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FREE EVERY MONTH for people and businesses in Filton and Cheswick July 2020 Issue 105

www.filtonvoice.co.uk

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNCIL ADVERTISING FEATURE

Together in South Gloucestershire: getting back on our feet

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S lockdown eases, South Gloucestershire Council is making changes to help revive its communities while keeping people safe. In this special edition of The Voice, we explain the plans, how you can help, and how to get help if you need it. New measures will help make social distancing easier, revive the economy and support everyone to adapt to a ‘new normal’. The changes could bring extra longterm benefits too – for instance, new social distancing measures outside re-opened schools are already improving air quality. The council is also pedestrianising some high streets and widening pavements. This is not only supporting social distancing but creating more pleasant environments in which to shop and socialise. Read about how council services are changing and plans for high streets and other public spaces on the next page.

Supporting businesses South Gloucestershire Council is supporting and advising local businesses as they face the challenges posed by Covid-19. It has administered different grants including the Small Business Grant Fund, the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund and the Discretionary Grant. So far it has issued over £34 million in funding to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors, and to small and micro businesses who have experienced a drop in income. To find out how to apply,

see the contact details on the back page.

Safety first: how you can help Safety remains the top priority for the council. We are still at a critical point in the Covid-19 pandemic because the virus will continue to be with us until there is a vaccine. Everyone can help by continuing with social distancing, practising good hand hygiene, and selfisolation at home and getting tested if they have symptoms, to manage the spread of the virus.

How the council can help you The council offers a wide range of help and can also put you in touch with community support groups in your area. Full details of how to get help are on the back page.

Getting around The council wants to encourage people who have taken up cycling or walking more during lockdown to use this as their regular way of getting around. Less traffic means more space on streets, improving the experience for cyclists and pedestrians. It has introduced new measures such as temporary changes to the road layout under Bristol Parkway railway bridge. The extra space on either side of the lane is designated for people walking or cycling under the bridge and helps them to keep a safe distance from each other.

View from the Leader of South Gloucestershire Council, Cllr Toby Savage WELCOME to this special edition of The Voice. It’s here especially for those South Gloucestershire residents who may not have easy access to the internet - just one of the steps we’ve taken to try to reach everyone. The Voice is a local business that we’re very proud to partner with. Thank you so much for your support during this crisis. I saw for myself how hard our frontline workers are working when I went out with our waste collection teams last month. We’re all having to get used to a new normal whether it’s wearing face coverings or remembering to always keep a social distance. In this issue, we explain what to do if you need support, especially if you’re not online. We share the positive steps we’re taking as lockdown eases to revive the district and move forward. We’re adapting our services and supporting local businesses as they emerge from lockdown, including our much-loved high street shops. We also showcase volunteers (on the inside back page) – those fantastic individuals contributing enormously to our communities. If you’re already volunteering then a big thank you. If you haven’t tried it, then why not give it a go?


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Advertising feature

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNCIL SPECIAL EDITION

Making publicplaces safer COUNCILS have been directed by government to introduce measures as quickly as possible to help make social distancing in public places easier. Last month, South Gloucestershire Council published ‘Making Public Places Safer’. This explains the measures it is putting in place in high streets, parks and open spaces, routes to work, at bus stops and outside schools. As well as helping to control and limit the spread of Covid-19, these measures should also help ‘lock in’ some of the positive changes such as an increase in cycling and fewer cars on the road. The funding for this work comes from central government through the West of England Combined Authority.

High Streets Our high streets will look and feel different as the lockdown is lifted. Shops, restaurants and cafes may start to trade outside, immediately in front of their premises, and have space for customers to queue outside too. People will need extra space to get around safely and maintain social distancing, whether on foot or by bike. In some places, this will mean road space for cars will need to be reduced. Council car parks and disabled parking will be maintained however and continue to be free for all. The council wants to make it as easy and safe as possible for people to access their local high street, kickstart the economy and support businesses so it is introducing measures to support more walking and cycling in and around town centres and local communities. This will support local trade and business by enabling easy and safe access. Changes to some local high streets are already helping with this. For example, in Thornbury, the High Street between The Close and Castle Court is now closed to all through traffic, effectively pedestrianising the town centre, allowing people to shop safely and with confidence. Some retailers can trade from directly outside their premises, adding a welcoming and vibrant feel to the area.

Parks and open spaces All skate parks, tennis courts and multi-use games areas that the council is responsible for are now open in parks and open spaces. This is in line with government advice and follows risk assessments and safety inspections of all the sites. The council has put in various measures including locking open some gates to reduce contact, ‘give way’ systems to people entering or exiting, and social distancing signs and markings on the ground.

Schools New social distancing measures at school entrances and on nearby roads include reminders of the requirements on signs and on pavements outside almost 30 primary and some secondary schools. These schools were prioritised because of their location in a busy area or because they have narrow access. To provide more room for parents to take their children back to school safely, the council has suspended parking bays outside some of these schools.

Adapting council services

Household waste collections in South Gloucestershire are back to normal. At the time of going to print, Mangotsfield, Thornbury and Yate Sort It recycling centres are opening between 6am and 4.30pm seven days a week until further notice. They accept the normal range of waste and recycling apart from clothing and textiles. Little Stoke Sort It recycling centre and the Re-use Shop at the Thornbury site remain temporarily closed. The council hopes to open its libraries gradually from July. These libraries will offer a Click and Collect service for books and other items. IT services will be available through bookable slots. Gradual opening will mean the council can review how well the new way of doing things is working before opening more libraries. Public toilets will open where possible, in line with government guidance, as will customer service One Stop Shops.


FREE EVERY MONTH for people and businesses in Filton

filtonvoice July 2020 Issue 105

www.filtonvoice.co.uk

... including Cheswick Village

ADVERT, page 13

Pre-school delays

Covid-19 disruption means plans by Olympus Academy Trust to open a new nursery class at Charborough Road Primary School in September 2020 have been delayed for a year. The original plan was revealed after South Glos Council was unable to find alternative accommodation for Filton Park Pre-School, which has occupied a site in Charborough Road for many years. At the time, residents expressed concern that a well-loved pre-school was being lost and had urged the council to fund a new building to replace their old rooms. Plans to build the replacement have now been delayed due to lockdown. Full story next month

Student flats for Square

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

Concerns have been raised over plans, set to be submitted to South Glos Council, to provide 50-bed student accommodation near The Square, Cheswick. Drawings by Angus Meek Architects show a mix of shared and studio apartments in the shell of an existing building. South Glos councillor James Arrowsmith said: "When residents moved into Cheswick Village they were promised a Square alive Turn to Page 5

New attempt to install lane gates and end fly tipping - Pages 12-13


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T: 0777 555 0607

Contacts Richard Coulter Editor and publisher

0777 555 0607 | richard@filtonvoice.co.uk

filtonvoice

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

Ruth Drury Advertising sales

07513 517 593 | ruth@filtonvoice.co.uk 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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July, 2020

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New way to meet but familiar issues of pool and finances for town councillors to debate

Filton Town councillors are demanding a clear picture of the council’s finances as they seek options for the leisure centre and plan to come out of lockdown. Their request came during an historic online meeting of the council - following the pattern of other councils and even Parliament during the Covid pandemic. Councillors used the Zoom platform and the meeting, which was not streamed live, was also watched by a small number of members of the public. Meetings

in the short term future will take place like this. The council, facing an unprecedented cash crisis, was forced earlier this year to raise the town council precept by 35% just to ensure they survive the next financial year. Now, with the leisure centre shut and revenue vastly reduced - but with savings made by staff furloughed - councillors want an updated estimate of the council’s financial position. Cllr Adam Monk said: “We need to know how much we have

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Students flats plans From Page 1 with shops, bars, restaurants, and businesses. Student accommodation to fill the space feels like a slap to the face."

Pod reopening hopes

lost due to the closure of the pool but also how much we have saved in salaries. “At the moment we are making guesses which is not prudent - we need to push the accountants. Our position could be positive or negative.” Clllr Tom Mewies said: We need accurate forecasts - we can’t take medium or long term decisions.” The council earlier this year began talks with a consultant to explore options for the leisure centre, which was forecast to cost around £610,000 to run this year. These could include outsourcing the facility to a private provider. Chair of finance Mubashar Chaudhry said: “With the pandemic, the scenario has changed and it would be a good idea to meet the consulant and see what options are open to us.” An interim report by the consultant indicated that, despite Covid, there was still an appetite among operators to seek locations for leisure centres. Clr Monk said it made sense to explore the market and see if there were still options. Cllr Chris Wood said: “The leisure centre is loss making and before it reopens we need to assess the impact on finances as staff would no longer be furloughed and we need to look at the impact of this the general financial picture.” Councillors agreed to ask the

consultant to engage in market testing as long as it did not mean his fee increased. This move was opposed by Cllr Brian Mead but all others agreed. l Next year’s council tax could rise again as a result of the Covid crisis. Town clerk Lesley Reuben said there could be a reduction in the number of properties paying council tax due to rebates offered as a result of the pandemic. l Town council facilities will remain closed, with changing rooms deemed by government to be Covid transmission hotspots. Councillors were told that outdoor activities were also not viable, with no access to toilets while the lockdown continued. Councillors said they were concerned the Ratepayers pub would be missing out on revenue but accepted it was difficult to open under the current restrictions. Cllr Brian Mead said the council should not ‘use lockdown to sell out the pub’. Town clerk Lesley Reuben said there would be no activities until the issue with the toilets was resolved. She said that Sport England was offering guidance on opening but if they were restricted to very small numbers it might not be viable to open. Councillors also said that with changing rooms off limits, swimming as an activity become problematic

The FACE charity in Filton is looking to re-open the Pod in the Park refreshments kiosk - but need volunteers to staff it. The kiosk has had several 'restarts' but now FACE want to run it with volunteer help. FACE director Debbie Teml said: "Anyone interested can email us on info@facefilton.org. uk and we can let them know about training and support. "We’d be looking at people doing two-hour shifts in pairs (same household or ‘bubble’)." FACE is also running an online fundraising quiz on July 11 to replace cancelled fundraising opportunities and subscriptions. The quiz details are on Eventbrite: https:// facezoomquiznight.eventbrite. co.uk

Town councillors met using the Zoom online conferencing platform

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Special report

A huge weight on our minds Apartment residents say noise and vibrations from high intensity gym are making their lives a misery ... owners say they went through the proper process with council It was 6am on November 4 when the thudding and vibrations began. For residents in The Square, Cheswick, life until then in their modern apartment block had been peaceful. The change came when Tribal Fit, a high intensity gym which specialises in Olympic style powerlifting and dropping of weights, moved into the ground floor retail premises. From that day until lockdown, some of the residents say, their life become one of daily dread just waiting for the noise to begin until the gym closed in the evening. Residents and local councillors are angry over the planning process which allowed

Tribal Fit to engage an outside company – Swansea-based Total Building Control – to prepare the building regulations report which then went to South Glos planners. Local parish councillors have been engaging with all parties right from the beginning to try to get a resolution. This report produced by Total Building Control did not highlight noise issues which might have come from inside the gym and one Stoke Gifford parish councillor says this failure led directly to the gym being given permission to operate without having any ‘gym activity’ noise restrictions placed upon them. Some residents who spoke to Filtonvoice say they have

suffered anxiety and other mental health issues and are dreading the day when the gym reopens. They said they just wanted the gym to install adequate sound proofing, enforced by the council, and this is what should have happened before planning permission was granted. They have made formal complaints to South Glos with one, by Kerrie Smith and Amber Daly, now at Stage 3. The next step would be the Ombudsman. Environmental health officers have imposed a 7am limit on noise and are currently investigating further but were not part of the original planning process. Turn to Page 8

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July, 2020

Residents - our misery over noise from gym From Page 9 Kerrie Smith, a 35-year-old housing advisor, said: “The weights are really loud with crashing thuds and you can feel it vibrate through the flats as well as the noise. “The noise and vibrations are pretty constant from when it opens and it’s a bit like water torture with us all just waiting for the next weight to drop. “The planning department should have taken all this into account but the only thing they really stipulated was conditions around when people can come and go from the gym. “We have tried to engage with the gym but they really have not listened to us." Amber Daly, a 31-year-old youth worker, said: “The impact on mental health has been really bad and several residents are feeling real anxiety about the prospect of the gym opening again. “There has also been problems with the sound system which plays heavy bass music and you can also hear the instructors. At times I’ve been able to hear it even when I’m in the shower." Lewis Watkins, a 32-yearold former NHS worker, said: “I am dreading the prospect of it opening again as it has really affected my mental health." The residents said that they were not against the gym and they wanted the Square to thrive but not if it was having such an impact on their lives. Resident Danielle Mcilroy said: “I currently am extremely anxious for the gym to be reopening as before lockdown, the noise was terrible from 6am-9:30pm, even 10pm some nights. The music vibrates through the floor and you can hear the dropping of the weights so clearly the whole floor shakes. I have lived here for three years but the past year or so since the gym opened it has been a living nightmare. My home has become an unhappy place to live and sent my anxiety through the roof. I wake at 6/7am every morning now waiting for them to start even though they are closed.” The owners of Tribal Fit say they went through a proper process with South Glos Council, who did not impose any restrictions related to the

Residents Amber Daly, Lewis Watkins and Kerrie Smith

operation of the gym other than noise related for members ‘coming and going’. They say – a point disputed by residents – that they have tried to engage with flat owners and that they have made changes to their procedures to limit the noise. Where both parties are united is in their condemnation of South Gloucestershire Council. The residents, three of whom have instigated formal complaints, say the council should never have allowed the gym to open without a proper study done of noise impact. Instead, they say, environmental health officers were bypassed and a simple change of use was given the green light by planning officers. The gym owners say they opened in good faith and did all that was asked of them by planners and any remedial work which might be demanded retrospectively should be the responsibility of the council. Tribal Fit owners offered a statement to Filtonvoice: “Community is at the very heart of our gym and we are really proud that more than 90% of our members live in Cheswick Village. Noise issues have been

raised with us by a handful of residents directly above the gym. As soon as these were raised we implemented “non drop” policies during early morning classes to eliminate the noise of barbells being dropped and these have been strictly adhered to, and we have also turned down the music as we really do not want to disrupt our neighbours. “We adhered to all planning conditions on the property and as soon as we were aware there were noise issues we started discussions with the local authority to get suggestions and feedback from them. “Due to Covid 19 the gym has been closed since March and through this time we have ordered a number of soft mats that are designed to eliminate any noise of weights hitting the floor. We are waiting to hear back from some of the residents as to when we can test if these are working to everyone’s satisfaction. “All our team are extremely approachable and we welcome feedback from the local community. We have members who live above the gym who are extremely supportive of what we do and we would love to resolve

this issue and see more of the local community enjoying our facilities. “We did have one issue where one resident came to complain and made violent threats against one of our team. This was extremely upsetting at the time for the member of staff. “We are working to find the best solution for the small number of residents affected before we open our doors again.” In the complaint raised by resident Ms Smith, seen by Filtonvoice, a council investigating officer has said there appears to be nothing in law requiring planning officers to consult environmental health officers for this kind of change of use. She added, however, that a ‘trigger’ of noise may normally mean environmental health would be asked to give their view. This relates to ‘applications where noise, dust, odour or fumes from the development will adversely affect the existing area.’ The response to Ms Smith states: “Environmental Health is currently carrying out monitoring of the site to determine if there is a statutory noise nuisance. If there is, then

To advertise, contact ruth@filtonvoice.co.uk or Richard on 0777 555 0607 or Ruth on 07513 517 593


July, 2020

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"My home has become a unhappy place to live and sent my anxiety through the roof. I wake at 6/7am every morning now waiting for them to start even though they are closed." - Danielle Mcilroy the gym will be required to make the necessary changes to prevent the nuisance.” In ‘partially upholding’ the complaint, the officer said an environmental impact investigation should continue and “South Gloucestershire Council will take the necessary action with the gym to mitigate.” There has already been statutory noise nuisance proved before the hours of 7am, and council are investigating other opening hours. She added that she will be recommending planning officers ‘consider refreshing the criteria for consultations relating to change of use.’ This Level 2 complaint has been concluded but Ms Smith’s and Ms Daly’s are now at Stage 3, one step before involving the Ombudsman. South Glos and Stoke Gifford parish councillors have offered support for the residents and have highlighted issues surrounding the original building control application in which an approved third party inspector, not the council, drafted the application. Current rules allow third party approved companies to produce such reports, and an email seen by Filtonvoice from council officers says: “Regrettably, once an Initial Notice has been lodged with the Local Authority, the Council has no further input in respect of checking, assessing or approval of the building works. There are very strict protocols under which we have no jurisdiction to intervene with the Building Control function carried out legitimately by the Approved Inspector. Whether a developer chooses to use Local Authority Building Control or an Approved Inspector, it is the responsibility of the person carrying out the building work to ensure that the work complies with the Building Regulations. “The Council’s Building Control service has no grounds to intervene and the matter is being addressed by the Council’s Environment Protection service, which does have powers to deal with noise where it is proven to be a statutory nuisance.” Stoke Gifford parish councillor David Beesley said:

“It is clear that if the approved third party, Total Building Control, had raised issues of noise containment within the building and the possible impact on residents, red flags and triggers would have been raised involving Environmental Health. This in turn would have requested a full acoustic report and/or information relating to the minimisation of the impact of any noise. It was down to TBC’s case officer to assess the impacts and involve the Environmental Health team. Had the case officer been more thorough then there would almost certainly have been restrictions placed upon the planning request." “I fail to see how (planning officers) could have signed this application off without giving due consideration to the impact a gymnasium would have on the residents living above. “It is inconceivable that these experienced planning officers failed to recommend any changes at all and by doing so have failed to protect the residents who have owned properties here well before the gym was ever a consideration. Taking into account the above I would like to see a full investigation in to the failings of the planning process, the company who produced the building report and the individual officers that signed the change of use off.” South Glos councillor James Arrowsmith said: “The Council's failure to complete an environmental impact assessment for the change of use has seen the Gym take advantage at resident's expense. Despite numerous complaints neither the Council not Tribal Fit Gym have taken any meaningful steps to tackle the noise issue. I hope the gym will react to the uproar and retrofit soundproofing as well turning their music on later as the situation is intolerable. A spokesperson for South Gloucestershire Council said: “We have investigated the matters raised and have written to the complainant with the council’s response. “There is an ongoing investigation by our Environmental Health team to determine if there is an issue relating to noise with this particular case, however this is

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temporarily on hold as the gym is currently shut due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.” A spokesperson for Total Building Control said: “The concerns raised would seem to relate to the process of planning and its change of usage classification. If there was a requirement for a Planning Change of Use then Acoustic measures could have formed a requirement as part of The Planning Decision Process. If Planning Consent is required but not obtained, then it is The Local

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Authority Planning Enforcement team to take such action as required under Planning Law. “The project is not a ‘Material Change of Use’ as the residential and commercial usage was already established, therefore an acoustic test was not required as would normally be the case with the creation of new dwellings, as indicated in Approved Document E of The Building Regulations. The assertion made that “The TBC case officer did not do his job properly” is therefore inaccurate."

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July, 2020

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Filton ready for summer of live music - as long as you have a car! A summer programme of drive-in events is coming to Filton. The team responsible for the YTL Arena Complex, Bristol, are working with global entertainment company Live Nation to present an exciting summer of live music, theatre and cinema events. The events will be held on the former Filton Airfield. It is one of 12 locations hosting Utilita Live from the Drive-In - a series of events taking place across the UK, organised by Live Nation. Among those due to perform in Bristol are Brainiac Live, Russell Watson, Tony Hadley, Sigala, Gary Numan and Jack Savoretti. Tickets for the first events went on sale last month and more acts will be announced in the weeks to come. Live from the Drive-In will run for six weeks from the end of July, with up to 20 different shows a week, offering family SAT 1 AUG 2020 21:00 Bjorn Again TUE 4 AUG 2020 14:00 Brainiac Live 18:30 Russell Watson WED 5 AUG 2020 18:30 Tony Hadley FRI 7 AUG 2020 21:00 Skindred SAT 8 AUG 2020 21:00 Sigala SUN 9 AUG 2020 21:00 The Streets

entertainment, as well as live music, theatre and cinema. The event aims to reopen the live entertainment market while adhering to strict social distancing guidelines, allowing fans to return to live events and keep safe from Covid-19. The capacity of each event will be capped to around 280 cars with adequate spacing in between. There will be socially distant audience facilities to keep all event-goers as safe as possible while allowing them to enjoy the atmosphere of a live event. Sarah McBride, Partnerships Director for YTL Arena Complex, said: “This is an opportunity for the live events sector to start up again safely, supporting staff, performers and restoring confidence in audiences. This is going to be an exciting summer, packed with a range of events for all ages to enjoy and we look forward to welcoming everyone on site.” Earlier this year YTL’s plans

TUE 11 AUG 18:30 Beverley Knight FRI 14 AUG 18:30 Cream Classical Ibiza SAT 15 AUG 21:00 Tom Grennan SUN 16 AUG 2020 21:00 The Snuts TUE 18 AUG 21:00 Reggae Roast VS Gentleman's Dub Club Sound System, Reggae Roast, Gentleman's Dub Club Sound System

Filton dates

FRI 21AUG 21:00 Dizzee Rascal SAT 22 AUG 21:00 The Brand New Heavies THU 27 AUG 21:00 Embrace FRI 28 AUG 18:30 Gary Numan SUN 30 AUG 21:00 The Zutons WED 9 SEP 18:30 Jack Savoretti 21:00 Jack Savoretti At time of press, some events were sold out.

to repurpose the Brabazon Hangars to create an arena for Bristol and the south west were granted planning permission. YTL Arena Complex Managing Director, Andrew Billingham, said: "Following the hugely successful Massive Attack events in 2019, to bring forward nearly two months of live drivein entertainment to Bristol in 2020 is fantastic." The former Filton Airfield is

owned by YTL and is currently being transformed into Brabazon new neighbourhood. For updates on Live from the Drive-In events at the former Filton Airfield, sign up to the newsletter here www. ytlarenabristol.co.uk/register To buy tickets or for more information about Live at the Drive-In events worldwide, please visit www.livenation. co.uk

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Residents make new bid to install gates in lane blighted by flytippers Residents in Mortimer Road and Wallscourt Road South have vowed to try again to have lane gates installed. Other streets in Filton have lane gates, which help prevent crime and fly tipping, but the process is often long and arduous, with all residents needing to be approached and to agree. The installation is also down to residents and this can also lead to issues with some homeowners being reluctant to contribute to the gates, which can cost around £1,300 each, or £60 per household. The lanes are privately owned and while South Glos Council supports applications from residents, they are not in a position to install them. Mortimer Road has access at Wallscourt Road South and Nutfield Grove as well as an entrance in the middle of the

road itself, meaning three gates would be required to make the lane secure. The residents’ campaign is being led by Michael Walker and Gareth Keel, who have tried in the past to organise the gates. Gareth said one obstacle they have faced in the past is persuading landlords, who do not live in the property, to agree to gating. He said: “The problem has always been lack of returns from leaflets we've dropped off. Landlord properties form a large proportion of Mortimer. I know a few of them and they are supportive but a council letter to them would be more directive perhaps. “I'm happy to get new quotes for gates if I can be assured that South Glos will mail out letters to all residents, including direct to landlords. “The secondary issue is the

July, 2020

lack of grounds maintenance from Nutfield House where the housing association's lack of pruning has made the lane nearly unusable. Filton councillors previously got them to trim it but they haven't kept it up.” It is understood that if landlords are approached but do not respond, a scheme can still go ahead if a majority of residents wish it to happen. Michael said fly tippers are able to bring their vans into the relatively wide lane and dump sofas and other rubbish without much fear of being caught in the act. He added that he wanted to explore ways of having gates which meant there were not dozens of padlock keys being passed around and instead was keen to investigate a key code system. In the past, led by former Filton PCSO Sheryl Drewitt, residents have managed to have gates installed in other lanes. Previously she has helped residents in Charborough Road, Fourth Avenue, Third Avenue, Kipling Road, Mackie Road,

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Northville Road, Park Road and parts of Filton Avenue, which were often targeted by burglars. She told Filtonvoice that the benefits of the gates were considerable, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour. as well as fly tipping. Gareth and Michael said that although some residents were reluctant to pay the £60/ house cost of the gates, it was likely they would save that and more within a year due to lower insurance premiums as their homes would be seen as less of a crime risk. Another consideration is the added value which a secure property would have with proper access to the garage. Cllr Chris Wood, who represents Filton, said: “Flytipping is a big problem that many communities, including our own, faces and is one that South Gloucestershire Council takes very seriously – you are five times more likely to be successfully prosecuted for flytipping here than anywhere else in the country! “But while we are good at

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Residents Peter Short, Michael Walker and Gareth Keel in the lane behind Mortimer Road

ensuring those guilty receive suitable reprimands, it would be better to not present those with the opportunity in the first place, and I agree that gates like the ones being suggested will give residents added protection. As such, where there is an off-site landlord and a problem with acquiring permission, I think it

is worthwhile in local councillors attempting to have those necessary conversations.” A South Glos officer has told the residents: “We have previously been involved in gating schemes in back lanes around Filton, which at the time were being introduced mainly to address property crime and anti-

social behaviour but also helped address environmental crime. "Two thirds of domestic burglaries were occurring via access to the rear of properties, and gating these lanes has made properties more secure. “It is frustrating if landlords of rented properties are unwilling to participate in schemes.”

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Covid-19 in Filton

Lockdown: Filton comes together to look after our most vulnerable When lockdown arrived, Filton responded. For three months, behind the scenes, around 120 volunteers, led by Debbie Teml and the team at the FACE community and youth charity at Elm Park, have been supporting vulnerable people, collecting shopping and medicines, doing washing, donating food and offering contact at a time of great loneliness for some. The lockdown is now easing, and normal life is returning in stages, but the Filton Covid support line is not stopping. Debbie and the team say it will continue for as long as people need it and if there is the dreaded 'second spike', they will be ready. This is the story of how it all happened. It all began in mid March. At this stage, the lockdown had not begun. In Filton, and

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across the country, people were beginning to take seriously the likelihood that Covid-19 was about to impose huge changes on all our lives. None of us really knew what it was going to be like, how it would affect us all and how long it might last. Schools were still opening – but we had already seen the signs with panic buying in the supermarkets. In the background, Filton was preparing. Led by Debbie of FACE, a small group gathered (at safe distance) to plan a response. They included two town councillors, representatives of South Glos, local schools, churches, Filtonvoice and other organisations. Like most people, none of them knew what it was going to be like. But they were fairly certain the impact was going to be huge and those most affected

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would likely be the elderly, the vulnerable, the ill and those who live alone. Questions – obvious now – included: “How will they get shopping/medicine?” “How will they get their pension?” “What about the impact on mental health?” A task force was created. The first step was to create a network of volunteers across Filton. There was worry that some areas might have a lot of support and others nothing. We wanted to make sure there was a volunteer no more than a street away from every resident. On social media we launched a map and a call for volunteers. Within days there were more than 100 people signed up and Filton was, more or less, totally covered. A Facebook group for the volunteers was set up too. Filtonvoice, in an edition published before lockdown, published an emergency helpline number. Although door to door deliveries were now out of the question, copies were circulated to the most vulnerable. It was also decided to use Filton News and Views and the FV website as main sources of community information, supported by South Glos website. Behind the scenes, Debbie and her team were putting the plan in place. FACE would run the helpline fielding calls from vulnerable people and signposting people to a source of help if the community team could not meet their request. They also launched a community food store at the FACE HQ. Donations have come from businesses, residents and a myriad of other sources. Debbie said: “FACE was fortunate to have a funding bid already in place from the Lottery Community Fund, which was due to be starting a new community project tackling social isolation with local volunteers. This meant we were ready with an infrastructure to roll-out an immediate response! “We launched the helpline for Filton residents, for 4 hours each day Monday-Friday. "Referrals were taken from

Bromford Housing Association, the South Glos. Community Shielding Team, local GPs and surgeries, as well as residents directly contacting the helpline following them seeing the details publicised through Filton Voice (both in print and online), posters in local Town Council notice boards, on the Filton News & Views Facebook page, and a radio interview which I gave on BBC Radio Bristol. “We have had a community food store, which was originally planned to run as a ‘swap shop’ for residents to come and donate and take what they needed swapping items. Once the ‘lockdown’ was put in place on 23rd March this was then restricted to discourage people from leaving their homes to visit us. However, the fridge and store are still in place just within the FACE entrance, and donations are being used to fulfil food and toiletries deliveries to residents as needed. “Food items, milk, and toiletries have been donated by many residents and also the Filton PCSOs brought in some milk which was donated from the local Costa when they closed. Shield Road School donated some packed lunches during the first week, which all went out to local families in need of food. The Bristol ‘Help Neighbour Campaign’ have donated items and we also get items donated weekly by ASDA and Tesco under the Fareshare scheme, which tackles food waste.” We had 109 volunteers. These volunteers were invited to join a closed Facebook group, where advice and information regarding best practice and Public Health England guidelines are shared, as well as daily shopping shoutouts. It was known that other residents were already helping their neighbours and family members in Filton with shopping and other tasks. This means this may only be a snapshot of what is happening as we can only accumulate and report here on those requests that have come into FACE directly.

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Covid-19 in Filton • In the roughly 100 days of running the help line & food store, there have been over 430 visits to FACE for support/food/ jigsaws or signposting. • 116 individual people have been supported via the Helpline, totalling 301 occasions as around 45 of these people have weekly/fortnightly or monthly support. • There were another 33 calls, where no names were provided, for signposting or referrals. Debbie said: “Some of the volunteers were already known to FACE as active local community members, and parents of FACE members, but the majority are new contacts. Many of these are people who have been furloughed from their employers and now have time on their hands for volunteering. Amongst the volunteers there are teachers, NHS staff, carers, students, a prison officer and a police officer. Some of our volunteers are selfisolating themselves due to being aged over 70, but have offered to help as phone support volunteers to others. “As requests came into the helpline they were allocated to a volunteer. In most cases this was the most local volunteer that lived in their street. "When a resident wanted shopping, we found a volunteer who was already going to a shop rather than asking people to make an extra trip to the shop. Most requests were fulfilled within the same day they were logged. All requests were been fulfilled within 24 hours. “Some volunteers have chosen to add flowers, cards, or chocolates as a treat to the shopping they have bought, as a gift for those who they are supporting. "This has been very gratefully received by the residents on receiving these. FACE has launched affordable food boxes in order to try to reduce the amount of trips to the supermarkets volunteers have to make and to help residents who may be struggling for money in order that their money can go further. Residents can buy a box of goods for £20-25 that should last 7-10 days. They are now getting referrals for ongoing support and welfare checks, particularly for elderly isolated people, and are working with other organisations to support or signpost people where possible.

Debbie Teml of FACE, front, with volunteers Alison Casson, Kirstie Barnes and Rob Taylor

Filton at its best “We’ve really seen Filton at its best.” Being at the centre of the volunteer effort, Debbie Teml has seen and heard first-hand the amazing stories of help and kindness. One lady called the helpline from Thornbury. Her mother, 102, lives independently in Filton but was struggling, especially as she had no washing machine. Her daughter usually did her washing. The lady, in tears, told Debbie she was at her wits’ end. She was worried about her mum but could not dare visit her. That’s when the network sprung into action. Debbie put it out to the network and since then local woman Kirstie Barnes has been (safely) collecting the washing, sorting it out, ironing, and returning it. Then there was Louis Jones of Elm Park - a vulnerable man due to his health. His sheltered housing manager got in touch with Filtonvoice to say that Louis had TOO MUCH food donated through a government scheme and he wanted to give away to those who might benefit. One family, who were really struggling as they were awaiting school meal vouchers as they normally have free school meals, came up to try to get some food to feed their family after school referred them to the youth centre. They went away with a box of food, enough to feed the hungry family for a week! Debbie said: “It has shown the best side of our community.”

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£1.7m raised to support Coronavirus effort at Southmead Hospital Public donations to support NHS staff, patients, and Southmead Hospital in the fight against Coronavirus have so far totalled more than £1.7 million. Southmead Hospital Charity launched their Coronavirus (COVID-19) Appeal in March to support staff and patients at North Bristol NHS Trust. Of the total, £1.25m will be invested into caring for critically ill patients at Southmead Hospital, which operates one of the largest Intensive Care Units (ICU) in the country. The major investment will see a new clinical information system introduced that will revolutionise the ways patients are monitored and treated. It will also fund state of the art respiratory equipment including a specialist ventilator, portable ultrasound machines and other innovative technologies. So far the Coronavirus Appeal is funding access to specialist counselling and wellbeing support for staff during this uncertain time. Money raised is also supporting Southmead Hospital Charity’s bereavement fund to support families of North Bristol NHS Trust staff who sadly lose their lives to Coronavirus. Donations have provided welfare packages for staff across the hospital as well as upgrading staff rest areas to enable people to take breaks in a safe and restful environment.

Dr David Arnold, front, and Dr Gus Hamilton who are two of the researchers working on the three research projects being funded by the charity In maternity, the charity is providing free scan photos to mums who cannot be accompanied at antenatal scans by their partner at this time. And the charity has also funded tablet devices for patients who are in hospital and isolated from their loved ones to enable them to stay in touch. Local and national businesses have also been working with the charity to support NHS staff in a number of ways through the donation of goods or services. Dr Julian Thompson, Consultant in Intensive Care at Southmead Hospital said: “In recent months, COVID-19 has presented an unprecedented challenge to Intensive Care Units around the world.

“Here at Southmead Hospital’s ICU we have received inspirational support from the communities that we serve. “The Southmead Hospital Charity’s Coronavirus Appeal donations will allow us to meet the ongoing challenge of COVID-19 with state of the art care for our critically ill patients and leave a legacy of innovation and high quality care for years to come.” Director of Southmead Hospital Charity, Sarah Harrison, said the £1.7m had come from more than 4,000 individual donations as well as one significant seven figure gift to the Trust. But the charity now needs the public to continue to support

them to fund Coronavirus (COVID-19) research projects that are looking for new treatments for the virus. The charity is hoping to raise an additional £815,000 to support three Coronavirus research projects which researchers hope will lead to new breakthroughs in fighting the virus. Sarah Harrison said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of our communities in the past few months – and we are so grateful for the ongoing support which continues to be critical to our continued work in supporting the hospital into the future. “We know that there is more to do to ensure the incredible staff at North Bristol NHS Trust and their patients are supported during this uncertain time. “And our commitment to fund research into new understandings and treatments for Coronavirus (COVID-19) is our priority which is why we need to continue our call for donations to support these ground-breaking projects. “We need your help to ensure our researchers can continue making progress in fighting the virus right here in Bristol – helping us to shape a new future for healthcare.” Find out more about our Coronavirus (COVID-19) research at www. southmeadhospitalcharity.org. uk.

Hospital visitors asked to wear face coverings People attending local hospitals in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire for outpatient appointments or as visitors, are being asked to wear face coverings to help reduce the spread of Covid-19 and keep hospitals safe. Face coverings can be made of cloth and may be homemade. Detailed advice on making and wearing face coverings is available on the Government website at www.gov.uk/how-to-wear-andmake-a-cloth-face-covering The new measures were introduced last month alongside other Government guidance to

reduce the spread of Covid-19, such as hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of face coverings on public transport. As part of the measures, all hospital staff, including clinical and non-clinical staff groups, will also now wear face masks at all times, when not otherwise using personal protective equipment. Dr Martin Jones, Medical Director at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire clinical commissioning group, said: “Patient and staff safety continues to be our top priority and these

new measures will further help to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and keep our hospitals safe for patients as well as staff. “Evidence shows that people infected with Covid-19 can have very mild or no respiratory symptoms and can transmit the virus without being aware of it, so it’s important we take these extra steps to stop transmission of the virus. “As well as wearing face coverings, it’s also vital that people continue to observe the national guidance on hand hygiene and social distancing.”

Outpatients will be advised of the need to bring a face covering ahead of appointments and the new arrangements will also be promoted on hospital sites and through other patient communications. Face coverings worn as part of religious beliefs or cultural practice can also be used, provided they cover the mouth and nose and are not loose. People who do not bring a face covering with them when attending hospital will be provided with one on arrival.

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Filton Town Council Festival will be held in 2021 Filton Festival has been postponed until 2021. Town council officials have taken the decision amidst ongoing uncertainty over when and how the lockdown will be lifted by the Government. This year's festival, originally scheduled for July 12, would have been the 20th anniversary festival.

The Community Garden fete, planned for June 28, was also cancelled. Community garden chairman Dave Mikkelson said: " It is with great regret that the Community Garden Committee decided to cancel this year's Summer Fete which was due to be held on 28 June. "Clearly some form of social distancing is going to continue

throughout the coming months and it would have been wrong for us to put the public in danger and also our members, many of whom are in at risk groups. "However the garden remains open and is being maintained. I know that many people are incorporating a visit during their daily exercise routine."

Town council meetings and facilities Filton Sports and Leisure Centre currently remains closed awaiting government advice to re-open. Councillors were advised that some outdoor activities were able to go ahead although the toilet facilities remain closed.

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Council offices Filton Town Council office is now staffed 9.00am until 1.00 pm Monday to Friday, but due to the current pandemic there is still NO public access. This can only be by telephone appointment only to be able to maintain the guidance on social distancing. Please contact us at office@ filtontowncouncil.gov.uk or by phone 01454866698 to arrange an appointment if necessary. Staff are working from home out of the above hours If you have an enquiry or wish to report a problem please email office@ filtontowncouncil.gov.uk.

Physical council meetings are currently unable to take place so meeting are being held online via the Zoom platform with information for public access on www.filtontowncouncil.gov.uk July 14th, Finance Committee, 7pm July 28th, Full Council, 7.30pm

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Schools' role in preventing hunger Olympus Academy Trust is at the heart of efforts to ensure that no families go hungry as a result of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The trust, which has Abbeywood Community School, Charborough Road Primary and Filton Hill Primary among its nine schools, has launched a food and wellbeing support programme, which saw 90 parcels distributed in the first two weeks. Parents and friends who are able to help are being encouraged to donate non perishable items or money and the scheme has the support of the food distribution charity FareShare South West, Morrisons, Tesco, Tesco Express and the Baileys Court Inn. Families can refer themselves to the scheme, which has already seen an influx of requests as hardship bites. The scheme is being coordinated by Peter Smart, an Associate Leader at Abbeywood Community School. Peter said, “In response to the details sent to families we have received some specific requests for goods – washing power, sanitary products, toiletries etc. When I went to Morrisons at Cribbs and bought stocks of these goods, the management gave

us a 10% discount in support of the scheme and allowed us immediate entry to avoid the long queues. They were fantastic, as were Tesco who donated cash on the spot when I shopped there. We plan to run the Food Support Scheme at least until the end of the pandemic.” Paula Warren (pictured), a PA at Bradley Stoke Community School, was one of the many volunteers to drive to families in need to make the deliveries. Paula said, “The families were hugely, hugely appreciative – two single parents particularly were brought to tears of gratitude. I delivered to one boy who lives with his dad – they are asylum seekers and have nothing at all. He was so grateful – he called us his heroes.” Olympus chief executive Dave Baker said the Covid-19 pandemic had seen the trust switch its focus from purely education to a wider role supporting the community. Families in need can find out more by emailing FoodSupport@ olympustrust.co.uk Further information about the food and wellbeing support programme can be found on the Olympus website.

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Schools continue to provide learning in classrooms All Olympus schools have been open for children of key workers and vulnerable learners from Monday to Friday every week including school holidays and Bank Holidays. Olympus Trust primaries are open for all learners from Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in bubbles of up to 10 children per year group each day. This means each bubble is in school every 3 days. Olympus secondaries are open for some “face to face” contact between teachers and students in Years 10 and 12 from next Monday. This will vary in format. In some schools, it will be an extended review meeting for a student to check home learning, resolve any issues and set students going on the next phase of their home learning.

This may be face to face or remote. In other schools, 25% of students from Year 10 at a time will be invited into school for a day of review and forward planning that will cover English, Maths, Science and option subjects. This is planned for each week. Year 12 are likely to be invited in for subject-based review sessions with their teachers on a rolling programme for the rest of the term. Olympus Academy Trust manages nine schools across south Gloucestershire; Abbeywood Community School, Bradley Stoke Primary Phase and Community School, Callicroft Primary School, Charborough Road Primary School, Filton Hill Primary School, Meadowbrook Primary School, Patchway Community School, Stoke Lodge Primary School and Winterbourne Academy.

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Big rise in foodbank use in early days of lockdown

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Food bank staff hard at work

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Trussell Trust Foodbanks in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, including the North Bristol Foodbank which has a base in Filton Avenue, provided 5,228 emergency food parcels to local people in April 2020 Trussell Trust Foodbanks in Bristol and South Gloucestershire provided 5,228 emergency food parcels to local people (the equivalent to over 47,000 meals) in April 2020. Of this number, 2,306 went to children. This does not include figures from the incredible work done by foodbanks in Bristol. The figures are a 258% increase on the same period last year, including a 300% rise in parcels given to children. As the impact of coronavirus continues to unfold, the Trussell Trust Foodbanks in Bristol and South Gloucestershire believe the local increase is due to people struggling with low income, from benefits or loss of work due to coronavirus, continued issues with benefit payments, issues with Universal Credit such as the five-week wait, insecure work and lack/reduction in available local government support The food bank relies on the support of people across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. It has asked anyone interested in supporting their work to either consider donating food or funds. Matt Dobson, Foodbank Manager of North Bristol Foodbank said: “We’re dedicated to ensuring that people in Bristol and South Gloucestershire who do not have enough money for food are able to access emergency support. "We’ve been making big changes to our work to ensure we can continue to offer people who can’t afford essentials the emergency help that is needed as safely as possible. But ultimately, no one in Bristol and South Gloucestershire should

need to use a food bank. 5,228 emergency food parcels to local people is 5,228 emergency food parcels too many. "This isn’t right and cannot continue. “Our vital work in the community has only been possible in the last few months because of the incredible generosity shown by local people in donating food, time and funds. To everyone that has donated thank you.” Bristol North West, East Bristol and North Bristol Foodbanks are all members of the Trussell Trust’s network. The Trussell Trust, as part of a coalition of anti-poverty charities, is calling for the UK government to put a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme in place to ensure people can access the support they need to avoid them being swept into destitution. Chief executive of the Trussell Trust Emma Revie said: “We have been seeing rises in food bank need across the UK for the past five years, but our latest national figures show that in April food banks in our network reported a soaring 89% increase in need - with the number of families coming to food banks doubling. "People need to be able to put food on their table. The government must put urgent support in place to ensure people already struggling to keep their heads above water can stay afloat.” For more information on needs specific to foodbanks please email: info@northbristol. foodbank.org.uk

"No one in Bristol and South Gloucestershire should need to use a food bank."

- Matt Dobson

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The cat and the mouse are set to leave the house by Shane Gibson For almost 40 years Nicholas Hunt has maintained the bushes on the corner of Gayner Road. A cat, a mouse and a bird stand one behind the other creating an attractive and cheerful image. Sadly, the cat and mouse are dying. I asked Nick what was the inspiration that led him to create the animals. Nick pointed to the bird and said: “Well I got fed of up of doing this,” waving his arm in a straight line. The bird was the first of the bushes and Nick has seen many people acknowledge his creations since then. People have congratulated Nick, and many people take photos as their children stare in awe but no one has asked to get involved. It is not hard to see why. It takes time effort and skill to confidently shape the animals. Recounting one of his stories Nick told me: “One time there was young man who walked by as I was pruning and said that’s a Robin isn’t it. I didn’t know what he was getting at and said 'well its not an eagle'. The young man continued to hark on about it being a Robin before yelling, well

its not a (expletive) pirate is it. It was then I realised that he was a City fan!” Reflecting on why they were going, Nick said: “I’m getting on a bit now, I’m 79 and it’s getting more difficult to look after them. They are dying and as you can see the cats' head never properly established, there was something wrong with the roots” I asked Nick of his favourite memories about the bushes.

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“I was in Turkey and I met a man from New Zealand. When I told him that I lived in Bristol he said, ‘You don’t live in the house with the big bird at the front of it do you?’ "That’s amazing isn’t it,” laughed Nick.

The bushes have blessed Nick and his wife with a lot of happy times. He said: “I remember the children climbing the backs and hanging off the beak of the bird, but now it’s time for the cat and the mouse to go, but I will be left with my pride and joy, the bird.”

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Changes would ensure safety at Conygre junctions Junctions in Conygre ward could be changed to double yellow lines as part of proposals by South Glos Council. The council says parking on junctions is a safety issue due to visibilty problems and they also want to ensure bin lorries and other vehicles have clear access. Conygre residents have repeatedly raised issues around parking in the area, which, they say, has got worse since the MoD came to Filton and staff use local roads for parking. The proposals include: • The installation of double yellow lines (no waiting at any time) • The regularisation of School Keep Clear zig-zag road markings (No Stopping MonFri, 8am5pm) • Amendments to existing limited waiting parking bays. A South Glos spokesperson said: “The purpose of this scheme is to restrict dangerous areas of parking, and maintain visibility at accesses and junctions, whilst

The junctions of Boverton Road, left, and Blenheim Drive with Filton Avenue could have double yellow lines ensuring that there is adequate parking provision for residents and visitors accessing the local shops, and businesses. “The School Keep Clear markings are being included within the Legal Order so that these will be enforceable. “It is proposed to introduce no waiting at any time restrictions (double yellow lines) to cover junctions/accesses and

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areas where traffic parking can reduce visibility and impact safety, and where access to service vehicles such as refuse lorries is currently hampered due to indiscriminate parking. “The proposals include the conversion of existing advisory white keep clear markings, to no waiting at any time restrictions (keep clear lines across private drives are not included).”

A consultation on the scheme by the council was due to end in early July. The roads affected are: Blenheim Drive, Boverton Road, Bude Road, Charles Road, Conygre Grove, Conygre Road, Filton Avenue, Glebelands Road, Mayville Avenue, Meadowsweet Avenue, Rodney Crescent, The Mead, Ventnor Road and Warren Road.

Activists' environment plea to MP Green activists have urged Filton MP Jack Lopresti to read The Committee on Climate Change 2020 progress report on UK carbon emissions. The report sets out a detailed plan for each government department to work with in order to achieve net zero as soon as possible. It stresses that government action over the next few months is crucial. The report criticises government progress over the last year, saying changes have been announced but not followed up and there is not allocated funding to date to enable the required changes to happen. Dr Diana Warner and David Flossman hand-delivered a letter to Jack Lopresti, MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke. Mr Flossman said: "We urge Mr Lopresti to read the Committee on Climate Change report carefully." Dr Warner said: ‘We need to use this last opportunity to improve our resilience and to reduce carbon emissions permanently."

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David and the Asda team supporting community The last few months have certainly been an unprecedented time for all of us as we struggle to get to grips with the challenge COVID-19 brings. It has been no different at Asda in Filton where staff have had to accommodate a number of changes to how they operate the business. It all started with a period of panic buying as customers flocked to the store to make sure that they wouldn’t run out of items such as toilet rolls, bottled water, pasta and eggs. There was an explosion in the number of people placing online orders as they followed the Government’s advice to stay at home. It became evident that if staff were to adhere to the Government’s social distancing guidelines they were going to have to limit the number of people in the store at any one time which led to queues of people waiting to enter the store – a sight not seen before. Once inside the store a sanitising station is the first thing that greeted customers. Directional arrows were laid on the floor of

the store to guide customers around safely with plenty of visual reminders of the need to leave two metres between yourself and others. Perspex screens were installed at the checkouts and the Customer Services Desk for the protection of our colleagues and the customers they are serving. Store Manager Shaun Harrowing said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all of our customers and colleagues during this difficult and challenging time.

David and myself are extremely proud to have been able to serve and provide all of you with all of the essential products that you have needed to feed your families, and we look forward to your continued support and seeing you in the future. ” A spokesman added: "One of the things Asda are proud of is our work in the community and our Community Champion David Thomas has been busy supporting the local community

with donations of trolleyloads of goodies to people working on the frontline against this virus or supporting others. "Most of David’s regular activities have been suspended to keep him and our colleagues safe but Asda Foundation have increased his monthly budget in the last two months. So far he has been able to support FACE Filton, Gate 12 at Southmead Hospital, BRACE, Agincare Care Home, Monks Park Doctors Surgery, National Food Service Bristol, SR Homecare, Silva Care, Stoke Gifford Medical Centre, Horfield Health Centre, North Bristol Foodbank and the Flying Start Nursery." Asda also provided David with 1,250 medical grade disposable face masks that he distributed to care homes across our community. David is pictured with Hannah Hughes from Shield Road Primary., Asda gave them a trolleyful of goodies to thank their hard-working staff for remaining open and looking after the children of key workers, allowing them to work.

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July, 2020

FILTON BUSINESS BOUNCING BACK

Mario ready to reopen salon goto iT Q&A by Shane Gibson Mario Parrinello has been the proprietor of The Filton Barbers on Gloucester Road North for the past ten years. Like many other businesses The Filton Barbers was forced to close during the lockdown. He said: “Although people always need a haircut, if we don’t come back to work, there won’t be a business to come back to.” A grant offered by the national government to businesses allowed Mario to keep the shop ready to open with bills and rent paid up until now however, rent is due and the grant has been exhausted. He said: “It has been difficult, the savings are gone, there has been no income but we are healthy and we have survived.” Mario has made changes in his shop to make everyone as safe as possible.

We also spoke to Graham Simmonds of goto iT on Gloucester Road North. See their advert on Page 13

He said: “We no longer offer a walk in service. When the hop reopens we will be by appointment only. Before, we had 15 to 20 people in the shop at one time, now people will have to register and book their appointments.” Mario has installed clear and movable screens to protect himself, his staff and his customers whilst maintaining the shops atmosphere. “We can have four customers at one time, three in each chair with one in the waiting area.”

How have you managed to keep operating in lockdown? As an IT company, we were very busy at the start of lockdown as our business clients were quickly helping their staff to work from home. Many of our clients already have fully working remote or cloudbased systems which continued to work very well. However, some were office based and we had to act quickly to set them up with systems helping them to work away from their usual base. What effect has it had on your business? The shop unfortunately had to close for most of the period and only reopened in June in line with government guidelines. We still continued to work, providing remote support to many of our

clients but we based ourselves from our homes. Have you fully reopened and what measures are in place re distancing etc? Yes, we are fully open with social distancing in the shop. We have clear protocols when working on PCs and when onsite using personal protective equipment, sanitiser, and social distancing. Did you feel you were able to access enough support from the Government? We felt the guidance was clear and were able to access support easily. Have you had more work due to the upswing in home working? Yes, and we think it will continue. We still don’t know how much people will continue to work at home but there is no doubt that most companies will want to implement measures to continue to help their staff work remotely.

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A temporary pedestrian and cycle lane on the Ring Road in Filton was abandoned after just five days with motorists angered by the congestion caused. The scheme by South Glos Council was intended to help pedestrians and cyclists move around whilst social distancing was in to place. Part of the existing road space has been cordoned off to form a wider shared pedestrian and cycling lane, at a notorious pinch point on the A4174 in Filton, between the Abbeywood roundabout and Emma Chris Way. There was anger over the lack of public consultation. At the time, South Glos said: "Transport habits have changed in light of the coronavirus pandemic and as lockdown restrictions are eased over the coming weeks, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to safely walk, cycle or access schools. We are looking at measures we can introduce to support more walking and cycling in and around our town centres and local communities and we also want to help kick start the economy by enabling

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Bike lane on Ring Road abandoned amidst anger over consultation

easy and safe access to shops and businesses." We have also been assisting schools in our area to reopen to pupils safely from 1 June by installing signs and spraying stencils to remind people of social distancing rules and to help manage vehicles at drop off

and pick up times. Filton Cllr Chris Wood said: “There is an important need to protect local pedestrians and cyclists by allowing them to social distance appropriately. "This scheme, however, was in no way suitable for this location and it is clear from the public’s

reaction that implementing this scheme, both in when and how it was done, was not sensible. I immediately raised the issues with the scheme, and the attitude of residents, to the administration and am grateful they reconsidered their position and withdrew the cones efficiently. "I am supportive of the Council’s desire to input similar schemes and trust lessons have been learned going forward.” Cllr James Arrowsmith, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Stoke Park and Cheswick said: “People in Stoke Park and Cheswick are understandable angry at the way this poorly thought through temporary cycle lane was put in place with no warning whatsoever. "I am shocked at the arrogance of the Tories who think they can push through such significant measures without telling, let alone consulting, the local communities affected.”

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n UPDATE FROM FILTON MP JACK LOPRESTI - aerospace industry needs to thrive Our aerospace industry in Filton and the South West of England is dynamic, innovative and world leading. It is a showcase of the best that British engineering has to offer the world, but as I am sure you will be aware this is an extremely challenging time for the aviation/aerospace industry. Whilst I am optimistic that our fantastic local aerospace companies such as Rolls-Royce, Airbus and GKN will weather this storm, I want to ensure that they don’t merely survive, but continue to thrive. However, we need intervention and Government support to protect jobs and skills for the future. Firstly, it is imperative that we get the aviation industry up and running, to allow it to operate over the peak holiday period. This cannot happen with a blanket 14-day quarantine measure in place. I’m confident that there are better ways to ensure we are neither importing nor exporting fresh infections across international borders. We

are Global Britain and a key part of that is being open for business. As such, I wrote to Priti Patel to offer constructive criticism to the Government that these measures are not necessary and that we need to find alternative ways of working. I am pleased to see that the Government has eased the blanket quarantine, in favour of a traffic light system for countries, with only 'red' countries requiring a quarantine. Secondly, I look forward to hearing more from Government about Project Birch; their plan

to help key industries which have been impacted by the coronavirus. We must stand ready to assist viable aerospace and aviation companies encountering financial difficulty, to prevent the skills, manufacturing base, jobs, and economic productivity from leaving the UK and finding a new home elsewhere. Thirdly, an aircraft scrappage scheme, which has already been pioneered by other countries, could help safeguard jobs, reduce our emissions and kickstart our aerospace industry again. A similar scheme worked wonders for our hard-hit car manufacturers after the recession, scrapping 330,000 cars in total, and accounting for a fifth of all cars sold in the year in which it was introduced. Such a scheme for aircraft would allow us to upgrade our ageing fleets of aircraft to be more environmentally- friendly and would also result in a steady increase in orders placed with local businesses.

Lastly, in our own local area, I am supporting Aerospace Bristol’s ‘Return to Flight’ campaign, which is aiming to raise money to ensure the museum will be able to reopen once the lockdown measures have been eased. This fantastic facility is the final resting place of Concorde, the most iconic commercial passenger plane aircraft ever designed, and Concorde could never have flown without the brilliance and dedication of engineers right here in South Gloucestershire. Bristol Aerospace proudly flies the flag for our heritage and, as a STEM learning centre, looks to the future and serves as an inspiration to the next generation. We need many more of our young people to embark on a career in engineering and aerospace and help to maintain our great tradition. To support Bristol Aero and to access some fun activities for you to do at home, please visit: www.aerospacebristol.org

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n PUZZLES Each row, column and square (9 spaces each) needs to be filled out with the numbers 1-9, without repeating any numbers within the row, column or square.

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For younger readers

A

The FIEND

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'If I'm not at work I'm lost at sea' SHANE GIBSON meets two Filton residents and asks them how lockdown has affected them Samantha-Jane Gibson is an 18 year old student at SGS in Filton. Since March her classes have been taught online. Currently she is in her second year studying for an extended diploma Musical Theatre.

How have you been spending your the time during lockdown? SJG: Well, firstly I have lost a lot of weight. I have been spending the time walking, studying and taking part in classes over Zoom. How do your classes take place? SJG: Practical lessons take place over Zoom. You simply log on, (you can switch off your camera and microphone if you need to) and choreography is taught but you do need to have enough space in your house to move around. Everyone in the class logs on at the same time, however singing lessons are 1-1 with the singing teacher. Do you feel that this is a successful way of teaching given the circumstances? SJG: Personally I feel that there can be technical issues that would not happen in real classes. For example low-quality microphones or speakers, and internet slowdown. So I decided that I would not take part in lessons such as singing that incurred extra fees whilst the lockdown prohibited me from attending real classes. So do you feel as if you are doing actual work if the classes aren’t ‘real’? SJG: I think it depends on how much energy you put into it. You could dress up at home as you would at college, wear stage make up, prep yourself, imagine that there is an audience. But sometimes there are technical problems such as poor Wi-Fi, or having to leave the class to do another virtual class, and then not being able to get back into your first class. Are there other problems? SJG: It’s mainly technical problems such as Wi-Fi, but this really is not a

Four days before the lockdown began, Adewale Steveland Ogunboro was informed that he had been relieved of not one job but two. The northern Yorkshireman who resides on Northville Road, was devastated. Adewale was a chef whom had been working for a local pub and also a non profit organisation. Ade (as his friends call him) came to Filton in January of this year. “The biggest problem has been boredom. My northern mentality is that if I’m not at work I’m lost at sea” Although occupying his time with job searches, cleaning, and getting to know his housemates better, Ade admits to feeling depressed. “I have been reading and writing poetry but my drinking has risen exponentially, probably like most of Britain,” he said. Ade told me that he has beaten cancer twice and so is not afraid of the Covid 19 virus. “Sometimes I ride my bike for eight hours. Other times I have sneaked off to see my girlfriend and although I have been concerned that if I did have the virus that she could also become infected, after beating cancer I’m not going to get beaten by this virus . ” Ade has been able to take positive steps. Apart from the bike riding

he has also been able to get out by volunteering for FareShare in Bristol. The volunteering has been a high point as has a book called All Souls Rising by Madison Smartt Bell, possibly the best book I ever read.” When asked to consider the worst parts of this situation Ade said: “Drinking and smoking serous amounts of alcohol whilst lamenting my lack of work, and of course I miss my friends.” It now seems that we maybe facing a return to work and a possible new normal, I asked Ade his hopes for the future. “I really hope that we can move on with a better understanding of ourselves as individuals and as a civilization.”

sustainable way of carrying classes for my course. This really has been a way for us all to stay connected. If we were at college we would have performed our final show of the year. Do you feel that both your the college and the Government has done enough to help you feel safe and feel confident about the future of your education? SJG: I feel safe. I’m not in fear that I will get the virus so yes, I guess you could say that the Government advice has worked. As for the future, I think it is hard for anyone to say. The Government cannot give exact advice for every single course. My musical theatre university course will be, like my current course, very physical and require the capabilities to learn and perform scenes and chorography. How do you feel that the lockdown has affected your future plans? SJG: It has changed my personal plans quite drastically. I was due to have ACL surgery which has been postponed. I have now deferred the start of university for a year to allow for the surgery and the recovery. Is there anything else you’d like to say? SJG: Really, it’s just a shame because I loved going to college every day and I think that’s the same for everyone who was on the course.

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Advertising feature

SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE COUNCIL SPECIAL EDITION

Hidden heroes MANY heroes have emerged during Covid-19. Here we feature just a few of you who are helping make South Gloucestershire such a caring place to live in: Christine is a member of the council’s libraries staff team but she’s switched to distributing emergency food parcels rather than books. The food parcels are for local people who need to stay at home because they’re at greatest risk from the virus. The Pucklechurch & Shortwood Good Neighbours’ Scheme is a voluntary group that has been working hard to support local people by completing small tasks like shopping. They have started a food bank in the village. Paige is the founder of Mamas Bristol CIC, a support

3

Community partnerships

Pucklechurch Good Neighbours’ Scheme in a photograph taken before Covid-19 Paige

network for parents across South Gloucestershire and Bristol. When the pandemic started, all of the group’s normal activities and events had to stop. But since the end of March, the small team at Mamas Bristol CIC have distributed

Julie Close, Southern Brooks’ Chief Executive, describes how they are responding to Covid-19: “We quickly refocused our resources to respond to Covid-19. Working directly with the community, the council and the Clinical Commissioning Group, we’re providing practical support to people identified as vulnerable or high risk. Every day, we provide information and emotional support, arrange food parcel deliveries, prescription collections and referrals to Mutual Aid Groups and other local services. Projects include supporting those most severely isolated by lockdown measures, perhaps as a result of digital exclusion or shielding requirements. From the outset, the priority has been to support and keep people safe. For example, as the guidance around shielding different groups within of our community changes we have adapted our offering to meet this. Inevitably, services will change as volunteers return to work and a daily routine as lockdown eases but the impact of Covid-19 will be felt for weeks and months to come, if not longer. Our existing services will continue for as long as required, but new programmes are in development to respond to longer term needs. The best support people can give is to follow social distancing and personal hygiene rules and guidance.”

approximately 3,500 hot meals to vulnerable people, families in need and keyworkers needing a helping hand. The organisation has also made available any leftover food and ingredients to those who have struggled to shop during lockdown.

THE superb response from volunteers and voluntary groups across the district during the Covid-19 crisis is heartening and inspiring. The council is working in partnership with these groups which is helping it to respond effectively to those who need the most support, and to those who help. Southern Brooks is an example of the excellent partnership working taking place. A lead voluntary sector partner, it is playing a key role, liaising between the council and the Mutual Aid Groups and volunteers in the district. Southern Brooks keeps in weekly contact with the groups. Because it knows and understands what they offer, it is able to refer people for support. The council’s community aid web pages lists the support available.

Spotlight on volunteering Charlotte Lester, 35, from Patchway, volunteers for two hours a week with a FareShare Project run by Southern Brooks from the Brooks Café at the Coniston Community Centre. FareShare redistributes surplus food to charities to turn into meals. Charlotte puts together food parcels that are then delivered to vulnerable people in the district. She says: “I started volunteering with the project in April as I want to help people and be useful. I enjoy it – I used to work away from home and didn’t really know my area but, because of volunteering, I feel much more connected to my community. I’ve met loads of great people, always socially distancing of course! I’d encourage other people to give it a go.” If you've been inspired by how communities have pulled together during this crisis and want to find out how to volunteer, or need help yourself, call Southern Brooks on 0333 5774666 or visit https://southernbrooks.org.uk/ or call CVS South Gloucestershire 01454 865205 or visit https://www.cvs-sg.org.uk/ volunteer-centres/.


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How to get help and support If you’re not online, call the South Gloucestershire Council freephone helpline 0800 953 7778. We can also send printed weekly updates out to you. Or if you’re online, email your questions to CustomerCare@southglos.gov.uk Coronavirus help and information hub www.southglos.gov.uk/coronavirus For the latest news & updates follow us on:

 Facebook www.facebook.com/sgloscouncil  Twitter @sgloscouncil To contact South Gloucestershire Council, go to www.southglos.gov.uk/contact or call 01454 868009 Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service at www.111.nhs.uk/covid-19 See our website for: • updates on council services • sign up to our weekly email updates • financial support for residents and businesses • South Glos Community aid hub – where you can get help from local voluntary groups • a wide range of other support services and information such as: • free educational resources • mental health tips and advice and much more. Supporting people who aren’t online Richard* received the recent letter from the council about support for people who are shielding from coronavirus. He phoned us to find out what it’s all about. He didn’t remember receiving an earlier letter from the NHS advising him to shield and apply for support. He wouldn’t have known how to apply online. The council offered to apply on his behalf and he was surprised and grateful for the help. He is now receiving his free food *Name changed and stock image used for confidentiality parcel from the government every week.

www.southglos.gov.uk

Profile for Richard Coulter

Filtonvoice July 2020  

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Filtonvoice July 2020

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