Sunday, 29 April 2007

Start local and save the world?

Paul Hulbert and Mike Gregory at Abbotswood
with energy saving light bulbs

Dodington Parish Council has arranged a FREE showing of Al Gore’s film about global warming “An Inconvenient Truth” at St Nicholas Church, Abbotswood, Yate on Saturday 12 May at 7 pm.

The former Vice-President’s award-winning documentary discusses the global problem of climate change and what we as individuals can do to reduce our impact.

Parish Council chairman Mike Gregory said “The environment is a major theme of our work on Dodington Parish Council. If we each do a little bit to ‘walk more gently upon the earth’ we may be able to avoid the consequences of global warming”

Cllr Paul Hulbert, chairman of the council’s Environment Committee, commented “The keys to this issue are local action and raising awareness. The next generation won’t thank us if we just ignore this major problem. We have to do something now to tackle it. We hope to see lots of local people at St Nick’s to start the ball rolling”.

There will also be information available on the night on ways to reduce carbon emissions and become more energy efficient, including an opportunity for people to pledge to take action.

The film is being shown thanks to support from St Nicholas Church, the Thornbury Picture House and South Gloucestershire Council. Tickets are limited, so people are asked to ring Dodington Parish Council on 01454 866546 to make sure of getting seats.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Car buying can be dangerous...

Following our item on cars for sale at Westerleigh Rd roundabout, several young women had a narrow escape the other day - they were investigating some of the cars for sale, when they stepped back into the traffic. Could have been nasty - we're passing this on to South Glos as more evidence for a waiting restriction.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Cars for sale - and now lorries

Cllr Dan Clark checks out the cars for sale at Westerleigh Rd roundabout

The parking spaces at Westerleigh Road roundabout are meant to be used by people visiting the Common, but it’s turned into a car sales lot. In fact the other day there was a lorry for sale as well.

We’ve been trying to get something done about it – how would YOU like a used car lot outside your house? – but there’s a legal problem. It’s not against the law for an individual to sell one car at the roadside – only if they’re trading.

So Steve Webb has asked South Glos for a waiting restriction – this would make it very inconvenient for people selling cars but would suit people visiting the Common.

The battle to save Frenchay Hospital goes on

Steve Webb addressing a rally at Frenchay in 2005

People are starting to think that the battle to save Frenchay Hospital is already lost. It isn't - there's lots still going on.

Here's how you can help - sign the Save Frenchay Hospital Group's online petition -

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to save Frenchay Hospital and scrap the proposed independent sector treatment centre."

Click here to sign the petition

Steve Webb MP and the Lib Dem Focus Team have been fighting to save Frenchay ever since the policy was mooted a few years ago.

Our survey attracted over 8,000 replies, with a huge majority backing Frenchay. We are working with local community campaigners and we back the Save Frenchay petition. Please join us in signing the petition.

Steve is now seeking to involve the Parliamentary Ombudsman to force a review of the decision.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Pedestrian crossings at Shire Way - and a little history

Glad to see that our pedestrian crossings on Shire Way are operating - here's Cllr Dan Clark checking out the crossing to Wapley. Hopefully they'll not only make crossing the road easier, they'll also keep traffic speeds down a bit.

We thought you might like to see how the Government introduced these new-fangled things in the late 1940s. Notice that they don't yet have zebra stripes in this early public information film.

Click on the arrow to start the short film.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Leisure Centre - enough to make your hair curl

Councillor Sue Walker with parents and young people at the Leisure Centre

Local residents are furious at the planning application for a hairdressers in our Leisure Centre. There are already about FIVE hairdressers in and around the town centre plus numerous mobile hairdressers.

Local parents and local young people would like to see more community facilities there. And there are other competing ideas - disabled people want more space at the Leisure Centre too.

Everyone is keen to see the changing rooms and pool area updated. Some parents and children already travel out of the area. They would prefer to see improvements here in Yate so that the Leisure Centre could become a well used focal point of our community once again.

What's next - a card shop? A mobile phone concession?Your local councils have objected to this planning application - we'll let you know what happens.

Disappearing phone box

This was the phone box between on Shire Way between Woodchester and Blaisdon the other week, after it had been vandalised.

We reported it to BT - and they came and took all the equipment out. We asked when it was going to be replaced, but they said they are going to take the box away and "We told South Glos back in 2006". So that's all right then? (actually it was 2005)

No. Excuse us, but we protested then and BT agreed to leave the box. Now they've been trying to sneak it away without asking again.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel - BT say they've taken it out of the removal programme, and they may consider making it a cashless phone. Um, but that's what WE suggested in 2005, to make it cheaper to run!

These phone boxes are needed as a public service. They don't take much cash now that most people have mobile phones. But not everyone has a mobile, batteries can run flat, people need somewhere to make emergency calls from, children need somewhere to ring Childline from, etc etc.

Look closely and you'll see that the handset is also smashed. We've tried to get BT to use metal handsets instead of plastic - but no, they say "All our boxes and equipment are standard, they are all the same, sorry..."

Don't know about you, but we would rather have a metal handset that works than a plastic one that gets smashed regularly.

Watch this space for further developments. Call us if you've got similar concerns. If you can find a call box, that is.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Yet another massive mast? Scott Way / Merlin Way this time!

A few months ago South Glos refused permission for a mobile phone mast on Scott Way, near Merlin Way. Yate Town Council objected, Dodington Parish Council objected – but mobile phone company Hutchinson 3G have decided to appeal against the decision.

Unless there is overwhelming evidence, they’ll probably get permission from the government’s inspector. Here’s what the mast could look like (artist’s impression) –

The mast would be 15 metres high – that’s three times the height of the trees, and nearly twice the height of the lamp posts. It’s called a “slimline monopole” but it will still be twice as thick as the lamps.

You can send your own comments to the Inspector – after all, more than 90 people signed a petition against this mast. If they all commented, the Inspector might decide against the mast.

What can I do about it?

First, you can write in or comment online (see below)

Second, you can add your name to Steve Webb’s petition to get the law changed
- click here, look for "Mast Madness", and click on "Sign our petition"

How do I write in to comment?

Write to The Planning Inspectorate, Room 3/18b, Kite Wing, Temple Quay House, 2 The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol BS1 6PN

You should give your name and address and say that you are writing to comment on:

Appeal Ref: APP/P0119/A/07/2041713

Appeal by: Hutchison 3G UK Ltd

Appeal Site: Land off Scott Way, Yate, BRISTOL BS37 4EX

Say ‘I am against the appeal proposals’ (that's if you do want to object)

Then give your comments.

What could I say?

Here are some possible ideas – but don’t just copy them, write your own comments. That way they get taken more notice of.

The mast would be detrimental to the appearance of the surrounding area

Excessive height in a residential area

Colour should be chosen by people living near the site

No proven need, signal is fine

Cumulative effect of so many masts on the urban landscape – new mast just down the road in Rodford Way

Health concerns – beam of greatest intensity falls on part of Raysfield School, despite the distance this is undesirable under the precautionary principle mentioned by the Stewart Report

Hutchinson did NOT supply full details when lodging the appeal, only outline – their full case has not yet been made public, which is unfair to objectors

The map reference given for one of the alternatives considered is in North Yate, nowhere near the site

How can I comment online?

There are two ways to do this:

1. The official way

Go to

Type Scott Way in the street, and click Search for Cases

When the search results are returned, click on Case Reference APP/P0119/A/07/2041713

Scroll down, and under Documents click where it says

"Click here to view the documents for this case, and to access facilities to Comment"

Then click "Comment on this case"

And fill in the form – give your name and address, say ‘I am against the appeal proposals’ and then give your comments.

2. The quick way

Click here to send your comment direct to the Planning Inspectorate.

Then fill in the form – give your name and address, say ‘I am against the appeal proposals’ and then give your comments.

Useful links:

Helpful guidelines from the Planning Portal

Advice notes on electronic submissions

More advice from the Planning Inspectorate

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Mast campaigner bids to join council

Phone mast campaigner Mandy Sainsbury has decided to stand for Dodington Parish Council.

“I have been working closely with the Parish Council about the giant phone mast on Rodford Way, Yate” said Mandy. “As a result of this involvement with the Council, coupled with my cares for the environment in which we live, I have decided to stand for election”.

“I care very much about the community in which I live, our environment and the local community. The Parish Council does a good job already and I want to help them. I've always enjoyed getting involved in issues that affect us all in our everyday lives - no matter how contentious those may be”.

Mandy has lived in Yate for 27 years. “I've never regretted choosing Yate as the place I wanted to live,” she said. “I've run my own business for the last 18 years in Chipping Sodbury, gaining invaluable experience and knowledge that I most certainly would not have otherwise”.

Mandy says that she decided to stand as a Liberal Democrat candidate because “I’m an admirer of Steve Webb – he represents our area really well. I’ve been very impressed by the work done by the local Focus Team members, and I want to contribute to making our community even better”.

Road meets Rail

Not sure of the circumstances, but this Mercedes ended up in the Network Rail ditch on Westerleigh Rd this morning.

Apparently an elderly gentleman was taken away by ambulance. Let's hope he's OK.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Darth Vader gets a paint job

O2's contractors came this morning to repaint the mobile phone mast in Rodford Way. As you can see, it's now a light grey instead of the dark blue, almost black that it was before. The light grey was chosen by local people in a consultation by Dodington Parish Council. And the planting we did the other week is looking good too.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Sodbury Youth Centre / Sea Stores

Sheila Mead and I (Paul Hulbert) visited a few places in Sodbury and the Birds the other day. This is the new Youth Centre off Hounds Road - much better than the previous premises upstairs at the Old Grammar School.

Here is Sheila outside the Sea Stores. After the public consultation, South Glos has just approved a design statement for the site - this is a guideline for the sort of development that is expected to go on the site. The current Government guidelines on housing density mean that there have to be some three and four storey blocks as well as conventional houses.

There will be a certain amount of land for public use, but we know that most of the site will go for housing. The owners - the Government - are now looking for developers, who will then apply for planning permission. At that stage there will be further consultations, and hopefully your views will have an influence on the design.