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News Index

The Back to Front Church Turns Around

SCAF Fundraising Dinner

Letters to the Editor

National School Saved from Demolition

St. Mary's News

Portway School Summer Challenge 2007

Bristol Half Marathon

The Back to Front Church Turns Around

Any new visitor to Shirehampton's Baptist Church in Station Road has a problem. And that is that the church isn't really in Station Road at all, in spite of all appearances to the contrary.

It is really in Pembroke Avenue, a separate building hidden from Shirehampton's main thoroughfares, and the impressive Station Road frontage is only the church hall, so our visitor either has to find his way through an alleyway by the side of the building, or if the alley gate is locked, have the persistence to go all the way round a block of streets to get to his goal.

The present Baptist Church Hall, soon to become the main entrance to a re-vamped building.

This long-standing frustration is now about to have a solution. Thanks to a legacy that kick-started a building fund, and some inspired thinking from members of the congregation, ingenious plans have been drawn up that will enable the two buildings to be joined up into a unified structure, transferring the main entrance to the more-frequented Station Road, and improving and increasing the facilities of the premises.

The City Council has approved the plans, and building work is beginning. It has been phased so that each part of the project can be undertaken as money is available.

Heading up the work is retired builder Peter Mann, a long-standing member of Shire Baptist. As well as overseeing overall progress, he will be doing a sizeable part of the work himself, assisted by other members. It might seem a daunting prospect, but the membership believes that with faith, prayer, sacrifice and not a little had work they will succeed.

Peter Mann, heading up the re-building work on SBC's ambitious scheme

The project is all the remarkable in that it is being done whilst the church is still without a Pastor, as a successor to the previous minister Tim Baynes Clark, has still not been found. But when a new minister does eventually come to SBC, he will have a much improved church base to work from.

Results of 8km Run

Organised by Portishead Rotary on September 23rd. There were 86 entrants for the run, several from the Shire area and £550 was raised for good causes. Thank you to all those people who came and here's to next year when another run will take place.

Brian Oxley

Shirehampton Library News

Congratulations to Shirehampton reader Ellie O'Neill, who was one of the prize winners for "The Big Wild Read."

Ellie was invited to the Central Library to receive her prize and can be seen in the photo standing 2nd from the left front of Janet Trandall, Christrien's Librarian and Nick Gurney, Chief Executive of Bristol City Council. Congratulations also to all the winners and to every child who competed.

A big thank you to everyone who supported us with the Macmillan Cancer Charity Coffee Morning. We raised £24.20p.

Thanks also to Angela Thompson who donated a copy of her book "River of Passion" in which she refers to Shirehampton.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST - don't forget our "BUMP & RHYME" sessions and our "STORYTIME" on alternate Mondays.

Eileen, Marilyn and Janette.

SCAF Fundraising Dinner

This is your last chance to be reminded about the SCAF fundraising dinner on 17th November, 7.30pm at Kings Weston House. This wa a very successful event last year. People who attended said they enjoyed it very much.

The food is delicious. The entertainment this time is a group of singers. There is a prize draw. There is minibus transport back to the Shirehampton area at the end of the evening; with some discretion on where in Shire the minibus goes (there is more than one minibus).

Most importantly, the object of the exercise is to raise funds for SCAR (Shirehampton Community Action Forum). SCAF seeks to resolve issues in the village relating to Activities for Young People, Community Safety, Green tissues, and latterly, Vision for Shire, looking at what amenities we have got and what we need.

Please support this event. Dinner tickets are £18 per head. The minibus tickets are £3 per head if bought at the same time as the dinner tickets. The tickets are available at the Library and at the Public Hall.

Pat Roberts

Bristol Shiplovers' Society

Founded 1931. Chairman: Captain C. Smith

Meetings held at Holy Trinity Church Hall, Hotwells Road, Bristol

2007 Programme

1st November "Falkland's Experiences" Commodore J. Miller RN & Commodore R.W. Warwck.

15th November "River Severn Wrecks" Paul Barnett

6th December "Re-launch and future of the SS Great Britain" Dr Tony Dickens. The talks start at 19.30

Visitors are very welcome at £3.00 entry.

Please note this is a correction to the dates published last month - Ed.

Cotswold Christmas Fun Time

For the third successive year, the Cotswold Community Association is hosting Christmas Fun Time for children and families. There will be games, songs and things to do Everyone is welcome at the CCA Hall on Sat Dec 1st at 10.30am

Entrance £1.50 per family

Letters to the Editor

Vision for Shirehampton

Dear Editor

It was very gratifying to SCAF's Vision for Shirehampton group to see the responses in Shire to the first Vision article which analysed Shirehampton's shopping facilities.

We thank all those who took the trouble to write, and we value all the suggestions made. We hope many others will express their feelings about the matters raised in all the articles in the series.

We particularly invite your correspondent Mr Sims who pleaded 'ask the people' to write to say how he sees the various aspects of our village as it is now, and how he would like to see things develop in the future. Our aim is to gather as comprehensive a view as possible of 'what the people think'. We do not aspire to speak for the people; we want the people to speak for themselves.

This is more than a curiosity exercise: Bristol City Council is currently engaged in a wide ranging detailed study that will result in the forming of a twenty year development strategy for the city. Vision for Shire is a way of enabling Shirehampton people to have a say in how Shirehampton should fit into those plans.

Brian Blandford

Chair SCAF Vision for Shirehampton

'Safe for Kids to Play'

Dear Editor

With reference to your article on page 5 of October 'Shire', I have lived in Shirehampton and Avonmouth for 56 years and seen so many changes. Years ago the streets and fields were safe for kids to play in and we spent all the summer holidays in what is now Avonmouth Rugby Club - with access to all the land from 'Robin Cousins' to the Lamplighters. What a waste of space that is now! I know it is a haven for wildlife, but wildlife is very resilient…….four years ago I approached a social worker about setting up a place for kids in Avonmouth and Shire to ride their own motorcycles, but after about a year I got the answer 'No' as there were insurance problems. Another gripe I have is about the loss of the local swimming pool. Why didn't anyone with a little commonsense make sure that in the building of the new Portway school there was a pool and gym with all the amenities that now exist at Henbury?

Stan White

'Social Facilities Lost'

Dear Editor

I have read the 'Vision for Shirehampton' features with great interest. I have lived in Shirehampton all my life and not always seen it change for the better. More flats and houses get built and we lose social facilities. Shops close and we do need a good choice to be made available and if it isn't we go elsewhere. We do not need another charity shop or an estate agent or betting shop. We used to have a cycle and toy shop, a jewellery shop and a record/music shop too, all gone.

The swimming baths, Robin Cousins Sports Centre, Groveleaze Youth Club, Tythe Barn, the old Snooker Hall, The Portway Players, all gone. And what has been put in its place? Nothing! Buildings and land in the area get sold off and it's not re-invested into the communities. What we still have in the area for the time being is 'Bob's Gym' in the old Bus Station on Avonmouth Road. It has another six months lease for the moment.

The gym is a family run business by Bob and Jayne Warren and there are many who are thankful for their help, and advice they give. It is highly important that we support our local facilities and when under threat of closure make a stand against it and fight to keep them open.

We also need a youth centre for older children and teenagers, we need facilities that we can use to keep the community fit, healthy and access to all with a social element. However there are local communities out there that have no community newspaper, no community hall, no community association to fight for their area. We are lucky.

We have the Shire Newspaper, we have the Public Hall and we have SCAF who work hard on behalf of the Shirehampton Community, but how many people know what they do and what they achieve working behind the scenes. Don't they deserve more support in the future?

After all a community working together makes it difficult for a local Council to break apart. However if you are relying on Councillors to help out, the response is not very good. What are they doing for Shirehampton, Avonmouth or even Lawrence Weston? We vote them in and we can vote them out.

Kathryn Courtney-O'Neill

'No Reply'

Dear Editor

I noted with interest, that in the Labour Party pamphlet, recently delivered to my door, Sam and Terry Cook, say they are running a campaign to get more for the people of Shirehampton.

When several of us were campaigning to stop the closure of the local swimming baths, I wrote a letter to Terry Cook, but got no reply, despite mentioning it to him face to face. Now that the swimming baths are closed, what's with this campaign to get more things for people in Shirehampton to do?

Name and address supplied

'Shirehampton Shops - Excellent'

Dear Editor

In response to your request for suggestions about shops in Shirehampton, and about residents' shopping habits, I was surprised to read that a majority only use the shops here to 'top up' the shopping they do elsewhere. I do all my food shopping in Shirehampton, and only need to go elsewhere if I want to buy fish or things we can currently only get in health food shops like Ecover refills. So I agree with the lady who said she would like to see a health food shop open here, so long as it isn't one like Holland and Barratt but rather a small independent one like Wild Oats (off Whiteladies Road). If an Iceland opened here I would certainly never use it. The shops in Shirehampton are excellent. I have in the past regularly used Sainsburys and what I buy from the butcher here is miles better than I've had from their most expensive organic and 'Taste the Difference' ranges. I get all my fruit and veg from Bobbetts, and everything else from the excellent Co-op and the bakers. My partner, who lives in London and shops in Waitrose, takes a loaf from the Shire bakery home with him every week, because it's so much better than anything he could get there. Our strength is in our local shops and the last thing we need is more chains and supermarkets. What we have here is unique, and we should build on it with more specialised independent shops.

Top of my wish list would be a fishmongers, a hardware store (like the one in Cotham or Stoke Bishop) and possibly a fabric/sewing shop. Since I moved to Bristol in 2004 I haven't managed to find one and Woollies only do a tiny range of basic things. I heard that we used to have at least a fishmongers and hardware shop but they closed. But perhaps people's shopping habits have changed a bit since then and more of us would use them now.

If you make your own meals instead of buying frozen and pre-prepared stuff, then nearly everything you could possibly want is right here in Shirehampton! If we don't use these shops they will close, and be gone forever.

Pauline Fairclough

Newmans the Butchers

Dear Editor

I am trying to trace the family that ran Newmans the Butchers in Shirehampton High Street. The two brothers were called Trevor and John. Trevor was the best man at my parents' wedding and as we are celebrating my father's 80th birthday in December, I was wondering if he was still alive. I would be most grateful for any information your readers might have.

Margaret O'Connor

Cycle Lights

Dear Editor

The return of the dark evenings has heralded the return of the dark and unlit cyclist. People young and old, who use the roads on bicycles after dark, are a danger to themselves and to those car drivers who have to take avoiding action. It is, I believe an offence to be on the road after dark without lights and reflectors, though it is very doubtful if the police ever take any action. Do the parents of youngsters riding unlit bikes actually know they are on the road in this state? Another gripe is about cyclists - usually youngsters - riding on the pavement. And, although there are now local Community Support Officers in place, I have not noticed any decrease in this other potentially dangerous activity. I have spoken to one or two of them, but, sadly, as is often the case today, the response is usually abusive.

David Hinksman

Christmas Lights

Dear Editor

I see once again an appeal in 'Shire' for help with the Christmas Lights.

I cannot believe that in the whole of Shirehampton there are only a handful of people willing to help. There were 9 but 3 have left the village and 1 is an electrician in a advisory capacity. You will only be asked to help when the lights go up and when they are taken down if that is all you want to do but if you feel like attending the very infrequent meetings just to voice an opinion you can. You never know, when you've started you may want to continue. Also help is needed when the lights are up to sort out a few problems that occur with timers etc.

You will not be asked to climb ladders, mostly what is needed are people to dress the trees (plop over curtain lights and clip them) and shape the trees to fit in the holders and collect the trees. Men or women can do this.

Imagine how proud you will feel having helped when Shire is lit up and imagine the alternative if help is not forthcoming!

Name and address supplied

Shirehampton Methodist Church

Sunday Nov 18th 132nd Church Anniversary & Gift Day.  11.00am Mrs Pam Roberts.  6.30pm Rev. David Alderman.  With the Pilning and District Choir

A very warm welcome is extended to all.

National School Saved from Demolition

The former National School in Station Road has been saved from demolition. The oldest part of the building dates from about 1847, but it was extended twice in the 19th century. Further additions were made in the 20th century. In recent years it has been used as a café and snooker club, which closed early last year. The building is within the Shirehampton Conservation Area.

The owners have been seeking permission to demolish the building and replace it with flats. Bristol City Council rejected a number of planning applications and the developers appealed.

The appeals were held by Mr A.D. Poulter, a Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. He held a Public Inquiry at the Council House on 7th and 8th of August.

The Inspector has dismissed all four related appeals. He has refused permission for the building to be demolished , or for either of two proposed developments. Mr Poulter concluded that the existing building makes a positive contribution to the historic character of the Conservation Area.

It had not been demonstrated that the building is redundant, or that its retention in some form would not be viable. He considered that the efforts to retain the building in use had been inadequate. Neither of the alternative schemes had merits which would outweigh the loss of the existing building.

Editor's comment: Now that the building has been saved from demolition, it is important that some new use is found for it, to prevent further decay through misuse. Do any of our readers have ideas for its future and suggestions on how these ideas might be funded? We would welcome constructive letters.

Brown Owl Says "Thank You"

I was deeply touched by the surprise party arranged for me on my retirement as Brown Owl of the 5th Avonmouth Brownies. It was lovely to see so many of my guiding friends and family there. Special thanks for the thought, to Pat Davidson for my beautifully decorated cake and to staff of the Lamplighters for a tasty spread. I shall not be losing touch completely as I am now a member of the Trefoil Guild.

Good luck to Mandy White as she takes over as the new Brown Owl, I hope she finds it as fulfilling and rewarding as I did.

Pat Maule

St. Mary's News

Hi Folks,

The Area Choir started rehearsals at the end of September for their annual Christmas concert. If you are interested in joining us, there is still time. Just turn up at St Mary's at 7.30pm on a Tuesday evening and Tim Forder, our Director, will welcome you with open arms. The practice sessions finish at 9pm.

Our prayers were answered when we exceeded our target of 200 EuroAid boxes for our Harvest appeal last month. On one Saturday, Canon Christine stood outside the Co-op, and received over £200, plus a trolley full of food and goods. So a very big thank you to everyone who contributed and to all of those who took the time and trouble to fill a box. We usually alternate our appeal between collecting for those abroad one year and for those less fortunate in our own country the following year. Further, St. Mary's also supports The Sisters of Mercy with food for their work among the hungry and homeless all year round, so, once again, heartfelt thanks to all.

Our Harvest service on the following Sunday morning, was enhanced by the baptism of Pam Crawford's grandson, Sebastian - a cheery little chap who did not utter a single sound during the ceremony.

During October we received the gift of a Glastonbury Chair given by James Millet and his family in memory of Ronald and Melinda Holbrook. This wonderful donation can be seen on the south side of the Sanctuary, so take a look next time you are in St Mary's.

Sadly, this month I have to record the death of three people well known to us at St Mary's. A Memorial Service was held for Joan Young who formerly lived in Clifford Gardens, but who had moved to Wellington in Somerset. Arthur Clarke, known as "Nobby", was a regular visitor to the church for his daily coffee and we all still miss him and his sense of humour. I'm sure he is also much missed by his friends at the Shirehampton Golf Club where he often went for lunch. Penny Hicks, who lived in Bradley Crescent, was a regular member of our congregation until failing health prevented her from attending. Jill and I will particularly miss her, as we regularly took Holy Communion to her once a month. Despite her illness, she was always cheerful and eager to share with us news of her baby grandson, Ezra.

We are pleased to welcome to St Mary's, the residents of Avon Autistic Foundation in Dursley Road, to a Coffee Morning, followed by a short service. We hope they will enjoy it and look forward to joining us again next month.

St Mary's Church has, once again, reached the final twelve in the Ecclesiastical Insurance Company competition, mainly due to a lot of hard work on the part of our Lay Minister, Gill Sawyer. On Tuesday 27th of November, Canon Christine, the Churchwardens and, of course, Gill, will be going to St George's Chapel, Windsor to hear the final result. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could actually win! But in any case, we will appear in their 2008 Calendar.

Now for some other important dates to put in your diaries.

On Tuesday 20th November, a Confirmation Service is to be conducted by Bishop Mike at St Mary's in Almondsbury, Gloucestershire. It starts at 7.30pm and all are welcome, particularly the friends and relatives of those who are to be confirmed.

On Saturday, December 1st, we shall be holding our Festive Food Fayre from 10am to 12 noon, in the church. Do make sure you get there early because I can guarantee that all that home made produce will rapidly disappear.

The 2nd of December is Advent Sunday. As well as our usual Holy Communion Service at 10.00am, we shall be holding our Annual Advent Carol Service at 6pm. This is when our Tree of Light, containing all the memorial cards completed at our November Memorial Service, will be lit. The tree will stand in the west end of the church, decorated with white lights, throughout the festive eason and names of loved ones can still be added - but it is always nice to have them on the tree when it is lit for the first time.

On the following Sunday, December 9th, the Shirehampton Choir will present their annual Christmas concert at 2.30pm. The price of £6 will include mince pies in the interval and tickets will soon be available from the Church Office. There will be another opportunity to enjoy some more mince pies later that afternoon, if you attend our "Cotswold Christmas Service" which is to be held in the Cotswold Community Building in Dursley Road at 4.45pm. This will be a combined service with both the Baptist and Methodist churches It should finish about 5.30pm.

Christmas really is just around the corner. Bye for now!


Portway School Summer Challenge 2007

On the 31st July - 3rd August 2007 some existing students became peer mentors by taking part in a one day course at the Bristol City Ground, to get ready for the Summer Challenge. The following pupils; Ellie Tomkins, Katie Andrews, Shea Beeton, Dale Curtis, Hayley Martin and Kimberley Martin, accompanied Tracy Baker and Julie Beeton to Lawrence Weston Community Farm to work with some Year 6 students who would be joining Portway in September. The challenge was to make a recycling centre, one for plastic bottles and the other for cans. They had to design, build, cut wood and paint the centre. It was a huge success (as can be seen by the photograph) and was funded by the Extended Schools Partnership.

(Congratulations to the pupils of Portway School for their winning sports results especially to Year 11 netball and their star player Charlie-Ann Cummings - Ed)

Photograph of 178th Girl Guides Marking 30 Years and Coinciding with the Queen's Jubilee 1977

Sarah Blake happened to be standing beside me and we reminisced about those days. We were wondering whether we should have a reunion and meet up at the Lamplighters sometime in the near future (? Before Christmas) I know Tina Watkins and Sally Rolfe, who also obtained a photograph from the shop, are very keen on the idea. Names I can remember around 1976 - 1980 are Jenny Ray (Captain), Beverley Stinchcombe (Ranger), Claire bees, Christine Joyner, Suzanne Drayton, Lyn Wticombe, Sarah Miles, Caroline?, Joanne Helson and her sister?, Helen Barnes, Tracey Light, Pauletta?, Sally Rolfe Tina Watkins, Debra Prosser, Deborah Morgan, Valerie Souch, Alison Souch, Sarah Blake and Lyn Webb (Assistant guider who still runs around Shire in a mini as a home carer!) there are others in the photograph who I cant name but recognise still living around Shire.

Others I have mentioned are not shown in the guide photo, but could be on the float photograph which you can see at the Shirehampton Studio, Pembroke Road. There are 33 guiders on the float, so you can see I haven't been able to name them all. So come on lets have that get together, catch up and have a good time.

If you would be interested in a reunion please either phone me on 0117 9826823 or email and we can chat about a date which would suit to the majority of people who could attend. Where possible it would be better for me to have an email as I can reply to most of you with a suitable date all at once instead of phoning around individually. Please also refer yourself with your maiden name so I know who you are and others can recognise also. So get dialling/emailing

Catherine Price

Disability Benefits

Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance

There are benefits paid to help with the extra costs of illness and disability. They are not means-tested so you cn claim whatever income or savings you have and they do not affect any other benefit. Some people who get Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance may be able to get more help from other benefits they receive.

  1. Attendance Allowance is paid to people aged 65 and over, who are physically or mentally ill or disabled and need help with personal care. For example, help with dressing, washing or moving around at home or people who need supervision or watching over in case they hurt themselves or others.
  2. Disability Living Allowance is in two parts - the care part is also for people who have personal or "watching over" needs and the mobility part is for people who have great difficulty in walking or cannot walk at all. Disability Living Allowance has to be claimed before you are 65 but can continue after that age.
  3. You do not have to be receiving help when you apply for these benefits: eligibility is determined by the help you are assessed as needing, not the help you get.

Help for Carers

There is not much financial help available for carers. The main benefit is carer's Allowance. This is paid to people who care for someone getting Atteance Allowance or the top or middle rate of Disability Living Allowance. You must be caring for someone for at least 35 hours a week and not be earning very much.

Sometimes if you get at state pension or a means-tested benefit you cannot get Carer's Allowance but your benefit may be increased. The rules are complicated and it is a good idea to get advice before making a claim as the person you care for could lose money.

If you're not sure whether you'll get Pension credit or help with your Council Tax bill or both, then contact Tony for advice, at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association. This is done by attending the drop-in advice sessions on TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS & THURSDAYS between 9.30am & 11.30am. NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY. Otherwise contact Tony on 982 9399

He will check to see if you can get it and also will do a full benefit check. He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, help with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice & other legal matters.

Bristol Half Marathon

This year I decided that I would take up the challenge of running the Bristol half marathon on 9 September. I was going to run it two years ago to "celebrate" reaching the grand age of 40, but was unable to do so due to other commitments. So this year I was determined to enter and began training back in March. I have to be honest I am not a "runner" but my greatest passion is cycling and I attend "spin" classes at Henbury Leisure Centre as well as body pumping, so to actually "run" was a challenge, but I was up for it.

On the day itself, the weather was perfect, no sunshine, but dry and cool, and at the starting line I met three other Shirehampton-ites who had already done the half marathon before. It was quite nerve wrecking, but they gave me very encouraging words so my thanks to Jude, Richael Ridgeway and Katherine Powell (the latter two just beat me by just over a minute!).

At first, I was able to run the race fairly well and reached the 11 mile mark quite easily, but after that it became very hard for those last two miles. To run up the hill by the Galleries was a task in itself, so I walked, but carried on the jogging once I reached the flat level as it hurt a lot more to walk then to run! On reaching the centre Rachael Ridgeway saw me and came up to me and gave me a hug, asked me how I felt and said "you're nearly there, keep going". Marvellous, just what I needed to steer me on! When I reached the bend by the old SWEB building, I felt like I was on the 1,500 metres race track at Portway School field (a distant memory) just wanting it all to end, but knowing that I had sponsors backing me so I couldn't let them down.

There were many spectators cheering us on and a few faces I recognized (many thanks to them for being there!) The sun started to come out and I reached the finishing line in 2 hours, 27 minutes and 16 seconds. Wow, what an achievement, and I still cycled home after the event!

I raised funds for two projects in our local village. I was able to give £210 to the Shirehampton Baptist Church refurbishment (by the time you read this should be underway) and to the second one, the Christmas Lights, I was able to give £150. I would very much like to thank the villagers (and surrounding area) of Shire who contributed towards my tin on 15th September where I was able to raise £80 towards the lights. A BIG THANK YOU to all of you, family and friends.

Can I also say "Well Done" to all the other "runners" of Shirehampton who completed the course. Thankfully, I gained only a small blister on my second toe and a clicky left hip for a few days but am much recovered.

Catherine Brown

(Thanks for your donation of £150.  Ed.)

Shire 'Infants' brigade in training

The Americans who were stationed at Shire Park awaiting embarkation from Avonmouth to Normandy, used to join in with the local community and came to the schools dragging their gear up for us to use. I often wonder how may got back safe and sound to America to tell what it was like in 'Shire.' Something to think about when we criticise the 'Yanks.'

Family Cup Day at Shirehampton Park Golf Club

On July 29th we held a Family Cup Day and although the main cup was won by the Captain (Mel Griffiths) and his brother Biddy, I promise you it was not a fix. We also put on a nine-hole Texas scramble for our junior section and that was won by a father and daughter team, Mike & Rebecca James. A true family result as Rebecca's brother George also caddied for her. It was a very exciting match that finished with a play-off and Rebecca just got her putt in to win with one shot. The runners up were Grandad Bob and Bradley Coombes.

Every Saturday afternoon at 4pm, the pro, John Palmer and his assistant Greg Gough, together with myself (Sylvia Mills) are here to teach the "teenie-weenies" who range from 5 to 12 years. There is a very good mixture of children as can be seen from the photograph. You don't have to be member - just come along, if you feel like swinging a club.

Sylvia Mills (Junior Committee member).

(Many thanks for the donation - Ed)

Proposed Portway Park and Ride Expansion

So Bristol City Council want to expand the Portway Park and Ride in time for when Cabot Circus opens next September. I did go along the "exhibition" and spoke to a Council Officer there and these are answers given so far that day. Park and Rides have to be able to support themselves and Bristol City Council have already admitted "that the present site is not used to capacity" and "has fallen below our expectations, but there has been an 8% increase in usage in the past year". This is for 320 car parking places five and a half years after it originally opened. Of course rush hour means it is busy in the morning and early evening, but in between time, the P&R buses have very few passengers. The "be ready for future projects" and "other city centre projects attract more journeys" quoted in the leaflet are in fact the development of Castle Park and the Bristol Arena next door to Temple Meads railway station I was also told "We may be looking at extending the opening hours of the Park and Ride". What extension would this be? Christmas shopping extensions all year round? Not midnight and gone surely if the Bristol Arena audience is included? And what is "the new amenity building for staff and passengers" and where will it be built?

So what if the Portway Park and Ride expansion went ahead? When the Government grants run out and the Park and Ride again falls below expectation with no money in the kitty to keep it running, what then? Do they try and get someone else to take it over? Do they go cap in hand to the Council and ask the city (that's all Bristolians many of which won't be using the service for obvious reasons) for a hand out to keep it running because it expanded beyond the demand of the service? How long would that continue? And who would lose out? It's the people who are currently using the service. I don't use the Park & Ride myself because it doesn't take me where I want to go. However I do know people who do and I don't want to see them lose out.

I think they should leave the Park & Ride as it is and work on it's weaknesses before even considering an expansion.

Wait at least six months after Cabot Circus has opened then do a re-assessment and see what demand is like then. A lot of information, and facts will be put online concerning the Portway Park and Ride so please check out the web site for regular updates:

There is also a discussion group that you can join in to add your own views. If you don't have a computer at home you can visit your local library and use the computers there.

Kathryn Courtney-O'Neill

(This article was edited through lack of space - Ed)


SCAF and Shire Greens recognise that there are strong views locally, both in favour of and opposed to any extension of the Park and Ride scheme. We are neither supporting nor opposing the principle of the development. However, in the event that the proposal is approved, we strongly recommend that a financial contribution should be made, to compensate for the loss of the existing open space used by the development.

A section 106 contribution to Bristol City Council, Parks and Open Spaces Department, for the maintenance, development and improvement of the Lamplighters Marsh Area, would address the following factors described above:

  1. Preservation and improvement of an open space used by many local residents.
  2. Compensation for the loss of existing open space
  3. Protection of the existing wildlife in the area
  4. Fuller implementation of the Lamplighters Marsh Management Plan 2007-2012

Pension Credit

Almost half of all pensioners are entitled to pension credit, but many miss out by not claiming it. There are two parts of Pension Credit - you may be eligible to receive one or both of them:

  1. Guarantee Credit - this tops up your weekly income to a guaranteed minimum level set by the government.
  2. Savings Credit - this provides extra money each week as a reward for having modest savings for your retirement

Would I qualify?

You need to be 60 or over for guarantee credit; 65 or over for savings credit. Generally, you will receive guarantee credit if your weekly income is less than £119.05 if you are single and £181.70 if you are a couple. For savings credit, you can have a higher weekly income - normally up to around £167 if you are single or £245 if you are a couple - and still receive some benefit.

All these amounts may be higher if you are severely disabled, or a carer or have certain housing costs. There is no savings limit for pension credit but if you have savings over £6,000 this will reduce the amount you get.

Council Tax

  1. People receiving the guarantee credit may be entitled to housing and council tax benefit in order to get all their rent and council tax paid
  2. If you don't get the guarantee credit capital savings below £16,000 you may still get some help towards your rent and council tax
  3. Council tax benefit can be claimed by homeowners as well as tenants, the value of your home does not count as part of your savings
  4. If you live alone make sure you are getting the 25% discount, whatever your income
  5. The disability reduction scheme can reduce your bill if your home has features that are important for a disabled person living there such as a space for a wheelchair or an extra room for their use.

You may qualify for help from more than one scheme - for example a person living alone getting the 25% discount may be also entitled to council tax benefit. If your not sure if you'll get pension credit or help with your council tax bill or both, then contact Tony for advice, at Avon (University Settlement) Community Association. This can be done by attending the drop-in advice sessions on TUESDAYS & WEDNESDAYS &THURSDAYS between 9:30am & 11:30am - NO APPOINTMENT IS NECESSARY. Otherwise ring him on 982 9399 he will check to see if you can get it and also will do a full benefit check. He can also help with applying for other benefits, filling in forms, helps with any problems with debts, housing problems, employment advice & other legal matters

Avon (University Settlement) Community Association offers FREE & confidential advice. We are situated at 115 High Street, Shirehampton

Dogs Friends

Dogs Friends is a Bristol/Somerset based group dedicated to re-housing dogs. Since the end of 2006 we have been receiving dogs for re-homing who might otherwise slip through the rescue net. Quite often these dogs are on the brink of being put to sleep - not because they have done anything wrong, but because of a lack of alternative options. Sometimes these are pets of older people who cannot be moved with them into sheltered housing.

We have placed dogs all over this area and are always looking for homes and foster carers, so if you think you can give a home to a dog, or might be able to take in a foster dog, please let us know. There is no upper age limit on new owners but we do ask for a donation of a minimum of £125 to cover considerable vets expenses.

We have a wide range of dogs looking for that special someone to care for them. All our dogs are wormed, vaccinated and micro-chipped. If you are interested please check out our web-site where you can see the dogs and find out more about any of our events to which you can come along and see them for yourself.

For further details please phone Lyn on 01275 873859

The Jubilee Allotment Site

The Cotswold Residents Action Group are extremely disappointed to report that an application from Jephson Housing Association to build 32 houses for 'shared and social' ownership on this site was approved by the City Council Planning Department on September 12th. Those of you who attended this meeting will know that seven out of eleven councillors present voted in favour of the plans. (I can report that our local Councillor Spud Murphy did vote against).

Despite letters from over three hundred people and a lot of evidence presented to them about the potential dangers of this site, both to do with past and possible future flooding and the consequences of it being used as a refuse tip, Jephson's have got the 'go ahead'. Apparently the site has been designed by the Environment Agency as a Flood Plain 1 - i.e. low risk, despite it being just 50 yards form the River Avon. Although it is difficult to know what we can do to overturn this decision - a legal objection would cost thousands and would need to be based on some illegality - the action group will not give up, and will update you on any future implications. We would also ask those of you who live near the site to keep a watch and take note on what happens next.

Pat Todd

We are just setting up a blog, so if you want to have your say, log in to http:/

Local Lad Honoured

Damian Johnson, who was born and grew up in Shirehampton, has received two special honours in London.

Educated initially at St Mary's Primary School and then at Colstons School, Damian went on to Durham University. He now works as a civilian for Ministry of Defence.

In 2006, Damian received an Operational Campaign Medal after six months service in Basra, Iraq as a political adviser. A few months ago, he was awarded the Queens Commendation for Valuable Service at a Special ceremony in Whitehall, where he was the only civilian honoured. He was especially congratulated for the excellent service given to the MOD in Basra. He had been given additional duties which he executed superbly in a very difficult and volatile environment.

Together with a certificate signed by Des Browne, the Minister of Defence, he also received two medals. A silver oak leaf (QCUS) was attached to the ribbon of the lager silver Operational Campaign Medal - an amazing achievement for a young man of only 27 in his acceptance speech, Damian said he was greatly honoured to receive the award, though he modestly suggested that there are others just as worthy.

Damian has now gained promotion to another post within the MOD, so very well don to a lad fro 'Shire'

Bonfire Night

Bonfire night will soon be on us; parents do not let children and teens have flour and eggs to cause mayhem and distress. If your son or daughter is caught causing bother at Halloween they can expect to be in serious trouble and you will be getting an unwanted visit from the police. Shopkeepers, Do your bit, watch out for eggs and flour being purchased by youngsters and refuse to serve them if they cannot prove they are genuine.

It is illegal to sell fireworks to anyone under the age of 18 and it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to possess fireworks in a public place.

For your safety and the well-being of everyone around you follow the firework code:

  • Keep fireworks in a sealed box or tin
  • Use them one at a time. Replacing the lid immediately
  • NEVER put fireworks in your pocket
  • Read the instructions carefully, using a torch or hand lamp NEVER use a naked flame
  • Light fireworks at arms length using a taper or a firework lighter
  • Stand well back and NEVER return to a firework after it has been lit, it could explode in your face
  • Ensure that all children with fireworks are supervised
  • NEVER throw fireworks
  • Keep all pets and animals indoors
  • Take care of sparklers, wear gloves to hold them and dispose of sparklers in a bucket of water as soon as they are finished

Secret Garden Revealed

Hidden away behind the Cotswold Community Association hall is a garden. Unknown to many people who pass the building, it has plants, trees and shrubs that were once carefully tended, but for the last few years, bindweed and brambles have made the garden more hidden still.

But now its moment has come! Determined to make it a nice place for CCA visitors to enjoy, and to become a useful resource for such things as community barbecues, the tangle of undergrowth has been cleared away with the help of City Council Contract Services, and the next stage is to make the area safe, with new steps, paving and garden furniture.

Next summer the Association looks forward to hosting open-air events in the sunshine - though the latter is something even BCC Contract Services could not guarantee the Association.