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South Glos council tax to rise by 3.99 percent

Posted on Wednesday 18th March 2020 at 11:58 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council.

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) element of the council tax levied on local households is to increase by 3.99 percent from April.

The latest rise follows uplifts of 2.99 percent in 2019/20 and 5.99 percent in 2018/19, the latter including a ring-fenced levy of 3 percent to support
adult social care.

The 2020/21 increase once again includes a social care levy, this time 2 percent, which is the maximum allowed by the government for the upcoming financial year.

The increase means that the South Gloucestershire Council element of council tax for a Band D property for 2020/21 will rise to £1,543.

Meeting on 12th February, councillors agreed to set a revenue budget of almost £232 million. The spending plans also include a further £219.2 million that will be distributed to schools.

The council’s forward planning shows that its budget is projected to remain in balance for the next two years, based on what is known so far about the future of local authority funding. However, this assumes successful delivery of ongoing savings and transformation plans and requires the use of reserves.

Challenges ahead

The medium term – years two and three in the projections in these budget papers – continues to contain challenges in order to balance the books. These are caused by continued falls in government grants and increased costs and demand for services, most notably across social care services.

Work is ongoing to manage demand for costly social care support by investing to make earlier interventions where residents find themselves in need of help, as well as to build extra capacity to deliver services within the district.

More: Police precept increased by 4.59 percent »

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Year 6 pupils learn ‘skills for life’ at Bristol safety education centre

Posted on Friday 13th March 2020 at 9:14 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of pupils from Baileys Court Primary School on a visit to the Lifeskills Centre.

Pupils from Baileys Court Primary School are the latest local children to have visited Bristol’s Lifeskills Safety Education Centre, which receives grant funding support from Bradley Stoke Town Council.

This year marks a special milestone for the centre as it celebrates its 20th year of teaching thousands of primary school children how to stay safe in everyday situations.

Lifeskills provides a unique and interactive learning experience to children aged 10 to 11 years, and almost 300 pupils from Bradley Stoke will visit with their Year 6 classes this year.

Based at the Create Centre, near the Cumberland Basin, Lifeskills realistically replicates a village setting with 19 different ‘film set’ scenarios, all of which have safety themes. In small groups of three to four, children navigate their way around the centre with a volunteer tour guide and they’re encouraged to spot and discuss lots of common hazardous day-to-day situations. Scenes include a street named ‘Green Cross Road’, homes, a beach, a dark alleyway and even a railway platform!

During their visit, children make practise emergency 999 calls, discover and react to a house fire, carry out first aid and learn about the consequences of trespassing on a railway line – all made realistic with the use of props and special effects.

More: Baileys Court pupils have been visiting the centre since 2002 »

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Roundabout work sees 200 tonnes of material removed in first six weeks

Posted on Monday 9th March 2020 at 4:12 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of the roadworks at Great Stoke Roundabout (February 2020).

South Gloucestershire Council’s £2.9m scheme to improve to increase capacity and improve cyclist and pedestrian facilities at Great Stoke (Rabbit) Roundabout has seen 200 tonnes of material excavated from the verge on the north-west side of the roundabout during the first six weeks of construction activity.

This work, combined with the laying of 60 metres of new kerb on the north-east side of the roundabout, has paved the way for road widening to begin.

The power supply for the new traffic signals on each arm of the roundabout has been also installed and is ready for two of the four new traffic crossings, once they have been put in place.

Meanwhile, Openreach has nearly finished work to construct a large underground chamber (around 15 cubic metres) to house telecommunications infrastructure.

In the coming weeks, the council says it will be making preparations for new toucan crossing traffic signals to be installed on the north-east side of the roundabout. Workers will also be completing the road widening element on the north-west side, ready for new traffic signals infrastructure.

The roadworks have continued to cause significant delays for motorists and buses, particularly on the Bradley Stoke Way southbound approach during the morning peak hours.

More: Council responds to criticism over lack of activity at site »

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By-election set to see around 6,700 voters called to the polls in Bradley Stoke South

Posted on Wednesday 4th March 2020 at 3:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke Town Council.

A by-election to fill a vacant seat representing the South ward on Bradley Stoke Town Council looks almost certain to take place in the last week of March.

The vacancy arose after Nikki Hallur, a Conservative councillor elected just eight months ago in the May 2019 poll, handed in her resignation in mid-January, citing “personal reasons”.

A notice of election to fill the vacancy was published on 20th February and a poll will take place on Thursday 26th March, subject to more than one valid nomination being received.

The Journal understands that at least two separate groups submitted the necessary number of ten local elector signatures in order to force a by-election.

Had a by-election not been requested, the vacancy would have been filled by ‘co-option’, a procedure which effectively involves the remaining 14 council members appointing someone of their own liking.

As we went to press, two of the minority parties on the Conservative-led council, Labour and the Citizens Movement Party UK, had already announced their intention to field candidates.

The by-election will see around 6,700 residents called to vote, many more than in previous town council by-elections due to a decision by the Boundary Commission to reduce the number of wards in Bradley Stoke ahead of the May 2019 poll.

Following the recent resignation, the make-up of the town council is 11 Conservative, 1 Labour, 1 Citizens Movement Party UK and 1 independent, so the result of the by-election will not affect overall control of the council.

The cost of staging the by-election, which will fall on the town council, has been estimated by Cllr John Ashe to be in the region of £7,000 to £8,000.

In the May 2019 poll, when all South Gloucestershire and town or parish council seats were up for grabs, turnout in the Bradley Stoke South ward (represented by seven seats on the town council) was just 26 percent. Turnout for a single-seat by-election is likely to be lower.

The Conservatives won all seven seats in the ward on that occasion, attracting 63.9 percent of the total votes cast, with Labour Party candidates on  21.9 percent and independents 14.2 percent.

More: Voters will also be called to the polls just six weeks later »

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