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Attack on village allotments

Villagers have been greatly saddened by an arson attack on the village allotments during Saturday night and are now disturbed that unwelcome visits have continued this week. Two allotment plot holders arrived early on Sunday morning and saw the old shed (often used to shelter from the rain or have a rest) had been set on fire. They managed to put out the fire with buckets of water but it took ages to douse the smouldering timbers. The contents, including a long bench, chair and even the First Aid tin box had been set alight at some time during the night. The floor at the back and part of the structure had burnt through but fortunately the back wall (which is right next to the electricity station) held. There could have been a very serious situation if the fire had spread. It is also suspected that storage boxes on allotments were also tipped and emptied out by the same thoughtless vandals. Western Power and the Police had to be informed, of course and given all the details. It’s so sad to see such a valued village asset damaged in this way – and worrying that 3 teenagers were seen in the daytime (Monday lunchtime) and late night Tuesday having a picnic and leaving all the meal deal packaging behind. They also broke bamboo canes just for the fun of it and even threw broken grass onto a well kept plot next to the shed. If only the young people realized how much the allotments mean to the plotholders and how hard they work to keep them tidy and get crops to grow well. A space which seemed safe and peaceful now seems threatening. We ask everyone to be vigilant in watching out for any antisocial behaviour which destroys village property. 

Gifts for Retired Postmaster and Postmistress

In April a collection was started for our excellent Postmaster and Postmistress who have retired after 35 years.

On Wednesday 11th May, Jagtar and Sukhvinder with their daughter Harpreet attended a presentation, kept very small at their request, in the Community Cafe.  The very generous amount of £510 was collected from the village community, enabling the presentation of an engraved crystal vase, a bouquet and a retirement cake, with the balance of the collection in vouchers.  
Jagtar made a brief speech thanking us all. The Seehras are remaining in the village, and will continue to be a supportive  part of our community in their new roles.The cafe was provided free for the occasion by Debbie Fortune Estate Agents.

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Congresbury Break In

A male broke into a home on Chestnut Close in Congresbury at approximately 1am on Thursday May the 5th. It is thought the he had reached through an open small window and has opened a larger one to gain entry, and has then taken two gold chains from the occupant.

If you have any information about this incident, please call the Police on 101 and quote Reference number: 5222105736. Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111

Congresbury Singers Show

“Another Op’nin, Another Show” by Congresbury Singers Sat July 2nd, 7.30 at War Memorial Hall, Congresbury inc refreshments £10 – tickets from PO & Re-:Store, Congresbury

Burglary in Wrington Lane

A home has been burgled between 7:30am and 4:20pm on Thursday (April 28th) in Wrington Lane, Congresbury. The offender gained entry via a rear door, without the apparent use of force. Once inside a messy search had been conducted with all cupboards being searched, the only obvious item being stolen was a jam jar containing foreign currency. The offender made off via the same method of entry.

Any information please contact the Police on 101 quoting reference number: 5222100605 stating NHW release. Or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Burglary in High Street

A home in Congresbury’s High Street was burgled late on Wednesday night.

It happened between 11:20pm and 11:30pm. The vulnerable resident was awoken by noises downstairs and went to investigate. The offender had gained access via the garage door and onwards through an integral doorway, where they then stole a wallet from a coat hanging in the hallway. The wallet contained cash and bank cards. It is understood they made off the same way they came in.

If you have any information please contact the Police on 101 quoting reference number: 5222093715 stating NHW release or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Community cafe supports new charity

The community café’s ‘Supporting the community initative’ with Debbie Fortune estate agents has raised £400 for the Little Rascals baby and toddler group. www.facebook.com/littlerascalscongresbury

FND Hope UK

For the next two weeks the cafe in Broad Street is supporting a small charity, FND Hope UK. Dr Helen Bolter who lives in the village, is a trustee of the charity, and asked for help to raise money and raise awareness. The charity is supporting a couple of villagers.

Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) is a problem with the functioning of the nervous system which does not send and receive signals to or from the body correctly. It can affect men, women, and children. It produces disability and impairment of quality of life that is similar to that seen in people with Parkinson’s or epilepsy. 

The following is from a patient detailing how FND is affecting them:

“In late 2020, I had a mild head injury.  I was unable to walk and had other symptoms so the doctors thought I had had a stroke, but my brain scan was normal. My left leg was weak and shaking so bad that I couldn’t stand or walk.  I was diagnosed with FND.  I sometimes need a wheelchair, have pain and feel very tired on most days but I have found not being able to continue the job I enjoyed as the worst part of having FND.  I have physio and am waiting for a place on a neurology rehab unit. I have not given up hope of getting better but I wish more people knew about FND so more people understood me.”

https://i0.wp.com/www.fndhope.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/FND-Header-final-1.jpg?w=1600&ssl=1

Protesters say No to Park Road plans

CRAG was out in force at The Precinct on Saturday, demonstrating against the proposed new housing estate behind Park and Mulberry roads. Leaflets were distributed to shoppers explaining why the 90 house estate on Park Farm field is socially and environmentally a bad idea. Resident Amie Price-Bates summed up the feelings of many: “The importance of green space, both socially and mentally has become clear since the pandemic.”
CRAG believes the scheme is unsustainable because of the distance from surgeries, schools and public transport links which will encourage greater car use. Amie stressed the need to get objections registered by April 7. Go to North Somerset Council’s website, search for planning applications and enter the reference 22/P/0459/OUT.

Petition to save X2 bus service

Local mum Leonie Hart has launched a petition to try to stop First Bus from axing the X2 service.

She says: “It’s hard to begin to express the impact that the loss of the X2 will have on my life. I have a chronic health condition, ME which has a considerable effect on my mobility, and thus the bus to Yatton is a lifeline to get to the dentist, doctor, vet, shops and the station plus social groups. I have primary aged children and often use the bus with them as my mobility means it’s impossible to get any further than the immediate Congresbury village amenities otherwise. 

“There needs to be more focus on sustainable transport options for environmental reasons plus the rising cost of fuel especially with such limited transport options already serving rural areas. The loss of this service would not only mean that local people are more dependent on their cars to access local amenities, but that those for whom driving isn’t an option will be increasingly isolated and unable to live independently.”

Congresbury Parish Council will discuss the matter at its next meeting.

If you want to join Leonie and sign the petition click on this link  https://chng.it/jKqZhGgjsc 

 

Developer Gives Land for Bats

A celebration of the transfer of land from Strongvox to Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group (YACWAG) was held on Friday 18thMarch on site at Cobthorn Way, Congresbury, with the Chair of North Somerset Council, Cllr Richard Westwood, unveiling the site interpretation board with Bill Richardson, Planning Manager for Strongvox , and Tony Moulin, Chair of YACWAG.

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Left to right Tony Moulin (YACWAG), Bill Richardson (Strongvox), Cllr Richard Westwood (Chair, North Somerset Council)

YACWAG’s new Cobthorn Reserve in Congresbury is being created especially for bats. This ground-breaking new project has been facilitated by North Somerset Council working with Natural England through the planning process, and has resulted in the developer Strongvox giving a field of about two and a half hectares to YACWAG to manage for bats forever.

When 38 new houses were built in Furnace Way, a larger area of farmland was lost as a feeding ground for bats. In order for Strongvox to gain planning permission on this sensitive site, North Somerset Council ruled that the developer had to compensate for lost habitat by creating a nature reserve on part of the site to give the bats continuity. There are only about 12,000 Greater Horseshoe Bats in the UK – which is their stronghold – and amazingly 500-1000 of them are living close to Congresbury. Their preferred landscape is one with grazing animals and tall, wide hedges with scattered flowering trees that attract insects. The Cobthorn Reserve will provide this kind of habitat. Grazing by livestock is especially important in this project because young bats need a particular kind of dung beetle to feed on. YACWAG members have been busy thickening up the hedges with additional hedge plants and their graziers, Jo and Andy Milward, will be providing the animals to produce the essential dung.

Councillor Mark Canniford, Executive Member for Business, Economy and Employment at North Somerset Council, said: “I’m pleased to see the Cobthorn Reserve in Congresbury come to fruition. It’s a fantastic example of how planning can be used to have a positive impact on wildlife. This type of protection is important to North Somerset Council and is carefully considered throughout our Local Plan.”

YACWAG Chair, Tony Moulin, said, “We are very excited and immensely proud of the achievement for wildlife at Cobthorn. Local people can be assured that the nature reserve will never be built on, that they will always have ‘nature as their neighbour’. We hope that more such schemes will follow this excellent example of planning gain for biodiversity. It is exciting that we will be able to give these rare bats a handy ‘eat-in restaurant’ on our new reserve with plenty of dung beetles on the menu.”

Local people will be able to find out more about the reserve at an Open Day to be held on Saturday 14th May.

For more information please contact Tony Moulin 01934 834282 or 0744 384 35

Portrait of a Greater Horseshoe Bat by Daniel Hargreaves

Village plans thank-you gift for Post Office stalwarts

Jagtar and Sukhvinder Seehra  provided us with our Post Office for the last 35 years, and have now successfully negotiated with the Post Office for the village to have a continuing service.   To mark their retirement, villagers are planning to make a gesture of gratitude in the form of a gift and some kind of presentation event towards the end of April (date to be decided).


If you would like to contribute a small amount to this, there is a collecting box for cash in the Community Cafe in Broad Street (open Wednesdy and Friday mornings).  If you are not able to get to the Cafe, the treasurer has kindly offered to handle donations made by BACS.Please pay Congresbury Community Cafe Ltd   08 92 99  65923326  and put POSTIE in the reference box to identify the payment.

Alex Ballard

Thank you, say Sukhvinder and Jagtar Seehra

We have received this message from the Seehras who retired earlier this month after running the Post Office in Congresbury for 35 years.

“We are overwhelmed by lots of lovely responses and kind words. We would also like to thank everyone for the cards, flowers and generous gifts they personally brought to the Post Office.” 

Consultation on local planning

Message from CRAG: ‘Here’s an important date for your diary, which could be of special interest to residents of Park and Mulberry Roads.

‘This Thursday, 17 March, North Somerset Council is starting its local plan consultations with a drop-in event at Hangstones Pavillion, Yatton from 3pm to 7pm.

‘This event is specifically for residents of Congresbury and Yatton, where concerned villagers can quiz council officers on how the local plan will shape the development of our villages over the next 15 years.

‘Social media will be used to publicise the events which will take place at various venues around North Somerset over the next six weeks. Formally known as the Preferred Options Local Plan, it is the council’s way of best meeting the development needs for North Somerset up to 2038.

‘Meanwhile, residents of Wrington Lane are still awaiting a response from Vistry/Bovis to CRAG’s legal challenge to their controversial scheme.’

John Mills

CRAG calls for action on Mulberry Road plans

So the battle lines are drawn. An application to build up to 90 houses on land behind Park and Mulberry Roads has been submitted to North Somerset Council.

The application has been made by consultants Lichfields on behalf of developer M7 Planning Ltd and M7SW LLP with a planning fee of £12,536.

CRAG will be supporting residents who wish to object to the plan on the grounds that the village and surrounding areas have had too many new houses in the past eight years. Apart from the obvious extra traffic generated (which ludicrously is not regarded as a planning matter) North Somerset is losing countryside at an alarming rate.

Accompanying the application are reports covering ecology, transport, flood risk, community involvement, heritage and a tree survey, so there will be many aspects for CRAG to evaluate over the coming weeks.

In the meantime, residents who wish to comment on the notion of another 90 houses, plus at least another 180 cars on our roads, can visit the North Somerset Council website, find planning applications and key in the reference 22/P/0459/OUT.

John Mills

Catalytic converter stolen

Police are appealing for information following a catalytic converter theft in Congresbury.

On Monday 28 February, the catalytic converter was stolen from a black Honda Jazz while it was parked in the car park at Cadbury Garden Centre, close to the store entrance.

It’s believed the theft took place between the hours of 3.20 and 5.20pm.

Police would like to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the theft or noticed any suspicious activity.

If you can help, please call 101 and give the call handler the reference number 5222052711, or complete the online appeals form.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium. The sharp rise in the value of these metals over recent years has driven up the rate of catalytic converter theft.

They can take less than a minute for a thief to cut and remove.

Avon & Somerset Police are urging motorists to help protect their vehicles from becoming an easy target by taking these steps:

  • Avoid parking half on the pavement, half on the road, as this may provide thieves with easier access to the underside of your vehicle.
  • Park your vehicle in a locked garage whenever possible.
  • Try to park in busy, well-lit areas, or areas covered by CCTV.
  • Ask your garage to tell you your catalytic converter’s serial number, and make a note of it.
  • Consider purchasing forensic liquid and using it to mark your catalytic converter.
  • Place a protective covering over your catalytic converter.

For more information on catalytic converter theft visit Crimestoppers: https://crimestoppers-uk.org/keeping-safe/home-property-safety/catalytic-converter-theft

PLEA FROM CONGRESBURY RAINBOWS, BROWNIES AND GUIDES

This is a plea for female adults that would like to consider becoming Rainbow, Brownie or Guide leaders/assistant leaders.

Congresbury Guiding has just started a Rainbow Unit, which is for girls aged 4-7 years.

The Brownie Unit, which is for girls aged 7-10 years, is growing.

The Guide Unit sadly only has a low number of girls and is highly likely to close at Easter due to low numbers and lack of leaders.

Do you have some spare time?  Have you previously been a Guider in any of these sections?

All sections are looking for extra adult support, either as unit helpers or leaders or complete some training to become an assistant leader.

If interested, then please contact Sonya by email at  sonya.stocker@sky.com or give her a call on 07715876827 to find out more about how you could help.

WARNING – COVID SCAMS

The Police have notified us that Criminals are once again using Covid to try and steal your money. Since January the 1st, 412 victims have reported losses totalling over £531,000. Fake text messages pretending to be from the NHS are circulating, so remember that the NHS will NEVER ask for payment or for your financial details. To report suspicious text messages, forward them to 7726 (free of charge), or visit #CovidFrauds.

Ziggy’s deli opens this week

Ziggy’s Deli opening on Saturday

A new delicatessen opens in Broad Street on Saturday.

Ziggy’s Deli & Kitchen is owned by John and Fiona Anderson who have lived in Congresbury for 26 years and say that they both felt the time was right for a career change. John is currently a primary school teacher and Fiona has worked for the NHS for the past 32 years as a midwife and nurse.

Prior to his teaching career John trained and worked as a chef and restaurant manager in London and Bath. “We both enjoy food and drink so thought it was time to go back to his roots.” said Fiona. “We spend a lot of time choosing all the foods and drinks you will find on our shelves and specialise in high quality local produce, aiming to support small local businesses.”

Ziggy’s will be opening on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays from 10.00 – 18.00 serving take out homemade sweet and savoury treats and hot drinks.

Later in the year Ziggy’s plans to provide sit-in small plate or tapas style dishes in the evening.

Stockists will include Somerset Charcuterie, Bristol Cheesemonger. Marks Bread, More Wine Co Ganley and Naish Cider, Moor Beer, Arbor Ales and Wiper and True Ales,Naked Wines and The Community Farm.


Find out more on www.ziggysdeli.com and on Instagram and Facebook.

Storm warning as 90mph winds expected

Storm Eunice has been declared a major incident by the Avon and Somerset Local Resilience Forum due to the potential for severe disruption.

A red weather warning has been issued by the Met Office for extremely strong winds between 7am and midday on Friday 18 February.

The storm has the potential to cause significant disruption and dangerous conditions along the length of the west coast of Somerset through the Bristol Channel and Severn Estuary into Gloucestershire.

The Environment Agency has issued a flood warning for Severn Beach and flood alerts for Porlock Weir, along the Severn between Avonmouth and Sharpness and along the Avon into Bristol. You can check your area’s risk of flooding on their website.

There is also a risk of 90mph gusts of wind causing coastal flooding and affecting trees and temporary structures. This could cause disruption to the road and rail network, flights, power and communications systems with a high likelihood that both the M4 Prince of Wales bridge and the M48 Severn Bridge will be closed.

Members of the public are asked to avoid travelling on Friday morning wherever possible and to follow weather and travel bulletins on local radio or check on local media websites.

Travel information will also be shared by National Highways, Travel Somerset, Travel West or you can check with your local public transport provider.

Emergency services, local authorities, National Highways and other voluntary and statutory agencies are on stand-by to put well-rehearsed plans into place.

You can report trees fallen into a major road to National Highways and on local roads to your local authority. 

Please call 999 if there is an immediate risk to safety such as a fallen live power cable. 

Links:

https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/

https://check-for-flooding.service.gov.uk/alerts-and-warnings

https://nationalhighways.co.uk/travel-updates/

https://travelwest.info/travel-updates

Villagers support renewable power

The Centre for Sustainable Energy held a public workshop on behalf of North Somerset Council on 23rd January. At this, residents in Congresbury and Puxton gave conditional support to the possible development of wind turbines and the expansion of existing solar farms in the area. 

At the workshop, participants (all residents of the local area) gave conditional support for:

  • Medium scale wind turbines (up to 1 megawatt in output and 100 metres in height), ground based solar panels and community scale battery storage by the M5 to the northwest of West Hewish, on the condition the turbines are community owned.
  • The significant expansion of the four existing ground based solar farms within the two parishes with the potential to approximately treble their size.

Please share your thoughts on what was said and view a map of the suggestions in this short survey: https://communityenergyplan.commonplace.is/proposals/congresbury-and-puxton/step1

The workshop and this online consultation will inform North Somerset Council’s planning policies for renewable energy in the emerging Local Plan. The consultation will be open until Monday 14th March. There also will be further opportunities to comment on the Council’s emerging planning policies. Please share the consultation with friends and family so they can feed in their thoughts. I have also attached a poster to help you spread the word.

If you have any questions please email communities@cse.org.uk OR call 0117 934 1400 for a paper summary and form.

Garden shed break-in

A garden shed has been broken into overnight on the 9th in Weetwood Road, Congresbury. The offender smashed the latch securing the door to establish entry and once inside nothing was stolen. It is thought the offender may have been disturbed during the attempt.

Any information please contact the Police on 101 quoting reference number: 5222006990 stating NHW release. Or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Dog patrols set to increase

North Somerset council will increase the number of dog warden patrols in Congresbury following complaints about dogs fouling the King George V Playing Field and children’s play area.

This is the latest development since the council launched a county-wide crackdown on dog fouling and irresponsible dog ownership towards the end of 2021.

North Somerset Council is asking residents to report locations of dog fouling using the app Pooper Snooper – https://poopersnooper.app/get-started

The reports residents provide through the app will inform the council of the worst offending areas and add to the list of hotspot areas the council already has.

Targeted areas will be patrolled by the council’s contractor Local Authority Support, who will issue fines under the Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) for:

  • anyone seen not picking up after their dogs
  • anyone seen not disposing of bagged dog waste correctly by taking it home or putting it in a bin
  • not having a receptacle to pick up after their dog (for example a bag)
  • having dogs off a lead in areas covered by the current PSPO
  • walking their dog within a dog exclusion zone.

During the campaign officers will proactively engage with dog walkers to ask them whether they have a means to pick up after their dog. If they cannot show the officer a dog bag, they will be fined £75 for breaching the PSPO and given a bag to ensure they have one for the rest of their walk.

Cllr Mike Solomon, the council’s executive member for neighbourhoods and community services, said: “Unfortunately, due to a minority of dog owners who don’t clear up after their pets, dog mess continues to blight our towns, villages and open spaces. It remains a big concern for many of our residents with 90 per cent of respondents in a recent survey agreeing it was reasonable to issue on-the-spot fines to deal with the issue.

“By proactively asking dog walkers to prove they have a means to pick up after their dog we will be tackling this issue head on. We hope this campaign will change people’s behaviour and improve our local environment, helping North Somerset to become a cleaner and greener place for everyone.”

More information on dog related orders contained within the PSPO and the other offences covered can be found at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/pspo.

Driver arrested after late night crash

A motorist was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving offences after crashing in Congresbury in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was driving south on Brinsea Road when his BMW Z3 sports car hit a garden wall on the west side of the road before demolishing a front garden fence on the east side of the road. The driver was unhurt.

High Street burglary

A home has been burgled in High Street, Congresbury on the evening of December 2nd between 5pm and 8pm. No visible signs of damage were present to suggest a point of entry and once inside a thorough search of the property was conducted, with all rooms entered and cupboards emptied. Nothing was stolen from within.

Any information please contact the police on 101 quoting Ref number: 5221283758 stating NHW Release or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.