Tuesday, 15 May 2018

All change for our website

Next year all the seats on South Gloucestershire Council will be up for election on new ward boundaries. In preparation we will be putting all our stories for Frampton Cotterell, Coalpit Heath, Iron Acton, Rangeworthy, Tytherington, Westerleigh and the surrounding areas on this blog. We will no longer be updating this site.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Have your say on 30mph limit in Rangeworthy

Rangeworthy Parish Council have asked for the speed limit on Wickwar Road between New Road and Old Wood Lane to be reduced to 30mph. It is a narrow rural lane with no footway for pedestrians and is used by villagers with children and dogs to access Old Wood Lane.

You can find out more and have your say on the consultation page.

Friday, 11 May 2018

Residents gagged in planning process changes

South Gloucestershire’s Conservative administration has announced a raft of new restrictions on the rights of residents and local councillors to question and challenge planning applications in their communities. Changes include:
  • Local people will no longer have the right to attend or speak at planning site inspections.
  • The two area development control committees for the East and West of South Gloucestershire are to be replaced by a single Spatial Planning Committee for the whole authority. All strategic developments will be considered by one sub-committee, meeting as and when needed, while all the smaller applications will go to another sub-committee, meeting monthly. This means an end to meetings for the western half of South Glos being held in Thornbury and a loss of local knowledge.
  • Councillors will no longer have the right to “refer” contentious planning decisions to a meeting of the whole Council.
  • There will be restrictions on the type of applications local councillors can refer to committee and they will no longer be able to request a site visit, that will be a decision for the committee itself or the Director.
  • If councillors overturn the officer recommendation, it will have to be referred up to the Spatial Planning Committee to make the actual decision, with only those members who didn’t take the original decision allowed to take part. This is apparently to give them pause to reflect on whether this is really in the public interest.
Despite what the report claims, as opposition councillors we were not consulted on these major changes. Your Focus Team believes that they will tip the balance even further in favour of powerful developers and make it harder for local people to get their voice heard.

Good turnout at housing drop-in

Despite the confusion over the format of the event, there was a good turnout at the drop-in on the 1,800 homes proposed for Coalpit Heath.

If you weren't able to get along, we have obtained copies of the FAQ document and the options from the event and made them available for you to view online. Officers stress that, "They are initial draft master planning options designed to stimulate discussion at the event about the issues and neither represent a preferred or fully considered proposal. The references to ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ density on option 1 and 2 respectively are meant relatively to one another and not as a final solution."

Comments can still be made by email until Friday 18th May.

Update on Codrington broadband delivery problems

The council have informed us:
You may be aware that the delivery of broadband to West Codrington has been delayed. We’ve come up against a number of issues in this area, which mean we can’t install fibre through underground ducting to supply this area as we normally would, so need to explore more complex, costly and time-consuming engineering solutions.

Specifically, the existing ducting in this area is blocked, preventing us from running additional cables through it and as the section of road where the ducting is blocked has recently been completely resurfaced, legislation prevents us from digging up the road to clear it. Additionally, a high pressure water main means we can’t install new ducting or poles along the edge of the road.

We continue to explore alternative engineering solutions with a specialist Openreach team, but aren’t able to provide a definitive delivery date in this area at this time.
There is rather better news for other villages in our area - for more information, see the full update here.

Ram Hill 20mph speed limit

The Ram Hill 20mph speed limit was signed off by the Exec Member in March. Officers are putting together a construction plan, which is complicated by the Esso pipeline that runs through Ram Hill. The provisional construction date is 21st May but this could change due to the need to liaise with Esso before they start.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Update following Ruffet Road/Coalsack Lane drop in

Despite the short notice, there was a huge turnout for the three hour drop-in consultation event on Wednesday to discuss the Ruffet Road/Coalsack Lane experimental closure proposals.

Most people agreed that something needed to be done to reduce the number of accidents at Kendleshire crossroads but there were many different views on the best way of doing this. Officers will be taking all the views back to the Cabinet Member responsible so that he can make a decision on what to do next. If you haven't already done so, or wish to submit a revised response, please fill in the consultation online.

One concern was whether comments made before 30th April have the same weight as those submitted since. Officers have assured me that they will take any of the responses into account, either before or after 30th April but multiple responses from the same individual must be treated as a single submission. They will take the most recent response as the relevant one.