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MetroBus overspend will lead to poorer roads

Posted on Thursday 25th May 2017 at 8:14 pm by SH (Editor)

Temporary water main installed opposite the junction of Bradley Stoke Way and Woodlands Lane.

The budget for maintaining roads, cycleways and footways across South Gloucestershire looks set to be slashed by up to £1m per annum for the next eight years in order to pay for the projected overspend on MetroBus, the Journal can reveal.

As previously reported, construction costs for the £102m North Fringe to Hengrove Package MetroBus route (the one which passes through Bradley Stoke) are forecast to be more than £11m over budget when it is completed later this year.

The original £102m budget for the scheme was made up of contributions from the government (£51.1m), Bristol City Council (£20.5m) and South Gloucestershire Council (£30.5m). However, because of the way the funding is arranged, with the government contribution being fixed and South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) committed to covering 61 percent of the remainder, SGC’s increased liability as a result of the projected overspend comes in at more than £7m, representing a massive 23 percent increase on the authority’s original budget.

The discovery of uncharted gas and water mains in Bradley Stoke is one of a number of factors being blamed for the increased costs. Protester action at the Stapleton allotments site, where a new bus-only junction on the M32 has been constructed, is another, along with “additional design, planning and contract management costs”.

As a short-term measure, SGC’s Policy & Resources Committee approved, in July 2016, the use of temporary funding to cover the overspend share of £5.259m projected at that time. However, by the time the council came to set its capital budget for 2017/18, the overspend share had risen to £7m and the council’s Environment and Community Services (ECS) Committee was tasked with coming up with a plan to fund it, either by diverting resources from other projects or taking on ‘prudential borrowing’ (i.e. a loan) that would need to be serviced over a number years.

More: Interest charges would add an extra £2.9m to overspend »

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Trainee Norland Nanny returns to former school

Posted on Wednesday 24th May 2017 at 9:13 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Katy Wardle on a visit to Bradley Stoke Community School.

As part of their careers advice programme, a group of students at Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) recently enjoyed a visit from former student Katy Wardle, now studying at Norland College and training to be a Norland Nanny. Katy studied at BSCS between 2010 and 2016 and was delighted to return to speak with current students.

Students commented:

“It was amazing to talk with someone from such a prestigious organisation as Norland. They have a reputation for quality and professionalism.”

“It’s motivated me to continue to get the best qualifications I can so that I can pursue the career I want.”

“It’s brilliant to hear how an ex-BSCS student is doing and that she’s doing the job she always dreamed of. I’m inspired now to work for the company that is the best in their field for what they do. Why not aim for the best?”

Students were joined by Ewan Clark who leads the careers advice programme at the school. Ewan explained that Year 10/11/12 students all benefit from opportunities to attend careers fairs, university conventions and mock interview days, as well as participating in a range of university events such as summer schools. In Year 12, the Core Programme gives students the opportunity to build up a toolkit of skills which universities and employers will find desirable. Academic mentors also provide one-to-one support to all students when exploring career options and applying for university, apprenticeships and jobs.

Ewan commented:

“Our focus is to ensure that every young person leaving BSCS has been offered world class advice and support to allow them to fulfil their potential. This involves routes ranging from university and other further education, employment, gap years, apprenticeships and training. Vocational routes enjoy the same focus as further education and we are proud to offer students personalised support as they make these life-changing decisions.”

More: About Norland College »

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Win a year’s free gym membership at Anytime Fitness in Bradley Stoke

Posted on Monday 22nd May 2017 at 10:14 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of staff at Anytime Fitness Bradley Stoke.

Advertising Feature

The Bradley Stoke Journal is offering readers the chance to win a year’s free gym membership at Anytime Fitness Bradley Stoke in an exclusive prize draw that is open until 6th June 2017.

Anytime Fitness is the world’s largest 24hr Gym chain with over 3,000 sites worldwide. There are currently four sites in Bristol, one of them located in the Willow Brook Centre at the heart of Bradley Stoke, on the first floor of the Town Square complex, above Costa Coffee, Greggs, Taylors Estate Agents and KFC.

Founded in 2002 in the United States, Anytime Fitness quickly grew its global portfolio to take on Australia, New Zealand, Europe and in 2010 came to the United Kingdom. Anytime Fitness was built at the Willow Brook Centre in January 2012 and has been proudly serving the local community ever since.

Featuring state-of-the-art Precor gym equipment and open 24hrs a day, all year round, Anytime Fitness Bradley Stoke is the fitness club that fits into anyone’s lifestyle.

Click HERE to enter the Anytime Fitness Free Prize Draw.

Lewis Erskine, club manager at Anytime Fitness Bradley Stoke, says:

“We all lead busy lives, and so often we never find the time for exercise, even though we know we should. At Anytime Fitness we do believe we have the best, most convenient facilities in the area. Our members can train when they want and because they’re not paying for additional extras their workout experience is much more effective. Talk about no more excuses!”

Membership allows you to use any of the 3,000+ Anytime Fitness gyms around the world (119 in the UK), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Photo: Bradley Stoke club manager Lewis Erskine (left) with staff member Josh Stevenson.

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Weekly recycling collections to start in June

Posted on Friday 19th May 2017 at 9:10 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a 'Romaquip' recycling collection vehicle.

Slimline black bins (140-litre in place of 240-litre) to be introduced later this year.

South Gloucestershire Council has announced that weekly kerbside recycling collections will start on 19th June, marking the first stage in the introduction of a new waste strategy designed to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, meet recycling targets and save money.

Later in the year, once the new weekly recycling regime has become established, the current 240-litre black bins for non-recyclable household waste will be swapped for smaller 140-litre bins. The council says the old bins will be collected and sold for onward processing where the plastic will be recycled into new recycling boxes. The net cost of purchasing the new bins is £1m.

The simplified recycling service, which runs under the motto “recycle everything, every week” will cover paper, cardboard, plastics, cans, cartons and glass. The weekly food service will continue and residents can continue to use plastic bags to line the food bin.

The council has purchased new ‘single pass’ vehicles to enable it to replace the current two-vehicle system used for recycling collections. The new ‘Romaquips’ can collect all recycling in one go and are claimed to have a longer life span than the current vehicles. By using these vehicles, the council says it can deliver weekly recycling for the same cost as the old two-vehicle fortnightly service. The old vehicles will be sold and the revenue used to help fund the new vehicles at a net cost of £5m.

Residents will still need to sort their recycling for collection but can choose to use their existing containers or green boxes instead of bags for plastics and cardboard. The weekly collections will mean that there is less recycling for residents to store at home over two weeks, whilst encouraging more people to use the service. Additional green boxes will be made available.

More: Bin hangers and roadshows will be used to inform residents »

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Fruits of community art project installed at new skate park

Posted on Thursday 18th May 2017 at 9:47 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a community art panel being installed at Bradley Stoke Skate Park.

Two enormous street art murals recently installed at the new skate park in the grounds of Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre have been attracting the attention of passers-by and visitors to the park.

The installation marks the completion of a community art project which involved over 30 children and young people and was part-funded by a community grant award from South Gloucestershire Council.

The project started during the October half-term with local children and young people working with two experienced mural and graffiti artists (Tom Sledmore and Jack Tierney from The Paintsmiths in Bristol), alongside Graham Baker, Bradley Stoke Town Council’s youth development worker.

An initial half-day workshop based at the skate park comprised an introduction to mural and graffiti art, including an extremely popular ‘have a go’ session. Over twenty young people participated and many proudly took home their own artworks on small 4’ x 2’ boards.

On Saturday 28th January, there was a further street art project session, this time focusing on the designs for the two large pieces. The two artists worked with the young people and some exciting designs started to take shape. The designs were then shared and discussed more widely in youth work sessions and further suggestions made.

A final design session took place at the skate park on a late afternoon in mid-March and was immediately followed by what Graham describes as “a whole and extremely long weekend of painting”. More than ten young people worked with Graham and the two experienced artists, in accordance with the previously agreed designs, to produce two large and impressive pieces of art, both 10 metres wide by 2.5 metres high.

More: Participation through extensive use of stencilling techniques »

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