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Council’s U-turn means street lights will stay on all night – but not until 2026 for Bradley Stoke!

Posted on Saturday 18th February 2017 at 9:36 pm by SH (Editor)

LED streetlight lantern in Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has decided to abandon its controversial policy of switching street lights off at night, but it is likely to be 2026 before the lights in Bradley Stoke are returned to all-night operation, the Journal can exclusively reveal.

The decision has been made in the light of the increasing cost of GPS-enabled ‘node’ controllers, which the council began fitting when lanterns were converted to LED technology from 2014. The nodes provide very accurate part-night switching times and are GMT/BST aware, meaning that lights switch off (and on) at exactly the same times throughout the year. Traditional photocell controllers, in contrast, are not GMT/BST aware and introduce an additional variation of +/- 30min on the nominal switching times.

With the council not yet three years into it’s ten-year programme of converting all of its 30,000 street lights to LED technology, node prices have risen from £50 to £85 per unit while photocell prices have remained static at £10 per unit.

Although the price rise is more than cancelled out by a fall in the price of LED lanterns from £190 to £120, councillors have chosen to seize the opportunity to realise further savings by reverting to photocell control for all lamps converted during the remaining seven years of the LED replacement programme.

The previously experienced issues of inaccurate switching times associated with photocells will be mitigated by dimming the lights to 50 percent of full power overnight instead of turning them off completely.

By making the period over which the lights will operate at 50 percent output (i.e. 11pm to 6am) longer than the period over which they are currently switched off completely (i.e. 1am to 5am), the increase in energy costs and CO2 emissions will be minimized.

The council says it plans to start installing photocells in place of nodes in all lights that are converted to LED technology after Easter 2017. The photocells in these conversions will be programmed to operate according to the new dimmed all-night policy. However, it says it does not plan to revisit lights that have already been converted to LED technology since 2014 (including all those in Bradley Stoke) until the ten-year programme is completed in 2024. The altering of these lights from part-night to dimmed all-night operation will then take a further three years. If areas are revisited in the same order used in the original schedule, this would mean that Bradley Stoke’s street lights will continue to turn off between 1am and 5am until 2026.

More: Dimmed lights were technically feasible in 2014 »

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Future of town centre plot remains uncertain

Posted on Wednesday 15th February 2017 at 8:45 pm by SH (Editor)

Vacant land at Savages Wood Road, Bradley Stoke.

The future of a vacant plot of land bordering Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre remains uncertain, despite recent reports of clearance activities taking place at the site.

The 0.357 hectares (0.88 acres) plot, opposite the Tesco petrol filling station and bordering properties in Hornbeam Close, was previously allocated in South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Local Plan for a health centre. However, the council says that following expansion of existing doctors’ surgeries in the area and a marketing exercise (in 2012) to determine interest from other health providers, it has been decided that there is “no longer a requirement for this purpose”.

Consequently, the council made a decision to dispose of the site and the Journal understands that it is currently considering disposal for a self/custom build scheme.

The site was most recently in the news in May 2014, when Bradley Stoke Town Council asked SGC if it could be used to provide temporary car parking spaces for residents of the nearby Brook Court ‘later living’ complex, which suffers from an under-provision of spaces.

Town council minutes from June 2014 subsequently recorded that: “SGC have confirmed that this piece of land is due to be advertised for development on the open market in the next couple of months. SGC anticipate that the piece of land will probably sell for about £600K.”

The removal of the allocation of the land for use as a health centre is confirmed in SGC’s emerging Plans Sites and Policies (PSP) Plan, which also shows the plot as being within the formalised Bradley Stoke ’town centre’, an area which extends to include Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre as well as the Willow Brook Centre. The PSP Plan will be the subject of an ‘examination in public’ during February, which is the final step before its formal adoption by the council.

Asked about possible future uses for the site, an SGC spokesperson said:

“The location of the land within the defined town centre of Bradley Stoke and lack of a particular allocation would not in itself preclude, subject to other policy considerations (e.g. design, highways access) being met, development such as residential or self-build units. Any application would need to satisfy all relevant planning policies.”

The spokesperson confirmed that there are currently no live planning applications relating to the site.

Image: Archive photo from 2012.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of the Bradley Stoke Journal magazine (on page 3). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Five-way traffic lights to be used for final phase of Bradley Stoke Way resurfacing

Posted on Monday 13th February 2017 at 4:56 pm by SH (Editor)

Overnight resurfacing work on Bradley Stoke Way, as part of the MetroBus project.

MetroBus contractors Alun Griffiths have confirmed plans to complete the resurfacing of Bradley Stoke Way over the first two nights of this week, which will involve the use of five-way traffic lights around Patchway Brook Roundabout (near Aldi).

It is anticipated that traffic control will be active from 8pm each night.

A Griffiths spokesperson said:

“Having now concluded the night-time surfacing along Bradley Stoke Way between the Aztec West and Patchway Brook roundabouts, we shall, over two nights, Monday and Tuesday 13th/14th February, surface the remaining section of Bradley Stoke Way immediately east of Patchway Brook Roundabout. This is approximately a 40-metre stretch. We shall be completing this at night from 8pm until 5am (or sooner) using five-way temporary traffic lights around Patchway Brook Roundabout.”

The aim is to complete one lane on Monday night and the other on Tuesday night.

The spokesperson added:

“We look forward to the commissioning of the main traffic lights at both the Woodlands Lane junction and Orchard Gate by South Gloucestershire Council before the junctions can be made fully functional within our programme before the end of this month.”

Related links:

N.B. Any further updates received from the contractors will be appended as comments on this post.

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Over 200 attend public meeting with police after surge in burglaries in Bradley Stoke

Posted on Monday 13th February 2017 at 9:44 am by SH (Editor)

Public meeting to discuss burglaries in Bradley Stoke.

Well over 200 people attended a public meeting at Holy Trinity Church, Bradley Stoke on Tuesday 24th January to share their concerns over a surge in burglaries in the area, and in particular the proportion of these incidents in which so-called ‘high value gold’ was stolen.

The meeting took place just days after properties in Savages Wood Road, Bradley Stoke; Bourton Close, Stoke Lodge; and Clyde Grove, Filton were targeted by ‘high value gold’ burglars within the space of just 30 minutes, in what police believe were linked incidents.

Statistics released by the Home Office show that there were 16 burglaries recorded in Bradley Stoke during November 2016 (the latest month for which data is available online). This is the highest in any month over the last six years (which is as far back as online data goes). In the 12-month period ending one year previously (December 2014 to November 2015), there was an average of 3.0 burglaries per month, a figure which has risen to 4.8 in the year to November 2016.

The latest surge easily exceeds the most recent peak of nine burglaries recorded in April 2016, which local police described at the time as a “spate”.

Latest figures disclosed

In response to enquiries from the Journal, Avon & Somerset Police have disclosed more up-to-date figures which show that there were 38 domestic burglaries in Bradley Stoke between the last week in June 2016 and 17th January (a period of around six-and-a-half months) and of these, 22 have involved thefts of ‘high value gold’.

The public meeting was organised by Bradley Stoke town councillor Tom Aditya who has close connections with many Asian families in the area, a section of the community which has been disproportionately affected by this type of crime.

More: Beware of cold callers. How are police responding? »

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Three Brooks nature group report for January

Posted on Saturday 11th February 2017 at 11:19 pm by SH (Editor)

Rob Williams cooks hot food for the workers during the Three Brook Nature Conservation Group's hedgelaying weekend.

An update from Sara Messenger of Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group.

Although sometimes the weather has been cold, there is nothing quite so warming as a winter walk through the reserve, watching the birds squabble over the last few berries and seeing the mole hill tremble as he heads further down underground away from the frost. Apart from one very unimpressed looking poodle, who did not want to get her feet muddy, the dogs seem to be enjoying themselves greatly and we’ve been sent some fabulous photographs.

Hedgelaying

The first weekend of the year is always put aside for us to continue our project to lay a stock/dog-proof fence along the length of Bradley Stoke Way. Although our workdays are usually just the Saturday, hedgelaying is a long laborious task and requires two days. We were greatly aided this year for several reasons. The mild weather helped, some years it has been so cold the sap has frozen in the trees and the bill hooks just seemed to bounce off, or maybe it was just because our fingers were so cold that we couldn’t feel anything! The path here has at times resembled The Somme with the cold mud oozing over the top of our boots and, although it wasn’t totally dry, it was much more usable this year. But the main help this year was the preparation Green Gym had put into preparing the site. The length of tree line to be laid was covered in blackthorn 20ft deep in some places and although SGC had intended to clear the area and the meadow with machinery, this has yet to be done, so the Thursday group spent two days taking down all the blackthorn trees, bramble and scrub, removing it and making a dead hedge with the fallen trees. Because of all their hard work (and I was amazed at just how much they managed to clear), we managed to lay 33 paces of hedgeline compared to last year’s 13. Rob Williams was our quartermaster for the day and kept us warm with hot food cooked on site and also supplied us with some homemade sloe gin to toast the new hedge with. I hope newbies Ben, Becky, Ryan and Lucie don’t expect this every workday!

More: Dens, fallen trees, cygnets and mud pies »

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