Friday, 27 January 2017

Action time - new Woodlands Farm application

Flashback: Site visit for previous application
in 2013
Barratt Homes have submitted an application to build up to 215 homes on Woodlands Farm - a development they call Blackberry Park.

You can view and comment on the application online - if the link doesn't work, go to, click on the "Planning applications" button then "Search planning applications" and use the reference PT17/0215/O. You only have until Wednesday 15 February to have your say!

Unfortunately due to planned maintenance, there may be limited access to the South Glos website from Friday 27 January to Sunday 29 January. So if you can't view the application, try again after the weekend.

Of course not everyone is online. If you could help the VALID campaign group to get the word out, please email - and email if you can help the Focus Team do the same.

Mangotsfield recycling centre to close for improvement works

From 1 February, the transfer station and recycling yard attached to the Mangotsfield Sort It recycling centre will be undergoing improvement works. These will prepare the site for the weekly recycling collections starting in June and improve traffic flow in and around the site.

The centre will have to close to the public from 1 February to 31 May for this work to be carried out. The three other Sort It recycling centres in South Gloucestershire will be open as usual, 8.30am – 4.30pm seven days a week:

  • Thornbury - Short Way, BS35 3UT 
  • Yate - Collett Way, BS37 5NL 
  • Little Stoke - Station Road, BS34 6HP 
You can check what can be accepted at each site and make sure your vehicle is registered at

Interested in our local mining heritage?

You may be aware that the Ram Hill area has a rich and fascinating industrial history, although this isn't always obvious to the casual observer. Sites include the historic remains of Ram Hill Colliery, the capped shaft of Ram Engine Pit, Serridge, New Engine, a ruined weighbridge and steam railway engine shed and the remains of a horse drawn dramway.

Steve Grudgings of the South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group has offered to do a talk, with film/slides, possibly at Henfield Hall, if there is sufficient local interest. It could also be fascinating to hear reminiscences from local people who recall the end of mining in the area.

If you would be interested in such an event, please email Ian Wilkinson, the Ram Hill Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Temporary swimming pool at Yate for 6 months

Because of essential maintenance work at Yate Leisure Centre, both swimming pools will be closed from the end of March until the Autumn. Public swimming WILL still be available using a temporary swimming pool.

The pool and plant equipment requires essential maintenance work for it to remain in operation. The pool pipework and plant will be replaced with new environmentally friendly equipment.

Our Yate colleagues contacted Circadian Trust for more details about the temporary pool, and they told them: "It will be 18m in length X 10m in width X 1m deep. The frame will be constructed mainly of wood, then lined with a sand based and a pool liner. The whole structure will be secured in a marquee in the rear of the Kennedy Way car park. Customers will access the pool from the corridor of the main building (customers will not be outside, there will be an enclosed walk-way). The admission costs and opening times will be the same as normal and a specific pool timetable will be created for this period. All swimming lessons will continue and lesson days and times will remain UNCHANGED."

Monday, 23 January 2017

Resuscitation Training (CPR) and Defibrillator Awareness

If you are interested in finding out how to do chest compression and rescue breathing to keep someone alive until an ambulance arrives, get along to one of the training sessions at Westerleigh Village Hall:

Saturday 4th February 11:00-12:00
Friday 10th February 19:00-20:00
Saturday 11th February 14:00-15:00

For more information on CPR go to the British Heart Foundation web site.

Friday, 20 January 2017

YIA to become part of Greenshaw Learning Trust

It's been announced that Yate International Academy will be re-brokered into the Greenshaw Learning Trust. You can read more here.

Winterbourne International Academy will remain the responsibility of The Ridings’ Federation Academy Trust, who, with the support of The Olympus Academy Trust and Castle School Education Trust, will take responsibility for responding to the issues identified by the Department, EFA and Ofsted.

Bromley Heath Viaduct work to go ahead

Bromley Heath Viaduct will undergo a £5.9 million maintenance programme to strengthen the 1960s structure and provide improvements for cyclists and pedestrians.

The improvement works will be carried out west bound, between the Bromley Heath roundabout and the Hambrook / Bristol Road junction. They will begin in June/July this year for a maximum duration of one year, but with an aim to try to secure additional funding to accelerate the work programme and reduce the timescale. Both the essential maintenance of the viaduct structure and the improvements to widen the shared footpath for cyclists and pedestrians will be combined, which means that the total maximum time required on site would be one year rather than two.

Because of the extent of the work, the southern viaduct will be completely closed to all traffic for the duration of the project. This is because the removal of the worn out parts of the structure will mean it is too weak to safely carry any traffic until the maintenance is complete. During the closure, all traffic will be diverted on to the northern viaduct as other options would require a significant one to two mile diversion on to narrow roads. Unfortunately this will cause significant delays, as this is one of the busiest sections of the A4174, and the impact will be felt on other local roads too. Ultimately if the work wasn't done, the southern viaduct would become too unsafe to use.

For more information about the work schedule visit

View a video of the current state of the viaduct here

If you have any questions please contact the council at

Broadband update

South Glos are expecting the next phase of the Broadband deployment, which will include Codrington village, to be complete by the end of the year. Hopefully Codrington will get their update between July and September.

Wapley and Beanwood Park are not included in this deployment but are in the intervention area for the next phase. Watch this space!

New text number to combat rural crime - 81819

Avon and Somerset Police have launched a new text service to help them prevent and detect rural crime.

They are asking rural communities and businesses to help them by providing information and intelligence about suspected crime in their area. The new number will allow the public to text information directly to the Rural Crime Team, who will be able to assess and action the intelligence quickly and efficiently.

The number won’t be monitored 24/7 but the team will be looking at it when they are on duty. It therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes or anything which requires an immediate police attendance. In those circumstances please dial 999.

The new number is 81819, please text the police any information you believe could either help prevent or detect a crime in your area. You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. They never ask your name or trace your call.

You can read more about the new service on the Avon and Somerset website.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cervical Cancer Prevention Week: 22nd-28th January

mycouncillor-image-cervical-cancer-prevention-2 A proven way to prevent cervical cancer is to have cervical screening to find pre-cancers before they can turn into invasive cancer. This is called a smear test and every woman over the age of 25 who is registered at a GP is invited to have one every 3 years; if you’re younger you can still make a request through your GP.

Cervical screening prevents 75% of cervical cancers from developing which is why three quarters of women attend screenings when invited. Getting that final quarter of women that don’t currently turn up for testing is the goal for Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, which this year runs from 22-28 January.

Everyday in the UK 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and 3 women lose their lives to it. There are brilliant charities like Jo’s Trust and Eve Appeal doing fantastic work to help change those statistics. You can find more information online about the signs and symptoms of the disease and how to prevent it.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

January Beat Surgeries

Next week there are two chances to meet your local Neighbourhood Policing Team to discuss any issues or queries you may have. They will be holding beat surgeries 4-5pm on Monday 23 January at the Brockeridge Centre, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell and 4-5pm on Tuesday 24 January at Westerleigh Village Hall.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Another planning consultation

No sooner is one planning consultation out of the way, then another one comes along.

By the end of 2018, South Glos has to publish a new Local Plan for 2018-2036. It will review and eventually replace existing local planning documents, including the Core Strategy and the Policies, Sites and Places Plan.

The Joint Spatial Plan for the West of England, which was consulted on before Christmas, will set out the overall amount of residential and employment development and where it should be located in the West of England, as well as the infrastructure to support it. One of the things that the new South Gloucestershire Local Plan will do is to allocate specific sites for development - strategic sites at the locations identified in the JSP and smaller, non-stategic ones.

The Local Plan will also set out the planning policies that will be used when the council determines planning applications.

Work on the new Local Plan is just starting and the council wants your views on the prospectus, a document setting out the programme for preparing the plan and the proposed scope. They also want you to share your priorities for the area and how the council will deliver new development.

You can have your say online until Thursday 23rd February.

Council tax to increase for social care?

Have you had your say on the South Glos budget yet?

An extra question has now been added to the consultation. Last year South Glos took up the option to charge an extra 2% of council tax as an "adult social care precept" to go towards the spiralling costs of providing care to the vulnerable. It had been expected that this would continue at 2% for the following years but in December the Government announced a proposal that councils could introduce the rise sooner  – so they could increase council tax by up to 3% in 2017/18 or 2018/19 but still could not exceed 6% in total over the three year period 2017-2020. South Glos want to know your views on this. You can have your say online until 23rd January.

It is hard to see how South Glos can plug the funding gap without taking up this proposal but the Liberal Democrats nationally do not think this is the answer to the crisis in social care. Using council tax to raise the money will disproportionately burden the less well off in our communities and poorer parts of the country will be less able to raise money in this way than wealthier ones. Led by our health spokesperson and former Health Minister Norman Lamb we are pushing for a cross-party agreement on funding for health and social care. Is it time to put a penny on income tax to secure the future of the NHS and social care?

Interim head announced for Winterbourne International Academy

Peter Smart, Headteacher of The Castle School, Thornbury, will be seconded to the post of Interim Principal at Winterbourne International Academy, from 16th January to 31st August 2017. More information is available on the WIA website.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Police seeking information on burglaries

Police would like to hear from anyone who has information on the following incidents locally:

  • At some point between midday on Wednesday January the 4th and 1.20pm on Saturday the 7th, unknown person(s) have forced entry to a residence on Medway Drive, by using a screwdriver-type object to force a rear bedroom window. 
  • Between Tuesday January the 3rd and 9am on Friday the 6th, unknown person(s) have attempted to force entry to a residence on School Road, Frampton Cotterell. It appears the offender(s) have gained access to the rear of the property through an insecure side gate, where they have tried to force one of the rear patio doors. 
If you have any information regarding these incidents, please contact the Police on 101. Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Yate Spur cycle consultation - still time to make comments

Cllrs Paul Hulbert and Claire Young at the exhibition

It was good to see so many people at last week's Yate Spur cycle path drop-in session at Shireway Community Centre. You only have until Sunday 15 January to have your say. Full details of the scheme and how to comment are on the South Glos website.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Nibley Lane to close for cleaning

Nibley Lane is expected to close for cleaning from its junction with Badminton Road to its junction with Westerleigh Road between 9.30am and 2.30pm on Monday 16th January.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Latest on Winterbourne International Academy

Will Roberts, CEO of The Castle School Education Trust, and Dave Baker, CEO of The Olympus Academy Trust, have written a joint letter to parents about the interim leadership arrangements for Winterbourne International Academy. You can read it on the WIA website. They have invited parents to a rolling programme of presentations followed by questions starting at 4pm, 5pm, 6pm and 7pm on Wednesday 11th January.

Try a new activity for free

Do you fancy trying a new fitness activity this New Year?

South Glos Council's SportsPound programme helps people across the area to get active. If you currently do less than 30 minutes of physical activity per week, are over 14 years old and live in South Gloucestershire, you are eligible to receive SportsPound vouchers. These will give you eight free sessions of any of the activites listed on their website, including aerobics, ante and postnatal fitness, badminton, bowls, cricket, football, martial arts, netball, rugby, running, swimming, tennis and yoga.

You can now register online, which makes it quick and simply to apply for SportsPound vouchers. There is also a team of Sports Pound activators across South Glos who you can speak to - you can get in touch via the website.

South Gloucestershire’s SportsPound received National Lottery funding of £171,324 from Sport England.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Happy New Year, Sir Steve Webb!

Our former MP Steve Webb has been awarded a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List. He was our MP from 1997 to 2015 and Minister of State for Pensions in the coalition government.

Since last year Steve has been the Director of Policy at the large mutual insurer Royal London, a role that allows him to carry on raising issues about pensions and other areas of public policy. He pops up on Moneybox or the Today programme from time to time, but unfortunately because of this role he's not able to engage actively in party politics.

We wish Sir Steve and Lady Helen all the very best for 2017 and the future.