Sunday, 25 October 2009

Bus information for your stop - by text!

There's a new facility on many of our local bus stops. At the bottom of the timetable is a code for the stop. If you text the code to the number provided, you get a text message back with the next timetabled bus due for each service at your stop.

(Please note that there's a charge of 25 pence plus your normal network text charge)

Wapley Bushes Local Nature Reserve - autumn events - planning, working, looking for fungi!

Lots of things are happening on the Nature Reserve over the next few days:

Saturday 31 Oct 9.30 am - have your say about the Management Plan for the next five years - walk around the Reserve with the consultant who is updating the plan. Everyone welcome.

Sunday 1 November 10.00 am - work morning with members of the Conservation Group. Please come and help out!

Tuesday 3 November 2.00 pm - a Fungus Foray with expert Justin Smith. There are lots of fungi on the reserve at the moment, some the size of small plates. Come and find out all about them.

All events are free - meet at the Shire Way gate.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Could YOU be a Parish Councillor?

There are currently vacancies for councillors on Dodington Parish Council. The Council covers the Shire Way / Rodford Way area, the Birds roads and the country areas of Wapley, Dodington and Codrington.

The Parish Council, as the lowest level of local government, is responsible for lots of local services - playgrounds, parks, the Parish Hall and Wapley Nature Reserve to name just a few.

You don't need to have any particular skills for this important voluntary role - the most important thing is to have a keen interest in the local area.

If you think you might be interested, please email your contact details to Cllr Paul Hulbert at and he'll get in touch to talk it over with you. You'll be able to visit the Council's meetings to see what it's like - all the regular meetings are open to members of the public.

We're pretty average (in crime terms, that is)

There's a new website showing crime statistics by area. You just put in your postcode and it reports the statistics for different types of crime.

The information on the map is at beat area level, in our case the Yate beat or the Chipping Sodbury and Cotswold Edge beat. Both have average crime levels for the Avon and Somerset Police area.

We've passed the 500 mark!

We've just realised that our previous post on this blog was number 500 since we started in January 2007.

Please feel free to give us some feedback - post a comment below to let us know what you think of the Localfocus blog.

In particular, what would you like us to cover that we don't at the moment?

Monday, 19 October 2009

Roadworks - Westerleigh and the Folly pub

Today (19th October) there will be temporary traffic lights outside The Cottage, Westerleigh, to enable work on the water supply.

Tomorrow (20th October) there will be traffic lights outside The Folly on Westerleigh Road for "sign face work" to be carried out.

Yate Library opens today

The new Yate Library opens today, a month ahead of schedule. The £1.5 million building has been financed by the Big Lottery Fund and South Gloucestershire Council. The original library was built in 1971, but since then the local population has more than doubled.

New technology will be prominent - self issue terminals will let library users issue and return their own books, there will be more PCs, and there will be plasma screens to let local people know about events at the Library and elsewhere in the area.

It won't just be a library, either. There will be an exhibition area and space for hire by community groups, and it will provide the operating base for the Yate Volunteer Bureau and Shopmobility. Community office space is also available for other community groups, and there will be an advice room for local advice groups to use.

This is the first of the new buildings planned for Yate Town Centre - the next to open will be the new Health Centre, which can be seen in the background behind the Library.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Parents encouraged to apply for a school place online/in person due to post strikes

Due to the planned postal strikes by Royal Mail workers next week, South Gloucestershire Council is strongly advising any parents who have yet to submit an application for a school place to do so online or in person.

The closing date for the return of applications for primary and secondary school places starting in September 2010 is on Friday 23 October at 4.30pm.

As a precaution and to avoid any unnecessary concerns over whether a postal application will reach the authority in time, parents are advised to...
  • Apply online at
  • Hand deliver the admission application form to the Student Access and Support Team, South Gloucestershire Council, Department for Children and Young People, Riverside Court, Bowling Hill, Chipping Sodbury, South Gloucestershire, BS37 6JX.
  • Or hand deliver the admission application form to any South Gloucestershire Council one stop shop at the following locations:
Kingswood Civic Centre, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood  BS15 9TR.
Thornbury Council Offices, Castle Street, Thornbury BS35 1HF.
Yate Shopping Centre, Kennedy Way, Yate BS37 4DQ.

Parents who are unable to complete the application form online or by hand should contact the Children and Young People’s Information Service as soon as possible by calling 01454 868008.

Latest information about the strike and how it affects the South West available on the Royal Mail website

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Local rail consultation

Local people have until 27th November to comment on the future of rail services in the area. Network Rail have published a draft "Route Utilisation Strategy" for Great Western services, including mainline services through Bristol and local services such as those from Yate.

The document suggests that there could be an hourly service between Yate and Weston-super-Mare and also an hourly service from Portishead to Gloucester, stopping at Yate. If these proposals came into force there would then be two trains an hour between Yate and Bristol, although investment of more than £2 million would be required at Yate station to enable trains to turn round. The strategy says that this would only be feasible with 'third party investment', which means the local authority and/or developers putting in significant funding.

Urging people to have their say, local MP Steve Webb said, "This vision for rail services in the West over the coming decade offers real potential for improvements for hard-pressed commuters. A regular twice-hourly service between Yate and Bristol would help to improve the quality of service, though we would need assurances that those trains had enough carriages to cope with peak levels of demand. But this document is only a draft and we therefore need to be sure that these improvements are retained in the final version, due to be published in the New Year. I would therefore encourage anyone who cares about local rail services to register their support for investment at Yate by responding to the consultation".

Those wishing to comment can e-mail or write to 'Great Western RUS Consultation Response, Network Rail, Floor 4, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9AG.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Help out at Ram Hill

If you fancy helping to preserve our mining heritage, why not join the Friends of Ram Hill Colliery for a work party on Sunday 18th October at the Ram Hill site? It will begin around 10am and end by 3pm and you can join them for whatever period suits you. Work ranges from cutting back bushes to moving stones. For more information, ring the Chair, Steve Hillyard, on 0117 923 6595.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Don't forget - Cycling City event tomorrow (Tuesday)

If you would like to see the plans for the new cycle route linking Mangotsfield to Yate, drop in to the Shire Way Community Centre in Yate between 1.30pm and 7.30pm tomorrow (Tuesday). For more information, see the consultation online.

Friday, 9 October 2009

BT Community Connections scheme - laptops and broadband for community groups and charities

This scheme may be of interest to voluntary groups you are involved in or know of:

BT Community Connections

Community and charitable organisations, working in any field of community benefit, located throughout the UK or Republic of Ireland can apply for a laptop and a year's free broadband connection.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Banks celebrates 175 years in Chipping Sodbury

There's an interesting article in the Gazette about NatWest - they and their predecessors have been in Chipping Sodbury for 175 years.

A must-read article if you're interested in local history!

The bank, on Broad Street, has an exhibition of old photos and there's a brochure about the history of the branch.