Councillor Column Commuter parking blight and Parkway Bridge
have lived in Stoke Gifford, now since 1984, and have grown to love the village and the surrounding parish. Most of my extended family still live here, and enjoy the facilities that we all share. Our village green is probably the ‘jewel in the crown’ of Stoke Gifford, and the overlooking St Michael’s community centre, helps to foster the strong community spirit that exists here. As one of the three district councillors allocated to the Stoke Gifford ward, my responsibility is to be vigilant in preserving the quality of life that we enjoy here, and to minimise those issues that are seen as a threat. There are two main issues that are causing major concern to me at the moment, and of these, the most immediate is that of commuter parking. This problem is rapidly growing more acute as Parkway Station grows in importance, and the numbers of commuters using the station increases year on year. Initially we introduced restricted parking measures in the roads immediately adjacent to the station, but that only caused the problem to move further out. It rapidly became evident that many commuters are willing to walk quite long distances in order to avoid paying parking charges at the station. Today almost the whole of the village suffers from serious parking blight during the working week. With that in mind, I am currently working with South Gloucestershire Council in researching a suitable scheme that will bring relief to residents, by reducing the level of on-street commuter parking. The second major threat to our quality of life here in Stoke Gifford, is the Parkway Railway Bridge. The bridge itself was first built many years ago, and was later extended as the main line to Swansea and other destinations became
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more important. At the same time, the levels of traffic passing under the bridge has increased rapidly, despite the opening of the Stoke Gifford By-Pass earlier this year. Now both bus and HGV traffic comprise a major part of that increase. Yet several times a day, many hundreds of schoolchildren as well as adults, are expected to walk through the narrow footpaths on either side of the road under the bridge. Last month, a double decker bus with a driver unused to the area, misjudged his clearance, and the top deck of the bus was sliced off, landing in the roadway and onto one of the pavements under the bridge. Had anyone been walking there at the time they would have been killed. Yet in 2017, South Gloucestershire Council, reacting to the pressure exerted by Stoke Gifford councillors, had prepared working drawings of a large pedestrian and cyclist tunnel to be constructed parallel to the road tunnel, on the station side of the existing tunnel. Sadly, those mature plans were later withdrawn, due, it was claimed, to a shortage of money to pay for it. I am resolved to overturn that decision, before someone is seriously hurt using the existing tunnel. Cllr Brian Allinson Stoke Gifford parish councillor and South Gloucestershire councillor for Stoke Gifford ward
Former deputy steps up to take on headship at Little Stoke Primary
New head Anne Sargent presents Scott Howes with the fingerprint tree picture
very day is an opportunity for learning for the staff and children at Little Stoke Primary School. That was even true at the end of October when attention turned to the departure of the headteacher, Scott Howes, who was leaving the school after six happy and successful years, to take on a new job in Northern Ireland. “Learning how to deal with goodbyes is an important life skill that we’ve been able to share with the children as Mr Howes leaves,” said Anne Sargent, who has now taken over as headteacher having previously worked alongside Mr Howes as deputy head. “We talked about change and about looking forward to the next chapter of our learning adventure at Little Stoke.” In his final week, staff and pupils turned their well wishes into personalised songs, videos and other activities during assemblies that created special memories for everyone involved. As part of these celebratory activities, Mr Howes received a number of gifts and presentations from the children which reflected the warm feelings of the whole school community. These included a beautiful framed ‘fingerprint tree’ which
every child contributed to and a very special ‘coat of memories’ adorned with written memory stars from every child and member of staff. The school also celebrated by holding a quiz for Mr Howes to test his knowledge about the teaching team. For example, asking which teacher also had their glider licence? His correct answers resulted in winning tools that would help him complete tasks at the end: painting a selfportrait, building a tower from spaghetti and marshmallows and decorating a cake. The children, of course, found this very amusing! Stephen Wells, chair of governors, thanked Mr Howes for being such an important and lasting positive role model for the children and a person who would be long remembered by those at the school. Scott Howes joined the school six years ago at a time when it had falling pupil numbers. Since then he and Mrs Sargent have made a number of significant changes resulting in the school becoming popular with parents and being rated ‘good’ by Ofsted. “I have very much enjoyed my time at the school and will take away many happy memories,” said Mr Howes.
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December 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine.