Saltford Environment Group
A Happy New Year to all our members!
In this month's newsletter:-
SEG publishes image of the oldest painting of Saltford - at the end of 2016 and over 23 years since it was removed from the Jolly Sailor, SEG has created and published an image of the early 18th Century painting of Saltford Lock and the Miller's House (that became the Jolly Sailor). You can read about why the painting is an important industrial and social historical record for the River Avon and Saltford.
Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 - annual opportunity from the RSPB to involve your family in recognising and counting the wild birds that visit your garden.
SEG responds to JSP and JTS consultations - as our Green Belt comes under threat once more we submit our response to the latest consultation from the West of England Councils.
Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting - there was a high turnout at the information sharing meeting organised by the Parish Council on 1st December with a strong feeling that any indicative line in the final version of Joint Transport Study documentation showing a possible bypass route would put an unnecessary long term housing and planning blight on a large part of Saltford.
Other news includes the latest on Saltford station and the proposed Heritage Centre, news from our Fairtrade and Upcycling Craft Groups, 2017 Saltford Calendars available at half price while stocks last, permaculture explained and more. We have also archived our 2016 newsletters onto one web page (link) to enable you to find last year's news stories more easily.
Click on each story headline link or scroll down the page:-
SEG publishes image of the oldest painting of Saltford
SEG has published just before Christmas this fascinating painting for everyone to see as part of our history project. Many residents were dismayed to see this painting leave Saltford in 1993 after it had been in the Jolly Sailor for some 265 years.
The original painting itself, oil on wood panel, was over 5 feet wide. We have scanned to a high resolution a small and rare photograph taken of the painting in the 1990s, digitally cleaned and colour corrected it, and the resulting image is now on SEG's website looking magnificent (the image above is a small version).
The following describes the painting and its historical context and is from our Online Museum where you can see a much larger version of the painting:-
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 had formerly been 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.
This new navigation enabled the river journey by wherry in 1728 of Princess Amelia the daughter of King George II from Bath to Hanham through Saltford - details of her journey can be found in our Online Museum as well as an account of the destruction of Saltford Lock by rioting Kingswood coal miners in 1738.
A larger version of the painting can be viewed in our Online Museum on the 18th Century page.
Saltford Heritage Centre: Starting to take shape
Whilst the development and planning for the centre is still in its early stages, discussions and planning behind the scenes continue to take place for this volunteer run community resource.
SEG should like to thank everyone who took the time to answer our short online survey from 14 September to the end of December 2016. Although the response rate was fairly low, and thus typical for surveys of this nature, the enthusiasm for the idea of establishing a Heritage Centre at the Church Hall in Saltford, for SEG's history project and the range of supportive ideas and comments were encouraging to read.
All respondents were in favour and 98% would visit the centre at least once or twice a year with 38% interested in visiting the centre more than twice a year. Whilst SEG's Online Museum had the highest single preference (35%) for finding out about Saltford's history, those preferring the Heritage Centre or having no preference was 57%. Most respondents (36%) were in the 35-44 age range.
These comments from the online survey are typical of the responses we have received:
"Ideal venue for the local and wider community"
"It's a great idea, for local people and for visitors"
"It's important that the Heritage Centre doesn't become just a collection of artefacts... Outreach to our local schools and other cultural centres, e.g. the Brass Mill, would help keep it fresh"
"SEG's history project is great; the heritage centre would complement the online material"
We are in regular contact with the Parochial Church Council as plans unfold for the church hall's redecoration and other internal improvements, and we shall aim to keep residents and SEG members informed as plans develop further. We aim to have the early beginnings of the Heritage Centre ready for the Saltford Festival in June (2017).
Sale of last remaining 2017 Saltford Calendars
SCA are selling the last remaining unsold calendars for half price (£3) from the SCA office on the 1st floor of Saltford Hall on weekday mornings from Tuesday 3rd January. If you missed out on getting a calendar or want some for friends and family you can take advantage of this special low price while remaining stocks last.
As production costs have now been recovered future proceeds from this joint SEG/SCA initiative are split 50/50 between SCA and SEG to help further their voluntary work supporting the local community.
Get involved with the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 (28-29 Jan)
In 2017 the world's largest wildlife survey, the Big Garden Birdwatch 2017, takes place over three days: Sat 28th - Mon 30th January. You can find out how you and your family can get involved on the RSPB website from this link ww2.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch.
Facts from the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch:-
Attracting birds to your garden
The RSPB website gives lots of useful advice on how to make your garden more bird friendly and how best to attract wild birds into your garden. Our Wildlife page section on Birds also gives feeding tips and reminds members that feeding bread to wild birds is strongly advised against as the nutritional value of bread is relatively low for birds (an 'empty filler'), uneaten bread can attract rats, and a bird that is on a diet of predominantly or only bread can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.
Saltford Upcycling Craft Group, 12th Jan
The New Year brings a challenge and change of date for our first meeting in January.
1 - THE CHALLENGE
2 - ACTIONS:
3 - THE CHALLENGE BEGINS:
4 - SOMETHING ACHIEVED:
5 - TAKE HOME SOMETHING THAT IS TOTALLY UNIQUE AND MADE BY YOU
Everyone is welcome to come along to our free, friendly craft evening; Tina and Frances always have the basic tools for you to use and bits and pieces to help you along. Do give Frances a ring on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more about our group.
We meet at: Signs of Saltford (works entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford, Thursday 12th January, 7-9pm.
SEG responds to JSP and JTS consultations
SEG submitted its response to the West of England's consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and Joint Transport Study (JTS) on 10th December. NOTE: The deadline for submitting comments via https://www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk was 19th December.
Some of the key comments included in SEG's response were as follows:-
Joint Spatial Plan (JSP)
The proposed JSP fails to empower or take account of the emerging role that WoE Councils could have in building housing themselves rather than private sector developers. WoE Councils would thereby determine timescales and location sequencing of their own choosing and in line with improved transport infrastructure.
There is an insufficient emphasis on the urgent need to drastically reduce car commuting.
Joint Transport Study (JTS)
Insufficient investment in heavy rail solutions has been proposed whilst too high a priority is given to road building (that simply attracts more car use) despite the lack of space and the need to transfer commuting away from the car. Attention should be been given to investigate the possibility of additional use of the existing disused rail corridors in the region, for example the Avon Valley railway line currently shares the Bristol-Bath cycle path with cyclists. A study could be made to see if this could be extended in both directions to provide a modern LRT (Light Rail Tram/Train) alongside a cycle way.
New road proposals represent poor value for money and can create new or worse problems further along the commuter route/corridor compared to improved public transport infrastructure for tackling peak time congestion. They can also have negative impacts on established communities without addressing the cause of bottlenecks.
Saltford Environment Group shares Saltford Parish Council's opposition to the proposed bypass at Saltford for several reasons including loss of the Green Belt, the negative impact on the environment, local commerce, and the integrity of Saltford as a place. Furthermore it is important that the proposed bypass route shown as a blue line south of Saltford is removed from the next version of this JTS document. The publication of a route line/option or series of options will cause a housing blight for a significant proportion of Saltford that could last as long as the duration of the JTS period.
A strategic look at all the transport options for Saltford and the surrounding area is required but does not need to show a Saltford bypass route on a map when there are no firm plans for a bypass and it is being considered as one of a number of traffic congestion mitigation measures.
SEG questions the proposal to put an LRT scheme on an existing road corridor like the A4 through Saltford, particularly when other options that do not affect road space need to be considered first, e.g. an LRT sharing the Bristol-Bath cycle path with cyclists as partially happens now with the Avon Valley Railway. Investment in heavy rail can provide a better, longer term solution. An LRT scheme on the A4 through Saltford would reduce road space for existing car-based commuters when there are better transport solutions that can be delivered much more quickly such as re-opening Saltford station.
SEG responds to B&NES Core Strategy consultation by highlighting local Green Belt policies
In response to the B&NES Council review of its Core Strategy and consultation on the proposed content, scope and programme for the Core Strategy Review for the period 2016-2036, SEG has submitted the following response on 7th December to the question "Do you have any specific observations to make on the Core Strategy review?" :-
The public commitment on 1st December 2016 by the Leader of B&NES Council, Cllr Tim Warren, at the public meeting in Saltford about a proposed bypass that there was not any housing development planned for Saltford is welcomed by Saltford Environment Group (SEG). SEG also supports Cllr Tim Warren's opposition stated at that meeting to the use of any of Saltford's Green Belt land for housing development.
Cllr Tim Warren's statement is in line with the fact that there is no political mandate or permission from the residents of B&NES or Saltford to allow any loss of the Green Belt to development. The ruling Conservative administration at B&NES Council was elected in May 2015 on a manifesto to defend the Green Belt from development. The Core Strategy Review should not therefore propose, suggest or even hint at housing development on any parcel of Green Belt land in Saltford as that would be contrary to the declared land use planning policy of B&NES Council.
Following this initial consultation, from 7th November to 19th December 2016, the Core Strategy Review will allocate strategic sites at locations identified in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and other "development opportunities" will be identified and allocated - hence SEG's reminder to B&NES Council of the Council's own declared policies and the political commitments made by its elected members to the local electorate. B&NES Council will also take the opportunity to look again at other policy areas such as renewable energy targets and what infrastructure is needed to support additional development.
Potential for Saltford station as an additional stop being tested
After discussions and lobbying of B&NES Council the Saltford station campaign team learned on 1st December from B&NES Council's Divisional Director of Environmental Services that within the timetabling work for Metro West Phase 1 the potential for Saltford Station as an additional stop within this part of the GWR network is being tested.
We shall report on this again when we hear further news.
Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting
Approx. 200 residents attended the public meeting at Saltford Golf Club on the evening of 1st December. This was arranged at short notice by Saltford Parish Council to give residents an opportunity to hear about the proposed bypass as illustrated in the West of England Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document which has a very short consultation period from 7th November to 19th December.
On the panel stating their position on a bypass and taking questions from residents were Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council; Cllr Tony Clarke, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport; Cllr Francine Haeberling, Ward Councillor for Saltford (Cons); Cllr Chris Warren, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council; and Duncan Hounsell, representing B&NES and Saltford Liberal Democrats. The meeting was chaired by independent chairman and Saltford resident, Dick Bateman.
Cllrs Tim Warren and Tony Clarke were emphatic that the line on the map showing a bypass route south of Saltford was illustrative only and there were no plans for a bypass on any particular route around Saltford. It was being considered in only general terms at this stage as part of the mix of transport solutions to help alleviate the traffic congestion on the Bath-Bristol transport corridor as part of the Joint Transport Study which was intended to cover a 20 year period from 2016 to 2036.
The majority of questions from the floor expressed concerns at the potential impacts on Saltford and the potential for infill housing on the Green Belt from a bypass. The need for evidence based information on the different options or solutions before the community was asked to express a firm opinion was also emphasised by several residents.
A number of residents in the audience and the panel members from Saltford asked for the next published draft of the transport vision to not include any indicative line for a Saltford bypass. It was strongly felt that any indicative line showing a possible bypass would put an unnecessary long term housing and planning blight on a large part of Saltford.
Cllr Tim Warren promised to organise another public meeting in Saltford with the relevant transport officers present so that a more informed discussion could be held on the various transport options under consideration. He said that if the residents of Saltford do not want a bypass, then a Saltford bypass would not be built. He also said that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt in the Joint Spatial Plan. Duncan Hounsell said the Liberal Democrats would seek to remove a Saltford orbital road from the proposed Transport Strategy when the opportunity arises should the proposal find its way into the final document.
The timing on any future public meeting, whether hosted by the Parish Council or B&NES Council, would be dependent on timing with the next draft Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document. In the meantime the Parish Council would decide its response to the current consultation at its meeting on 6th December.
The four west of England councils' (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) short consultation period on the Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study from 7 November to 19 December 2016 has been a cause for concern when the plans have such major implications. These plans set out a prospectus for sustainable growth to meet the area's housing and transport needs for the next 20 years. However there should be further opportunities to comment on future drafts of those plans.
Residents can see the plans and comment online (but comment deadline was 19th December) at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk.
Written responses can be sent to: West of England Joint Planning Consultation, Corporate Research & Consultation team, Civic Centre, High St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DR.
B&NES wins British Food Fortnight's 2016 competition
Some good news for our area - B&NES Council has won the National British Food Fortnight competition for 2016. The British Food Fortnight competition acknowledged the most imaginative and inclusive celebrations of British Food across the nation.
B&NES was named the unanimous winner due to the way it brought "the whole community together to celebrate all that is great about British food". Over 30 businesses and organisations in B&NES participated by hosting food festivals, cooking and growing courses and special local food promotions and menus. The Council launched a new online local food directory to enable residents and visitors to easily find and buy locally produced food and drink - there is a link to the new online B&NES local food map from our links page. A special British Breakfast lunch was also provided for primary schools prepared from healthy, locally sourced and organic ingredients, supporting children to celebrate British food traditions and local produce.
The voting judges were: The Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom, MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; Breige Donaghy, Director of Delicious Food, Co-op Food, Chef Raymond Blanc OBE, and Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food.
Congratulations to Sophie Kirk, Corporate Sustainability Officer (Food), and her colleagues at B&NES Council for achieving this award.
Fairtrade & Traidcraft together at Saltford Christmas Market
The Saltford Fairtrade Group had their annual stall again at this year's Saltford Christmas Market on 3rd December, this time working alongside a local representative (Lyndsey Wright) who had on display Fairtrade products from Traidcraft. Traidcraft is claimed to be the UK's leading fair trade organisation. Their mission is to fight poverty through trade. Established in 1979, Traidcraft's unique structure - a UK trading company and a development charity working together - enables them to build long-term relationships with producers, support people to trade out of poverty and work to bring about trade justice.
You can find out more about Traidcraft's work (and order their products) at www.traidcraft.co.uk or you can contact Lyndsey via her email firstname.lastname@example.org and she will also be delighted to tell you more about their products and other Fairtrade companies and how to order from them. In addition to the Traidcraft display the Saltford group continued to promote Fairtrade and ran a small raffle which contained a mix of products some kindly donated by the local Co-Operative store.
Finally, the group were grateful once again for the support received from the Village Hall and the Saltford Community Association who served Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at this and at all their events.
We're never going to scare people into living more sustainably! We have to be able to demonstrate just how dynamic and aspirational such a world could be
Permaculture as a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, originates from the late 1970s. Most of us have heard of permaculture, a word created originally from 'permanent agriculture' and now defined as 'permanent culture' but what does it mean in practice?
The Permaculture Association (link) describes permaculture as:
"living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature. Permanence is not about everything staying the same. It's about stability, about deepening soils and cleaner water, thriving communities in self-reliant regions, biodiverse agriculture and social justice, peace and abundance."
The association says permaculture combines three key aspects:
1. an ethical framework
2. an understanding of how nature works, and
3. a design approach.
Here is an example from each of those aspects to help explain what this might mean from a practical viewpoint:-
By thinking carefully carefully about how and where they shop and what they buy, consumers can ensure their money has a positive social and environmental impact rather than a negative one. Buying local produce and choosing Fairtrade products where available is a typical approach to ethical shopping.
B&NES Local Food Map (link) can help you find your local food producers (for future reference we have a link to this from our links page), and our Fairtrade page explains what we as a community are doing in Saltford, a Fairtrade Village, to encourage Fairtrade and gives more information about this topic.
Plant choice is also important. The role of fruit and nut trees, for example, in offering early bee fodder is a good reason for their inclusion in wildlife corridors and green infrastructure for they are multiple providers of ecosystem services valuable to us all.
Here in Saltford choosing native varieties of trees, shrubs and plants suitable for North East Somerset is key. Our insect population eats and thrives on the foliage of native plants and trees whereas non-native plants provide little or no larval food at all. The crucial role of insects in our ecosystem ranges from helping to consume waste products including dead animals to being food for our wild bird population.
So, if you want to attract birds and encourage beneficial insects to your garden that are healthier for flowers whilst your population of harmful insects such as aphids, mealy bugs and cutworms gradually diminish, plant choice can be important. As a result of correct plant choice, you can also reduce or eliminate use of harmful pesticides that end up in the air and water supply and threaten important insects such as bees.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT:
Rethinking the future
It is a profound challenge, at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials to rethink and redesign how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work, or even to imagine the jobs that will be needed for transition
We know that we cannot go on producing more things, consuming more, creating more waste, and destroying the natural environment on this finite planet. Perhaps the time is now right for a "permaculture approach" to how we as a modern society move forward in a more sustainable way.
If this topic interests you there are several websites, training courses and publications about permaculture and its growing relevance that can easily be found via Google or other search engines.
© Saltford Environment Group
Quote for the month
Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication
Leonardo da Vinci
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