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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

llanblogger now on Facebook



llanblogger now has its own dedicated Facebook page.

 

You can find us at llanblogger.co.uk

Supermarket plan for Ruabon deferred

Wrexham’s planning committee has deferred a decision on a scheme to build a 46,000 square foot supermarket in neighbouring Ruabon. 

The decision may interest people in Llangollen opposed to a supermarket development at the Dobson & Crowther site on the A5. 

The council’s own officers recommended committee members to refuse the application by Manchester-based developers Capital and Centric PLC for the former Griflex site at Ruabon Industrial Estate on the grounds the applicants failed to show there was a need for a store of this size in the area.  

But at their meeting on Monday night, they decided to defer a decision on the plan until more up-to-date details are available for them to consider. 

A public consultation on the Ruabon proposal held earlier this year suggested “overwhelming support” for the £6 million project, according to Manchester-based developers Capital and Centric PLC, with 92 per cent of those consulted voting in favour. 

It is claimed the supermarket could create 250 jobs. 

However, Wrexham’s planning chief, Lawrence Isted, recommended refusal. 

He said in a report to the committee: “The Retail Assessment fails to demonstrate that there a need for a development of the size proposed and to adequately undertake a comprehensive sequential assessment of alternative sites.  

“The Retail Assessment also underestimates the detrimental impact the development is likely to have upon the vitality and viability of the district shopping centres of Rhos and Ruabon.  

“As such the development does not accord with policy S4 of the Wrexham Unitary Development or Planning Policy Wales Chapter 10 Planning for Retail and Town Centres.   

“The proposed is poorly located in order to promote a reduction in the need to travel and a reduction in the number of journeys made by private car due to the fact that it is located in relation to dedicated cycling routes, is remote from residential areas and is not served by bus services from large parts of the Primary Catchment Area.  

“The development does not accord with Planning Policy Wales Chapter 8:Transport and Technical Advice Note 18 Transport.   

“Due to the loss of existing soft landscaping, trees and hedges, the introduction of a large car highly visible park and the lack of opportunities for new landscaping, the development will have a detrimental impact upon the appearance of the locality and as such does not accord with policy GDP1(a) of the Wrexham Unitary Development Plan.”

NHS in Wales gets clean bill of health

The NHS in Wales has made significant advances over the last year in improving access to treatment and delivering improved quality of care, according to the first annual report from NHS Wales Chief Executive David Sissling.
Tuesday 31 July 2012
Achievements during 2011/12 include:
  • all seven Welsh Local Health Boards now delivering fast access to stroke treatment;
  • a 32 per cent reduction in cases of C.difficile infections – more than 600 fewer cases and more than 30 lives saved;
  • the best sustained performance by the ambulance service since current records began;
  • a reduction in patient stays in hospital – the length of time in hospital for a hip replacement fell from 7.2 days to 6.2 days, and knee replacement fell from 6.8 days to 6 days.
  • reductions in the number of hospital admissions for major chronic conditions, including a 25 per cent fall in the number of readmissions for respiratory conditions;
  • high patient satisfaction ratings in terms of staff providing dignity in care;
  • delivering financial balance and realising £290m of efficiency savings; and
  • reductions in orthopaedic waiting times
David Sissling said:
“I am pleased to report a pattern of general improvement which shows the NHS has risen to the challenge set by the Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths, to focus above all on delivery.
“In particular, the improvements in stroke care are considerable, with every health board delivering fast access to thrombolysis – clot-busting drugs which improve survival rates – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Royal College of Physicians has noted NHS Wales as the fastest improving system in the history of their audit on stroke services in the UK.
“Quality of care is improving, for example with the reductions in cases of C.difficile, where prevalence rates are lower than many European countries.
“NHS staff have also made progress in reducing orthopaedic waits, cutting over 5,500 from the long waiting list during the year.”
Mr Sissling said more work needed to be done to eliminate all instances of long waiting, and the NHS should look at treatments which offered limited benefit.
“Some conditions, such as back pain or knee injuries, may be best treated by physiotherapy rather than surgery.
“And orthopaedic patients who are obese or overweight may not get the best outcomes for, say, a hip replacement as there is an increased risk of them being readmitted to hospital – it may be best for a weight loss programme to be prescribed instead.”
Mr Sissling also said that further major improvements were needed if the NHS was to meet the challenges set out in its five-year plan, Together for Health, and fulfil the Bevan Commission’s ambition of services ‘best suited to Wales but comparable with the best anywhere’.
“The fact that the NHS has reduced hospital admissions for major chronic conditions through better provision of treatment closer to people’s homes, reducing the need for in-patient hospital care, is among the factors driving change.
“My report shows that we need to modernise our services in order to better reflect the changing picture of health needs in Wales.
“Over the next few months, health boards will be consulting on plans to improve their services and I encourage communities across Wales to get involved and express their views.”

Assembly Member welcomes £40,000 museum boost


* Valle Crucis Abbey


Local Assembly Member Ken Skates today welcomed news that Llangollen Museum is to receive nearly £40,000 from the Welsh Government.
The money, announced as part of a £200,000 fund to make the nation’s treasures more accessible to the public, is a joint initiative between the Welsh Government and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) who have contributed £105,766 and £99,900 respectively.
Llangollen Museum has been awarded £39,650 under the Sharing Treasures scheme to bring to life the story of the Valle Crucis Abbey/Eliseg Pillar site and create an exhibition based on finds from archaeological excavations.
Mr Skates, member for Clwyd South, said: “I’m delighted that nearly forty thousand pounds is being allocated to Llangollen Museum to help celebrate and recreate the history of the Valle Crucis Abbey.
“The Abbey tells reflects back to us an important part of how Llangollen came to look the way it does.  I’m really looking forward to learning more about the history of the nine hundred year old architecture and about the Cistercian monks who lived and worshipped there.
“Making our local history more accessible to the public in North East Wales and helping local museums like Llangollen to establish partnerships with larger national museums will hopefully allow more exciting and interesting artefacts to come to Llangollen so they can be put on display.
“The story of Llangollen, the town and the abbey is a fascinating one and I’m hoping more people will come to this stunning part of the world to see the exhibition and learn more about our local heritage and the town itself.
“We have such a rich treasure trove of archives and libraries and we need to make sure more of those interesting pieces go on display in local museums like Llangollen.”
The funding will assist with the costs of setting up the exhibitions as well as alterations and improvements to the museum to make it suitable for loaned exhibits.
Other museums to benefit are:

·       Cyfarthfa Castle, which will receive £50,000 to create a permanent exhibition space within Cyfarthfa Castle Museum. The new gallery’s first temporary exhibition will be a display of works from the National Library of Wales’ collection of paintings by Sir Kyffin Williams., one of Wales’ most well-known artists.
·       Buckley Museum, which will expand its collection of excavated Buckley pottery with items borrowed from National Museums Liverpool. The funding of £49,817 will allow the museum to improve interpretation elements to tell the story of the Buckley potteries from the medieval period to the Second World War and to explain their relevance to the people of Buckley today.
·       Wrexham Museum, which will receive £16,200 for a project that will explore the cultural impact of Sir Watkin Williams-Wynn’s Grand Tour of Italy and France in the 18th Century. It involves the creation and staging of a fine art exhibition featuring the work of those artists he sponsored on his return.
·       Abergavenny/Chepstow Museums which are jointly undertaking a three year project to explore the cultural impact of Tintern and Llantony Abbeys culminating in two concurrent exhibitions at Chepstow and Abergavenny Museums. The project has been made possible with funding of £50,000.

Announcing the funding,Housing, Regeneration and Heritage Minister Huw Lewis said: “Sharing Treasures is an excellent project that will allow artefacts belonging to national collections to be displayed in the communities whose stories they tell.

“Increasing access to our history to all in Wales is an important commitment for the Welsh Government and this project will achieve just that. It is an excellent example of what can be achieved when we all work together.
“I look forward to seeing the exhibitions when they are ready and wish all the museums the best of luck with their projects.”
Jennifer Stewart, Head of HLF Wales, said: “We are delighted to support the Sharing Treasures scheme and in doing so to have encouraged a wider range of museums and libraries to plan exhibitions using national collections.  Our funding will also support activities around the exhibitions which will help local communities learn and get involved in the project, sharing it with future generations.”
David Anderson, Director General, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said: “Amgueddfa Cymru works with local museums in Wales in many ways, supporting them in presenting and interpreting the history of different regions across the country. Our involvement in Sharing Treasures helps to strengthen our relationships with partner museums, ensuring that expertise is shared and the national collections are as widely available as possible. The national collections do, after all, belong to the people of Wales!”

Monday, July 30, 2012

Railway's 60s weekend is a swinging success

* Sophie Francis
sings 1960s style
                                 

                                                                     * The St Helens Leyland
departing Llangollen.


* The Lancaster Corporation open
topper Ullswater returning.

Nostalgia buffs were out in force for Llangollen Railway’s 1960s weekend last Saturday and Sunday.
And one of the stars of the show was 18-year-old A-level student Sophie Francis who can usually be found hard at work in the railway’s own Victoria's Tea Rooms on the station.

Sophie swapped her waitress's apron for a Mary Quant mini-dress when she sang live as the event.
Sophie, who has lived in Llangollen all her life is no stranger to live performances, reached the final of the OpenMic UK talent contest earlier this year.
She said: "I enjoy singing - it's an escape from the tribulations of the real world and something
that's mine.”

Sophie was joined by singer and railway volunteer Matt Grindley for trackside performances on Saturday and Sunday afternoon .

Saturday evening saw Rhyl-based four-piece tribute band "The Cavernites" and Elvis
impersonator Neil Vincent performing a lively set of 1960s rock and pop hits.

Those living near the railway in the Dee Valley were invited to join in the fun, with a £10 ticket available including return train travel from Carrog or Glyndyfrdwy to Llangollen, with a train back after the concert.

On Saturday the 60s weekend provided a high level view of the road to Carrog when a period St Helens Leyland No.54 bus ran between stations.

The free ride proved popular with visitors as a contrast to the train journey.

Event co-organiser Tez Pickthall said: "This is the third 60's weekend that we have organised andit was the best yet.

“The railway ran a busy timetable of steam, diesel and railcar trains - just like would have been seen on Britain's railways in the 60's.

“It was a time of great change with steam locomotives disappearing altogether in 1968, along with many miles of branch line at the hands of Dr Beeching's modernisation plan - including the line that is now the Llangollen Railway.

“As well as the great live music we had a range of trade and society stands and a real ale barat Llangollen.

“At Glyndyfrdwy station there were over 100 vintage vehicles on display; from the humble Ford Anglia to the sleek Volvo P1800S made famous by Roger Moore in The Saint.

“We also applied a special temporary rust-coloured paint to our usually immaculate steam

Next events at the railway are a Day Out with Thomas - 4/5 August and 9-12 August.

There is a bus rally due on Bank Holiday Weekend, Saturday/Sunday, 25/26 August billed as a Classic Transport weekend.

It involves intensive train service and a free classic bus operating between Glyndyfrdwy and Corwen to promote interest in the railway's extension from Carrog.
There will be exhibits on the field behind Glyndyfrdwy station, with final details yet to be released.
The autumn steam gala is lined up for 31 August/1/2 September.
In addition there is another Murder Mystery on the evening train Saturday 18 August.

Nearby supermarket plan recommended for refusal

Llan people opposed to a new supermarket in our town may be interested in the following story in today's Leader:  

"Plans for a new supermarket have been recommended for refusal.
The proposals for the development on Vauxhall Industrial Estate, Ruabon, will go before Wrexham Council’s planning committee today (Monday).

Planning officers, though, believe that the scheme should not go ahead.

A public consultation held earlier this year suggested “overwhelming support” for the £6 million project, according to Manchester-based developers Capital and Centric PLC, with 92 per cent of those consulted voting in favour.

The firm behind the proposed supermarket, which would serve the people of Rhos, Johnstown, Penycae and Ruabon, has not been disclosed but is believed to be one of the ‘big four’ chains.

Director of Capital and Centric PLC, Adam Higgins, said the 46,000 square foot store, about half the size of Sainsbury’s Plas Coch site, would service about 20,000 people in the four villages.

It is claimed the supermarket could create 250 jobs.

The application is welcomed by Ruabon Community Council.

However, a report by Wrexham Council’s head of community wellbeing and development, Lawrence Isted, says a retail assessment undertaken “fails to demonstrate there is a need for a development of the size proposed”.

It says other sites have not been adequately assessed, nor “the detrimental impact the development is likely to have upon the vitality and viability of the district shopping centres of Rhos and Ruabon”.

The report concludes the development would not reduce the need for residents to travel and is poorly served by public transport.

The car park, it also says, would have a “detrimental impact upon the appearance of the locality”.

"Serious defects" found in taxi checks

Officers from Denbighshire County Council’s Licensing and Community Safety Enforcement Teams worked in partnership with North Wales Police and VOSA to check on the roadworthiness of six taxis and one non-licensed vehicle suspected to be operating without a licence.

The operation was carried out on Friday, 27 July in north Denbighshire. As a result of serious defects, VOSA officers issued two immediate roadworthiness prohibition notices. Three other vehicles were issued with delayed roadworthiness prohibition notices. Denbighshire County Council’s Licensing Officers issued one immediate suspension notice and four deferred suspension notices.

As part of ongoing partnership working, the agencies involved will continue to carry out Taxi and Private Hire vehicle roadworthiness checks.

Appropriate action will be taken by officers if public safety is in any way compromised by Taxi and Private Hire operators and drivers.

NHS reducing hospital admissions for chronic conditions

New figures published today show a significant reduction across Wales in hospital admissions for people with chronic conditions.
Monday 30 July 2012
The figures – from NHS Wales Chief Executive David Sissling’s Annual Report which will be published this week – show emergency admissions for heart disease, respiratory conditions and diabetes fell by almost 12 per cent overall in 2011/12 compared to the previous year.
Emergency re-admissions for these conditions also fell by almost 23 per cent overall.
The new figures are published as health boards across Wales prepare to consult on plans to improve their services, and according to the NHS Wales Chief Executive, they help reinforce the need for new models of healthcare.
David Sissling said:
“The NHS has made significant strides in reducing hospital admissions for chronic conditions.
“These reductions illustrate two important developments – the improved treatment of once-fatal diseases through better care – often in community settings - and because of that, less reliance on hospitals for the treatment of these conditions.
“It shows the NHS is making progress in shifting the balance of care from hospital to community settings, and that the current hospital configuration – which exists from a time when these diseases were less treatable – can be changed to reflect these improved outcomes.
“Because of reduced admissions, many community hospitals are underutilised which is inefficient for both patients and the NHS.
“To continue to deliver better outcomes we need an even greater focus on community-based services – alongside specialist centres of excellence – which will provide better results for patients.
“In order to meet these challenges, we need to modernise our health services and over the coming months communities across Wales will get a chance to voice their opinions on changes to health services in their areas."

Inpatient care could "go private" if Cottage closes

INPATIENT care will be “outsourced to the private sector” if plans to close Llan Cottage Hospital are approved, reports the Daily Post today.

Health chiefs want to close the 137-year-old hospital as part of a radical overhaul of primary and community care.

The newspaper report says the town’s GPs are opposed to the closure which would see inpatient care provided seven miles away at Chirk – or if no NHS beds are available – in local care or nursing homes.

The health board believes that by rolling out a comprehensive “enhanced care at home” package it can slash the number of hospital admissions in Llangollen, and across North Wales.

Last year there were 117 admissions to the town’s 10-bed facility.

The report adds that a spokesman for the Health Board said patients don’t want to be in hospital if they can be cared for in or near their own home.

“We are confident that the majority of care can be delivered in this way if we enhance community services capacity and work closely with the local GPs.

“Where NHS beds are needed we plan to provide these at Chirk hospital.”

The use of extra care housing, nursing or residential homes are all options than can be explored during the consultation process, he added.

The consultation will be launched from August 20.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quilt exhibition runs for another month



* Jan Wallis with some of her work.

Panelled walls, a four poster bed, and an intricately carved door.
This is embroidered quilting to take your breath away.
It has taken textile artist Jan Wallis two years to complete the work, based on 16th and 17th century wood carvings at Plas Newydd in Llangollen.

The whole installation, together with ghostly trees and mythical beasts, has been running successfully in Y Caban, the gallery in the grounds of Plas Newydd and has now been extended until the end of August.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Llan's own Friday fireworks spectacular


* The fireworks above Llan on Friday night.


* Olympic fireworks in London the same night.

With perfect timing, a brilliant cascade of fireworks lit up the night sky above Llan in the middle of Friday's Olympics opening ceremony.

As the parade of athletes began in the Olympic stadium down in London, a spectacular barrage of colourful pyrotechnics was staged above our town at around 11pm.

It is believed the firework show, which came from the hills behind the Eisteddfod field, was held to mark a local wedding.

If anyone knows who the happy couple are please let llanblogger know at llanblogger@gmail.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

Details revealed of North Wales police commissioner election

On the 15 November 2012, for the first time ever, voters across England and Wales will elect Police and Crime Commissioners who will be accountable for how crime is tackled in their police force area.
The Chief Executive of Flintshire County Council, Colin Everett, has been appointed as the Police Area Returning Officer (PARO) for the Police & Crime Commissioners Elections (North Wales Area). This means that he is responsible for the overall conduct of the election in the North Wales area. He has appointed Gareth Owens, Head of Legal and Democratic Services to act as Deputy Police Area Returning Officer.
Along with Flintshire, there are five other Authorities in the North Wales area, namely Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd and Wrexham. The Local Returning Officers for these areas are list below:-
Richard Parry Jones Anglesey County Council
Iwan Davies Conwy County Borough Council
Mohammed Mehmet Denbighshire County Council
Colin Everett Flintshire County Council
Dilys Phillips Gwynedd Council
Helen Paterson Wrexham County Borough Council
The method of voting to be used in these elections is called 'Supplementary Voting', where each eligible elector can vote for up to two candidates, by marking their ballot paper once in each of two columns. Full details of how this system will work is outlined on the Home Office website.
The number of votes cast will be verified on the evening of Thursday 15 November, and the counting of votes will take place the following day.
More information
For more information about this new type of election, how to stand as a candidate, how votes will be counted, etc., please visit the Home Office website – link below.
www.homeoffice.gov.uk/police/police-crime-commissioners
Further information is also available on the North Wales Police Authority website - link below.
www.nwalespa.org
The Electoral Commission has also produced guidance for candidates and agents. Please visit the Electoral Commission website – link below
www.electoralcommission.org.uk
For specific queries regarding registration, eligibility to vote, and postal/proxy voting, you should contact your local Elections Team at …………………………………………..
Further information will be published over the next few months

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hospital referendum demand is now confirmed


* River Lodge could also be a
referendum question.


The chair of Llangollen Preservation has now confirmed he is calling for a vote by the people of Llan on the issue of whether the local Cottage Hospital should be allowed to close, as announced recently by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

But Martin Crumpton has made it clear he is demanding the referendum in his own name rather than his capacity as chair of the group.

He also says other questions might be on the ballot paper, such as whether Llan should quit Denbighshire in favour of Wrexham and if people  support the community development of River Lodge in the town, which could be earmarked as the site for a new health centre.

The health board says in a report Llan Hospital could close to be replaced with a new community health facility on the site of the River Lodge, which is owned by the Welsh Government and was recently the subject of a hearing by Assembly Members into its acquisition by the former Welsh Development Agency.   

In  statement issued this afternoon (Thursday) Mr Crumpton says:  “We are invoking our Right under Schedule 12, Part III, para.18(4) and (5) at page 2275 of the Local Government Act (1972). In Wales it is Schedule 12, Part V, para.34(4) and (5) at page 2279, to hold a referendum on certain key questions, the first of which will be to obtain a mandate to oppose the proposed closure.

“I am currently consulting with interested residents over other questions to include, but these may include:

“Leaving Denbighshire in favour of Wrexham   CBC

“Support for Powys Fadog‘s Community Centre   project at the Riverside Lodge

“When the final template letter has been agreed, at least six residents who are registered electors will issue their requests to both the Town Clerk and Denbighshire’s County Clerk by, or before the end of the first week of August.

“Our standpoint is that if we wait for the Town Council to meet and consider its response, which will be no more than a weak statement, we will have lost nearly a month’s organising and preparation time from which we can take action rather than issue bland statements.

“Regrettably, we have no confidence that the public consultation – which will begin before the next Town Council meeting in any case – because there is no assurance that our views will be acted upon.
In a statement on Facebook yesterday (Wednesday) Mr Crumpton said there would be inadequate time for the Town Council to consider the hospital closure question as the health board is due to begin its public consultation process on August 20.

But Town Clerk  said in a letter to Llangollen Preservation that, with the council meeting in both August and September, there would be “adequate opportunity” to consider the proposals.

Police warning after spate of burglaries

North Wales Police are asking residents in Llan and Corwen to be extra vigilant following a spate of burglaries at homes in the area over recent days.

The latest incident occurred overnight at a house in Gwyddelwern, where car keys were stolen from a hook by the front door.

Community Safety Inspector Julie Sheard said that there have been several other reports of keys and cars being stolen in this area.

She said: “Over recent years car manufacturers have made vehicle security a priority with more sophisticated systems in place to stop thieves being able to take the car. As a result criminals have resorted to more elaborate ways of stealing vehicles.

“It is very important that vehicle owners are aware of this and take extra precautions to limit becoming a victim of car key burglary. The people who want these vehicles are professionals and the cars are either stolen to order or to be used in other crimes.

“Offenders have been known to cruise locations looking for the vehicles to target and follow them back to their overnight address so we are urging everyone to be more vigilant.

“Homeowners are reminded to always ensure their windows and doors are secure when they leave their properties or go to bed and not to leave their car or house keys on display or near to the letterbox. Vehicle owners are also reminded not to leave any items on display and to always lock their vehicle when left unattended.

Police advice to minimise the risk of car key burglary are:
• Park your vehicle in a secure garage overnight.
• On entering the house lock the front door behind you.
• Never leave your car keys near a door or window. Criminals can hook keys through open windows and letterboxes. Keep them in a safe place away from doors and window where they can be seen. People have stolen keys without even entering the premises.
• Invest in a good quality home security system.
• Install security lights to the front and rear of your property and consider installing CCTV cameras.
• Gate your driveway if possible.

For more information on protecting your home, vehicle or any other property please contact your local crime prevention officer at North Wales Police on 101 or visit the Advice and Support section here.

Anyone seeing anything suspicious should make a note of the details and contact the police immediately on 999.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Group presses ahead with referendum threat on hospital closure plan


* The Town Council has made its official response
to Llangollen Preservation.


A pressure group fighting plans to close Llan Cottage Hospital says it will go ahead with its threat to force a referendum on this issue.
The announcement comes in the wake of the Town Council’s written response to Llangollen Preservation’s recent call for the council to declare its official position on the closure proposal announced by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
The letter, from town clerk Gareth Thomas, also deals with the request by the group for a public meeting to discuss the planned closure.
Placed in the public domain after being posted on Facebook by Llangollen Preservation, it says:     

“Re Llangollen Community Hospital
I refer to your email dated the 22nd July 2012.
In respect to your enquires I can confirm that the Town Council have not received any formal notice of closure from the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board and as such have not formulated any response in advance of the formal consultation period. This also applies to individual Councillors.
Once the formal consultation has been received by the Town Council, Members will consider a response at the next convenient meeting. Members will of course consider the best method for taking account of local views at that stage. The Town Council will be meeting in both August and September and therefore, there will be adequate opportunity to consider the proposals being put forward by the Health Board.
In response to your request for a Public Meeting, under the 1972 Local Government Act, as amended by the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994, you will be aware; there is provision in the legislation which allows any six local government electors form the community to convene a meeting. You will of course have to comply with the necessary statuary requirements imposed by the legislation including notification of all electors.
Yours sincerely,
Gareth Thomas
Town Clerk”
In its Facebook responses to the letter, Llangollen Preservation says:  “The letter says they'll ‘consider the matter’ at the next Council Meeting. Big deal.
“The consultation by Betsi starts August 20th, and their next meeting is the third Tuesday. That’s a month lost …
“… We will now force a referendum and there's nothing they can do about it.
“Send your questions for a referendum to chai@keepllangollenspecial.org.uk by Friday, and we'll start the ball rolling.” of Form


Firefighters join forces to promote smoke alarms

The three fire and rescue services in Wales have come together to launch a new online facility to promote ownership of smoke alarms and to help save lives.
Members of the public can already call 0800 169 1234 to request a free home fire safety check but now a new website is being launched which will make it even easier for residents to stay safe from fire.
What's more, the new site is smart phone friendly so that people can simply register whilst on the move.
www.freesmokealarm.co.ukis being launched today (25th July) at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show where anyone calling in at the fire and rescue service stand can log online to register for a free check - or simply scan a quick response code and register using a mobile phone.
Martin Henderson from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, who is the communications lead for the Chief Fire Officers Association in Wales, said "We have come together again to give one strong message to residents across Wales that smoke alarms really do save lives.
"All three Welsh fire and rescue services have one common objective which is at the heart of everything we do - to work together for a safer Wales.
"With this in mind, in addition to a wealth of collaborative working ongoing across Wales, we have launched this new facility to make it easier for anyone in Wales to get in touch with their local fire and rescue service to arrange a home fire safety visit.
"The new standalone site allows us to work together to highlight the importance of a home fire safety check, giving our potentially lifesaving messages one voice which we hope will more likely be heard.
"The site was piloted in North Wales where it has already become established within search engine ratings. As residents are able to go straight to this one site, there are fewer clicks from thought to delivery of service - making for a better customer experience. And it can be accessed via the main individual websites of the three fire and rescue services.
"The added functionality on smart phones, allowing residents to register for a home fire safety check while out and about, helps us to keep up with the latest technology, hopefully putting us ahead of the game as it is essential to keep connected to our communities."

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Next Buy Local day planned for August 10


* Book Local day is planned for Augsut 10.

Llangollen Preservation has its next Buy Local day planned for Friday, August 10.

According to a spokesman for the organisation, the last Buy Local event, held recently,  was met with great enthusiasm by Watkin & Williams, Courtyard Books and The Oak Chest jewellers and followed similar endorsements by local greengrocers and butchers the previous month.

The spokesman said:  “We even grabbed the editorial of Country Life! (see our website: www.keepllangollenspecial.org.uk).

He added: “Our next Buy Local day focuses on our cafés, the ideal way to socialise, relax, and enjoy the whole shopping experience in Llangollen.

“We’re changing the day from Saturday to Friday so more people can enjoy it, and we’ll be putting up posters closer to the day.

“The Courtyard Café (behind Barclays) is offering free toasted teacake with every hot drink  and May’s Pantry offers a free tea or coffee with every cooked meal for the day.

“Maxine's Café & Bookshop offer - for every  child’s meal purchased - free entry into the Play Centre ‘Dragon’s Den’, and the Village Bakery offers a free Welsh cake with a tea or coffee.

“And it doesn’t stop there. If you take one of our leaflets to the Cottage Tearooms on Ham and Eggs Square, you’ll get a pot of tea or filter coffee and a teacake for just £2.

“Our leaflets will be circulating at all the participating Buy Local shops shortly.”

Golf Club supports Youth Band



The Rotary Club charity tournament held recently at Llangollen golf Club was a huge success, raising

£3000 to be shared between Llangollen Youth Band and Hope House Hospice.

Shown here is Bob Lube, chairman of Llangollen Silver Band, receiving the cheque from Eddie Wilson, lady Golf Captain, and Gwyn Jones, president of the Rotary Club.

A band spokesperson said: “Many thanks from the band for this and all the support received over the years on behalf of both these important causes.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

Quilts to take your breath away


* Jan Wallis with some of her work.

Panelled walls, a four poster bed, and an intricately carved door.

This is embroidered quilting to take your breath away.
It has taken textile artist Jan Wallis two years to complete the work, based on 16th and 17th century wood carvings at Plas Newydd in Llangollen and the whole installation, together with ghostly trees and mythical beasts is on show in Y Caban, the gallery in the grounds of Plas Newydd until  July 29th.

"Save our Cottage Hospital" battle hots up

Llangollen Presevation is calling on the Town Council to allow a public consultation meeting on controversial  plans to shut down Llan Cottage Hospital announced last week by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

And the group warns that if the council fails to let this happen, they will exercise their right to have a referendum on the issue.
In the meantime, the group has sent out template letters to people across Llan, suggesting they fill it in and return it to the council clerk.  
It says:  
“After hearing news regarding the gloomy future of our Cottage Hospital here in Llangollen, I would like to ask a few questions of the Town Council please.
1) Does the Town Council oppose the hospital closure?
2) Will you please supply me with the names of any town councillors who support this closure? Or, any councillors who abstained from any vote on the subject during any official meetings?
3) What kind of actions will the Town Council take with the intention of stopping the closure? What will be their contribution to the Consultation Betsi Cadwaladr will launch, beginning 20th August for ten weeks, and overseen by the Community Health Council?
I am therefore requesting that the Mayor/Chairman of the Town Council organize a public meeting within fourteen days of this dated letter about the hospital closure.
Thank you for your valuable time and I look forward to your answer soon. Please note the following, which we will adhere to in the event a timely response is not forthcoming, since we are not, under any circumstances, prepared to wait until September when the Town Council next meets:
Under the 1972 Local Government Act, civic Parish Councils in England (Community Councils in Wales) can vote to request their local District Council to hold a referendum on any issue of concern to the local parish. Once the Parish Council has voted in favour, the District Council has to carry out the referendum.
1 - Choose the issue.
2 - Decide the wording of the question.
3 - With at least five other local parish residents, approach the Parish Council and request a Parish Council meeting.
4 - Advertise the meeting.
5 - At least 10 people must be present at the meeting, where a formal motion must be put forward to support a referendum (the wording of the referendum must be part of the resolution) and a vote taken.
6 - The motion can only be carried if a third of those present, or at least 10 (whichever is the least) vote in favour.
7 - Take the resolution to the District Council and submit a request for a referendum, invoking your right under Schedule 12, Part III, para.18(4) and (5) at page 2275 of the Local Government Act (1972). In Wales it is Schedule 12, Part V, para.34(4) and (5) at page 2279. The District Council must respond within a week and the referendum has to be held within 14-25 days of the request being submitted.
8 - Publicise the referendum and campaign for your cause.
Finally, the Town Council should be made aware that the Keep Llangollen Special Community Group has in its possession a petition containing well in excess of three-hundred signatures opposing closure of the Llangollen Cottage Hospital.”

Concerns over speeding and parking


* Concerns were raised over parking
opposite the Sarah Ponsonby.

Part of a main road through Llan is “plagued” with bikers in the summer.

That was the message to the Town Council at its last meeting.
The council was discussing policing issues when one member  said there were problems with speeding bikers on the stretch of Abbey Road (A539) from new flats towards the Horseshoe Pass.

Complaints had been  received complaints from residents that it had become a “rat-run” and that area was “plagued” by bikers every time the sun came out.

Sergeant Paul Hughes, of the neighbourhood policing team who was at the meeting to give his monthly report to councillors, took note of the complaint.

He told members:  “The road policing unit are keen to know where these areas are so they can target them.”

Later in the meeting there were also complaints from councillors about vehicles parking on the A539 opposite the Sarah Ponsonby pub.

It was claimed this was causing traffic congestion, especially when two buses tried to pass on what is a narrow point of the road but one of the main approaches to town.

The mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy,  pointed out that while there were no parking restrictions at that point, leaving vehicles there could constitute to an obstruction.

Members agreed to report the matter to police and the county council’s highways department.


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Llan fire crew helps tackle factory blaze

A crews from Llan fire station joined their colleagues from Chirk, Wrexham, Deeside and Johnstown in tackling a blaze at a factory unit on Bridge Road, Wrexham Industrial Estate on Sunday afternoon.

The ladder platform from Wrexham and the incident command unit from Rhyl were also called to the scene to fight the fire which appeared to have started in a specialist industrial curing oven, according to North Wales Fire & Rescue Service.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Town mayor speaks out on Llan Hospital closure plan

llanblogger exclusive


The Mayor of Llan has warned against any closure of the town’s hospital before alternative services are provided.
Llanblogger asked Cllr Jon Haddy for his response to news earlier this week that the local health board was planning to shut down the hospital, and here is his full reply:
“It was not entirely a surprise that the future of the Llangollen Cottage Hospital was included as part of a review of Health Services provided by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board in its recent report "Healthcare in North Wales is Changing", indeed the Town Council had a presentation early this year from the Betsi Cadwalader Board on the possibility of using the River Lodge site for a new integrated Health Centre. Leaving aside the loss of some of the services currently catered for by the Hospital in Llangollen that are proposed as part of the review, the important point I feel is contained in the conclusion in the report relating to Llangollen Hospital:
“The needs of many of the patients who are currently admitted to Llangollen Hospital will be met through the roll out of the new Enhanced Care at Home model of care. Some patients will still require access to community bed-based care and it is proposed that this is provided through a combination of commissioning beds from local care homes and the use of Chirk Community Hospital. As a result of these changes the Llangollen Community Hospital building will no longer be required to support service provision."

“Whilst this may be a practical solution to the problems that the Health Board is trying to solve, the important point is that until such time that an integrated Health Centre is actually up and running - wherever sited - and the Enhanced Care at Home programmes etc are in place, the services that the Hospital provides are an essential part of the community of Llangollen and a closure prior to the provision of those alternatives would, I suspect, inevitably mean the loss of all the services currently provided by the Hospital to Llangollen.”

AM gives his views on Llan Hospital closure proposal

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates says “some misinformation” has been spread about what the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board plans to do with Llangollen Hospital.
In response to concern from llanblogger readers, we asked Mr Skates for his view on the closure proposal which was widely reported in the media on Thursday.
He replied: “I’m afraid there’s some misinformation being spread about what Betsi are planning.
“Essentially, they are looking at replacing the existing service with an enhanced service, using the former River Lodge Hotel site for a new health centre.
“It will be far larger and encompass more services than the current building.
“GPs in Llangollen have been engaged in this project for quite some time and it will utilise an existing site owned by the taxpayer.
“ Of course, decisions are subject to a consultation, which will last 10 weeks.”
Mr Skates has supplied us with a letter, dated July 19,  on the proposals he has  received from the Health Board’s chief executive, Mary Burrows, which we bring you below:


Dear Colleague,


RE: HEALTHCARE IN NORTH WALES IS CHANGING


The University Health Board has been working to improve patient safety in a number of

key service areas. This programme of work is called

Healthcare in North Wales is Changing


I know that as partners, many of you have made valuable contributions to the


debate and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your input and update you on

the next steps

The work has focussed on the following service areas:
·
Localities and Community services


·

Paediatric services


·

Maternity, Gynaecology and Neonatal services


·

Non-elective General Surgery


·

Trauma and Orthopaedics


·

Older People with Mental Health Needs


·

Vascular Services


Potential solutions have been developed by clinicians over many months.

They have now been considered by the Health Board at its meeting today (19

th July 2012).


Our Triple Aim is to:



Improve population health



Provide an excellent patient experience



Contain or reduce cost


Why is change needed?


We need to change because this triple aim is currently out of balance. There are stark

differences in the health and life expectancy between people living in the least and most

deprived areas of North Wales.
Working harder or spreading ourselves too thinly is not good enough. We have pockets of


good practice, but patient experience and outcomes vary, and we do not always meet

quality standards.

We face challenges of recruiting and retaining medical and other clinical staff resulting in

gaps and variation in service provision, with increasing costs because we rely upon

expensive temporary staff.

Proposals from the Welsh deanery will affect doctor training numbers and junior doctor

rotas will either have to be shared across sites or between specialties or both.


Issues that have been decided and will not be subject to consultation
·

We will develop services which will improve children’s health in the early years


·

We will help people stay fitter for longer


·

We will develop capacity in primary and community services, including developing


community services for older people with mental health needs, delivering more care

in, or close to home, thereby reducing reliance upon hospital care.
·

We will commission major trauma services for seriously injured patients from the


University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke
·

We will continue to regionalise certain sub-specialities in accordance with accepted


professional standards such as specialist cancer services and some orthopaedic

services
·

There will be three main acute hospitals in North Wales (Ysybty Gwynedd, Ysbyty


Glan Clwyd and Wrexham Maelor Hospital) each with an Emergency Department, a

midwifery-led unit alongside a consultant-led obstetric service and paediatric

emergency and inpatient services, as well as non-elective general surgical and

trauma and orthopaedic services.

The Health Board recognises that there are risks in relation to the workforce, skills

and financial resources needed to deliver these services across the three sites and

will closely monitor the situation. Services will continue to evolve as they work

towards the sustainable delivery of quality standards.

Appropriate contingency arrangements will also be developed to ensure the safety

of patients and staff.


Matters that have not yet been decided and will be subject to consultation

1. Locality and community services
The role of the traditional community hospital will need to change. Some hospitals will be


developed as ‘hubs’ to deliver a wide range of services for a wider population. These

hospitals will be the base for urgent care such as GP out of hours and minor injuries

services. They will provide a range of other services such as x-ray and ultra sound,

therapies and inpatient beds

The location of these hospitals will be a matter for consultation and the following sites have

been proposed:

- Ysbyty Penrhos Stanley

- Ysbyty Gwynedd

- Ysbyty Alltwen

- Dolgellau Community Hospital

- Llandudno Hospital

- Ysbyty Glan Clwyd

- Denbigh Infirmary

- Holywell Community Hospital

- Deeside Community Hospital

- Wrexham Maelor Hospital

These hospitals will be supported by a network of more local community services and

premises, including other community hospitals. This will then have an impact on the range

of services offered by other community hospitals, such as Minor Injuries Units and X Ray.

In addition, there will be a range of specific proposals in:


Meirionnydd

– Changes to services provided from Ffestiniog Memorial Hospital. We will


work with Gwynedd Council to develop services within Blaenau Ffestiniog.

This will include refurbishment of the current hospital to provide enhanced community

services, health promotion, a base for community staff and potentially the expansion of

primary care services.

We are proposing that community hospital bed care and minor injuries services for the

local population would be provided from Ysbyty Alltwen.


North Denbighshire

–Replacement of services provided from the Royal Alexandra


Hospital, Rhyl, and Prestatyn Community Hospital. They will be replaced a new integrated

facility offering health, social and third sector care.


Central & South Denbighshire

–Replacement of services currently provided from


Llangollen Community Hospital. We will develop an extended primary care resource centre

with a wide range of facilities and integrated health, social and third sector care.

Community bed health care will be provided through the roll out of the enhanced care

service and through commissioning care home beds and the use of beds at Chirk hospital.


North West Flintshire

– Changes to services currently provided from Flint Hospital.


Further work will be undertaken jointly with Flintshire County Council on developing a

masterplan for the town. This will include a new facility to replace the current premises and

provide primary and community services. Community hospital bed care and minor injuries

services will be provided from Holywell.


Older People’s Mental Health


We propose to develop more community based services for older people with mental

health needs and reduce dependence on a hospital based institutionalised model of care.

There will need to be changes to our inpatient beds to enable this to happen.

We propose to provide a greater level of community support, together with providing

enhanced residential care in partnership with the local authority to support people within

the community in south Gwynedd; to do this we would propose confirming the closure of

the older people’s mental health units at Dolgellau (Uned Meirion) and Bryn Beryl (Uned

Hafan.)

There are proposals to provide more community based support on Ynys Môn and this will

enable a reduction in the number of beds at Ysbyty Cefni.

There are proposals to replace the inpatient and day services provided at Glan Traeth,

Rhyl, using facilities at the Ablett unit at Ysbyty Glan Clwyd until a new facility in North

Denbighshire is developed.


Neonatal Services


Proposals to develop a single neonatal intensive care service for North Wales babies

which would be provided in the North West of England. This would be for the highest level

of care (needed by around 36 babies per year) and could be commissioned from Arrowe

Park Hospital on the Wirral. Special Care Baby Units will continue to be provided at the

main acute hospitals in North Wales.


Vascular Services


Emergency and major arterial surgery to be consolidated at one acute hospital in North

Wales.


Next Steps


We have discussed our proposals with the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council.

They have agreed that there is a need to hold a period of formal public consultation.

There will be many opportunities to get involved in the consultation process. Please join

the debate.

The formal period of consultation will commence on 20

th August for a period of 10 weeks.


Visit the BCUHB website:
www.bcu.wales.nhs.uk

The full board papers are available on the website:

http://www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/861/page/50076

Email your views to:

Cymraeg:
ymunwch@wales.nhs.uk

English:
jointhedebate@wales.nhs.uk

Write to us at:

Join the Debate

c/o Communications Unit

Ysbyty Gwynedd

Bangor

LL57 2PW


Yours sincerely


MARY BURROWS

CHIEF EXECUTIVE