Residents asked: Should Stoke Lodge break away from Patchway?

Should Stoke Lodge split from Patchway?

Local residents are being given the chance to have their say on community governance arrangements for the Stoke Lodge area after a petition calling for the formation of a new parish, independent of Patchway, attracted over 500 signatures last year.

The Stoke Lodge Community Governance Review is being conducted by South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) in response to the petition, which was organised by the three Conservative Town Councillors that represent the Stoke Lodge parish ward of Patchway – Andy Alsop, Sarah Pomfret and Brian Hopkinson.

The move for independence has been opposed by Labour Town Councillors, who claim it is “politically motivated” and that “the three Tories simply cannot accept that Labour won the Town Council elections in May [2011]”.

The petition’s statement begins: “We the undersigned residents wish to remove Stoke Lodge and Patchway Common from the Town and Parish of Patchway and allow us to form our own parish of Stoke Lodge and The Common”.

Formally presented to the October 2011 meeting of SGC’s Full Council by Cllr Alsop, the petition obliged the District Council to instigate a review, which has since had its scope extended to several other areas of South Gloucestershire.

In bringing forward the petition, Cllr Alsop was fulfilling a promise made in his candidate statement for the May 2011 elections, in which he wrote:

“I am very committed to making Stoke Lodge and The Common a parish in its own right. For far too long, Patchway Town Council has acted as an old boys’ club amassing large debts and wasting our money.”

The petition’s statement goes on to describe Stoke Lodge and The Common as being “distinct from the area on the west side of the A38” and concludes:

“It is important to us that we pay tax with representation rather than have it snatched away and have under representation., which we currently have due to our current inclusion in Patchway, paying 30% of the rates wit just three Councillors representing us  [and] the other twelve representing a completely different place.”

A letter accompanying the September 2011 petition, delivered to all homes east of the A38, claimed that Patchway Town Council is one of the most expensive in South Gloucestershire, with almost 50% of the precept being spent on staff salaries. It is also critical of the money spent extending Coniston Community Centre.

The campaigners also argued that the Patchway Post Office, in Rodway Road, is inconveniently situated for Stoke Lodge residents and were critical of the other Patchway Town Councillors for failing to oppose the introduction of two extra classrooms at St Chad’s Primary School in Cranham Drive.

Patchway Labour Councillors countered these arguments in an edition of their Patchway Roundabout circular in October 2011, in which they pointed out that many of the issues highlighted by the campaigners resulted from decisions made by the previous Patchway Town Council administration, a “Con Dem” coalition.

At its November 2011 meeting, the Labour-controlled Town Council attempted to derail Cllr Alsop’s petition by proposing to organise an “official survey” of its own, a move which prompted a walk-out of the three Stoke Lodge Councillors. The Town Council was later advised against taking this course of action as it would duplicate the purpose of any SGC-led consultation.

Broadening the scope of the Local Governance Review to the whole of South Gloucestershire was agreed at a meeting of SGC’s Licensing, Regulatory and General Purposes Committee on 26th January 2012, where it became apparent that any resulting changes would be unlikely to be implemented before 2015. Cllrs Alsop, Hopkinson and Pomfret argued for a separate “fast track” review for Stoke Lodge and Patchway Common “so that they could separate from Patchway as soon as possible” but this failed to gain support from the Committee members.

A later meeting of the Committee, on 12th April 2012, agreed the terms of reference of the review, including a timetable that forsees any agreed changes coming into force in April 2015, in time for the next principal town/parish elections in May 2015.

Consultation leaflets explaining the Local Governance Review are currently being delivered to homes in the affected areas. The closing date is 12th November 2012 and responses can be made by post, online or email.

The consultation lists three options for the Stoke Lodge ward: form a new parish, join with a neighbouring town/parish (Bradley Stoke or Stoke Gifford) or maintain the status quo.

Figures in the consultation document show that there are 1,713 registered electors in the Stoke Lodge parish ward and a total of 6,621 in the other two “west of the A38” Patchway wards.

The document warns that “South Gloucestershire Council would need to be satisfied that any new parish council would be large enough to be viable”.

Stoke Lodge independence campaigners pictured in Chelford Grove.

Photo: Stoke Lodge independence campaigners (from left): Cllr Sarah Pomfret, Cllr Andy Alsop, Tracey Harrison-Ashe and Cllr Brian Hopkinson.

Related links (on Google Docs):


  1. Does anyone know if Brian Hopkinson and Sarah Pomfret (f)actually do really live in Stoke Lodge, as I’m told otherwise? Many properties but which do they live in? Fair play. Nothing succeeds like success.

    Is that relevant? Not a crime I suppose, can’t be warned off for that.

    Most likely end up with Bradley Stoke, where they are also Town Councillors? Brian’s not too popular in Stoke Gifford I believe, but he’s in good company there, that’s fair enough.

    So money wants to go to money. No reservations there I guess. Can sit around the campfire with Roger Avenin. Blazing Saddles springs to mind.

  2. There is more to this than just wanting to be independent from Patchway ,are they ambarassed of being classed as part of Patchway town and want to be known as Stoke Lodge only and make them seem a bit more upper class than Patchway town

  3. This is what was written

    (The consultation lists three options for the Stoke Lodge ward: form a new parish, join with a neighbouring town/parish (Bradley Stoke or Stoke Gifford) or maintain the status quo.)

    But this doenst make any sence they want to break away from Patchway but join one of the other two Bradly stoke or stoke gifford
    see it is just snobbish ness nothing to do with anything else

  4. Let’s get some facts on the table.

    It took the “interference” of Patchway Town Council in the Shellmor Ave consultation to allow everyone affected by the proposed changes to have a vote, as Cllr Hopkinson seemed to believe a letter informing us of the chosen option was enough consultation, The Town Council then arranged a public meeting to announce the result, the first public meeting in Stoke Lodge for many years that didn’t descend in to a farce. At the meeting Cllr. Hopkinson was asked a question 3 times, after numerous attempts the youngest councillor in the room answered it in seconds.

    Cllr. Hopkinson supports local residents? Why did he and our other local South Gloucestershire councillor ignore the hundreds of Stoke Lodge residents who signed the “Keep Highwood Rd Open” petition and followed party orders and voted to close Highwood, who’s representing us, the people who elected them?

    The new Patchway Town Council have rejected the two South Gloucestershire design options backed by Cllr Hopkinson for the redevelopment of Patchway Community Centre because they are too expensive at £2.6m and £3.2m.

    The Three Stoke Lodge councillors left Stoke Lodge with no representation on any of the Town Council Committees for twelve whole months expecting the new council to fall flat on its face, instead the New Council cut spending and saved the council after the previous council had set a budget that very nearly bankrupted Patchway.

    Cllrs, Hopkinson, Pomfret and Alsop are part of the OLD council who spent all of Patchway Town Councils reserves and left us all in debt, now they want to start afresh only problem is Stoke Lodge is too small to have its own stand alone council. As two of our councillors are already part of Bradley Stoke Town Council, and Cllr. Hopkinson is the Deputy Mayor of Bradley Stoke guess which way we will be going.

    Using the figures on this website it appears to show one Stoke Lodge councillor for every 571 voters and one “other” Patchway councillor to every 551 voters, seems pretty even to me?

    Will the local councillors guarantee if Stoke Lodge does decide to leave Patchway we will not join Bradley Stoke or Stoke Gifford?

  5. How can they want to take PATCHWAY common out of the town of Patchway? Absurd idea and I agree with “Happy” – I do think it’s more to do with people in Stoke Lodge wishing to distance themselves from Patchway too.

  6. Stoke Lodge/Patchway Common is part of Patchway you cant change History ,doesnt matter how much they think they are better than some people this group havent a clue ,dont they read about their own History of the area .

  7. Blatant plagiarism in The Post today:

    Talks over split from town council

    Desperate behaviour from a desperate publication.

    “There are 1,713 registered electors in the Stoke Lodge parish ward and a total of 6,621 in the Patchway Common area.”

    Do those guys know anything about North Bristol?

  8. Hmm some better research would have been worthwhile.

    It saddens me to watch the Post slowly die, very thin some days, no wonder less people are buying it. It’s still the first ‘paper’ I actually turn to.

    New quotes would be even more interesting given recent events.

  9. After a call from the beeb and a catch up with colleagues, I gave them 10 minutes on the phone, they gave me two lines! That’s always the way in these things…

    In full, and to the best of our recent knowledge in our first term at PTC, we are not aware of a spending request at our level being refused for Stoke Lodge.

    The Pavilion on Patchway Common is the only such building coming under full PTC jurisdiction and running costs, which it receives in full, for example we recently put in new play equipment for it.

    The Community Centres this side of the A38 are run independently, yes build costs have been met historically, but by previous councils made up of Liberals, Conservatives, and Labour, and future build and maintenance costs are being explored, but as was said by ‘Triple H’ above, at a much lower price than was initially planned by a Stoke Lodge colleague before we were elected.

    We only ‘spend’ money with due diligence, much needed after we found out our predecessors had been setting negative budgets for years that left us a problem to rebalance the books over this year and the rest of our term.

    Whilst some are working to a manifesto pledge, I feel others have simply ‘taken their ball home’ and refused to participate in our first year here as a council, we weren’t helped by the Conservative Councillors from Stoke Lodge decision not to serve on any committees or represent those who elected them, so we made the best of the situation they presented us with.

    Remember, this council is made up of many ‘newbies’, we had never met the Stoke Lodge Councillors for Patchway, so why did they refuse to work with us and not serve those in Stoke Lodge who elected them?

    I was bemused by the animosity of the ‘old guard’ on both sides, and shocked at the bile I heard from the leading Lib Dem here on polling day, Sam Scott and I took ourselves outside so as not to have to listen to such abuse towards us and those who vote Labour.

    His parting shot on the night as he left the hall having lost his seat with the collapse of the Lib Dem vote was “God help Patchway” well, the Lord seems to be keeping an eye on us as we haven’t suffered Armageddon yet.

    However, I understand more now why people lose the ability to rub along, as it has been galling on two occasions over the Airfield and Highwood Road to get support and votes or signatures for petitions at a Patchway Town Council meeting from our Stoke Lodge Colleagues only to then watch in amazement as they do a public U-Turn on both occasions at South Gloucestershire Council meetings. Sure, a lady is entitled to change her mind, but every time Brian?

    It shouldn’t be political point scoring at this level, it switches people off, but unfortunately the values reflected at higher party levels are fully displayed here sometimes, and one wonders whether it’s these values from the ‘haves’ against the ‘have nots’ that are part of this debate, it’s well known Patchway is a priority neighbourhood, and maybe some people don’t want their taxes spent on others ‘priorities’ it’s a shame to hear that, but it’s life, we aren’t all in it together, and there by the grace of god go the fortunate, count your blessings along with your money.

    It should be remembered that the priority here is for people of all ages, not some view of supposed feckless people from our critics, a recent example being the treatment of elderly residents, spared a move after a campaign from my Labour Colleagues, whereas other areas are up in arms, and their elderly face a worrying future, this is the big society in action.

    We aim to serve the young, the old, the ill and the infirm on both sides of the A38, irrespective of where they live, what tax they pay, or who they vote for, at this level it’s all about serving the community and working together to live up to the mantra of making Patchway a good place to live, and certainly a better place to live.

    Will Stoke Lodge get to stand alone, or will it end up with Stoke Gifford or Bradley Stoke? There are already differences between these councillors, and different priorities between these neighbourhoods, youth services and provision being a good example, however, time and democracy will take its course, I genuinely hope those who are discontented get what is genuinely best for all who live under our current umbrella of Patchway, in the meantime we face many challenges together, and what is obvious with so much development going on around us is that we all face massive change together no matter our differences, let’s hope it’s all a change for the better.

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