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John Mills sends us the latest thoughts from CRAG

All change?

Lack of activity on two fronts – Wrington Lane and Park Road – may be set to change in the not too distant future. We should get an idea of what’s in store on the planning front from this week’s Queen’s speech, when the government sets out its parliamentary agenda.

As a clue, the foreword to the White Paper on planning reform by Prime Minister Johnson states: “Radical reform unlike anything we have seen since the Second World War. No more fiddling around the edges, not simply painting over the damp patches, but levelling the foundations and building, from the ground up, a whole new planning system for England. One that is simpler, clearer and quicker to navigate, delivering results in weeks and months rather than years and decades. That actively encourages sustainable, beautiful, safe and useful development rather than obstructing it. That makes it harder for developers to dodge their obligations to improve infrastructure and opens up housebuilding to more than just the current handful of massive corporations. That gives you a greater say over what gets built in your community.”

Regardless of what one thinks of this government, to CRAG, it looks like developers will have much more freedom in regard to planning, so we need to prepare for a tooth and nail scrap.

It was noticed in one of his many photo ops recently, the PM was posing in a Barratts hard hat. This does not in itself indicate anything untoward, but it must mean at least that Johnson’s and Barratt’s people are acquainted.

CRAG does not have anything like those sorts of connections but we do have in our MP John Penrose, the government’s anti-corruption champion. So if we detect the slightest whiff of unfair advantage, we can rely on Mr Penrose to take up the cudgels on our behalf!

But we cannot leave it to just one MP to take on the developers – we must be ready with plans and resources. We have hundreds of Congresbury residents with us – let’s give Barratts, Gladman and the Vistry Group a fight they will remember.

Refill shop offers plastic-free alternative

Welcome to Re:Store Congresbury! Based in Congars Cafe, we’re open Thursday, Friday (08:40-16:00) and Saturday (09:00-16:00) and are stocked to the rafters with everything for your sustainable shopping needs. We have a wide range of refill foods across cereals, pasta, rices, pulses, flours, sugars, herbs, spices, sweet treats, oils, teas and much more. Plus eco-friendly and refillable household cleaning products and lots of plastic-free toiletries, handmade gifts, locally made skincare and lots more!

You can bring your own containers or we supply in paper bags. And the best bit is you can buy as little or as much as you need 👍 You can shop in-store or online at www.restorecongresbury.co.uk

Villagers back Rec Club rebuild project

The project to rebuild Congresbury’s Rec Club has received the backing of more than 87 per cent of those who took part in an online survey. Only eight per cent said they didn’t think the redevelopment would benefit the village. Others were unsure.

“This is extremely encouraging and just the sort of support we hoped to get,” said Les Owen who is leading Project Construct, the name given to the plans to redevelop the Rec Club with additional changing rooms for the cricket and tennis clubs.

Almost one-fifth of respondents indicated that they would be prepared to help or get involved as a trustee or join the Rec Club committee. A further 29 per cent said they would consider making a financial contribution.

“If anyone who wants to get more involved could contact us sooner rather than later we would really appreciate it,” said Mr Owen. You can get in touch by email at newrecclub@gmail.com or by speaking to any cricket, tennis, football or Rec Club committee member.

Another 74 per cent of those surveyed said they would be more likely to use the new facilities more often while 60 per cent said they would be interested in making use of hiring the club for private functions.

Almost half of those who took part in the survey said they would be interested in keep-fit activities such as aerobics, pilates or dancing being included in the redevelopment plans and almost 40 per cent said the availability of meeting rooms would be useful for organisations they belong to.

Meanwhile talks with various sporting organisations which could provide grants towards the cost of the project continue, explained Mr Owen.

“We should be able to provide further updates on the project including costs and more detailed architect’s plans in early summer,” he said.

Planning Application

The Haven Bristol Road Congresbury BS49 5BG

Date
Tue 27 Apr 2021
Application TypeAmendment to previously approved application 20/P/1715/FUH
DevelopmentTwo storey side extension, garage conversion to annexe & porch (amendment to previously approved application 20/P/1715/FUH, previously approved garage replaced by bay window matching existing house, porch between bays added to front elevation and reduction in number/size of previously approved side windows.)

Link to full details

Vistry visionaries?

CRAG’s John Mills sends us the action group’s latest thoughts:

“More signs of peripheral activity at the Wrington Lane site, recently transferred from Bovis Homes to Vistry Group.

“A CRAG informant spotted two Bovis men on the field with a clip board and when asked what they were doing replied: “Just having a look.”

“As Bovis has had several years in which the whole company could have visited the site, it is reasonable to think that they were doing more than just having a look. In the absence of concrete information, we are free to speculate.

“Maybe it was a couple of managers saying a fond farewell to the site that had now passed to Vistry? Much more likely, the new owners had discovered The Mound.

“Some objectors had already indicated that to squeeze 50 houses onto the site, developers would have to build on Mansbury Mound, a limestone outcrop that dominates the centre of the site.

“The historical significance of the Mound was referenced on this page several weeks ago, along with a question of how they might remove the outcrop whilst maintaining Vistry Group values of ‘integrity, caring and quality.’

“And in their latest Design Compliance Statement, Vistry states that one of the opportunities of the development is “to retain and enhance existing landscape features……within the site, where possible.“

“With those reassuring words, the good citizens of Congresbury should be able to look forward to Mansbury Mound surviving for another few hundred years . . .”

Congresbury Village Hall Ltd

The following statement was issued today (April 30th) by Ian Sheppard on behalf of the Congresbury new village hall project team.

“Since we announced the project for a new village hall would not be proceeding we have been taking a break after the years of effort spent on trying to progress the project. Additionally I have moved house, into an old cottage which is taking up a lot of my time. 

“Over the next few months we will be liaising with the relevant authorities to look at:

·        The legal structure for the community café and 

·        Possible options for the remaining funds that have been raised. Approximately £25,000 was allocated to the new building and the rest approximately £4,000 is ring fenced for the community café.

“If Congresbury Village Hall Ltd (a community benefit society) has to be dissolved the society’s rules state funds can only be transferred to another charitable body or charitable bodies having objectives similar to or compatible with those of Congresbury Village Hall Limited. 

“Whilst any decision on the use of the funds would be the responsibility of the society’s members we will ask our volunteers for their views as without them we would not have been able to raise the funds.”

Warning on new text message scam

Avon & Somerset police have issued a warning over a new text message scam called Flubot. This is a malicious piece of spyware that is installed on Android devices once you receive a text message asking you to install a Tracking App due to a ‘missed package delivery’. The ‘Tracking App’ will actually steal passwords and other sensitive data, while sending messages to your contacts to do the same.

The text message asks the user to click on a link (PLEASE DON’T), doing so will take you to a website where you will be prompted to download the App (DEFINITELY DON’T).

Please forward any scam messages to 7726 (SPAM on your keypad), which is a free reporting service.

Although this scam only appears on Android phones at the moment, Apple IOS users should remain alert as this could apply to these handsets at some point.

Please see the link below for information on the National Cyber Security Website.

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/flubot-guidance-for-text-message-scam

Dog kills sheep near weir

Congresbury Parish Council was contacted today (April 30th) by a local landowner to draw attention to an incident over the past few days. The landowner sadly lost one lamb and three ewes when they were viciously attacked by a dog. This incident took place on the field next to the weir in Congresbury. 

Dog owners must be aware that it is a criminal offence to allow their dog to worry sheep on agricultural land.  Most criminal prosecutions are bought by the police but it is worth noting that farmers, landowners and owners may bring proceedings against the dog owner following an attack.

The Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 (“1953 Act”) says that if a dog worries sheep on agricultural land, the owner and/or the person in charge of the dog is guilty of a criminal offence.  Under the 1953 Act the term ‘worrying’ includes attacking livestock; chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to livestock – this can also include abortion or being at large in a field containing sheep.

Furthermore, the 1953 Act enables criminal proceedings to be bought by the police, farmers and owners where there is sufficient evidence to do so.

Please ensure that your dog is on a lead if you walk through a field with livestock and ensure that you keep to the footpath at all times. The Countryside Code available at; The Countryside Code: advice for countryside visitors – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) states that ‘It is good practice wherever you are to keep your dog on a lead around livestock and the fact that a farmer can shoot a dog that is attacking or chasing livestock. They may not be liable to compensate the dog’s owner’.

Local shops warned over under-age alcohol sales

Police have issued advice to a number of shops selling alcohol in North Somerset following a test purchase operation carried out last week in Nailsea.

On Friday 23 April, neighbourhood officers assisted by cadet leaders visited 17 shops after residents expressed concerns about under 18s buying alcohol, and subsequent anti-social behaviour in the area.

In nine shops, alcohol was sold to young persons without checking identification.

A letter of warning has been issued to the store owners, who will also be given further education around challenging and asking for identification from young people buying alcohol.

Acting Police Sgt Ali Codd said “We are disappointed at the number of shops who sold alcohol without asking for identification and would like to remind retailers of their responsibility to challenge appropriately any person attempting to purchase alcohol who looks under the age of 25.

“Future similar operations will be taking place where any offences may be dealt with by a prosecution.

“We would also like to remind and encourage members of the community to contact the neighbourhood team if you have concerns about underage drinking and/or anti-social behaviour.”

Last chance to have your say on Rec Club rebuild

Responses to the survey about redeveloping the Rec Club and building a separate cricket/tennis pavilion have been overwhelmingly positive. The survey will close at midnight on Friday April 30th so if you haven’t taken part, please do so now by clicking on this link

Results of the survey will be published in due course and as plans progress, the Project Construct team will keep villagers up-to-date.

New Rec Club plans welcomed by villagers

Plans to redevelop the Rec Club and build a new cricket and tennis pavilion on the King George V Playing Field have been given a huge thumbs up with more than 95 per cent of those surveyed saying the development would benefit the village.

And more than 80 per cent of people said they would use the new facilities more with 57 per cent welcoming a wider choice of indoor recreational facilities. Full results of the survey will be revealed next month.

If you haven’t already taken part, it’s not too late. The Project Construct team has added a comment box to the survey to gather more feedback or you can email newrecclub@gmail.com if you want to get involved. 

The survey takes less than two minutes to complete. Click on this link to take part. 

Man, 33, charged with attempted murder

James Richardson, 33, has been charged with two counts of attempted murder after a man and a woman, both in their 60s, were found seriously injured near the Henley Lane area of Yatton at about 3pm on Saturday 10 April. Both remain in hospital.

Richardson, of no fixed address, will also face one count each of assaulting an emergency worker and breaching a restraining order.

He has been remanded ahead of appearing at North Somerset Courthouse.

Local officers have been conducting additional reassurance patrols in the Yatton area since the weekend.

Man arrested after Yatton attack

A man is in police custody after being arrested on suspicion of attempted murder following an incident in Yatton.

Police and paramedics were called to the Henley Lane area of the village at about 3pm on Saturday after a man and a woman, both in their 60s, were found with serious injuries at an address. They both remain in hospital.

A 33-year-old man was arrested in the Kewstoke area overnight.

Chief Inspector Jess Aston said: “Our investigation is at an early stage, but at this time we believe this to be an isolated incident.

“Although there is not believed to be a heightened risk to public safety, people can expect to see an increased high-visibility presence in the area over the coming days with additional reassurance patrols planned.

“We’d urge anyone concerned about what has happened this weekend to speak with one of those officers on patrol and they will happy to talk to you. Alternatively, the local team can be contacted through our website as normal.”

Enquiries into what happened are continuing and any witnesses who could assist the police investigation are asked to contact them through the Avon & Somerset website or call 101 and give reference number 5221076615.

Update on plans for new sports and recreation facilities on Congresbury’s King George V Fields

Plans to upgrade the facilities at Congresbury Recreation Club, first revealed in November, are gathering momentum.

The new plan, called Project Construct, envisages the demolition and rebuilding of the existing Rec Club on the same footprint and a new separate changing room pavilion for the cricket and tennis clubs. The existing tennis clubhouse will be demolished (see site plan below).

“We are updating the village on the progress we have made. Support from the villagers of Congresbury is important,” said Congresbury Cricket Club president Les Owen who is leading Project Construct. 

‘’We are shortly to begin a ‘pre-application’ consultation on the plans with North Somerset planners following which we will communicate with villagers again with the proposed buildings details. Our aim is to make a formal submission for planning approvals within the next few months. Alongside this we will start the fund-raising phase,” said Les.

Michael Greaves, chairman of the King George V Playing Fields Trust, said: “Replacing a dilapidated Rec Club and building a new changing room pavilion will not just benefit the cricket and tennis clubs but the whole village.

 “The cricket ground and recreational playing fields have been a central part of village life since the 1930s. We want to make sure this continues to be so for generations to come.”

There will be a new changing rooms building for cricket and tennis with a tennis viewing area, and four multi-use changing rooms with shower and toilet facilities that will meet the needs of all sports and recreation users of the Fields

The plans also include a new Recreation Club building with separate sports and lounge bars. The social space will be considerably bigger than in the existing building through the release of the existing changing rooms and showers space.

It retains much of the existing kitchen appliances and cupboards – renewed at the end of 2020 – and will have a larger bar serving area. 

The two separate social areas can be turned into a single function room for larger recreational, social or private functions greatly increasing the potential use of the new building

Project Construct is working on an estimated cost in the region of £600,000 – a figure that will be firmed up once the detailed plans have been finalised. 

The project has already secured significant funding pledges while additional sources of funding and grants are being explored and discussions have started with potential grant funders such as the England Cricket Board (ECB) “I think it’s fair to say that we are starting on a firm financial footing,” said Les. The developer is the King George V Trustees which is a registered charity and donations will be eligible for Gift Aid and higher rate tax relief.

PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO COMPLETE THE SHORT SURVEY ABOUT THE NEW DEVELOPMENTS BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK

If you want to get more involved including offering financial assistance please email newrecclub@gmail.com with your contact details. Many thanks.

BACKGROUND

The fields were gifted to the village in 1935 by Donald Harvey who bought them from the Walter brothers. The brothers sold the land on the condition that it would substantially benefit the playing of cricket and that the whole area would be used as a playing fields and recreation ground in perpetuity for the inhabitants of Congresbury. In turn, Donald Harvey gifted the land to the National Playing Fields Association (now called Fields in Trust) through the King George V Playing Fields Trust which is managed by the King George V Playing Fields Trustees.  Each of the parish council, the cricket, football and tennis clubs, the Royal British Legion and St Andrews school may nominate a trustee and the Trustees have power to appoint additional trustees to assist them. The Trustees can delegate the day to day running and administration of the Fields to a committee, which is now the Congresbury Recreation Club.

The current Rec Club was built by the cricket club in 1963 with an anticipated 25-year lifespan. It is remarkable that it has survived more than twice as long as that, but it is hardly surprising that it is becoming increasingly difficult and costly to repair and maintain. It is no longer fit for purpose.

Congresbury Recreation Club

In 1969, with the consent of the Trustees, the three main sporting bodies – cricket, football and tennis – formed Congresbury Sports Club and, shortly after, it became the Congresbury Recreation Club, benefitting from a bar licence secured by the cricket club as far back as 1953. Initially the bar was open only at weekends in the summer.  In 1970 the bar was open every evening in the summer and manned by volunteers until 1974 when a decision was made to employ a bar steward on a part-time basis.

Today the Rec Club has 250 members, both sporting and social, up from 150 in 2017-18 and 160 in 2018-19. Chairman Andy Elvin said that this increase was almost certainly as a result of recent changes put in place to make the club more inclusive.  Membership represents almost one in 10 of the adult population of Congresbury (based on the 2011 national census).

“Obviously Covid curtailed most of the activities last year but I am sure when we are back to normality we will see further growth in sports and social membership and additional usage by the community as a whole,” said Andy. “We are very excited by the plans for a new building”

The club has set itself an ambition of doubling membership over the next few years trying to reach between 15-20 per cent of the adult population in the village with increased use of the fields for sport and recreation by juniors

Congresbury Cricket Club

While cricket has been played in the village for more than 175 years, the club didn’t move to its present ground until the mid-1930s when the land was gifted. There is a clause in the Trust that, so long as there is a cricket club in Congresbury, the cricket area of the fields must always be kept as a cricket ground

The club has some 100 members including youngsters and, more recently, girl and women players. It has benefited from the national launch of All Stars cricket aimed at five to eight year olds, and Dynamos for the under-11s. 

Women’s cricket is a priority for the ECB.  A Congresbury CC women’s team started playing competitively in 2019. The focus on youth and diversity has helped boost membership at a time when many cricket clubs are suffering a decline in fortunes.

The club regularly hosts junior county matches but has had to turn down requests to host junior county girls’ matches because of the current inadequate changing facilities – a situation which gives an added imperative to Project Construct’s plans.

“New changing rooms are essential for us to meet the demands of the modern game, increase participation and attract the calibre of players we need,” said chairman Geoff Wilcock. ‘’Four flexible use changing rooms will enable us to grow our girls’ and women’s section and to increase the amount of girls’ and women’s cricket played through the ability to host away teams’’

The club has two senior sides: the 1st XI plays in the West of England Premier League and the 2nd XI in the Bristol & District league. It also has youth teams at most age levels and strong links with Somerset County Cricket Club with several Congresbury youngsters playing for the county.

During the summer months many children in the village participate in the various cricket activities with their parents spectating and using the Rec Club facilities. Sunny Friday evenings at the KGV fields have become a real focal point for recreation and social activity in Congresbury

Congresbury Tennis Club

Tennis club membership has grown from under 70 in 2018/19 to 114 in 2020 including 29 juniors. The Club has ambitious plans to build a fourth court within the next three years to meet the increasing demand.

The Club is this season increasing from two men’s league teams to four and from one to two ladies’ teams, as well as increasing the number of mixed teams and implementing an internal singles box league.  It has also taken on two additional coaches over the last year.

“We want to increase junior coaching, offer cardio tennis and walking tennis for injured, less mobile and older players, and provide disabled access to the courts with the potential for wheelchair tennis,” said chairman JL Hagger who notes that a fourth court would allow a ‘pay-and-play’ scheme for those who don’t want to join the club but still play occasional tennis. 

The club believes that the new more flexible changing rooms and a modern Rec Club with enlarged social facilities would allow it to recruit more players while raising additional funds through more social events.

Congresbury Football Club

The club has run three teams over the past five seasons and averages around 60 members each season. The 1st team plays in the Somerset County League and the reserves and 3rd team in the Weston & District League. Some 40 per cent of players live in the village with another 15-20 per cent having either grown up in Congresbury or having strong connections in the village, explained chairman Stu Smith.

A lack of volunteers means the club does not at present run junior teams. “If we were approached by interested parties, we would be keen to support re-establishing junior football,” says chairman Stu Smith. “The same would also stand with regard to Women’s or Veterans’ teams.”

The Football club is responsible for the upkeep of the Broadstones Park playing fields and associated buildings. The Rec Club is used as the clubhouse since alcohol cannot be sold at Broadstones. Visiting teams are invited back to the Rec for refreshment after matches. 

“Wider community participation in the Rec Club can only bring the football club to more people’s attention and would hopefully lead to more support in terms of volunteers, spectators or players and may even help in the formation of new teams,” said Stu.

Manhunt after couple assaulted

Police want the public’s help to locate a man following an incident in Yatton on Saturday afternoon.

A man and a woman were assaulted at a residential address in the Henley Lane area shortly before 3pm. Both had sustained serious injuries and were taken to hospital by paramedics.

A man was seen leaving the area shortly after the incident. He’s described as white, approximately 40 years old, about 5ft 6ins and had sandy-coloured wavy shoulder length hair. He was said to be wearing a tan-coloured top and bottoms, which have been likened to a workman’s clothing.

Officers have been searching the surrounding area this afternoon, supported by the NPAS police helicopter, and remain in the area.

Anyone who sees a man matching the above description in the North Somerset area is asked not to approach him, but instead call 999 and give the call-handler log number 556 of Sat 10 Apr. Anyone with further information about the incident itself, should call 101.

Somerset – Caravan Security

As the restrictions around Covid-19 are being eased and many people are looking at “Staycations” rather than holidays aboard, Caravans are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately criminals have also noticed this, so please take steps to increase the security of your Vans.

Secured By Design is the official police security initiative which provides a recognised standard for all security products, and a recent addition to this listing is Caravan iD. This scheme provides an individual identification number for your caravan and motorhome that can be checked to see if it has been stolen. For more information, visit their website at https://caravanid.com/

Other similar products are also available on the SBD website http://www.securedbydesign.com. All these products are police approved products..

20’s Plenty for North Somerset Zoom meeting for Supporters, Town and Parish Councillors Tuesday 6th April 7.30 pm

Dear All,

You are invited to a Zoom meeting for 20’s Plenty for Us North  Somerset supporters on Tuesday April 6th at 7.30 pm, hosted by the 20’s Plenty Campaign Manager Anna Semlyen.  Please pass this email on to Councillors, and anyone else you think would be interested in attending the Zoom.

Anyone with an interest in road safety and lowering speeding on residential streets, and on streets used by walkers and cyclists, residents,  and Parish and Town Councillors, are invited to attend the Zoom.

After a well attended supporters first Zoom meeting earlier this month, a Zoom meeting for District Councillors will take place on 31st March, when the topic of bringing in default 20 mph limits across North Somerset will be discussed.

 Area wide 20 mph limits for streets where people live, shop, walk and cycle have been put in by many local authorities, and over 21 million people in the UK benefit from their local authority’s decision to adopt a 20mph default speed limit for most residential streets.

North Somerset Council policy on local speed limits is for Town and Parish Councils to apply individually for a traffic scheme, which are carried out by Highways at the rate of 1 or 2 a year, paid for by the Town or Parish Council. There is currently a waiting list. 20 mph limits are quicker and easier to implement, at around £3 per head of population, and are 7 times more cost-effective than isolated zones with physical calming.

20’s Plenty North Somerset is a group set up by local campaigners.  There are several ’20’s Plenty ‘ campaign groups in North Somerset, and there is now a 20’s Plenty North Somerset Facebook page   https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404083953292502.
More information can be found at https://www.20splenty.org/


Anna Semlyen is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: 20’s Plenty for N Somerset Town and Parishes & Supporters Meeting Q&A & tactics for #ActOn20mph

Time: Apr 6, 2021 07:30 PM London

Join Zoom Meeting

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83141873374?pwd=VHoreGdrZ3hFdUJtVVAyTStqdlpGUT09

Meeting ID: 831 4187 3374

Passcode: 20mph

Best wishes

Anna Semlyen, 20’s Plenty for Us Campaign Manager, T: 07572 120439 Anna.s@20splenty.org

www.20splenty.org, Follow us on Twitter @20splentyforus or @AnnaSemlyen1

20’s Plenty for Us

…making your place a better place to be