This indpendent 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.

Yarn-bombed Christmas tree to double as blankets for homeless

Posted on Saturday 24th December 2016 at 11:29 am by SH (Editor)

Members of the St Mike’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB) with their Christmas tree (l-r): Debbie Bambridge, Emily Preston, Kia Harris, Sara Clothier and Zoe Garde-Evans.

Knitters from St Michael’s Church in Stoke Gifford have not only created their own Christmas tree from yarn – but when the decorations come down they plan to recycle it into blankets for local homeless charities.

Over 800 woolly green squares have been knitted or crocheted and then stacked into a six-foot tall Christmas tree by the St Mike’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB).

Christmas tree created by the St Mike's Yarn Bombers (SMYB) of Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Whilst thousands of real Christmas trees are recycled into compost – the knitted tree will be dismantled and sewn into at least ten woolly blankets for two Bristol charities supporting homeless people.

The yarn bombing group has been delighting local people with surprise displays and decorations at community events in Stoke Gifford since early 2016 (see previous Journal article here). But when they launched the Christmas tree project they were joined by around a hundred other knitters across Bristol and beyond. Church members, craft groups, family, friends and children produced squares. They were even sent three green squares from a knitter in Washington DC in the United States.

A total of 848 different green squares have been stacked into to the woolly Christmas tree. Of these, 816 have been knitted or crocheted and 32 are made of felt and were decorated by children at the Messy Church which meets once a month at St Michael’s.

More: Blankets will go to Emmaus Bristol and Julian Trust night shelter »

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Councillors to press for deferral of Hatchet Road bus lane plans

Posted on Tuesday 20th December 2016 at 8:24 pm by SH (Editor)

Cllr Colin Hunt, of South Gloucestershire Council, at a public meeting to discuss plans for a bus lane on Hatchet Road as part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme. Cllr Ernie Brown, chair of Stoke Gifford Parish Council, at a public meeting to discuss plans for a bus lane on Hatchet Road as part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension scheme.

Stoke Gifford’s three South Glos councillors have signalled their intention to formally call for the implementation of a controversial new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road to be deferred until the impact of the new Stoke Gifford By-Pass on traffic flows through the village are known.

The new bus lane, approved by South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Environment & Community Services (ECS) Committee in July, forms part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will link Bristol Parkway Station with The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

The councillors’ intended plan of action was confirmed after a packed public meeting held at St Michael’s Primary School on 22nd November demonstrated the strength of feeling amongst local residents against the bus lane proposals.

The meeting, attended by around 140 people, was addressed principally by Cllr Colin Hunt, a member of the ECS Committee which approved the Hatchet Road bus lane option and also chair of the West of England Joint Transport Executive Committee, which oversees the region’s MetroBus projects.

Facing an audience which seemed to be universally opposed to the Hatchet Road plans, which will see mature hedgerows and scores of mature trees ripped out, Cllr Hunt made it clear from the start of the meeting that he was not prepared to consider any alternatives, saying: “one way or another we’ve got to put a bus lane down there. All we’re trying to do is provide a fast bus service. I understand that you don’t want to lose green space, but we all have to make sacrifices.”

Cllr Hunt revealed that since the decision in July, council officers have been investigating a number of measures that might mitigate the impact of the scheme, such as moving the main area of ‘land take’ over to the Forty Acres side of the road and reducing the width of the bus lane, both of which would lead to less vegetation being taken from Meade Park and adjacent to residents’ homes on the east side of the road. However, both of these options would require further public consultation and thereby delay the scheme.

Claim: Committee’s decision is "intellectually challenged," says a resident »

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Residents invited to Parkway Station drop-in event as electrification work approaches

Posted on Sunday 27th November 2016 at 10:02 am by SH (Editor)

Network Rail workers in action on a station platform.

Residents living near Bristol Parkway Station have been invited to attend a drop-in event to find out more about upcoming work to prepare the Great Western Main Line for electrification as part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan to provide a bigger, better, more reliable railway for passengers.

The event will take place on Tuesday 29th November at the St Michael’s Centre, North Road, Stoke Gifford BS34 8PD, from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Poster advertising a drop-in event about railway upgrade work at Bristol Parkway Station.

Network Rail is carrying out essential work in and around the station to accommodate the new fleet of faster, greener electric trains, which will provide more seats and more room for passengers.

In addition, improvements to the signalling system will replace equipment installed in the 1960s and 70s with the latest technology, paving the way for a more reliable railway and fewer delays for passengers.

The station will remain open for the majority of the project, which is due to start in late December 2016, with completion in 2018. In order to keep disruption to train services to a minimum, much of the work will take place overnight and at weekends.

The work includes:

  • Installing the foundations for the overhead line equipment that will power the new trains
  • Installing the overhead line equipment, including masts, booms and wires
  • Building a fourth platform and extending the existing platforms
  • Track works, including renewal of 2.5km of railway line
  • Stabilising the embankment next to the Filton Line
  • Repairs and track level works at Bristol Road bridge (Winterbourne)

Members of the Network Rail project team will be on-hand throughout the drop-in event to explain more about the work taking place and to answer any questions.

More: Parkway Station briefing note issued by Network Rail »

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Councils on collision course over Hatchet Road bus lane plans

Posted on Saturday 19th November 2016 at 6:58 pm by SH (Editor)

Stoke Gifford CPME public meeting on 22nd November 2016.

A dispute over South Gloucestershire Council’s plans to rip up mature hedgerows and scores of mature trees in order to install a new bus lane along one side of Hatchet Road looks set to escalate after Stoke Gifford Parish Council (SGPC) called a public meeting to discuss “significant negativity from local residents”.

The bus lane will form part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, a proposed extension to the wider MetroBus network that is currently under construction in the Bristol North Fringe. The CPME will link Bristol Parkway Station with The Mall at Cribbs Causeway and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

In addition to the construction of a number of sections of new bus lane along its route, the CPME scheme also includes replacing the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane with a much wider concrete structure capable of accommodating one general traffic lane and a bus lane in each direction.

The decision to construct a new southbound bus lane along Hatchet Road was agreed by an SGC committee in July, despite strong opposition from local residents and Stoke Gifford’s three South Glos councillors.

With SGC’s own figures showing that the new bus lane will reduce bus journey times by just 29 seconds, and only during the morning peak, with no improvement at other times of the day, the £1.47 million cost of installing it was described by Cllr Ernie Brown, chair of Stoke Gifford Parish Council, as “economic suicide”.

More: Public meeting to take place on Tuesday 22nd November »

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