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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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Recent News (click on links or scroll down this page)

LATEST!

Report from the 2018 archaeological dig in Saltford published

SEG calls for "Significant Ecological Gain" in the planning system after alarming UN report

Election Results for Saltford (2nd May election): SEG's Saltford 20/20 team all elected

OTHER NEWS

SEG objects to housing development in the Green Belt at Avon Farm

Why voting for the Green Belt on 2nd May is so important (Parish and B&NES Council Elections)

Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival


You can find more news in our News Archive.


Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>




Report from the 2018 archaeological dig in Saltford published

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The "Archaeological Field Evaluation and Post-Excavation Assessment" report from the August 2018 dig by volunteers from the Bath and Counties Archaeological Society (BACAS) and SEG has been published this month.

As the report states, finds range in date from the Bronze Age to modern times. The finds comprised: bones (some butchered), ceramic building material, charcoal and coal fragments, daub or burnt clay, flint, Roman coins, pieces of glass, iron and lead, sherds of pottery, stone objects, and slag or clinker.

A specific area of the field was targeted for the excavation as the geophysical survey suggested that there might be Romano-British structures in that location. Numerous artefacts of varying types mostly from the Romano-British period were recovered. Also ceramic building material and Pennant sandstone tiles were found, but no evidence of a building was seen. However, the recovered finds do suggest there is a structure, probably a working farm with workshops, yards etc. in the very near vicinity to the position of the 2018 excavated trench. The full report can be downloaded from our Online Museum Roman Saltford Section (buildings).

SEG is very grateful to the landowner, Adam Stratton, for allowing access to the field, to BACAS for supervising and carrying out the dig and also writing up the report after analysing the finds, and of course to all the volunteers that took part in the dig. We are currently considering the next steps in this fascinating project.

May 2019

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SEG calls for "Significant Ecological Gain" in the planning system after alarming UN report

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The devastating impact of humans on the natural world that sustains us is made strikingly clear in a compelling UN report released on 6th May 2019. The global assessment of nature took 3 years to make and draws on 15,000 reference materials, and has been compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades. Nature is declining globally at rates never seen before in human history.

Here are just some of the headline findings from the assessment:-

  • Biodiversity - the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems - is declining faster than at any time in human history.
  • 75% of the land surface is significantly altered, 66% of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of wetlands (area) has been lost.
  • Globally, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are disappearing. This loss of diversity, including genetic diversity, poses a serious risk to global food security by undermining the resilience of many agricultural systems to threats such as pests, pathogens and climate change.
  • Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species, including 86% of marine turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals. This can affect humans through food chains.
  • In the past 50 years, the human population has doubled, the global economy has grown nearly 4-fold and global trade has grown 10-fold, together driving up the demands for energy and materials.
  • Economic incentives generally have favoured expanding economic activity, and often environmental harm, over conservation or restoration.
  • Areas of the world projected to experience significant negative effects from global changes in climate, biodiversity, ecosystem functions and nature's contributions to people are also home to large concentrations of indigenous peoples and many of the world's poorest communities.
  • Climate change is projected to become increasingly important as a direct driver of changes in nature and its contributions to people in the next decades.
  • Nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably while simultaneously meeting other global societal goals through urgent and concerted efforts fostering transformative change.

"The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture," said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide."

"The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global," he said. "Through 'transformative change', nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably - this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values."

Never has it been more important to protect the Green Belt

Looking at how we can respond at the local level to this alarming report and with particular reference to land-use planning, the report illustrates how the modest objective of "Net Environmental Gain" in the planning system is nowhere near good enough when new housing developments are planned for the West of England and for Bath & North East Somerset. What we need is "Significant Ecological Gain". Not only should the Green Belt surrounding villages and towns like Saltford and Keynsham, be fully protected from development but new developments should be planned in a way that enables a significant increase in the local ecological habitat to start to redress the ecological infrastructure losses incurred from the housing and other developments of recent decades.

We need to design nature back into our local area as we "think global, act local".

Link: The UN's IPBES website can be found here: www.ipbes.net.

May 2019

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Election Results for Saltford (2nd May election):SEG's Saltford 20/20 team all elected

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The 2nd May Saltford Parish Council election results were counted today (3rd May).

All ten candidates fielded by SEG for the "Saltford 20/20" team were elected together with Duncan Hounsell (standing as an Independent for the SPC election). A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who voted for our candidates.

The results were (votes cast):

SALTFORD 20/20 team (all elected)

- Adrian Betts 710
- Marie Carder 870
- Will Feay 611
- Jon Godfrey 729
- Gary Graveling 648
- Phil Harding 947
- Adam Rees-Leonard 590
- Rob Taylor 762
- Sally Turner 912
- Chris Warren 857

OTHER CANDIDATES

- Duncan 1074 (elected)
- Robert King 570 (not elected)

There were 29 spoilt ballot papers.

SEG would like to thank the outgoing SPC Councillors who stood down at the election, Ben Eve, Kyle Rice, James Macnaughton, Liz Macnaughton and Farida Wilson for their support and service to the community during their term of office.

B&NES Council Results

In the B&NES Council local election also on 2nd May there was a 42.7% for the newly expanded Saltford ward. The Lib Dems took control from the Conservatives of B&NES Council and they also took the two Saltford Ward seats.

The Saltford ward results were as follows:-

- Duncan Stuart Hounsell (Liberal Dems) 1124 Elected
- Alastair Graham Singleton (Liberal Dems) 944 Elected
- Emma Clare Dixon (Conservative Party) 775 Not elected
- Elizabeth Mary Alice Carter (Conservative Party) 724 Not elected
- Antony Stuart Dobson (Green Party) 241 Not elected
- John Anthony Bull (Labour Party) 139 Not elected

Congratulations from SEG to Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton and thank you to the two outgoing Ward Councillors Francine Haeberling and Emma Dixon for their public service for Saltford on B&NES Council.

SEG looks forward to working closely with the newly elected B&NES Council so that the issues that really matter to Saltford and its local environment can be best served in a spirit of co-operation, partnership and trust.

May 2019

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SEG objects to housing development in the Green Belt at Avon Farm

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Image depicts a nearby area of the Green Belt.

On 1st May SEG submitted to the B&NES Council's Senior Planning & Enforcement Officer a planning objection for each of the two planning applications for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use at Avon Farm:-

19/01731/CLEU Avon Farm Avon Lane BS31 3ET - Use of "The Dove Cote" as a separate dwelling (Use class C3) (Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use). Mr Clive Franklin. and

19/01732/CLEU Unregistered Dwelling 1 Avon Farm Avon Lane Saltford - Use of "The Garden Room" as a separate dwelling (Use class C3) (Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use). Mr Clive Franklin.

SEG's planning objections were as follows:-

19/01731/CLEU (The Dove Cote) - OBJECTION

   SEG is concerned that the applicant is creating the equivalent of an AirBnB holiday park business at Avon Farm. This is a highly inappropriate development in the Green Belt outside Saltford's housing boundary. Such a development in a sensitive and hitherto quiet area of Saltford's Green Belt that is served by a narrow single track country lane used by cyclists entering and leaving the popular Bristol-Bath SUSTRANS cycle path and walkers including young families sets an unwelcome precedent that is contrary to the provisions for protecting the Green Belt in Chapter 13 of NPPF (2018).

   The application claims that the Dove Cote has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling for four or more years, however SEG is aware that following the submission of alleged planning contravention evidence by Saltford residents and your own investigations, this is not the case.

   You are aware from your own investigations that this building was in use until at least May 2016 as an office in association with Cash4Cars; there was no planning permission granted for that use. At Annex A to this objection letter can be found photographs of the first 3 pages from the rightmove.com website of the advertisement of the Dove Cote for use as commercial offices including internal photographs of the office layout dated September 2016.

   This and the other outstanding alleged planning contraventions at Avon Farm where several dwellings have been created in an apparent concealed manner are a matter for concern and show a disregard for planning law as it affects Saltford's Green Belt and is therefore of grave concern to SEG whose membership of 530+ places protection of the Green Belt from inappropriate development as a high priority for Saltford.

   Before granting a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use B&NES Council should first satisfy itself that this property has been inhabited continuously as a domestic dwelling (e.g. Council Tax/Electoral Roll records and evidence to the contrary as supplied by residents and also SEG in this response) and without concealment of such use. SEG's comments on the planning application 19/01732/CLEU (below) are pertinent to that issue of concealment and are a matter of concern to SEG.

19/01732/CLEU (Garden View) - OBJECTION

Similar comments as for 19/01731/CLEU (above) were made and also the following:-

   The application supporting document claims that Garden View has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling since 2013. Whilst it is difficult to prove the validity or otherwise of the claim of continual domestic use, what is of relevance is whether there has been a deliberate concealment of this change of use since 2013. When B&NES Council visited this site in 2016 to investigate the change of use to offices of the Dove Cote it is pertinent to question whether the use as a domestic dwelling of the Garden View was concealed from the officer during that site visit.

   The use as a dwelling of Garden View and other outstanding alleged planning contraventions at Avon Farm where several dwellings have been created in an apparent concealed manner are a matter of grave concern to SEG whose membership of 530+ places protection of the Green Belt from inappropriate development as a high priority for Saltford.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Wednesday 15th May 2019), especially those with evidence that these properties have not been in continual use since 2013 as domestic dwellings, can follow this link and key 19/01731/CLEU or 19/01732/CLEU into the search box: B&NES Development Control.

If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to development_management@bathnes.gov.uk but make sure you include the reference number for these CLEU applications (i.e. 19/01731/CLEU or 19/01732/CLEU).

The target decision date for both these CLEU applications is 12th June 2019. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response this planning application at its next public meeting on 17th May.

NOTE: B&NES Council cannot accept anonymous comments for any application; if residents wish to provide representations/evidence but do not want to do it on a personal level B&NES advise that they can do this through the Parish Council who could collate all the evidence/responses.

May 2019

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Why voting for the Green Belt on 2nd May is so important (Parish and B&NES Council Elections)

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We have published on our website information about SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team and what it stands for in the 2nd May local elections and also answers to questions we have put to the main party candidates standing for B&NES Council election (also on 2nd May).

The following stark statistics remind us why we need a Parish Council and B&NES Council that values the Green Belt and that will protect it from development which should be restricted to brownfield city sites:-

   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%*.
*(data source: Dr Alasdair Rae, University of Sheffield, using Co-ordination of Information on the Environment (Corine) land use codes, 2017)

"Natural" or "semi-natural" land in the Green Belt provides valuable ecosystem support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) for neighbouring farmland that lacks the ecology to support itself for the successful long term sustainable growing of food crops and supporting wildlife more generally. Green Belt land thus has an often unrecognised yet very valuable purpose of contributing to the nation's food security against a background of climate change, the continuance of unmanaged and unsustainable population growth and growth in resource consumption. Those factors collectively reduce the UK's carrying capacity, primarily by reducing food security.

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.

When planning for all our futures, it makes no sense for B&NES to lose anymore of its precious Green Belt to development.

On Thursday 2nd May the residents of Saltford have an opportunity to elect Councillors to the Parish Council and B&NES Council who will stand up for the Green Belt and work tirelessly to protect it.

Make your votes count!

April 2019

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Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

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A new dawn for Saltford?

The Local Election for Saltford Parish Council (SPC) will take place alongside the B&NES Council elections on Thursday 2nd May. There are 12 candidates standing for the 11 Councillor posts on SPC and SEG has put together a team of 10 candidates seeking 10 your 11 votes.

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Pictured above is the new Saltford 20/20 team, all SEG members and living in Saltford, who have put themselves forward to serve Saltford from 2nd May on Saltford Parish Council as independent cadidates. These include existing Parish Councillors Adrian Betts, Jon Godfrey, Phil Harding, Rob Taylor & Chris Warren.

The Saltford 20/20 team is in favour of protecting the Green Belt around the village from development including from fracking and a road bypass (that would be infilled with housing); reopening the railway station on the existing site; and that Saltford should continue to be a caring community that encourages Fairtrade and looks after the environment whilst aiming for a lighter ecological footprint that is more climate friendly for the benefit of future generations.

The Saltford 20/20 team are as follows:-

   Adrian Betts is passionate about Saltford and its precious Green Belt land. He is on Saltford Environment Group's Executive Group and has also served on Saltford Parish Council for more than five years. He has been a member of the Governing body of Saltford School.

   Marie Carder has lived in Saltford all her life and spent the last eleven years of her working life working for local companies. She is a strong supporter of the Library/Post Office and the Saltford Community Association and has volunteered on Saturdays for the past three years at the Library.

   Will Feay and his family have lived in Saltford for many generations. With such strong ties to the village he is passionate about the local community. Whilst he supports change, he is keen to ensure Saltford's unique charm is protected for future generations.

   Jon Godfrey has founded three technology recycling businesses and has lived and worked in Saltford for over 12 years. Jon holds pragmatic views on sustainable energy and has supported the Saltford Library & Post Office and helped introduce new technology to both the Parish Council and the Saltford Community Association.

   Gary Graveling has settled in Saltford with his young family and is concerned about the erosion of the invaluable green spaces and environmental corridors that surround Saltford. As an Environmental Consultant working with the construction industry, he understands the need to regenerate redundant brownfield sites ahead of the short-term opportunistic development of our irreplaceable Green Belt.

   Phil Harding helped set up Saltford Environment Group in 2011 & has chaired SEG since 2013 (including during the Saltford Green Belt Inquiry). SPC Vice Chair since May 2015 & Chair of Planning since May 2018. A former Senior Policy Adviser on sustainable development & climate change for Defra's South West regional office, Phil strongly advocates Green Belt protection.

   Adam Rees-Leonard has been living in Saltford for 6 years and has a young family. He is committed to promoting opportunities for young people, protecting Saltford's Green Belt and has an interest in old houses. Adam has held a number of committee positions, including current chair of the prestigious UKNEST Science & Technology government and industry work stream.

   Rob Taylor is a lifelong resident from a long standing Saltford family and has been elected as councillor onto the previous two Saltford Parish Councils. He is a member of the Saltford Station Campaign, a keen campaigner for the preservation of Saltford's character, and firmly against inappropriate development in the village and surrounding Green Belt.

   Sally Turner has lived in Saltford for 17 years with her three daughters who attended local schools. She owns Tiddlers nursery/chuckles and The Little Coffee Shop in Saltford. Sally values the location, beauty and community feel of the village. She wants this to continue with more opportunities for residents and a safe environment for young people.

   Chris Warren has lived in Saltford for over 20 years and appreciates what a beautiful place it is. He wants to retain the character of the village whilst ensuring any developments enhance and are sensitive to Saltford. As Chairman of SPC he and his fellow councillors have made SPC far more open and approachable. Getting our station back remains his high priority.

Remember, you have 11 votes - have your say and make your votes count on 2nd May!

Saltford 20/20 enquiries to SEG's Chairman Phil Harding.

April 2019

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B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

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SEG has asked the candidates representing the main political parties competing for Saltford votes in the 2nd May B&NES Council local election six questions preceded by a short introductory statement as set out below. These were addressed to the candidates asking for their view and that of the party they represent should it control B&NES Council after the election.

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

Traffic congestion and resulting air pollution on the Bath Road (A4), likely to get worse with new housing being built in Keynsham East and North, is a growing concern for Saltford residents. It is widely acknowledged that a Saltford bypass would lead to significant infilling with new housing on the Green Belt and create even more car journeys when non-car solutions are required for commuting to reduce congestion at peak periods. Likewise the delay in making progress towards re-opening Saltford Station as part of Metro West despite a very favourable business case is regrettable.

The growing pressures on the natural environment and the land that sustains life from the interlinked problems associated with manmade climate change, plastics, poor waste management, consumerism, and unhindered population growth leading to habitat and wildlife species loss highlights the importance and benefits that we receive from the local green open spaces surrounding the area where we live including the Green Belt for rest, recreation and the ecological support such land can provide to farmland and thus towards our future food security.

Responses have been received from the candidates for Saltford from the Lib Dems (Duncan Hounsell & Alastair Singleton) and the Conservatives (Emma Dixon & Elizabeth Carter) and these are given below. We also approached the Labour Party and await news if it will be fielding a candidate for our ward.

OUR SIX QUESTIONS

   1. Do you and your party wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development and will you keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Maintaining protective green belt around Saltford and the other villages in this ward is a top priority for us. The National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) states that development in green belt should only happen if exceptional circumstances outweigh the harm to green belt. The word "exceptional" must never be replaced by "convenient". The local plan will eventually be considered by the whole B&NES Council and then by an independent planning inspector who will determine if the plan is "sound". The Liberal Democrats will endeavour to keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming Local Plan. The Liberal Democrats will aim to protect the distinctive character of our villages.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

As residents of Saltford, we appreciate the importance of protecting the Green Belt that surrounds us. At a public meeting of Saltford Residents in 2016, Conservative leader Tim Warren said clearly 'that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt'. We fully intend to continue to keep Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development.


   2. Do you and your party agree that the overwhelming majority of new homes in B&NES and the West of England should be built within our towns and cities and not on the Green Belt?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Development should be planned and minimise the need for commuting. Housing development should take place within existing housing development boundaries as far as possible. If a village, like Corston, wanted small-scale housing development on its boundary for its own village needs, we will support that. If large-scale new housing has to be found in green belt because of exceptional circumstances we would prefer to create a completely new green village and not destroy the character of existing villages with inappropriate development.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

Whilst we recognise the need for more housing within B&NES, and the West of England generally, we agree with Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP that we should not be "building all over our Green Belt in order to hit those housing targets", rather we should be looking creatively at "how we use the existing built environment and indeed brown field sites that are there".


   3. Do you and your party support drilling or fracking for onshore gas in NE Somerset or should more effort be placed on cleaner, renewable energy sources?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

There is a cross-party consensus to oppose fracking in this area. Liberal Democrats support all forms of renewable energy such as the solar array at Saltford Hall. When elected, we will implement a clear carbon reduction plan for Bath and North East Somerset Council's own activity. We will use and adapt our planning policies to push low carbon developments throughout the district. We will strengthen carbon reduction policies in the Local Plan so that all new developments achieve zero carbon. We will also tackle the need for more energy efficient retrofitting. Liberal Democrats will enable residents and businesses to achieve low carbon in their own activities through education and information and will lead a shift in the way the community in B&NES thinks about climate change. We will work with partners in the business community to address urgent needs such as the elimination of single-use plastic. We will also work with schools and community groups to proactively promote carbon reduction. Our aim is that this area becomes one of the greenest areas in the country - carbon neutral by 2030.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We are fully supportive of the decision taken in the B&NES Conservative Council Group Motion passed in April 2013 which raised concerns relating to and opposed the use of unconventional gas extraction and geothermal exploitation within Bath and North East Somerset and neighbouring areas. This was later reaffirmed by the motion approved in September 2018 where Council Leader, Tim Warren wrote to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State suggesting that if permitted development rights were approved in B&NES, the Council would apply for them to be removed.


   4. The River Avon through Saltford is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) yet there has been little or no effective enforcement in recent years to protect the riverbanks and the river's ecology from damage or over-stay moorings by a minority of boaters and members of the general public. How will you and your party protect the river and its ecology from over-stay moorings, irresponsible mooring practices including waste disposal and other inappropriate behaviour on Saltford's riverbanks?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

The river-bank and river is for all to enjoy and should not be dominated by the interests of one group. For years Mead Lane was not an official designated mooring point with facilities yet suffered from inconsiderate boat mooring nevertheless. A trial of a combination of 48 hour and the default maximum 14 day moorings has not worked well. Some boaters have stayed well beyond 14 days and there have been other issues. A key step is to ensure that the review of moorings along the river by the Canals and River Trust is completed as soon as possible. We will maintain a dialogue between Bath and North East Somerset Council, local residents in Saltford who live by the river, the Parish Council, and other stake-holders. Alastair Singleton and Duncan Hounsell believe there should be a 48 hour limit in Mead Lane, adequately monitored, or, failing that, no moorings allowed at all.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We will continue to build on the working relationships we have established, through meetings and engagement with local residents and other agencies, such as the Canal and River Trust, to find deliverable solutions to the multiple challenges presented by this, rightly popular, feature of Saltford.


   5. Do you and your party agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site and if so what will you and your party do to help bring forward the re-opening of our station without further delay?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Liberal Democrats will continue to work towards a better public transport system, including a station at Saltford. The footprint of the original Saltford railway station is intact and is larger than at Keynsham station. It is in a good location to act as a transport hub with its connections to other forms of transport. Liberal Democrats, when last in power 2011-15, put Saltford station on the MetroWest rail project map, commissioned two reports from consultants, and conducted a public consultation in Saltford on the proposed station. We earmarked 250K in the 2015 budget to take the Saltford station project to the next stages of project development. That money was never spent by the Conservative administration at B&NES. Our first priority is to identify why there has been no apparent progress in the last four years. We will work with Network Rail and the train operating companies to make a station at Saltford a reality and not just an aspiration. A key step is to ensure that the new West of England Combined Authority (WECA) recognises Saltford station as affordable, achievable, and in line with its aims.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

The Conservative administration of Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with the West of England Combined Authority and Network Rail on bringing back a train station to Saltford. We have asked Network Rail to look again at Saltford and anticipate they will report back to us in the coming months.


   6. Do you and your party agree that a possible bypass on or adjacent to Saltford's Green Belt is inappropriate and that proposals for a bypass within or around the parish of Saltford however vague should be kept out of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan to avoid a blight on the local housing market?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Residents in Copse Road, Grange Road, Montague Road, Manor Road, Uplands Road and closes off were disturbed to see a diagram in the first draft of the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4) showing an indicative arc for an orbital road skirting Saltford to the south leaving the A4 near Copse Road and returning to the A4 between Saltford and Corston. This diagram has since been withdrawn but the text still refers to future consideration options for a by-pass. Recent studies by consultants Atkins contracted by the West of England Partnership concluded that "the (south Saltford) bypass would cross difficult terrain, with steep slopes south east of the village... These issues would collectively result in landscape impacts, major earthworks and relatively high scheme costs." This is not surprising as the same consultants came to the conclusion in the 2006 Greater Bristol Transport Study that this road would have no strategic benefit and be very costly.

In the past 50 years, no feasible route for a by-pass has ever been identified. The first officially adopted route identified by the Department of Transport in the 1970s went past Saltford's conservation area. This plan was dropped a few years later. Some houses were affected by "housing blight" in that period.

A LOCAL by-pass at Saltford would lead to the loss of green belt and agricultural land, have a negative environmental effect on the countryside, lead to housing in-fill, affect the viability of Saltford shops and businesses, raise noise and overall pollution levels, risk the community forest, increase overall traffic volumes, provide no strategic benefits, and give poor value for money.

Congestion on the A4 at peak times can be tackled in other ways - improved public transport, altering signage in the wider sub-region, tackling the school-run, reviewing the operation of the two sets of traffic lights in the centre of the village, ensuring lorries out of Southampton docks heading west take strategic routes away from Saltford. Liberal Democrats want traffic taken away from the A4 but that needs to be tackled at a regional level, not at a parochial level.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

In 2016, in a survey carried out by us, a majority of respondents said they were unhappy at the suggestion of a possible by-pass on or adjacent to our Green Belt and were assured by Council Leader, Tim Warren, that if Saltford residents did not want a by-pass, then one would not be built. We will endeavour to ensure that the voices of local people continue to be heard and taken notice of in this way.


[END of Q & A]

We shall update this news item as appropriate.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

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- seen on facebook...

Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 28 April, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road, for a post-Easter holiday tidy up.

If you have litter pickers, gloves and high viz vest please do bring them, but if not we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council. Please do let us know (see last paragraph) if you would like to come along, as we will need to ensure we bring enough equipment with us.

There will not be a litter pick in May, but we will have 2 in June before and after the Village Festival, so that the village is looking its absolute best : dates are Sunday 2nd June and Sunday 30th June. Details of time and meeting place will be emailed to all those registered with Saltford Wombles nearer the time.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

If you would like to attend the April litter pick, or would just like to find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: saltfordwombles@gmail.com.

April 2019

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SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

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NB. Image is for illustrative purposes only.

On 16th April SEG submitted an online planning objection to the planning application 19/01437/VAR Glenavon Farm, 331 Bath Road, Saltford BS31 3TJ - Variation of condition 18 for application 12/05167/FUL (Renovation, extension and conversion of existing farm buildings to a farm shop and cafe/restaurant with car parking and associated access arrangements).

SEG's planning objection was as follows:-

   Saltford Environment Group objects to the expansion of the site's (large) car park into the Green Belt. The incremental development of this site since the original planning permission in 2012 does not justify removal of a small piece of Green Belt land at the south eastern edge of the car park as shown in the application plans (red line boundary). The red line boundary has moved south east wards from the 2012 planning application's red line in this application (variation) and this represents a small developmental addition in a very sensitive area of Saltford's Green Belt between Saltford and Keynsham.

   SEG considers the planning application (variation) to be contrary to the protection afforded to the Green Belt under NPPF (2018) paragraphs 134 (a) to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; (b) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another; (c) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; and (d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. There are no special circumstances to justify loss or development of Green Belt land here where the openness of the Green Belt at this location provides the setting for Saltford as a rural historic village. The development of a parcel of the Green Belt for use as a car park at this location would therefore be contrary to the 2017 B&NES Placemaking Plan policy GB1: Visual Amenity of the Green Belt and policy GB2: Development in Green Belt Villages.

   Whilst it is not for the planning system to determine this, tree, hedging or wildflower planting of native species appropriate to NE Somerset would be an ecologically sensible use of this small piece of land.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Wednesday 1st May 2019) can follow this link and key 19/01437/VAR into the search box: B&NES Development Control. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to development_management@bathnes.gov.uk but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (19/01437/VAR).

The target decision date for this application is 3rd June 2019. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response this planning application at its next public meeting on 17th May.

April 2019

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2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 7.67 million birds were counted in the 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 26/28 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2018 position in brackets):-

   1. House Sparrow (=)
   2. Starling (=)
   3. Blue Tit (=)
   4. Blackbird (=)
   5. Wood Pigeon (=)
   6. Goldfinch (=)
   7. Great Tit (=)
   8. Robin (=)
   9. Chaffinch (+1)
   10. Magpie (+2)

Although the top of the list stayed stable, there were more shifts lower down. Bullfinches have climbed the rankings since the early 2000s, regularly reaching the top 25.

Another Finch species, the Brambling, moved from number 50 in 2018 to number 43. They are winter visitors and migrate here in large numbers if conditions here are more favourable than on the Continent or, when their favourite food - seeds of Beech trees - are in plentiful supply.

Sadly, it's bad news for Song Thrushes and Starlings. According to the RSPB both have declined by around 77% since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979. The RSPB think the decline of Song Thrushes is down to loss of places where they prefer to live and breed.

But there is also good news: Coal Tits are up by nearly 245% since 1979, and Goldfinches, not even included in the first Birdwatch, have increased by around 70% since the early 2000s!

More information can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

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The Saltford Parish Council Community Awards took place as part of the Annual SPC meeting on 2nd April, and the Parish Council gave awards to seven individuals or groups. Winners were given a certificate and 70 to donate to a local charity or organisation of their choice. Of particular interest to SEG this year was the award for our member Julie Sampson (seen pictured above) who founded Saltford Wombles.

Julie through a mix of her own personal enthusiasm and determination set up SEG's Saltford Wombles at the end of 2014 to tackle litter in Saltford. She obtained all the necessary equipment (litter picks, protective gloves, fluorescent tabards etc.) and organised very effective monthly litter picks.

Julie stepped down from organising Saltford Wombles in 2018 and handed over the group to a new organiser in fine form and it continues to prove very popular and effective in the village (Saltford Wombles is now organised by Barbara Turner). Saltford Wombles engages effectively with many members of the community and has included litter picks with Saltford School.

Julie has chosen to donate her 70 donation to the 'Green Team' at Saltford School, so that they can purchase their own litter pickers and hi-vis jackets for the children.

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Julie (on right) about to start a monthly litter pick in 2015.

SEG is naturally delighted that the work by Julie in getting Saltford Wombles up and running so effectively has been recognised by the community through this award.

The seven award winners were:-

  • Saltford Achievement Award - Julie Sampson
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Mary Stoate
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Catherine Singleton
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Kevin Reeves
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Primary School Parent Teacher Association
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Community Hub Library Volunteers
  • Business in the Community Award - Saltford Community Library and Post Office

SEG congratulates them all and thanks them for the work they do or have done for our community. More information about these awards can be found on the SPC website www.saltfordparishcouncil.gov.uk.

We publish details of our monthly litter picks on this website. Further information about Saltford Wombles can be found on our website on our Less Waste page >>

April 2019

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Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival

At this month's meeting on Thursday 11th April we are going to help this year's Saltford Festival (June 8th - 16th) with bunting. The High Street can be a wonderful showcase of our village for visitors and we have a lovely spot to show off our upcycling skills by decorating one of our group member's garden wall on the High Street. We have a substantial length of cotton type ribbon to use as a starter but other ideas are always welcome. Bring along pinking scissors, odds and end of material etc. (old curtains, bedlinen, garden twine... you get the idea) or anything you think is suitable. Weather-proof material will be necessary just in case.

Recycling pre-loved things for the festival will be a great example of our upcycling activities.

We look forward to seeing you on 11th April at Signs of Saltford (work entrance), 7-9pm, 559 Bath Road, Saltford) - Note: this is a change of date from previous plans for our April meeting. If you would like join us or find out more about our group please text Frances Eggbeer on 07789---528834.

You can find more information about the Upcycling Craft Group on our Low Waste page >>

April 2019

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More and older news stories from SEG

Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-

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Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG

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In addition to volunteer assistance with projects such as Saltford Wombles (tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group we sometimes have specific roles or posts that need filling.

Here are the current vacancies:-

Website skills wanted!

Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.

If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to phil@philharding.net for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.

First published June 2018

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Want to get more involved with SEG?

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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

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Contact SEG

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You can contact Saltford Environment Group by email as follows:-


All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries to our Chairman please.

HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".


CONTACTS:

Chairman & Website Editor*: Phil Harding phil@philharding.net (07814--720763)

Secretary: Vacant Position

Treasurer: Andrew Stainer andrew.stainer@btinternet.com

SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

Saltford Wombles: Barbara Turner saltfordwombles@gmail.com

Saltford Heritage Centre
Curators: Phil Harding & Andrew Stainer (contact details above).

* EDITORIAL POLICY INCLUDING SEO FOR THE www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk WEBSITE
Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking (1st), social media links, & smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives. We are not a commercial enterprise so please do not send marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites which will not receive a reply as it is our policy not to reply to marketing emails of this nature unless they are from a Saltford-based organisation seeking to assist SEG. As a general rule our editorial content is sourced locally in Saltford and NE Somerset or from reputable non-commercial organisations based in the UK.
 


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Do you care about the village of Saltford, its environment, wildlife and future as a thriving, more sustainable community? Then join us and also follow us on facebook. See our 'About us' page for how to join (membership is free!).

Facebook logo www.facebook.com/SaltfordEnvironmentGroup
- "like" us when you visit our page and you'll then get facebook notifications of our postings.

SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS:
We welcome support from local businesses to help cover our costs and keep membership free for our members. If your local business would like to support SEG (e.g. a logo + link on this page is very inexpensive), please contact our Chairman (see above for contact details).


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For news archive click here:-

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Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be the afternoon of Sunday 16th June, for the 2019 Saltford Festival "Old Village Day".
Want a private viewing? 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).

Special Features:

   Fracking

   Geology, Saltford's

   Green Belt Inquiry 2013

   HISTORY OF SALTFORD

   Railway Path Habitat Project

   Saltford Wombles (tackling litter)


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