Saturday, 29 March 2008

Cambrian Drive Open Space

A final effort to save open space at Cambrian Drive from development happens this coming week at Poole Court, starting on Tuesday 1st April. Residents who have used the space will be giving evidence to convince an inspector this is a village green and therefore protected from development.

Ranked against them will be a QC who specialises in this area - paid for by tax payers - whose job is to stop the residents. That hardly seems fair.

The Gazette coverage is here.

Friday, 28 March 2008

New Travelcards - not just for buses!

The new National Travelcard is proving very popular - around 44,000 South Gloucestershire residents have already applied for their new cards, which will give them their free travel on local and national bus services. That's over 5,000 more than last year.

The new cards will replace the existing Diamond Travelcard from next Monday (March 31st).

Any resident aged 60 or over and most people who are registered disabled can apply for the new passes.

Our local scheme is even better than the government version. Within the Greater Bristol area - Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire - the pass will allow free travel from 9am on weekdays and at any time on weekends and Bank Holidays. (The national scheme is 9.30 am to 11.00 pm, but here you can even use the weekend night buses)

South Gloucestershire residents can also benefit from additional services with their National Travelcard, including:

  • Dial-a-ride on community transport schemes like Yate & District Community Transport, providing door to door transport services
  • Voluntary car schemes
  • Shopmobility - you can hire mobility scooters for shopping free of charge in Yate, Thornbury and Staple Hill
  • Cheaper national annual railcards are available which allow for one third off standard rail prices
  • Some long distance coach operators will give cardholders a discount, though you'll have to ask when you book
For more details on the scheme and the additional benefits visit the South Glos Council concessionary travel web page - you can also download an application form. You can also get application forms from libraries, one-stop shops, all council offices and some post offices, or you can ring South Glos on 01454 868004.

People who have Diamond Cards already do not need to reapply - they should get their new cards automatically - unless they've moved house in the last year. If you have applied for a card but have not received it by early April, please contact South Glos on 01454 868004.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

A rather different Nick Clegg interview

Nick Clegg was recently interviewed for BBC News School Report by young people from Banbury School. They asked him a range of penetrating questions covering politics, children, currency and his top team.

Click here to view the video report.

Spring has almost sprung

Spring is almost with us, judging by a stroll at Wapley Bushes over Easter:

bluebellsThe first bluebells are just emerging...

primrosesA few primroses...

celandinesAnd lesser celandines on the woodland floor

Read more about Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve here.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Easter Egg Hunt


This page was about the 2008 event!

Please click here to find out about the 2010 Easter Egg hunt


The Easter Bunny is busy hiding Easter Eggs in Kingsgate Park. Yate Town Council and the Friends of Kingsgate Park will be holding the annual Easter Egg Hunt on Easter Monday (24 March) , starting at 10am.

Well, actually children have to look for wooden Easter Egg tokens that they can then swap for a real Easter Egg. And this year there will also be prizes for children wearing the best Easter Bonnets.

Then at 11am, Mark Regan - the England and Bristol Rugby Player - will officially open the all the new equipment in the play area within the Park.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Health Centre - cut along dotted line

Work has started on preparations for the new Yate Health Centre. The West Walk practice has moved to temporary accommodation in the Sports Centre car park.

Meanwhile the outline of the new building has been marked out.

Along the pavement...Past the old building...

It could drive you up the wall...

Post Office closures condemned

At a well attended public meeting in Yate Parish Hall last Friday, Steve Webb MP heard local residents' concerns about the proposed closures of local post offices. In our area Station Road (Tesco) post office is threatened, and a little further afield Old Sodbury and Tytherington post offices are on the closure list as well.

These are just three of thousands of post offices at risk across the country. Elderly people from the Cranleigh Court area told the Yate meeting that they are very concerned. It's not just a fair walk to the main post office in the shopping centre - there are also frequent long queues.

Steve Webb said: ""There are real practical problems for local people - especially those who are elderly or disabled - if they are forced to use more distant post offices which can sometimes have very long queues".

There is a more detailed report of the meeting on Steve Webb's website, and Steve has also set up a special local "Save Our Post Offices" campaign website that explains how YOU can help campaign to keep our post offices.

More facilities at Yate Outdoor Sports Centre

New facilities have been opened at YOSC, financed by local councils. There is a a new indoor sports hall, improved athletics facilities and a dance studio. The all weather pitch has been refurbished, an expensive job in itself, but vital for local clubs and organisations.

The funding came from South Gloucestershire Council, Brimsham Green School, Yate Town Council, Dodington Parish Council and Iron Acton Parish Council.

The Gazette has more details about the YOSC improvements here.

Gates no obstacle at Yate Common

The Friends of Yate Common are celebrating their latest project, seven new fully wheelchair accessible gates onto the Common. They are an enlarged version of a kissing gate. The work has been financed by a £3000 grant from South Gloucestershire Council.

The Common is very rich in wildlife - for example 169 species of birds have been spotted in the last year.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

New bin collections - read the small print

South Glos residents will be receiving a new bin collection calendar shortly, in the form of a tag hung on their black bins. Some people will have a different collection day - but even if your collection day stays the same, there may still be changes.

For example, our street has collections on Tuesdays at the moment, and the new calendar says it's still Tuesdays. But we had a black bin collection this week, and we're going to have another black bin collection next week. The green bin will be collected the week after. Then we'll be back to the usual black, green, black, green... routine.

Obviously there could be some people that won't get a black bin collection for three weeks. The council say they are making special arrangements: "To help households with a particularly long period between black bin or green box collections SITA will provide an extra collection. These households will be notified by letter to give them all the details".

More details about the collection changes are on the South Glos website.

School places - and the effect of all the new house building

Many parents will be receiving letters this week telling them what schools their children have got places at.

But even if your child has got a place at a school near their home, this may not be the case for subsequent children in a few years' time. The proposed rate of housebuilding will distort traditional catchment areas.

For example, in Yate and area the proposal is for 5000 new houses. The developers will have to fund primary and secondary school places, but NOT for all the houses. If there are spare places in existing schools, these will have to be filled first.

At the moment there are 500 empty primary school places and 300 secondary places in the town, mainly in the southern part. So for example, if more houses are built in North Yate, families living near Brimsham Green School may not be able to get places there - the children may have to travel across town to King Edmunds.

Basically the trouble is that the school places aren't where the children are, and children will be displaced southward. The more houses that are built on the north side of Yate, the bigger the effect will be.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Steve Webb on TV talking about e-petitions

There was an interesting item on the BBC's Politics Show West today. They were talking about electronic petitions. Their first example was the 8000-signature petition to save the Bristol to Bath railway path, popular with cyclists and walkers, from being converted into a rapid transit bus route.

The programme interviewed Steve Webb MP about the effectiveness and the disadvantages of e-petitions.

Then they spoke to the campaign to save Lacock Post Office, which was based on a conventional petition. Finally there was a discussion with Dr Lisa Harrison, Senior Lecturer in Politics at the University of the West of England.

You can watch the broadcast item by going to this page and clicking on the "Latest Programme" button at the top right. It will be available for the next week - this item starts 6 minutes 20 seconds into the programme.

A YouTube video of Steve Webb's complete contribution can be seen here:

Steve Webb - Click the arrow to play the video.

Feedback on Barnhill Quarry (Chipping Sodbury Waitrose) exhibition

Hundreds of people attended the developer's exhibition at Chipping Sodbury Town Hall last week. The major change to the site layout is that the Waitrose store has been moved further from the church, which seems sensible. The layout is still pretty notional - there are no detailed deisgns for the store, the car park or anything else. It's mainly about land use.

Broadly there seem to be two opinions. Many people seem to think that it's not a bad design and that Waitrose will fit in well in Sodbury, but people living nearby have serious doubts about the look of the development and issues like shopping traffic and the lorry movements needed to infill the land where the houses will go.

The developers say that they will be setting up a website in the near future. However, in case you missed the exhibition, we were told that copies of the displays will be available to view for a few weeks at Sodbury Town Council's office and the Town Hall.

The Gazette reports the exhibition here.

Yate Safer and Stronger Communities meeting this Tuesday

How would YOU improve our local community? The police and local councillors have worked together to set up a meeting at King Edmund School this Tuesday (4th March) at 7.30 pm.

Maybe you're concerned about crime, or perhaps traffic issues or the local street scene. Whether it's anti-social behaviour or grass cutting, come and tell us about it!

You can read more about the Safer and Stronger Communities Groups here.