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Ticket machine issues set to delay Bradley Stoke MetroBus start date

Posted on Monday 18th December 2017 at 7:22 am by SH (Editor)

MetroBus stop on Bradley Stoke Way (opposite Aldi).

There’s no official date for the start of services, so Journal editor Stephen Horton is once again left to speculate…

As I write this, more than 800 days after MetroBus construction work first started in Bradley Stoke, we seem to have finally arrived at the point when all the new sections of bus lane are complete and ready for service.

Even the “missing link” of the Stoke Gifford By-Pass looks likely to be opening soon, if not before Christmas then shortly after.

Cue increased calls for information about when the much promised new “high quality, fast and reliable” MetroBus services will start to operate here in Bradley Stoke, on the North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) route.

Assuming the various elements of the route infrastructure fall into place as promised over the next few weeks, focus will soon turn to the lack of iPoints (combined information, route planning and ticketing machines) at the MetroBus stops – equipment that is considered to be essential for the successful operation of services.

Installation of iPoints was originally supposed to begin in August, but we then heard of a decision to change supplier, meaning that they could not be piloted at selected stops until mid-October, ahead of being rolled out to the whole network over a number of months.

We now hear that the iPoints haven’t yet been delivered and are still undergoing factory tests. Furthermore, MetroBus has asked for “a few design changes” to be made, with the result that the pilot machines will most likely not be installed until the new year. We understand that Bradley Stoke iPoints will be in the third phase of installation, meaning they won’t arrive here until late February/early March.

The next question is: Do we have a company willing to operate services on the NFHP route? I’ve lost track of the number of times we’ve been told that an announcement about the operator “will be made in the next few weeks”, but that is exactly the message we were given when we asked for something to include in this article.

More: Hands tied by confidentiality agreements? »

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Bradley Stoke Christmas lights raise funds for hospice rebuild

Posted on Friday 15th December 2017 at 8:52 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the Christmas lights at 10 Watch Elm Close.

The owners of a house in Watch Elm Close, Bradley Stoke, are hoping their extravagant Christmas lights display will raise more than £2,000 towards the St Peter’s Hospice ‘Room to Care’ appeal.

Mike Checkley and Terry James have decorated the outside of their home with a spectacular light show that incorporates around 25,000 individual bulbs.

The display has grown from just a single Christmas tree seven years ago to what must now be one of the largest in the area. Additions this year include over 40 new illuminated silhouettes, including baubles, stars and snowflakes, a snowman and three new Santa figures.

Setting up this year’s display took around four weeks, with Mike and Terry calling in their window cleaner to help with the enormous task.

The display covers the whole of the house and there are also illuminated Christmas trees behind many of the windows. The garden contains a number of lit obelisks and there are lights draped over many of the shrubs and hedges. The lights also extend to the converted garage, where Santa and his reindeer can be seen on the roof.

The display will be powered up every night, between 5pm and 9.30pm, until Tuesday 2nd January 2018. Anyone visiting the display may leave a donation in a collecting bucket positioned on the drive of the property.

Donations can also be made online via a MyDonate page: Mike, Terry and Eddie’s Christmas Lights 2017

• The postcode of the property is BS32 8AN [map] and it is located opposite the Long Close junction.

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Work starts on new helibase at Almondsbury

Posted on Thursday 14th December 2017 at 8:32 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of groundbreaking ceremony.

Work is now under way to build a new air operations base for the air ambulance and police helicopter on a green belt site near the Almondsbury Interchange.

The new helibase will serve the needs of the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) and National Police Air Service (NPAS), whose helicopters are currently based at a site on the former Filton Airfield.

The new site will feature a hangar, a grassed final approach and take-off strip, a car park and a new access road off the A38 (from a point between Almondsbury Sports & Social Club and the Swan Inn).

Planning permission for the new helibase was granted in August 2016, despite fierce opposition by some nearby residents in Almondsbury and north Bradley Stoke, who objected on the grounds of unjustified development of green belt land, potential noise pollution, and the possibility of motorists being distracted by aircraft movements.

BAE Systems purchased the land in Almondsbury for use by GWAAC and NPAS as part of its proposed scheme to redevelop the former Filton Airfield site. The defence company has since sold the Filton site to Malaysia-based conglomerate YTL.

Speaking after a ground breaking ceremony held at the site on 8th November, Russ Woolford, assistant operations director for NPAS, said:

“Today is a significant milestone in the base move from Filton to Almondsbury as construction works begins.”

“The base at Almondsbury will be part of the national, borderless network of 15 NPAS bases from which our crews support local police forces to keep communities safe.”

Anna Perry, GWAAC chief executive said:

“Everyone at GWAAC is pleased that work is beginning. The charity is desperately in need of a modern air base and this great location will mean that even when we cannot fly, our doctors and paramedics can get to patients quickly in our Critical Care Car.”

More: Both helicopters are expected to relocate in autumn 2018 »

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Bradley Stoke in Bloom report for November

Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 6:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Bradley Stoke in Bloom volunteers at The Common East.

An update from Sara Messenger of the Bradley Stoke in Bloom group.

November workday at The Common East

Although the pond on The Common East has been looking very tired of late, newts were found during a licensed survey so we have had to resist going in to give it a tidy up until the beginning of the ‘closed season’, which is generally November to February. Although they have not been seen in the last few months, we still wanted to do everything possible to enhance their well-being and their habitat. Newts hibernate when the temperate drops below 6°C, although they will come out to forage if the weather is warm enough, as do frogs and toads. Generally, male frogs hibernate at the bottom of the pond, and the females under rocks and vegetation, for reasons that may not be suitable to print in a family paper!

Our November workday saw us clearing as much green duck weed from the surface as we could. This is a long and tedious task as the sticklebacks like to hide just under the weed, which meant that we needed to check each net-full to ensure they could be safely returned to the pond. We also found many water snails, ramshorn snails and, surprisingly, fresh water mussels. We also cleared the edge and the boys made a valiant effort to remove silt from the pond. We’d like to offer our apologies to their neighbours, who may have seen them dumping their very dirty and smelly clothes before they were allowed inside their back doors!

The decoy ducks Barry & Kate have returned. We will remove them again in the spring if our resident pair Maurice & Millicent return, although we have been told that Millicent has been seen without her mate, so we shall just have to wait and see. We have decided to not return the butterfly boxes that were thrown in the pond yet, and we are looking at how we can repair the bench, but we have topped up the insect hotel and have introduced a few new residents, including ‘Jerry’ the stag beetle. We put some wire across the front but have made sure the sides were left open so that the hedgehog (if she’s still there) can still get in and out easily, as well as the squirrel who seems to be using it as a winter store.

More: Group given a Scots pine through Tree Charter scheme »

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