heath and Frampton Cotterell, Village Action have provided a round-up of walks organised by local groups. These walks are around 3 to 4 miles in length and suitable for most people though at times they can be muddy and sometimes involve crossing stiles.

Friday, 1 April 2016

Lorries outside Sainsbury's - a reminder

Back in January Claire Young asked people to send her details of any problems caused by lorries parking on Badminton Road outside the new Sainsbury's store in Coalpit Heath. Thank you to those who have sent in emails, sometimes with photos and videos attached. It's important that highways officers understand what is happening to help them decide what, if any, action is needed.

Do keep on sending Claire your reports. It would be helpful if you could say if the lorry was unloading/loading or just parked so the driver could buy things from the store, but the most important thing is to know when it is happening.