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Hundreds of homes, nursery and shops set to go ahead

Plans for the new homes, shops and nursery
pad Design Ltd

Plans for 763 homes, a community centre, nursery and shops on the edge of Bristol are set to be approved despite dozens of objections.

The detailed proposals for land at Harry Stoke will be decided by councillors on Thursday (September 19) following a previous decision to grant outline permission.

South Gloucestershire Council officers are recommending giving the go-ahead in the face of opposition from 78 residents and Stoke Gifford Parish Council.

The development forms a significant part of the Harry Stoke Strategic Allocation for 1,200 homes, a local centre and a primary school, the latter of which is subject to a separate application and has also received outline consent.

Plans for the new homes
Focus On Design

But campaigners and parish councillors claim the finalised proposals do not conform with the original “design code”, adopted back in 2012, and that there will be no GP or dental surgery.

They say the appearance and design of properties on the “rural edge” fronting Harry Stoke Road go against what was envisaged seven years ago and that large, four-storey apartment blocks were not included in the document at the time.

But a report to strategic sites delivery committee members said: “The proposal is considered to be acceptable in respect of design, materials and layout, and any deviation from the 2012 design code would not result in material harm.

“The principle of four-storey apartments in this location is already fully accepted. “The design and layout of the community building are considered to be acceptable.”

Knives and firearms to be surrendered to police

Police car
BBC

A knife and firearms surrender has started in Gloucestershire to help take weapons off the county's streets.

Police want people to hand over items that could have the potential to be turned into working firearms, ammunition or knives.

Amnesty bins have been set up at the stations in Hester's Way, Bearlands, Stroud, Cirencester and Coleford.

Circumstances surrounding light aircraft landing under investigation

Light aircraft at Gloucestershire Airport
BBC

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch has confirmed it is investigating an incident involving a light aircraft landing at Gloucester Airport, on Sunday.

"It was reported to us and we are investigating. We will publish the findings when the investigation has concluded," a spokesman said.

Gloucestershire Airport has been contacted for comment.

Light aircraft at Gloucestershire Airport
BBC

Prisoner absconds from Leyhill

Paul Easby
Avon and Somerset Police

A prisoner who is serving a sentence for GBH has absconded from Leyhill open prison in South Gloucestershire, police said.

Paul Easby, 42, was last seen at 6pm on Sunday.

Avon and Somerset Police said he may be heading for Plymouth and should not be approached if seen.

BBC local radio headlines for the West

Radio studio
BBC

Radio Bristol: A BBC investigation has found a waste company, close to fly-infested homes in Avonmouth, breached environmental rules 16 times in a year.

BBC Somerset: Avon and Somerset Police are trying something new in an attempt to reduce knife crime. It is putting teenagers through an intensive week-long course in which they are shown the brutal reality, often in shocking detail.

Radio Gloucestershire: A new scanner is being donated to Gloucestershire Royal Hospital that will revolutionise treatment for thousands of children. The AccuVein is being donated by the family of nine-year-old Henry Bromberg who died in 2016 from a rare heart condition.

BBC Wiltshire: There's been a cyber attack at Swindon College. Bosses say the hackers got access to information about former staff and students after breaking into the computer system. Police are investigating.

EU rights group raises concerns about Settled Status for EU workers

Maike Bohn
BBC
Maike Bohn says people are struggling to understand the implications of Settled Status

Just under half of Bristol's 21,000 EU citizens have applied to try and secure their rights after Brexit.

EU citizens in the city are being offered free help and are being encouraged to apply for Settled Status.

But the government's scheme has been criticised by a campaign group called the 3million, who fight for EU citizens rights. They say people are struggling.

Co-founder of 3million, Maike Bohn said: "Settled status is neither secure nor permanent, nor that easy to understand or maintain.

"There's so much uncertainty and confusion and that's why people panic and that's why people are deeply worried for one reason or another."

Home Office MP Brandon Lewis, says the system is "working very well" and thousands of people are applying to gain this status.

Equipment installed to trace 'bad smell'

Nose
Getty Images

The Environment Agency is installing equipment this autumn as it continues to try to identify the cause of a bad smell in parts of South Gloucestershire.

People living in the Lyde Green and Emersons Green areas have been reporting a mysterious odour that comes and goes, and is said to be particularly bad at night time.

Air monitors, which detect very low levels of methane and hydrogen sulphide, are now due to be placed in the area.

Call to plant more trees to tackle climate change

Trees
Getty Images

There are calls for more trees to be planted across Gloucestershire to help tackle climate change.

The county council has already committed to an 80 per cent reduction in corporate carbon emissions by 2030.

Now a motion is being put forward asking the council to pledge to plant two trees for every resident in the county and get tenant farmers to plant trees on pasture land.

Rare Fabergé sedan chair sells for £380k

Rare Fabergé sedan chair
Cotswold Auction Company

A miniature gold, jade and rock crystal sedan chair by Fabergé has been sold at auction in Gloucestershire for £380,000.

Dating from 1899, the "exceptionally rare" model was bought for £75 in 1929 by Mr Wollcombe-Boyce and remained in the family collection.

The miniature fetched more than three times its highest anticipated price at the Cotswold Auction Company in Cirencester.

Auctioneer Elizabeth Poole, said: "There are only six or 10 of these in the world.

"They're like hen's teeth, they don't come up very often but it was a surprise it made that much."

Gloucestershire Conservative councillor quits his party

Glos County Council meeting
bb

A Gloucestershire councillor has quit the Conservatives, saying the party has become "very right wing".

Keith Rippington split from the Tory group at today's meeting of the county council.

He also posted a statement on Facebook, stating the party was "very right wing and made him feel it’s absurd and not in touch with younger people and only appeals to typical older people".

Council leader Mark Hawthorne has said he was sorry to hear of his decision to leave the Conservative group, "which is solely on national issues".

Leader of Lib Dem’s Paul Hodgkinson added: "A principled councillor makes a stand.

"I would ask all other reasonable Conservative councillors fed up with the extreme direction of their party to think seriously about what is in the interests of Gloucestershire."

South West unemployment drops 2.5%

BBC Business News

Unemployment in the South West has continued to fall to a low of less than 2.5%, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The latest 2.4% figure of people aged 16-64 unemployed between May and July 2019 is lower than the UK-wide figure of just under 3.8%.

The official figures also showed earnings nationally grew at an annual pace of 3.8%.

The ONS said rising employment was being driven mainly by more women in work, partly due to the rise in the state pension age.

South West unemployment
BBC

Hospitals hosting World Suicide Prevention Day events

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital
Getty Images

A number of charities will be offering advice, guidance and support at hospitals in Gloucestershire as part of World Suicide Prevention Day.

Winston's Wish, Samaritans and Suicide Crisis will be among the groups at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and Cheltenham General Hospital.

Each organisation will have a 30 minute slot to speak in the chapel at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital from 11am-2pm and will be on hand to answer questions afterwards.

There will also be an area in the chapel for quiet reflection and candles will be available for people to light in memory of loved ones.

At Cheltenham General Hospital, representatives from the charities will be available between 12-2pm. The events are free and there is no need to book.

Gloucestershire now home to nearly 300 Syrian refugees

Bombing of Aleppo
AFP

Almost 300 Syrian refugees have moved to Gloucestershire since the launch of a resettlement scheme four years ago.

More than 6.6 million people have fled Syria due to civil war in the past eight years - with ten percent living in camps.

The UK has helped 17,000 displaced people since 2015 - and wants to provide homes for 20,000 refugees by next year.

BBC local radio headlines across the West

Radio presenter
BBC
  • BBC Radio Bristol: A 17-year-old boy is due before magistrates this morning - in connection with the stabbing of a Bristol newsagent.
  • BBC Gloucestershire: Plans for a new early morning train serving Cam and Dursley station have been welcomed by transport campaigners.
  • BBC Somerset: Over the past four years more than 160 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Somerset and Bath and North East Somerset.
  • BBC Wiltshire: The parents of a Calne teenager who was murdered are meeting the home secretary later. Ellie Gould died of stab wounds in May.

First test of a £1bn health contract begins

BNSSG CCG and Sirona chief executives Julia Ross and Janet Rowse signing the contract with Sirona chairman Simon Knighton and Dr Jon Hayes, clinical chair of the CCG
BNSSG
BNSSG CCG and Sirona chief executives Julia Ross and Janet Rowse signing the contract with Sirona chairman Simon Knighton and Dr Jon Hayes, clinical chair of the CCG

The first test of a £1bn contract providing “joined up” community health services across the West of England will be ensuring no one “falls through the cracks”.

Sirona care & health will be paid £100million a year for the next decade for services ranging from diabetes support to physiotherapy that are currently delivered by a wide range of organisations.

It was announced as the highest scoring bidder for the contract in July and was confirmed this week after checks of its business case and references.

Julia Ross, chief executive of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG said: “Sirona has a strong focus on quality and innovation, both of which were emphasised in an excellent bid.

“Their track record of working closely with people who use services was also really well demonstrated.

“We’ve been through a thorough due diligence process since July to test the plans, and we are really excited to be talking this long-term partnership forward.

“Our vision, alongside Sirona’s, is to develop services that will give our skilled community workforce the opportunity to provide much more joined-up care for everyone using them.

“That means better experiences and better health outcomes for everyone in the future.”

Trespassers film themselves at airport
Two so-called urban explorers filmed themselves on the roof of a plane and posted the footage online.

Former Next store to be turned into 24-hour gym

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Woman working out in the gym
Getty Images

Plans to turn a former Next store in the south of Gloucester into a 24-hour gym have been given the go-ahead.

Energie Fitness will open a two-floor gym fit with a spin studio and sun beds in the unit where Next was in the Quedgeley retail park in Bristol Road.

The former Next, a fashion retailer, closed down to become a bigger store in Gloucester Quays which opened earlier this year.

According to a council document, the new gym would employ three full-time staff, three to five part-time and two to five freelance employers.

Councillors on Gloucester City Council’s planning committee approved the gym by a majority of nine, with one abstention.

Historic pub could be turned into flats

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Plans to turn an empty historic pub in the centre of Cirencester into flats could be given the go-ahead next week.

Developer CDMC Properties Limited wants to demolish and alter parts of The Wagon and Horses Inn, London Road, to make five flats.

The proposal to develop the London Road pub is the second time it is before Cotswold District Council’s planning committee, which blocked a similar bid earlier this year.

The Waggon and Horses Inn has been closed since January 2018 when its previous tenants’ lease expired.

According to a council document, the pub would be replaced by four two-bed flats and one one-bed flat.

Cirencester Town Council have objected to the application on the grounds of “detrimental loss to the vitality and viability” of the town centre, and would “diminish” the towns cultural and tourism offerings.

A design and access statement submitted to the district council by the developer said: “The proposals have been carefully considered along side both local and national policy to allow for an appropriate development to be proposed."

Council officers have recommended the planning committee approve the application. Councillors will determine the application on September 10, from 9:30am.

Police chief backs officer safety review

The Police Federation's Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously

An urgent national review into the safety of police officers is to be carried out after a rise in assaults on officers.

Avon and Somerset Police Federation chair Andy Roebuck said attacks on officers must be taken seriously.

Films and podcasts aim to help students get the most out of uni life

A series of films and podcasts aim to support new students as they settle into uni life.

A series of five films and podcasts have been made by a university, in response to just under 10% of its student population seeking help from wellbeing services in 2017/18.

The University of the West of England in Bristol aims to use the material to help students succeed and take ownership of their own mental health.

A student survey conducted by UWE Bristol on the overall induction and start of year process in 2018 found the biggest concerns new students had were time management (21%), having enough money (17%), making friends (16%) and adjusting to a new way of life (16%).

The films look at these themes and feature student actors who ensured the university was hitting the right buttons.

Students who were offered a place have been sent links to the films and to five modules on themes such as 'discovering your student self' and 'engaging with your course'.

The films will also be shown at course induction sessions with students encouraged to discuss the themes.

Undergraduates at UWE already have access to residence assistants - other students who live in halls - to talk to and a 24/7 team of professional advisers on the different campuses.

"We want to give a bit of leadership to students and help them learn through failing and not be too hard on themselves if they do fail so they learn resilience," said Simon Phillips, Deputy Director of Student and Academic Services.

Films aim to help students take ownership of their mental health

A series of five films and podcasts have been made by a university, in response to just under 10% of its student population seeking help from wellbeing services in 2017/18.

The University of the West of England in Bristol aims to use the material to help students succeed and take ownership of their own mental health.

A student survey conducted by UWE Bristol on the overall induction and start of year process in 2018 found the biggest concerns new students had were time management (21%), having enough money (17%), making friends (16%) and adjusting to a new way of life (16%).

The films look at these themes and feature student actors who ensured the university was hitting the right buttons.

Students who were offered a place have been sent links to the films and to five modules on themes such as 'discovering your student self' and 'engaging with your course'.

The films will also be shown at course induction sessions next week with students encouraged to discuss the themes.

A series of films and podcasts are launched to help students settle into uni life.

DIY SOS celebrates 20 years

The DIY SOS team
BBC

It's been 20 years since Nick Knowles and the team first issued a call to arms and recruited friends, family and local trades to help transform the homes of families across Britain.

In a special programme tonight Nick takes to the road to catch up with families and communities featured over the past two decades and to find out what happened after the cameras left.

BBC local radio headlines

Radio studio
BBC

BBC Radio Bristol: A review into the clean air zone for Bath has been published by the local council - with another round of consultation starting later this month.

BBC Wiltshire: Swindon's Prospect Hospice still 'Requires Improvement' - but things have got better, according to a Care Quality Commission report out this morning.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: Severn Trent has brought in temporary traffic lights to try to reduce delays on the A40 at Highnam.

BBC Somerset: Plans for nuclear waste from power stations around the country to be brought to Hinkley Point in Somerset could be approved later.

GP avoids suspension over inappropriate contact with patient

Local Democracy Reporting Service

GP writing notes
Getty Images

A doctor who formed an inappropriate relationship with a “vulnerable” patient and handed her a private prescription of valium has avoided suspension.

Dr David Smith, a GP at Locking Hill Surgery in Stroud, also accessed the patient’s medical records when she was no longer in his clinical care, a tribunal found.

A report said Dr Smith avoided suspension due to him “learning much from the experience of this case” and has carried on working at the surgery under supervision.

A representative from Locking Hill Surgery told the Local Democracy Reporting Service Dr Smith’s actions “crossed the professional boundary”, but added there was “no sexual element” to the allegations.

Senior partner Dr Ewart Lewis, said: “Locking Hill Surgery is committed to the highest standards of care and acting in the best interests of our patients.

“We would like to reassure our patients that no other patients or practice staff were involved.

“I am satisfied that the arrangements we have in place are robust and that Dr Smith will continue to provide excellent care to all his patients at the surgery.”

Urgent call for vaccine check to prevent mumps

Public Health England South West is urging freshers and returning university students to check they’re up to date with student vaccines before the start of the university term.

This follows an increase in mumps cases driven by outbreaks at universities across the country earlier this year.

Latest figures show that 227 cases of mumps were confirmed in the South West between April and June 2019 with 2,028 cases of mumps confirmed across England within the same time frame.

This compares to 795 cases confirmed in England last quarter, continuing the increase seen during the first quarter of 2019.

Pictured: Two lanes blocked on M4 after lorry crash

The bridge between England and south Wales has been closed in both directions due to what is being described as a serious incident.

The crash on the old Severn Bridge
Traffic Wales

Yate firefighters still working on hay blaze

View more on twitter

Crews from Yate, Bath and Kingswood fire stations were called to 300 tonnes of straw bales on fire.

On arrival, firefighters used high pressure hose reels, 45mm jets and beaters to tackle the fire and make the area safe.

Crews have also implemented fire breaks to stop the spread with the assistance of the farmer.

The cause is thought to be deliberate.

Severe disruption: M50 Gloucestershire westbound

BBC News Travel

M50 Gloucestershire westbound severe disruption, from J2 for A417 to J3 for B4221.

M50 Gloucestershire - One lane closed on M50 westbound from J2, A417 (Ledbury) to J3, B4221 (Newent), because of a lorry having a tyre changed. Traffic is coping well.

To report traffic and travel incidents dial 0330 123 0184 at any time

BBC local radio headlines

Radio studio
BBC

BBC Radio Bristol: There were four times more arson attacks at Bristol Prison this summer than last year.

BBC Wiltshire: An inquest is being held today into how a 12-year-old school boy from Chippenham, whose bicycle was hit by a car, died.

BBC Radio Gloucestershire: The seventh headteacher to take over at Gloucester Academy in just nine years starts his new role today.

BBC Somerset: Children in Wedmore and Cheddar will be the first to use a brand new fleet of council coaches to get to school today.