Saltford Environment Group
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Free entry for SEG fundraiser at the Jolly Sailor, 1st June 6pm onwards
On Friday 1st June from 6pm onwards there will be a great opportunity to support SEG at the Jolly Sailor PH. While you are there you can see the recently produced full size image of the remarkable and historic 1728 painting of the Jolly Sailor and life on the river when the locks were first installed that is now back in place after a 25 year absence (see previous news item).
Entry will be free and 20% of all food and bar takings from 6pm onwards will go to SEG - so whether you fancy a summer evening's meal or just a drink in one of Saltford's pubs you can simultaneously support SEG. And if you enjoy live music, SEG's Vice Chair, Chris Warren, and his band "Kenny and the Jets" will be playing Indie and Rock music from 8pm - they may even play outside if the weather is fine.
Image of important early 18th Century River Avon painting returns to Saltford!
NOTE: A larger version can be seen in our Online Museum (18th C) or, even better, visit the Jolly Sailor & see the full size 5' wide version where you can see the detail including the brush strokes & technique of the painter.
25 years after it left the Jolly Sailor pub in Mead Lane, Saltford in 1993, a print image of the 1728 painting measuring over 5 feet in width of the Jolly Sailor when it was the Mill owner's house returned to Saltford on 22 May 2018. It is now hanging in the original home above the main fireplace in the Jolly Sailor. That was where the painting had been for 265 years before it was removed and subsequently sold at Christie's.
As part of Saltford Environment Group's History of Saltford project, SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, traced the painting to its new private owner who kindly gave permission for Phil to visit and photograph the painting in high resolution so that the image of the remarkable scene that the painting portrays could be returned to its original home in Saltford.
The 290-year old painting shows important historical information. It was painted just one year after the locks were first installed on the River Avon between Bristol and Bath and navigation of the River Avon had begun. Its heritage value to Saltford is significant as it is the oldest known painting depicting a Saltford scene.
Phil Harding said: "It was very kind of the owner of this early 18th Century painting, who wishes to remain anonymous, to allow me to visit and photograph it in high resolution so that a full size reproduction print can be displayed where the painting once hung for 265 years. It's great to see the image it portrays back in Saltford again."
The manager of the Jolly Sailor Shiva Saripilli said "The Jolly Sailor is grateful to Saltford Environment Group for tracing and photographing this famous painting so that we can display it here. We look forward to welcoming residents and visitors to come and see this historical record of life here at the Jolly Sailor in 1728."
Further information and historical significance
In 1993, 265 years after it was painted, this painting left the Jolly Sailor pub where it had hung above the fireplace in the main bar. It was sold by Christie's in June 1994 for £8,500.
Measuring 167.2cm x 64.2cm (5' 5.75" x 2' 1.25") and dated at c.1728 by art experts and industrial archaeologists, this is the oldest known painting depicting a Saltford scene.
The lock had been opened in 1727 when the Avon Navigation was opened linking Bath to Bristol. It is thought that the house became an inn, the Jolly Sailor, from the 1740s; the first recorded landlord, from 1749 to 1789, was Francis Hunt.
Despite its simplicity and stretched perspective the painting is an important industrial and social historical record for the River Avon and Saltford. It provides a rare depiction of activity on the river soon after the locks had been built by Bristol-based civil and mechanical engineer John Padmore that allowed river traffic to bypass Saltford and Kelston weirs.
As the somewhat grand house is central to the picture it is thought that this painting may have been commissioned by the mill owner at the time, Mr Faux.
The painting depicts the miller's home (central building), the paper mill itself (left-hand building) that was later converted to become a leather mill, the drying house (right-hand building), and the new Saltford Lock.
In the central foreground is the lock island with steps, the original lock gates and beams. On the river can be seen a variety of boats including a wherry (left of picture, with square sail), passenger and other pleasure boats with red flags, small rowing boats, a cargo carrying barge with sail (centre within the lock) and a barge pulled by men (right).
This was before landowners along the river permitted horses onto their land for pulling barges. Concerned that heavy horses would damage their land, horses for pulling barges were not allowed access. However, lobbying and a petition from local manufacturers along the river led to the passing of the Amendment Act of 1807 (47 Geo III c.129) that allowed for a horse towpath along the river.
The painting shows a sense of prosperity for the Bath to Bristol area, sustained by the industrial activity of the many mills along the River Avon and the amount of river traffic including for pleasure use that had become possible by the new navigation as a result of the installation of locks.
Great British Bee Count 2018
The Great British Bee Count started on 17 May and finishes at the end of June. Can you help make it the biggest Bee Count ever? You can take part wherever you want. Why not keep a look out for them on your way to the shops, work or school? Or search in your garden or local park at the weekend? It's a fun and easy way to discover the wonderful world of bees in our gardens, streets and green spaces.
There are smartphone apps (Android or Apple) you can download to help you count the bees including a bee identification guide and survey, a guide to bee-friendly plants and tips for creating habitats for pollinators.
In April it was announced that bees across the European Union will be protected from bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides. But bees still face threats from habitat loss, climate change and intensive farming. Taking part in the Great British Bee Count will help provide researchers with valuable insights into how to help bees thrive. This year thousands of bee sightings submitted with a photo will also contribute towards the UK government's Pollinator Monitoring Scheme - the first comprehensive nationwide health check for Britain's wild bees and other pollinators.
The Great British Bee Count website has lots more information including links for the free apps at: https://friendsoftheearth.uk/bee-count.
Senior Highways Development Control Engineer, SEG & 330+ object to another 200 houses between Keynsham & Saltford
Over 330 objections were submitted to B&NES Council for the proposed 200 houses on safeguarded Green Belt land in Keynsham (outline planning application 18/01509/OUT). This included an objection from the Senior Highways Development Control Engineer at B&NES Council due to the lack of capacity on the existing road network, a point made by many of the 330+ objections including the objection from Saltford Environment Group - see our April news item "SEG objects to premature planning application for another 200 houses between Keynsham and Saltford" (link).
The Senior Highways Development Control Engineer's objection (24 April 2018) noted that planning permission for this land would only be granted following a review of the B&NES Local Plan. That review was underway, and the required transport infrastructure for the future Local Plan was being considered. This includes a review of sustainable transport connections, and additional highway infrastructure that would support future development and also mitigate adverse impacts.
The specific objection from the Senior Highways Development Control Engineer at B&NES Council said:-
"Given the relevant planning policy requirement and the infrastructure requirements presented as part of the Joint Spatial Strategy, the highway authority objects to the planning application for the following reason or similar if required by the planning authority."
"The existing road network in the vicinity of the site has insufficient capacity to accommodate the increase in traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to Policies KE3b and ST7 of the Bath & North East Somerset Placemaking Plan, and contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework."
Interestingly the Senior Highways Development Control Engineer also said in his comments leading up to his objection that "The modelling undertaken for the Placemaking Plan evidence base clearly demonstrated that the traffic generated by the safeguarded land could not be accommodated within the wider road network."
It is clear to anyone who travels by road at the present time in the Keynsham area including approaches to Keynsham High Street that existing roads struggle and increasingly fail to cope with existing traffic. That is almost certainly a result of recent new housing developments that were not accompanied with the necessary new transport infrastructure on a road system that was already at or near full capacity. This has a knock-on effect for road traffic between Saltford and Keynsham as well as causing significant congestion on Keynsham's local road system.
Another concern from residents has been the lack of school places. Education Services at B&NES Council highlighted this problem and in its response (26 April 2018) set a condition that "The planning application must be able to demonstrate that the required education infrastructure can be delivered in a timely fashion in order to accommodate the children generated by the proposed development."
Saltford Parish Council were consulted too late by B&NES Council on this planning application to deal with it at its May meeting and the Parish Council has asked for an extention so that it can discuss and agree its response at its next meeting on 5th June. The target decision date for this planning application is 5 July 2018.
Saltford School sets the standard for cleaner travel
Saltford Church of England Primary School are continuing to encourage their pupils, staff, parents and carers to either cycle, scooter or walk to promote active and sustainable travel to and from school. Last July they were awarded a Modeshift STARS Silver Award as recognition for their efforts. This year, they have run several more events including a virtual walk from Land End to John of Groats, a' Bling your Bike Day' and have entered 'The Big Pedal' challenge; all to inspire their pupils, staff and parents to choose more sustainable modes of transport.
Modeshift STARS is a national scheme which recognises and encourages schools to increase levels of sustainable and active travel to improve the health and well-being of children and young people. The Silver Award is presented to schools that achieve a reduction in car use on the journey to school, deliver a whole-school approach and deliver above and beyond what is normally expected of a school.
The school is hoping to have their efforts recognised this year as they strive for a Gold Award and wishes to encourage members of Saltford community to also consider travelling more sustainably when visiting the local shops or clubs that our village has to offer.
SEG members may recall that we reported in July 2017 how the school had become the first in the B&NES area to achieve a Modeshift STARS Silver Award (free active travel breakfasts for those who walk, scoot or cycle to school; new bike racks and scooter pods; bikeability training etc.) and in November 2017 that on 21 November Saltford Church of England Primary School received the top prize as The Primary School of The Year 2017 in B&NES for their work on promoting sustainable travel at the school.
What a great example our local children and their teachers set!
Saltford Wombles : Litter Pick Sunday 20 May
Our last litter pick was alongside the A4, Saltford Hill car park and Manor Road. We had an even better turnout than the previous month with 14 of us collecting 18 bags of rubbish. A great result though a shame to find so much discarded litter, that's 45 bags in 3 months.
The next Litter Pick is on Sunday 20 May, 2.30-4.30pm. The meeting point, weather permitting, is outside the Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road, Saltford.
If you have litter pickers and gloves, please do bring them but if not, we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council.
If anyone would like to know more about joining us, whether to adopt your street or the monthly meets, please contact Jo at the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eastover Farm - Open Garden 1st July in aid of Citizens Advice
The 4 acres of rural-gardens including the wildflower meadow and woodland at Eastover Farm (Manor Road, Saltford, BS31 3AF) will be open for you to walk around and enjoy on Sunday 1st July from 1.30pm until 6pm.
Entry will be £2 per person with Tea and Cakes available to purchase and onsite parking available. The proceeds will support your local Citizens Advice Charity - last year Citizens Advice BANES supported over 8000 clients, including some 800 in Saltford/Keynsham, to secure income gains from benefits etc. of over £5million and helped them deal with recovering from debt, homelessness, employment, family issues and so much more.
Come along for an enjoyable afternoon out and help ensure this vital work continues. The garden has been developed over several years by Ray and Penny Buchanan to be wildlife-friendly and feature mainly trees, flowers and shrubs that are native to this part of Somerset.
DIRECTIONS for Eastover Farm: Turn right at the top of Grange Road, Saltford into the lane (Manor Road) and the entrance to Eastover Farm (BS31 3AF) can be found after about 300 yards straight ahead after the first sharp bend. Parking will be available for a limited number of cars in the field behind Eastover Farm (NOT up the driveway which will be for pedestrian access only).
Joint Spatial Plan submitted to Secretary of State - papers available to view
The West of England Joint Spatial Plan that sets out the policies and principles "for determining the most appropriate and sustainable locations for future development to meet its housing, employment and transport needs for the next 20 years, to 2036" was submitted to the Secretary of State on 14 April 2018. The JSP will now be examined for its compliance with statutory requirements and on its soundness by Government Inspectors.
All submission documents are available at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk. A copy of consultation responses can be found at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk/.../listRepresentations. SEG submitted its evidence on 9th January 2018. Further information including SEG's evidence can be found on our Green Belt page.
No Strategic Development Locations have been identified for Saltford but we are aware that developers are lobbying for development on Saltford's Green Belt in the context of the B&NES Local Plan which will identify and allocate sites to meet the housing and economic development requirements established by the West of England JSP; SEG and Saltford Parish Council are making representations concerning the B&NES Local Plan accordingly.
Only those who have submitted evidence will be able to attend the JSP hearings. The precise date for the opening of any formal hearing part of the examination into the JSP will be decided by the Inspectors. It is currently anticipated that the hearings will begin in autumn 2018.
SEG publishes aerial photographs of Saltford village
At the end of April SEG published some fascinating aerial photographs of Saltford specially commissioned by SEG to enable a comparison to be made between Saltford's historic aerial photographs taken in the 1930s, 60s and 70s (you can enlarge and compare most of them) and how Saltford looks today.
This is part of our History of Saltford project and the recent and historic aerial photographs can be found in our Online Museum on the 20th Century section.
Biodiversity depletion is why we need to defend the Green Belt
The populations of the UK's most endangered creatures have fallen by two-thirds since 1970 and one in 10 wildlife species face extinction. Agriculture, climate change and urbanisation have all been named as reasons for the decline. That is according to the State of Nature Report 2016, a yearly scientific report compiled by more than 50 conservation organisations, analyses how wildlife is faring in the UK.
The abundance of wildlife has fallen so far that the loss of biodiversity means the UK is one of the most depleted countries in the world, according to the Biodiversity Intactness Index that is based on a global database of local biodiversity surveys combined with high resolution global land-use data.
Our nation's food security relies on a healthy natural environment, both at home and abroad - we import around 40% of the food we consume (Defra) yet we cannot continue indefinitely to rely on such a high level of imports against a background of climate change and a growing world population. If our agricultural land is to be able to function for growing food it needs the ecosystem support of surrounding natural or semi-natural land to provide, for example, habitat for pollinating insects.
As Sir David Attenborough once said:
"Anyone who believes in indefinite growth on a physically finite planet is either mad or an economist."
And as Joseph Woodkrutch, writer and naturalist, said:
"If we do not permit the Earth to produce beauty and joy, it will in the end not produce food either."
This is why in our response in April to the Government's consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) SEG called for a 6th purpose of the Green Belt in national planning policy, "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and/or the wider natural environment".
81% of B&NES is farmland compared to the national average of 57% yet only 5% of B&NES is natural or semi-natural land (heathland, natural grassland etc.) compared to a national average of 35%*. When planning for all our futures, it makes no sense for B&NES to lose anymore of its precious Green Belt to development.
The amazing 1,000 mile walk of John Stokes in Saltford, 1815
This true story from 200 years ago will inspire everyone who wants to become more active in their daily lives just by walking more and sitting less. SEG has published the amazing story with original images of John Stokes and his 1,000 mile walk in Saltford.
John Stokes from Bristol had successfully taken up walking as a way to lose weight and improve his health - he had weighed over 19 stone from a gluttonous lifestyle but in two years had become "truly athletic and handsomely proportioned".
He was so fit from taking regular long walks from Bristol into Gloucestershire that in 1815 he walked 1,000 miles in 20 successive days round a marked out 1-mile course behind The Crown Inn in Saltford!
His story and actual account of the walk (the sport of long distance speed walking was then known as "Pedestrianism") is an interesting look at life in 1815. You can read about this impressive feat undertaken in rain, sleet, sunshine and blustery weather on our Online Museum 19th Century page (link).
Changes at Saltford Parish Council's Planning Committee
At Saltford Parish Council's annual meeting on 1st May, the Chair of the Parish Council Chris Warren and Vice Chair Phil Harding were re-elected to those positions. A new Chair of the Council's Planning Committee was elected; Adrian Betts stood down as Chair and was elected Vice Chair and the previous Vice Chair, Phil Harding, was elected Chair.
SEG's members will be aware that Phil Harding and Adrian Betts, as well as the rest of the Parish Council, are committed to defending Saltford's Green Belt from development. The major decisions to be made in the context of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan and the B&NES Local Plan including the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) review make 2018 and 2019 a critical period for protecting the natural environment and our Green Belt.
SEG objects to premature planning application for another 200 houses between Keynsham and Saltford
On 30 March SEG submitted a strong objection to B&NES Council concerning planning application 18/01509/OUT for 200 houses etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs".
SEG's objection said:-
"SEG strongly objects to this outline planning application for 200 houses etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs". The purpose of safeguarded land has been to consider it for development (i) AFTER the other developments identified in the Core Strategy have been completed, not before, and thus when infrastructure is already in place and found to be coping with existing and new demands placed on it, AND (ii) if a genuine demand for additional new housing remains after the other Core Strategy developments have been completed."
"To allow this to proceed before other developments that were very regrettably allowed in the B&NES Core Strategy on Keynsham's Green Belt would put undue and additional pressure on transport infrastructure and public services. Those services and infrastructure already struggle or fail to cope with the existing housing density before the proposed Core Strategy developments have been built and supporting infrastructure for those developments put in place beforehand."
"It is thus far too premature to even consider giving outline planning permission to this application and to permit this would make a mockery of the purpose for safeguarding land in the Core Strategy for longer term development needs when those needs have not yet been assessed and the effects caused by existing plans for development of the Green Belt have not been experienced, assessed and remedied where found to be negative."
In addition to the above, SEG said that this development would be contrary to the principle of sustainable development and referred to the lack of natural or semi-natural land in B&NES that is required to provide ecosystem support for local farmland for food security, i.e. our local Green Belt should be protected from development. SEG also reminded B&NES of the principle of "net environmental gain" for housing and infrastructure development announced by the Prime Minister when launching the Government's 25 year plan for the environment in January 2018.
SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 8 May 2018) can follow this link and key 18/01509/OUT into the search box: B&NES Development Control. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to email@example.com but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (18/01509/OUT).
Native and Spanish Bluebells
One of the joys of a British spring is the appearance of bluebells in our woods and gardens. But as many now know, our native English bluebell Hyacinthoides non-scripta could be at risk because it readily cross-breeds with both its Spanish cousin Hyacinthoides hispanica, often planted in gardens, and with the resulting fertile hybrid Hyacinthoides hispanica x non-scripta. This dilutes and threatens the purity of our native bluebells.
The Spanish bluebell has been spreading so rapidly that a 2003 survey report (Bluebells for Britain) found that one in six broadleaved woodland sites recorded had either the Spanish or hybrid bluebell present alongside a native bluebell population. Our English bluebells are already under attack from climate change, habitat loss, and unsustainable collection (it is illegal to collect bluebells from the wild for commercial purposes and illegal for anyone, without the permission of the owner or occupier of the land, to intentionally uproot any wild plant) so we must do what we can to avoid planting or growing Spanish bluebells in our gardens.
The irresponsible dumping of garden waste and soil in wild areas is one way Spanish bluebells have invaded our woods and other semi-natural habitats. Likewise the well-intentioned but highly misguided planting of garden plants and seeds in wild or public areas by members of the public (this has happended in Saltford) can lead to the spread of invasive alien species and loss of natural wild flowers. Garden plants should stay in gardens and not be spread into the wild and more natural areas of our environment. Choosing native plants for your garden instead of non-native species is an important way of helping to support rather than harm our eco-systems.
If you have bluebells in your garden, it is important to control or better still remove any offending Spanish bluebells, especially if you live close to woods. To tell them apart, the flower heads of native bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) are narrowly bell-shaped with straight-sided petals, deeply curled back at the tips. The majority of flowers droop from one side of the stem. The bell-shaped flowers of Spanish bluebells (Hyacinthoides hispanica) and the hybrids between this and the English bluebells open more widely than on English bluebells, with the petal tips just flaring outwards or curling back only slightly.
Bluebells are very resistant to weedkillers that appear to be ineffective, it is better to dig them out while they are in leaf, as the bulbs are very hard to find when the plants are dormant. Never dispose of bulbs by adding them to the garden compost heap and never discard unwanted bulbs in the countryside. Consign them to a black plastic sack and leave for a year before composting.
Further information is available on the Royal Horticultural Society website: www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=426.
More and older news stories from SEG
Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
In addition to volunteer assistance with projects such as Saltford Wombles (tackling litter), Fairtrade Group, and our Railway path habitat restoration project we sometimes have specific roles or posts that need filling.
Here are the current vacancies:-
Want to get more involved with SEG?
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
First published February 2018, updated April 2018
Want to help staff Saltford's Heritage Centre?
Saltford has a fascinating history as SEG's popular history project has proved. We are aiming to start opening our new and popular Heritage Centre (link) at least once a month for residents and visitors in the mornings. This will be from Easter/April to September and the openings (usually 10am to noon) will be advertised on our website and on facebook. We will also be having special openings for Saltford School children and other groups to visit as well as aiming to open jointly with Saltford Brass Mill for history related events (e.g. during Museums Week).
One of the centre's two curators will usually be present to oversee everything and if you would like to join our team of volunteer stewards that we can call on to staff the centre during openings and you would be able to manage 2 to 3 hour shifts please contact Phil Harding by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) giving your name, telephone, address and email and state if you would be able to manage weekends, weekdays or either. This stewardship role is for SEG members only.
First published December 2017
Future SEG website development - can you help?
Our website has become a very popular resource for our members and others, with over 2,000 unique visitors per month, typically opening over 5,000 pages. Using a relatively simple design and basic html approach, it has grown organically since 2011 into an extensive library of articles, themes, links etc.
Thinking of our ongoing ability to maintain and develop our website we are looking for someone who could give some time to support our Chairman Phil Harding with the html website in the short term, and potentially help us to transfer the site across to a new system such as WordPress in the future, as well as maintaining and developing our presence on social media. Do you have the relevant experience, interest and time to get involved? If so, please get in touch with our Secretary at email@example.com to talk further. You'll be at the heart of SEG's activities and a valued member of our team of volunteers.
First published March 2017
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Saltford Heritage Centre's next public opening will be announced here i.d.c. We can also open the Heritage Centre for 1-hour private viewings by small groups on request (see the Heritage Centre web page for details).
"Think global, act local"