This independent website, founded in January 2012, aims to bring you a comprehensive round up of stories from the police, local councils and community groups in Stoke Gifford.

Reflections on the Gipsy Patch Lane closure

Posted on Friday 12th July 2019 at 9:33 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge on 24th June, 21 days into the closure.

Residents in the Stokes breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday 27th June when South Gloucestershire Council confirmed that Gipsy Patch Lane would reopen as planned in time for the morning peak on Monday 1st July.

The busy commuter road had been closed at the Station Road railway bridge for four weeks commencing Monday 4th June in order for BT to divert underground utilities ahead of the replacement of the bridge with a much wider concrete structure in 2020.

The bridge replacement and associated highway works are being carried out as part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will provide an express bus service between The Mall and Bristol Parkway Station, also serving the upcoming development on the former Filton Airfield.

The June closure was a precursor to an anticipated eight-month full closure of the road planned for early 2020, either side of the main bridge replacement work over 12 days at Easter.

The first day of the closure proved something of an anti-climax as the anticipated gridlock failed to materialise, perhaps because motorists had heeded warnings and adjusted their journey times or maybe because Mondays is traditionally a quiet day on the roads anyway. But signs of things to come were already apparent on Stoke Lane and Little Stoke Lane as traffic tailed back to Little Stoke Park during the morning peak.

The situation was much worse the next day, Tuesday 4th June, with traffic tailed back on Bradley Stoke Way as far as the Willow Brook Centre and on Brook Way to Manor Farm Roundabout and some commuters reporting additional delays of up to 35min.

A rainy Tuesday morning on 11th June, compounded with a major incident at the top of the M32, brought more misery, with reports of it taking 30min to pass along Braydon Avenue and gridlock surrounding the mini-roundabout at the end of Stoke Lane, near the A38.

But the low point came on Tuesday 25th June when heavy rain during the morning peak brought Bradley Stoke to a standstill in all directions with BBC Bristol reporting additional delays of 35min on Bradley Stoke Way, described by one motorist as being “like a car park”.

More: Openreach (BT) thwarted by "unexpected ground conditions" »

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Budding bookworms at Stoke Gifford Pre-School

Posted on Tuesday 9th July 2019 at 9:26 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a Bookstart Pyjamarama event taking place at Abacus Pre-School, led by a volunteer from Stoke Gifford Community Library.

Jackie Day, from Stoke Gifford Community Library, recently visited the children at Abacus Pre-School to celebrate National Bookstart Week, now known as Pyjamarama. The week, which is dedicated to celebrating the magic of reading for children, ran from 3rd to 9th June and Jackie visited Abacus on Thursday 6th. She read the group of excited children two stories: ‘Lucie Goose’ by Danny Baker and ‘Car, Car, Truck, Jeep’ by Katrina Charman, a copy of which was then given to each of the children.

Pyjamarama is part of Bookstart which is the world’s first national book gifting programme and has been running for over 25 years. It aims to promote and encourage families to share books, stories and rhymes as early as possible and is based on the simple premise that children who have an early introduction to books and are read to every day, benefit educationally, culturally, socially and emotionally. Bookstart has two packs; Bookstart Baby which is gifted from 0-12 months, predominantly through health visitors and Bookstart Treasure which is gifted at 3-4 years of age, through libraries, pre-schools and nurseries.

The community library, which is located in the mezzanine above the Old School Rooms Coffee Shop, has helped to distribute the Bookstart Treasure pack to pre-school-aged children across Stoke Gifford. Jackie said:

“It was a privilege to read to the children at the Abacus nursery; stories are fun, help develop language and, hopefully, a love of books.  It was also a good opportunity to advertise our local community library.”

Kirsty Goodman, manager at Abacus Pre-School Stoke Gifford (based at the Poplar Rooms in North Road), said:

“A huge thank you to Jackie from the community library for giving up her time to come and read a story for our children. Jackie involved the children with the story and grasped their attention on the first page encouraging them to join in with repeated phrases. One child said: “My brother read my book to me at bedtime.”

More: Free Pyjamarama books are available from community library »

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By-pass speeding offences hit new heights

Posted on Monday 8th July 2019 at 6:58 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of a 30mph sign on the Stoke Gifford By-Pass (September 2018). Photo of a 30mph speed limit sign on the Stoke Gifford By-Pass (May 2019).

Police mobile speed camera vans that pay regular visits to enforce the controversial 30mph limit on the Stoke Gifford By-Pass have detected the tenth highest number of offences across all speed camera sites in South Gloucestershire during the 2017 to 2018 financial year, the Journal can reveal.

And despite enforcement at the site being active only for the final six months of the year, it has detected the highest number of speeding offences across all mobile camera locations within the district.

The startling conclusions can be drawn from the response to a Freedom of Information request recently published by Avon and Somerset Police, which shows that 658 notices of intended prosecution were issued in relation to the Stoke Gifford site for offences detected over the period 21st September 2018 (when enforcement commenced) to 31st March 2019.

Comparing this figure to the previously reported 307 offences recorded up to 22nd January 2019, the data also shows that the rate of detection accelerated significantly in the final two months of the financial year.

The news comes just as South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has complied with an obligation to provide a formal response to a resident’s petition calling for the speed limit on the by-pass to be raised because “it has a speed limit that quite drastically does not match the engineering standard of the road”.

Alex Hosking’s petition ran on the SGC website from 22nd January 2019 to 23rd April 2019 and attracted 527 signatures.

Several Journal readers have commented that although the by-pass is a wide road, sweeping across open countryside for half-a-mile from its junction with Hambrook Lane to the A4174 Ring Road, it has a speed limit that is lower than the main road through densely populated parts of nearby Bradley Stoke.

Travelling south from Parkway North Roundabout (near Nuffield Health), the by-pass (officially named Rosedown Avenue) initially has a 40mph speed limit before changing to 30mph shortly before the traffic light-controlled junction with Hambrook Lane.

Between Hambrook Lane and the Oxleigh Way traffic lights (entrance to Highbrook Park) the road has the appearance of one which might be expected to have a higher speed limit of at least 40mph, save for the presence of street lighting columns.

More: Yellow backing boards added to 30mph signs »

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Abbeywood students enjoy visit from Lords peer

Posted on Thursday 4th July 2019 at 8:47 am by SH (Editor)

Photo of Lord Rooker with students at Abbeywood Community School.

On Friday 17th May, a Year 10 business studies class and a group of Year 12 students at Abbeywood Community School were lucky enough to receive a visit from Lord Jeffrey Rooker, a member of the House of Lords.

He was there as part of the ‘Peers in Schools’ programme, which was has been running since 2007. The scheme allows members of the Lords to demonstrate its pool of experience and knowledge by visiting schools, talking to students about their role in the House of Lords and hopefully encouraging them to become more engaged with the political and parliamentary process.

Since 2007, members of the Lords have visited over 2,000 schools across the country and spoken to around 100,000 pupils in support of the citizenship curriculum.

The students who attended the talk were fully engaged as Lord Rooker spoke to them about the differences between the Commons and the Lords, what the House of Lords does, how an idea becomes law and the role of the Lord Speaker. This was followed by a question and answer session where many of the students put Lord Rooker through his paces by asking him very topical questions, including: his opinion on the prison system, if he thinks young people are fairly represented, what he thinks the future of the government looks like and, of course, his views on Brexit.

Denisa Racaceanu, one of the Year 12 students who attended the talk, felt very lucky to receive the visit from Lord Rooker, saying:

“I thought the talk was very empowering and inspirational. I am really interested in law and hearing his story makes me motivated to achieve the things that I want. I also feel proud to be part of Abbeywood and be given these sorts of opportunities.”

More: Event "brought politics to life", says teacher »

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