This indpendent website, founded in 2009, aims to bring you a comprehensive round up of stories sourced from the police, local Councils and community groups within the district of South Gloucestershire in the United Kingdom.

Winterbourne’s Tim Bowles is new Metro Mayor

Posted on Tuesday 27th June 2017 at 12:01 am by SH (Editor)

Photo of Tim Bowles.

The new Mayor of the West of England, Winterbourne resident Tim Bowles (Conservative), was officially sworn into office at the Engine Shed, Bristol on Monday 8th May.

The event followed the mayoral election on Thursday 4th May in which Mr Bowles polled 27.3 percent of first preference votes, increasing to 35.7 percent after second preference choices were taken into consideration. Labour candidate Lesley Mansell finished second with 33.5 percent support after the second count. Turnout at the election was 29.7 percent.

Speaking after the ceremony, Mr Bowles said he was proud to be elected as the very first West of England Mayor:

“This is an exciting time for our region as the West of England Combined Authority takes on new powers, funding and responsibilities from central Government.”

“This means that as a region we can be much more ambitious – we can make decisions here in the West of England about things that affect our residents every day – decisions about homes, transport, skills for jobs and how we support business to ensure our economy continues to grow.”

He said he would work collaboratively and constructively with his colleagues in the Combined Authority: Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council, and Cllr Matthew Riddle, Leader of South Gloucestershire Council.

More: New mayor wants to work closely with North Somerset Council »

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Anger at lack of consultation on West of England devolution deal

Posted on Tuesday 14th June 2016 at 1:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Logo of South Gloucestershire Council.

The ruling Conservative group on South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has come under fire from opposition parties for planning to make a critical decision on whether or not to accept the Government’s proposed devolution deal for the West of England – which is conditional on the creation of a directly-elected Metro Mayor – without carrying out a formal public consultation.

The devolution deal has been proposed between the Government and the four local authorities in the West of England – Bristol City, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire Councils – and promises investment of more than £1 billion over a 30 year period.

Now that a deal has been negotiated with Government, the four authorities must decide whether or not they wish to accept it. These decisions will be taken by councillors in each area at council meetings in June. In South Gloucestershire, this meeting will take place on Wednesday 29th June.

Before those meetings, SGC is providing an opportunity for the public to find out more about the deal and to have their say via a dedicated webpage at www.southglos.gov.uk/devolution

However, Liberal Democrats in South Gloucestershire are unhappy with the low profile, informal consultation that has been launched ahead of the decision. Their leader, Cllr Ruth Davis, said:

“This is an incredible offer coming our way, and we need the public to be engaged. We could have launched a proper consultation when this was announced in the budget. We don’t have time for that anymore, but at least we can publicise it better, and make sure it’s linked to from the consultation website where people are normally asked for their views.”

Similarly, the Labour group has criticised the Tories for making what they describe as a “U-turn” on cross-party calls for an indicative referendum on the devolution deal, speculating that they might have been “leant upon” not to cause waves. Their leader, Cllr Pat Rooney, said:

“Tory councillors and the Tory Government have joined forces to block local people from having a direct say on the devolution deal, and that is a huge disappointment.”

More: "The deal on offer is among the best negotiated across the country"

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Winterbourne Medieval Barn wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

Posted on Tuesday 10th May 2016 at 1:38 pm by SH (Editor)

Winterbourne Medieval Barn.

South Gloucestershire Council, in partnership with Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust, has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to help restore Winterbourne Medieval Barn.

Development funding of £165,000 has been awarded to help South Gloucestershire Council and the Winterbourne Medieval Barn Trust (WMBT) progress proposals to apply for further funding before December 2017. The total amount of grant funding applied for to support the project will be £1,045,000 (including this initial development funding).

Winterbourne Medieval Barn is a building of national importance and is Grade II* listed. Built in 1342, the barn is a unique survival of the medieval agrarian economy. It was commissioned by Thomas de Bradeston, who was Lord of the Manor of Winterbourne from 1328 until his death in 1360. After the accession of Edward III he became attached to the royal service, taking part in all of Edward’s military campaigns as well as frequently serving in parliament.

If the bid is successful, the funding would be used to restore, refurbish and find new uses for the 14th Century Court Farm Barn and associated outbuildings, ensuring its long-term sustainability in the heart of the local community. A heritage education centre would also be created to demonstrate the history of the barn and its architecture as well as information about the local area. Overall, the complex would provide flexible spaces for a variety of community, educational and commercial uses.

More: The barn is an outstanding example of a raised-cruck construction »

Source: South Gloucestershire Council

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Green bin charge set to be reduced from April

Posted on Tuesday 22nd December 2015 at 9:27 pm by SH (Editor)

A South Gloucestershire Council 'green bin'.

The omission of the garden waste collection service from a strategic review of South Gloucestershire Council’s waste services (see ‘Council consults on plan to almost halve size of black bin‘) has sparked a political row, with Liberal Democrats accusing the Conservatives of failing to live up to a promise made in their 2015 election manifesto that the opt-in charge for emptying green bins, introduced in 2014, would be axed.

Speaking after a meeting of SGC’s Communities Committee on 4th November, Cllr Claire Young (LibDem, Westerleigh) said: “The waste consultation agreed today was their big chance to meet their manifesto promise. We all know that it would be wrong to promise something you can’t deliver – so my residents are waiting for their free green bins.”

“We were shocked when they voted against even including consulting with the public on this. It shows that they never had any intention of meeting their manifesto promise. They were elected on a false promise, and they have to apologise to residents now.”

She added, “Their attempts to kick this into the long grass by claiming removing the charge was not a change of service were laughable. They’ve nowhere left to hide – they lied.”

Cllr Heather Goddard (Con, Hanham), Chair of the Communities Committee, defended the decision, saying: “The Waste Strategy has been in production since before the election. The whole council had previously, on a cross-party basis, signed up to this strategy and the proposals within it as to where savings in the waste budget might be found.”

“Consequently, given that we are aware of Liberal Democrat and Labour opposition to our position of removing the green bin charge, it made sense to separate the issues which have already been agreed to and consider green bins as a separate issue.”

“In our manifesto, we stated that we wanted to remove the ‘tax’ in a financially responsible manner and our pledge was to phase it out.”

“This is a budgetary issue, and, as such, the budget-setting process is the appropriate point to implement our pledge. We are currently preparing plans to introduce our first cut to the charge for the upcoming 2016/17 budget.”

This article originally appeared in the December 2015 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, 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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