Archive for November, 2015

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Cash-strapped council wants to levy charge on popular parkrun

Posted on Friday 20th November 2015 at 8:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Little Stoke Parkrun trial event on 22nd August 2012.

The future of a hugely popular, free weekly running event held in a Little Stoke Park for the past three years could be under threat after the local council said it planned to levy a charge of £1 per runner to cover ongoing maintenance costs of the park.

One of hundreds of similar events that take place around the country at 9am every Saturday morning, Little Stoke parkrun is a free-to-enter timed 5k run that is open to everyone and designed to be safe and easy to take part in.

The Little Stoke event began in November 2012, with support from South Gloucestershire Council, and has seen its number of participants grow from fewer than a hundred per week during its first six months to an average of 243 per week in October 2015.

The increasing numbers have put a strain on car parking at the Little Stoke Lane venue, which the organisers have attempted to solve by encouraging runners to walk, jog or cycle to the venue. Additional car parking has been made available at Little Stoke Baptist Church and car sharing is encouraged.

The event is organised on an entirely voluntary basis, with a core team of helpers supplemented by participants who, from time to time, “give up” their run in order to help.

After a unanimous decision to levy a charge was made by Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s Finance Committee on 8th September, representatives of parkrun were invited to attend a meeting of Full Council on 13th October, where the matter was thrown open for debate.

Chair of council Ernie Brown told the meeting that the park had significant running costs, including maintenance of the car park and perimeter path (both of these are used by parkrun participants), and, in these times of austerity, needed to be “run as a business”, adding “nothing is free in this day and age”.

More: Event has "positive personal and community impacts" »

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Replacement railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane set to be 4-lane

Posted on Monday 16th November 2015 at 9:54 pm by SH (Editor)

Railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, Little Stoke, Bristol.

The railway bridge on Gipsy Patch Lane, a notorious bottleneck for traffic and the scene of frequent bridge strikes by high vehicles, looks set to be replaced with a significantly wider concrete structure following a decision made by South Gloucestershire Council’s PTSE Major Schemes Sub-Committee in early October.

From November 2014 to February 2015, the council ran a preliminary consultation on plans for a so-called Cribbs/Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME), which would extend the North Fringe to Hengrove Package (NFHP) MetroBus route (now under construction in Bradley Stoke and Stoke Gifford) by linking two termini of the NFHP at The Mall Bus Station and Bristol Parkway Railway Station and via the Cribbs/Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN), Filton Enterprise Area, Gipsy Patch Lane and Hatchet Road.

A key improvement that the CPME project would deliver is the replacement of the railway over-bridge at Gipsy Patch Lane. The existing Victorian brick-arch structure is narrow and low, resulting in an unattractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as generating delays for buses and other traffic. A replacement bridge would improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists in particular, as well as for MetroBus services and other road users.

In September 2013, the same SGC committee approved the procurement of Network Rail to undertake ‘Governance for Railway Investment Projects’ (GRIP) Stage 1 to 3 studies into improvements at the Gipsy Patch Lane railway over-bridge (and also that at Brierley Furlong, which is part of a separate project). GRIP stages 1 and 2 looked at whether it would be feasible to build the bridge. The overall conclusion of GRIP 1 and 2 was that it is technically feasible to replace the existing bridge with a new wider bridge.

More: Wider bridge will add £5m to cost of CPME »

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Little Stoke Primary’s Forest School featured on national television

Posted on Wednesday 11th November 2015 at 9:20 pm by SH (Editor)

Pupils at Little Stoke Primary School toast marshmallows on a fire as part of their Forest Schools activities.

Children at Little Stoke Primary School were thrilled to appear on national TV at the beginning of October in a “back to nature” feature filmed at their on-site Forest School. The BBC visited the school as part of a report on a recent survey of 1,000 families which showed that hardly anyone can correctly recognise the five most common trees in the country (oak, birch, beech, horse chestnut and ash).

Steve Callow of Conquer the Woods.

In the feature, which was shown on the local BBC Points West and the national CBBC Newsround programmes, children from Years 1 & 2 were shown learning about the different types of trees, plants and flowers that can be found within the school grounds, and how to tell them apart.

Steve Callow, director of Conquer the Woods, a Bath based business that provides Forest School lessons at Little Stoke, told the BBC he feels that children these days “spend too much time on electronics and not enough time outdoors”.

The children were shown taking part in a ‘treasure hunt’ in which they searched for leaves similar to those shown on an annotated worksheet, thereby helping them learn the names of the corresponding trees.

Other activities to have taken place recently include rope challenges, mud kitchen, using tools, making catapults, whittling sticks and picking apples & blackberries and making cake with them on a wood fire.

More: "Forest School sessions have become an important part of the curriculum," says Little Stoke Primary headteacher Scott Howes »

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Proposed waiting restrictions in roads near Parkway Station set to be dropped

Posted on Tuesday 10th November 2015 at 5:33 pm by SH (Editor)

Brins Close, Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) looks set to abandon plans to introduce parking restrictions in a number of Stoke Gifford streets after 37 objections were received in response to the ‘statutory advertisement’ of the proposed measures.

The main purpose of the scheme, known as ‘Parkway Station Area – Review of waiting restrictions Phase 3‘, is to “discourage all-day parking by rail users and students in residential areas, particularly where this causes safety or access issues, whilst at the same time minimising the effect of waiting restrictions on residents”.

Measures proposed during Phases 1 and 2 of the review, which began in 2011, have already been implemented.

Initial consultation on the Phase 3 proposals, which affect New Road, Swallow Court, Brins Close, Beaufort Crescent, John St Quinton Close and Church Road, took place between 29th July and 18th August 2014 and revised proposals were advertised from 20th July 2015 to the 21st August.

The objections will be considered at a meeting of SGC’s Planning, Transportation and Strategic Environment Committee on Wednesday (11th November), at which councillors will consider a report that recommends the removal of the following elements from the scheme:

  • Limited waiting in Beaufort Crescent
  • Restricted parking Monday to Saturday, 1 – 2pm in Brins Close
  • All proposals in John St Quinton Close

The same meeting will also consider objections to a scheme of proposed waiting restrictions on Little Stoke Lane (near Clay Lane), Clay Lane and Station Road. Initial consultation on this scheme took place between 29th August and 19th September 2014 and revised proposals were advertised from 29th June to 24th July 2015.

Four objections have been received, several of which express the view that the measures will displace station commuter parking into nearby residential areas, while one local SGC councillor has raised concerns about the waiting restrictions being implemented before any additional car parking facility is provided at Patchway Station. However, council officers have recommended that the scheme be implemented as advertised.

More info: Agenda and reports for the PTSE meeting on 11th November

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