Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Cycling City exhibition - route to Yate via Westerleigh

A public exhibition is planned on Tuesday 13th October 2009 between 1.30pm and 7.30pm at Shire Way Community Centre, Yate showing details of the proposed new cycle route between Station Road, Yate and the end of the existing Bristol and Bath Railway Path at Coxgrove Hill. South Glos officers will be there to answer questions and to listen to your views.

The proposals will also be of considerable interest to motorists who use the notorious Nibley Lane junction and to local people who live near the Shire Way and Rodford Way roundabouts. The proposed route enters our area under the Shire Way railway bridge and links to the cycle route across Yate Common.

More information on the proposals can be found online, including maps of the route.

Plans can also be viewed from Monday 12 October to Friday 23 October at Yate Shopping Centre.

Government thinks again on housing?

The Government has announced that it will be looking again at plans to build more than 32,000 new homes in South Gloucestershire, many of them in the Green Belt.

The most recent draft of the 'Regional Spatial Strategy' (RSS) for the South West proposed that over 32,000 houses should be built in South Gloucestershire by 2026, more than 10,000 more than local people believe is needed to meet local need. Following a legal challenge to a similar document for the East of England, the Government has now announced that it will be setting up a new 'sustainability appraisal' for the South West to think again about whether the approach to identifying housing sites is the best way forward. This review is expected to be completed in the New Year.

Local MP and countryside campaigner Steve Webb MP said, "At long last, the Government has agreed to look again at whether the planned location for all these houses is really sustainable. We have been arguing for years that these plans risk destroying the valuable countryside which we all value so much. It is a shame that it took legal action for the Government to finally start listening. It is therefore vital that this further review is not simply a whitewash but does look properly at the way these tens of thousands of houses could have a devastating effect on the qualify of life in our area".

Steep rise in parking charges at local stations

Last week huge increases in car parking charges were introduced by First Great Western. The daily charge for parking at Bristol Parkway has gone up by more than a third from £5 per day to £6.90, whilst the charge at Yate has more than doubled from £1 to £2.10. Train companies are looking for new sources of revenue because the current low level of inflation means that they are not allowed to increase many of their principal rail fares this year. However, there is a risk that these very high car parking charges will simply put people off using the train altogether and force even more people onto the roads.

Local MP Steve Webb said, "These huge increases in car parking charges are outrageous. It is ridiculous that the Government tries to cap the cost of rail travel by putting a limit on fare increases but stands idly by while the train companies simply rake in the money through increases in car parking charges. First Great Western should also think again. If higher car park charges put people off travelling altogether then the company will be doing long-term damage to its business by this short term measure".

Steve said that he was also concerned that the large increase in charges at Yate would worsen the problem of rail commuters parking in the residential side streets near to the station. He said that he would now be writing both to the Department of Transport and to First Great Western to protest about the increases.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Get ready to retune your TV!

You have probably seen the notices appearing on your digital TV (Freeview) channels saying that you will have to retune your TVs etc after midday this Wednesday, 30 September.

It's not just TVs - set-top boxes, digital hard disk recorders and digital videos will need retuning too.

Not sure how to do it? Lost the instructions? No problem, look at the TV Retune website and select your product.

This is all connected to the transfer to digital TV - the old analogue channels will be switched off in a few months time.

If you ONLY use cable TV or satellite you shouldn't need to do anything. Retuning just applies to channels that you get via a TV aerial.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Nibley Lane closed on Wed 23 September

Nibley Lane will be closed on Wednesday 23 September 2009 between 9.30am and 2.30pm for street cleansing and drainage maintenance. Access to properties will be maintained during the works.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Wapley Bushes - come and help, Sunday 20 September

The Wapley Bushes Conservation Group is meeting on Sunday 20 September at the Shire Way gate at 10.00 am, finishing by about 12.30 pm.

They will be doing some general conservation work such as tidying up a small stream that is the habitat of a very rare plant.

Please come along and help! Tools are provided, but you'll need to wear wellies or stout footwear and appropriate clothing. If you would like more details please ring Paul on 01454 315851, but you can just turn up on the day.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Fancy some star-gazing?

A stargazing evening has been organised by conservation groups in Chipping Sodbury and Yate to give local people the opportunity to learn more about the sky at night.

The free event will start at 7pm on Tuesday 29 September in the Watkins Room, Old Grammar School, High Street, Chipping Sodbury.

The evening will begin with a presentation by Callum Potter of the Cotswold Astronomy Society. If the skies are clear participants will then proceed to the wildflower meadow on St John’s Park estate to view the night sky, at approximately 8pm. People wishing to attend the viewing of the night sky without attending the presentation should meet at the River Frome bridge on Wickwar Road at this time.

The event, which is supported by South Gloucestershire Council, is open to all. Budding stargazers should bring along their own binoculars or telescopes if they have them. In the event of thick cloud the evening will be restricted to the presentation in the Watkins Room.

For more information please contact Chris Giles at South Gloucestershire Council on 01454 863725.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Changes to Yate and Chipping Sodbury buses

First have announced changes to some of the local bus services with effect from 27 September.

Timetables for the X42 and 342 services have been adjusted to reduce some journey times, notably in the late evening when journeys have been decreased by just under ten minutes (end to end).

First's website says that on "Service X27 the timetable has been altered slightly to improve punctuality and reliability" - the only change we can see is that they have altered an ingoing stop in Bristol, so the X27 will now drop off at The Haymarket (Stop Rg) instead of Bond Street (Stop B).

Local bus timetables are available on the South Glos bus timetable web page - if a service has changed, the new timetable is shown as "from 27 Sept 2009 until further notice".

Waste plan - more detail on Yate

The West of England Partnership, made up of the four unitary authorities covering the old Avon area, is currently developing a plan setting out where waste facilities should be sited. Earlier in the year, we expressed concern that no specific site was stated for Yate, making it hard for local people to comment. They have now published a document that identifies a "Strategic Area" within Yate and they would like your views on it by 1st October. They are considering the trading estates on the eastern fringe of Yate. The Partnership contact details can be found here.

Local food and drink festival

The fifth year of South Gloucestershire's "Taste" local food and drink festival runs from Saturday 12 September to Sunday 11 October. Events include the chance to visit Shipton Flour Mill, a tour of Thornbury Castle and vineyard and a butter making demonstration. For more information visit the South Gloucestershire Local Food website.

While we're on the subject of food, today sees the launch of the Love Food Hate Waste campaign, which aims to get all of us to waste less food. A food waste diary competition is being run, more details on the South Glos website.

Heritage Open Days this weekend

This year's Heritage Open Days run until Sunday 13th September. They include a chance to go on a guided tour of the remains of Ram Hill Colliery near Coalpit Heath on the Sunday. The information leaflet is available to download from the South Glos website.

Coal mining buffs might also like to attend the free Open Day at Oldwood Pit between Yate and Rangeworth. There will be guided tours approximately every half an hour 2-6pm on Saturday and 11-5pm on Sunday, so it will be possible to visit both Ram Hill and Oldwood this weekend. More information can be found on the South Glos Mines Research Group website.

Good news locally about online credit card fraud

Statistics in the Guardian shows that the BS37 area is among the 20% of the country that has the lowest proportion of "card not present" fraud.

Some relief for overcrowded Yate rail passengers

First Great Western is putting an extra carriage on an overcrowded morning service from Yate via Filton Abbey Wood and Bristol Parkway to Bristol Temple Meads. From December there will be three carriages on a re-timed train at 8.16 am, instead of just two carriages at 8.09 am.

This follows a campaign by the Friends of Yate Station and Steve Webb MP, who took a senior First GW manager on the train to show how overcrowded it was.

This still leaves an overcrowding problem in the evening service back from Temple Meads.

Steve Webb described the changes as just a small step forward and commented "It's good news but we need three carriages on all peak services. We also need to be confident that trains will always turn up. They should also be running with greater frequency"

So how about it, First Great Western? You'll be able to take some people into Bristol but you won't be able to bring them back. That's not exactly integrated thinking.

For more details see the Evening Post report here

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Get out and about this Autumn!

If you'd like to get out and about this autumn, there is a range of fun and often free events being run by South Gloucestershire Council with local organisations and community groups. Whether you fancy bat detecting, making apply juice or foraging for fungi, you can find out more in this online leaflet.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Don't forget to give your views on the Youth Cafe!

Just a reminder that the Youth Cafe designs are on show at Yate Lesiure Centre until Friday (11 September).

There will be a drop in session with Yate Town Councillors and South Gloucestershire officers this Monday, 7 September, from 2.00 - 8.30pm.

See our previous post for more details.

Steve Webb praised for work against child poverty

Northavon MP Steve Webb has been shortlisted by charity Child Poverty Action Group for their MP of the Year award.

Speaking in the debate on the Child Poverty Bill he said Parliament should try to do better than reducing the proportion of children in poverty to 10 per cent, because that would still leave a million children in poverty.

He said: "The goal of being about as good as the best European countries is a start but it should not be the end."

More detail from the Evening Post here.