Liberal Democrats call for more trains for Yate

Stephen Williams at Yate Railway Station

Liberal Democrat transport campaigners say the new rail timetable highlights once again the poor service received by the people in Yate.

There will still be just one train an hour into Bristol serving South Gloucestershire’s largest town. There is also one train per hour heading north into Gloucester. Many other trains pass through the station without stopping.

Local Liberal Democrats successfully campaigned to get the station re-opened in the 1980s and have been pushing for years to get extra services. Over 300,000 passenger journeys are made from the station each year, but many more of the 35,000 plus people who live in Yate and Chipping Sodbury would catch the train with more frequent services.

Planning the future of local rail services is led by The West of England regional Combined Authority. Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of the West of England in next year’s election, said:

“The West of England must have the worst city region rail network in the country. Potential passengers can only look with envy at the level of service in nearby Cardiff or Birmingham. Yate residents have had to endure just one train per hour for the last 30 years when in that period there has been a huge expansion of houses in the town.

“The prospect of extra trains has been discussed for over a decade but nothing has changed. We don’t need more talk, we need action. The current Conservative Mayor has failed to deliver any local rail improvements.

“I want to see an extra train each hour stopping at Yate, which could come in at the same time as the re-opening of Charfield station in a few years time. If I were Regional Mayor there would be a much greater sense of urgency about delivering a transformation of our local rail and bus services, helping to turn the region carbon neutral by 2030.”

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Council gives unanimous support to Liberal Democrat motion on tackling stalkers and domestic abusers

Domestic Abuse

South Gloucestershire councillors have unanimously supported a motion proposed by the opposition Liberal Democrat Group on tackling stalkers and domestic abusers.

The motion, proposed by Yate North councillor Ben Nutland, highlighted the scale of the scourge that is domestic abuse across the country – with evidence having shown that domestic abuse has increased during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Proposing the motion, Councillor Nutland said:

“On average a woman is killed by a man every three days in this country.

“One in four women in this country will suffer domestic violence in their lifetime.  One in four.

“Three-quarters of violence against women happens in a place where a woman should feel safest – her own home.

“I think colleagues on all sides will agree with me that these are truly shocking statistics.

“By passing this motion tonight we send out a clear signal for those who suffer in silence, that they can speak out and receive the help they need. We can change the narrative from ‘Why doesn’t she just leave?’ to ‘Why doesn’t he just stop?’.

“Domestic abuse is everyone’s problem and the solution must be too.”

Seconding the motion, Liberal Democrat Councillor for Yate Central, Ruth Davis said:

“It’s about stopping the perpetrators not stigmatising the victims.

“We’ve got to get this right, if anything the most important things are the cultural shift, that we prioritise stopping perpetrators and asking them why they do it and including the details of stalkers and domestic abusers on the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register.”

By passing Councillor Nutland’s motion, the Council gave it’s support to:

  • The proactive identification, assessment and management, by the police and probation service, of domestic abusers.
  • A cultural shift, whereby greater emphasis is given to identifying and stopping the perpetrators of domestic abuse.
  • The details of stalkers and domestic abusers being included in the Violent and Sexual Offenders Register.

The Chief Executive of the Council will now write to the Home Secretary and the Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner setting out the Council’s position and asking her to take action.

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South Glos Liberal Democrats welcome declaration of Ecological Emergency

Pollution Protest Banner

South Gloucestershire Liberal Democrats have welcomed the statement by the authority’s majority Conservative group, following pressure from the Opposition Liberal Democrats, that the Council has declared a formal Ecological Emergency.

South Gloucestershire’s neighbouring West of England local authorities of Bath and North East Somerset, North Somerset and Bristol declared Ecological Emergencies earlier in 2020, however Conservative-controlled South Gloucestershire had, until tonight, made no formal statement on the subject.

Following the submission of a motion to tonight’s full council by the Liberal Democrat Group calling for the declaration of an Ecological Emergency, the Conservative group gave notice to the opposition groups of their intention to move an amendment including the phrase: “this council notes that a formal Ecological Emergency has been declared”.

Following this acknowledgement that South Gloucestershire Council has already declared an Ecological Emergency, and the statement by the Leader of the Council during the discussion on Climate Emergency Update Report, that tackling the Ecological Emergency had been fully integrated into tackling the Climate Emergency the Liberal Democrat Group decided it was no longer necessary to move the motion at Council.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Adrian Rush, who had been due to move the Liberal Democrat motion, said:

“I welcome the administration’s acknowledgement that, through it’s work on the Climate Emergency, this Council has already declared an Ecological Emergency.

“Declaring an Ecological Emergency is an important step forward. The administration now needs to demonstrate that it takes the Ecological Emergency, which it has acknowledged, seriously.”

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Call for touch-free pedestrian crossings

Raj Sood at Downend Pedestrian Crossing

Local campaigner Raj Sood is calling for South Glos Council to trial touch-free pedestrian crossings in the busy shopping centre of Downend.

Raj said:

"When we press the button on a pedestrian crossing, we are touching a surface that many others will have already touched, some of whom may have Covid. Installing a simple, relatively cheap piece of kit allows people to operate it touch-free. That cuts the risk of spreading the virus, especially in a busy place like Downend shopping centre. I want to see this technology piloted here, where it could make a real difference."

Cllr Claire Young, Leader of the Liberal Democrats on South Glos Council, wrote to officials to ask them to run a pilot. She said:

"We all want to be as safe as possible as we go about our daily lives. Despite the recent good news on vaccines, it looks like we'll need to be careful about hand hygiene for some time to come. Anything that cuts the number of times we have to touch a surface that others touch has got to help cut the spread not only of Covid but also of other viruses and infections that blight our lives. I hope officials will look seriously at trying out this technology."

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Martin Horwood addresses South Glos Lib Dem's AGM

Martin Horwood

We held our South Glos Annual General Meeting on 19 Nov (by video conferencing) with Martin Horwood - former MP for Cheltenham and MEP for South-West England - giving an insightful talk about the current state of populist politics and what we can do about it.

The following roles have been filled within the local party.

  • President (Honorary) – Eddie Gadsby
  • Chair – Karl Tomasin
  • Vice Chair (Kingswood) – Ayrden Pocock
  • Vice Chair (FABs) – Roger Allinson
  • Secretary – Chris Willmore
  • Treasurer – Andy Daer
  • Membership Development Officer – Philippa Marsden
  • Data Officer – Stephen Bingham
  • Young Liberals – James Arrowsmith
  • Diversity Officer – Recruitment in progress
  • Ordinary Members – Claire Young, Louise Harris, Ruth Davis

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