South Gloucestershire

Last updated

South Gloucestershire
South Gloucestershire UK locator map.svg
Shown within Gloucestershire
Coordinates: 51°28′44″N2°22′48″W / 51.479°N 2.380°W / 51.479; -2.380 Coordinates: 51°28′44″N2°22′48″W / 51.479°N 2.380°W / 51.479; -2.380
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region South West England
Ceremonial County Gloucestershire
Combined authority West of England
Admin HQ Yate
  Type Unitary authority
  Body South Gloucestershire Council
   MPs Jack Lopresti (C)
Chris Skidmore (C)
Luke Hall (C)
  Total191.87 sq mi (496.94 km2)
Area rank91st (of 309)
 (mid-2019 est.) [1]
  Rank50th (of 309)
  Density1,500/sq mi (570/km2)
Time zone UTC0 (GMT)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (BST)
ONS code 00HD (ONS) E06000025 (GSS)
OS grid reference ST735757
Police Avon and Somerset
Fire Avon
Ambulance South Western

South Gloucestershire is a unitary authority area in South West England. It comprises multiple suburban areas to the north and east of Bristol as well as a large rural hinterland. South Gloucestershire was created in 1996 from the northern section of the county of Avon, which was abolished at that time.


The area includes multiple towns and population centres, with many of these areas continuing to expand in both population and industry. Many of these towns and population areas are listed under two major subheadings below.

South Gloucestershire took its title for historic reasons, but as a unitary authority it is not administered as part of the shire county of Gloucestershire. It is, however, part of the ceremonial county of Gloucestershire, which means it shares its Lord Lieutenant (the Sovereign's representative to the county) with Gloucestershire. [2] Because of its history as part of the county of Avon, South Gloucestershire works closely with the other unitary authorities that took over when that county was abolished, including shared services such as Avon Fire and Rescue Service [3] and the Avon and Somerset Constabulary, [4] together with co-operation in planning strategy for transport, roads and housing. Chippenham is a near by town.


Prior to the implementation of the Local Government Act 1972 on 1 April 1974, the area that now forms South Gloucestershire formed part of the shire county of Gloucestershire, comprising the urban districts of Kingswood and Mangotsfield and the Rural Districts of Warmley, Sodbury and Thornbury. However, under the terms of that act, the area was removed from Gloucestershire, and became part of the county of Avon, forming the districts of Kingswood and Northavon.

In 1996, the county of Avon was abolished, and South Gloucestershire was created as a unitary authority area comprising the former districts of Kingswood and Northavon. The area borders the city and county of Bristol, the Bath and North East Somerset unitary authority area, plus the shire counties of Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

The geographic area currently known as South Gloucestershire should not be confused with Southern Gloucestershire. Nor should organisations or bodies in the past titled 'South Gloucestershire', (meaning Southern Gloucestershire), be confused with the area covered by the unitary authority.


In the 2001 census, the population of South Gloucestershire was 245,641. [5] In the 2011 census, this had increased to 262,767.

According to these estimates, 97.6 percent of the population was described as white, 0.8 percent as dual heritage, 0.7 percent as Asian or Asian British, 0.4 percent as Black or Black British and 0.5 percent as Chinese or other. [5]

Much of the population is in towns that form the 'suburbs' to the north and east of Bristol. There are also the large towns of Yate and Thornbury, along with Chipping Sodbury plus the population centres of Winterbourne, and Frampton Cotterell areas.


The main employers are the local authority with 9,500 people and the Ministry of Defence Headquarters for Defence Procurement and the Naval Support Command with 7,000 employees. Other key employers include Airbus, Rolls Royce and the Royal Mail, which dominates the Filton-Patchway area of South Gloucestershire. Friends Provident and Hewlett Packard also have major offices in nearby Stoke Gifford. [6]

Many employers operate in the heavily developed area between the northern edge of Bristol and the M5 motorway, an area sometimes described as the North Fringe of Bristol. This includes the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre, comprising The Mall regional shopping centre and the surrounding retail parks. East of Patchway are the Aztec West and Almondsbury business parks either side of the A38, extending to Bradley Stoke and the M4/M5 Almondsbury Interchange. Employers with sites in this area include EE and the RAC.


South Gloucestershire is home to 99 primary schools, 16 secondary schools, and post-16 colleges and centres. [7] There is one university, the University of the West of England, which was a former polytechnic. In 2008, DCSF figures revealed that there was a 6.6% overall absence in the district's secondary schools, whilst 7.4% is the national average. [8]

Key Stage 4 results (2008) [9] 5 or more grades A*-C including English and maths GCSEs %Level 2 in functional English and mathsLevel 1 in functional English and mathsLevel 2 (5 or more grades A*-C)Level 1 (5 or more grades A*-G)2 grades A*-C which cover the Key Stage 4 science programme of studyA*C in a modern foreign languageA*G in a modern foreign languageAt least one qualification
Local Authority average48.1%56.9%92.8%63.6%93.0%50.3%30.6%49.7%98.0%
England average48.1%52.0%90.2%65.3%91.6%50.3%30.7%44.8%98.6%

In 2005, the then Chancellor of the Exchequer recognised the City of Bristol's ties to science and technology by naming it one of six "science cities", and promising funding for further development of science in the city, [10] with a £300 million science park planned at Emerson's Green, which is situated in South Gloucestershire. [11]


The River Severn forms the north-western edge of the area, with a wide coastal plain terminated by an escarpment. East of this is the wide River Frome Valley drainage area. Further east is another escarpment running roughly north-south, passing between Yate and Chipping Sodbury and west of Pucklechurch. The Cotswolds Escarpment forms the eastern edge of South Gloucestershire, while the western half is mainly urbanised.

A small part of the Cotswolds and the National Trust site of Dyrham Park are also in the district. South of the motorways are suburbs of Bristol while areas north are rural. Some of the inner green belts have been taken away by developments like the new town of Bradley Stoke.


Map of South Gloucestershire; the blue lines are motorways. South Gloucestershire places.png
Map of South Gloucestershire; the blue lines are motorways.

South Gloucestershire is a major transport hub with many areas of South Gloucestershire having easy commuting access to: Bristol (A38 & M32 Roads), Bath to the east, as well as westward to South Wales and Cardiff via the two Severn bridges. Plus there is easy access to London, (M5 & M4 Motorway links), also Gloucester to the north. South Gloucestershire also has access to the major 'Avon' Ring Road. (See map for motorways).

This network of roads is of paramount importance to the industries and distribution centres in the area, as well as to the regional shopping centres - which give it a prime location.

Currently, South Gloucestershire is working with the City and County of Bristol in developing a large Metrobus system.

The area also has an important and very well used railway network, with many direct routes to towns and cities across the UK. This includes eastward to London and westward through the Severn Tunnel to Cardiff and the rest of South Wales. There are also routes down to the South-West counties and north to England's second city, Birmingham. Many routes cross in Stoke Gifford at the Bristol Parkway railway station. There are a total of six stations within the district, mainly located near the border with Bristol in the west of the district.

South Gloucestershire is home to the eastern ends of the two Severn Bridges, which are the main arterial routes by road to and from South Wales.

Mode of transport [5] South Glos %National %
Car driver65.455.2
On foot7.310.0
Bus or coach6.57.4
Car passenger6.36.3
Work from home8.59.2


Other towns and villages

Places of interest


The Conservatives have held an overall majority on the council since 2015, with the only other majority being held by the Liberal Democrats from 1999-2003. In 2012, it became one of the first authorities in the UK to return to a Committee System, abolishing the single party Cabinet, as allowed under the Localism Act. [12] This was later reverted to a leader and cabinet system in 2017 during the Conservative majority, a move which was criticised by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors. [13]

Under the Boundary Commission proposals, which took effect at the 2010 general election, the authority has been divided between three new constituencies, all lying within the authority boundary. These are:

County/Borough is a legal term denoting the type of constituency. County is a rural area, Borough is an urban area.

Related Research Articles

Gloucestershire County of England

Gloucestershire is a county in South West England. The county comprises part of the Cotswold Hills, part of the flat fertile valley of the River Severn, and the entire Forest of Dean.

Avon (county)

Avon was a non-metropolitan and ceremonial county in the west of England that existed between 1974 and 1996. The county was named after the River Avon, which flows through the area. It was formed from the county boroughs of Bristol and Bath, together with parts of the administrative counties of Gloucestershire and Somerset.

Yate Human settlement in England

Yate is a town and civil parish in South Gloucestershire, England. It lies just to the southwest of the Cotswold Hills and is 12 miles northeast of Bristol city centre and 11 miles from the centre of Bath, with regular rail links to both cities.

Almondsbury Human settlement in England

Almondsbury is a large village near junction 16 of the M5 motorway, in South Gloucestershire, England, and a civil parish which also includes the villages of Hortham, Gaunt's Earthcott, Over, Easter Compton, Compton Greenfield, Hallen and Berwick.

Filton Human settlement in England

Filton is a suburban town and civil parish in South Gloucestershire, England, north of the City of Bristol and approximately 5.5 miles (9 km) from the city centre. The town centres upon Filton Church, which dates back to the 12th century and is a Grade II listed building.

Patchway Human settlement in England

Patchway is a suburban town in South Gloucestershire, England, situated 10 km (6.2 mi) north-north west of central Bristol. The town is a housing overflow for Bristol being contiguous to Bristol's urban area, and is often regarded as a large outer suburb. Nearby are the other Bristol satellite towns of Filton and Bradley Stoke. Patchway is twinned with Clermont l'Herault, France, and Gauting, Germany. It was established as a civil parish in 1953, becoming separate from the parish of nearby Almondsbury.


Northavon was a district in the English county of Avon from 1974 to 1996.

Tockington Human settlement in England

Tockington is a village in South Gloucestershire, England. Historically the village developed around farming based mainly on the rearing of cattle on the fertile flood plains. In more recent times Tockington has become an attractive location for commuters, being situated within the Green Belt and well connected with Bristol. It is south of Olveston and is located in a steep valley. The village also has the Swan Inn, a popular pub. The centre of the village, where the pub is located is a triangular junction.

Bristol North West (UK Parliament constituency) Constituency represented in the House of Commons

Bristol North West is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2017 by Darren Jones of the Labour Party.

Northavon (UK Parliament constituency)

Northavon was, from 1983 until 2010, a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elected one Member of Parliament (MP) by the first past the post system of election.

Aztec West Human settlement in England

Aztec West is a business park in South Gloucestershire, England, situated in the north of Bristol, near Bradley Stoke and Patchway. It is close to the M4 and M5 motorways and the Almondsbury Interchange. Adjacent is the A38 trunk road.

Greater Bristol is a term used for the conurbation which contains and surrounds the city of Bristol in the South West of England. There is no official "Greater Bristol" authority, but the term is sometimes used by local, regional and national authorities, and others as a synonym for either the "Bristol Urban Area" or a wider area of the former County of Avon, and by some, TfGB, to refer to the Province of Bristol as defined by C. B. Fawcett (1919) or Derek Senior (1969). The Bristol post town covers a wider area than the city of Bristol.

Filton and Bradley Stoke (UK Parliament constituency)

Filton and Bradley Stoke is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since 2010 by Jack Lopresti, a Conservative.

Thornbury and Yate (UK Parliament constituency)

Thornbury and Yate is a constituency represented in the House of Commons of the UK Parliament since the 2015 election by Luke Hall, a Conservative. Encompassing an area to the north-east of Bristol, it is one of three constituencies that make up the South Gloucestershire Unitary Authority Area, along with Filton and Bradley Stoke and Kingswood.

BS postcode area Postcode area within the United Kingdom

The BS postcode area, also known as the Bristol postcode area, is a group of 37 postcode districts in South West England, within eight post towns. These cover the city of Bristol, north Somerset and south Gloucestershire.

The Badminton railway line is a railway line opened in 1903 by the Great Western Railway between Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire and Patchway and Filton, north of Bristol, England. Forming the eastern section of the South Wales Main Line, it shortened the distance between South Wales and London for heavy mineral traffic and for express passenger trains, and relieved congestion on the line through Bath.


  1. "Population Estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Mid-2019". Office for National Statistics. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 6 May 2020.
  2. "Schedule 1: Counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies in Great Britain". Lieutenancies Act 1997 . Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  3. "About us". Avon Fire & Rescue. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  4. "History of the Force". Avon and Somerset Constabulary. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 "South Gloucestershire Census Profile". South Gloucestershire Council. 12 January 2003. Archived from the original on 8 March 2008. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  6. "Major Employers in South Gloucestershire" (PDF). South Gloucestershire Council. 1 June 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  7. "UK Schools & Colleges Database". Schools Web Directory. 20 April 2009.
  8. "Local Authority : South Gloucestershire". DCSF. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  9. "Local Authority: South Gloucestershire". DCSF. Retrieved 14 March 2009.
  10. "Vice-Chancellor's speeches and articles". University of Bristol. 11 November 2005. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  11. "City science park partner named". BBC News . 20 April 2006. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  12. South Glos Council. "South Gloucestershire adopts committee system".
  13. Sims, Aaron (23 March 2017). "Conservative-led South Gloucestershire Council votes to adopt executive cabinet structure" . Retrieved 20 May 2019.