Archive for the ‘General News’ Category

[Letter] What are they doing to our town centre?

Posted on Wednesday 4th March 2020 at 3:06 pm by SH (Editor)

Inset: Cllr Roger Avenin, district and town councillor for Bradley Stoke South ward.

No doubt there are people who believe that chicken nuggets and fries or a grease-soaked burger are the epitome of a succulent wholesome meal, but to many others, this is pure anathema.

So how did such a down-market development such as McDonald’s and Starbucks come to be foisted upon our town?

The decision arrived at by the planning inspector appears to have been taken without any regard whatsoever for the local residents. Virtually all the objections raised i.e. the negative effects on nearby residents such as noise, litter, possible air pollution, anti social behaviour etc. seem to have been imperiously disregarded on the basis of little or no evidence. Likewise other concerns such as traffic problems, location close to schools, potential child obesity, car parking availability etc. were seemingly dismissed with a wave of the hand.

When the chickens come home to roost (no pun intended) the name of planning inspector F. Moss will live long in the memory of local residents.

However, this decision cannot be viewed in isolation without examining the role of the South Gloucestershire planning department. Right from the outset, the planning department sought to promote this application through meetings with the applicants, allegedly ignoring the views of local residents.

When this application came before the various planning committees, the council fought hard to get this through, but after the application was refused by both committees, the council was then duty-bound to defend the refusal decision. This they arguably did, but in my view only in a half-hearted manner.

More: "South Gloucestershire Council has failed local residents" »

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Local mum and son team become published authors

Posted on Tuesday 3rd March 2020 at 5:50 pm by SH (Editor)

Alicia and Sebastian holding a copy of their book .

Local resident Alicia Chrysostomou and her son Sebastian were amazed to have become published authors on 28th January. Their book, ‘The Chronicles of Cerberus’, was published by Mogzilla, an independent company which specialises in historical stories for children.

‘The Chronicles of Cerberus’ is a children’s book targeted at 6- to 9-year-olds and is set in Ancient Greece.

The book had an interesting start in life. It all began when Sebastian started learning to write at school. In order to encourage his writing, Sebastian and his mother would sit down together to make up little stories. These were based on mythological characters from Ancient Greece and tapped into the stories Alicia’s Greek Cypriot father told her as a child. Cerberus, the three-headed hound of Hades, was an early favourite and soon became the focus of these tales.

It was exciting to create these stories and draw illustrations for them. Alicia would type them up and scan in the drawings so they could be printed out. Sebastian and his mother would then cut up old cereal boxes, Sebastian would add an illustration and after stapling in the pages of the story, they had their first ‘hardback’!

As Sebastian rose through primary school these stories became more sophisticated and their collection of ‘books’ grew. By the time Sebastian reached Year 6, they had quite a number of these little books. They all followed the adventures of Cerberus and his friend and dog-walker Sebastian as they cross Greece helping the many siblings of Cerberus tackle all sorts of problems.

More: Title is available from book stores, including Amazon »

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Councillors overruled: McDonald’s and Starbucks drive-throughs allowed on appeal

Posted on Wednesday 26th February 2020 at 2:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a typical of two-storey McDonald's restaurant with drive-through.

Editor’s note: This article, first published in our February magazine, is an extended version of an earlier website article that was published on 16th January 2020 (the day the planning inspector’s report was released).

Bradley Stoke looks set to get two new drive-through and sit-in fast food restaurants after a planning inspector allowed an appeal against South Gloucestershire Council’s decision to refuse permission for development at the town’s Willow Brook shopping centre.

The inspector’s decision means that ‘full’ permission has been granted for a two-storey McDonald’s restaurant and a single-storey Starbucks coffee shop, both to be located on the northern edge of the centre’s car park, approximately where the Waves hand car wash is currently positioned.

No restrictions have been placed on the trading hours of the two units, leaving open the possibility of 24-hour operation.

Once implemented, the development will result in a net loss of 80 parking bays within the shopping centre’s car park.

‘Outline’ permission has also been granted for two extra units to be added on the end of the centre’s existing ‘retail terrace’ (i.e. beyond the Poundstretcher store) and an associated reconfiguration of the car park and access road.

The application was strongly opposed by local residents in Wheatfield Drive and Dewfalls Drive, where the closest residential property is just 22m away from the proposed Starbucks outlet.

Bradley Stoke Town Council also registered an objection to the scheme following a unanimous vote at its Planning Committee. The application was subsequently rejected by two different planning committees at South Gloucestershire Council before being taken to appeal by the owners of the Willow Brook Centre.

More: "No substantive evidence" for "harm to living conditions" »

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Council finds £250k to pay for lake desilting

Posted on Wednesday 19th February 2020 at 9:20 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Cllrs John Ashe (left) and Roger Avenin at the lake.

Councillors in Bradley Stoke have welcomed South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) allocation of £250,000 to an environmental project that will see the lake in the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve desilted for the first time in 15 years.

The lake, which regularly floods due to its current condition, is in acute need of desilting and has been the subject of public concern about the impact on wildlife and potential loss of amenity.

Following campaigning by the local councillors for the Bradley Stoke South ward, Cllrs John Ashe and Roger Avenin, to see residents’ concerns addressed, SGC’s Cabinet has approved a reallocation of funds from its Highways Maintenance budget.

The money originates from an unspent portion of A4174 Challenge Fund – originally made available to speed up work on the recent Bromley Heath Viaduct repair project.

The scheme, which requires the removal of up to 4,000 cubic metres of silt and restoring the lake environment to the original landscape plans, including a 300m ‘stone to dust’ footpath, will enhance the wetland area for the community, improve resistance to flooding and enhance local biodiversity.

Cllr John Ashe commented:

“Areas like the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve should be enjoyed all year round, and you are hard pressed to go there in the daytime and not see the likes of dog walkers and joggers or young families going to feed the ducks, along with groups of school children getting to know and appreciate nature. So when it ends up flooding after some rain, it might not pose a threat to nearby homes, but it can definitely have a profound effect on the community of people that make use of it, as well as washing away the nesting areas of the local wildlife.”

“In recent months, so many residents have been in touch with myself and my council colleague Cllr Roger Avenin about the state of the lake and how, while they enjoy it during the summer months, they are put off using it in between late autumn and early spring due to the increased chance of flooding. Many also raising their concerns that, if gone unchecked, the damage to the area could get even worse.”

“Having taken those views to the council, and argued the case for local residents, I am really pleased that funding will be put into this environmental project.”

More: Work likely to be carried out next winter »

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