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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Denbighshire "great place to do business"

Denbighshire County Council is reassuring businesses that the County is a great place to do business and that business start-up and survival rates are improving.

Figures released by Lloyds Banking Group suggest a reduction in business start-ups in the County between November 2011 and November 2016, based on the take up of products from a number of banking groups.

But in Denbighshire the number of active enterprises increased between 2011 and 2015 from 3135 to 3330, while the number of ‘business births’ has increased from 280 a year in 2012 to 350 in 2015.

Business survival rates are very good in the County and show 95 per cent (up from 91 per cent in 2011) of firms opening in Denbighshire continue to trade for at least one year, while more than 60 per cent (up from 52 per cent in 2012) are still trading three years on, which is comparable to the Welsh average.

Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, Denbighshire’s Lead Member for the Economy, said: “As a Council we feel the data presented by Lloyds Banking Group does not represent the full picture.

“The situation in Denbighshire is very positive, with more businesses operating in the County now than in 2011, a healthy number of business start-ups combined with really positive survival rates. We feel this is a much better indicator of success.

“The message we want to send to businesses is that a large majority of those that start in the County survive beyond three years. That makes Denbighshire an excellent place to start a business.

“Denbighshire, and its partners, are working hard to support businesses as part of its Economic and Community Ambition Programme by offering a wealth of advice and support, providing grants to assist firms looking to expand, as well as streamlining the regulation process to save traders time and money.

“By providing a supportive and business friendly environment - a key Council priority - we’ve helped to make Denbighshire an excellent place to start and run a business.

“We have also made it easier for businesses looking to relocate to the county by offering a quick and professional service. An example of this having a positive effect was the recent £6million investment by the Real Petfood Company at Bodelwyddan.”

A recent survey of Denbighshire businesses found more firms were looking to maintain staff numbers (82 per cent) and are expecting sales and profitability to improve (64 per cent) than in the 2015 survey.

The survey, undertaken by BE Group, which had 496 respondents, found more firms (54 per cent) were expecting to invest in capital, up from 37 per cent in 2015.

Denbighshire County Council will soon be announcing details of its annual March for Business month, a series of free networking, advice and workshop sessions for businesses both small and large. 

There will be a wide-range of events covering topics including retail skills, starting a new business, digital skills and how to create a healthier and happier working environment.

* For more information on March For Business contact or 01824 706896 or follow @ebddcc on Twitter.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Steam gala celebrates double 50th aniversary

* Ex-LMS 8F No. 48624 will take pride of place in the Spring Steam Gala. 

Llangollen Railway will be celebrating the end of the Paddington to Woodside Expresses 50 years on at its Spring Steam Gala over the weekend of March 3-5.

Along Birkenhead Lines will feature an intensive timetable of both passenger and mixed traffic trains, a great collection of historic steam locomotives and special attractions along the line.

The weekend also marks the 50th anniversary of two significant events - the last steam-hauled Cambrian Coast Express and 50 years since the last through working from London Paddington to Birkenhead (Woodside).

A railway spokesperson said: "Work is in hand to make this gala one of the most historically accurate and authentic steam events yet achieved at Llangollen. Expect to see cameos, displays, recreations and all the appropriate paper ephemera."

The gala will feature a number of special visiting steam locomotives :
  • LMS 8F No.48624 (c/o The 48624 Locomotive Group & GCR PLC)
  • GWR No.6960 "Raveningham Hall" (c/o West Somerset Railway)
  • LMS 'Flying Pig' No.43106 (c/o The Ivatt Class 4 Group & Severn Valley Railway)
In addition, the Llangollen Railway's 'home fleet' pool of locos for this event will be:
  • LMS 'Black 5' No.45337 (making her return after overhaul)
  • BR Standard Four tank No. 80072
  • GWR '5101' Large Prairie No.5199
  • BR Manor No. 7822 "Foxcote Manor"
  • Class 03 Diesel No.03162 (a former Birkenhead shunter)
The visiting Ivatt Class 4MT 43106 was the last BR steam locomotive to travel between Chester and Shrewsbury, on 1st August 1968.

The loco's journey was carefully routed to limit movement 'under the wires' and travelled via Frodsham, Chester, Wrexham and Shrewsbury on its way to Stourbridge Junction for preservation on the Severn Valley Railway at Bridgnorth.

* Download our FREE Advanced Information booklet for the latest news on the gala from:

Monday, January 16, 2017

MP calls for new domestic violence law

Clwyd South Labour MP Susan Elan Jones MP has called on the Government to urgently bring in a law that would stop perpetrators of domestic abuse from directly cross-examining their victims within the family court system.

Questioning Minister of State for Courts and Justice Rt Hon Oliver Heald MP in the House of Commons Chamber recently, Ms Jones (pictured) said: "Everyone who has spoken today, including the Minister, has said the situation is urgent.

"In view of that and the fact that he said primary legislation will be needed, is there any reason why he cannot commit to the Government presenting that within three or four months?"

After her Commons exchange, Ms Jones said: "This dreadful practice is rightly banned in our criminal courts and it shouldn't be allowed within the family court system either.

"It needs to be stopped urgently. The Government has now committed to banning the practice, but there must be no further delay. It really isn't right how people can be directly confronted and questioned by those who have been violent and abusive towards them."

One possible solution was suggested by Justice Select Committee Chair, Robert Neill MP, who said the simplest answer would be to adopt the criminal provisions “lock, stock and barrel” and accept that the “modest” cost of a court-appointed advocate to undertake the cross-examination was necessary.

* The parliamentary exchange can be seen at:

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Winter weather advice from ambulance service

WITH Wales having its first wintry weather, the Welsh Ambulance Service is reminding members of the public to stay safe and use the service appropriately.

The Trust is taking extra precautions to ensure it can continue to get help to patients during the adverse weather by making its
4x4 vehicles available to respond and topping up stocks of salt on stations.

Ambulances are also fitted with winter tyres which work more efficiently on snow or ice.

The Trust’s dedicated falls teams are on standby for the likely increase in trips and falls.

North Wales’ Community Assistance Team – a partnership with North Wales Fire and Rescue Service which aims to reduce the number of people who need to attend hospital after a fall – will be rolled out into Flintshire and Wrexham temporarily in preparation for increased demand.

The Trust is appealing to all patients who have booked transport via its Non-Emergency Patient Transport Service to make contact if they no longer need transport‎.

These patients are also advised that there may be potential delays to their transport if adverse weather hits, and so are encouraged to bring with them essentials like medication, food and money.

Director of Operations Richard Lee said:
We are closely monitoring the weather forecast for Wales and have contingency plans in place to deal with the adverse conditions currently predicted across the region.

“We are also working with other emergency services and organisations to make sure we can get medical help to a patient in the safest manner in wintry conditions.

“We are well prepared to deliver the same high standard of care to the people of Wales, but inevitably when it is snowy or icy our responses may take longer.

“We would ask the public to help us by keeping well and using the 999 system wisely.”
There are extra precautions people can take to protect themselves from the risks associated with cold weather so they don’t become ill or injured.Richard has this advice for the public.
Top tips to keep well this winter
·        Check that your heating system works properly – keep the temperature in the room you are using at around 21°C
·        Dress for warmth and comfort, putting on several thinner layers of clothing to trap the heat – wear warm, dry, flat boots or shoes with good non-slip soles, especially in frosty or wet weather
·        Eat a well-balanced diet with hot meals every day – have regular hot drinks to give you extra warmth and energy
·        Keep a well-stocked medicine cabinet – check you have enough basic medicines at home to manage common ailments, such as coughs, colds, headaches, indigestion, upset stomach and diarrhoea
·        Keep an eye on your neighbours to ensure they are looking after themselves
·        Take extra care in the mornings when it’s likely to be most icy – elderly residents are particularly at risk of slipping and falling while going about everyday tasks like taking the bins out or even feeding the birds. That can lead to serious injuries such as broken limbs or hips, requiring surgery and a stay in hospital
·        Instead, when it gets icy, they are advised to stay indoors; and if possible get a fit and healthy friend or relative to run any errands for them. Or, wait until later in the day when ice has thawed.
·        Make sure your vehicle is winter ready carry an emergency kit in your boot – this should include an ice scraper, torch, first aid kit, blankets and jump leads
·        Drive responsibly in poor visibility and conditions – it's better to drive slowly and smoothly to avoid braking sharply
·        If you’re forced to abandon your vehicle in heavy snow, please park it responsibly so that emergency vehicles can pass
The public are reminded that there are a host of alternatives to 999 and the Emergency Department.
If you’re ill and unsure what to do, take one of the many NHS Direct Wales online symptom checkers for tailored advice.

You can also call the service on 0845 46 47 for 24/7 health advice and information – or 111 if you live in the Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board area.
You can also visit your GP, pharmacist or nearest Minor Injuries Unit, where there is no need for an appointment.
Ambulances are for serious and life-threatening emergencies only.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Roadshows on how to become a councillor

Denbighshire County Council will be hitting the road with a series of information roadshows aimed at the county’s residents who are thinking of becoming a county councillor.

The next county council elections will take place on Thursday, May 4 on the same day as the city, town and community council elections. 

Council representatives will be on hand at the roadshows to provide information on the role of the county councillor, how the Council works, the issues county councillors will face after the elections, the nomination and election process and the support available to councillors once elected. Serving councillors will also be available to share their experiences and insights on the office of elected member.

The roadshows will take place at the following locations:

Fforddlas Community Centre, Rhyl – Tuesday, January 24
Conference Room 1a, County Hall, Ruthin – Tuesday, 31 January
Restaurant at the Nova, Prestatyn – Wednesday, February 8
Denbigh Town Hall – Tuesday, February 28

All events will begin at 7.30pm and will last for approximately two hours.

Whilst booking is not essential, it would be useful if people could register their attendance at one of the workshops by e-mailing: or by phone: 01824 712589. 

For further information about any aspects of the elections process, including nomination packs,  please visit: or call 01824 706000.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Eisteddfod receives £1,000 boost from Rotary

* From left, Denbigh Rotary Club president Gwynfor Evans,
Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod competitor
liaison officer Merle Hunt and Rotarian Gwyrfai Jones with the £1,000 donation.
The Rotary Club of Denbigh has made a donation of £1,000 to Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in its 70th anniversary year.

The money will go towards the eisteddfod’s bursary fund, which supports competitors from across the globe who require financial assistance to attend and compete at the festival.

"The club has supported the Llangollen Eisteddfod for many years, with many of our members attending every year,” said Rotary Club spokesman John Davies.

“We’re proud to show our support of this iconic festival which is such a large part of the area’s heritage.”

Merle Hunt, competitors liaison officer for the eisteddfod, said: “As a not-for-profit organisation, we rely on donations, sponsorships and support from volunteers.

“We would also like to extend our thanks to the many other Rotary Clubs in the local area that support the eisteddfod, both financially and with the gift of their time as volunteers.  

“It is these supporters who make it possible for the eisteddfod to continue each year.”

This year's eisteddfod takes place from Monday-Sunday July 3-9.

* For more information and to buy tickets, go to:

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Latest Llan panto is one for all

* From left, Jo Potts as D’Artagnan, Tracey Rawlinson
as Athos, Tessa Orton Jones as Porthos and Justine Bradey as Aramis.

Llangollen Pavilion will be transformed into the scandalous court of Louis XIII as the town’s Pantomime Group perform The Three Musketeers.

The historical tale gets the traditional pantomime treatment as the young and impetuous D’Artagnan strives to find the missing piece of the True Quiche of Lorraine, helped, somewhat reluctantly, by the three musketeers, Athos, Aramis and Porthos. 

Will they be able to save Queen Anne, whose reckless flirtations with the Duke of Tottenham have got her into rather a pickle, or will Louis send her to the dungeon to meet her fate at the hands of the evil Cardinal Richelieu?

The pantomime, which has been running in Llangollen for more than 30 years, will take place from January 19-22.

Its director, Simon Orton-Jones from Pengwern, Llangollen, said: “The Three Musketeers may not be a traditional pantomime story but it lends itself very well to this sort of production.

“In typical panto fashion, the three musketeers, along with d'Artagnan, are played by women, there’s a pantomime dame, played by a man and for the first time in a long time, the pantomime horse returns to our production.

“The cast and crew are working hard to ensure this is an entertaining and memorable show.”

Two former pupils from Ysgol Dinas Bran who have recently completed courses at Drama School take on two lead roles.  Louise Cielecki plays Queen Anne and Nathan Lloyd plays The Duke of Tottenham.
A live band will accompany the production with music from, amongst others, Justin Timberlake, One Direction and Duran Duran.  

The Three Musketeers runs from Thursday, January 19 to Sunday, January 22 at Llangollen Pavilion. 

On Thursday and Friday, the show starts at 7.30pm (doors open at 7pm).  On Saturday, there are two performances, 1.30pm (doors open at 1pm) and 6pm (doors open at 5.30pm) and a Sunday matinee (doors open 2pm, show 2.30pm). 

* Tickets are also available online at and from Jades Hair & Beauty, Llangollen or Gwyn Davies (Butchers), Llangollen.  You can also reserve tickets by calling 01978 860297.