Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

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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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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Six months of tunnelling work to begin soon in Three Brooks nature reserve

Posted on Friday 10th February 2017 at 8:30 pm by SH (Editor)

Picnic tables near the 'duck pond' in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve, Bradley Stoke.

Work to construct part of a major new sewer link is expected to get under way in Bradley Stoke’s Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve in April, Wessex Water has announced.

The new 5km-long link will run from Frampton Cotterell to Bradley Stoke, where it will join up with an existing section of the Frome Valley Relief Sewer (FVRS) that was constructed in the early 1990s.

Once the “missing link” is completed, the FVRS will divert waste water flows from Yate to the Bristol sewage treatment works in Avonmouth via a route around the north of Bristol, rather than alongside the Frome Valley and through the centre of Bristol.

The work within the nature reserve, which is expected to last for approximately six months, will involve setting up a work compound centred on the triangular area of grass near the ‘duck pond’, where two picnic tables were recently installed by Bradley Stoke Town Council (BSTC). Here, a six-metre deep underground chamber will be constructed from where a tunnel will be bored to accommodate the new 1.8m-diameter sewer pipe. The tunnel will run from the chamber near the ‘duck pond’ to a point on the other side of the M4 motorway.

Wessex Water’s project manager Mike Bryant informed the January meeting of BSTC’s Planning Committee that the work at the nature reserve site will be carried out using 12-hour daytime shifts for five days per week. The first five to six weeks of work are expected to create the most noise, while the tunnelling shaft is constructed. Thereafter, there will be much less noise as the work will be going on underground and equipment on the surface (such as generators) will be “almost silent”.

More: New vehicle access point to be built off Bradley Stoke Way »

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New opening hours at Bradley Stoke Library

Posted on Tuesday 7th February 2017 at 10:15 pm by SH (Editor)

Open Plus swipe pad at Bradley Stoke Library.

Bradley Stoke Library has introduced new opening hours with effect from Monday 6th February, providing an extra 42 hours of opening through a swipe card Open Access system, which allows people to use services when staff are not present. During the unstaffed times library users are able to browse, borrow and return books and use the IT facilities, from early in the morning to later in the evening.

This new self-service facility allows existing users to visit the library outside of staffed hours using their library card and a PIN they will be issued with when they upgrade their membership and are given an induction to show them how the Open Access system works.

Open Access users can enter the library from 8am – 9.30pm Monday to Friday, with staff on site 9.30am to 6pm on every weekday, apart from Wednesday. On weekends, Open Access is between 8am and 6pm, with staffing available 9.30am – 5pm on Saturdays and 11am – 3pm on Sundays. The changes mean that staff will be available earlier in the day, when the library is busier, rather than in the evenings.

This changes are part of a major refurbishment of Bradley Stoke Library, which includes the creation of a Quiet Zone to allow people to study and use the computers in an area without disturbance, a new more visible entrance and a casual seating area. The work was funded by Section 106 funding from local housing developments, which funds core Council infrastructure projects and was carried out at the same time as the £3.6 million redevelopment.

This Open Access technology is relatively new to the UK, although it is used extensively in Scandinavia. To use the system, all users are given an induction, explaining terms and conditions of use, entry outside of staffed hours, along with the usual self-service facilities for borrowing, renewing and returning of books and other items. The PCs and wi-fi are also available, along with printing and photocopying facilities and a selection of quick-pick book titles, DVDs and CDs.

To sign up for this new service please call in to the library, phone 01454 868006 or send an email to bradleystoke.library@southglos.gov.uk

More: Staffed hours set to reduce to 35 hours per week from October »

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