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£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.

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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.

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Neighbourhood Watch Invitation

The Avon and Somerset Neighbourhood Watch Association (ASNWA) would like to invite you to attend a Neighbourhood Watch Network (NWN) event on Wednesday 20th June 2018 at Police Headquarters, Portishead. The event will run from 9.30am (Registration) then 10am to 4:30pm.
The NWN are holding regional events to showcase new, practical Crime & Vulnerability Toolkits and NW Development Seminars.
In consultation with their principle funder the Home Office they have secured funding to develop a set of 5 practical Toolkits on various crime and vulnerability issues.  For full information click here.

New hall fundraising tops £71,000

Plans for a new village hall and community centre in Congresbury will enter a critical phase in the next few months.

So far more than £71,000 has been raised towards the project with £8,200 raised last year. In the next couple of months, the project volunteers will issue an invitation to pledge money towards the build cost.

“We have set a target of the community investing £400,000 in the building; the absolute minimum that must be raised will be £250,000,” said Ian Sheppard on behalf of the project team.

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Where have all the fish in the Yeo gone?

Micheal Greaves sets out to answer a question many have been asking.

Those who walk over the Millennium Bridge to either stroll around the Green or make their way to school or the shops will notice something missing. All the fish in the River Yeo have disappeared.

A chance discussion with a fisherman on Christmas Eve, provided the answer. The River Yeo has been over fished on a massive scale. Nothing to do with Brexit or the EU quotas but cormorants. These large black birds with a formidable beak and the ability to swim under water have cleaned out the river.

Read More

Knighthood for local scientist

Prof Sir Steve Sparks

Professor Steve Sparks CBE has been knighted in the New Year’s Honours for his services to volcano research and geology. Steve, 68, lives in Brinsea Road with his wife Ann and is Chaning Wills Professor of Geology in the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol.

The knighthood is the latest recognition of the influence of Sir Steve’s work. In 2015 he was awarded the Vetlesen Prize in the USA. The prize is awarded for scientific achievement resulting in a clearer understanding of the Earth, its history, or its relations to the universe and is regarded as the Nobel Prize of earth sciences. At the time, Sir Steve was praised for his “highly original and insightful contributions” to the understanding of volcanic eruptions. “His research has had a huge impact globally,” said Prof. Alex Halliday, vice president of the Royal Society.

Sir Steve was elected to the Royal Society in 1988 when he was just 38.

Margaret Gosling remembered

It was an apt ending to Margaret Gosling’s life, which was filled with flowers, that her funeral on December 18 took place in St. Andrew’s church, bedecked with Christmas flowers and floral decorations.
Born in East Dundry, Margaret inherited her love of flowers from her mother, who was an accomplished flower arranger, and a co-founder of the Chew Valley Floral Decoration Society.   After attending Dundry village school, Margaret started a family tradition by going to Redland High School for Girls.   Leaving at 17, she took a job at Long Ashton Research Institute, involved in research on the growth of fruit, and, with day release to college, gained her Licentiate of Royal Institute in Chemistry.
Margaret met her future husband, Donald, at a dance in Yatton Assembly Rooms (now the Railway Hotel) and they were married in October 1961 in Dundry, setting up home in the house in the yard of the family timber business in Congresbury, where she continued to live until her death at the age of 76.     Read more   

Wreath making for the new village hall.

On 14th and 15th December, Julia Thyer held wreath making parties at her house which raised £425 for The New Village Hall Project. Liz English arranged the catering, and several people brought soups and puddings as well as greenery from their gardens. After mulled wine and lunch, Julia gave a talk and demonstration, then the guests made their own beautiful wreaths. Julia Koblizek decorated hers with real citrus tree leaves and dried oranges while Emma used honesty seed heads, Mary Faunt created a swirl effect with her stunning design. You may see some of them as you walk around the village.

Liz and Julia thanked everyone for their generous contributions which made each day so enjoyable.

Liz also organised the fun recital The Greatest Story Ever Told given by Tim Lewis which raised a whopping £602, enabling Liz to give a total of £1,027 to the new hall.

Appeal Victory

Congresbury Residents Action Group (CRAG) is celebrating the fact that another speculative building scheme for the village has been thrown out by a planning inspector.  Last month, more than 25 supporters of CRAG turned up for the official hearing into the Strongvox scheme to build 24 houses on land off Brinsea Road – almost opposite the site where Barratts were turned down two years earlier.
Planning Inspector Gareth Thomas heard from North Somerset Council the reasons why the scheme had been refused planning permission. And he upheld the council’s decision and agreed with residents that the scheme would change the character of the approach to the village.   For full report click here 
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Volunteers needed by police

Avon & Somerset Police have set up a new support group and are looking for volunteers.     

As a Volunteer in a Circle of Support and Accountability (‘Circle’), you’ll make an important contribution to preventing sexual abuse by helping reduce the risk of further sexual harm by a known perpetrator.

A Circle is a small group of carefully trained and selected Volunteers who meet regularly with an individual who has been convicted of sexual offences (or with harmful sexual behaviour). Volunteers hold the individual to account for their behaviour and support their safe reintegration into the community. They work closely with the responsible statutory organisations.   Read more