Saltford Environment Group
Recent Headlines - click on link to see story on this page:-
You can find lots more news further down the page or on our theme pages.
Consultation shows strong support for Saltford station
The results of the Saltford residents' consultation survey carried out by B&NES Council on the possible re-opening of Saltford Railway Station have been released by B&NES Council. 370 questionnaires were returned. 68.9% (255) wanted a station at Saltford and 20.5% (76) did not, with 10.6% (39) not having a view. If a station was to be provided, 62.7% (232) said that they would walk to it and 10.8% (40) said they would cycle whilst 11.7% (43) said they would drive.
Chris Warren, leader of the Saltford Station Campaign, said "The positive results of this BaNES survey will feed into the report by consultants. I firmly expect that the work of the consultants will lead to a decision to take the project onto the next stage of detailed study."
Further information on the consultation results and the campaign to re-open Saltford station can be found on our station page.
Paddling to clear the river at Saltford of litter (19 & 20 April)
A group of kayak paddlers who regularly use the River Avon at Saltford are embarking on an epic canoe journey from The Riverside Inn to The Jolly Sailor, there and back as many times as they can, to collect as much rubbish from the banks as possible, armed only with canoes, some stylish marigolds and a litter picker! This will be from 9am to 5pm on Saturday 19th April and again on Sunday 20th at 10am, until about 3pm.
They will be led by Vanessa Hiller and are doing this to clear our beautiful river of old coke cans and discarded plastic etc. whilst fund raising for The Youth Adventure Trust (www.youthadventuretrust.org.uk), a children's charity that provides outdoor activities for disadvantaged children to help them build confidence and self-esteem.
If you want to make a donation, their Just Giving Page is: www.justgiving.com/RiverAvonCleanup. If you feel like helping out/showing your support, do come along and support them over the weekend, or join them for a pint in The Riverside Inn on the Saturday evening.
A significant amount of rubbish has accumulated on Saltford's river banks recently and that has largely arisen from last winter's high river levels that brought rubbish to Saltford from further upstream. SEG welcomes this approach from users of the river to help return the river to a litter-free environment.
Safer walking & cycling on Manor Road lanes
Residents will be aware of the public consultation in 2013 on the introduction of 20mph speed limits for Saltford's residential roads by B&NES Council; residents' responses were 2:1 in favour. Saltford Parish Council's Chairman Duncan Hounsell has since approached B&NES over his concern that both the lane immediately behind Montague Road and the part of Manor Road (lane) from the top of Grange Road towards the first T-junction in the Keynsham direction were left out of the original indicative diagram.
We can report that the response from B&NES has been that whilst the rural nature of these lanes would not normally be appropriate for a 20mph speed limit, due to local circumstances they agree that the 20mph limit should be applied on the Manor Road lane behind Montague Road and on the other section of Manor Road, between Courtney Road and Grange Road.
This is welcome news on safety grounds as it should help reduce speeding by motorists in those lanes which are in constant use by walkers, cyclists and school children. We understand that B&NES will advertise the necessary Transport Regulation Orders in April/May, with potential implementation in June/July of this year (2014).
Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, Sunday 27 April
If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 27th April 4.45am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.
You will be in for a treat, especially if the weather is good. It is remarkable how reliable different bird species are at waking up in a particular sequence. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified.
The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bitton as far as the bridge over the river Avon, and back again.
Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.
For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 0789--971--6068 the week before the event.
Festival of Nature: Bath Goes Wild (7th June)
This year Bath will be hosting its first Festival of Nature: Bath Goes Wild event on Saturday June 7th, 10am - 4pm in the beautiful Queen Square at the heart of Bath.
Bath Goes Wild is a free natural history event, part of the Festival of Nature, produced by Bristol Natural History Consortium, which runs across the West of England from May to July 2014. Queen Square will be swarming with local and national environmental organisations from BBC Natural History Unit to Avon Wildlife Trust providing hands-on experiences and wild activities. Bringing the city alive, this day-long festival will be jam packed with exhibitions, live shows, interactive encounters and much more.
Railway Path Habitat Project: opportunity to get involved
We have provided information on how during the spring and summer months members, their family and friends can easily get involved with this project to re-establish the former wildflower-rich rough grassland habitat in a feature item on our wildlife page.
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results out
The RSPB has published the results of the nationwide Big Garden Birdwatch, the world's largest wildlife survey, that was held in January when over 7 million birds were counted by nearly half a million participants. The top 10 birds observed (top 10 Somerset observations shown in brackets) were:
1. House Sparrow (House Sparrow)
Despite staying at its No. 1 spot, the House Sparrow is a red-listed species (highest conservation priority, with species needing urgent action) and is down 62% since the first Birdwatch in 1979.
Full details of the 2014 Birdwatch can be found on the RSPB website at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/.
Upcycling group takes Easter break
Due to the date for Easter this year, our "Make it Magic" upcycling group will not be meeting in April.
Litter picking for Lent
Some of our members are doing something completely different to benefit the community this year for Lent (Ash Wednesday, 5th March, to Easter Saturday, 19th April) and are giving up some of their time to litter-pick around the village. If you see them at work do encourage them.
If you would like to borrow a litter-picker tool for litter-picking in the village, contact our committee member Tina at Signs of Saltford on 01225 874037.
Saltford Green Belt Inquiry: Secretary of State dismisses appeal and refuses planning permission!
On 4th March (2014) the Secretary of State for Local Government and Communities, Eric Pickles, dismissed the appeal and REFUSED planning permission for the Crest Nicholson planning application to build up to 99 dwellings on Saltford's Green Belt fields south of Manor Road.
SEG welcomes this decision. The Secretary of State, on examining the evidence given at the Inquiry in August 2013 and the Inspector's report, overruled the Inspector's recommendation to allow the development. The Secretary of State concluded that the appeal proposals were inappropriate development in the Green Belt, harmful to the Green Belt's openness and harmful to the Green Belt's purpose of preventing encroachment into the countryside. He disagreed with the Inspector about the extent of that encroachment and attached considerable weight to that issue.
We have more information about the Secretary of State's dismissal of this planning application on our Green Belt page.
We wish to thank everyone who joined the campaign to oppose the proposed housing development on Saltford's Green Belt.
We especially wish to recognise and thank the Saltford Green Belt Campaign for helping to demonstrate the residents' opposition to building on Saltford's Green Belt.
We would also like to thank local councillors from all political parties who opposed this planning application, our MP Jacob Rees-Mogg for his advice and support, B&NES Council Planning Department for its work relating to this Inquiry, and also our Parish Council for its support.
As we have reported on our website in recent weeks, we are conscious that there may be further attempts by developers to build on our Green Belt. This important decision by the Secretary of State does show that the community was right to defend Saltford's Green Belt. We hope progress on the Core Strategy can be made rapidly so that we do not face a similar situation again.
Our evidence and further background information including photographs can be found on our Green Belt page.
Celebrate our campaign to save the Green Belt with a special canvas print
Made from a photograph taken in May 2013 and featured in the Sustainability Appraisal of the Planning Application submitted to the Inquiry by SEG, this special print is available to order from Signs of Saltford to help you celebrate the beauty of our countryside and to hang in your home as a memento of the efforts by the residents of Saltford to protect our Green Belt.
Priced at £25 for the "Manor Road Fields" canvas print, a donation from each sale will go to help maintain SEG's funds.
To see what the frameless mounted canvas print looks like and how you can place an order for your own copy click here: canvas print details (pdf).
Fairtrade coffee producer from Nicaragua comes to Saltford
Saltford's Fairtrade Group arranged for Fairtrade coffee producer Margarita Espinoza from Nicaragua to come and visit Saltford on 4th March (2014).
The day included a visit and talk to Saltford Primary School and culminated in an informal short talk and discussion at Saltford Hall. Approximately 50 people attended and were treated not only to the presentation but also had the chance to try Fairtrade refreshments including some Nicaraguan coffee. The organisers had even managed to find some traditional Nicaraguan folk music to help liven up the evening.
Margarita's talk was enthusiastically received and it clearly demonstrated just what a difference Fairtrade makes not only to her as a producer but also what the funding they receive can do to support their local schools and community helping to ensure better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and their workers.
For more information on Fairtrade, visit our Fairtrade page.
Saltford's Placemaking Plan published (December 2013)
Saltford's Placemaking Plan was produced by a Working Group appointed by the Parish Council and published on the Parish Council website in December (2013). The community was consulted on its contents between 23 November and 6 December 2013.
The purpose of this plan is to complement the strategic planning framework provided in Bath & North East Somerset Council's Core Strategy. It provides an updated and refreshed planning policy framework for managing development in the Parish of Saltford. The plan breaks Saltford down into 7 distinct character zones: Green Belt, Conservation Area, housing settlements (north and south of the A4), river Avon frontage, A4 corridor and the two large satellite sites within the Green Belt.
The following is a short extract from the Green Belt character assessment (Chapter 6):
The Cotswold AONB ridge and the distinctive local landmark of Kelston Round Hill (also known as Kelston Tump) together with Saltford's Green Belt and the river Avon provides a rural setting for the village. Despite Saltford's proximity to the cities of Bath and Bristol and the neighbouring town of Keynsham, this landscape gives Saltford its own distinctive character complementing and preserving both the setting of Saltford's Conservation Area with its historical buildings and the newer housing developments within the village.
The openness of Saltford's Green Belt also provides a sense of permanence to the countryside surrounding the village, provides separation whilst keeping in check urban sprawl from Keynsham, Bristol and Bath, and helps to safeguard the adjacent countryside including the Cotswold AONB from encroachment.
It is also a very important green infrastructure asset for Saltford and the wider community of Bath & North East Somerset. It provides ecosystems that support agriculture and wildlife together with an element of flood protection for the village from the river Avon and from surface water flooding arising from extreme rainfall events.
You can view the Placemaking Plan on the Saltford Parish Council website from this link: Saltford Placemaking Plan on SPC website.
Free local horse manure for SEG members
Vegetables etc. grow well with horse manure!
SEG members Neil and Sam who keep horses in the end field south of Manor Road by Longwood lane, are offering SEG members free horse manure.
If you would like some horse manure for your vegetables or roses etc. and you can collect it yourself, contact Neil on 0771 -- 270 -- 8631. This is for SEG members only for their own gardens (i.e. not for re-sale).
For future reference, this service is highlighted on our Gardening page.
New threat to Saltford's Green Belt! Merging Keynsham with Saltford?
SEG became aware on 5th December that the developers for the east of Keynsham Green Belt development, Mactaggart & Mickel Ltd, also wish to build on the Green Belt between Saltford and Keynsham, i.e. land directly adjacent to Grange Road and also surrounding Copse Road. The proposed development was not in the public consultation documentation launched on 23rd November 2013 for the east of Keynsham Green Belt development but an outline plan appears on the B&NES Core Strategy website with other core documents (link to outline plan - pdf opens in new window). It is part of Mactaggart & Mickel Ltd's master plan for development in this area.
The Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment (SHLAA) Findings report (November 2013) from B&NES states that Mactaggart & Mickel "are promoting the whole of the Keynsham - Saltford gap to the South of the railway line. It is important to note that they are promoting not only the land to the west of the gas main, but also the land to the east i.e. a westward expansion of Saltford. To the north of the railway line (area b) a single land owner is promoting a mixed use housing, employment and marina development on an area described as the Broadmead peninsula."
This is just a proposal; no planning application has been submitted yet.
SEG is naturally strongly opposed to this proposal. The Green Belt land at this location serves several purposes described in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as reasons for protecting the Green Belt from development, namely:
SEG has advised our Parish Council about this development and had discussions with its Planning Committee. We also contacted the Planning Department at B&NES. As this is not in the Core Strategy proposals from B&NES, B&NES is not supportive of this development and is NOT currently proposing the release of any land from the Green Belt on the Saltford side of the gap between Saltford and Keynsham. Furthermore, the Green Belt review report (April 2013) by Arup for the draft Core Strategy stated the following: "Also of importance is preventing the merger of Keynsham and Saltford on the basis that these settlements are located between Bristol and Bath and the existing Green Belt gap between the two settlements is relatively narrow."
There is a risk that the Inspector examining the Core Strategy, Simon Emerson, might instruct B&NES to look again at proposals like this despite it being on the Green Belt and a development that would be contrary to Saltford's Placemaking Plan. However, as this would represent a change to the Core Strategy, B&NES would need to consult on such a modification before it could be adopted in the Core Strategy.
Reducing your home energy costs
Easier access to grants, loans and home energy assessments
B&NES Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy's Home Energy Team are working together to give residents across B&NES easier access to grants and loans for insulation and boiler upgrades as well as energy assessments. Whilst some of the funding schemes are subject to eligibility, there is free and impartial advice available to all householders. You can ring the CSE Home Energy Team on freephone 0800 082 2234 or visit www.cse.org.uk/energy-at-home for further details.
Drop-in energy advice, Bath
Worried about rising energy prices, keeping your home warm this winter, and your carbon footprint? The Centre for Sustainable Energy is running a monthly (first Friday of every month, 10am-12noon) drop-in energy advice surgery from the Manvers Street One-Stop-Shop in Bath. The last session will be on 1 August 2014. Anyone with any questions or worries is welcome to drop in and get free advice.
The Government has produced an online guide Helping consumers with energy to help householders towards lower bills and warmer homes. It covers subjects from managing bills and getting the best tariff, to sources of advice and help as well as information on financial help, switching suppliers and winter and cold weather payments.
You can download it from the DECC website from this link Helping consumers with energy (external site, opens in new window).
There are further tips and ideas etc. on our Energy page.
Graffiti has no place in Saltford
In an effort to remove graffiti from the village, Saltford Parish Council is asking everyone to report instances of graffiti to the Parish Clerk (firstname.lastname@example.org) giving clear details of the location and if possible a photo and details of the likely ownership of the property. These will then be recorded, reported as appropriate and followed up.
SEG is supportive of this initiative from our Parish Council.
Guides supporting Saltford's insect life
The 2nd Saltford Guides have been working with SEG to improve habitats for local insects and bees as part of their Community Action badge. After learning about bees and bugs, their diets and the threats to them in modern society from SEG's bee and insect welfare adviser, Bronwen Campbell, the girls made their own bug hotels. Using a range of materials they got their hands dirty with saws and screwdrivers to construct their hotels.
Each bug hotel was unique and handmade. The hotels were available for sale on the Guiding stall at the Christmas Market on 30th November 2013 in Saltford Hall - they all sold out very quickly!
Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project off to a good start
Work clearing the scrub and young trees on the west side of the railway path for a stretch between Saltford and Bath started on 11th November (see photograph above). The following describes this local habitat improvement project organised by SEG:-
The Bristol-Bath Railway Path is a very important corridor for wildlife. Part of its importance comes from the variety of natural habitats it contains. However, some habitats require management to prevent their change to others. One of the most fragile is flower-rich rough grassland: 40 years ago this was a predominant habitat in the Kelston - Saltford stretch of the track, but in the interim most has turned into scrub and young woodland. As well as wild flowers, many insects and other invertebrates of grassland do not survive in scrub.
SEG would like to thank Chris, Paul and Paula of Short Cut Services (mobile 07970 799 453) for their key role in cutting and clearing the timber etc.
For further information including a description of works from an ecological viewpoint, see our wildlife page.
Protecting your home and business from flooding
Businesses are more likely to be flooded than destroyed by fire. And flooding costs money. According to the Environment Agency, in 2012, businesses saw losses of around £155 million due to floods, including £55 million in property damage and £15 million in loss of production of goods and services.
There are easy things you can do to protect your business from flooding:
As householders, this issue affects all of us too. It's impossible to completely flood-proof a property but there are lots of things you can do to reduce flood damage. The Environment Agency publishes guidance on how to prepare your property for flooding here: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/homeandleisure/floods/31644.aspx.
For the Environment Agency's web page advice on how to prepare a flood plan for your business click here: www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/flooding/32362.aspx.
Alternatively, for the Environment Agency/Climate UK's Business Resilience Healthcheck website, click here: www.businessresiliencehealthcheck.co.uk.
Saltford Fairtrade Village signs in place
On the wet Monday morning of 21 October 2013, Saltford based 'Signs of Saltford' erected the road signs showing that Saltford has "Fairtrade Village status" on the entrance at each end of the village on the A4.
Also pictured here standing proudly by the newly erected sign at the West end of the village is Saltford Parish Council Chairman Duncan Hounsell and members of SEG's Fairtrade Group who have worked tirelessly to achieve Fairtrade status for Saltford. The Fairtrade Foundation awarded Saltford Fairtrade status on 4th April 2013 and our certificate was formally handed over in July 2013.
For more information about Saltford's Fairtrade Village status see our Fairtrade page.
SHOW SUPPORT FOR SEG. We're free to join, you can "like" us on facebook & businesses can support us - see details.
Saltford Environment Group
"Think global, act local"
Saltford Lock, a local beauty spot popular with visitors in the summertime. Photograph © Phil Harding
Link: current level of the River Avon in Saltford (recorded on the Environment Agency website).