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filtonvoice February 2021 Issue 112

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Councillors back precept increase of just 0.5%

Roaring success!

- Page 3

Filton's George makes his mark for Bristol Bears

Minute's silence after death of town councillor - Page 3

- Pages 8&9

Rejected! Full story on Pages 5-7

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Contacts Richard Coulter Editor and publisher

0777 555 0607 | richard@filtonvoice.co.uk

Ruth Drury Advertising sales

You can find Filtonvoice on Facebook www.facebook. com/filtonvoice and on Twitter @filtonvoice

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newlandconstruction70@outlook.com COMPLAINTS If you have a complaint about anything in the Filtonvoice, contact the Editor using the details below. We take complaints seriously and aspire to follow the Code of Conduct of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), which holds journalists to a high standard of behaviour. Further details of the complaints process can be found on the Voice website www.localvoicenetwork.co.uk, or can be obtained by contacting the publisher, above. EDITOR’S NOTE: Filtonvoice is independent. We cannot take responsibility for content or accuracy of adverts, and it is advertisers’ responsibility to conform to all relevant legislation. We cannot vouch for any services offered although we have used some of the services. Opinions are not necessarily those of the editor. Filtonvoice is distributed each month to all Filton residents. If for some reason you do not get a copy, please get in touch or collect one from Filton Library. Feedback is welcomed, call editor Richard Coulter on 0777 555 0607 or richard@filtonvoice.co.uk.

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Filton Town Council roundup

Filton precept increase slashed to just £3.01 One year on from Filton Town Council's dramatic 35% increase in the parish precept (the element of council tax which pays for town council activity), councillors have voted for a 0.5% overall increase. Due to national methods of calculation and adjustment, this equates to an 0.95% increase for Band D properties who will now pay £318.20 per year, up £3.01 from last year. Councillors voted by 6-2 for the increase. A counter proposal by Cllr Chris Wood for a 0.45% DECREASE was rejected by councillors, Cllrs Ian Scott, Mubashar Chaudhry, Darryl Collins, Adam Monk, Brian Mead and Anne Kenyon voted for the 0.5% overall increase. Cllrs Chris Wood and Andy Robinson backed the 0.45% decrease.

Cllr Wood said that since both proposals would help the council reach its target of at least £240,000 in reserves, he backed the decrease. Cllr Robinson said councillors should be aware of the hardships people are facing. Cllr Mead said: "Two years of freezing the precept was when we got in trouble. (If we freeze it),

next year we could be looking at big increase." Last year Filton has one of the largest council tax precepts in the country after residents were landed with a massive 35 per cent hike, a rise of more than £80 per year to £315. The biggest element of Filton's precept went towards

propping up the leisure centre and pool. The financial picture for this year has been less certain due to closures related to Covid. Councillors are currently undertaking a process which could see the leisure centre operation outsourced to a private contractor.

Filton town councillors held a minute's silence after the death of Cllr John Tucker. John, 73, leaves his wife of 54 years, Christine, their two sons and five granddaughters. He suffered a stroke and was taken to Southmead Hospital where he later died. John had a career at Airbus, working across the firm in several areas: guided missiles, satellites, wind tunnels, and his favourite, dynamics. He was skilled with his hands and in his free time liked to repair watches and jewellery. John retired at 60 and later joined Filton Town Council. Christine said: “John just wanted to try to improve things and enjoyed the challenge of trying to get things done. He was a big man who wasn’t afraid to say what was true.”

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HMOs in Filton

Councillors throw out plans for eight-bed HMO by Rich Coulter and BBC LDRS reporters for Filtonvoice Councillors have blocked plans to create a shared home for eight people in Filton, saying there are too many HMOs in the town already. The plans would have seen a semi-detached bungalow at 64 Northville Road converted into a house of multiple occupation (HMO) with eight bedrooms and shared common areas. The property has had scaffolding surrounding it for several weeks now. But members of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning committee said Filton was suffering from a “pandemic” of HMOs already, creating problems with litter, parking, traffic and scruffy gardens. Last month, Filtonvoice revealed that Filton has more than 170 'large' HMOs - five bedrooms or more - representing 41% of all the large HMOs in

64 Northville Road South Gloucestershire, including one of 11 bedroooms

Councillors heard warnings of “rat infested, overgrown” gardens and pedestrian “casualties” before voting to reject the application last week. Northville Road is a popular cut-through road for drivers travelling between Filton Road and Gloucester Road and for those visiting Millenium Green park. The proposal from Andrews Capital Ltd included a single floor extension to the rear of an existing three-bedroom home on a bend in Northville Road close to the park entrance. The applicant’s agent said there was “ample” onstreet parking for the four spaces required for an eightbedroom HMO under South Gloucestershire Council planning policy. Adding a fifth HMO to the 150 houses on Northville Road was not an “overconcentration”, he added.

But residents and local councillors strongly disputed the claims, saying Northville Road was already dangerous because of the lack of parking available and that another HMO would only make the situation worse. One of the 47 residents who wrote letters of objection said the rising number of HMOs in the area meant Northfield Road was treated as an “overflow car park” by neighbouring roads. Darren Stainer said: “Most vehicles are parked on pavements as this is the only place to park without causing a major obstruction to the highway, presenting a hazard to pedestrians. “Often there isn’t enough room for prams, buggies or wheelchairs to pass, forcing vulnerable people onto the busy road. “In addition, parked cars Turn to Page 6

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February, 2021

HMOs in Filton

'A pandemic of Covid and a pandemic of HMOs' From Page 5 block the view of the road for crossing pedestrians, and, with no pedestrian crossing on Northville Road, this presents a risk of injury or casualties.” Filton ‘snowed under with HMOs’ Mr Stainer’s claims were backed by Filton councillor Adam Monk who noted that two more applications to create HMOs in Northville Road have also been lodged with the council. A third of South Gloucestershire’s licensed HMOs are in Filton, the meeting heard. Some 179 – or four per cent – of the homes in Filton are licensed HMOs with at least five bedrooms, and there is an unknown number of unlicensed HMOs for fewer people. Filton Town Council chair Darryl Collins said landlords could make up to around £2,500

a month from an HMO, which is exempt from council tax if occupied entirely by students. “We are snowed under with HMOs,” he said.

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“There are too many of them, simply too many.” Mr Collins said the main difficulties with HMOs were parking, mess and litter, and untidy hedges and gardens. But planning officers who recommended the application for approval said the proposed HMO would not harm the neighbourhood. Two parking surveys carried out by the applicant in October showed there were around 50 parking spaces available on Northville Road, an officer said. ‘It’s terrible and we should be resisting this’ – councillor But committee members said they did not trust the survey findings because they were carried out in the middle of a pandemic. They refused the application, saying it would add to the “proliferation” of HMOs in the area with their attendant harms for the neighbourhood and road safety.

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Cllr Ernie Brown said: “This will put extra cars on the road. The road cannot take it.” Cllr Sarah Pomfret said students and professional adults “don’t generally bother” with garden maintenance, which was her “other gripe” with HMOs. “So you end up with a ratinfested, overgrown heap of brambles if you’re not careful,” she said. “Obviously then the neighbours get infested with rats and everybody gets upset.” Cllr Brian Hopkinson said: “We’ve got a pandemic of Covid and we’ve also got a pandemic of HMOs. “If you look around Filton, you’ll find that there’s quite a lot of areas where the place looks trashed. It really looks bad: stuff falling out of dustbins. “It’s terrible and we should be resisting this. “I feel really sad about what’s happening up there to Filton.”

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HMOs in Filton

'It's time to block all HMO applications in Filton' by Rich Coulter and Shane Gibson A Filton town councillor says all future applications for HMOs in the town should be rejected as the concentration is already too high. Cllr Chris Wood told the town council meeting that with more than 40% of South Glos's large HMOs, as revealed in last month's Filtonvoice, enough was enough. He cited South Glos's Residential Parking Standards document which says: "Such developments (flats conversions and HMOs) can, if inappropriately located and/or by becoming concentrated in a locality, increase local on-street parking problems." Councillors were discussing a new application for an eightbed HMO at 99 Northville Road, close to 64 which had

its planning application for an 8-bed HMO thrown out (see previsous pages) Cllr Adam Monk said that this property has previously had multiple rejections to their application. Cllr Wood said he has written to South Glos with the same objections for which the town council rejected the application at 64 Northville Road. He said: "All applications for HMOs in Filton should now be rejected based on (Filton having)

7

Letter 99 Northville Road

40% of those in South Glos. Council chair Darryl Collins said that he would like to see the council reject the application. Town clerk Lesley Reuben said that ‘prejudice against neighbouring properties’ could also be added to the rejection. Councillors agreed to formalise their objections and write to South Glos. As Filtonvoice went to press, another application was published, this time for a sevenbed HMO at 25 Northville Road.

Halt destruction of our street

Thankyou Filtonvoice for your article 'HMOut of Control' which graphically supports South Glos Council's acknowledgement that the Northville area has above average numbers of HMOs. Northville Road has a number of semi-detached bungalows and houses which have become prime targets for HMO conversions/ What has distressed the residents of Northville Road is not the change of use of a property to an HMO but the sheer scale of the work being undertaken. SGC needs to think more about the impact of their planning decisions on Northville Road and its residents. Halt the destruction of Northville Road, its community and the financial future of its elderly residents who have the right to a good quality of life. R Kathleen Barrett (Kitty) Northville Road

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Scrum achievement! Filton's George making his mark with Bears by Rich Coulter It was the best possible start to 2021 for Filton rugby star George Kloska - a try and a man-of-the patch performance in his first full game for Bristol Bears in rugby's elite Premiership when they faced Newcastle on New Year's Day. The 21-year-old, who grew up in Dunkeld Ave and attended St Teresa's Primary and St Bede's Secondary, has enjoyed a steady rise to success since his early days as a junior at the St Brendan's club. After being spotted as a teenager at St Brendan's, George was put on the Bristol Bears Academy programme and also had a spell with the highly regarded SGS College squad in Filton. He has now played several matches for the Bristol Bears

top team as a hooker but the 29-17 victory over Newcastle, with George scoring a vital try in the 58th minute, was his first full game for the Ashton Gate side, who currently top the Premiership. George told Filtonvoice: "Rugby all began for me at St Brendan's. My brother James played and my dad came from a family of rugby players. "At first I wasn't so much into rugby and played a lot of basketball instead, but in Year 9 I got back into it and went through the age groups at St Brendan's. "From there I was picked to be part of the Academy process at Bristol and three years ago I settled into my current position as hooker." (Editor's note: the hooker in rugby is a member of the

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forward pack and has a vital role in securing possession for his team at the scrum as well as usually being responsible for throwing in the ball at lineouts) George said his time at SGS College prepared him well for the mindset needed in professional rugby. He said: "At SGS College it seemed more serious and I went on to play at a very good level for the Dings National League 2 team as well as college and Academy games. "My debut for Bristol was, oddly enough, against Newcastle last May when I came off the bench as a substitute. "As a fan when I was younger, it has been amazing to play for the first team and the only thing that was missing was a big crowd which we all hope will return soon once the pandemic is over. "I do often think how lucky I am that this is my 'job'. I also want to take the chance to thank my brother James, as well as my mum Clarissa and dad Gerald who took me to games and who have supported me all the way through."

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February, 2021

News

Filton barber recognised by leading hair care brand A Filton barber has been nominated for an achievement award by the founder of a global hair care company. Multi-industry businessman and brand owner Scott Michaels hand picked Mario Parrinello (pictured), owner of The Filton Barbers, to win a lifetime achievement award on behalf of the global hair styling brand Hairbond United Kingdom. Mr Michaels said: “At Hairbond we always look to merge our brand with the best practiced and most hard working people in the barbering industry so I would like to personally congratulate and honour Mario in the Bristol area with a Hairbond Achievement Award. "He has demonstrated, on new levels to us, how he can effectively challenge the public to

feel and apply themselves better, with the aid of high performance hair styling products.” Mario said: “The award is much appreciated, thank you. "Over a quarter of a million people are supposed to now be working in barbering, hairdressing and beauty in the UK and barber shops are the fastest growing shops on the British high street, so I'm really pleased that my hard work at The Filton Barbers has been recognised by one of the leading international brand owners. "The shop is now closed due to the current restrictions, but when we are back up and running, I will continue to offer my local clients a free Hairbond hairstyling consultation whenever they come in to see me for a haircut.”

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www.filtonvoice.co.uk filtonvoice How driving into Bristol could cost drivers £9 February, 2021

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The mayor of Bristol has outlined how some residents, businesses and hospital staff and visitors could be exempt from Clean Air Zone (CAZ) fees. Marvin Rees, who last month announced that drivers of older, polluting vehicles were set to be charged to enter a small area of the city centre, says “full mitigations” will be put in place to ensure fairness. He said these needed to be

agreed with the Government but that they could include a system where motorists going to the Bristol Royal Infirmary typed in their car registration to avoid having to pay £9. Mr Rees said: “With any CAZ you bring in a series of mitigations. If you look at examples from other cities, these are the kind of mitigations we would be looking at.” Mr Rees wanted to avoid

charging drivers to enter a CAZ and hoped changes introducing more pedestrianisation, cycle lanes and bus priority routes introduced during the pandemic would be sufficient. But the Government has ordered the council to find the quickest way to get Bristol’s air pollution to within legal limits. The council will work on the plan with Whitehall’s Joint Air Quality Unit over the summer

before a business case, including the exemptions, will come back to cabinet in the autumn. A CAZ must be in place by October 29. Non-compliant private cars, taxis, vans and minibuses will be charged £9 a day, while lorries, buses and coaches will have to pay £100. Diesel vehicles not conforming to Euro 6 emission standards and petrol vehicles not conforming to Euro 4 emission standards will face the fees.

VACANCY FOR A COUNCILLOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – SECTION 87(2) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a casual vacancy has occurred in the office of Councillor for the Northville Ward, Filton.

incorporating

An election will be held to fill the vacancy if notice of a request for such an election is given to the Returning Officer, South Gloucestershire Council, PO Box 1953, The Council Offices, Badminton Road, Bristol BS37 0DE by ten Local Government electors for the said electoral area no later than 5pm on Friday 15th February 2021

Make

Statement

If no request for an election is given, the Parish Council will fill the vacancy by co-option. DATED this

Go

1st day of February 2021

Signed Clerk to: Filton Town Council Address: Elm Park, Filton, BS34 7PS

VACANCY FOR A COUNCILLOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 – SECTION 87(2) NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a casual vacancy has occurred in the office of Councillor for the Conygre Ward, Filton. An election will be held to fill the vacancy if notice of a request for such an election is given to the Returning Officer, South Gloucestershire Council, PO Box 1953, The Council Offices, Badminton Road, Bristol BS37 0DE by ten Local Government electors for the said electoral area no later than 5pm on Friday 15th February 2021 If no request for an election is given, the Parish Council will fill the vacancy by co-option. DATED this 1st day of February 2021

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February, 2021

Funeral director going the extra mile for families and friends

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Bristol funeral directors is going the extra mile to enable people to pay their respects while there are restrictions on attending funeral services due to Covid-19. Routes to cemeteries and crematoriums are being planned by MW Funeral Directors of Westbury-on-Trym, Bristol, so that those prevented from attending a service or self-isolating can pay their respects. Hearses are able to stop at significant points where family members live, social clubs or sports grounds with mourners able to socially distance while paying their respects, and often applauding. MW Funeral Directors cover the whole of Bristol, South Gloucestershire and further afield, planning and directing burials and cremations to the individual requirements of families. Ella Abbott, funeral director, said: “It seems certain that sadly the restriction of a maximum of 30 people at a funeral is going to be with us well into 2021.

"We have always arranged funerals in a truly bespoke way, to

allow for personalisation and to meet the needs of the family and friends of the person who has died. “It is proving very difficult for some families to decide who should come to the service and how it will be organised and we have been working with them to find ways to ensure that the whole funeral and service honours the person who has passed away. “One solution is webcasting of the service, which is now very common, but even that can feel lonely and remote to someone who was very close to an individual. “One solution we have found is to put some more time into the journey to the service and work with families so that there is a timed route, often with pauses and stopping places where people can stand at the roadside or in a special place – such as a sports club – and pay their respects. “It is proving very comforting for families and makes more of an event before then they go to their laptop or computer to watch the service.”

MW Funeral Directors say it is important to work alongside families and friends of the deceased to put together a memorial that will live on in the hearts of guests for many years and this should not be curbed by the current restrictions. The team have organised funerals themed for special interest groups, such as bikers, environmentalists or animal lovers and for those of all faiths and of none. Said Ella Abbott: “There is a lot of flexibility around funerals. "Sometimes the cost can be an issue for a family so we keep our basic packages for a funeral early in the day when crematorium fees are low at £1,995 and there are even options for unattended funerals. “But in these difficult days it seems to be more important than ever for families to mark the event in a memorable way and we work with them to ensure that happens despite all the restrictions we all now face.”

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Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Chair of Council Report Cllr Darryl Collins

Filton Folk To say the least we have all had a difficult year, what with the Covid virus and our Sports & Recreation Centre closures, with little sign of an end in sight. All that said, while not being able to gather at a traditional council meetings, we are now meeting virtually so we are again able to make progress, perhaps more slowly, on our plans for a refurbished Recreation Centre and an outdoor Multi-Use Games Area. Consultation on these plans has proved difficult but through our notice boards, local media, and some virtual ‘Zoom’ meetings we have been able to gain a consensus to keep going. A big thank you must go to our many volunteers who have done so much to keep Filton a great place to live, like the Community Garden Committee who have kept the garden looking marvellous and a credit to our community during the past year, and still managed to gain a further national award. Also, we have the Northville Community Garden (Jennings Garden), the Friends of Millennium Green and the Filton Roundabout planted with 2,000 daffodil bulbs which will bloom in the spring. And lastly, FACE who have done so much to keep in contact with our more housebound and isolated residents. A massive shout out must go to all our staff who have managed to keep our resources ticking over during this closed then open then closed again period, and our maintenance team who have also kept our outdoor and public spaces safe and looking good. I commend this report and hope things start to get better while we all fight this Covid virus as best we can. To the future, Darryl

Chair of Finance Report Cllr Mubashar Chaudhry

We made some tough decisions this year to save our much-loved swimming pool. I admire that the Filton community came forward and supported our decision to increase the council tax and allowed us a chance to save our pool. I also admire FTC staff who worked hard reducing expenses to bring our reserves in line as recommended by the auditors. Unfortunately, we were hit by Covid-19 but surely we are up for some positive outcomes for Filton residents with new MUGA facilities, and a reshaped swimming pool and other leisure facilities. Filton is a desired place to live, hosting international levels of attractions and businesses. This success also brings some challenges which I am sure we can resolve together to make it a welcoming place for everyone.


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Town Clerk & RFO Report Lesley Reuben CiLCA, PSLCC

This year has been very different to that which anyone could have predicted and, as the situation evolves, we continue to learn, adapt and improve the way we work together, keeping our teams upbeat with the hope that tomorrow will be a brighter day. This year’s goal was to keep expenditure to a minimum, keeping precept down but whilst being able to provide a service and increasing reserves to an acceptable level. Resilience and perseverance!!! Sometimes easier said than done and this has been an extra tricky year, but we have hung in there! I am very proud of all of our teams and thank them tremendously for their efforts. The grounds and maintenance team have worked throughout the pandemic, keeping everything up together outside and managing to utilise the time when the centre was closed to do a remarkable job of catching up on all the maintenance, repainting changing and reception areas, as well as maintaining the pool plant equipment. Our office team have had to adapt to working from home where possible which has brought its own challenges, not only work-wise but juggling home schooling, which takes multi-tasking to another level. The Leisure Centre and Bar teams have been furloughed for a large portion of the year and have experienced the frustration of working hard to reopen not only Covid securely but cost effectively, only to close and then re-open again and then…yes close again, with amazing resilience and patience whilst we wait for this virus to be under control. One of the biggest changes this year has been the way we meet as a council. Legislation was passed to enable us to allow us meet virtually. Meetings are held via the ‘Zoom’ platform and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to join us and have their say or just follow with interest. The meeting login details are advertised on our website and our local notice boards, but if you are unable to access these then you are welcome to contact the Town Council Office for the information. PRECEPT – (Council Tax) I can confirm that Filton Town Council has set its precept with a 0.5% increase. This equates to a £3.01 per year increase for a Band D property. MULTI USE GAMES AREA (MUGA) – Following on from the public consultation we are pleased to announce that Filton Town Council has resolved to progress this project. We have secured funding so please be reassured that there is no extra strain on the Filton precept. LEISURE TRUST – The council has been exploring options for the future management of the Leisure Centre. This has created a lot of interest with potential operators and we will soon receive recommendations that will enable us to be ready to approach public consultation and the council will be able to make decisions on the way forward. There has been a slight delay with

Continued on Page 8


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Leisure Centre Report Sadly 2020 has been a difficult year for us all with Covid-19 restrictions being in place for most of the year. We have not had the ability to reach any financial targets set out in the budget due to these restrictions. However the time closed enabled the maintenance team on site to spend a long time cleaning, renovating and upgrading the reception and changing areas which was much appreciated. When we have been open we have had the opportunity to maximise pool usage and provide fitness through lane swimming. We have managed to offer Covid safe swimming lessons and baby classes, and family swims, and we have had our swimming clubs on site as much as possible. To do this the leisure team have introduced hourly cleaning and sanitising to ensure the site is safe for all users and have adapted to the changes really well and I am grateful to them. We are in the process now of the consultation which could lead to the centre changing hands and being run by a leisure trust. This will hopefully bring in fresh new ideas, some changes and renovations to the centre and new offerings especially around fitness. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us over the past few years, and we look forward to seeing everyone soon. Scott Fessey, Leisure Centre Manager

Ratepayers Arms Report The Ratepayers Arms is our fully licensed bar and lounge area, large function hall and skittle alley, situated at the rear of Filton Sports and Leisure centre. In normal circumstances we would be open daily from 12.00-11pm. We take great pride in running various types of entertainment for our loyal customers, such as quiz nights every third Sunday of the month, bingo every Monday from 8pm, and regular music nights. We have a good little team of staff who work very well to make customers welcome. I would like to take this opportunity to offer my personal thanks to them for all their hard work, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic when they worked to government guidelines to keep our customers safe. Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of activities and functions that help to bring in the profits, and the Ratepayers having to run on reduced hours and now due to government guidelines we are closed completely, financially it has not been a very good year at all. As a manager I do fear that the Ratepayers will not re-open as we know it as it just is not profitable during the current situation which makes me very sad. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all our customers for their loyalty over the years. I would also like to thank all the Filton Town Council office staff for all their continued support. Debbie Holman, Bar Manager


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Grounds and Maintenance Report As you all know it has been a very difficult year for everyone and my thoughts go out to anybody affected by Coronavirus. In terms of Grounds and Maintenance, as I say, it has been certainly tougher than usual. Our aim as always in Grounds and Maintenance is to provide value for money for the Filton residents whilst also providing a service for them. Our policy, which is certainly challenging at times, is always reactive maintenance as opposed to planned maintenance, and repair rather than replace. This is obviously not ideal but it fits around the financial restraints that are set on us. As I said Covid has been hard but the shutdown has given us a chance to carry out maintenance jobs to the pool and surrounding area. Many of these jobs would have been difficult whilst it was open. Myself and my team have worked through the lockdown which has been rewarding as we have had a chance to maintain the grounds, allotments and Millennium Green as these areas have proved so popular for the public and their support for us does not go un-noticed. Our relationship with the public is very important for us and my door is always open for any questions from them, both good and bad. I also want to say thank you to The Community Garden team who continue to make that particular area of Filton a better place for all of us. I have provided some figures regarding our jobs and the breakdown of where we deploy our labour. 2019 (jobs 434) Leisure Centre Maintenance Ratepayers Office Grounds

47% 23% 5% 6% 19%

2020 (jobs 614) Leisure Centre Maintenance Ratepayers Office Grounds

207 96 25 30 76

241 174 30 44 125

40% 28% 5% 7% 20%

Jobs on time Jobs over time

387 47

89% 11%

Jobs on time Jobs over time

580 34

94% 6%

Jobs kept in-house Sub-contractors

392 42

90% 10%

Jobs kept in-house Sub-contractors

577 37

93% 7%

The figures show an increase of 180 jobs (29%) from 2019 to 2020. They also show a 3% rise in jobs kept in-house which for us is always important and a 3% rise in jobs kept on time. Regarding the future, we on the grounds staff want to continue the work and relationships we have with the sports teams who use the field, the Community Garden group, allotment holders and the general public. We have various ideas for the site including a toilet for the field area to benefit playpark users. I am in discussions with Run Bristol who are keen to bring a weekly 5K run every Sunday to the site. I am also very keen for the public’s suggestions for any improvements we can make. I want to thank my team for their hard work this year and also the Town Clerk and her team for their support along with the councillors . Many thanks, stay safe. Neil Palmer, Grounds and Maintenance


filtonvoice July 2020 Issue 105

... includ

Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

www.filtonvoice.co.uk Happening in Filton - FACE charity

In March 2020 Covid-19 hit the UK and brought about the first complete lockdown of all social activities; however the work of FACE did not stop, and has not stopped throughout the pandemic. The week before lockdown FACE joined together with the Filton Town Council, One You, South Glos Council officers, St Peter's Church, a school academy governor, Filton Voice, and South Glos & Town Councillor Adam Monk to discuss an action plan to support the community during the pandemic. Little did we know at that time quite how long things would be so different for us all! A Lottery grant was redirected to pay for staff support time and the Shielding helpline was launched and a volunteer network created, encouraging over 100 Filton people helping with shopping, prescription collections, dog walking, washing, posting letters, etc. for those who could not leave their homes. This was followed by the distribution of food parcels and then the daily community store, to support those who did not want to go to supermarkets. Generous community support and food donations from ASDA and Tesco (under the ‘Fareshare’ scheme to avoid food wastage) also add to the steady supply of affordable / free food available to the community. Throughout the pandemic, FACE has followed Government and Public Health England guidance with the support of CVS and a national network of Covid support groups, to create risk assessments and policies to ensure the general work of FACE but also the volunteer work has been able to continue safely throughout the pandemic. No Covid-19 cases have been linked to FACE’s work throughout the year meaning we are confident in best practice to keep Filton residents and our staff and volunteers as safe as we can. April - September 2020: When lockdown prevented youth clubs from opening, FACE’s children’s and youth work moved to over the phone support, posted activity packs, online Zoom activities, and setting up scavenger hunts and quizzes which children could enjoy with their families in the Filton Community Garden. FACE received funding from Quartet Foundation to create 200 Wellbeing boxes for isolated people. October-December: The support and activities continued with the Filton Wonderful Windows arts trail in October organised by a voluntary group and supported by FACE obtaining a MAF grant to run arts workshops, packed lunches during half term week funded by ASDA & Hobbs House, led and supported by Filton Voice, 50 Christmas food hampers were put together with thanks to Tesco Express donations and Shield Road School families and these were delivered by volunteers to isolated people. Through December FACE organised the Great Filton Elf Hunt to help families get out and about for some fun. FACE has been able to obtain other funding to support and maintain the charity, and also to be able to provide a much wider offer to Filton residents during the pandemic. Now as we start 2021, FACE is once again looking at how the charity can support the ongoing community efforts during and after the pandemic, and is pulling together another “action plan” group meeting to look ahead.

The story of Filton's Covid-19 volunteer effort - Pages 14 and 15

Special report - the residents who say gym noise is making life unbearable - Pages 7-9

Pre-s

Covid-19 d Academy T at Charbor Septembe The ori Glos Coun accommod which has Road for m At the t that a well and had u building to Plans t been delay Full story n

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Concerns to be subm provide 50 The Squar Drawin a mix of sh shell of an South G said: "Whe Village the Turn to Pa

New attempt t gates and end - Pages 12-13

Key ‘data’ that may be interesting, from our local Filton covid response recorded here at FACE: • 139 named individuals have been supported through the helpline, plus 37 people who have contacted for signposting but have not given their details. This equates to 638 occasions when a call or support has been logged. • 28 named individuals have had support on more than 7 occasions, 18 individuals have had support on more than 15 occasions. Some of these are continuing to have weekly support with shopping and welfare checks. Some people have been referred on to South Glos Council for ongoing adult and social care support. • There have been *at least* 974 visits to the community store. Some people just get food donations from the table outside without seeing us, so this reflects only the people we have seen or those who have rung the doorbell to come inside to cupboards (since October we have closed the doors due to the weather, but the store remains open). Of these community store visits of people whom we have no name for, many of those during the nicer months were regular weekly visitors whom I have come to recognise although their names are not known / recorded. Some are elderly / shielding people, whilst others are local families. The community response seems to have lessened and many volunteers have withdrawn from helping, however if we do have requests, they are normally responded to and allocated within just a few hours! Debbie Teml, Charity Director


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Meet your Councillors

Keith Briffett

Keith.briffett@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Brian Mead

Brian.mead@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Mubashar Chaudhry Darryl Collins Mubashar.chaudhry@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Darryll.collins@

Tom Mewies

Adam Monk

Tom.mewies@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Alex Doyle

Alex.doyle@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Anne Kenyon

Anne.kenyon@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Cllr John Tucker passed away in January, 2021

Adam.monk@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

We thank him for his service to Filton Town Council

Meeting attendance

Andy Robinson Andy.robinson@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Ian Scott

Ian.scott@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Chris Wood

Chris.wood@ filtontowncouncil. gov.uk

Cllr Keith Briffett Cllr Mubashar Chaudhry Cllr Darryl Collins Cllr Alexander Doyle Cllr Anne Kenyon Cllr Brian Mead Cllr Adam Monk Cllr Ian Scott Cllr John Tucker Cllr Tom Mewies Cllr Ailsa Johnstone (resigned Jan 21) Cllr Andy Robinson Cllr Chris Wood

Finance 6 7 8 6 6 6 7 7 5 8 5 8 7

Full Council 6 8 8 8 7 6 4 6 5 8 7 7 7

Happening in Filton - Beat Team These last 12 months have been like no other! PC Sean White left the beat in April and PC Rick Woodland joined us from the Lockleaze beat team. Rick has been working in Filton for the last 8 months and has settled in well. With spending a lot of the last year in lockdown we saw crime during the first lockdown drop off and we were able to increase our visibility and help in the local community where possible. During the year we have since seen crime increase to normal levels since restrictions were relaxed. During the next two lockdowns crime levels remained the same, however we had an increase in COVID related reported issues. We have had a positive year in clearing all of our outstanding fail to appear warrants. We have seen spikes in two main crime trends which are non-dwelling burglaries and theft from motor vehicle which have both been a force wide issue. We have put extensive research and plans into Filton to combat this, which has had positive results. We have liaised with the editor of Filton Voice to be able to communicate more effectively with the community on social media platforms. We want to thank members of the public for acting as our eyes and ears in the local community and helping us to reduce crime. We also recognise that this year has been challenging and appreciate the resilience shown by the community in adhering to government guidelines in regards to COVID. We hope for a more positive year in 2021 and please do not hesitate to contact us.


Filton Town Council Annual Report 2020-21

Meeting dates 2021 January 5th 12th 26th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

June 2nd 8th

29th

February

July

23rd

27th

2nd 9th

March 2nd 9th

30th

April 6th 13th 27th

May 4th 11th 25th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

6th 13th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

August

There are no meetings held in August

September 7th 14th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance and General Purposes Full Council

28th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council Full Council Annual Meeting/Parish Assembly

26th

November 2nd 9th

30th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

December

(No Committees unless specifically called) 7th Full Council All meetings are currently held online via the Zoom platform Please see www.filtontowncouncil.gov.uk for join details. (Staffing committee is not open to the public)

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

October 5th 12th

Staffing Committee Full Council Finance & General Purposes Full Council

Town Clerk's Report continued from Page 3 the timeline due to Covid restrictions, however we don’t anticipate this being a problem. FILTON FESTIVAL – We had big plans this year with it being the 20th Anniversary of Filton Festival but for obvious reasons this had to be postponed and we hope to re-arrange as soon as we are able to do so. FINANCES – As I mentioned above our main aim this year was to keep a very tight rein on expenditure and only spend where absolutely necessary. At times this has been frustrating for our workforce but we are very pleased to be able to submit a much healthier budget and although reserves have increased we are and always will be working on improving the financial situation. COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY (CIL) – This is a charge that is set on new developments in order to raise funds to help fund infrastructure, facilities and services. As a Town Council we are entitled to received 15% of this and a total of £30,963.07 was received in 2019/20. A proportion of this has been spent on replacing fencing around Elm Park and the Community Garden, with the remainder being dedicated to the new multi-use games area. GRANTS – This year Filton Town Council has been able help fund youth provision at FACE who have submitted their own report. Small grants are available for local organisations. Please see our website for the application. Please note that we are unable to consider grant applications from individuals. I would like to thank the Council for their support as well as our residents, our customers and all of our employees for their continued support and appreciation, particularly over this last year, which has meant a lot during these unprecedented times. A massive thanks goes to all the managers and particularly my support team, Natasha Gould and Carla Westcott, for helping me through this year, which I know has been very difficult at times.


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n AVON & SOMERSET POLICE ON KNIFE CRIME

Knife crime: A new way forward

I THINK it’s fair to say that the past year has been full of ups and downs and has left many of us wondering where our ‘normal’ life went. 2020 challenged all of us in so many ways and this was especially true for us in the police, as we adapted quickly to new legislation to help manage the Coronavirus pandemic, alongside our normal day to day duties to keep our communities safe. Whist the pandemic did mean some types of crime such as burglary and road traffic incidents reduced temporarily, other crime types, particularly those which affect the most vulnerable members of our community such as domestic abuse, did unfortunately increase. Despite the added pressure the pandemic has brought to our service, we haven’t taken our foot off the pedal when it comes to keeping our young people safe. Last year, we ran a successful project with a number of schools in Avon and Somerset which led to the creation of short, animated films exploring issues around knife crime. The films, produced by secondary school aged children in partnership with students at UWE Bristol, are all original and thought provoking, and explore a range of themes such as the role of social media, bullying, speaking out if you suspect someone is carrying a knife, and the cyclical, retaliatory nature of knife crime. The films can all be viewed

By Sergeant

Stephen Ives

at www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/ knifecrime and are a great starting point for conversations with young people about serious violence. Some of the young people involved in the above films also made a documentary, in partnership with a local film maker, which explores how agencies must work together and listen to young people if we are to break the cycle of violence and calls for sustained, long term investment in youth services. The film, called Knife crime: A new way forward, can also be viewed via the link above. No matter where they lived and went to school, the young people involved in this project told us time and time again that their main concerns were the lack of safe spaces for them to go and their need for trusted adults to speak to. It’s no secret that engaging young people in activities that interest them is a successful way to divert them away from crime and anti-social behaviour and we’re thrilled that our successful Crime Prevention Through Sport initiative has received the funds needed to continue

throughout 2021. We have partnered with Somerset Active Sports Partnership (SASP) and West of England Sports (Wesport) who will help us to manage and administer the fund, meaning we benefit from their expertise and can join up with partners to ensure the smooth delivery of sporting activities for young people which will help to divert them away from unfavourable behaviours and into more positive and beneficial activities. In Filton, local officers have worked with intelligence teams to identify young people at risk of becoming involved in knife or violent crime. We have visited young people at home, to talk to them and their families about how they can stay safe and to divert them to more positive activities. Work has also been done with a number of the young people’s families. Engagement and diversion work has also been undertaken in the Elm Park area of Filton, where officers have patrolled the skate park and other leisure areas used by young people. We have spoken to young people and where appropriate offered them a chance to take part in a scheme run by Bristol Rovers Community Trust, which provides free footballing activities as well as pathways into educational opportunities. As we move into 2021, we remain committed to working with our local communities to find opportunities to support young people and to help to keep them safe.


E: richard@filtonvoice.co.uk

February, 2021

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Update from Filton MP Jack Lopresti

GKN investment could be revolutionary for environment

I

’ve always been a champion for our local defence and aerospace industries. Since I was elected in 2010, I’ve led the fight for more investment, local jobs and growth and pushed for the Government to invest in our defence and aerospace capabilities here at home. That’s why in November last year I was absolutely delighted that the Government announced a £16.5 billion rise in the defence budget. This money helps to secure jobs at a time when the aerospace industry is being hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, with the effect of declining passenger numbers in commercial aviation rippling through supply chains. But I am also proud of the many other areas that the Government has invested in to support our local economy as well as the health of the nation. The commitment to net zero by 2050 means the UK is putting carbon reduction at the forefront

of investment. This is great for our area and Filton in particular. GKN Aerospace in Filton is heading up the H2GEAR project to develop a liquid hydrogenpropulsion system for aircraft. If successful, it will eliminate harmful CO2 emissions from aircraft, leaving water as the only by-product. This would be revolutionary and is backed by £27.2 million of public money. If successful, this will secure up to 3,120 jobs, not just in here but in Coventry and Loughborough.

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Investment and engineering, though, isn’t the only thing we should celebrate. After the darkness of 2020, we now have the hope that is brought by the vaccination programme and the South West is pressing ahead. The latest figures, released on 28th January, show that a remarkable 86% of over 80s across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. In total, 115,219 doses have been given out across BNSSG. This is an incredible achievement, and we should all be incredibly proud of our local NHS for achieving this feat. On top of this, a new coronavirus vaccine, developed by Novavax, is now heading to the MHRA for approval. If approved, we have 60 million doses on order, which will be manufactured in Teeside. The UK is proudly standing at the forefront of getting our citizens vaccinated.

January was undoubtedly a very difficult month. Nobody wanted to be back in lockdown, but we had to respond to the situation we faced, with new variants leading to the resurgence in the virus. We also saw the terrible milestone of over 100,000 lives lost. We will remember them and my thoughts and prayers are with all their families and loved ones. We must continue to do everything we can to control and ultimately defeat this virus. In South Gloucestershire in the seven days to 23rd January, cases were down 19.5%. We are moving in the right direction thanks to the efforts of everybody staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Let’s press on and look to better days ahead. If you need my assistance with any issue, please call the team on 01454 617783 or email jack.lopresti.mp@parliament. uk. The office is open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.

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February, 2021

News

Filton and Horfield residents facing 4.99 per cent rise in council tax bill by BBC LDRS staff for Filtonvoice Residents in South Gloucestershire face a 4.99 per cent council tax hike, it has been announced. The increase, comprising 1.99 per cent for general services, such as street lighting, libraries and repairing potholes, and three per cent to cover some of the growing costs of adult social care, was set be approved by cabinet members. This does not include precepts levied by the Avon & Somerset police and crime commissioner, Avon Fire Authority or Filton Town Coucnil (seer Page 3), although it does constitute by far the biggest chunk of the bills. It is the same rise proposed by Bristol City Council and is the maximum allowed by the Government without the need for a local referendum. A report to South

Gloucestershire Council cabinet says the annual budget for 2021/22 also includes a £1million council tax support package for those struggling to pay their bills and who have missed out on previous help, such as workers made unemployed during the pandemic and the self-employed. The council tax increase takes the average for a Band D household to £1,620.39 – a rise of £77.02 on last year. The budget papers reveal 70 per cent of residents said during the budget consultation that they supported an increase, although 39 per cent wanted a rise of just 1.99 per cent with 31 per cent favouring the proposed 4.99 per cent and 26 per cent saying it should be frozen at 2019/20 levels. Referring to the three per cent adult social care precept,

the report says: “Whilst it is recognised that this is an additional cost to bear by local residents, it is the only core funding the council has access to for funding adult social care in the medium term and as such is critical to the ongoing delivery of these services to those residents most in need.” Annual bills for the cheapest Band A households will go up by £51.35 to £1,080.26, Band B by £59.90 to £1,260.30 and Band C by £68.47 to £1,440.35. Band E charges will increase by £94.14 to £1,980.48, Band F by £111.25 to £2,340.56, Band G by £128.37 to £2,700.65 and the most expensive Band H by £154.04 to £3,240.78. The report says that under the special expenses scheme, some South Gloucestershire Council costs are charged only to taxpayers in areas where

the services are provided, such as bus shelters, allotments, Christmas lights, play areas, open spaces and public toilets. This means residents in the parishes of Cold Ashton, Doynton, Great Badminton, Hill, Little Sodbury and Tortworth will pay £20.88 less than the Band D average whereas, at the other end of the scale, the bills in Siston will be £39.15 more than the average. The report says a £1million pot of money will be created from government Covid-19 funding and the council’s outbreak management fund to help families and individuals facing financial hardship because of the pandemic. It says: “The scheme will be aimed at residents who may not have qualified for support to date, perhaps due to not being in receipt of qualifying benefits. “This could be difficulty in affording food and other essentials, paying household bills, transport costs in obtaining and getting to employment or

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News broadband/technology and data packages to facilitate home working/schooling. “The principles of this scheme will be to provide support over a sustained period for households facing financial challenges arising from Covid.” The report says it will be aimed at those who are employed, furloughed or on reduced hours, self-employed people whose income has dropped, residents at risk of losing their jobs or homes, workers recently made unemployed and members of communities who are disproportionately affected.

Bristol sees rise in numbers claiming council tax reduction Council tax is set to increase by an average £87.74 a year for Horfield residents from April – taking Band D property bills to £1,846.02 a year. The 4.99 per cent hike comprising a 1.99 per cent general rise plus a three per

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cent precept to pay for spiralling costs of adult social care is the maximum allowed by the Government without a local referendum. It has been revealed in Bristol City Council’s 2021/22 annual budget papers which were approved by cabinet as a recommendation to full council on February 25. Bills will go up by £58.48 to £1,230.68 for residents in the cheapest Band A homes, by £68.23 to £1,435.79 in Band B and by £77.99 to £1,640.91 in Band C. Band E householders’ council tax will increase by £107.22 to £2,256.24, B and F by £126.73 to £2,666.47, Band G by £146.22 to £3,076.70 and the most expensive Band H by £175.47 to £3,692.04. The rises will give the local authority more than £236 million to spend from council tax on services, such as libraries, waste collection and street lighting, in the next municipal year – £10.1 million more than the current year when reductions to the

amount of households expected to pay are taken into account, mostly because of the pandemic’s impact on people’s income. A report to cabinet says: “The overall increase will enable a balance position to be achieved for 2021/22. “During this period of continuous uncertainty, we are conscious of the impact of council tax increases on Bristol residents. “Given the growth in demand for our services and the absence of any new permanent funding being made available by government, the council is required to take action to ensure the sustainability of social care, therefore proposes to take up the social care precept at three per cent. “If council tax is set below this threshold, it would mean the permanent loss of council tax baseline yield with no opportunity to make up the losses in future years, without triggering a costly local referendum exercise.” The report says the city

Adelaide Place, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 2FX

council continues to offer a council tax reduction scheme (CTRS) for working-age people who would have received council tax benefit before the national scheme was abolished in 2013, while pensioners are also protected from any changes. It says: “Prior to the pandemic, Bristol had seen a relatively low unemployment rate and a decrease in the numbers of working-age adult claimants to the CTRS in recent years. “However, since the pandemic, there has been a marked increase in the number of claimants of the working age CTRS which has increased the overall cost by £2.3 million in 2020/21. This is likely to continue into 2021/22.” The new bills represent the local authority’s portion of the council tax, which accounts for the bulk of it. As in South Glos, smaller precepts will be added from the Avon & Somerset police and crime commissioner and Avon Fire Authority. Council tax rose by 3.99 per cent last year.

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News by Shane Gibson Sharon Gill has been kick boxing for more than 40 years and is the co-founder of GB Fit. She has travelled the world competing for titles and championships. Sharon has also taken her young students to world class competitions and has aided them in returning to Filton and Horfield with their own championship titles. That is quite the accomplishment, but to Sharon’s surprise she received an amazing

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Kickboxing champion Sharon adds Royal medal to her collection early Christmas present in December - a place on the Queen’s Honours List. “At first I thought it was a prank call, but then I found an email in my junk folder and realised that this was quite serious,” said Sharon. For two weeks Sharon was unable to tell anyone about the award, having had to agree to an embargo that ended the night prior to the honours list being revealed to the public. “It was the hardest thing I have ever done. Two weeks and I couldn’t tell anyone, but at 22:30 on December 30th I was able to let it out,” she said. The award was given for Kickboxing Service and Services for Young Children. Currently Sharon has not

been able to attend either the medal giving ceremony nor the Queen’s garden party due to Covid restrictions. She has been informed that these events will take place as soon as they can. Restrictions are not stopping Sharon from continuing her work with children. She has continued through a year of lockdowns to evolve her classes and provide lessons not only to her students but also to the parents of those students via the online application Zoom. It is perhaps because of Sharon’s continuous efforts to help children and families through the sport of kickboxing that she has received the award. One colleague told Filton Voice: " She is a fantastic

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News motivator, and instils discipline and respect in the children she teaches. "She has turned around the lives of several troubled youngsters, giving them selfconfidence and an activity to put their energy into, instead of hanging out on the streets and getting into trouble. " She has made significant contributions to the field of British martial arts on the world stage, and has made a difference to the lives of hundreds of children and adults." Sharon told of how she was nominated. She said: “It was two years ago that the parents got together, I think it was after some tournament and said that I had been doing so much for their kids that they wanted to do something for me. “They never told me (what they were doing) and I do not know how they did it, but somehow they nominated me. “It was explained to me that after a number of stages, the Prime Minister has a vote and then it is down to the Queen to make the final decision.” With no less than seven world championship titles under her belt, Sharon has obviously accomplished a lot in her career. And how does she feel about receiving the award? “I can’t express in words how I am feeling. It has made my world,” she said. l Due to current restrictions Sharon is unable to take on new students. If you would like to help Sharon and GB Fit during this time with financial donations, they can be contacted through GB Fit’s Facebook page.

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Shane Gibson meets the team who have transformed a once desolate scrub of land into thriving, working allotments

Hidden behind Millennium Park is a hidden Eden. Once a thoroughfare filled with burnt out cars and stolen supermarket trolleys, it is now something akin to a wooded wonderland. It is known as North Park Triangle Allotments, a private allotment accessible only to those whose private gardens open back on to the space. I was given a tour by Jason Davison, pictured right, Jeanne Clements, and Barry Cowan. Jason told me the story of how the allotments began. “We started this in 2007. It certainly didn’t look like this at the beginning. There were house robberies and burnt out cars, and due to the narrow entrances fire engines could not get into this area to put the flames out. However, once the gates got put in, we had no other issues. It was a grant from the police themselves that allowed us to put up the fence.” I was taken on a tour around the allotment andJason pointed out the numerous projects that were currently taking place.

“The pond has attracted toads’ frogs and newts and is also a watering hole for foxes and badgers,” he said. “We have a Beehive with 40,000 bees, taken care of by

Advertising feature How did Bristol #BiteBackBetter?

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t's a Saturday morning in Bristol. The year is 2030 and it’s your birthday. You're having a lie-in while your teenage daughter cooks the family a breakfast of scrambled eggs, mushrooms and spinach, with bread she baked herself at school yesterday. After breakfast, you take a stroll to your local food market; one of many in the city. Your youngest is pointing out different vegetables and telling you about the things he's been learning to cook with them at school, while your oldest explains to him why it's good to eat things in season. You pick up your vegetables and fruit for the week ahead, confident that it's locally grown and chemical free, plus a bit of cheese and some milk, also local. As you prep lunch back at home, you save the off-cuts to make stock and put only what you really can't use in the food waste bin, reassured that it will be turned into bio-fuel that powers the bus you'll take into the city later. You and the kids discuss which new independent restaurant you want to try for dinner tonight, while you pick some fresh herbs that are growing on your windowsill to go in your lunch. What if, by 2030, we have a thriving food system that sees all Bristolians eating well every day, in a way that is good for their health and the planet's? What do you think we need to get there? Help Bristol #BiteBackBetter. Follow the QR Code to tell us and help build the food future you want to see. You'll also find lots of information, stories and resources on cooking, growing and much more. It's time to build a resilient future through food. It's time for Bristol to #BiteBackBetter.

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Filton's hidden Eden

community members Claire and David which this year, has given us our first lot of honey. We have a swap box for left over produce, and we’re building a pizza oven and of course here is the bar," Jason and Jeanne said together. Wildlife cameras have been installed which has led to the catching of a strawberry thief, one of the badgers that has come to use the allotment. “Obviously, we are very passionate about what we grow, so when we knew Barry’s strawberries were being nicked, we had to find out who had taken them," said Jason. I was shown a wormery from which ‘worm juice’ is taken to be used to water the plants. Barry explained its function. “It is similar to a compost bin, but works more quickly and the water is good for fertilising.”

Adjacent to the wormery is a large pen holding 10 Indian Runner Ducks, as well as chickens. The birds help in the community’s aims to be selfsufficient, laying eggs to use for themselves or to sell to family and friends. The birds have a life expectancy of 4-7 years. The group have themselves aided in saving the lives of battery hens that were taken from a slaughterhouse. “It was horrendous when they first turned up, they would cower together in a corner having never had any space. Also, they looked oven ready,” explained Jeanne. “Not a hair a on their bodies, but within two months they were full furred, full feathered and loving it," added Jason. It is quite evident that NPTA has been set up in a professional manner. Without funding they

present something that is on par, and in some cases better, than something that would have local authority backing. Barry, chair of the NPTA executive committee, explained that everything was ran democratically. “There are 18 of us, and decisions are all made democratically. Everyone is consulted with as a group about everything. From our yearly tasks, (this year it was Stag Beetles) to choosing who will be looking after each plot, we are all in this together.” Members of the community have been able to get together in the allotment, socially distanced of course, and it has helped greatly with their mental health. “It has been great for people’s wellbeing, and we can’t say that enough," said Jeanne “We have been able to get

together on all sorts of events such as VE Day," said Barrie. “We were sat out here until 10 at night listening to the Churchill speech on the radio.” Jason admits that everyone in the community are friends. “We are friends and with some of us producing home brew, we do have some incredibly good nights. Granted it’s months later when we dig up the empty wine bottles," he said. North Park Triangle Allotments is an impressive achievement, built by the hard work of its community members, nature and maybe a little magic. The allotments are private, but the members are looking forward to hopefully involving outside communities with a lot of future events such as the Park Road Garden Sale that took place in August this year.

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Horfield councillor's warning over homebuilding by BBC LDRS staff for Filtonvoice A Horfield councillor says the 'fiasco' of Bristol Energy must not be repeated with the city council's housebuilding firm, which is set to develop Romney House in Lockleaze. A Bristol City Council proposal to lend Goram Homes £10million and approve its companies’ business plans was pulled at the last minute. It followed “alarm bells” from scrutiny councillors less than 24 hours earlier about the financial viability of Goram Homes because of the turbulent state of the property market. Cabinet members were due to consider business plans for Goram and the local authority’s other wholly owned companies Bristol Waste and Bristol Holding Group, which oversees them, on Tuesday (January 26). But mayor Marvin Rees announced they had been withdrawn from the agenda. A city council spokesperson

said: “We recently received an update to the business plan of Goram Homes which will need to be reflected in the report to cabinet to enable it to make a well-informed decision, based on the latest information available.’’ The papers, which were still on the authority’s website as the cabinet meeting began but quickly disappeared from the agenda, have been read by the Local Democracy Reporting Service. Before it vanished, a report to cabinet said: “Goram Homes’ business plan includes additional lending totalling £10million in respect of a second pipeline of land for development.” But the company’s 2021/22 business plan, also now unavailable, warned of “massive uncertainty” over the state of the housing market and that there was a “significant risk of a crash”. And the previous evening, Bristol Holding executive chairman Peter Beange told the

council’s overview and scrutiny management board (OSMB) that one of Goram’s risks – about planning applications and delivering profits – had increased since the document was published. The business plan said: “There are clearly some big changes under way in terms of how we live and work, but it is not yet clear whether they are temporary adjustments to the pandemic or the start of longerterm trends. “That volatility and uncertainty looks set to continue into 2021.” Conservative Cllr Claire Hiscott (Horfield) said: “Alarm bells are ringing when you make the covering statement that it’s difficult to forecast what will happen in the housing market. “It is a lovely cover-all, because it was difficult to forecast what would happen in the energy market.” She asked how they could

be sure cabinet decisions on Goram Homes would not repeat the Bristol Energy fiasco, where £36.5million of taxpayers’ money was sunk into the firm before it was broken up and sold for a fraction of that last year. “I am assuming someone somewhere has put in a list of learnings and protections to make sure this does not happen again,” Cllr Hiscott said. Mr Baker said the decisionmaking for Goram was very different to Bristol Energy because it involved “very singularly large decisions” which authorised the company to acquire land, rather than them being numerous and frequent, and this meant having the time to assess each one in great detail. Goram’s first “pipeline” of housing developments are Romney House in Lockleaze and Baltic Wharf on the Harbourside, which are together delivering more than 430 homes, nearly half of which are affordable.

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