The Journal’s readership grew by a spectacular 75% last year and we look forward to continuing to bring you the town’s most comprehensive news and photo coverage in 2012.
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January began with a revelation from the Town Council that electricity cables powering floodlights around the hard court at Brook Way Activity Centre had been “maliciously severed“. The damage followed a period of friction between the youth club based at the centre and residents of neighbouring properties. Worse was to come later in the year, when a floodlight column was sawn through and collapsed onto the court.
Local police never got to the bottom of either incident but at least they will now be more accessible to residents following the opening of a ‘beat post’ at the Willow Brook Centre, thanks to funding from the centre’s management and the Town Council.
We also learned that the town centre itself would be gaining more residents, with the announcement that Tesco had sold part of the site to McCarthy & Stone, developers of retirement apartments.
Two accidents in the vicinity of Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre hit the headlines in February. An eight-year-old boy had to be cut free by firefighters from underneath a vehicle following a collision in the leisure centre’s car park. Days later, a 10-year-old cyclist suffered serious leg injuries when he was in collision with a car on nearby Bradley Stoke Way. Sadly, this wasn’t to be the last serious accident involving children on this stretch of the road.
Moves to combat anti-social behaviour in the Manor Farm Crescent area took a step forward with the submission of a planning application to close off the pedestrian access point into the Willow Brook Centre at night. A gate, which is locked every night between 10pm and 7am, was installed later in the year.
March saw a house fire in Merryweather Close tragically claim the lives of two young children. Brothers McKenzie (7) and Charlie (5) died despite brave efforts by neighbours and firefighters to rescue them from the first floor of the property. Neighbours set up a trust to raise money for the families affected by the fire and a fundraising event was held at BAWA.
Earlier in the month a fuel leak resulted in the Tesco petrol filling station being closed for several hours, causing traffic chaos around the town centre.
A video of a man getting trapped inside a recycling bin at the Willow Brook Centre made the “most viewed” list on the BBC News website in April. The would-be clothes thief had become stuck after being pushed into the bin by an accomplice. He was freed four hours later after the fire brigade cut the top off the bin.
Technical problems marred the town’s Royal Wedding ‘community’ street party held on the Jubilee Centre football pitch. Failure of the big screen projector meant that only a dim 4′ x 3′ image could be seen – instead of the 14′ x 8′ one that had been promised. Many families packed up their picnics and went home to watch the wedding on their own TVs but attendance picked up in the afternoon as people returned to enjoy the stalls and rides set up around the field.
May saw local activists pounding the streets trying to drum up support for candidates in the local (district and town) elections. The Conservatives routed their opponents in Bradley Stoke, winning all five seats on South Gloucestershire Council and all fifteen on the Town Council. Later in the month, Cllr Ben Walker was installed as Town Mayor for a second term, with his 23-year-old sister Charlotte as deputy.
The roll-out of the controversial part-night street lighting scheme was halted (again) after newly-fitted photocell units began to malfunction. A software “anomaly” was later found to be the cause, necessitating the replacement of 2,000 units.
The main day of the Community Festival in June was once again blessed with fine weather and attracted the usual large crowd. The next day’s Bradley Stoke 10k Run, in contrast, took place in torrential rain – but still attracted another big field.
Work on the construction of a new MS Therapy Centre on a site between Bradley Stoke Way and Wheatfield Drive finally got underway after years of funding crises and planning wrangles. Local Councillors had insisted on access to the site being from Bradley Stoke Way rather than Wheatfield Drive but their decision was later overuled by a planning inspector.
Bradley Stoke Community School’s plans to convert to academy status suffered a setback in July when its proposed partner schools (Brimsham Green School and Patchway Community College) decided they would rather stay under local authority control. The local school decided to continue alone and, assuming everything went to plan by the target date of 1st Jan 2012, is now run by the ‘Olympus Academy Trust’.
The overnight street light switch-off came to the fore again when Town Councillor Ed Rose claimed it violated two articles of the Human Rights Act. Cllr Rose’s outburst, derided by a number of Journal readers, was ignored when representatives of the District and Town Councils reviewed the scheme the following month and decided to leave it unaltered.
News that the two local Councils had withdrawn funding for youth work in the town emerged in August, with provider Southern Brooks Community Partnership being told its contract was to be prematurely terminated on 31st October. The Brook Way Youth Club duly closed before the October half-term and interim measures are now in place, pending the results of a ‘Youth Needs Survey’ that ended on 31st December.
Alterations to bus routes by Wessex Connect saw the 71 and 72 services withdrawn from September, to be replaced by new services U7 and U8. The changes left a large part of South Bradley Stoke without a direct daytime service to Bristol city centre, although the company later revised it plans to partly address some of the criticism it received.
September saw the Willow Brook Centre announce plans to introduce traffic calming measures in order to “improve the safety of customers”. Speed bumps have recently been installed on the approach road to the centre and Journal readers have since complained of traffic congestion extending back to the roundabout on Savages Wood Road at peak times.
The Boundary Commission announced plans to erase Bradley Stoke from the name of local parliamentary constituency (currently known as Filton and Bradley Stoke), a move condemned as “electoral genocide” by local Councillor Rob Jones.
A public petition calling on South Gloucestershire Council to improve road safety measures on Bradley Stoke Way, following another serious accident involving a child, attracted more than 3,900 signatures in October – forcing the issue to be debated at a Full Council meeting. A public consultation is currently running on the resultant proposals (responses must be made by Sunday 8th January 2012).
Guinness World Records confirmed that South Gloucestershire Hockey Club’s attempt on the record for the world’s longest hockey game, made at Bradley Stoke Community School over the May Bank Holiday weekend, has been officially recognised.
November saw a record crowd of 8,000 attend the Bradley Stoke Town Council Fireworks Display, where the Vice Lord-Lieutenant for Gloucestershire led the countdown. This time the fireworks were set off from the upper football pitch in order to allay health and safety concerns expressed following the previous year’s event.
A three-month public consultation on the provision of post office services in Bradley Stoke demonstrated a big demand for a larger post office in the town, with the majority of respondents asking for it to be sited at the Willow Brook Centre.
South Gloucestershire Council triggered an outcry in December when it launched a 13-month consultation to assess demand for better broadband in the district, a whole year after more than a thousand people in the Bradley Stoke area registered their frustration about slow connection speeds by entering BT’s Race to Infinity competition. Three weeks later, an embarrassed Council announced it intended to “fast-track” its plans by teaming up with the neighbouring county of Wiltshire. The consultation will now end on 29th February 2012.
The proposed North Fringe to Hengrove transport scheme, which includes the construction of a Stoke Gifford by-pass and the introduction of a fast and reliable bus service between Bradley Stoke and Bristol city centre was awarded £51 million of Government funding. South Gloucestershire Council and Bristol City Council will now have to dig deep to match fund the money. Don’t hold your breath though – the project won’t be finished until the end of 2016!
A happy and prosperous New Year to all our readers from The Journal team!
Last 5 posts in General News
- ‘Autumn in the Stokes’ photo competition launched - 17th October 2020
- The scarecrows are coming to town! - 14th October 2020
- Woodland paths set for improvement - 8th October 2020
- Bradley Stoke in Bloom 2020 Best Front Garden competition: The winners - 14th September 2020
- Residents and businesses invited to enter mayor’s half-term charity scarecrow trail - 12th September 2020