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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Railway officials meet MP in Parliament

Yesterday in Parliament, Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones met with Elizabeth Harland and Gordon Heddon of Llangollen Railway during a meeting of the Heritage Rail Association. 

 Ms Harland said: "
It has been wonderful to have been invited today and we are so grateful to Susan to come along and support us. As the biggest employer in the Valley now and with a flying apprentice scheme, support for what we do is more important now than ever.”

Susan Elan Jones MP said: "Llangollen Railway is a very important enterprise in our area. It is always excellent to meet with representatives of Llangollen Railway and I was delighted that both they and a representative of the New Glyn Valley Tramway Trust of Glyn Ceiriog were able to come along to today's meeting of the Heritage Rail Association in Parliament."

* Susan Elan Jones MP (right) with Elizabeth Harland and Gordon Heddon of Llangollen Railway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Police boss urges rethink over cuts

A police boss has made a final plea to the Government to abandon further cuts to policing in North Wales in the wake of the terror attacks in Paris.
Julian Sandham, the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales, was speaking ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review that's being announced tomorrow (Wednesday, December 25) by Chancellor George Osborne.
Over the past four years North Wales Police has had to make £24 million in savings to meet Government spending targets.
At the same time crime in the area, excluding fraud, has been cut by three per cent.
North Wales Police is the only force in Wales where crime has been reduced - all the rest have experienced increases.
But, according to Mr Sandham, (pictured) the terrorist atrocities in Paris changed everything.
He said: "The terror attacks in Paris have certainly changed things and I would urge the Government to pause and reflect before imposing any more policing cuts.
"It is important to consider the implications for neighbourhood policing which is the first step in any intelligence gathering operation.
"The new level of terrorist threat can affect forces similar to North Wales as well.
For example, if you had a major incident in London which required lots and lots of extra policing, as it inevitably would, then the Metropolitan Police could not supply all those police.  The other police forces would have to assist.
"So no matter where the major incidents of the Paris kind were to occur, the neighbourhood policing of all the forces of England and Wales would be affected in the sense that the number available within their own forces would be reduced on account of deployment to London.
"Also, so far as North Wales is concerned, the Holyhead port is a gateway in and out of Britain and the ease with which you can get flights in and out of Dublin, makes Holyhead a very attractive port from that point of view and coupled with that is the A55 for easy access from North Wales the to the densely populated areas of the north west of England or a train to London of course.
"So the need for vigilance around the port and effective scrutiny of the legitimacy of those who are coming in through Holyhead is very much a matter for North Wales Police, very much so.
"Anglesey is a very special case in my opinion because it’s about to experience considerable change in its socio-economic pattern from the building of the second Wylfa nuclear power station, from the large scale residential development that’s just been granted.
"The influx of the labour force to build Wylfa Newydd will of itself create a policing demand. 
"The fact that you’ve got a nuclear power station on your patch also influences the risk factors and will have to be taken into account in the kind of policing pattern you employ within that area.
"There is an opportunity now not to implement further significant cuts and I am hoping this is recognised and acted upon."

Council reforms would save £650m says government

Reforms to local government in Wales will deliver net savings of up to £650m over ten years, the Welsh Government has announced.
The Draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, published today, sets out how "significant savings" can be made in order to protect frontline services at a time of unprecedented demand.
Under the Bill, the current 22 councils will be merged into 8 or 9, cutting overheads, and acting as a catalyst for reforming the way services are delivered to citizens.
Under the eight-council option Denbighshire would be merged with Flintshire and Wrexham, while under the option for nine councils the county would be merged with Conwy.

It’s anticipated by the government that the mergers would pay for themselves within two to three years, and the £650m savings figure takes into account all these initial costs. Additional savings could also be achieved by the sale of surplus assets, it is claimed.

Today’s Draft Bill is the start of a formal consultation process on the proposals for local authority mergers announced in June.

Views are sought on the proposed structure, including whether there should be two or three councils serving North Wales. The consultation closes on 15th February 2016.

Public Services Minister, Leighton Andrews said: “Our vision for Local Government is for activist Councils, engaged in delivering modern, accessible, high quality public services with their local communities.

“This Draft Bill sets out a programme of reform to secure the future of Local Government in Wales. We want to see Councils which are vibrant, strong, flexible, open and transparent - Councils with vision, great leadership and passion, working effectively with the public service workforce and their communities to improve services, improve lives and improve places.

“There is a real opportunity here for Local Government to make significant savings for taxpayers and if Councils work together, plan well and involve their staff there is the opportunity for savings even greater than the £650 million we have identified. This means more money for front line public services, more money to invest in communities and more money to support local economic prosperity.”

The Bill is scheduled to be introduced to the Assembly in autumn 2016, and is being published in draft form in order to seek a wide range of views on the proposals between now and February next year.

Health and wellbeing events for town

A pilot project in Denbighshire to improve the health and well-being of residents through working directly with people in their own communities is hosting more events across the county, including one in Llangollen.

* Llangollen Health Centre. 
The Community Led Conversations project is all about having meaningful conversations with residents to help them take control of their own lives, working with them to find solutions for their individual needs and connecting with people on issues that matter to them.
As part of this project, sessions called Talking Points are being piloted in various areas where residents can drop in and speak to a range of people on issues that matter to them. 
Sessions include:
Thursday, November 26th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 10th – Canolfan Ni, Corwen – 10am-3pm
Thursday, December 17th – Llangollen Health Centre – 10am-3pm
Councillor Bobby Feeley, Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Health and Well-being, said: “This project is very different as we are changing the kind of conversation we are having with our residents. Rather than ask what the problem is, we will be asking residents what matters to them. Then we will work with them to provide advice and support on local support that is available to them that will meet their needs.
"We want to empower communities through directing people to solutions right on their doorstep rather than needing to be referred to a professional service. It’s about listening and understanding people’s needs and promoting ways that people can remain independent."

Quiz in aid of children's charity planned

Monday, November 23, 2015

Llan Youth Band in the honours

* Youth band winners with their trophies.

Llangollen Youth Band had a highly successful day at the North Wales Brass Band Association Rally in Ruthin on Saturday.

The band, under the leadership of Trevor Williams, won a total of three awards in the competition's youth section.

Their beautiful rendition of William Himes' arrangement of Amazing Grace won them the Eifion Rogers Memorial Salver Best Hymn award, whilst their confident performance of Reginald Heath's London River earned them the Irene Fox Memorial Shield and the Baton of Honour for Best Test Piece.

Adjudicator Dr Brett Baker awarded Owen Graham the Best Soloist award for his trombone solo in London River.

A band spokesperson said: "This is an extremely fine accolade to earn from an adjudicator who has spent much of his own musical career as a trombone player for top bands such as the Black Dyke Band."

* The youth band on stage at Ruthin.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Five die in two Corwen collisions

Five people have died in road traffic collisions in the Corwen area within just a couple of days.

The first tragedy involved a woman in her eighties who was pronounced dead at the scene following a collision on the A5, at the Square, in Corwen town centre on Friday morning.   

Her family have been informed and a full police investigation is underway.

Sgt Alun Davies of the Roads Policing Unit said: “We would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision involving a pedestrian and a lorry or who was in the vicinity of the Square in Corwen at 10.57am today, Friday November 20.”

Anyone with information is asked to call the Roads Policing Unit on 101 quoting reference S178034.

The second fatal accident came at 11.39am yesterday (Saturday) when

police were called to a report of a two vehicle road traffic collision on the A5 in Corwen, near Druid traffic lights.

A Vauxhall Astra and Vauxhall Zafira were involved.

Police, fire and rescue service, ambulance and the air ambulance attended the scene.

Tragically, three young men from the Corwen area who were in the Astra, died at the scene.

The occupants of the Zafira, two men from the Merseyside area, were treated at the scene for serious injuries and flown to hospital in Stoke.

One of the men was taken to Stoke and later died as a result of his injuries.

The families of all the victims of this incident have been updated.

Investigations into the collision are continuing and officers are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed the collision to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit on 101, quoting incident number S178591.

Officers say they are particularly keen to speak to a female occupant of a small red vehicle and the two occupants of a black coloured 4 x 4 type vehicle who arrived from the Corwen direction and assisted at the scene.