Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Safer Stronger meeting coming up

The next Yate and Chipping Sodbury Community Engagement Forum - formerly known as the Safer Stronger Community Group - will be held on Monday 4th July at 7pm in the St Nicholas Family Centre, Chargrove, Yate BS37 4LG.

Please come along and meet local councillors and council staff, the police, Avon Fire and Rescue and others to discuss local matters of concern and to try to come up with solutions.

Before the meeting - from 6pm - there will be a “Have a Safer Summer” event with advice from such agencies as the Police, Fire Brigade and Crime Prevention.

Monday, 27 June 2016

What next after the referendum?

South Gloucestershire, like the country as a whole, has voted narrowly to leave the European Union. The official result in our area was:

Remain: 74,928 (47.3%)
Leave: 83,405 (52.7%)
Turnout: 76.2%

Your Focus Team campaigned positively with people of other parties and none for the UK to remain in the European Union, so of course we are disappointed. Now the momentous decision has been made to leave, we will continue to work to get the best for local people as our country takes the next steps. Now we need to work together to reconcile the divisions this referendum has highlighted.

If you would like to help, please consider joining the Liberal Democrats- more than 7000 new members have already joined since the referendum.

Membership may cost less than you think - check out our Frequently Asked Questions here.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Voting Remain - a personal story

We don't normally put personal viewpoints on here, but this article explains why our editor is voting REMAIN.

The Brexit campaigners want to return to a Britain that never existed for most of our people. As a child I played on the bomb sites. Bath time was in a tin bath in the living room. The toilet was outside and round the side of the house, though we were luckier than our neighbours, who had to cross our front to get to their loo.

I played with ration coupons - food rationing had only just finished, nine years after the war ended. We knew that if the siren sounded for real we had only four minutes before the nuclear missiles struck. We had pea soup smogs. TB and polio were still not unknown.

Later, currency devaluation followed devaluation. If you went abroad there was a limit on the cash you could take out of the country - the amount of money was recorded in your passport. If you went to a friendly European country to work, you had to report to the police and register as an alien.

The UK economy continued to decline. The miners' strike precipitated power cuts and the three day week. Speeding coal convoys under police escort were very aggressive and virtually barged ordinary drivers off the motorways.

Yes, there were the positives too, notably the National Health Service. I was one of the early NHS babies, and I've been grateful for it throughout my life. But many of the Brexiteers want to abolish the NHS.

Another positive was the almost universal loathing of fascism, but fascism is now creeping back into our society. Hatred of immigrants, using language that sees refugees (often from wars we have helped to create) as numbers, not people. Authoritarianism in many forms, from private security substituting for properly trained prison staff, through to projects being imposed by the diktat of government or inspectors regardless of the will of local people.

So where is this golden age they want to take us back to? Can't we go forward, not back, into a more humane society?

I'm voting Remain because the EU has been a force for good, a force for peace, a source of strength in numbers. I don't want to be part of a Little Britain that will fall apart. If we leave the EU Scotland will probably leave us, and maybe take northern England with it. Wales will be next in the queue, and a neutered England will be left to deal with a resurrected Northern Ireland problem.

Vote Remain, if you want to avoid economic decline, if you want a decent pension.

Vote Remain, if you want a decent life for your children and grandchildren.

Vote Remain, if you want to live in a society that values people.

Vote Remain.

Paul Hulbert

Monday, 20 June 2016

The most important 10 minutes this year

This Thursday our country faces its most important choice in a generation, as we vote on whether to remain in or leave the European Union. Your Focus Team believes it’s vital that you use your vote to support REMAIN.

We believe we should stay in the EU, because that’s how we can tackle our most important problems – through a strong economy that can pay for vital services like the NHS and co-operation to tackle complex global challenges like climate change and terrorism.

Being in Europe keeps many jobs safe and makes sure we get lots of investment in Britain. But it also helps us in simple every day ways, for instance cutting mobile phone roaming charges and making sure we have access to medical care while on holiday.

Here in South Gloucestershire, prominent local businesses that provide jobs for local people have come out strongly in favour of a REMAIN vote. Airbus recently wrote to all employees, telling them: “Our position… is we firmly believe that it makes good economic sense to stay inside the EU which has helped make the company the global success story it is today. Apart from anything else, we simply don’t know what ‘out’ looks like.”

This is why your vote this week is crucial. The decision you make this Thursday will shape our country for years to come. We only have one chance – please make plans now for what time of day you will vote. You can vote at your usual place from 7am to 10pm. If you haven’t used your postal vote yet, you can take it along to the polling station on the day.

There is still time to learn more and join our campaign by visiting www.libdems.org.uk/europe. You can also let us know your views on the referendum by completing this survey.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Competition for images of the fields to the north of Brinsham Park before they are developed!

Yate Town Council has announced a competition to photograph, paint or draw for posterity the fields to the north of Brinsham Park before they are developed.

Record a snap shot in time...capture the sense of place…what makes it special and unique? Fields.. gateways.. hedgerows.. ponds.. tracks.. wild life ..birds.. butterflies.. insects.. trees.. wild flowers.. streams.. rabbits.. Consider the obvious and common place and not so obvious! All entries will be compiled into a historic record. A small prize will be given to the winner to be judged on creative and imaginative observation capturing the essence of the area.

To enter: please send/scan colour or black and white images in any format to info@yatetowncouncil.gov.uk or upload and post on Facebook or Twitter.

If you would prefer, send or deliver, a hard copy to Yate Town Council, Poole Court, Poole Court Drive, Yate, South Gloucestershire, BS37 5PP.

For more information tel. 01454 866506 or check www.yatetowncouncil.gov.uk

Rules: Please abide by the countryside rules and do not stray from the footpaths.
Copyright for future YTC publications is required for all entries.
Competition open to all ages, amateur or professional. Closing date 31st July 2016.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Stop mobile nuisance calls

MOBILE phone users can now send a text message to opt out of nuisance calls. The 'text-to-register' service allows mobile users to add their number to the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) 'do not call' database.

Those wanting to sign up need to text 'TPS' followed by their email address to the shortcode 78070. They will receive a text reply from the TPS confirming their number has been successfully added to its database.

Registrants should notice a gradual reduction in unsolicited sales and marketing voice calls after a few days, although it can take up to 28 days for the service to become fully effective.

It is illegal for organisations to make unsolicited sales and marketing calls to numbers registered with the TPS, unless they have a person's consent to do so.

Only 48 per cent of people familiar with the TPS are aware that mobile numbers can be registered, compared to 88 per cent for landline phone numbers, according to Ofcom.

The regulator said this helped to explain why only 2.9 million mobile numbers (around 3 per cent) were registered on the TPS database, compared with 18.5 million landline numbers (around 85 per cent).

John Mitchison, head of the TPS, said: "Rogue callers operate illegally and against the interests of ordinary people.

"Texting will make it easier for people to register their mobile numbers on the TPS, which is the only official no-call list, and help us stamp out rogue callers once and for all by giving the Information Commissioner more ammunition to prosecute these cases."

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Rodford Way roadworks update Tuesday

At the moment (Tuesday 14 June 1.30 pm) Shire Way is completely closed at the junction with Rodford Way while tarmac is renewed and the cycle lane is being marked out.

Rodford Way is closed westbound from Scott Way to Sundridge Park.

The roadworks should be clear again by 5 pm tonight, but due to the weather there will be more works at the junction tomorrow (Wednesday)

There will a few final tweaks to be done a few days later.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Safer cycling

"Learn to ride" and "Fix" courses have been added to the Bikeability scheme in South Gloucestershire. The first gives children basic cycling skills and road safety, while "Fix" involves mechanics teaching basic maintenance such as puncture repairs. Most Bikeability training for children takes place in schools but there are also free courses available in the summer. Adults can book individual lessons here.

A scheme called Bikeability Recycled, which saw used and unwanted bikes refurbished and made roadworthy before being redistributed to people in the community, is being extended until the end of August. The council hopes to win funding to continue it for 4 years.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Find out about railway electrification work in Severn and Patchway tunnels

 South Gloucestershire residents are invited to an event to find out more about work that will soon be taking place to prepare the 130-year-old Severn and Patchway tunnels for the arrival of a new fleet of longer, faster, quieter and greener electric trains.

The event will take place at 7pm on Thursday 16 June at Patchway Community College on Hempton Lane and will begin with a presentation by the Network Rail project team, followed by an opportunity to ask questions.

This event sounds like it will be of interest to rail enthusiasts as well as travellers. The upgrades required to prepare both tunnels for electrification are extensive and will involve installing conductor beams to power the new fleet of electric trains to run underneath. To install this beam in the Severn tunnel, four tonnes of soot (!) needs to be removed and extensive improvements made to the brick work.

The scale of this work means that a temporary closure of both tunnels is unavoidable over six weeks, from 12 September to 21 October 2016.

Throughout the work train services to and from of Wales will still be running, but some journeys will take longer and on some routes replacement bus services will be in operation.

The work on the Severn and Patchway tunnels will affect the majority of passengers who travel in and out of South Wales including those who travel to and from London, Portsmouth Harbour and south west England.

Trains running between Bristol and Cardiff will run via Gloucester and passengers travelling to and from London Paddington will also be diverted via Gloucester with extended journey times and a reduced frequency of trains. Rail replacement buses will be in operation for other services.

Ahead of the closure, passengers are advised to check before they travel through Great Western Railway or National Rail Enquiries.

Updates will also be available on Twitter via @networkrailwest and @gwrhelp.

Yate Rocks! music festival in Kingsgate Park Sat 25th / Sun 26th June

The popular Yate Rocks! festival returns to Kingsgate Park on Saturday 25th June.

The following day there will be Praise and Picnic in the Park accompanied by bands on Sunday 26th June.

Rodford Way / Shire Way bus diversions

First Bus have published their diverted routes during the work on this busy road junction.

Please see the First Bus website for details.

No details from Wessex Bus yet - presumably they will post something on the Wessex Bus website.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Fancy a drink? Come and meet your local Lib Dems

South Glos Lib Dems have announced a series of events called Liberal Drinks, get-togethers in pubs and cafes across South Gloucestershire for members and non-members to meet in a friendly and informal setting and to put the world to rights. 

Anyone is welcome to join us for a drink to get to know your local Liberal Democrats. There is no set agenda or topic. Simply come along to discuss politics or whatever else takes your fancy.

Upcoming dates as follows:

Thursday 9th June, 7.30 pm, The Swan at Nibley
Thursday 16th June, 7.30pm, The Golden Heart in Winterbourne
Thursday 30th June, 7.30pm, Stanshawes Court, Yate
Monday 4th July, 7.30pm, Hawkes House in Thornbury
Thursday 14th July, 7.30pm, The Buthay, Wickwar

For more info, and to RSVP, please visit: http://www.southgloslibdems.org.uk/events

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Update on roadworks at Shire Way / Rodford Way / Sundridge Park junction

LATEST UPDATE - Closure will now be 9 am to 5 pm, not 4 pm.

As we reported the other day, there will be work at this junction to improve safety on this dangerous junction. We now have more details. The work is scheduled for Monday 13th to Wednesday 15th June, but if all goes to plan they will finish by the end of Tuesday.

The road closures will be from 9 am to approximately 4 pm each day. The Shire Way side of the junction will be tackled on Monday, and if there are no holdups they will move on to the Sundridge Park side on Tuesday. The work affects the Rodford Way carriageways as well, not just the Shire Way and Sundridge Park entrances, so to be safe you should assume that you won't be able to go along that stretch of Rodford Way either.

South Glos have been in touch with the bus companies. First Bus are planning to divert services from 9 am until 4pm on Monday and Tuesday, plus Wednesday if the roadworks are not complete. They will publish their diversions online on Thursday - presumably on their "current issues" web page - and South Glos will put notices on all the bus stops as soon as they know the diversion route. Wessex have also been told because their 620 service runs along Rodford Way.

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Chipping Sodbury Festival starts this week!

The ever-popular Chipping Sodbury Festival runs again from 10th to 19th June 2016. There are lots of events for all the family - check out the Festival website for details of all the events.

The All Day Street Fayre and Carnival, organised by the Lions Club of Chipping Sodbury, will be on Saturday 18th June from 10 am to 5 pm. The Carnival procession will be at 3 pm.

M32 closed this coming weekend

This coming weekend (10-13 June) there will be closures on the M32 motorway near Bristol from 8pm on Friday 10 June until 6am on Monday 13 June. The closures are between junctions 1 and 3. They are taking place so a new bridge can be put in place over the motorway for the MetroBus.

To minimise disruption, Highways England plan to carry out the work in four shifts:

Fri 10 June 8pm to Sat 11 June 8am
Full closure between Junction 1 and 3 in both directions

Sat 11 June 8am to 8pm
Full closure between Junction 1 and 2 in both directions
Traffic management between Junction 2 and 3 in both directions.

Sat 11 June 8pm to Sun 12 June 6am
Full closure between Junction 1 and 3 in both directions

Sun 12 June 6pm to Mon 13 June 6am
Full closure between Junction 2 and 3 in both directions

Between 6am and 6pm on Sunday 12th June all junctions would be open. 

There will be extra Park and Ride services, but that won't help us because the Park and Ride planned for Yate was put on hold a few years ago by the Conservatives on South Gloucestershire Council. We're still campaigning for it, though!

Monday, 6 June 2016

Council now seeking your views on devolution

South Glos Council's ruling Conservative Group at first said that there would be no public consultation on the West of England devolution deal until after the four councils have decided whether to accept the deal. The Liberal Democrat Leader on South Glos, Cllr Ruth Davis, put an urgent question to the Conservative Leader of the Council ahead of Wednesday night's council meeting asking why this was. This is what the devolution page looked like originally:

After Ruth submitted her written question, this was changed to say:
During May and June 2016
It is your local councillors that will be making the decision on the proposed deal in June and you can give them your views here:
The council also put out a press release.

This is a step in the right direction, although as Ruth raised in her follow-up question at the meeting, it was still not on the consultation page, where local people would expect to find all council consultations. The Leader of Council promised to look into this.

The leaders of all three main parties wrote to Oliver Letwin  several weeks ago seeking permission to hold an indicative referendum on the devolution deal on the same day as the Europe referendum. He hasn't even had the courtesy to reply. A motion was proposed at the council meeting calling for a more formal Council approach to the Minister. However, despite having written to him previously, the Conservatives amended the motion to argue why a referendum is not necessary. During the debate, your Focus Team expressed concern about the limited information that is being given to the public.

We urge everyone to read the information that has been made available and to give the council your views.

Last chance to register to vote in the EU Referendum

No prizes for guessing which way we're voting! But it's vital that everyone has their say. If you're not currently registered to vote, you only have until midnight tomorrow, Tuesday 7th June.

You can do it online - it only takes about 5 minutes. Click here to register on the government website.

If you've already had a polling card, you don't need to do anything, you're already registered.

If you haven't yet decided which way to vote, we suggest that you read this very well balanced article by Martin Lewis of MoneySavingExpert.com fame. He gives you the facts for both sides of the argument - it all comes down to how big a risk you want to take. Please read it for yourselves.

Road works around Shire Way and Rodford Way

Lots of road works and road closures are coming up:

Today (Monday 6 June) - three-way traffic lights between the Shire Way mini-roundabout and the Nibley Lane junction to complete the isolated section of cycle/pedestrian path. This will look more sensible in a year or so when the rest of the link from Yate to the Bristol/Bath Railway Path is completed (at the moment it only links from Westerleigh)

Next week (w/c 13 June) - major work on the Shire Way / Rodford Way junction to improve safety on this dangerous junction. The northern end of Shire Way will be blocked off for a few days during the work, so there will be quite a long diversion route.

This will be followed by similar work on the Sundridge Park / Rodford Way junction, and another road closure.

Summer holidays - resurfacing the three sections of road leading up to the Shire Way mini-roundabout, particularly under the railway bridge. The part of Westerleigh Road next to the roundabout, the road under the railway bridge and that end of Shire Way will all be closed for a few days.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

Abbotswood Picnic on the Green, Sunday 12 June

To celebrate the Queen's 90th Birthday and the Abbotswood Community, come and join Abbotswood Action Group for a picnic from 12.30 until 3.00 pm.

Fancy dress parade, Prince or Princess, perhaps red, white & blue.

Bring a blanket and a picnic, meet other members of the community, play a game.

Weather permitting we will be on the green by Abbotswood shops, if raining we'll move to St Nix church.