Friday, 30 March 2018

Concerns at latest plans for Frenchay and Thornbury hospital sites

Having promised community rehabilitation beds at both Frenchay and Thornbury hospital sites in 2015, last year local NHS chiefs abandoned those plans and went back to the drawing board.

Your Focus Team's concerns deepened in January when we learnt that North Bristol NHS Trust (NBT) had given the nod to developer Redrow to put in a planning application on land previously set aside for new health facilities at the former Frenchay Hospital site.

Now new plans have been announced that would see only 40-50 “rehabilitation” beds provided, fewer than previously suggested and all at Frenchay. Thornbury would have just 6-10 NHS-funded beds, not for rehabilitation, within a new privately run Nursing Care home.

We welcome efforts to treat more people at home but with a fast growing population are they providing enough beds for those for whom that is not appropriate?  We also think that allowing homes to be built on the land at Frenchay previously set aside for health facilities would make the latest proposals for the old hospital site hard to deliver.

They've also made another promise of a new health centre at Thornbury - we’ll believe it when we see it!

Your Focus Team will keep fighting for the health services we need.

Railways and pharmacies at Easter

A quick reminder that Network Rail will be upgrading the railway around Bristol over Easter. Work starts today, Good Friday 30 March, and train services will resume on Wednesday 4 April.

Full details including replacement services are on their dedicated web page

The upgrade work on the signalling system will mean they can reduce delays caused by congestion, and introduce a new timetable in January 2019 with faster, more frequent services, adding more seats and more capacity to this very busy part of the railway.

Meanwhile, if you find yourself in need of a pharmacy over the Bank Holiday weekend, you can find which ones are open here.

Enjoy the Easter weekend!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Don't forget the clocks go forward on Sunday

It might not feel like spring yet, but British Summer Time starts this Sunday, 25th March. The clocks go forward an hour at 1am.

Interestingly, according to this report, people are more likely to miss hospital appointments in the week after the move to British Summer Time.

Taking up your concerns

Thanks to everyone who has filled in our survey recently - you can fill it in online here.

We have been busy following up the issues you raised. Claire Young took up the issue of anti-social behaviour at the bottom of St Saviour's Rise with the police beat manager at the Community Engagement Forum. He assured us the police will be keeping an eye on this location as the weather warms up.

Residents living alongside the drainage channel on Park Farm where oak trees were axed were furious that their local environment had been trashed without any notice or discussion.

Pat Hockey and Dave took the matter up with South Glos Council’s Tree Officers as they had put a blanket tree preservation order (TPO) on all oak trees on both Park Farm and The Meads estates before the sites were developed – Pat and Dave had not realised that oak trees by drainage channels were not covered by the TPO.

Officers confirmed that just one other oak tree by a drainage channel was still at risk - they agreed to put a Tree Preservation Order on it as a matter of priority to protect it.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Huge funding bid success for "The Park"

Cash-strapped Frampton Cotterell Parish Council has been awarded more than £238,000 funding to improve drainage and pitch conditions at ‘The Park’ in School Road.

The money was provided by Barratt Homes contribution from ‘The Meads’ development to improve local sports facilities. The pitches at The Park used by Frampton Cotterell Rugby and Cricket Clubs and Frampton Rangers Football Club have suffered from flooding and poor grass quality due to lack of an effective drainage system for many years – this has caused lots of disappointing match cancellations each season.

Specialist consultants prepared a report for the Parish Council recommending the drainage system and soil/grassing techniques to be used to minimise the risk of flooding and to improve the quality and durability of the pitches.

Dave Hockey was proud to be involved in helping the Parish Council to prepare its funding bid and liaising with South Glos Officers and the Executive Member who made the recommendation and decision to award the funding.

Friday, 16 March 2018

New school plans - and success in campaign to save Brockeridge School building

For seven years since the merger of Brockeridge Infant School and Highcroft Junior School, Watermore Primary School has been operating across two sites. Now plans have been submitted to build a new 420 place Watermore Primary School on the Meadow site on Lower Stone Close (the old Highcroft Junior School). You can find out more by going to the planning application search page and entering the reference number PT18/0930/R3O.

In the same application they are seeking outline permission to demolish the old junior school buildings and erect 5 new homes on the Meadow site and 22 homes on the Orchard site, including converting the old Brockeridge School building to 6 flats.

Your Focus Team is delighted that the campaign to save this ‘Locally Listed’ school building built in 1846 from demolition looks set for success.

Local History Group Members, Stella and Cllr Andy Beecher, researched the history of the school. They found from records in the archives held in Gloucester that it was founded by members of Zion Congregational Church to enable “poor children from Frampton Cotterell and Coalpit Heath to be educated”. We understand that the cost per pupil was just two old pennies a week!

Generations of local children have been educated at this lovely old landmark building. We know that the school holds precious memories for many local families. Most of them would be horrified if the old building was flattened to make way for new development on the site.

Local Cllrs Dave & Pat Hockey, backed by Frampton Cotterell Parish Council and members of the Local History Group, made their strong views on this  clear to South Glos Council’s Head of Property Services Department. The good news from the Property Services Department is that the £175,000 funding that they were awarded on 16 February is for “Demolition of part of the existing school building (retaining the older part of the school)".

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Reminder - drop-in event on Local Plan next week

As we reported last month, South Glos is currently consulting on its new Local Plan and there is a drop-in event next Tuesday when you can find out more.

The event is being held 6-8pm on Tuesday 20 March at the Ridgewood Community Centre, Yate, BS37 4AF. Planning officers will be there to answer your questions about any aspects of the Local Plan - including the options for further development in our villages and proposals for making better use of land in Yate and other urban areas.

Full details of the consultation can be viewed at - you can also view a short video about it here.

Planning to travel by train at Easter?

Network Rail have warned us that they will be carrying out their largest ever resignalling project this Easter, from Friday 30 March to Tuesday 3 April, in and around Bristol Temple Meads. The aim is to improve reliability and increase capacity to meet growing demand. No trains will run to, through or from Bristol Temple Meads during this time.

While this is bad news for those planning to travel over Easter, they promise that in the long run it will mean fewer delays and faster journey times, and enable an increase in trains from 2019. Passengers will benefit from almost twice as many trains between Bristol and London Paddington from 2019.

You can find out more on the Network Rail website.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

New bungalow on Ram Hill refused by planning committee

Last Thursday the Planning Committee voted to refuse an application for a new bungalow on Ram Hill.

The planning officer had argued that it could be considered to be "limited infilling in a village", justifying it as being within a village by asserting that residents have access to services within Coalpit Heath. Residents and local ward councillor Claire Young spoke against this. A narrow majority of members concluded that it was not "in a village" and therefore did not constitute appropriate development in the Green Belt.

30mph speed limit for Bristol Road

The proposals for a 30mph speed limit on the B4058 Bristol Road, Frampton Cotterell have now been formally advertised. More details are available here.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Local history talk - 21 March

The latest Frampton Cotterell and District Local History Society talk takes place at 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 March at Zion Church,Woodend Road , Frampton Cotterell, BS36 2HY

Alan Freke of Frenchay Museum will be doing a talk entitled ‘The GWR Badminton Line'. All welcome, entry £4 or free to members (annual subscription £15), light refreshments included.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Quiet Lanes Scheme - latest updates

Claire campaigning for safety
improvements in Ruffet Road in 2011
I recently met residents and highways officers regarding the ongoing problems with rat running through Ruffet Road/Coalsack Lane. During the Bromley Heath Viaduct Closure there have been even worse problems with traffic driving up on to the pavement where the road is narrow, including HGVs that shouldn’t be accessing the lanes as there is a weight restriction in place.

In the short term, the highways officers have got agreement from the police that they will aim to have a presence on site in the near future.

In the new financial year, a number of options are being considered to tackle this problem as well as reduce casualties at the Kendleshire Crossroads. There will be a consultation process on this in due course.

Officers also explained why the vegetation has been cut back at the Coalsack Road/Westerleigh Road junction. The barriers that run along to the M4 overbridge on Westerleigh Road have old wooden supports which do not meet current standards and need replacing. This has been scheduled for the coming financial year, but at the point the work will be done there may be nesting birds present. They have therefore carried out the vegetation clearance in advance, in line with their standard practice.

Elsewhere in the Quiet Lanes Scheme, the 20mph limit for Ram Hill/Serridge Lane/Broad Lane (Ram Hill end) is being recommended to go ahead.

M4 J18a - Cabinet set to support Western option

Following last year's consultation on a possible new junction 18a on the M4, South Gloucestershire's Conservative Cabinet looks set to support the Western option via Emersons Green as the preferred route.

This option involves re-aligning the motorway at Henfield. Residents have already contacted us to raise concerns. As yet we have seen no plan for how they intend to manage the additional traffic this will push through our villages and the residential roads in the south of Yate. Nor have we seen a plan for how, when or where a link will be provided from the new junction to Yate and how that will feed into the already congested road network in the town. If these issues are not properly addressed ahead of time, this new junction will just add to local transport problems.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

After the snow - reporting potholes

A huge thank you to the emergency services, NHS staff, gritter teams and other council staff and everyone else who worked hard to keep the rest of us safe during the snowy and icy weather.

Unfortunately severe cold weather often creates more potholes on our roads. If you spot one you think could be dangerous, you can report it online.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Waste and recycling changes due to snow and ice

South Gloucestershire Council have announced the following:

We are sorry that waste and recycling collections will not be taking place on Friday 2 March due to snow and ice, this is protect the safety of residents and staff. Please take your bins and recycling containers back on to your property until your next normal collection.  For  Recycling the next collection is Friday 9 March, please present any extra recycling. Residual and Garden bins will be collected Friday 16 March. If you have extra non-recyclable waste we will collect up to two bags left next to your black bin on Friday 16 March. 

Sites Closed 
We are sorry but due to the snow and ice we have had to shut all four Sort It Recycling Centres in South Gloucestershire. The sites will be shut from 2pm on Thursday 1 March until 8.30am Sunday 4 March.  This is to protect the safety of residents and staff and to clear the sites of snow and ice before opening on Sunday.

Don't forget you can find out more about how the weather is affecting all the council's services on their website and school closures are listed here.