Friday, 22 December 2017

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 useful information about local services over Christmas and the New Year in our recent blogpost and council office opening hours here

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Westerleigh lights raise money for stroke charity

Once again the people of Mill Crescent, Westerleigh have put on a Christmas light display to raise money for charity. This year they've chosen Different Strokes, a charity run by younger stroke survivors for younger stroke survivors. 

The Mill Crescent lights have become a local Christmas tradition. Why not pop along and see for yourself? You can find out more about the light display, including some of the special visitors they've had this year, on their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Parish Councils respond to housing plans

There was standing room only in Iron Acton Village Hall on Monday evening. Iron Acton Parish Council had sprung into action after Pat Hockey  had alerted them to the significance of the Draft Joint Spatial currently out for consultation. Quite understandably they had not thought of the proposed Yate strategic development area of 2,000 homes as being mostly in their Parish.

The Parishioners made it very clear that developing the rural area between the village and Yate is not acceptable. They fully endorsed the Parish Council’s proposed response to the consultation.

Iron Acton have published their response online, as have Charfield Parish Council. Westerleigh Parish Council will be considering their response at their meeting on 8th January. Don't forget to have your say before 10th January.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Thinking ahead to the Big Spring Clean

There might still be a few days to go to Christmas, but already some people are thinking ahead to spring. The South Gloucestershire Spring Clean will run from 13 February to 14 May. This is a chance for individuals and groups to help clean up our local area by organising or taking part in a litter pick. The national Keep Britain Tidy network will be focusing on the weekend of 2-4 March in particular but you can organise your event at any time in the three months. In fact, as the council has limited equipment to offer, choosing a less popular weekend could be a good idea - as well as booking as far in advance as possible.

To get involved, simply register your event by completing this booking form and send it back to - you can find more information on the South Glos website.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Useful information this Christmas

With the festive season getting underway, here is some information you might find useful over the Christmas and New Year period.


These are the last posting dates if you want your UK post to arrive before Christmas:

Wednesday 20 December - 2nd Class and 2nd Class Signed For
Thursday 21 December - Special Delivery Guaranteed
Thursday 21 December - 1st Class and 1st Class Signed For
Friday 22 December - Special Delivery Guaranteed Saturday Delivery

You can find dates for other services on the Royal Mail's website.

Christmas bin collection changes in South Gloucestershire

Collections will not take place on Monday 25, Tuesday 26 December or Monday 1 January. This means the collection crews will be working on Saturday 30 December, 6 and 13 January to catch up. Changes to collection days for Christmas and New Year are below.

If your collection would normally be: It will take place on:
 Monday 25 December  Wednesday 27 December
 Tuesday 26 December  Thursday 28 December
 Wednesday 27 December  Friday 29 December
 Thursday 28 December  Saturday 30 December
 Friday 29 December  Tuesday 02 January
 Monday 01 January  Wednesday 03 January
 Tuesday 02 January  Thursday 04 January
 Wednesday 03 January  Friday 05 January
 Thursday 04 January  Saturday 06 January
 Friday 05 January  Monday 08 January
 Monday 08 January  Tuesday 09 January
 Tuesday 09 January  Wednesday 10 January
 Wednesday 10 January  Thursday 11 January
 Thursday 11 January  Friday 12 January
 Friday 12 January  Saturday 13 January

Collections will be back to normal from Monday 15 January 2018.

You can recycle wrapping paper and greetings cards without glitter or plastic embellishments. Put wrapping paper with the rest of your recyclable paper and greetings cards with cardboard. Paper or card with glitter or plastic should go into your black bin.

For more info, including how to recycle your real Christmas tree, click here.


The Christmas and New Year bank holiday period (23 December 2017 to 2 January 2018) is traditionally the time when a considerable amount of improvement and engineering work is undertaken on Britain's rail network.

Many train companies will also be making changes to their timetable to match service levels to the number of customers travelling. Please plan ahead and check if your journey is affected as some services will be added, some will be restricted, and some will not be running during this time period. 

For more info click here

Bus information

Bus services differ depending on who runs them but generally services run as normal up to the 23 December, have special timetables on 24 and from 26 until 31 Dec and then return completely to normal on 2 January. Here are some useful links:

Stage Coach buses
First Group
Wessex Bus
Travel West (scroll to the bottom to see the information for South Gloucestershire)


The Asda Pharmacy in Patchway has the best opening hours over Christmas.

Address: Highwood Lane, Patchway, BS34 5TL
Tel: 0117 3172410
Monday 25 December (Christmas Day): 1000-1200
Tuesday 26 December (Boxing Day): 0900-1800
Monday 1 January (New Year's Day): 1000-1800
Specialist Medicines Service: Yes

To find out more about pharmacy opening hours in your area click here.

Don't forget to have your say on housing plans

In the festive rush, don't forget that you only have until 10th January to have your say on plans for thousands of new homes in our area.

How to have your say

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.

Policy 2 sets out the Spatial Strategy - this lists the locations where large numbers of houses are proposed and explains why. The five locations in South Gloucestershire are covered by policies 7.8 to 7.12. Don't be misled by the latter being labelled Yate, the land is actually in Iron Acton and Westerleigh Parishes.

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

How to help people who are not online

If someone cannot comment online, you can download a form for them. 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.

Copies of the plan and response forms should be available in libraries and the council's One Stop Shops. This week Claire Young challenged the Cabinet Member responsible for planning after a resident reported difficulties accessing the information at Yate library. Hopefully this will now be resolved.

Join an action group

Last Saturday Claire Young and John O'Neill both attended a drop-in organised by Fighting for Charfield. In Coalpit Heath, VALID are hoping to put another leaflet out after Christmas with more advice on how to respond and would welcome help with delivery. The Falfield Action Group and TRAPP'D are both concerned about the plans for Buckover.

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.

Westerleigh smell drop-in event

Following the recent good news that Wessex Water will be taking action next year to address the smell issues, they have agreed to attend a drop-in before the next Westerleigh Parish Council meeting.

The event will run from 5.30pm to 7pm on Monday 8th January in Westerleigh Village Hall. Representatives from Tulip (the owners of the abattoir) and the Environment Agency will also be on hand to answer questions and listen to any issues you might want to raise.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Christmas activities for children in local libraries

If you're looking for something to do with your children during the Christmas holidays, you could try some of the free activities at our local libraries. You can see a full list on the South Glos website, some of the most local ones include:

Monday 18 December
Christmas story time
Thornbury Library, 2.15pm to 2.45pm

Tuesday 19 December
Christmas crafts
Yate Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

Christmas Rhymetime
Winterbourne Library 10.30am to 11am

Explore Learning: Winter wonderland
Emersons Green Library 10.30am to 11.30am

Christmas capers
Emersons Green Library, 2pm to 4pm

Wednesday 20 December
Thornbury Library, 11am to 12 midday
Christmas capers

Thursday 21 December
Winter wonderland
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

Explore Learning – ‘My Night before Christmas’
Thornbury Library, 2.30pm to 3.30pm

Stories around the tree (presented by Yate Library Teen Focus Group)
Yate Library, 5pm to 6pm

Friday 22 December
Explore Learning – ‘My Night before Christmas’
Bradley Stoke Library, 10.30am to 11.30am

Christmas crafts
Winterbourne Library, 10.30am to 12 midday

All activities are free but children must bring a grown-up with them.

Demolition starts on warehouse hit by fire

Demolition work has now started on the warehouse on the edge of Yate where a fire broke out 8 weeks ago. The council has published online answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the incident.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Help for those struggling financially

Earlier this week the Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report which showed that over 1 in 5 people are now living in poverty, following the first sustained rises in child and pensioner poverty for two decades. Last weekend the entire board of the Government's social mobility commission quit at the lack of progress towards a “fairer Britain”.

This isn't just an issue for the inner cities. As Claire Young discussed on BBC's Sunday Politics West, isolation and lack of services are an extra challenge for those living in rural areas.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with financial difficulties, there is help available. The council have commissioned the South Gloucestershire Advice Services to provide a general advice service with specialist knowledge in the areas of welfare benefit and debt advice to representation at tribunals and information on services for older people. The five organisations that make up the partnership hold drop-ins across South Gloucestershire. You can find out more on the South Glos website.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

New building for Watermore School

The plans for the new school building that will replace the former Brockeridge and Highcroft Schools' accommodation were revealed by South Glos Property Services at a drop-in event last week.

Government funding is in short supply but the costs of maintaining the two ageing buildings added to the problems of operating a split site school has made it more cost effective to replace them with a new building. Part of the required funding will be raised from selling the old Brockeridge site and a small area of land off Lower Stone Close for housing. Planning permission will be needed.

The main concerns raised by people at the exhibition appear to be parking and dropping off, reduction in play space and the future of the much loved old Brockeridge School building where generations of local residents started their education.

Further update on warehouse fire

Council officers and the fire service were in attendance at the industrial estate on Wednesday afternoon. For further information visit:…/warehouse-fire-update/

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

History talk next week

The Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society are having a talk 2The Tudor Navy - from the Mary Rose to the Armada" by Tim Bowly at 7:30pm on Wednesday 13 Dec at the Zion Church, Woodend Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2HY. All welcome, entry is £4 or free to members (annual subscription £15) and includes light refreshments.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Good news on Westerleigh smell

Wessex Water have written to Claire Young to say they have planned a Flood Alleviation Scheme to address the flooding and odour issues in Westerleigh. This will introduce a new section of sewer that will take the discharge from the abattoir and bypass the village. The design has been signed off and works are scheduled to commence in September 2018.

They have also agreed to attend a meeting. Claire will be liaising with them and the Parish Council to make arrangements.