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News and Features - December 2008

Pucklechurch Primary School History Week
King Edmund
Regional Spatial Strategy - Where are we now?
Cancelled Again!


Pucklechurch Primary School History Week

Pucklechurch School will be running a special curriculum during the week of 2nd-6th of February 2009. We would welcome input, information, or involvement from any members of the community. We really need to access as many people as possible who could contribute to sharing knowledge, artefacts, and stories with the children. We want to make use of anybody and anything that will help to inspire the children to apply their skills as historians and to increase their understanding of the village and the surrounding area. Our working title is "Pucklechurch through the Centuries".

How can you help? You may be someone who has a house of architectural or historical interest, an old form of transport, or something like an air raid shelter in a back garden. We want to use it all.

If you have any suggestions or ideas that you think would help, please do not hesitate to contact David Forrester through the school office by letter, telephone, or email. All suggestions will be willingly received.

We will be keeping you up to date with what is happening and look forward to seeing as many of you as possible involved in some way.

Please contact us at: Castle Road, Pucklechurch, Bristol, BS16 9RF, telephone 937 2579, fax 937 4823, or email

David Forrester, Head Teacher


King Edmund Lives (and Dies) Again

M. Rapin de Thoyras wrote of King Edmund in The History of England:

One day as he was solemnizing a festival at Pucklekirk in Gloucestershire, he spied Leolf, a notorious robber who though banished the kingdom for his crimes had the impudence to come and sit at one of the tables in the hall where the king was at dinner. Enraged at his insolence he commanded him to be apprehended. But perceiving he was drawing his dagger to defend himself the king leapt up in great fury and catching hold of him by the hair dragged him out of the hall. This imprudent action cost him his life. Whilst he was wholly intent upon venting his furious passion Leolf stabbed him in the breast with his dagger for that he immediately expired upon the body of his murderer.

Where were you on the morning of November 2nd between the hours of 10.30 and noon? Unless you have a good alibi, you should have been on the Pucklechurch history walk. Our own Gail Boyle, Curator of Archaeology at Bristol City Museum, led a fascinating tour of some of the village's historically significant places, including the barrage balloon centre, King's Lane, the Swayne family graves next to the church, and the field behind the Star Inn, where King Edmund I may or may not have been killed in 946 AD. (Though rumour has it that the King's palace/hunting lodge was near Castle Road, there's no hard evidence to prove where it was, except that it was somewhere in Pucklechurch.)

The Bristol Radical History Group arranged this event as part of their celebration of Bristol Radical History Week. After some food and libation at the Star, the Radical History Group staged a re-enactment of King Edmund's murder, a heinous crime complete with crowns, knives, and (fake) royal blood. Though the actors did not take themselves too seriously, it was a great way to bring history to life. It was a shame that more children weren't on hand to learn a bit about such an important chapter in local history.

Jacki Berry

Edmund1 Edmund2


Regional Spatial Strategy
Where are we now?

The Village Hall was packed on 23rd September for the public meeting on the Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS). Parish Council Chairman Omar Beg ran the meeting and the question and answer session. Parish Councillor Martin Smith gave a presentation on what the proposal for building 8,000 new homes in Siston Parish would mean for the area, showing how dense-pack housing would cover the whole area from the Ring Road almost up to Siston Lane, engulfing the village of Shortwood.

If you had difficulty using the consultation process, write a letter of complaint to:

    Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP
    Communities and Local Government
    Eland House
    Bressenden Place
    London SW1E 5DU

With a copy to:

    Steve Webb MP
    Poole Court
    Poole Court Drive
    Yate, Bristol BS37 5PP


Our local MP Steve Webb led a discussion about how the draft RSS had been changed by Secretary of State Hazel Blears to increase the number of new houses the region would be required to provide in the next 20 years and remove green belt status from hundreds of acres in Siston Parish. He encouraged people to make their opinions about the proposed development known using the consultation process run by the Government Office for the South West (GOSW). Webb stressed that the process was not simple and had strict guidelines and deadlines to follow. Blank comment forms were distributed, and instructions for providing online comments were posted on the MP's website.

The public consultation period for the Draft Revised Regional Spatial Strategy for the South West closed on 24th October. One person told me that when she asked the Government Office for the South West why her comments had not yet been posted on the consultation website, the response was that over 17,000 comments had been received on the RSS, creating a backlog that would require additional resources and time to enter into the database. 

The online consultation process was not easy to use, however, and many people had difficulty finding the right website and using it to make their comments. If this happened to you, please let the Government know that the consultation process was not easy enough to access or use. It could make a difference in a possible legal challenge contending that the public consultation on the Revised RSS was not fairly run. Write to Secretary of State Hazel Blears with a copy of the letter to MP Steve Webb. (See addresses in inset.)

Just to remind you of the background on this issue, the Secretary of State published the Proposed Changes to the Draft Regional Spatial Strategy in July 2008. The proposed changes included rolling back the Green Belt and a big increase in the number of new houses to be built between the Ring Road and Siston. The original RSS, which had been developed and agreed with local councils in the region, proposed that 460,000 new dwellings be built in the South West between 2006 and 2026. While this is a huge number, the plans had also taken into consideration the economic and infrastructure development needed to support this number. The revised plan proposes 592,000 new homes -- a 29% increase -- but does not include corresponding increases in related development (jobs, roads, schools, social services, etc.). Furthermore, the revised plan weakened the original plan's standards for sustainability (for example, energy-efficiency requirements for new homes) and respect for regional distinctiveness (development in keeping with the character of an area). If adopted, the Revised RSS will have a devastating impact on our local area.

Jacki Berry


Cancelled Again!

Have you ever planned an event only to find that a lot of the people you expected to turn up are committed to another function? Have you ever had to re-arrange an event because you find many of the people that you need had already committed to be somewhere else? I am sure this has happened to many groups and organisations in the village.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could look at a calendar and see everything that had already been planned before picking your date? Well, such a thing does exist… yes, really! There's a Village Calendar on the Pucklechurch Community Website. But there is a flaw. Not all village groups and organisations are forthcoming about their meetings and events, and that makes it difficult for other groups.

"But our events are not open to everyone," I hear you say. That is not a problem, I simply record the time and date of the event and make it clear that it is ‘members only’, ‘committee only’, or whatever is appropriate. Take a look at the calendar and you will see examples of this.

And if you are trying to attract more people to your meetings or events, the events are published on the front page of the website and also sent out in a monthly email newsletter to hundreds of people in the village. How's that for free promotion?

Such a simple thing would help everyone in the village. Is your group one of those not contributing? It's easy to do. Just let me know the dates and times or your meetings or events, and I will put them on the Village Calendar.

  • Drop a note to: Martin Smith, Hodden Cottage, Hodden Lane, Pucklechurch BS16 9SG
  • Email me at:
  • Or click here to fill in a simple form

Martin Smith, Webmaster
Pucklechurch Community Website



to help prune bushes and generally clean up

around the Community Centre

Please bring your own garden tools and brushes

to the car park on Wednesday, 3rd December, at 10.30 am


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