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Fire in workshop

Fire crews tackled a blaze in a workshop off the A370 in the early hours of Thursday.
Avon Fire & Rescue issued the following statement: At 2.41am, crews from Clevedon, Winscombe, Yatton, Weston and Southmead fire stations were called to a fire in a private workshop on Bristol Road in Congresbury.
On arrival, firefighters used one high pressure hose reel and two ground monitors to extinguish the fire.
They also removed four cylinders for cooling and evacuated three people. The cause is thought to be accidental.

Burglaries update

Security advice from our PCSO’s
Please note that the 3 burglaries in Congresbury were all committed at the rear of the properties. All 3 had side gates but unfortunately they were unlocked and allowed easy access. This is the same method used in other villages in North Somerset. I recommend that all side gates are locked / bolted top and bottom and preferably solid in structure. Please make it as hard as possible for opportunist thieves to succeed. If you would like any specific Crime Prevention advice please contact: PCSO Marie Broomfield – 8879@avonandsomerset.police.uk or
PC Paul Morris – 2955@avonandsomerset.police.uk

Village burglaries

A number of homes were broken into at Brinsea Road, Congresbury, on Monday 9 September. One property was entered between 2.45 and
4.30pm after the offender(s) kicked in the back door. An untidy search
was then made before cash and jewellery were stolen. If you contact the Police about this incident, please quote Reference number: 5219208198

A window was prised open to enter another home, thought to have been between 10.30am and 3.15pm. Jewellery was targeted and keys to a car were taken in order to steal the car from the driveway. The blue Jaguar was found a short distance away although the keys are still missing. If you contact the Police about this incident, please quote Reference number: 5219208091

While investigating these burglaries, police have come across a third offence in Brinsea Road. In this case a search of the main bedroom has been made, but it is unsure what has been stolen at this time. If you contact the Police about this incident, please quote Reference number: 5219208226

If you have any information regarding these incidents, contact the Police on 101. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

Congresbury joins the Parish Councils’ Airport Association

Congresbury is to join the Parish Councils Airport Association (PCAA) at a cost of £75 a year. At Monday’s meeting, councillors heard the PCAA’s Phil Collins explain that the organisation kept a watching brief on Bristol Airport and its expansion plans. Those plans included an increase from 8 million passengers a year to 12 million. Mr Collins added that the number of jobs likely to be created, if the expansion was approved, would be minimal and low wage.

Less well known was the plan to include a change in flight schedules that would result in more night flights during the summer months. Read more

CRAG’s report from Parish Council meeting

CRAG was well-represented at Monday’s meeting (19 August) of Congresbury Parish Council’s planning committee. The agenda item which attracted CRAG members was the appeal by Gladman to the Planning Inspectorate against North Somerset Council’s rejection of the scheme for changes to Wrington Lane.

Committee chair Michael Greaves summarised the council’s objection to the scheme, stating that Wrington Lane was totally inadequate for more traffic, a situation that would be exacerbated by the development at Cobthorn Way. Read more

Cricket book captures 175 years of village life

A new book celebrating 175 years of village cricket opens up a window on life in Somerset through the Victorian and Edwardian eras to the present day.

The book, published by Congresbury Cricket Club in association with Congresbury History Group, tells much more than the story of cricket in the village over the generations.

“The more research I did, the more people I spoke to, the more I realised how the fabric of village life and the development of cricket were intertwined,” said local historian and author Clive Burlton.

The book, with 112 pages, 60,000 words and 250 images draws on the archives held by both the cricket club and the history group as well as recounting the memories of villagers and players, past and present. 

Clive, a club vice president, explained: “Among the many nuggets we’ve found is a photograph and an account of a 1907 men v women cricket match in the village with men batting left-handed with broomsticks!

“We also found recipes for all sorts of cakes and pies written by village ladies with known links to cricketers of the time which sparked the idea for a cricket tea bake-off at the Congresbury Fete on June 29.”

The oldest document uncovered is the scorebook from 1919. The first match after World War One was against Weston-super-Mare – the two clubs met again in April this year in a pre-season friendly almost 100 years later. 

The book tells far more than the story of Congresbury CC, looking at the development of cricket in North Somerset from the middle of the 19th century with extensive use of newspaper archives since the 1850s.

175 Years of Village Cricket will be launched at The Old School Rooms in Congresbury on Friday June 21 with a presentation by Clive Burlton starting at 7.30pm. Doors open at 7pm.

The book was designed and produced by Bristol Books and can also be obtained online at www.bristolbooks.org

Calling all growers!

The community cafe is now going to be home to an innovative ‘Glut Market’ every Wednesday morning. As a way of helping reduce food waste and supply fresh fruit and vegetables, residents are being asked to bring any surplus home-grown produce, flowers or plants to the community cafe on Wednesdays from 9am.

All items can be bought for a reasonable donation and the money received will go to help the new village hall fund. Customers are asked to bring their own bags.

Ian Sheppard for Congresbury Village Hall Ltd says: “We know there are some fantastic green-fingered residents here, growing masses of fruit, veg and plants that they may not be able to use themselves or give away.

“We’re hoping the Glut Market will be a great place for residents to get some good quality, local produce and also stay for a chat, a cup of coffee and some homemade cake”. 

The Glut Market will be held in the courtyard of the Community Coffee Shop @ Bridge House on Broad Street every Wednesday morning during the summer and autumn 9am-1pm. More details can be found at www.congresburyvillagehall.co.uk and @CongresburyCommunityCoffee Facebook page.

Celebratory Tea for Tom and Di

A celebratory party was held on Sunday at the Old School Rooms, to thank Tom Leimdorfer and Di Hassan for the immense amount of work they have done for the village. Tom was Ward Councillor for 16 years and Di was a parish councillor for 10 years, 6 of which she served as chair. They steered the community through some very difficult times and were thanked during a tea party of over 100 people. Liz Greaves arranged the planting of trees for the occasion and the party processed to the Community orchard and paddock at the Milllennium Green, where they were photographed at the field maple for Tom, and the Quince for Di. It was a very memorable and happy occasion for all who attended and just shows what a special village this is. 

We wish Stuart Treadway (the new ward councillor) and Arthur Hacking (the new chair of the parish council) the very best in their endeavours.

Somerset Methodist Circuit Spring Harvest 2020 in Minehead

Congresbury Methodist Church is hoping to take a group from the Circuit to Spring harvest at Minehead for 4 nights from 13th – 17th April 2020. The theme next Easter will be ‘Unleashed – the Acts Church for Today’. Over the 5 days there will be a programme of worship, speakers, workshops, bible study and leisure activities, including full use of all the Butlins entertainment on sight, including the swimming pool and rides! Read more

Village hall project ‘to move forward’

Congresbury Parish Council and the new village hall project team have reviewed the 418 responses to the recent survey, which showed 266 respondents did not support the council taking out a public works loan. 

The survey generated a lot of comment but only 28 per cent of households responded. Obviously this is disappointing and the Development Committee have confirmed their commitment to move the project forward. The project has come so far and many villagers, village organisations and businesses have put a lot of time and effort in support of the project. We can now focus on other funding options.

The project is in a good place with:
– grant funding helping us to progress the community share offer and up to £100,000 of matched equity funding available, subject to a formal application.
– an expanding pool of volunteers.
– the community café making such a promising start we are going to open on the third Saturday of each month – 18 May, 15 June, 20 July & 17 August – until the end of the summer, from 9 – 1pm.

Congresbury needs a new village hall and community centre which not only provides a ‘home’ and supports our sports clubs but will provide a broader range of modern facilities and activities for all age groups in a growing village. As an example in the 2007 Parish survey, young people said they wanted somewhere to meet and chat with their friends. The new building will provide that.

The new village hall is a part of the Council’s Neighbourhood plan and we will continue to work with them to make the new building happen.

Ian Sheppard

Fish return to the River Yeo

Three years ago the River Yeo lost most of its fish to cormorants using the river in Congresbury as a fast food outlet on their way to Blagdon Reservoir.

Cormorants are blamed for loss of fish in the Yeo

Once again, the miracle of nature has happened and fish are back in our river. Over the Easter weekend we were blessed with sunshine and clear water in the River Yeo. Looking over the Millennium Bridge the sunshine illuminated the river bed and to my delight and surprise, there were shoals of roach! Some of the fish appeared to be 12 inches long, but there were dozens of smaller fish enjoying the fine weather and no doubt the water insects emerging from their winter hibernation.

Roach return

The River Yeo was once one of the best rivers in the area for coarse fishing and several fishing clubs leased fishing rights for their members. We even had a trout fishing club who stocked the river from the Tumbling Weir to Iwood Bridge. Regretfully, poaching and predators such as minx and cormorants as well as pollution brought about their demise. 

As the old saying goes ‘One swallow does not make a summer’ but a few fish might mean our river is returning to its former glory. Please don’t tell the cormorants.

Michael Greaves

Bristol Airport’s new biometric trial

New SelfPassTM biometrics solution from Collins Aerospace among the first to connect multiple airlines, airports and countries. A biometric, single-enrollment identification streamlines the passenger’s outbound and return journey at multiple airports

Passengers traveling through England’s Bristol Airport and Ireland’s Dublin Airport can look forward to a new streamlined journey with Collins Aerospace’s SelfPass biometric solution. The solution, now being trialed at Bristol Airport and Dublin Airport, is believed to be the first biometric solution that enables passengers to use a single enrollment in multiple countries Click here to read full report

Calling all knitters & crocheters!

Alterknit Universe Wool Shop on the corner of Main Road & Bishops Road, Cleeve, are involved with knitting teeny hats for the Innocent Smoothies, which gives 25p for each bottle wearing a hat, to Age UK. The shop is a collection point for them. They are also looking for knitters & crocheters to knit toy animals to raise money for PDSA & Holly Hedge. Pop along to their shop for more information. So …. get out those needles!

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

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

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