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Peewits on the Strawberry Line

The recent snow and heavy rain has flooded many of the fields. The saturated ground must force worms and other grubs to the surface providing a good meal for the ‘Peewits’. We were lucky, as they chose the water logged fields along the Strawberry Line between Congresbury and Churchill. In times past they were a regular winter visitor and it was not unusual to see large flocks circling the low lying fields. But not for some time have I seen this number. An unexpected and most welcome treat.

Click to read full article by Michael Greaves

Gospel Choir raising the roof!

It’s surprising that St. Andrew’s church did not lose their roof with the stupendous sound raised by the Joyful Spirit Gospel choir and the Appleshed young people’s group, when they gave a concert in the church, postponed a week after the snow.

The church was full to bursting, and the audience responded as enthusiastically as the performers. The 40 strong Gospel choir were conducted by Alison Cooper, who led a succession of spirited, uplifting songs, accompanied by appropriate gestures and clapping, and with many strong soloists. The conductor showed her versatility when she accompanied one song on a saxophone. Outstanding among the items was a solo by Tina Gue, in a style reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald, and an arrangement of Amazing Grace with beautiful solos by Fiona Phillips, Claire Kelly and Sally Vaux. click here for the full report written by Marion Johnson

Charity boxes stolen

Overnight 27-28 January a commercial property at Silver Street, Congresbury was broken into. Doors were forced open, a search took place and charity boxes stolen.

Do you have any cricketing memories?

To mark 175 years of village cricket, part of this year’s celebrations will include the launch of a new booklet. Congresbury Cricket Club vice president, Clive Burlton, is pulling together the publication and is looking for more stories, memories and photographs to help tell the story of cricket in the village since the 1840s. If you have anything at all, and would like to help please contact Clive on 07918 071008 or 01934 832113 or email cburlton@aol.com

Summer fete confirmed

This  year’s fete will be on Saturday June 29. There will be a planning meeting for interested groups on Wednesday March 13 at 7pm in The Old School Rooms.

Organisation of the fete has been taken on by Love Congresbury. Richard Jones and Unsal Hassan, who have organised the fete for several years, will act as advisers during the handover period.

The theme for this year’s fete will be cricket in recognition of the fact that Congresbury Cricket Club will be celebrating 175 years of village cricket this year.

The cricket club is planning a week of activities starting on the eve of the fete.

More details on the fete and 175-year celebrations will follow in due course.

Wassail at the Millenium Orchard

On Saturday 12th January, 2019 at 3pm more than 50 adults, children and pets met at the Youth Club building by the Riverside Car Park to take part in the third village Wassail. The crocodile of folk who were singing and making lots of noise to ward off evil spirits, paraded across the Millenium Green, over the bridge to the orchard. They were led by the Green Man (Brian Kemplay) and the music of Dave Byett with his squeeze box. After a speech by the Green Man the three Congresbury Beauty apples were danced around 3 times in a clockwise direction by villagers making as much noise as possible. The trees were then blessed and two young helpers put toast on the trees & sprinkled cider at their base to encourage new growth and fruit.

Afterwards the revellers returned to the Youth Club to enjoy hot apple juice from the Orchard and a variety of apple cakes made by volunteers from Congresbury Youth Partnership.

Editorial & photographs by Peter Hughes & Bryony Goodesmith

FREE DROP-OFF TO BE INTRODUCED AT BRISTOL AIRPORT

A commitment to open an authorised waiting area for taxis, combined with a free-of-charge drop off facility for all vehicles (as an alternative to the existing Express Drop Off), is included in the airport’s proposals for the Section 106 Agreement which would accompany permission for growth beyond the current cap of 10 million passengers a year.   North Somerset Council is currently consulting a planning application for facilities required to handle 12 million passengers a year by the mid-2020s

Click here for information on passenger numbers

Neighbourhood Development Plan

North Somerset Council are now consulting on the Congresbury Neighbourhood Development Plan for 6 weeks commencing on 14 January 2019 in accordance with Regulation 16 of the Neighbourhood Planning Regulation (General) 2012. Following this consultation the intention is to submit the Plan for independent examination. This is the last chance to comment on the plan before it is put forward for examination. Your comments must be received no later than 5pm on Monday 25 February 2019. 

Congresbury Parish Council, with help from the local community, have prepared the Neighbourhood Development Plan. The plan will help to shape the parish in forthcoming years and will be used to help make decisions on planning applications within the parish. The plan proposes allocating land for housing and employment, aims to protect local green spaces, valued countryside and community facilities, proposes improvements to cycle routes and highways and aims to protect and enhance the historic environment. 

The neighbourhood plan area covers the whole of Congresbury Parish and consultation on the draft Neighbourhood Plan (Reg. 14) took place between 30 July and 17 September 2018.Following this consultation further amendments were made to the plan and the Congresbury Neighbourhood Development Plan was formally submitted to the Council on 17 December 2018. 

The best way to comment on the submitted plan is online. The Congresbury Neighbourhood Development Plan and all supporting document on our website at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/congresburyplan

Alternatively you can e-mail your comments to: planning.policy@n-somerset.gov.uk

or write to:

Planning Policy Team, Post point 15, Town Hall, Walliscote Grove Road, Weston-super-Mare, BS23 1UJ

New surgery gets go-ahead

A new doctors’ surgery will be built in Smallway, Congresbury, replacing the Yatton and Congresbury facilities.

North Somerset planners approved amended plans this week having previously turned down the application despite council officers recommending approval.

The new surgery will be on land opposite Cadbury Garden Centre.

An artist’s impression of the Smallway surgery

The original plans had been refused because of concerns over access, particularly pedestrian access.

Councillors approved the plans, noting that if it went to appeal, they would lose.

Mendip Vale Medical Group looks after 44,000 patients as a result of merging with the Riverbank Medical Centre in Worle and Sunnyside Surgery in Clevedon. Its modern Langford  facility was  built in 2013, and the purpose-built St Georges site opened in 2012.

Bowler Ant is national champion

Congresbury bowler Anthony Page is an England champion after winning an indoor tournament in Nottingham last weekend.

Ant won the Disability Bowls England National Singles for Non-classified members at Nottingham at his first attempt.

He won three tough rounds before winning overall in the fourth round 19-13.

“The last round was nip and tuck at first, then I managed to get ahead in the last few ends,” said Ant, aged 45, who lives in Worle.

Champion: Congresbury’s Ant Page

He was brought up in Wolverhampton and first started bowling at age 11 on crown greens.

“My father got me into it. My four uncles played too,” said Ant.

“It was my life. It was everything I did, six nights a week from April to September.

“I got to county standard and played for Staffordshire at junior level.”

He started bowling again in 2017 when he joined Congresbury, and in 2018 won three of the club’s singles titles and reached the final of the men’s championship.

Ant, who works in a supermarket bakery, was born with a condition called scoliosis – curvature of the spine – which is painful at times.

Congresbury Bowling Club’s 2019 season starts on April 13.

New members are welcome. Turn up every Monday at 6pm for coaching. Equipment provided.

Lunch Club Christmas lunch

40 members of Congresbury Senior Citizens Lunch Club enjoyed a delicious Christmas lunch last Thursday in the Old School Rooms.  There was a true festive spirit particularly as Christmas Carols were played by pianist & volunteer Nat Nunn. Members meet every 2 weeks to enjoy lunch & meeting old friends &/or making new friends.   We are always looking for reserve volunteers to come & help set up tables & chairs, wash up or cook on occasions – or maybe you like doing admin work at home.  It’s all great fun & very rewarding!   So if you have a few hours a fortnight to spare then please email kateherbison@hotmail.com

Latest CRAG report

Congresbury Residents Action Group members attended a useful, informal meeting of the North Somerset Village Alliance, which ranged over several topics.

Top of the list was the response to the Local Plan Issues and Options documents. Attendance at the Langford and Congresbury drop-in events had been very good, but there was conflicting information about how many official comments had been made by residents. To read full report by John Mills of CRAG please click here

 

£10,000 boost for new village hall plans

Plans for the new village hall/community centre at the King George V Playing Fields have been boosted by a £10,000 grant.    The funding comes from Power to Change, an independent charitable trust endowed with £150 million from the Big Lottery Fund to support and develop community business for charitable purposes.   The money will allow the project team to develop the community share offer and the business plan for the proposed new building.

The fund-raising team is also negotiating to secure an equity investment from the Community Shares Booster Programme. Under this programme, up to £100,000 is available to match applications for shares from the public.  If successful, it would mean that for every pound invested by individuals up to £100,000, another pound will be invested in matched shares.

To read full update including pledges and new community cafe opening  click here

‘OH’ TO BE IN CONGRESBURY IN THE AUTUMN

Last week, a friend of mine was in raptures extolling the wonderful autumn colours he had seen in America. He could have saved himself a fortune by visiting the ‘Millennium Green’. Perhaps it’s the result of the long hot summer or the wonderful weather over the last week, but the colours of the trees on the Milli Green are stunning.

Every 4 weeks, I open and close the Public Toilets on a Saturday and Sunday. This gives me a good excuse to walk around the Millennium Green. Last weekend both days were fantastic. The sun was shining and the trees are turning colour before dropping their leaves. The mix of  reds and gold against the green are pure magic.

Apart from the trees there are always interesting things to see. I was amazed to see a Heron perched on a tree over looking the River. They seem to spend their lives standing on the edge of the water waiting for a fish to eat. Sat on the top of a tree is a long way from the water, but perhaps he was just enjoying the sun and the wonderful views.

As the River Yeo was crystal clear it was possible to see shoals of small fish amongst the reeds. After the Cormorants appear to have eaten all the large fish, the appearance of abundant numbers of new fish bods well for the future.

If you are planning a trip to ‘Westonbirt’ to see the ‘Autumn Colours’ save the journey and visit the Millennium Green.  Its free and so are the Public Toilets. Well worth a visit at half term or any day.

Michael Greaves

Congresbury badminton player in European Seniors Championships

Congresbury resident & retired Backwell School teacher, Cathy Alexander, has just returned from competing in the badminton European Senior Championships in Guadalajara, Madrid.  Cathy who plays for St Katherine’s Club in Pill, and her partner Penny Shears (Beaufort Badminton Club, Bristol) were representing England for the first time.   The pair had to play at least four qualifying tournaments around the country – one of which had to be The Nationals or All England. The top 6 pairs were then selected to play in the Championships.  Cathy & Penny got through to the quarter finals beating pairs from France, Germany, Finland and Sweden.  They fought hard in the quarter final, 21-18 & 21-19,  – only just losing to the No. 3 seeds from Denmark.

The Strawberry Line – 5 years on

Michael Greaves shares his reflections on the last 5 years of the Strawberry line…..

In 2013 I wrote a monthly account of my walks along the ‘Strawberry Line’ from The Old Station to Thatcher’s Cider Factory. Thanks to my Daughter lending me one of bikes, I have taken to the saddle and enjoyed a few leisurely rides along the ‘Old Railway Line’ and thought some might be interested in what’s happened in the last 5 years.

                    

Looking back at my account of September 2013, we were remembering the last train that travelled from Wells to Yatton on 7th September 1963 – 50 years ago. I haven’t seen any accounts of the 55 years that have now elapsed, but a lot has happened in the last 5 years.   Firstly, the Strawberry Line is as beautiful as ever. We are so fortunate to have this open space on our door step. I haven’t been as far as Thatcher’s Orchards for a few years and not since we lost our beloved Black Labrador ‘Minton’. He was the main reason I walked along the Strawberry Line every morning and evening. But, its pure magic and the views are spectacular with wildlife in abundance.  Read more

Residents protest over change to housing plans

Angry villagers from Cobthorn Way, Wrington Lane and Verlands besieged Congresbury Parish Council meeting on Monday to raise their strong objections to the tactics adopted by Strongvox, who have taken over the development at the bottom of Cobthorn Way from Sunley Homes, the original developer.

Strongvox have applied to the planning authority to replace the original mix of 38 properties with 21 four-bedroomed houses, instead of a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bedroomed units, and the original four bungalows reduced to one.  The 11 affordable units cannot be changed.

Read More

New Village Hall – pledge update

The deadline date for the pledge request has been extended to the end of September to give more time for the community to significantly increase the amount raised currently standing at £111,275.

We have had made some changes; the minimum amount for the shares pledge will be £100, and pledges can be made online via our website – http://www.congresburyvillagehall.co.uk/pledge-request-form/

We are in discussions with a potential investor willing to make a substantial pledge to help the project achieve its targets, subject to some conditions. If we can finalise this pledge it will be a significant boost to the project and help with our discussions with potential funders. But the community must reach the minimum £250,000 target.

Some 127 pledges have been received so there are well over 2,000 other people in the village who could pledge.

We are working through the feedback we have received and will issue further updates over the next couple of weeks.

WORKING TOGETHER WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN

Future plans for Churchill & Langford queried


A series of questions on the viability, legality and wisdom of aspects of future plans for Churchill and Langford, has been delivered to North Somerset Council by a local action group.
Churchill and Langford Residents Action Group – CALRAG – posed the questions to the council’s Strategic Planning and Economic Development Scrutiny Panel, the influential committee that steers councillors in shaping the future of the area.   Read more

Village fete sizzling and successful

Tropical temperatures did not deter villagers from flocking to St. Andrew’s church paddock, for Congresbury village fete and Flower show, which was better than ever this year, with attractions for all ages.

The upbeat sound of the Cadbury Saxophones encouraged slackers to the event, and the paddock was filled with stalls, manned  by different village groups, coupled with a bouncy slide and ball pool, and a display by Avon Owls.

The Morgan car display of handmade luxury vehicles, and the vintage cars displayed by Debbie Fortune, the Audi shortly destined for Le Mans, drew appreciative crowds, mainly men.

Read More