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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

Villagers mark cricketing milestone

Families in Congresbury will celebrate 175 years of cricket this summer.

A 10-day Festival of Cricket in high summer will include a match against an MCC XI, a BBC West XI, junior cricket including All Stars, and a celebration dinner.

The annual village fete on June 29 will also be cricket themed and will feature a cricket tea bake-off using a cake recipe from the 1920s unearthed during research into cricket in north Somerset during the Victorian and Edwardian era.

Congresbury men v ladies in 1907 which the village plans to recreate in some form at this year’s fete. Photo courtesy of Anita Standen

Local historian and author Clive Burlton, 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!h

“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 the cricket tea bake-off.”

Clive, who is compiling a book to mark 175 years of village cricket, noted that while Congresbury Cricket Club cannot claim it is 175 years old – there have been too many rebirths to claim that heritage – there is no doubt that cricket has been played almost continuously in the area since the 1840s. There’s even one account of Langford playing in 1825!

“The men v women photo and a pencil-written account was found in Ernest Standen’s notebook on Theology. A religious man, Ernie played in the match and it was his wife Mabel who later commandeered his notebook to write down village recipes,” said Clive.

Congresbury skipper Justin Yau and Weston skipper Chris Davidson with the 1919 scorebook earlier this month

The oldest document so far uncovered is the scorebook from 1919. The first match after World War One was against Weston-super-Mare and almost 100 years later the two clubs met in a pre-season friendly in April with Congresbury emerging as winners. 

Cricket club chairman Geoff Wilcock said that the enthusiasm for the 175thcelebrations clearly demonstrated that cricket was alive and well despite reports of a general decline in the sport’s popularity. 

“We used to field three teams on a Saturday now it’s only two but we do have a healthy junior section and the All Stars programme is proving very popular with the five to eight year olds,” said Mr Wilcock.

“This year we are also launching soft ball cricket for women and girls which we hope will prove equally popular.”

Congresbury plays senior cricket in the West of England Premier League and the Bristol and District League and junior cricket in the North Somerset League. 


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

Community Cafe now open

The new Congresbury Community Café – Community coffee@Bridge House – was officially opened by Debbie Fortune and Ron Hall. The café is open on Wednesday & Friday mornings from 8.45 to 1pm, with a view to open more often in the future.

The cafe is in Bridge House, part of the Debbie Fortune Estate Agency (https://www.debbiefortune.co.uk/) building who have allowed the use of two rooms and courtyard in line with their continued commitment to local charitable causes across all their offices.

Ron Hall for Congresbury Village Hall Limited who have set up the café said “We could not have done this without the support from Debbie Fortune, Simon Palmer Construction, Howdens Kitchens in Clevedon https://www.howdens.com , Sandra Pogson and grant funding from Congresbury Parish Council, the Bristol Airport Diamond Fund and Tesco bag scheme.”

“Rory Ireland from Bristol Twenty Tea and Coffee company https://bristol-twenty.co.uk/ has been instrumental in setting up the coffee machine, and training a number of willing volunteers how to produce a really good cup of coffee. “

The café is managed by a pool of volunteers providing a range of hot drinks and home-made cakes including gluten free options. The café accepts payment by card and takeaway is available. All profits go towards the costs of building new village hall / community centre.

CRAG update on Wrington Lane scheme

North Somerset Council has rejected the latest attempt by land agent Gladman to make cosmetic changes to their plan for 50 houses on a site off Wrington Lane. The reason for the Council’s decision? Their proposals for a continuous pavement in Wrington Lane would result in unsatisfactory and substandard carriageway width and hazards to road users. Read more

                                                                                   

Another successful Spring Show

A premature spring reduced the daffodils at Congresbury Gardening Club’s Spring Show, but the Old School Rooms was full of the perfume of narcissi and other spring flowers, with tulips galore. Warm dry weather had not affected some gardeners’ rhubarb, with four superb entries on the bench, and Dave Miles taking the prize.

After his expert advice in the local gardening column, John Chaplin rightly came top in the orchid class, and the narcissus experts were Ann Gunner and Helen Riddell, who won the Frank Calcraft trophy for the most points. There was keen competition in the tulip class with 13 entries and Sue Collins entry was judged the best. click here to read more

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

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.

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