Archive for February, 2019

Roman villa remains unearthed in Stoke Gifford

Posted on Thursday 28th February 2019 at 9:20 pm by Laura Mortimore

3D-model of a stone-built sunken water tank.

Evidence of a Roman villa has recently been discovered at a site between Cheswick Village and Lockleaze, just within the Stoke Gifford parish boundary.

Archaeological fieldwork by Cotswold Archaeology was completed in March 2018 on land that was previously owned by Dings Crusaders Rugby Football Club and has now become a new housing development by Redrow Homes South West.

CgMs Heritage acted as archaeological consultants throughout the excavation.

Since the fieldwork was completed, archaeologists have been compiling what they discovered in order to understand what the villa may have looked like. While many of the villa’s walls and floor surfaces had been removed once the building fell into disuse, in some areas intact walls and floors survived, allowing Cotswold Archaeology to get a good understanding of the layout of the villa. Well-preserved features included the remains of hypocausts (a system of central heating where hot air is circulated below the floor of a room) and evidence for a courtyard or garden, as well as a series of outbuildings, external to the main courtyard and house.

The excavation has provided archaeologists with an insight into the development and organisation of Romano-British villa estates. It is believed that the site began during the Late Iron Age or Early Roman period as a sub-oval enclosure, which contained a roundhouse. This then developed during the 1st to 2nd centuries AD when fields, paddocks and trackways were laid out over part of the site, replacing the earlier enclosure.

Between the 2nd and late 3rd/early 4th centuries AD the site was then occupied by a timber structure, along with a rectangular stone-built building. This seems to have been a barn, providing evidence of industrial or agricultural processing. The settlement was completely remodelled in the later Roman period when a substantial residence, a walled courtyard and a range of ancillary buildings were built over the remains of the earlier buildings.

More: Discovery of a rare bronze hanging lamp »

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Council confirms four-week closure of Gipsy Patch Lane THIS JUNE

Posted on Monday 18th February 2019 at 4:25 pm by SH (Editor)

Photo of Gipsy Patch Lane railway bridge (looking westwards) with superimposed image of a 'Road Closed' sign.

South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) has today confirmed rumours that Gipsy Patch Lane will be closed to all traffic at the railway bridge for a period of four weeks this June (2019).

The news comes less than three months after council officers assured a packed public meeting that the most disruptive roadworks associated with the upcoming Cribbs Patchway MetroBus Extension (CPME) scheme would not commence until 2020.

The June 2019 road closure is said to be necessary for BT to carry out preparatory work to divert underground utilities.

The main CPME construction programme, which is yet to be finalised, is anticipated to include an approximate eight-month closure of Gipsy Patch Lane from early 2020 to enable the replacement of the railway bridge.

A council spokesperson said:

“Gipsy Patch Lane will be closed to all highway users, including pedestrians and cyclists, at the railway bridge for approximately four weeks from Monday 3rd June. A signed diversion route will be in place during this time. Access to properties and side roads along Gipsy Patch Lane will be maintained and no disruption to the supply of utilities is expected. Dates of the full closure will be clearly signposted to give adequate notice.”

“Undertaking the utility diversion work at this early stage reduces the overall level of disruption to Gipsy Patch Lane and will help us to ensure that the later construction work keeps to programme.”

The spokesperson added that BT is expected to commence work on Monday 25th February, but the initial phase of work is not expected to cause any disruption to road users or to the supply of BT services, although some foot/cycle paths may be affected.

Further details of the June 2019 road closure and the latest news on the overall CPME project will be published in the March issues of the Stoke Gifford Journal and Bradley Stoke Journal magazines.

More information and related related links:


UPDATE (18th March 2019)

The Journal has created a new information page for the CPME construction phase:

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Have you received a ‘fine’ for driving through Bristol Parkway?

Posted on Saturday 16th February 2019 at 7:27 pm by SH (Editor)

Composite image showing a photo of a 'No through road' sign superimposed on a photo of Bristol Parkway Station.

Are you sure it’s not just a parking charge notice (PCN) that may have been issued in error?

Motorists who have recently received ‘fines’ in the post for what they have assumed is an ‘offence’ of using Bristol Parkway Station as a through road or ‘cut through’ are urged to double-check their notification letter to see if they have instead been wrongly accused of a parking violation.

The station can be accessed from both the west side (off Hatchet Road) and the east side (Hunts Ground Road) but is clearly signed as a ‘private road’ that is also a ‘no through road’. However, station management company Great Western Railway (formerly First Great Western) confirmed to a member of the public back in 2015 that the rule was not currently being enforced (see below). Furthermore, numerous people have reported driving through on a regular basis over many years, right up to the present time, without any issues.

However, reports on social media suggest that early January saw a flood of letters sent to people who regularly drive through the station without stopping (or who only stop for a moment to drop off or pick up a passenger) notifying them of a £50 ‘fine’.

Analysis of these reports by the Journal reveals that most of the ‘fines’ relate to the period 6th to 9th December 2018 and that they have been received by people who make regular ‘through and back again’ journeys through the station, for example to take a child to school in the morning and to collect the child in the afternoon.

The clearest sign that they are, in fact, not a ‘fine’ for violating the ‘no through road’ condition can be seen in the title of the letter: ‘Parking Charge Notice’ (PCN). However, anyone overlooking this might easily be misled by the fact that the letter, instead of stating both the entry and exit times for the alleged parking offence gives just a single event time. Furthermore, the letter includes two photographs of the offending vehicle entering and leaving the car park, but does not state the locations at which the photos were recorded. Because the backgrounds of the photos inevitably look different (as there as separate cameras pointing in opposite directions at each end of the car park), the reader can easily assume that they were recorded at different ends of the car park, thereby reinforcing the assumption of a ‘drive through’ violation.

More: Check the details of your PCN online »

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Afterschool club rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted

Posted on Thursday 14th February 2019 at 9:37 pm by Laura Mortimore

Photo of staff and children at Play House Afterschool & Holiday Club celebrating their recent 'outstanding' Ofsted grading.

A Stoke Gifford afterschool and holiday care provider is celebrating after being awarded the highest possible grade of ‘outstanding’ following a recent Ofsted inspection.

The Play House, located next to St Michael’s Primary School on Ratcliffe Drive, impressed the Ofsted inspector during its first inspection since the facility opened in September 2016. It received the ‘outstanding’ grading in all three of the areas that were judged, with the report describing the Play House as a “highly stimulating and very well organised environment”.

The report praised the centre’s leadership, stating: “Experienced and well-qualified leaders have exceptional knowledge of the early years foundation stage requirements and are excellent role models to well-motivated staff. Highly focused professional development and incisive evaluation of the provision successfully drives improvement.”

Key findings of the report also included praise for the exemplary support for children’s well-being, excellent partnerships with the school to ensure activities compliment the delivery of the early years foundation stage and an incredible vigilance of children’s safety.

The report also complimented the centre on its quality of teaching, as well as the excellent behaviour of the children, stating: “[The] Staff’s positive interactions support children’s communication and language skills very well. There are regular opportunities for children to converse and staff are excellent at questioning children to consolidate their understanding. Staff interact exceptionally well, encouraging children to gain confidence in number and early calculation. Children test their ideas very well and solve emerging problems.”

“Children develop strong attachments to very approachable and friendly staff who show genuine interest in their well-being. This helps to build children’s self-esteem exceptionally well. Children understand routines that keep them safe and healthy extremely well.”

More: Manager "delighted" to have achieved ‘outstanding’ so soon »

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