Thursday, 30 June 2011

New Tesco halfway there...

Tesco's development seems to be going on rapidly.

Almost everything is on programme and the new store is scheduled to open on 24th October 2011.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Elswick Park - 20 mph speed limit in estate

There is currently a South Glos consultation about a 20 mph speed limit within the new development - this is normal nowadays for similar new cul-de-sac streets. It probably won't make much difference except for deterring young motorcyclists from racing up and down the roads.

You will probably have seen the road works on Cotswold Road outside Elswick Park - the 30 mph speed limit is going to be lengthened, there will be a toucan crossing and people won't be able to turn right out of Elswick Park.

Yate International Festival - Saturday 2 July, 10.30 am - 4.30 pm

Back for the fifth year, Yate International Festival offers a wide range of music and dance from around the world - Irish, Egyptian, Chinese,cto name just a few - plus performances by Ridge School Gymnastics, Raysfield Dancing Group and Sodbury Community Choir. Mix in drumming and salsa, and it promises to be a good day.

The events take place on St Mary's Green, running continuously from 10.30 until 4.30.

There will also be Hindu Puppet Theatre performances in the Heritage Centre at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Chipping Sodbury Waitrose development given outline planning permission

At their meeting last week, South Glos Council's Development Control (East) Committee agreed to give outline planning permission to the controversial application for a Waitrose supermarket and 170 houses on the Barnhill Quarry site.

Chipping Sodbury appears split down the middle on the issue. A poll carried out by Sodbury Town Council showed a narrow majority of residents against the development. Some traders have come out against the scheme, but the Chipping Sodbury Chamber of Commerce has commented in favour of it.

More detailed plans will now be submitted to South Glos by the autumn, and Waitrose hope that the new store will be open in time for Christmas 2012.

Click the links for more coverage from the Gazette and the BBC

Yate X-ray change not so transparent!

As you may have read in the current Gazette, from 30th June NHS South Gloucestershire intend to stop the extended evening hours of the X-ray facility in the new Westgate centre, with the facility closing at 5pm. They say that very few people have been using the evening service, so it's not worth running.

This raises several questions:
  • Why didn't they consult anybody locally about this? They didn't tell anyone that numbers were low, despite all the excellent joint working in the run-up to the opening of the centre.
  • Why are the numbers low? Have people been told that they can get their X-rays done locally, or out of "normal hours"?
Cllrs Ian Blair, Ruth Davis and Chris Willmore asked for an emergency meeting with local health chiefs and achieved a breakthrough. The change of hours has already been put in process, but is now being treated as a suspension whilst discussions take place, not a permanent decision.

Your local councillors are working with health chiefs to draw up a survey that asks you, the residents of the area what hours you want the Minor Injuries Unit and X-ray open, and why you've chosen to go to X-ray or A and E at Frenchay rather than the MIU / X-ray at Yate.

We also want to find out how the move of A and E exclusively to Southmead will affect your choice of where to go in a crisis (bearing in mind that Frenchay will only have a MIU at Frenchay exactly equivalent to Yate's) .

The health authorities are pulling together data and then are going to work with us to do a public survey between now and the end of September. So, it is not saved yet, but the final cut has been suspended.  Please watch this space for more news...

Monday, 27 June 2011

Chipping Sodbury Jazz Festival 29 July to 31 July - get your tickets now!

Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen will be headlining at this year's Chipping Sodbury Jazz Festival.
Tickets (£18.50) are available from the Tourist Information Centre (Clock Tower), Penny Farthings or Vickers Stationers.

Armadillo wins major regional award

Yate's Armadillo Youth Venue and Cafe has won the Local Authority Building Control (LABC) West of England Building Excellence Award for the Best Community Building.

In a ceremony on Friday at Bristol’s Royal Marriott Hotel, Cllrs Chris Willmore and Ian Blair, the four young people on the committee and Armadillo manager James Dunn, together with the architect and the contractor, were presented with a trophy and certificates.

Chris Willmore commented "Many thanks are due to everyone on Yate Town Council, you all have a share of the credit for this, having the trust to let young people take such a leading role. It makes the project unique"

The project now goes forward to the national finals.

Chipping Sodbury School sports hall was among the other nominees in the same category.

LABC is an organisation that works with local authorities to encourage excellence in technical innovation, sustainability and high standards in the construction industry.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Chilling out on a hot afternoon

Cool music for a hot afternoon - the Apollo Big Band and Pauline Richings at Picnic in the Park this afternoon (Yate Music Festival, Kingsgate Park)

Saturday, 25 June 2011

KIngsgate Park Community Music Festival success

Appreciative crowds at Yate Music Festival in Kingsgate Park today
Well done to all the acts, organisers and community groups involved in the Festival. Remember, there's more to come tomorrow. You can join in with Praise in the Park at at 10.30 am, and chill out to Picnic in the Park from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The future of Filton Airfield - and the impact on Yate housing developments

If you are interested in the Planning Blueprint for South Glos, the Core Strategy, there is now an extra publication you may like to look at and perhaps comment on.

The decision by BAE Systems to close Filton Airfield means there is a large area of land that will be left vacant. Should this be a higher priority for housing than the North Yate area?

The Government Inspector who will be holding the Examination in Public has asked South Glos Council to put forward their views for discussion on what should happen about this.

You can find the Council's Filton Airfield Position Statement online, as well as in libraries and at One Stop Shops.

Any comments on the suggestions have to be made by July 29th to or by post to South Gloucestershire Council, Spatial Planning Team, PO Box 2081, South Gloucestershire, BS35 9BP

Kingsgate Park Community Music Festival this weekend (25th/26th June)

Yate Town Council's free 2-day Community Music Festival will take place in Kingsgate Park this Saturday and Sunday.


  • Festival opens at 1 pm
  • Features local bands, including Live Wire, LA Boolaheads, Midlife Crisis, Uncle Buck, Tundra, Oblio, Blackwolf and One for the Fallen.
  • Performance area, where local dance groups and clubs can promote their acts.
  • Children's rides, side shows, craft and food stalls, face painting, play areas, beer tent.
  • Praise in the Park event at 10.30 am, organised by local Churches. 
  • Picnic in the Park from 3 pm to 5 pm featuring the Apollo Big Band. Please come along, relax with a picnic and listen to the big band sound.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Yate Safer Stronger Community Group this Thursday

The next meeting of the Yate Safer Stronger Community Group (which covers Yate Town Council's area and Dodington Parish) will be on Thursday 23rd June at 7pm in South Glos Council's Badminton Road offices.

As well as the opportunity to raise issues, there will also be an update on the Armadillo Youth Cafe and Venue and a presentation from the Community Lead Group for the Priority Neighbourhood in Yate and Dodington.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Could the banks change their minds about scrapping cheques?

The Payments Council, representing the banks, had a pretty rough ride when they appeared before Parliament's Treasury Select Committee. The Treasury has written to MPs on the Committee saying that they might consider blocking plans to abolish cheques in 2018 if suitable alternatives are not found.

David Ward MP however suspects that the banks may just reduce the level of service - like they've scrapped cheque guarantee cards - until they can quietly stop cheques completely by 2018.

More on this story here

Sign the Save Our Cheque petition here

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Heron's ideas for North Yate on show Friday and Saturday

Heron is putting on an exhibition of their latest proposals for North Yate over the next couple of days. The exhibition will display a masterplan as well as further details on key issues raised during the first consultation. The sessions are as follows:

Friday 17 June 2011 2pm - 8pm
Yate Outdoor Sports Complex (YOSC), Broad Lane, Yate

Saturday 18 June 2011 10am - 4pm
Yate Library, 44 West Walk, Yate

If you are unable to visit the exhibition, you will be able to view the exhibition material in full on Heron's project website from 20 June 2011. An online comments form will also be available.

Please note that this is a developer's exhibition rather than an official council consultation, but please take a look even if you think the development isn't desirable - it'll give you an idea of Heron's current thinking.

Armadillo's first live gig this Friday!

The Armadillo (Yate Youth Cafe and Venue, next to the Sports Centre) hosts its first live gig this Friday (17 June) 7 to 11pm, featuring

Full live band - Hip Hop / Electro / Reggae / Breaks

MC Frilla
Troy da hybrid Brown
DJ Skint

£2 entry, tickets available from the Armadillo Youth Cafe.
R.O.A.R., alcohol and drugs strictly prohibited
ID and/or search on entry may be required

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Outline drawings for new shelter at Yate Bus Station

We've just received the outline plans, so that you can see where the new shelter might go. Click on the links for the seven-bay version and the six-bay version

Unfortunately there's nowhere near here with this particular model, but here's a photo of one of these shelters at Treliske Hospital in Truro - there are others at Heathrow, Manchester and Leeds.

It has been confirmed that the design has been developed to provide a level of vandal-proof protection, and it should be covered by the Yate Centre CCTV system.

We are awaiting some details on seats and have requested these along with quotes for the shelter and the signage.

Update: Chris Willmore tells me that Yate Town Council discussed the outline plans this evening, and they've asked for lighting proposals and details about the CCTV coverage.

A fun afternoon at the races (duck races, that is!)

Please join us on Sunday 19 June for the annual Chipping Sodbury Festival Duck Race on the River Frome, in aid of the Wildlife Trust.

Why not come along, have a flutter, and join us for an afternoon of races, a cup of tea and a doughnut? Great fun for all the family!

You are very welcome to come along and bring a picnic to enjoy in the park.

The races start from 2.00pm in Jubilee Park, Quarry Road, Chipping Sodbury.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Looking for a bike ride on Sunday?

If you missed out on Bristol's Biggest Bike Ride due to its last-minute cancellation, or if you want something closer to home, try the Chipping Sodbury Festival Bike Rides this coming Sunday, June 19th.

Two rides are on offer  - 25 miles for more experienced cyclists, and a 12 mile family ride. Even quite young children can usually manage 12 miles - it's the parents who have the problems!

The rides both start at the Clock Tower in Hugh Street, Chipping Sodbury. The 25 mile ride starts at 11.30 am, and the 12 mile ride begins at 12.30 pm.

Both rides will finish in Jubilee Park at about 2.00 pm, just in time for the Wildlife Trust Duck Race (great fun for the kids!)

The rides are organised by the U3A Cycle Group - if you would like more details you can email Bob Keen on or ring him on 01454 881966.

Yate bus station - some real progress in sight?

Chris Willmore reports:

Well flatten me with the feather! S Glos officers asked for a meeting urgently this week to discuss the survey. Dave Buckland (the officer who had the guts to come to meet us back in Feb) met Ruth Davis, Paul Hulbert, Ian Blair, Martin Monk and me - and came with draft plans!!! AND THEY HAVE LISTENED!!!! The plans reflect what you said in the survey.

We made some practical comments and suggestions and he has gone off to refine the drawings and then get quotes.

£15-20k has been found from the source we suggested (traffic management "Section 106" monies). He is proposing a proper shelter, under the canopy, running most of the distance from one end pillar to the other, and pretty deep, so it will be much bigger than the old ones combined; has two exits out to the buses, and one entry point at the back.

The existing benches will be moved to the two ends of the canopy, and new seats in the shelter will be a mix of perch, bench and property seats with arms. He has promised to ensure the floor comes to the ground so our ankles do not freeze. He had even checked the wind directions to work out where we needed the doors to minimise impact.

It's still not perfect, and we have yet to see the final version following this meeting, but, it is a mile better than the current position.

I am really sorry everyone is drowning there at present. Dave Buckland says they can use an existing contractor so do not have to go out to new tender, but that the lead time on installation is about 6 weeks - so, it looks to me as if the work will be done during the school holidays......

We did not have electronic copies of the papers at the meeting, so we cannot post them, but you can see the type, called Gullwing at As soon as we get electronic copies of the final plans, we will post a link here on the blog.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Planning and tipping applications approved

This week the South Glos Development Control (West) planning committee considered the Beech Hill Farm tipping and Mayshill in-vessel composting facility applications. Local councillor Claire Young spoke on residents' concerns on both applications.

After some discussion of the highways issues and how rejected loads should be dealt with, the committee granted a 2 year temporary permission for the Mayshill composting facility. They added a condition requiring a travel plan and, if there isn't more specific legislation covering it, a requirement that rejected loads are taken away immediately in the van that delivered them.

Highways issues were also the main concern with the Beech Hill Farm tipping application, but the committee decided to approve the application in line with the officer's recommendation.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The First Year as a New MP - meet Duncan Hames MP in Chipping Sodbury 24 June

Ever wondered what happens behind closed doors in Westminster? Come and listen to a new MP talk about his first year in Parliament.

Duncan has had an extraordinary first year in Parliament since being elected as MP for Chippenham in 2010. He has become a Parliamentary Private Secretary to a Lib Dem Minister, and has seen more about how Government works in one year than most people do in ten.

This lecture is in memory of Heather Larkins, a former Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Northavon who sadly passed away. All proceeds go towards sending a young person to experience Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference in September.

Chipping Sodbury Town Hall, Friday 24 June, 7.30 pm.

Tickets £5 each (£1 if under 21) from Joanna Wallis on 0117 9574119 or email    Alternatively, pay on the door.

Campaigners angry as council refuses to budge on care home closures

Campaigners have blasted the South Glos Tory Administration for their response to local people’s concerns about care home closures.

In March, local resident John Williams presented a petition to council with over 2,600 names, triggering a debate.The petition challenged the closure of Wapley Court Elderly Persons Home and other residential homes before the promised replacement homes had been built – planned for 2014. Mr Williams spoke of the failure of the Executive Member, Tory Councillor Matthew Riddle, and the Director to engage fully with residents, their families and staff in the implementation of the programme.

Speaking after receiving a letter from the Executive Member Mr Williams said, “This is exactly the sort of response we feared. Despite all our efforts and despite everyone on the council, including Cllr Riddle himself, voting for a rethink, nothing has really changed. I heard him saying on the radio that the petition didn’t change anything because the existing homes are not fit for purpose. Presumably if every resident in South Glos signed he still wouldn’t change! I am deeply disappointed”

Local councillor Alan Lawrance (Lib Dem, Dodington) said, “It took Matthew Riddle two months to say he’s not moving on this issue. His inflexibility shows scant regard for the residents, staff and families connected to the residential homes. Where is his understanding of people or his respect for the democratic process?”

Cllr Maggie Tyrrell, the South Glos Lib Dem’s spokesperson for Community Care and Housing, said, “The letter simply goes over old ground, rather than actually responding to the petition. We support moves to help more people stay in their own homes and to provide more modern facilities for those that, despite this, still need residential care. These changes need to be made sensitively though and the Tory administration needs to show some flexibility”

Cllr Lawrance added, “Having provided specific undertakings in Alexandra Way and Woodleaze, Matthew Riddle was not prepared to do the same for the other residential homes. His only concession is a ‘promise’ to bring forward the construction and opening of two new care homes by a few months, presumably if weather and developers permit. While he talks about people he shows little real concern for them”

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Planning committee to consider tipping and composting applications

On Thursday 9th June, South Glos's Development Control (West) planning committee will consider the Beech Hill Farm tipping and Mayshill in-vessel composting facility applications.

The case officer has recommended approval for the tipping and a 2 year temporary approval for the composting application.

You can view the agenda for the meeting, with links to the officer's reports, online.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Results of Yate Bus Station questionnaire

Here are the results of our Yate Bus Station online survey - thank you to everyone who took part.

The majority of people (58%) preferred the "green" position for the shelter, followed by the "red" position at 39%. Blue came last at 3%.

The KEY ISSUE is that shelters should shelter people from wind and rain. Most people wanted shelters to be 4 sided, see-through, with several entrances, going down to the ground or very close, and they should be vandal-resistant.

Seats are wanted inside the shelters, 5 or 6 seats PER BUS BAY - quite a lot - with extra room for wheelchairs under the shelters as well (that's a new point). Some people suggested seats outside the shelters as well.

70% want backs to the seats. Some people wanted arms, but others feel this might restrict the number of people that can be accomodated (Maybe a mixture?). Others don't mind benches, but people in general HATE perch seats. Several people said "like the seats at Bristol Bus station".

There were various suggestions about where the Real Time Information sign should go, but general agreement that it needs to be visible from the shelter.

Static timetable positions (i.e. notice boards) are not as critical, but they should be grouped together. One person also suggested having static timetables in the middle of the shopping centre and outside the new Tesco, which makes sense.

We had 33 online responses, which appear to be a good cross-section of bus station users. All are from BS37 postcodes, and ages range from 20s to 80 and over. There is a spread of daily, weekly and monthly users. 4 of them have mobility disabilities. 12 usually carry shopping etc, 21 sometimes. 3 use a pushchair or wheelchair.

Yate Town Council has sent the results to South Glos, and we're now waiting to hear back. We'll keep you updated, but South Glos hasn't given us a timescale for a decision. In the meantime our petition is still open - please click on the link in the right hand column.