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Network Rail Ground Investigation Works

Network Rail have advised us of some survey works that need to take place in Pill involving ground and structural investigations on and around the freight line. The works will be commencing from Weds 20th January and may be quite noisy at times as they involve drilling boreholes at several locations, namely around Severn Road, Monmouth Road, Hardwick Road, at the back of Mount Pleasant and on the viaduct. We have discussed this in detail with Network Rail and the majority of the works will take place Monday to Friday but some of the works have to done on a Sunday as a line possession is needed.  All the works (whichever day of the week) will be undertaken in the daytime only, i.e. no night time working will be undertaken. 

As the works may disturb residents, we have drafted the attached letter which sets out as much detail as we have. We will print off a batch and will do a door to door letter drop of houses closest to the work sites on Sunday. There are contact details on the letter so that if there are any issues with the survey works, Network Rail can be reached. Advice has been given regarding ecological constraints and an on-site ecologist will supervise the works.

The dates and times of the works are included in the letter but are as follows:

Dates TimesType of Work
Wednesday 20 January to Friday 5 March8:00am – 5:00pm, Mon to Fri onlyGround Investigation works
Sunday 24 January 8:00am – 6:00pm*Ground Investigation works on the railway
Sunday 14 March to Sunday 25 April8:00am – 5:00pm*, Sundays onlyGround Investigation works on the railway
Monday 22 March to Friday 23 April8:00am – 5:00pm, Mon to Fri onlyStructural Coring of Pill Viaduct

* The work needs to be carried out when the trains are not operating so our teams can work safely.

As stated above, we understand that these works will disturb some residents but please be assured we have restricted the working times to daytime only.

More information can be found in this document:

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December news

By now you will have heard that Nan Kirsen and Pat Derrick died during December. Both Nan and Pat were passionately committed to the village and served our local community in a variety of ways.
Nan was a member of the Parish Council for many years and showed a keen interest in village affairs.
She also became a North Somerset Councillor and helped to bring the concerns of the wider community to the authority’s attention. Pat worked tirelessly for many local causes including The Owls, Morgan’s Charity, The Rag, The Regatta and St. George’s Football Club as well as being instrumental in securing The Chestnuts for recreation purposes. His influence extended across the generations and will be felt for many years to come.
Many of you have already sent your condolences to the families of Nan and Pat and will remember and celebrate their lives. The Parish Council sends both the Kirsen and the Derrick families their thoughts and condolences in these sad times and will remember with gratitude the service and the example that both Nan and Pat showed to the local community.
Paul Kent on behalf of The Parish Council

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Recycling and waste festive update

The North Somerset Council Recycling and Waste Team would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas. 

As we start our festive countdown and residents start to prepare, we would like to offer some seasonal advice:

  • Updated collection calendars for recycling, household waste and garden waste are now available on the North Somerset Council website. These are dated from now until March 2021.
  • Residents can use the postcode look-up tool to download the new calendars and check when their next collection day will be.

Over Christmas to accommodate for bank holidays there are some changes to normal collections days:

Garden waste

To help with the excess of recycling and waste produced during the festive season, the garden waste service will be suspended completely between 21st December – 15th January.  When the service resumes on Monday 18 January, if residents are signed up to the garden waste service, they can place real Christmas trees (up to 2m high minus pot and decorations) out for collection next to their bin.

There are also options to dispose of a real tree by donating to charity or local organisation – we ask residents to choose the option closest to where they live to cut down on travel:

  • Noah’s Ark Zoo and Farm Wraxhall – 1000 repurposed for animal enrichment and the rest to be chipped to mulch for the zoo. There will be a drop off point for trees in the main car park. Limit of 2000 trees.

Recycling centres

The centres are closed Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. Winter opening hours apply to all three sites at Portishead, Weston-Super-Mare and Backwell.

Please check our website www.n-somerset.gov.uk/recyclingcentres for advice about social distancing guidelines and opening times before travelling.

The recycling centres are open for excess waste but please be considerate that in order to keep community and staff safe, there are limitations to the number of people allowed on site at one time. If there are queues on roads surrounding the sites please turn off your engines while you wait and be aware you may be asked to return another day. To avoid unnecessary travel always visit the site closest to your home.

Extra recycling can be placed out for collection in separate loosely tied bags or another box. For crew safety please put all glass in the recycling box and flatten and fold all cardboard to the size of the recycling box, it won’t be collected if it’s too big. If residents have large amounts of recycling, please put a little out each week, to help crews finish collections and reach every household. Occasionally we use different vehicles to collect your recycling over this period, it will still be recycled as normal.

This year, all recyclable wrapping paper needs to presented with the cardboard recycling.  Wrapping paper that is glittery, metallic or plastic coated cannot be recycled and needs to go into the black bin.  Try to scrunch the paper in your hand and if it holds shape and remains scrunched it is most likely you can recycle it, if it bounces back it cannot.  Glittery Christmas cards are also non-recyclable and must go in the black bin, or repurpose as gift tags.

What to do with waste in severe weather:

  • Waste – Put your waste out on your collection and if it is not collected, leave it out the crews will return
  • Food caddy and recycling – Put these out on your collection day, if they are not collected by 7pm, please take them back in and put them out again the following week on your normal collection day.
  • Garden waste – Put it out on your usual day, if it is not taken please take it back in and put out again the following month on your collection day.

How to help:

  • Put bins and containers out by 7am on your collection day.
  • If collections are missed from the whole street there is no need to report it as it will already be logged.
  • Remove all packaging from inside cardboard boxes, flatten and fold to the length of your recycling box.
  • Extra general waste that does not fit in your black bin will not be collected and should be taken to a recycling centre, or stored until your next collection.
  • Please help neighbours who may have difficulties.

New Garden waste service Please note that from April 2021 an annual charge for garden waste collections (£50 each bin) is being introduced.  We will send out a letter in early 2021 with details on how to sign up to the new service and options for registered users of the current service. https://www.n-somerset.gov.uk/my-services/bins-recycling/types-waste/garden-waste

Thank you to all our residents for your support and co-operation this year.  With your help North Somerset council achieved a 60% recycling rate and recognition as the top South West authority and the 9th nationally. We hope to continue this great work into 2021 and would like to acknowledge the collaborative effort of our residents, staff and crews.

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A tree is for life, not just for Christmas

Give a gift that keeps on growing.  A tree will provide colour and shade and a home for a host of wildlife.  

We have free native saplings waiting for a new home – see this page. Note: scroll down & enter the trees you’re looking for in the form with your contact details and we will be in touch if we have anything suitable

Or if there’s no space for a big tree you could buy something smaller from Brackenwood garden centre.  

Crab apples are a great garden tree for blossom & fruit for birds.

You can plant a tree whenever the ground’s not frozen or waterlogged.  

It will bring pleasure that will last a lifetime, may be for generations.

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Greening Your Home

On-line Event: Wednesday 2 December

If you’re thinking of making your home more energy efficient to reduce your energy bills and your carbon emissions, this is the event for you. Run by the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) in Bristol and supported by Solarsense, the North Somerset renewable energy company, the event will cover ideas like:

  • insulation
  • heat pumps
  • draught-proofing
  • solar PV

The government’s Green Home Grant scheme will be considered but won’t be central to the event. You will learn about CSE’s Futureproof project, which will help you understand what solutions are best suited to your home, lifestyle and budget, and maximise energy savings.

There is an Eventbritepage where you can book on it, at www.bit.ly/GreeningYourHome

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Hardwick Road Playing Field

As part of the Parish Council’s response to its declaration of a Climate & Biodiversity Emergency, we are looking at the various open spaces in the village to consider how they can better contribute to carbon capture and provide value for wildlife whilst continuing to meet their functions as areas for relaxation and exercise.  You may have seen the recent consultation on proposals for the Brookside Playing Field which were generally met very favourably and work to implement parts of the plan are going ahead in November.

A plan for the Hardwick Road Playing Field has also been prepared, and people who live in the houses immediately adjacent to the site have now been consulted with very positive outcomes.

Below is an outline of the proposals and a map, and a link to an online questionnaire. 

If you want to comment on the plan please use this questionnaire.

It is worth noting that in a meeting on site with some of the people local to the Field, various points were emphasised: 

  • it would be good to set up a Friends of Hardwick Road Playing Field group both to help with the implementation of the plan, and to ensure that the existing function of the Field as a space for games and recreation is fully protected
  • nothing should be done that would get in the way of the games of football, cricket etc that are so valued on the site

Perennial meadow: A two to five meter deep ‘ curved verge’ of longer grass which will be managed to encourage perennial wild flowers such as oxeye daisies, red campion, primroses and yellow rattle. This would require a cut in July, Sept. & March in the first 2 to three years, then once a year in August/Sept with all arisings raked away (& left as small piles to rot down in the adjacent ‘Spinney’) to reduce fertility for a more flower rich diverse meadow to evolve. Some plug planting and seed sowing of native species could also take place.

Expanded ‘fruiting thicket / hedge / Spinney’: A two to 3 meter deep area to be planted as a fruit and nut rich traditional hedgerow mix – containing: Sloes, Hazel, Barberry, Hawthorn, Crab apple, Wild plums, Damsons etc. The existing Blackberries will be allowed to establish below as the trees grow up and the Parish council would be committed to maintaining the boundary no more than 3m from it’s existing edge and to maintaining height for light / Potentially coppicing? as required every 4-5 years.

Small Blossom trees: These could be dwarf cherry trees (to not cast shade over residents gardens) Edible cherry varieties could be selected, though the birds will be likely to enjoy them first 🙂 They could equally be Plum trees. Each tree could be sponsored, for a nominal amount, in memory of a local resident with a small plaque hung from a branch.

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Housing for the Future in Pill and Easton in Gordano

During the recent consultation on The Neighbourhood Plan a range of opinions was expressed about the type of housing needed in the village; the location of any housing; the balance between private and social housing; and the opportunities for infill housing. Some of you expressed concern about rumours of major new housing proposals in and around the village. Others expressed concern that the government’s recently announced commitment to rapid house building, supported by considerable relaxations to planning restrictions, had created new opportunities for developers to consider major housing proposals.

One such proposal from L and Q called Pill Green appeared on the Parish website on the 13/9/20. The information leaflet describes a housing development of around 1000 homes on fields in Martcombe, which are in the green belt, alongside the A369. Another separate proposal, for which the details are less clear, proposes building 200 houses at Plummer’s Hill on the fields between St.George’s Hall and the M5 service station. There are also more or less developed plans for commercial housing schemes on other large fields around the village.

It is clear that any of these projects would have a very significant impact on the shape of our village to say nothing of the implications for our infrastructure and services. If any of these projects started at the same time as the preparations for the railway, life in our village would become considerably more complicated and disrupted and we would be at risk of becoming a suburb of our village.

The Parish Council would like to make its position absolutely clear about housing needs in the village.

1. We support small-scale developments which increase the stock of social housing so that younger people are encouraged to remain in the village.

2. We support infill developments so that all land with housing potential is used appropriately. In addition, small clusters of housing from 150-200 dwellings by 2038, adjacent to existing settlements, might be acceptable.

3. We do not support rapidly built developments which increase the strain on local services, infrastructure and resources.

4. We do not support developments that fail to meet the required climate change 2030 targets relating to the protection of green spaces, clean air, carbon reduction, traffic reduction and health and wellbeing expectations.

The Parish Council has made its detailed position about its future aims for all building in and around the village explicit in The Neighbourhood Plan which will be presented to the full Parish Council meeting for acceptance on 20/10/20. The plan will then be sent to North Somerset Council and put on the Parish Council website for your reference and future discussion.

Paul Kent on behalf of The Parish Council. 30/09/20

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A tribute to Mark Rice from the Parish Council

It is with great sadness that we heard the news of the passing of Mark Rice.

Mark joined the Parish Council for a short spell, only relinquishing his post due to his work commitments but in that short time he jumped straight into it, relishing the role and quickly making his mark with his humour along with his insight and knowledge of Pill.

Born and bred in Pill, it was easy to see that Mark was a true character with a love of the community; chatting and greeting everyone with his cheery smile and always keen to uphold the ‘old Pill ways’.

The tributes being made on Facebook are a true testimony to the love and respect everyone had for him, from the hundreds of comments from friends in Pill and Portishead, Gordano Rugby Club, St George Football Club, The Bristol Port Company and beyond, Mark touched the lives of a lot of people.

In the short time the Parish Council had Mark as a colleague it was easy to see why he commanded such love and respect from everyone who knew him.

We send our sincere condolences to his wife Nic, sons Alfie and Charlie and the family.

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A New Plan for Brookside

Most people in the village will know the Brookside playing field but only a few visit it regularly. Those who do, probably go so that children can use the play equipment, kick a ball around or perhaps have a picnic.

The land is owned by North Somerset Council, but leased to the Parish Council who manage it. The council is keen to improve the field in two main ways:

  1. so it is more useful in our fight against climate change and for nature
  2. so it offers more things to more people and so gets used more

So, we have a plan which involves creating a new and frequently mown five-a-side football pitch with goals, keeping the play equipment, planting more trees and creating areas that will encourage wild flowers and help pollinating insects.

You can see the whole plan here:

Please give us you opinion by completing the short questionnaire here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/SKFPV7M

Once the results of this consultation have been analysed we’ll review the plan, publish a final version and aim to begin implementing the plan in the autumn. We also hope that local people will want to help in different ways both in implementing the plan and in looking after the field in the longer term.

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The Village Voice

The last Village Voice was produced in April but by the time it was printed and ready for distribution almost everything promoted in there had been cancelled.  Some of you may have picked up a copy locally, but we weren’t even able to do our normal door to door delivery due to our volunteers being in lockdown.

Whilst much is still uncertain going forward, we are making a ‘comeback’ in August/September.  To start, I’m certain there will be many people who would like to formally express their thanks to friends, neighbours and, of course, the Coronavirus Support Group, who have done a magnificent job throughout all this.  You will also be able to read about consultation on the Neighbourhood Plan (the deadline for which is fast approaching) and how you can get involved.

Some of our local businesses will be up and running again and may wish to get the word out, and some of our local groups may be getting going again – perhaps with different times and arrangements.

So, if you have anything you would like to include, please send it to josmith0704@gmail.com, by Friday 31 July.  Please pass this on to anyone you know who isn’t on Facebook.

Finally, some of our volunteer deliverers may not yet feel able to start again, so if you feel you could help out with a small round – even on a temporary basis – please let me know.

Looking forward to hearing from you again!