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.

Major work continues at Bristol Parkway

Posted on Wednesday 13th December 2017 at 6:59 pm by Laura Mortimore

Work on installing a new fourth platform at Bristol Parkway Station.

Network Rail has been continuing its Railway Upgrade Plan by carrying out some major work at Bristol Parkway Station, causing the station to be completely closed during the first three weekends of November.

As part of the Railway Upgrade Plan, Network Rail is electrifying the railway between London Paddington and Cardiff with the aim being to provide passengers with quieter, more frequent and more reliable services. After the closure of the station for two weeks in September, the first two ten-carriage IETs (Intercity Express trains) entered service on 16th October, travelling through both Bristol Parkway and Bristol Temple Meads stations. They have since travelled over 30,000 miles along the Great Western Railway network, providing 20,000 more seats into London Paddington than the trains they replaced.

During the first three weekends of November, Network Rail continued the work that they started in September. The work they were undertaking involved:

  • Continuing work on the construction of a fourth platform
  • Extending the existing three platforms to accommodate the new IETs
  • Continuing work to improve the track layout to allow more trains to use the station
  • Carrying out further piling (installing foundations along the route to support the overhead electrification equipment)

Part of the electrification works also involved closing the M4 near junction 19 overnight for what was anticipated to be the first two weekends in November. This was to allow Network Rail to install the overhead line equipment needed to run electric train services. Dean Shaw, media relations manager at Network Rail, said: “The work that took place over the M4 at the ‘Blue Bridge’ was a huge success. The work was completed much quicker than we anticipated, which meant that the motorway was only closed for the first weekend.”

More: Weekend piling work to continue through to February 2018 »

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New figures produced to justify Hatchet Road bus lane but cost pressures might just kill it off

Posted on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 5:35 pm by SH (Editor)

Indicative artist’s impression of proposals on Hatchet Road (looking north).

The future of a controversial plan to construct a new southbound bus lane on Hatchet Road in Stoke Gifford looks set to be finally decided, without further public consultation, at a meeting of South Gloucestershire Council’s (SGC’s) Cabinet on Monday 4th December.

The move is likely to anger local campaigners who collected more than 3,300 signatures on a petition that called for the original decision to be reviewed, leading to the council resolving in July 2017 to bring forward alternative proposals for consideration and carry out further consultation.

The proposed new bus lane will form part of the Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme, which will link The Mall at Cribbs Causeway with Bristol Parkway Station and serve the new developments planned for the former Filton Airfield site.

Local residents and councillors have expressed strong opposition to the bus lane because it will require mature hedgerows and trees to be removed from both sides of Hatchet Road. They also claim it is a waste of money, costing £2m to reduce bus journey times by just 29 seconds (revised to an average of 93 seconds in a new report prepared for this month’s meeting).

The overall cost of the CPME scheme is estimated at £35m, a major part of which will be spent on replacing the railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane with a much wider concrete structure that can accommodate a bus lane and a general traffic lane in each direction.

Members of the Hatchet Road Action Group have previously expressed preference for an alternative scheme involving the implementation of lay-bys at bus stops, which they claim would facilitate better traffic flow for all road users. This was substantiated by figures in SGC’s original report, which showed that it would achieve improved bus journey time savings in comparison to the bus lane option. However, officers advised against it on the grounds that it “would not necessarily deliver consistently reliable bus and MetroBus journey times”.

In the latest report, consultants say they have revisited the original analysis and identified shortcomings, such as a too pessimistic view being taken of the chance of MetroBus vehicles having to wait at pedestrian crossings and behind other buses at non-MetroBus stops. They also claim insufficient allowance was made for delays faced by buses re-entering the main traffic flow from lay-bys. The net result, it is claimed, is that the bus lane option can now be shown to perform better than lay-bys.

More: Hints that cllrs might nonetheless scrap bus lane to save money »

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Local ladies’ club seeks new members

Posted on Sunday 3rd December 2017 at 12:29 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of members of the Stokes Phoenix Club.

So that the Stokes Phoenix Club can continue to flourish, we are looking for new members. We are a small friendly group of ladies; we have a programme of monthly events and talks, with time to meet and make friends over tea, coffee and biscuits. For members, we also have a craft sub-group which meets fortnightly on alternate Thursday mornings to the main meeting dates.

Club meets are held the first Tuesday of each month, 10am to 12noon at the Community Hall, Little Stoke Park, Little Stoke. [Please note until early 2018, whilst building work is taking place at the Community Hall, we are meeting at Little Stoke Scout Hut, Little Stoke Park]

Programme for 2017/18:

  • 5th December: Christmas Buffet and Knutty Knitters
  • 2nd January: Around Bristol by Horse Tram
  • 6th February: Our Beautiful Marine Life
  • 6th March: Annual Lunch at the Park Hotel
  • 3rd April: Hives, Herbals and Candle Making

Yearly membership is £15. Monthly subs £2.00. We would love you to come along to one of our monthly sessions – get in touch on the phone number below or just come along to one of our meetings, we would love to see you!

For more information please get in touch with Rosemary Davis, chair, on 01454 614474.

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Local choir provide backing vocals for band

Posted on Wednesday 29th November 2017 at 11:55 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of Gospel Generation Community Choir at rehearsal.

The Gospel Generation Community Choir (GGCC) have supported Christian band Treasure Field during their concert held in the St Michael’s auditorium in Stoke Gifford on 18th November.

The GGCC are a voluntarily run choir, which began about 15 years ago with just one choir, and now have four different choirs across Bristol (Stoke Gifford, Thornbury, Shirehampton and Easton). The four choirs meet at their separate locations for an 8-10 week term and then bring together their 90-100 members at the end to perform as one large choir. This term, they have ended their rehearsals with an incredible concert, supporting Treasure Field during their winter tour.

Emma Smallwood, leader of the Stoke Gifford choir told me how she was feeling in the week leading up to the concert:  “I’m feeling really confident. The songs are sounding great and I think the choir is really going to enjoy singing them.”

The concert was a huge success, taking place on Saturday 18th November in the auditorium at the St Michael’s centre. The GGCC had a half-hour slot at the start of the concert in which they sang four songs, perfectly harmonising the sopranos, tenors and altos. The choir were especially proud of their performance of ‘Praise Waiteth’, which was one of the more difficult songs in their set. It took them a long time to bring the different harmonies together, but the result sounded stunning.

They also sang with the band, a beautiful mix of the well-known ‘Silent Night’, which was a hit with the 200 strong audience. Treasure Field were grateful for the support of the GGCC, posting on Facebook: “Big shout out to the Gospel Generation Community Choir as well who were totally brilliant.” Even the fire alarm going off during Treasure Field’s final number didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the show!

More: Where to catch GGCC in concert during December »

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