Friday, 27 May 2016

Work starts on Aerospace Bristol

Thursday saw the Ground Breaking Ceremony for Aerospace Bristol, the new home for Concorde.

As well as being a great visitor attraction and a fitting recognition of the contribution this area has made to the aerospace industry, it's hoped that it will inspire young people locally to get involved in the industry. At the ceremony we heard from a young woman who has spent six months volunteering with the Bristol Aero Collection and is now going to be doing a sponsored degree with BAe.

Your Focus Team was delighted to be invited to attend and to help mark out the shape of Concorde on the ground. You can see how that looked from above and read the official press release here.

Update on railway works

Network Rail have written to Westerleigh councillor Claire Young with an update on their works on Halfpenny Bridge.

The project was delayed to carry out a full structural survey, because they will be removing 2.5 tonnes of metal and replacing it with 3.5 tonnes. They are now ready to start again and have applied for a footpath closure from mid-July to mid-August. However, as originally planned, they will only be working on Saturday nights, so the bridge will be open to pedestrians at other times.

Elsewhere, electrification works will require the temporary diversion of the Frome Valley Walkway at Old Sodbury. Network Rail will be replacing an aqueduct with a new and raised structure.  The Frome Valley Walkway will be closed between Badminton Road and Chapel Lane for the duration of the works (1st August 2016 to 31 March  2017 approximately) with a temporary diversion routing pedestrians along the footpaths on Badminton Road and Chapel Lane.

Earlier in the week there were problems with the diversion for the Dodington Road bridge works, but following the intervention of Focus Team members this appears to have been resolved.

On Thursday Claire met a Network Rail representative to discuss the visual impact of the electrification works on the viaducts and the landscape of the Frome Valley. We'll update you when we have more information.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Local events on Bank Holiday Monday

If you don't fancy travelling further afield on Bank Holiday Monday (30th May), there are events to enjoy locally.

Ram Hill Colliery will be holding an Open Day from 10am to 4.30pm. Light refreshments will be available.

The Bridge House Light Railway will be running from 2-4pm at the Bridge House care home in Frampton Cotterell.

Have your say on carers, dementia and falls prevention

South Glos is currently asking for your views on three draft strategies - about carers, dementia and falls prevention.

All of the consultation documents can be viewed online - details of any consultation events in your area will also be published shortly. The deadline for comments is Monday 22 August.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Council now seeking your views on devolution

We reported last week that there would be no public consultation on the West of England devolution deal until after the four councils have decided whether to accept the deal. The Liberal Democrat Leader on South Glos, Cllr Ruth Davis, put an urgent question to the Conservative Leader of the Council ahead of Wednesday night's council meeting asking why this was. This is what the devolution page looked like last week:

After Ruth submitted her written question, this was changed to say:
During May and June 2016
It is your local councillors that will be making the decision on the proposed deal in June and you can give them your views here:
The council also put out a press release.

This is a step in the right direction, although as Ruth raised in her follow-up question at the meeting, it was still not on the consultation page, where local people would expect to find all council consultations. The Leader of Council promised to look into this.

The leaders of all three main parties wrote to Oliver Letwin  several weeks ago seeking permission to hold an indicative referendum on the devolution deal on the same day as the Europe referendum. He hasn't even had the courtesy to reply. A motion was proposed at the council meeting calling for a more formal Council approach to the Minister. However, despite having written to him previously, the Conservatives amended the motion to argue why a referendum is not necessary. During the debate, your Focus Team expressed concern about the limited information that is being given to the public.

We urge everyone to read the information that has been made available and to give the council your views.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Referendum campaign in full swing

On Saturday the Focus Team was out campaigning in both Yate and Thornbury for a REMAIN vote in the EU referendum on 23rd June.

You can find out why we are campaigning for the UK to stay ‪#‎INtogether‬ here- and if you'd like to help us campaign you can sign up here.

Of course you can only vote in the referendum if you're registered to vote. You can register quickly and easily online and need to do it by 7th June to be able to vote in the referendum. If you're already registered, there is no need to register again. If you're going to be away, you can vote by post or proxy.

Don't forget - Dodington Road closure

As we've previously reported, Dodington Road, near Chipping Sodbury School, will be shut from Monday 23 May until Sunday 5 June so that the railway bridge can be modified as part of the electrification works. The work will be completed during a series of Saturday night closures, from 10pm until 8am. Access for pedestrians and cyclists will be maintained throughout.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Foster Care fortnight

Foster Care Fortnight started on Monday. If you think you could make a difference in child's life, you can find out more at a drop-in session being held at the Badminton Road council offices on Tuesday 24th May from 7pm to 9pm. Social workers and existing foster carers will be able to answer your questions and tell you what it's really like to foster. For further information visit, call 0800 2061443 or email

Police appeal for witnesses to fatal collision

Avon and Somerset police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal collision on Badminton Road, near the Park Lane junction, shortly after midnight on Monday morning. A car was in collision with a pedestrian, a man in his 20's, who died from his injuries at the scene.
Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact the police now on 101 and quote reference number CI/95/16/1053.

In view of this tragic fatality, South Glos highways officers will investigate the injury accident record at the junction.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Ram Hill Colliery events

The next Ram Hill Colliery Open Day will be held on Monday 30th May 2016 10am – 4.30pm. Volunteers will be giving detailed tours of the site and serving refreshments.

The Friends of Ram Hill Colliery would welcome new volunteers to help them with their work conserving the site. You can contact David or Marian Godden on 01179 322602. Their A.G.M. will be held on Thursday 23rd June 2016 7.30pm at The Miners Institute in Coalpit Heath.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Delay to Halfpenny Bridge works

Thank you to everyone who has contacted us about the rail electrification work. Claire Young will be meeting officers and a Network Rail representative later this month. If you have any comments on the gantries, please let Claire know.

At Monday's Parish Council meeting it was mentioned that Network Rail have stopped work for the time being on Halfpenny Bridge because they are concerned about the ability of the bridge to take the weight of the extra iron work. Claire contacted Network Rail for more information and was reassured that the bridge remains safe and open in the meantime. When they are ready to restart the work, they will have to go through the formal footpath closure process again. They would hope to do the work at night, as originally planned, so that the bridge can remain open in the daytime.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Police seek information about ATM explosion

The police are continuing their enquiries into an attack on a cash machine at Tesco Express on Station Road Yate in the early hours of the 11th May. The attack, which happened shortly before 3.30am, resulted in the road being closed for several hours while investigators examined the scene and structural engineers were brought in to make the building safe.

Anyone who witnessed the incident is asked to call 101 quoting reference number 5216101529.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Former Grace Church planning applications approved

We previously reported on the planning committee's visit to the former Grace Church, now a school. Last Thursday, the committee voted to approve their applications.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Police and Crime Commissioner re-elected

Congratulations to independent candidate Sue Mountstevens on her re-election as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset. You can read more here.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Paul Crossley has posted his thanks on Facebook.

No say on metro mayor

You can now read more about the devolution deal at - but the Tory-run council is only giving you a say after the decision has been taken!

The web page, published today (10th May), explains that while the decision will be taken by councillors in June, the first "consultation" will be in July or August. Your Focus Team strongly believes that local people should be involved now, before the councils decide whether to accept the deal. It would bring £30m of investment each year for the next 30 years, but the Government insists there would have to be a directly elected Mayor for the West of England.

The Lib Dem leader on South Glos Cllr Ruth Davis said: "This is one of the biggest decisions we will ever have to take. The public should absolutely be involved - and they're being told their voice is going to be shut out until after the Tories have decided."

Please do read the web page and let your Focus Team know your views.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Coming to a railway viaduct near you?

As part of electrification, Network Rail not only have to cut back vegetation along the track, 6 metres back either side of the line, but they will also be installing overhead gantries around every 50 metres to carry the wires. Would you want gantries like the ones pictured above on our iconic viaducts, dominating our local landscape? Your Focus Team is pushing for less obtrusive designs to be used - let us know if you agree.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Yate cinema dream becomes reality

A 15 year campaign has come to fruition with the opening of Yate's very own multiplex cinema.

Councillors and Liberal Democrat Focus Team members, led by former MP Steve Webb, campaigned for over 15 years to bring a cinema to the town. Last Thursday it was officially opened by the Mayor of Yate, Cllr Tony Davis (pictured on the right here celebrating with other members of the Focus Team who campaigned for the cinema).

The developers say that we wouldn't have got the cinema if it wasn't for the massive support from local people and Yate Town Council. This shows what a community can achieve if it's determined enough for long enough. A big thank you to everyone who supported our campaign.

Flashback to 2014 - Yate Cinema campaigners celebrate
the announcement that the cinema is on its way

Reminder - consultations on cuts closing next week

Don't forget that you only have until Friday 13th May to have your say on cuts to libraries, council offices and customer services. All three consultations are featured on the council's consultation web page.

First step in investigation into 20mph limit on Ram Hill

Back in March, the final Frome Vale Area Forum agreed that there should be an investigation into a possible 20mph limit on Ram Hill.

Claire Young and the Ram Hill Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator recently met a South Glos highways officer on site as the first step in this investigation. The council will be putting down loops to monitor the current speed of traffic, which will be a factor in deciding whether further traffic calming measures would be needed. If they are, officers would have to take into account factors such as the narrowness of the road, the lack of street lighting, the fact it is a bus route and the desire not to urbanise the road. We looked at the best locations for the loops to be installed and also walked down Serridge Lane to look at the problems there.

The officer stressed that this is just an investigation scheme. Any proposals that come out of it would go on the Priority List to be considered for funding in a future financial year. In the past, local people would have been able to go along to the local Area Forum, which had a budget of £100,000 each year for local schemes, but unfortunately the forums have been scrapped.

The officer went back to the office with her plan marked up with notes. Among the other issues we discussed were where the best starting point would be and whether the existing wooden posts could be reused.