Wednesday, 31 December 2014

New Year bus service changes

Changes from 5 January

Service 312: Service will operate between Thornbury and UWE Frenchay Campus only – Severnside
The section of route between Downend and UWE Frenchay is withdrawn. Timetable amended to run at peak times only, service is now running commercially Monday to Friday, Saturday service is withdrawn.

Service 622: Thornbury to Tetbury – Severnside
Service now running to Tetbury via Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Didmarton and Westonbirt Arboretum. The section between Thornbury and Cribbs Causeway has now been withdrawn due to another commercial operator running this part of the route. Service will run every 120 minutes during the day. School journey will still operate between Lower Almondsbury and Marlwood/Castle School.
Sunday service will still exist operated by Wessex Connect.

Changes from 11 January

Service 88: Dursley to Bristol – First
Monday to Friday timetable amended to improve punctuality and reliability of the service.

For further information visit the Travel West website

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Recycling Christmas trees

If you have a real Christmas tree, South Glos Council say there are a number of ways you can recycle it when the festivities are over:

  • If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put your real Christmas tree in your green bin for kerbside collection on your collection day. Please cut the tree into manageable pieces and make sure the tree is not wedged into the bin.
  • You can buy a single use garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest South Gloucestershire library. Please attach the sack to the tree and leave out for collection on your bin collection day (you don’t need to worry about cutting the tree to fit it in the sack).
  • You can also recycle your tree at one of South Gloucestershire’s four Sort It centres. 
Please remember to remove all decorations, pots and stands before recycling your Christmas tree. Recycled trees will be processed with the rest of South Gloucestershire’s garden waste and turned into fertiliser and mulch. To check your collection day please visit

Monday, 29 December 2014

First stage of the new Wapley bridge

The support beams for the new bridge were put into place the night before last, so you can now see the increased clearance that will be needed for the overhead electric cables.

The new support beams rest on the century-old supporting piers

Trains are running regularly under the partly constructed bridge

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Wapley bridge the morning after the night before

Work on the Wapley bridge came to a halt last night due to the wind and rain - it would have been unsafe to lift the new bridge sections in. We don't yet know the new timing for this but we're guessing next week, maybe New Year's Eve / New Year's Day.

Update 28 December - they've lifted the new bridge beams in! Picture to follow. 

A train thunders past the gap and the crane. Parts of the new bridge are on the lorry on the right.

The gap, with the left-hand support being built up with concrete to the new height.

The support beams for the new bridge waiting on the lorry.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Wapley Bridge up, up and away!

The old bridge across the railway from Shire Way to Wapley Common (Sergeant's Farm Bridge) was craned out this morning (Boxing Day) in a spectacular operation by Network Rail's contractors Murphy and crane operators James Jack.

The 1900s structure was stubborn to the last - it took a man with a sladgehammer to free it from its masonry supports.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

In case you missed Santa's sleigh passing overhead

We promised you a chance to see Santa's sleigh (the International Space Station) this evening. In case you missed it, here's a photo. Sorry it's blurry, but if you look closely you can just see Santa's red coat on the right hand side.

Wapley bridge - Network Rail promised a big crane...

... and they weren't joking! The Big Lift should start around 8.30 or 9.00 am on Boxing Day morning.

Monday, 22 December 2014

Timetable to see Santa's sleigh flying over on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve the International Space Station rises in the West (Bristol direction) at 5.20 pm and goes down in the East at 5.26 pm.

If there's no cloud it will be be VERY visible - the pass is classed as "incredibly bright"

Details of other passes are available from:

Just the thing for families with small children. We can't promise that you'll see any reindeer, though...

Update - Photo of the event: In case you missed Santa's sleigh passing overhead

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Planning application submitted for council office solar scheme

The planning application has now been submitted for the proposed solar scheme on land next to the Badminton Road Council Offices at Nibley.

Last week we reported on a meeting we had with officers about the proposals. You can now view the plans and make comments online.If for any reason that link doesn't work, go to the planning application search page and enter the reference number PK14/4785/R3F. You have until 6th January to make comments.

Christmas opening times

Local MP Steve Webb has sent out the following useful round-up of local Christmas opening times:

Constituency Office of Steve Webb MP - Opening Hours

The office will be open as usual over the holiday period, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2nd January. You can contact Steve on 01454 322100 or email

Christmas Posting Dates

The last posting dates for Christmas are as follows:
(It's already too late for 2nd class post)
Saturday 20 December - 1st Class and Royal Mail Signed For®
Monday 22 December - Parcelforce Worldwide 48 hours delivery
Tuesday 23 December - Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed®

South Glos Council Services

One Stop Shops

One Stop Shops will be closed from Christmas eve afternoon (from 1pm) and on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and 2 January.

Recycling and waste collections

Recycling centres

All sites are open as usual, apart from 25 December to 28 December and 1 January.

Christmas collections

Bin collections will continue as normal, with the exception of Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. You will still have the usual amount of collections over Christmas, but the days might change. You can also check the dates using the Council’s collection date checker.

Recycling your real Christmas tree

There are several options to dispose of your real Christmas tree.

a) Using the garden waste service

If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put it in your green bin, or alternatively you can purchase a garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library or Country Stores at 48 High Street Marshfield SN14 8LP. You don’t need to worry about the cutting the tree to fit it in the sack.

b) Taking it to a recycling centre

You can recycle your tree at one of the four Sort It centres

Train times over the holiday period

Network Rail will be conducting essential engineering works over the Christmas period.  Details of changes to the usual schedule are as follows:

Christmas Eve

Timings of trains will start to change from 1700 across the network, and from 1500 in the London and Thames Valley area. The last train will leave Paddington before 2130.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day

No scheduled train services.

Saturday 27 December

Local services into London will start from around 1100 because of work in the Hayes and Harlington area, and long distance services into and out of London will be limited. We are advising customers to use other routes where possible, or to travel after 1100.  Tickets will be valid on other routes.

Saturday 27 December – Sunday 4 January

A reduced timetable will operate and diversions will be in place. Journey times may take longer than normal.

First Great Western have set out the changes in detail for each route on their website:

Emergency Pharmacy Opening Times in South Gloucestershire

Pharmacy opening times for the December and January Bank Holidays 2014/15. 

Asda Pharmacy, Craven Way, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 3012810
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

*Asda Pharmacy, Highwood Lane, Patchway, BS34 5TL
Tel: 0117 3172410
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 16:00

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1, Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke Way, Bradley Stoke,  BS32 8EF
Tel: 01454 202327
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, 116, The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, Patchway, BS34 5UP
Tel: 0117 9509744
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: closed

Boots Pharmacy, Unit 1a, Emersons Green Retail Centre, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9575893
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 09:00 - 18:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

*Boots Pharmacy, Unit D, Gallagher Retail Park, Longwell Green, BS30 7DY
Tel: 0117 9678963
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00
Thursday 1st January: 07:30 - 11:30 and 12:00 - 00:00

Boots Pharmacy, 15-17, North Walk, Yate, BS37 4AP
Tel: 01454 312589
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 08:30 - 17:30
Thursday 1st January: closed

Bradley Stoke Pharmacy, Brook Way,  Bradley Stoke,  BS32 9DS
Tel: 01454 612855
Thursday 25th December: 10:00 - 12:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed

Frome Valley Pharmacy, Frome Valley Medical Centre, 2 Court Road, Frampton Cotterell BS36 2DE
Tel: 01454 773755
Thursday 25th December: 12:00 - 14:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: 12:00 - 14:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Emersons Way, Emerson’s Green, BS16 7AE
Tel: 0117 9569849
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 17:00

Sainsbury's Pharmacy, Fox Den Road, Filton, Stoke Gifford, BS34 8SS
Tel: 0117 9793412
Thursday 25th December: closed
Friday 26th December: 10:00 - 17:00
Thursday 1st January: 10:00 - 15:00

Westbourne Road Pharmacy, 26, Westbourne Road, Downend, BS16 6RX
Tel: 0117 9565836
Thursday 25th December: 14:00 - 16:00
Friday 26th December: closed
Thursday 1st January: closed
*These pharmacies have a specialist medicines service.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Christmas lights in Westerleigh

Once again Mill Crescent is lit up for Christmas to raise money for charity. This year the collection will go to St Peter's Hospice, in memory of several local residents who have died. 
It's well worth a visit, especially if you have children. Mill Crescent is the side road just next to the zebra crossing.

(Photos by Claire Young)

St Nick's Youth Centre closing, but rescue may be possible

The charitable trust that runs St Nicholas Youth Centre at Abbotswood has suddenly announced that they are to stop operating from the end of December. This means that this month's youth club meetings will be the last, apart from one farewell evening in January.

South Gloucestershire Youth Initiative was founded in 2012 after the core youth club funding from South Gloucestershire Council ceased. In 2013 they managed to attract enough funding and grants to keep the club open. However this year they found it increasingly difficult to balance the books and they felt they had no option but to close.

But there is a glimmer of hope. Your local Focus councillors believe that local youth work is essential, and they are working hard trying to put a rescue package together. Yate Town Council is taking the lead role. This has been complicated by the very short notice given, and the fact that it's happening in the run-up to Christmas when key people are less likely to be available.

We'll update you here when we know for certain what is happening.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Campaigners call for cycle path to be finished

Paul Hulbert and Claire Young launching the petition in August
Westerleigh Councillor Claire Young delivered a petition to a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council on Wednesday as part of an ongoing campaign for the completion of the ‘Yate Spur’ cycle path. The petition has so far been signed by over 300 residents from Yate, Westerleigh and further afield.

Claire said: “This petition shows there is strong support for completing the “Yate Spur” cycle path, which currently stops just south of Westerleigh but is planned to link up the village and Yate with the Bristol-Bath railway path and the wider cycle network. When it’s finished, it will provide a safe, off-road route for travelling to the Science Park at Emerson’s Green, Bristol city centre, Bath and beyond. Families will be able to enjoy leisure rides and it will make commuting to work by bike a realistic option for many more people.”

Local resident Rob Bushill spoke at the meeting in support of the petition.“There are just two ways in and out of Yate towards Bristol. Via Badminton Road, which has a lot of heavy traffic, or via Westerleigh, a narrow rat run of twisting bumpy country lanes that is so off putting and dangerous that even experienced cyclists avoid it. Yate has become an island to anyone bar the car driver, which is incredible considering that 30 plus miles of great cycleway is available just 2 miles away."

“By constructing this small but complex stretch of pathway, it will open up the shops of Emerson’s Green, the things for the family in Bath and Bristol, even provide a safer but longer route to the offices of Emerald Park and the Science Park. It’s 50 minutes to Bristol by bike, it’s a viable means of transport in the week and a source of family enjoyment at the weekends. It’s definitely not just for lycra-clad cyclists. By building these last few miles of cycleway, a huge barrier to people making those trips would be taken away.”

The Local Economic Partnership (LEP) Investment Board are due to consider further funding for the scheme at a meeting today. Claire called upon the Council to present the petition to them and lobby for the extra funding. We will continue campaigning until we have secured this vital sustainable transport link You can add your support here.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Abbotswood Christmas lights are back!

The community has rallied round to deal with vandal damage to the Abbotswood Christmas tree. Thanks to a generous donation and local volunteers, the tree is now illuminated again! Well done to everyone involved.

Solar scheme and safeguarding Park and Ride site at Badminton Road

Earlier this year, we reported that the council was proposing to put solar panels on land next to the council offices at Nibley. This week Ruth Davis, Claire Young and Paul Hulbert met officers to discuss the plans before an application is submitted. This would be a very small scheme compared to the commercial solar farms that have sprung up in the area recently, the aim being to provide electricity for the council offices.
Claire Young and Ruth Davis at the site
While keen for the council to save money in a positive way and use greener energy, your Focus Team was concerned that enough space should be left for the long-planned park and ride.This now needs to be bigger than originally planned due to all the new homes being built in Yate. The good news is that the latest plans allow for a 236 space car park, with the possibility of further spaces behind the offices. The solar panels would go on the slightly higher ground towards the back of the site in the top picture, which isn't suitable for car parking.

The site is just opposite the Badminton Road council offices
Your Focus Team is campaigning to get the park and ride built, along with other transport schemes in the Yate area. Go to  to back the campaign and share your experiences and ideas about local transport.

Get more out of your library with new mobile apps

Libraries from across the West of England work together as LibrariesWest. They've just launched free apps for iPads and iPhones and for Android devices. Using the apps you can:
  • Search the catalogue
  • Place reservations
  • Renew your loans
  • Manage your library account
  • Find your nearest library
  • Access eBooks and online resources
  • Follow LibrariesWest on Twitter
The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and Windows Phone and Kindle Fire versions will be available soon. To find out more, including the download links, go to

Thursday, 11 December 2014

First Bus services over Christmas and New Year

First Bus say that the level of service provision will vary by area, but to help travellers information has been published already, with posters on buses across the area, and a special guide for Bristol is available. 

The specifics in Bristol  (including Yate and Chipping Sodbury)

·        In the run up to Christmas buses will operate normal timetables until Christmas Eve
·        On Christmas Eve most night buses in Bristol city will run until around 2am.  There will be no buses after this time or on Christmas Day itself. Some journeys on buses to and from Bristol will not operate after midnight on Christmas Eve.
·        No services on Christmas Day
·        On Boxing day the following will run in and around Bristol: Services 1, 2, 6/7, 24, 39, 40, 42, 43/44/45, 46, 47, 48/49, 70, 73, 75/76, 78, 90, 376,  X2, X6, X8 and Service A1 but special timetables will be in operation,
·        Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December: normal Saturday and Sunday timetables
·        Between Christmas and New Year some services will be operating normal Monday to Friday timetables, while others will use Saturday schedules on Monday 29, Tuesday 30 December and New Year’s Eve.  Travellers are advised to consult the special guide
·        On New Year’s Eve, all Bristol night bus services will operate running throughout the night as per normal.  
·        On New Year’s Day, as on Boxing Day, some special timetables will be in operation.
·        On Friday 2 January buses will mostly operate Saturday services, but some routes (the same as those which operated between Christmas and New Year) will run normal Monday to Friday schedules.
·        From 3 January all buses will revert to their normal timetables.

The specifics for all other services, ie those in and around Bath, Wells, Weston-super-Mare, Frome, Corsham etc
·        In the run up to Christmas buses will operate normal timetables until Christmas Eve
·        On Christmas Eve, buses will operate as normal although Service 39 (Bath – Bristol) will finish earlier than normal. Specifically the last bus from Bath will leave at 2300 hours, while the last from Bristol will leave at midnight.
·        There will be no buses on Christmas Day.
·        On Boxing Day, Sunday services will operate on the three Park and Ride services in Bath, while a special timetable will be running on Service 39 (Bath – Bristol).  Some other services from outlying areas to Bristol will also run, for instance Services 46, 47, 376, X2, X6, X8 (using special timetables).
·        Normal timetables will apply to Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 December, while on Monday 29, Tuesday 30 December and New Year’s Eve, Saturday timetables will operate in most instances (the exception will be on Service A2, Corsham’s Service 10 and Frome’s Service 30, which will run normal Monday to Friday timetables)
·        On New Year’s Day some buses in and around Bath will run, using special timetables. In Bath the following will operate Services 5, 10, 13, 14, 39, 178 and 376.  
·        On Friday 2 January, buses will mostly operate Saturday services, but some routes (the same as those which operated between Christmas and New Year) will run normal Monday to Friday schedules.
·        The special Bath timetables are available here

·        From 3 January all buses will revert to their normal timetables.

More details are available from the First Bus web page here

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Please save those stamps!

Most of our local charity shops collect used stamps - foreign, UK commemorative or just plain "ordinary" stamps - and sell them on to dealers. Please keep all those stamps you get at Xmas or indeed any time of year and take them in.

Alternatively you can drop them off to Paul Hulbert at 35 Blaisdon (he's collecting them for Cancer Research) or leave them at Dodington Parish Council for him to collect.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

South Glos budget consultation - have your say!

South Gloucestershire Council is currently consulting on its budget, council tax levels for next year and its overall savings plan. The council asks council tax payers their views each year before agreeing its budget and council tax. This is your opportunity to comment on the council’s priorities, its council tax and proposals to improve services and increase efficiency. You can tell them your views on these important areas by completing their survey (also available to download) or contacting them - for more details visit Council Budget and Savings Consultation

The Council has to make difficult decisions and the Lib Dem Focus Team wants to make sure this is done as fairly as possible. We want to protect the most vulnerable, work with you to find new ways of doing things and we want to know what you think are the most important services to save. Please take part in this consultation. Your comments here would also be welcome!

Monday, 8 December 2014

Local bus problems due to jams in Bristol?

We're getting reports of buses not running in Yate and Sodbury because of traffic congestion in Bristol and maybe Bath. Services have been missing and parts of the routes have been left out as the drivers attempt to get back on schedule.

Please comment below about any problems you've encountered. Please be specific about the day, the time and the service affected.

It seems daft that jams as far away as Bristol can stop our buses running completely in Yate and Chipping Sodbury. Not everyone wants to go to Bristol - the local leg of the journeys is a lifeline for many people. Can anyone remember the "Badger Bus" that used to provide a local service round the estates? Maybe it's time they brought that back, at least when they've got predictable peak-time problems..

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Free concert Saturday 13 December - collection for Ebola Crisis Appeal

Come along to the Cameo Orchestra Concert at St Nix Church Abbotswood from 7.30 pm - an enjoyable evening of light classics, music from films and shows, and Christmas favourites.

Refreshments available.

Retiring collection for the Ebola Crisis Appeal (TEARfund).

Why not come along - it'll be fun!

Work on temporary Wapley footbridge going well

They've erected the two stairways and they are just putting the support for the walkway across today (Sunday 7 Dec). Presumably they'll need some more time without any trains passing to finish the walkway off.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Shop locally this Saturday

This Saturday (6th December) is Small Business Saturday UK. In South Gloucestershire, participating traders and independent shops will be getting involved, including in Yate, and you can win £100 to spend at one of the businesses.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply tweet the South Gloucestershire Council Twitter account @sgloscouncil on Saturday 6 December and tell the council why you like to shop locally and/or suggest your favourite independent shop in South Gloucestershire. All tweets must include the hashtag #southglos and the best tweet will win the voucher.

For more info about Small Business Saturday events and offers in South Gloucestershire visit

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Smile campaign

The weather is glum, but there's no need for us to be! South Glos Council is running a campaign to encourage people to think about the small things that they can do that will make a big difference to other people. Find out more at

What are you doing to make someone else just a bit happier? Please comment below to let us know.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Warm Up South Gloucestershire

Are you the landlord of a rented property in South Gloucestershire? Is it cold and draughty? If so, take a look at the new initiative Warm Up South Gloucestershire which has been launched by the council this week.

The scheme offers landlords significant help to improve inefficient properties in a bid to protect tenants against cold, draughty houses. It offers a range of measures, including heating upgrades, cavity wall and loft insulation, draught proofing and double glazing. There is also a limited amount of additional support available to landlords for installing a new gas connection if required.

The initiative applies to landlords who own properties with an F or G energy rating, which means they’re very energy inefficient, and offers two thirds off, up to a maximum of £3,000, for home improvement measures.

The council has secured government funding to deliver the measures and work will be completed by a largely local small and medium sized enterprise (SME) supply chain to ensure that South Gloucestershire businesses benefit. The funding was secured in conjunction with Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council who are running their own Warm Up campaigns.

The funding for the scheme is limited, so you need to act quickly to take advantage of it.

If you're a landlord, go to and call 0800 980 09 02 to find out more. If you're a tenant, speak to your landlord about the scheme.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Interested in office work, but need key training?

If you are over 19 but haven't got a full Level 2 qualification (e.g. GCSE levels A*-C), this Introduction to Office Skills course could be for you.

The *FREE* course will focus on key topics for business administration and general office skills, for example:
  • Communication skills
  • Organizing a meeting, taking notes
  • IT specific skills
  • General office skills
The course will run from 7pm to 9pm on Thursday evenings at Yate Library, starting 8 January, for 10 weeks. Please note that if the course isn't full by Christmas the start may be delayed by a few weeks.
For more information, to find out if you qualify, or to enrol contact the Community Learning Team:
Tel. 01454 864613 or 07584 580225

South Glos Council to start collecting unwanted green bins

If you don't use your green bin, South Glos will be collecting them shortly. Obviously they won't collect it if you use it for green waste, and you can keep it if you use it for anything else (for example, some people have found that they're handy for garden tools)

In our area the planned removal dates are:

Frampton Cotterell     Monday 15 December
Yate North     Tuesday 16 December
Yate Central     Wednesday 17 December
Dodington     Thursday 18 December
Westerleigh  and Chipping Sodbury     Friday 19 December

Details of the green bin removal day will be provided on a leaflet that will be delivered to your address one week before the collection. This is a one off service and if you no longer want your green bin it must be put out for removal on the date on the leaflet you receive.

All green bins for removal must be outside by 7 am on the appropriate day and must be empty. They will not take any bins that contain waste, including garden waste.

If you currently receive help putting out your bins and require assistance to put your unwanted green bin out, please contact 01454 868000 or e-mail prior to your removal day.

Warning - if you subscribe to the green bin collection service, please make sure that your bin is not outside on "removal day" or it will disappear!

Full details are on the South Glos website here.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Consultation on changes to Sort It Centres

South Glos Council is consulting about possible changes to the Sort It Centres (recyling centres) to save money by limiting the amount of commercial waste and material brought in by people who don't live in South Glos. This could affect the way YOU use the Sort It Centres - options include:
  • Limiting business use by clarifying the definition of a van, introducing van permits and limiting the number of times a van can visit in a year
  • Asking local residents to pre-register for permits before visiting to reduce the number of non-residents using the sites
  • Introducing a charge for the collection and disposal of some non-household waste items
  • Changes to opening hours and the days sites are open
You can download the consultation document here. The consultation is open until 14 February,

You can find out more and let South Glos know your views by:
  • Completing the consultation feedback survey (you can fill it in online or download and print it)
  • Email:          
  • Write to: FREEPOST RTCT-JXLE-EET, South Gloucestershire Council, Corporate Research & Consultation Team, Sort It Centre   Changes Consultation, Civic Centre, High Street, Kingswood, BRISTOL, BS15 9TR
  • Phone: 01454 868154
If you would like someone to talk to your group or organisation about these proposals, please contact South Glos using the details above to arrange.