Posts Tagged ‘South Gloucestershire Council’

Woods Estate Agents, Bradley Stoke, Bristol

South Glos council tax to rise by 4.99 percent

Posted on Monday 13th March 2017 at 8:20 pm by SH (Editor)

South Gloucestershire Council.

South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) element of the council tax levied on local residents is to increase by 4.99 percent from April and looks set to be followed by a similar above-inflation rise in 2018/19.

Meeting on 15th February, councillors agreed to set a revenue budget of £193.25 million, with the increase in the council-controlled element of council tax being made up of a 1.99 percent general increase plus a further 3 percent specifically ring fenced to adult social care to help meet the demographic and other service pressures.

A council spokesperson said the increase is designed to help protect council services as funding from central government is reduced. It means that the average charge for a Band D property for the SGC element of the total council tax bill will rise to £1,359.

Public consultation carried out by the council prior to the budget-setting process showed that 45 percent of respondents were in favour of a council tax rise for 2017/18 of 2 percent or more (inclusive of the adult social care element).

Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Councillor Matthew Riddle, said:

“As a council we are focussed on delivering services to meet the needs and priorities of all our residents and local businesses. I am pleased to say that we will continue to do that with this year’s budget.”

“While finances remain tight and we continue to look for ways to do everything we can as efficiently as we can, I am pleased that we are also able to invest and build for the future, particularly in school and transport infrastructure projects.”

“The council delivers a huge range of services to our whole community and while we are always under pressure to be ever more efficient, where savings have to be made, the priority remains to protect front line services wherever possible. Thanks to the continued and dedicated efforts of our staff, I believe that we are well placed to meet future challenges.”

More: Council faces a £9.2 million black hole, warns Labour leader »

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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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Curtain raised on multi-million pound leisure centre redevelopment

Posted on Wednesday 8th February 2017 at 8:33 pm by SH (Editor)

Paralympian Andy Lewis (left) cuts a ribbon to mark the official launch of new facilities at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre. Alongside him are (l-r) Cllr Erica Williams (chair of South Gloucestershire Council) and Cllr Heather Goddard (chair of South Gloucestershire Council's Environment and Community Services Committee).

Customers can now enjoy a range of new facilities at Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre following a major £3.6million redevelopment funded by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC).

An official launch by triathlete and 2016 Paralympic gold medallist Andy Lewis, who used the centre for his pre-Olympics training, took place on 5th January with partners and staff involved in the project. Bradley Stoke was the nearest centre that could offer him proper training facilities and so was critical to his pre-Games training.

Pupils from Bradley Stoke Community School (BSCS) were amongst those lucky enough to have a preview of the new-look lifestyle centre and to meet Andy, who brought along his gold medal and spent time chatting to leisure centre staff and guests.

New facilities include an extensive soft play zone and an all adventure climbing experience. There has also been significant investment made into the gym, café, and studios, making the centre a real destination venue for the local community and wider area.

Alongside the leisure centre facilities, which were redeveloped by leisure design and build specialist Createability, improved library accessibility and extended opening hours through a swipe card access system is due to begin in February (see page 15) and both services will benefit from an additional 130 parking spaces.

Andy said:

“This is a fantastic centre. I wish I had such great facilities on my doorstep. The support from the leisure centre has been awesome from start to finish and I couldn’t have achieved the Gold without them. The new facilities look amazing.”

More: New climbing wall has recorded over 4,000 visits in two months »

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Second consultation on library service cuts

Posted on Wednesday 30th November 2016 at 8:00 pm by SH (Editor)

Bradley Stoke Library (temporary entrance during redevelopment work in 2016).

Residents of South Gloucestershire are being encouraged to take part in a second round of consultation on the future of library services in the area after the local authority backtracked on it original plans to close a number of libraries or severely restrict their opening hours.

The council’s revised plan, which sees the targeted savings scaled back by 23 percent, centres around the introduction of new technology which would allow people to use libraries even when there are no staff on duty.

At the heart of the new proposals is a reduced savings target, reduced from £650,000 to £500,000, from an annual budget of £2.6million. This means that staffed hours would not be reduced by as much as previously anticipated.

The plans also propose introducing an ‘open access’ technology that would mean extended opening hours for libraries when no staff are on duty, potentially from 8.30am to 7.30pm, 7 days a week. This would be an extension of opening hours of up to 100 per cent over current hours and could make libraries much more accessible to people who cannot normally get to them during current opening times. Investment in this new technology would incur one-off costs of up to £400,000.

It is also proposed that the mobile library service be replaced with community centre-based libraries across South Gloucestershire, run by volunteer groups. The Council would also fund the building costs of Chipping Sodbury Library with the service being delivered by volunteers. These plans would mean that no library building would have to close as a result of the savings.

Views are sought on each of these proposals as well as peoples’ preferences for patterns of staffed opening hours. The preferred plans see libraries grouped into geographical ‘clusters’ with the aim of ensuring that there is a staffed library open six days a week (Monday to Saturday) within each cluster. No libraries would be staffed on a Sunday.

Locally, Bradley Stoke Library would form a cluster with the libraries in Patchway and Filton. Staffed hours would amount to 35 hours per week at Bradley Stoke (currently 45.5), 24 hours per week at Patchway (33.5) and 26 hours at Filton (41.5).

While the consultation process is under way, the council will also be conducting a pilot of a form of open access technology, called Open Plus, at Bradley Stoke Library.

More: Consultation is open until 2nd January 2017 »

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