Highlights from Westbury Community Forum, 8 January 2019

The Meeting was attended by approximately 30 residents, plus our local Beat Manager, PC Steve Harding and our three local councillors – Geoff Gollop, Liz Radford and Steve Smith.
Below is a brief résumé of the main points raised during the Meeting, including relevant external links. 

  1. Police Update
    PC Steve talked through the crime statistics for the last three months. David Mayer also produced a table showing the totals for 2018 compared with those for 2017,  which, when compared to the same period last year, continued to showed a marked decrease in the number of recorded offences such as vehicle offences and thefts, with burglaries down by 50% and robberies by 80%. The total number of recorded offences had reduced from 1308 to 901 (see Table). A request was again made for information on outcomes, such as the number of arrests and convictions, and we were told that the Beat Officer was not allowed to collect such data, but a member of the public could make a Freedom of Information request. Traffic Wardens have been monitoring parking in Westbury on a regular basis and a number of parking tickets have been issued. Police have also been carrying out checks on vehicles as part of a investigation into a drugs ring in the area which was targeting students and other young people – members of the public are asked to look out for small aluminium canisters which hold nitrous oxide. Police are also looking for a silver grey Ford Mondeo with a missing driver’s door handle – if spotted, please ring 999. Finally, the installation of IT equipment in the new police station at Southmead is about to start and work should be completed in about 6 months. 
  1. Update from Councillors
    Stoke Lodge: For some time Cotham School has wanted to fence-off an area of Stoke Lodge which they lease from the Council for use as playing fields, and this has been strongly opposed by the community, originally supported by the Council. The Council has recently reversed its position, and now says that the school does not need permission to erect the fence and that it would be “permitted development”. It appears that the only avenue remaining would be to seek a judicial review. For further details see the We Love Stoke Lodge website.
    Traffic Issues: The report on proposals to develop the A4018, referred to at the last meeting, is now expected to be made public in March – about 3 years after its original date. It has been suggested that the writers of the report may be waiting on other decisions, such as the location of a new Park and Ride facility, which might be based near the A4018 or near the A38.
    Parking: As mentioned by the Beat Manager, parking in Westbury is being checked by traffic wardens on a regular basis and tickets are being issued where offences take place. Geoff shared some of the parking offence statistics for Westbury that he had recently obtained from BCC’s Parking Enforcement Team. Yet again, these figures dispelled the Urban Myth that Enforcement Officers (“Traffic Wardens”) don’t visit Westbury and issue Parking Tickets.
  1. Public Open Forum
    Fix My Street: Concern was expressed that on-line reporting of issues got no formal response from the Council to acknowledge the submission. Alan Aburrow explained that “FixMyStreet” is a nation-wide application, which forwards details to the relevant council. Liz Radford suggested that queries may not be reaching the correct departments and requested that councillors be notified of any that do not receive a timely response.
    Walkability Audit: Alan Morris has carried out an audit of the roads in Westbury village, looking at the need for zebra crossings, central refuges, dropped kerbs etc. and issues such as overly-narrow pavements and inconsiderate parking of cars. His intention is to feed the results into the consultation for A4018 development proposals. For further information, Alan can be emailed at: alan@morrises.fastmail.fm
  1. Community News
    Allocation of Local CIL Funds: In 2018 funding was secured for a number of projects and we are now in the second year of allocation, with applications required in the next few weeks. Details of the funding criteria and how to apply can be found at www.bristol.gov.uk/people-communities/funding-local-projects. Contact one of our Councillors for more information.
    Alan Aburrow gave details of three projects which had been raised before, and could be submitted for CIL Funding:
    (i) The placing of bollards on the corner of Harbury Road to reduce damage to the verge by vehicles cutting the corner
    (ii) Adding a section of “missing” pavement on the corner of Bell Barn Road and Shirehampton Road, to improve safety of pedestrians
    (iii) The provision of two or three central refuges on Canford Lane to improve pedestrian safety
    Tree Report: Stephanie French gave details on how to identify locations where new trees can be planted and how to sponsor a tree or recommend one for funding (see Tree Funding Presentation). In particular, there is funding for 8 or 9 new trees to be planted as replacements for those cut down in the development at 62 Falcondale Road, and Stephanie would welcome suggestions as to where these should be planted. Given the possibility of Falcondale Road being developed, it is probably best not to plant any new trees there! Please contact Stephanie at stephanie@srfrench.co.uk
    Westbury Library: The council has announced a series of “engagement” meetings to obtain community views on library developments for the future. The meetings for Westbury (and four other libraries) will take place at the Greenway Centre from 10 to 12 on 6 and 9 March. More details are available on the Library Group’s: website.
  1. Any Other Business
    Travellers’ Vans: Liz confirmed that she was working with councillors for Stoke Bishop to address the issue of Travellers’ vans parked on roads around The Downs.
    Support for Future Forums: Alan and David announced that this would be their last Community Forum as they were standing down as Chairmen/Facilitators. They had originally taken on the role for a year, back in May 2017, in order to ensure a smooth transition from the previous Westbury Open Forum that had been supported/funded by BCC as part of their now defunct local Neighbourhood Partnership initiative.
    Malcolm indicated that, in the short term, he was prepared to continue as Facilitator for the next two Meetings.
    On behalf of the councillors, Liz thanked David and Alan for all their hard work in keeping the Forum alive and that any residents wishing to help with running the Forum should contact her, or either of her two fellow councillors, ASAP.
  1. Date and Venue for Next Meetings
    Tuesday 9 April 2019 and Tuesday 9 July at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex (Old Pavilion), Coombe Lane, BS9 2BJ – commencing at 7.00pm.

The slides displayed during the Forum can be seen here: Slide Show Jan 2019

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