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Topping out ceremony marks milestone of UWE Bristol’s new engineering building

Posted on Monday 14th October 2019 at 9:42 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of guests at the UWE engineering building topping out ceremony.

The new multi-million pound engineering building at the University of the West of England’s (UWE’s) Frenchay campus has moved a step closer to completion.

A ceremony was held on Tuesday 17th September to mark construction of the state-of-the-art facility reaching the highest point of the landmark building.

Due to be completed in summer 2020, the building will house specialist digital engineering facilities, study areas and making facilities accommodating a wide range of engineering disciplines such as composite manufacturing, machining and metrology.

The building will help to attract a diverse, creative and innovative student body to engineering as a profession and help address future skills gaps regionally. The development supports the government’s commitment to increase the number of young people studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects and the predicted increase in demand for skilled engineering graduates across the West of England.

With floor space of 8,500sqm, the building will accommodate 1,600 undergraduate and postgraduate students, along with 100 academic and technical staff. It will meet UWE Bristol’s ambition to become one of the top engineering schools in the country, through promoting multi-disciplinary, collaborative learning.

UWE Bristol’s vice-chancellor Professor Steve West said

“It has been hugely rewarding to see this landmark building taking shape at the heart of our Frenchay campus, as part of our ongoing commitment to investment in top class facilities. As it nears completion and we approach our move in date, a sense of excitement is starting to grow among our students and staff, and our industry collaborators.

“Benefiting from a practice-based curriculum and close links with leading engineering businesses in the region, our graduates are leaving with the right blend of industry skills, experience and knowledge for the workplace. This state-of-the-art building will significantly improve our engineering teaching and research facilities, ensuring we continue to attract and inspire the engineers of the future.”

More: Visualisation of the new building »

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Council abandons plans for raised table zebra crossings on North Road

Posted on Friday 11th October 2019 at 9:29 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo showing a zebra crossing on North Road (near the Trust Hall).

New consultation launched on proposed 20mph zone.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has abandoned plans to install raised tables at two existing zebra crossings on North Road, despite a majority of consultation respondents saying they agreed with the proposals.

The traffic-calming measures had been put forward for the crossing located near the St Michael’s Centre (by The Green) and a second further up the road near the Trust Rooms.

According to the ‘statement of reasons‘ published as part of a public consultation which ran for three weeks from 17th June 2019, the proposed measures were being made in response to “concerns that had been raised by members of the public and the local councillor”. The stated purpose was to “reduce traffic speeds on the approach to the crossings … and reduce the number of incidents where drivers fail to give way at the crossings”.

A recently published feedback report shows that, of the 64 individuals and organisations who responded to the consultation, 36 (56 percent) expressed overall support for the scheme.

However, the report also shows that the proposals lacked support from two local councillors, with Cllr Ernie Brown commenting that “recorded speed levels certainly do not warrant traffic calming” and Cllr Brian Allinson saying he was “rapidly coming to the conclusion that a 20mph limit is required”.

A response from Stoke Gifford Parish Council claimed the proposed measures would have little impact on reducing speed generally along North Road and asked if alternative measures such as flashing signs could be used.

Following a meeting between council officers, local ward members and the parish council, SGC decided not to proceed with the raised tables and it has now launched a new public consultation on a proposed ‘sign only’ 20mph speed limit on North Road and the surrounding cul-de-sacs.

Justifying the change of approach, officers said: “Current average speed readings support the installation of a 20mph speed limit without the need for physical traffic calming, which would significantly reduce the cost and disruption of the scheme.”

Consultation on the 20mph speed limit proposals runs until Monday 14th October. For further details, visit www.southglos.gov.uk/consultation or phone 01454 864215 to receive paper copies of the consultation material.

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal magazine (on page 14). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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Peak hours temporary traffic lights on Gipsy Patch Lane from Monday

Posted on Friday 11th October 2019 at 2:32 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of three-way traffic lights in operation during September 2019.

Three-way temporary traffic lights are to return to Gipsy Patch Lane next week (from Monday 14th October) – and this time they will be in operation around the clock, i.e. including the morning and afternoon rush hours.

The lights will need to be positioned at the railway bridge and will include the junction with Station Road.

The temporary lights are needed by Wales and West Utilities whilst diversionary work is carried out on the gas main in preparation for the replacement railway bridge next year.

The work is expected to take up to two weeks to complete.

A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said:

“It was hoped that this work could be completed without the need for traffic lights but for the safety of all road users this is no longer the case. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your continued patience.”

All shops and businesses on and near Gipsy Patch Lane will be open as normal.

Three-way temporary traffic lights were in operation at the same location for around three weeks in September, but during that period they were only in place during off-peak times.

Photo: Three-way temporary traffic lights in operation at the bridge during September.

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Bramble-munching goats return to Parkway

Posted on Wednesday 9th October 2019 at 8:48 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of goats grazing on brambles at Parkway Park & Ride.

A herd of goats, that were until recently munching their way through brambles around the old gun emplacements on Purdown (Stoke Park), has taken up residence at a site near Bristol Parkway railway station.

The animals, managed by community urban farming group Street Goat, have returned to scrubland alongside the Parkway Park & Ride facility in Hunts Ground Road.

They are being deployed as part of a ‘conservation grazing’ initiative which aims to restore grassland and encourage the growth of wildflowers on sites that are important for wildlife.

The aim of the grazing at Parkway is to increase the population of the small blue butterfly (cupido minimus), which is classified as a ‘priority species’ in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. This species of butterfly feeds solely on a wildflower called kidney vetch which grows at this location.

With the goats clearing the brambles and shrubs, this makes way for more kidney vetch to grow, which will then hopefully increase the numbers of small blue butterflies.

As previously reported, Street Goat first introduced goats to the Parkway site in January 2018. They were subsequently transferred to Goblin Coombe in the spring but made a second visit to Parkway in the summer.

The goats are very friendly and members of the public are more than welcome to visit them, although Street Goat requests that you don’t feed them as they have sufficient natural food to keep them healthy.

The animals are expected to be at the Parkway Park & Ride site until December or January.

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer goat herder, which involves helping to monitor the goats and reporting any issues to Street Goat, is invited to get in touch via their website: www.streetgoat.co.uk

More: View our map showing the area that the goats are grazing »

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