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The Labour councillor representing Mangotsfield is taking his concerns about the proposed withdrawal of a bus route to Southmead Hospital to the West of England Combined Authority this week.

Wessex Bus recently announced plans to cease their local services, with most being picked up by Stagecoach instead. However, the #10 service from Lyde Green to Southmead Hospital is due to be withdrawn completely. The bus company says that this is because the local authority has decided it cannot provide the subsidy necessary to make this service viable.

Councillor Michael Bell will raise his concern about the impact of this bus cut on Mangotsfield residents at the West of England Combined Authority meeting tomorrow (Friday) chaired by the Metro Mayor.

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Councillor Michael Bell says:

“I hope that the Metro Mayor and WECA, with its transport responsibilities, can find some way to intervene to reverse this closure.

The local authority’s advice to Mangotsfield residents who need to get to Southmead Hospital by public transport is ‘to interchange at Fishponds or Staple Hill with the 17 service, at UWE with the 77 service or at Bristol Parkway with the 77 or 82 service’.

Very few people who use buses regularly and have direct experience of their reliability will be confident about relying on two buses to reach hospitals in a timely fashion. This comes at a time when the NHS is complaining about the cost of missed appointments.

Even if the #10 is not very widely used, as is claimed, it provides a lifeline to those living in Mangotsfield who rely on public transport to hospital whether as a member of staff, out-patient or visitor.

The Combined Authority has public transport responsibilities. I would suggest that a top priority for public transport is connecting residents with local hospitals. I urge it to intervene to make sure that this lifeline is not withdrawn in September.”

The Combined Authority meets at Kingswood Civic Centre at 10.30 am on Friday morning.

Michael takes Mangotsfield bus battle to WECA

The Labour councillor representing Mangotsfield is taking his concerns about the proposed withdrawal of a bus route to Southmead Hospital to the West of England Combined Authority this week.

Staple Hill Labour councillor Shirley Potts last night received the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) awarded in the recent Birthday Honours List. The ceremony, held at Kingswood Civic Centre, was performed by the Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, Dame Janet Trotter.

The Lord Lieutenant cited Shirley’s longstanding and wide-ranging work in Staple Hill, including a pivotal role in establishing the annual Christmas on the Hill parade and celebration, the Our Place Community Flat (now the Staple Hill Community Hub) on the Pendennis estate, and the Friends of Page Park which is now a thriving community-led organisation.

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Responding to the award, Councillor Potts spoke of her indebtedness to volunteers in her community. She told the Council:

“We all know in this Chamber how important these volunteers are now – without them many of the needs of our communities would not be met and I think we are all eager that their efforts should be recognised.

I couldn’t do the work I’ve done without these volunteers. Volunteers are passionate about the area and they work so hard. I think this medal should be dedicated to them and to the agencies who work with them, and also to my supportive but long-suffering husband.

It is now onward and upward!”

Shirley has been a councillor continuously for 35 years, first on Kingswood Borough Council and on South Gloucestershire Council since its inception in 1995.

Medallist Shirley dedicates to volunteers

Staple Hill Labour councillor Shirley Potts last night received the Medal of the Order of the British Empire (BEM) awarded in the recent Birthday Honours List. The ceremony, held at...

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire have tabled 11 questions to the district’s Tory Cabinet members to answer at next week’s Council meeting, following the new Council leader’s recent declaration at Cabinet that they would not answer them there.

The questions cover a wide range of topics including library access, MetroBus, kerbside recycling, tourism, fly tipping, debt collection and the plight of EU citizens post Brexit.

At the Cabinet meeting earlier this month, Labour councillor Ian Boulton was blocked from directing questions to specific Cabinet members, being told that they would have to go to the chair instead. This leaves tabling formal questions at Council the only route available to make individual Cabinet members account for themselves.

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Labour Group Leader Councillor Pat Rooney observes:

“At the most recent Cabinet meeting the new Leader of the Council appeared to be restricting opportunities to hold the small group of 7 Tory Cabinet members to account.

We have always been concerned about the concentration of power in such a small group, however this now seems to be contracting to just the Leader.  Until now councillors have been able to raise issues with each portfolio holder at Cabinet meetings, so this latest development sounds alarm bells about the state of openness and accountability at this council.

I am sure that the public will be shocked to discover that the special responsibility allowance that most Cabinet members receive is now effectively hush money.”

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The 11 questions are:

To the Executive Councillor for Corporate Resources

From Councillor Adam Monk - How and in what ways has the executive councillor engaged with South Gloucestershire’s major employers since taking up the role?

From Councillor Ian Boulton - With his recent first-hand experience of the Council chasing debt, what is the executive councillor doing to make this service effective and customer-centric?

To the Executive Councillor for Communities and Tourism

From Councillor Eve Orpen - Patchway has experienced a fair amount of fly tipping of large white goods, and residents often expect the Town Council to clear these, which is an expense. How is this council supporting town and parish councils to deal with dumped rubbish?

From Councillor Eve Orpen - How have the recent changes to the green bin collection affected the council’s income?

From Councillor Shirley Potts - Whilst celebrating the increase in recycling rates, what is the executive councillor doing to identify new items for recycling from kerbside collections?

From Councillor Adam Monk - Given recent confirmation that the patronage of South Gloucestershire libraries has reduced since the introduction of Open Access, what actions will the executive councillor be taking to increase numbers?

From Councillor Michael Bell - How does the Council monitor and respond to enforced closures of libraries during advertised Open Access hours?

From Councillor April Begley - How is the Council helping South Gloucestershire’s EU citizens concerned about their future status to access appropriate information and support?

From Councillor Shirley Potts - What strategies and management plans does the executive councillor have to promote tourism in South Gloucestershire?

From Councillor Shirley Potts - What is the executive councillor's vision for the role of tourism in the local post-Brexit economy and what is he doing to achieve it?

To the Executive Councillor for PTSE

From Councillor Roger Hutchinson - The MetroBus project seems beset by regular revelations of increased cost and technical complexity. Is the executive councillor concerned about public confidence in the MetroBus project, and what is he doing to boost it?

"Hush money" criticism of Tory Cabinet

Labour councillors in South Gloucestershire have tabled 11 questions to the district’s Tory Cabinet members to answer at next week’s Council meeting, following the new Council leader’s recent declaration at...

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