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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Minister criticised over local health services

The people of Flint are to take part in a referendum tomorrow (Thursday) on whether NHS hospital beds should be returned to the town.

And Wales's First Minister Carwyn Jones has been accused by a campaigner of misleading the public over local hospital services, including those in Llangollen.

Mr Jones said recently: "I understand that people always find it extremely difficult when they see something closing, when they have been used to it over the years. I have seen it in my own constituency. However, what happens, of course, is that, when they see the new resources that are available, nobody wants to go back to the old system.

"So, what I would tell the people of Flint is that I know that there are plans there to ensure that new resources are available to the people of Flint—resources that will enable people to remain at home and to have care there instead of going into hospital. I would say that you have to consider what else will be available.

"Experience shows that, when something new becomes available—Builth Wells is an example of this, where there was a very strong campaign against closing the local hospital and now there is a brand-new centre that is very popular in the community—people need to give plans to move things forward in an area a chance."
But Mabon ap Gwynfor, Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Clwyd South, and campaigner for improved health services, said: "It was disingenuous and misleading of the First Minister to refer to the new health centre in Builth Wells. The Builth Wells Health Centre is a £5m development, similar in spend to that in Llangollen.

"The difference however is that the Builth centre has 12 beds. They have taken beds away from Llangollen, Flint, Prestatyn and Ffestiniog with no plans to reintroduce them. That's a significant loss in our health service provision, which impacts not just the immediate communities, but communities across north Wales.

"When the First Minister says that we have to 'consider what else is available' what we see is a reduced service, with ambulances queuing nine deep at Wrexham Maelor Hospital; people having operations cancelled because of alack of available beds; and patients having to be shipped to hospitals many miles from their homes for recuperation.

"Llangollen hospital closed two years ago. We've given them a chance, and it hasn't worked out. It's time they re-introduced hospital beds in our communities to ease the burden on the general hospitals and their staff."

Rugby star Rupert backs dog fouling campaign

* Rupert Moon and his dog Bach.

Former Wales rugby star Rupert Moon is lending his support to Denbighshire County Council’s campaign to tackle dog fouling.

Rupert, who is the General Manager of the Welsh Rugby Union’s North Wales Development Region, has spoken out against individuals who allow their dogs to foul on rugby and football pitches, putting the health of players at risk.

Himself the owner of a Golden Retriever called Bach, he said: “There’s nothing worse for players than having to check pitches before they play, worried there is dog mess on the field.

“We have even seen examples where matches have been postponed or abandoned due to the condition of the pitch. This is simply unacceptable and puts the health of all pitch users at risk.

“I applaud Denbighshire County Council for taking a tough stance on those people who allow their dogs to foul in public and wholeheartedly support this latest campaign.  

“Of course this is not an issue specifically for Denbighshire as we see this kind of situation repeated across the county.  As a dog owner myself I cannot understand how some people can be so inconsiderate and are willing to place others at risk."

Emlyn Jones, Denbighshire’s Public Protection Manager said: “We are delighted to have received this kind of support from Rupert Moon.  

“Having someone with a proven track record in the world of Welsh sport lending his support will help us get the message out there that allowing dogs to foul in public is anti-social.

“It affects the quality of life for residents and having dog mess on public playing fields is simply unacceptable.”  To report incidents of dog fouling, please call the Council on 01824 706101.

Ysgol Dinas Bran gets funding boost

North Wales AM Aled Roberts says that he and fellow Liberal Democrat Assembly Members have secured a £106m funding boost for less well-off children.

In exchange for allowing the Welsh Government’s budget to pass, schools in Denbighshire will receive £2.5 million next year and £2.7 million the year after thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Secondary schools receiving over £130,000 extra each year include Ysgol Dinas Bran.

The money will be given to schools as part of the Pupil Deprivation Grant which is a flagship Liberal Democrat policy introduced by the party in their first budget deal with Labour’s Welsh Government in 2012. 

Every school will receive £1,050 for every pupil who has free school meals next year. In 2016 that  figure will be increased by £100 to £1,150 per pupil.

The Pupil Deprivation Grant gives additional funding to help disadvantaged children get a fair start in life. It is strictly monitored by the Welsh Government to make sure that the money is spent on giving less well-off pupils a fairer start.

As part of the budget deal, the Welsh Liberal Democrats say they have also secured a £3.8m extension to the Pupil Deprivation Grant to include children under the age of 5.  This will be worth £300 per pupil.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats secured this extra money in 2012 to give less well-off pupils a fair start and I am delighted that we have managed to increase it once again,” said Aled Roberts.

“Schools in Denbighshire will now receive over £5 million extra in the next two years thanks to the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

“I’m also pleased that 12,500 nursery children under the age of 5 will now benefit.  The aim is to make sure that every child has a fair start when they begin their formal education.

“Too often children from poorer backgrounds fall behind in school even at an early age so this Welsh Liberal Democrat policy is designed to tackle inequalities in our education system.”

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Elderly man injured in town centre accident

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting on its website this evening that an elderly man was injured in an accident this afternoon (Tuesday) in Llangollen.

See the full story at:

County reaffirms school transport policy

Denbighshire County Council has re-affirmed its Home to School Transport Eligibility Policy, following a discussion at its Cabinet meeting in County Hall, Ruthin today (Tuesday).

The policy now includes central pick up points for secondary school pupils as an amendment, with free transport provided to the nearest suitable secondary school.  The pick up points will come into effect in September 2015.
 A transitional period will be introduced, where pupils who are not attending their nearest school (due to historic anomalies), will remain eligible for transport to their existing school, to prevent disruption to their education.  Following a thorough debate, Cabinet Members agreed to alter recommendation 3(vi) - Cabinet requests that the Welsh in Education Strategic Group review the language categorisation of all schools during the Autumn Term and present a report to Scrutiny in early Spring 2015

They also added recommendation (vii) - 
"An assessment of the impact of the policy be conducted and presented to Scrutiny at the end of the first year of implementation."
Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, said: “The current Home to School Transport Policy is silent in many areas and has resulted in the historic anomalies  in the current system.  

“This amended policy formalises arrangements for transport to school, it is transparent and every attempt will be made to ensure that parents are clear about the transport implications when applying for school places."

The council’s decision to review this policy comes as the school transport service is overspent and the new policy could result in a saving of around £272,000.

Skates welcomes Welsh budget

Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the Welsh Labour Government’s budget for next year, which he says "reflects the priorities of the people of Clwyd South".
Jane Hutt, Minister for Finance and Government Business, today announced £425m of extra funding for the Welsh NHS over two years, while schools’ funding is also protected and there is continued support for the hugely successful Jobs Growth Wales scheme.
Labour AM Mr Skates said: “This is a budget that reflects the priorities of people in Clwyd South and that recognises the high regard in which they hold our National Health Service.
“It is, of course, a difficult budget, and the unprecedented cuts made to the Welsh budget by the Tories in Westminster have obviously had an impact. The Welsh 2015-16 budget is £1.5bn lower in real terms than it was 2010-11.
“However, our priorities are different, and we are protecting the services that matter most to people.
“I am delighted that we continue to provide support to the excellent and ground-breaking Jobs Growth Wales scheme, which has helped almost 1,000 young people in Wrexham and Denbighshire into work.
“The people of Wales can see first-hand that this Labour Government is on their side.”

Councillor calls for halt on Horseshoe speed limit plan

A LLANGOLLEN county councillor is calling for a halt on plans to impose a lower 40mph speed limit on the Horseshoe Pass.

Stuart Davies has made his demand after discovering that police have prosecuted just one motorist in the past five years for breaking the existing 60mph restriction on the A542 route from Llangollen towards Llandegla and Ruthin.

Cllr Davies said: “I recently put in a Freedom of Information request to North Wales Police which reveals that since 2009 they have brought only one prosecution for speeding on the Horseshoe Pass and this was in the financial year 2013/14.

“If they aren’t prosecuting people for breaking the 60mph limit up there why do they want to lower it to 40mph?

“It doesn’t make sense to me, especially at a time when Denbighshire County Council is being asked to make deep cuts in its budget of around £30 million over the next few years affecting essential services.

“I am told that implementing the new 40mph restriction, with the cost of consultation and new signs, would be £20,000 and I’d argue we just can’t afford that sum when it appears that people aren’t being prosecuted for breaching the limit that’s already in force.”

He added: “I know that some work has already gone into it but my view is that any further work on it should be stopped immediately.”

Official figures show that over the past five years the Horseshoe Pass has been the scene of 22 collisions involving slight injuries, 10 rated as serious and two which were fatal.

North Wales Police traffic officers recently requested the county council to impose a 40mph limit on the whole of the pass from the Britannia to the cattle grid at Pentre Isaf.

When he first raised the issue a few months ago, Cllr Davies said: “I am of the view that better enforcement of our existing laws and better education of drivers at the hotspots would slow down traffic and safeguard lives rather than the blunt use of a blanket speed limit over the whole of the pass.”