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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summit planned to discuss bus services

The Welsh Government will continue providing support to Wrexham and Denbighshire councils to help replace bus services in the wake of the area’s main operator going into administration.

That's the word from Clwyd South AM Ken Skates who has also set up a meeting with all three North East Wales authorities to discuss plans following the collapse of Ruabon-based GHA Coaches.

Mr Skates said: “The news of the demise of GHA Coaches came as a huge blow for our area, with more than 300 people being told their jobs had gone and thousands more who relied on their buses at risk of being stranded.

“People in some of Clwyd South’s most rural and isolated areas, places like Glyn Ceiriog and Penley, have been severely affected, and that is something that the council needs to address urgently. Some of my constituents are effectively trapped until alternatives are provided.”

Mr Skates has arranged a meeting with Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire councils to discuss ways forward.

He added: “The Welsh Government has been working with councils to try to protect the bus network. We will continue to work collaboratively, including with the administrators, to minimise the effects of the firm entering administration.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said funding to local authorities under the Bus Services Support Grant, to help them to subsidise buses and community transport, has been maintained at £25m since 2013-14 despite ‘very challenging’ funding settlements from the Tory Government at Westminster.

Over that period, a number of councils cut their own budgets, the spokesperson added.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Skates welcomes A5 parking restrictions

Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the introduction of parking restrictions on a busy main road in Llangollen.

The Clwyd South AM has been pressing for double yellow lines to stop parking opposite Stans of Llangollen on the A5 for more than a year,

Mr Skates (pictured on the A5), who is based in the town, said: “The Welsh Labour Government confirmed in February that the work would be prioritised, and I’m glad that my constituents’ concerns have been listened to and it has now been completed.

“I hope this will help improve safety on what is a very busy main road.” 

Residents had complained that parked vehicles opposite the garage caused an obstruction, particularly for older pedestrians trying to cross the road.

Mr Skates recently took over responsibility for trunk roads when he was appointed the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.

He added: “The Welsh Government has always maintained its intention to do this. I’m pleased to have been able to act upon local concerns and get this matter addressed.”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mountain biking film gets local premiere

In association with North Wales Mountain Bike Association, One Plant Adventure in Llandegla is hosting an exclusive advanced showing of the film Mountain Biking The Untold Story for riders in North Wales.

It will be projected on to a 2.4m screen in the café between 5 and 7pm on Sunday July 31.

Tour of Britain race heads for county

* The world's top riders will race from Denbigh to Builth Wells.

Britain’s most prestigious professional cycle race, the Tour of Britain, will return to Wales for two stages once again this September.

Wednesday 7 September sees the world’s top riders racing from Denbigh to Builth Wells, where they will finish on the Royal Welsh Showground.

Thursday 8 September will then see the world’s top cyclists racing from Aberdare across South Wales through Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly County Borough, Torfaen and Monmouthshire before a finish in Bath.

The two stages will include almost 300-kilometres of racing on Welsh roads, with Stage Four from Denbigh to Builth Wells the longest of the 2016 race at 218-kilometres also including the most ascent of any leg, with over 4,000-metres of climbing.

Stage Four will begin from Denbigh town centre at 10:30 and is expected to finish on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells at around 15:29.  It will mark the first time that Denbighshire has hosted a stage start of the Tour of Britain and the first time that a stage has finished in Powys.

Flintshire will host an intermediate Yodel Sprint, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel, in Mold and the day’s opening SKODA King of the Mountains climb to the village of Rhydtalog.

Two further SKODA King of the Mountains climbs will come at Bwlch-y-Safn in Denbighshire’s Berwyn Mountains and at Dyfnant forest in Powys, with the final Yodel Sprints in the villages of Foel and Newbridge-on-Wye.

The Tour of Britain will resume a day later from Aberdare Park in Rhondda Cynon Taf at 11:00 on Thursday 8 September for a 205-kilometre stage to Bath.  From Aberdare the stage will pass through Mountain Ash, Ystrad Mynach and Pontypool, before the opening Yodel Sprint on Monmouth Road in Usk.

The Stage Five route continues through Monmouthshire to Tintern, crossing the River Wye into Gloucestershire via the Bigsweir Bridge north of Llandogo.

Commenting on the Welsh stages, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said; “We are looking forward to this year’s Welsh stages of the Tour of Britain and taking in new venues and new climbs.  As always the Welsh stages will be amongst the hardest in the Tour, and this year is no different with both stages in excess of 200-kilometres and containing plenty of climbing.”

Anne Adams-King, Chief Executive Officer at Welsh Cycling said; “Welsh Cycling is delighted to once again welcome the Tour of Britain to Wales. A stage start is a first for the town of Denbigh, and to finish at the heart of Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells will be spectacular. We are also pleased to see Stage Five depart from Aberdare as the race travels across the border to finish in Bath.

“We have a fantastic summer of cycling activities here in Wales for everyone to enjoy. With our elite athletes competing in the Tour de France and Rio Olympic Games, and major events like the Tour of Britain on our doorstep, we hope that Wales will be inspired to cycle this summer.”

Councillor Huw Jones, Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the start of Stage Four of the race this year, as we feel it will have great benefits to the tourism industry here in Denbighshire, as well as showcasing what the region has to offer.

“We are working closely with our colleagues in Flintshire and the rest of North Wales to make sure that the level of public support shown over recent years is repeated again this year.

“North Wales is fast earning itself a reputation for hosting and staging major events, with the Tour of Britain a prime example of how councils and event organisers work closely together to deliver these spectacular events.”   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Archeological sites will open this weekend

Anyone who digs archeology is in for a real treat this weekend.

Two excavations are taking place on adjacent hillforts in the northern part of the  Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archaeologists from Oxford University are continuing their work at Moel y Gaer, Bodfari, and at nearby Penycloddiau another group of Liverpool archaeology students are learning about the principles of archaeological excavation.

* Moel y Gaer, Bodfari.
There are opportunities to see both sites with visits and open days organised by Fiona Gale, County Archaeologist for Denbighshire.

She said: "It is a great opportunity for us to learn more about what life was like in these enigmatic places when people built them around 2500 years ago, the spotlight is really on sites in our area, with archaeologists from across the UK waiting to see what is found.

"It's especially appropriate that this work is taking place during the UK’s Festival of British Archaeology."

On Saturday July 23rd there is an open morning at Penycloddiau and Fiona will lead a walk up from the Llangwyfan car park (SJ13896663), leaving at 10am.

At the site visitors will meet Dr Rachel Pope of Liverpool University who will explain what has been found so far.

On Sunday July 24th there is an open day at the excavations at Moel y Gaer (11am to 4pm).

The site is privately owned and not normally open to the public, however for this one day you can park close to the site (SJ09447123) and walk up to see what is taking place.

Fiona will lead people around at the top but there will be opportunities to talk to Professor Gary Lock and Dr John Pouncett from Oxford University who are organising the work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Police seek help to find missing man

Merseyside Police are appealing for help in tracing the whereabouts of a man seen in Llangollen last Sunday.

Russell Beck, 51, from Port Sunlight, was last seen on Boundary Road in that area at around 8am on Thursday 14 July.

There was also a confirmed sighting at 10am on Sunday 17 July in the Wynnstay hotel, in Llangollen, say officers.

Mr Beck is described as a white male, 5ft 10in tall, of medium build, with short grey hair, grey eyes and glasses.

When last seen on 14 July he was wearing a khaki jacket and light coloured trousers.

Mr Beck is known to frequent pubs in the New Ferry and Port Sunlight areas as well as North Wales.

Anyone who has seen Mr Beck or has any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 101 (quoting log 772 of 16/7/16) or the Missing People charity on 116 000 or

Railway swings back to the 60s this weekend

* A vintage bus service will run during the weekend.

It's the seventh 1960's weekend at the Llangollen Railway this Saturday and Sunday.

There's lots of 60's themed things to enjoy all along the line over the weekend.

Visitors are encouraged to dress up in 60's outfits as many of the staff do.
Dr Beeching's Bar in the Robertson Suite at Llangollen station will be open on Friday evening and Saturday from 12 until late.

There will be seven local real cask ales and a cider on offer at £3 a pint and bottled lagers, wines and ciders.

The railway will be running a 1960's-themed pub quiz at around 8pm on Friday evening, entry will be £10 per team with all proceeds to our appeal to build a water tower at our new station in Corwen.
There will be live music performed on the platform during Saturday afternoon and evening, from 7-10pm. Entry is free.

You can also enjoy a burger from the station restaurant barbeque and lots of people get up and dance. 
Berwyn station café will be open and alighting from the train here provides quick and easy access to the Chain Bridge and hotel, offering wonderful views of the railway and the Dee.

The popular and free "rail replacement" vintage bus service will be running between Llangollen and Corwen during the day, also calling at Berwyn and Glyndyfrdwy - where there is a large vintage vehicle rally of 60's era cars and other vehicles and a charming little café in the station serving tea and cakes.

Anyone with a vintage car from the 1960s era or older is welcome to bring it along to display and will receive complimentary travel on the railway for the event.
The buses also call at Carrog on the A5, with the station tearooms a short walk away.

The railway will be running an intensive timetable of superb vintage trains.