Campaign raises awareness

March 01 2015

A CAMPAIGN group for Abbotswood in Yate said it had better hopes for the area’s future after success in raising its profile.

Abbotswood

A CAMPAIGN group for Abbotswood in Yate said it had better hopes for the area’s future after success in raising its profile.
Mary Wright, chairman of the Abbotswood Action Group, said a number of events had combined recently to give a boost to the group, residents and users of local shops.
That included Yate Town Council reaching agreement with the owners of land at the Abbotswood Centre to buy space at the site, such as paved and grassed areas in front of the shops and some pieces of land behind them.
The council said residents and councillors had been frustrated that they could not make improvements while the land remained in private hands so buying it was the key to raising money to fund such changes.
Now the council has pledged a steep change in the sort of things the action group will be able to carry out, once legal paperwork has been finalised.
 Councillor Chris Willmore said: “The real hero of this is Mary Wright. She has fought tirelessly to get improvements at Abbotswood and has encouraged us to try to trace the owner and then get a deal.
“This is a great deal for the community and releases the current owner from their liabilities.”
Mary also praised the active involvement of South Gloucestershire Council community engagement officer, Jacqui Ward, especially in acquiring grants for events and activities.
She said it had led to an “unprecedented” 300 people being in the precinct to see the Christmas tree lights being switched on, an event attended by local MP Steve Webb and Ed Davey, the Secretary of State for energy and climate change.
There had also been a successful apple day organised by Jacob’s Well, the local group behind the establishment of a community garden outside the St Nicholas Family Centre.
Mary said: “As a result of applying for a Yate neighbourhood priority grant, a project worker devoted to Abbotswood will be appointed shortly.
“A community plan for the area has also been published as a result of a questionnaire being distributed to more than 2,000 residents in the surrounding area.
“This is fairly unusual for an urban area and the response to the questionnaire was good. Many people volunteered to become involved in action group activities, demonstrating a desire for community involvement.
“So things are certainly looking up for Abbotswood, which has suffered for many years from a poor perception.”
The plan can be read by visiting http://paulhulbert.org/aag/abbotswoodcommunityplan.pdf