Thursday, 30 November 2017

Get involved

If you believe the West of England and South Gloucestershire Council have got it wrong with their development plans, why not join one of the action groups? You can find them online:
VALID have been working hard to get leaflets out informing people of the consultation. If you could help them spread the word further, please email them.

Your Focus Team is also making sure people know how to have their say, as well as keeping people up to date on other local issues. If you can help us by delivering a few leaflets, please email Claire.

Speed check in Coalpit Heath

As part of the police's road safety week they carried out two speed checks on Henfield Road, between Station Road and Roundways. Twelve people were stopped and education about speeding provided.  A further five are still to be contacted and spoken to. They will be looking to target this road again in the future.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Update on warehouse fire

South Gloucestershire Council have released this update following a warehouse fire on the Beeches Industrial estate last month.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Ageing Better Plan - South Glos consultation

South Glos Council's Ageing Better Plan will bring together the outcomes and priorities that will guide work to support older people (age 65+), the way they will measure progress and how they will work to realise their vision. It is based on data, evidence and consultation with older people and wider partners across the area.

South Gloucestershire Council is now opening the Ageing Better Plan to public consultation between until 12th January 2018.

They are keen to hear views from as wide a range of people as possible; find out what you think of the plan, including how it could be improved, whether they've left out anything that you think is a crucial issue, or how you'd like to get involved in making it happen.

You can find out more and make your views known here.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Have your say on food plan

You have until 5th January to have your say on the South Glos Food Plan.

The purpose of the Food Plan for South Gloucestershire is to create a more healthy, sustainable and just food system for our area. It will do this by identifying the key needs and challenges, and by providing a framework for coordinated action. It covers three key themes:

  • Health and wellbeing 
  • Environment and sustainability 
  • Jobs and local food economy
For more information, go to the consultation website.

Shopping securely online

Action Fraud, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, have issued the following advice on shopping securely online in the run up to Christmas:

How To Shop Online Safely

Check the web address
Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.
Is it a secure connection?
Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure.

Don't click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period.

Bank transfers
65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

How to have your say on new homes plan

The consultation on thousands of new homes in our area is now underway.

You can comment online - you can step through the Joint Spatial Plan section by section and there is a button at the bottom of each section that allows you to add a comment. You'll need to register with the site, if you haven't already done so for a previous consultation, and log in. Do make sure you submit each comment before moving on to the next section.

Particular sections of interest include:

Don't be misled by policy 7.12 being labelled Yate - the land involved is actually in Iron Acton and Westerleigh Parishes. These proposals will affect Engine Common, Nibley and Westerleigh and development will come close to Iron Acton and the development proposed at Coalpit Heath.

If you cannot comment online, you can download a form. You can email the completed form to or post it to West of England Joint Spatial Plan C/o South Gloucestershire Council, Planning PO Box 1954 Bristol BS37 0DD.

Before making your comments, it is well worth reading this page on how to comment and this guide to commenting.

You only have until 10th January 2018 to comment - don't forget in the Christmas rush!

A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation. When commenting, you can say whether or not you would like to be called to give evidence at the public inquiry.

Remember, this is your last chance to have your say so don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Broadband latest

South Glos has launched its new Connecting South Gloucestershirewebsite, dedicated to the Superfast broadband programme.  This is the place to go to find the latest information on broadband within South Gloucestershire.

Unfortunately it is not all good news for the Codrington area. Because traffic is being diverted along the B4465 due to the Bromley Heath viaduct works, the traffic management is more complex than it would otherwise have been. This has delayed the installation, although they are looking at alternative ways to deliver as much of Codrington as possible by the end of December. We also understand that the businesses around Cotswold Spring will not be updated.

Also, not everyone will necessarily be upgraded in a particular area. You can check whether your property will be upgraded by going to

Phase 3, starting later this year, will benefit communities including: Cromhall, Dodington, Falfield, Frampton Cotterell, Iron Acton, Rangeworthy, Westerleigh, Wickwar and Yate.

Two events in revamped hall

There are two events coming up in the revamped Coalpit Heath Village Hall (aka The Miners):

  • From 12 noon until 3pm on Saturday 2nd December, the hall will be having its 90th Anniversary Celebration. There will be tea, coffee, mince pies, cake, and a ukele band. 
  • On Wednesday 6th December (7.30pm for 8pm start) there will be a talk about the South Glos Mines Research Group archaeological excavation at Serridge. 
 Both events are a chance to celebrate the village's mining heritage.

Monday, 20 November 2017

Tell the council your priorities

Over the last 6 years South Glos Council has already cut £63.6m from its annual budget and they're intending to cut another £10.5m per annum across 2018/19 and 2019/20. Even that leaves the council with a predicted hole of £15.7m by 2021/22 so watch out for more cuts being announced.

What do you think the council's priorities should be? Fill in the budget survey to let them know. Your Liberal Democrat Focus Team will be fighting to protect services for the most vulnerable.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Consultation on new homes starts next week

All four West of England councils have now agreed that the consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) should go ahead so it will start on 22nd November. The JSP proposes:
  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, between Engine Common and Nibley and down to Westerleigh, with at least 1,000 being built by 2036 
  • 1,200 at Charfield 
  • 3,000 at a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being built by 2036 
  • 500 at Thornbury 
Some headlines have given the impression that the plan has already been approved - it has not. A Planning Inspector will hold a public inquiry next year to decide if the plan is sound and whether any changes are needed to make it sound. They will see any comments you make in the consultation, which runs until 10th January 2018.

This will be your last chance to have your say - don't leave it to others. Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes. 

The new South Glos Local Plan will just be adding in the details and possibly allocating smaller sites. It can't put the homes in a different place entirely from that allocated in the JSP.

The JSP document, supporting evidence and details of how to make a submission will be published online at on 22nd November. If you would like to help spread the word to those who aren't online, please contact us.

Partial victory in health campaign - but more cuts to come

Your Focus Team welcomes news that local health managers have rowed back on proposals to cut the upper age limit for which women are eligible for IVF treatment on the NHS after protests - but more cuts are to come.

Faced with a growing deficit, NHS chiefs proposed a series of cuts to local health services, including limiting fertility treatment to women between 30 and 35 years of age. They already only fund one treatment, rather than the NICE recommendation of up to 3. They have now decided to keep the age limit for IVF treatment at 40. However they are still proposing that any woman whose partner has a child from a previous relationship will not be eligible for IVF treatment. On top of this, we have been warned that there will be millions in cuts announced after the New Year.

Together with Bristol and North Somerset, South Gloucestershire is one of only 14 areas in the country targeted for extra cuts under the Conservative Government’s Capped Expenditure Process. Many of our NHS services are already being stretched close to breaking point. We are calling for greater investment in the NHS so that health managers can concentrate on how to improve services, not how to cut them. Thank you to everyone who has already signed our petition to protect local NHS funding. If you haven’t already, you can do so here.

Public consultation on new school building

There will be a public consultation session on the new school building at Watermore Primary School. The drop-in will be held from 2.45 to 7pm on Tuesday 28th November at the Meadow site (the old Highcroft Junior School site).

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Temporary closure of North Road for cleaning

North Road, Yate, from its junction with Armstrong Way to the bridge over the River Frome, is expected to close from 6am to 8am on 23rd November so the leaves can be cleaned away.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Volunteers start major tree planting programme at Wapley Bushes

Wapley Bushes Conservation Group is carrying out a major programme of tree planting this autumn and winter, to deal with the threat of Ash Dieback Disease. This disease is carried by a fungus. Mature trees are the most affected - they lose their leaves and the crown dies back. It's within a dozen miles of Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve. If something isn't done now, within twenty years we will have lost all the high canopy in Wapley Woods.

The Conservation Group has come up with a scheme to plant other large native species throughout the woodland. This season they will be planting 90 to 100 trees - Oak, Lime, Black Poplar, Whitebeam and Wild Service trees. They are all native to the West of England area.

Hopefully members of the local community will come along and help preserve this wonderful woodland. Families with children are particularly welcome - it's really planting for the future. The Conservation Group supply the trees, the tools and gloves, people just need to wear wellies or stout footwear.

The first planting morning will be at 10.00 am on Saturday 18 November at the Shire Way entrance to the Nature Reserve, opposite the road entrance to Cherington, BS37 8US. There will also be planting sessions on Sunday 18 February and Saturday 18 March. The trees and preparation work are being financed by the landowners, Dodington Parish Council.

Time to nominate community heroes

Nominations are now open for The Chair’s Community Awards 2018. If you know a volunteer or group who has gone the extra mile to help your community, please nominate them using the forms available on this page by 5th January.

Suggested areas of contribution include community development, promoting equality, arts, sports, play, environment, working with older or young people, advice and advocacy and being a good neighbour. The chosen nominees will be notified in February and invited to a prestigious awards evening on 7 March to receive their awards. The Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter, attends the awards ceremony and selects an individual from the winners to receive a special Lord Lieutenant’s Award.

No online access to council this weekend

Due to essential electrical work all of South Glos Council's online forms will be unavailable this weekend from 6pm on Friday 17 November until 4pm on Sunday 19 November 2017. Open Access will not be available in libraries from Friday evening until Monday morning. IT services will also not be available in libraries in staffed opening hours. South Glos apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Friday, 10 November 2017

South Glos approves consultation on plan for thousands of homes

On Wednesday the ruling Conservatives on South Glos Council voted through the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP), which includes proposals for:

  • 1,800 new homes at Coalpit Heath
  • 2,000 homes plus employment land on the edge of Yate, between Engine Common and Nibley and down to Westerleigh, with 1,000 being built by 2036
  • 1,200 at Charfield
  • 3,000 at a new garden village at Buckover, with at least 1,500 of them being built by 2036
  • 500 at Thornbury
Representatives of VALID, TRAPP'D and Falfield Action Group all spoke about their concerns, as did Cllrs Claire Young, Pat and Dave Hockey, John O'Neill and other Lib Dem Focus Team members. There was controversy when a TRAPP'D representative revealed an email they'd received via a Freedom of Information request - you can read more about that on the Gazette website.

If the other three councils vote the plans through, they will go out to consultation on 22nd November. This will be your last chance to write in with your comments so it's important you have your say. 

Next spring the plan along with all the comments will be submitted to the Secretary of State and a planning inspector will then hold a public inquiry. They can find the plan "sound", decide it needs some changes to make it sound or throw the plan out and tell the councils to start again.

Once the plan has been adopted it will be too late to change where the new development goes. The new South Glos Local Plan will just be adding in the details and possibly allocating smaller sites, it can't put the homes in a different place entirely from that allocated in the JSP. That is why it is so important to have your say in this consultation.

History Society Talk

Next week Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society will be having a talk,“In Defence of the Drift" (one of the battles of the Zulu Wars in the late 19th century), by Paul Barnett. It will start at 7.30pm on Wednesday 15th November in Zion Church Woodend Road Frampton Cotterell BS36 2HY and there will be light refreshments. All welcome, entry £4, free to members (annual subscription £15).

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Consultation on 30mph speed limit on Bristol Road

South Gloucestershire Council is consulting on reducing the speed limit to 30mph on Bristol Road between the junction with Church Road and the Winterbourne boundary. This is being proposed by Highways Officers because of the number of accidents there has been. You can make comments here until the 17th November.

Because of the difficulty crossing the road between the bus stop and the Health Centre Pat Hockey had asked officers to investigate the possibility of a pedestrian refuge. Unfortunately the road is too narrow to accommodate one safely.

Be Winter Ready - some easy advice

Be Winter Ready is a national campaign to encourage people to prepare in case they experience a power cut or gas emergency this winter.

Here's some simple advice:

  • Know your free emergency numbers: In a power cut dial 105 or, for a gas emergency, dial 0800 111999. 
  • Prepare your home: Keep a torch handy and get your appliances serviced by a Gas Safe registered engineer to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. 
  • Register as a vulnerable customer: Vulnerable households can get extra support by signing up to the Priority Services Register. Visit to find out who your network operator is. Most of this area is covered by Western Power Distribution who you can register with here.
  • Keep your eyes open: Keep an eye on the weather forecast and, if you have a power cut or a gas emergency, please check on your neighbours.

Yate, Chipping Sodbury and Dodington Community Engagement Forum 16 November

The Yate and Chipping Sodbury Community Engagement Forum will be meeting 7 pm – 9 pm on 16 November at Poole Court, Poole Court Drive, Yate BS37 5PP.

This is your chance to talk directly to local Police and Fire and Rescue representatives, and Town/Parish and South Glos Councillors about issues of local concern.

There will also be a presentation about the work done by Abbotswood Action Group and the progress made in the Abbotswood area.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Speaking out on housing plans

On Monday plans for 1,800 homes at Coalpit Heath and hundreds more just up the road to the north west and west of Yate were discussed by the West of England Joint Committee in Bath. Local councillors Claire Young and Pat Hockey and VALID representative Peter Connors attended, with Claire and Peter both speaking out on the plans. Despite the concerns they raised, and despite both the Leader of North Somerset and the Mayor of Bristol saying they hadn't had time to read the document, the West of England leaders voted to recommend the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) to the four councils.

The BBC asked if anyone would be available for filming the next day in Coalpit Heath. They were expecting one or two people and were astonished by the crowd that turned out at such short notice. They were left in no doubt about the level of concern and while they were there also filmed the danger signs around the old mine shaft that has been fenced off in the corner of the field.

The Joint Spatial Plan will be considered by the South Glos Cabinet at 2pm on Monday (not 10am like we previously reported) and then by all councillors at a meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 8th November in Kingswood Civic Centre. Members of the public are welcome to attend.

If South Glos and the other three councils all approve the JSP for consultation, you will be able to have your say from 22nd November to 10th January. We'll give you more information on how to do this when the consultation starts.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Make the A46 temporary traffic lights permanent

Temporary traffic lights have been installed on the A46 at the Tormarton junction while the Bromley Heath viaduct works are being carried out. Local people have told us that overall these have improved safety but the lights will be removed once the viaduct works are complete.

We believe that a permanent solution is needed. We are calling on the council to work with Highways England to resolve any concerns about the manoeuvres allowed and traffic building up on the J18 roundabout so that permanent traffic lights can be installed. If you agree, please sign our petition.