School meal secrecy

School meal charges in South Gloucestershire were discussed today – in secret, with doors closed. Any new fees will apply for the school year 2017-2018.

Liberal Democrat Resources spokesman Cllr Mike Drew said: “We ought to be able to discuss the principles in public, our residents ought to be aware of this debate. I’m opposed to going into exempt session unless we need to.”

Cllr Claire Young (Westerleigh) added: “It’s going to be obvious what each school is going to be charging pupils. Parents are going to talk! Yet everything we discussed, and how any vote went is officially secret. This is absurd.

“It’s a basic principle of democracy that decisions should be taken in public, wherever possible. Officers warned us away from specific commercial information – but we could have had the discussion on principles, at least. This report title covered fees for school meals, school music lessons, and community meals. These directly affect our children, and our vulnerable residents. I can’t believe that every Tory, and every Labour member of the committee decided that the whole thing had to be hidden away, behind a closed door.”

The vote to go exempt was carried 7-2, with both Liberal Democrats voting against.


Report was Item 16 at


Stephen Williams selected as Liberal Democrat candidate for West of England Mayor

Claire_Young_congratulates_Stephen_Williams_on_his_selection_as_Liberal_Democrat_Candidate_for_West_of_England_Metro_Mayor.JPGFollowing a vote of the local party membership Stephen Williams was this afternoon selected as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Metro Mayor for the West of England to be held on Thursday 4th of May this year.

Following a series of hustings in front of the party membership in Yate, Bath and Bristol, the former Local Government Minister and MP for Bristol West Williams secured the Liberal Democrat nomination ahead of Simon Cook in the membership vote. 

Speaking to party members following the final hustings meeting in Bristol Stephen Williams said:

“It’s an honour to be selected, I am determined to win this election and deliver real change for people in the West of England”.

“My main priority will be continuing economic prosperity, but by tackling the main constraints that hold us back – the lack of affordable housing, and the woeful state of our public transport.”

“This election is a clear choice between me and the inexperienced Conservative candidate. Our region needs the strongest possible leadership and with my experience, I can offer just that”.

“I will also stand up for the majority of people who voted to remain in the European Union,  and will work with the business community to persuade the Conservative government to keep us in the single market and avoid a disastrous hard Brexit which will risk jobs and livelihoods particularly in the aerospace and manufacturing industries. 

Congratulating him on his selection Claire Young, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury and Yate, added:

"The Metro Mayor will need to work with and challenge the government for more power and resources if this devolution deal is going to make a difference to the day-to-day lives of people across the West of England. Stephen has a wealth of experience and a positive track record of working in local government and at the highest levels in national politics."


Former MP Steve Webb awarded Knighthood in New Year's Honours List

Steve WebbMany congratulations to Steve Webb on being awarded a Knighthood for Political and Public Service in the New Year Honours.

As our MP for 18 years, he was a passionate local campaigner, dedicated to helping people in our constituency. He was also a highly regarded Minister for Pensions for five years. Thanks to Steve, the state pension is protected by the "triple lock", people have more freedom about how they use their pension pots and millions of low paid workers are saving for a pension for the first time. It's great to see his hard work both locally and nationally being recognised.

Steve has been keen to say that his honour is the end result of a fabulous team effort over so many years. If you would like to help continue this, please get involved. You can get in touch at


Season's Greetings and useful info

As we approach the Christmas and New Year period, we thought it might be useful to bring together in one place some information about the availability of local services over the holiday period. This includes everything from opening hours for emergency chemists to arrangements for recycling your Christmas tree.  

We hope that this information is helpful. May we take this opportunity to wish you and your family a very Happy Christmas.


Bin Collection Dates

There are some changes to waste and recycling collection over the Christmas period:

 If your collection should be: It will take place on:
 Monday 26 December  Tuesday 27 December
 Tuesday 27 December  Wednesday 28 December
 Wednesday 28 December  Thursday 29 December
 Thursday 29 December  Friday 30 December
 Friday 30 December  Saturday 31 December

You can check your precise date and what will be collected at

Recycling your Christmas Tree

Before you recycle your tree remove all decorations, pots and stands.

Using the garden waste service

Green bin collection (subscription only): If you have subscribed to the garden waste service you can put your tree into or next to your green bin. Alternatively you can buy a single use garden waste sack for £2 from your nearest library or Country Stores at 48 High Street, Marshfield, SN14 8LP. Just attach the sack to the tree for a special one off collection after Christmas. If your tree is over 6ft, it must be cut up into smaller sections for collection or taken to the Sort It recycling centre

Taking it to a recycling centre

You can recycle your tree at one of four Sort It recycling centresReal Christmas trees need to go into the skip for garden (green) waste, not the wood waste skip. Don’t forget to remove all decorations, pots and stands before recycling.

Out of Hours Pharmacies Times

You can view all opening times for South Gloucestershire pharmacies over the Christmas period here: 

Train engineering times over the Christmas period

From Saturday 24th December until Thursday 29th December London Paddington will be closed to all rail services. This will mean that GWR rail services will start and finish at Ealing Broadway, from where you can take the underground or a bus. However, the station does not have step-free access. So if you are travelling with heavy luggage or find steps difficult for any reason you will need to change at Reading and use services from there to London Waterloo. Unfortunately that will mean a longer journey.

You can find out more on the GWR website.

Bus services

Certain buses in the West of England will be running different timetables over the Christmas period. Some may be running Saturday timetables on weekdays, or running Sunday & Public Holiday timetables on public holidays. Some are running special timetables which are neither their weekday nor weekend timetables.

More information is available here.



Campaigners welcome "more future-proof" broadband

Claire_Young_and_Codrington_broadband_campaigners.jpgBroadband campaigners have welcomed the announcement that a number of villages across the Thornbury and Yate area will get a better, more future-proof service.

Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Thornbury and Yate, Claire Young, said:

"We are delighted that South Gloucestershire Council has finally listened to our pleas for a more future-proof solution taking fibre all the way to individual houses. We have been campaigning with people living in the rural areas who know that the simply upgrading the lines going into the green cabinets to fibre doesn't work. If your house is connected to the cabinet by a long copper wire your broadband will still be slow and unreliable. Yet until now tax-payers' money has been spent on this out-dated solution in South Gloucestershire." 

Cllr Sue Hope (Lib Dem, Cotswold Edge) said:

"This is great news for the villages that will be upgraded. Broadband is becoming an essential service, with everything from booking a doctor's appointment to tracking what your MP is up to happening online. Our businesses need fast internet access to remain competitive, it's central to the modern economy."

She added, "There will still be villages crying out for faster broadband, places like West Littleton where Claire and I met campaigners in the summer. We will keep fighting until all our residents have broadband access that's fast enough for today's needs and well into the future."


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