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Friday, November 30, 2012

Bear with us over recycling scheme snags says council

Denbighshire County Council says it is continuing with its efforts in the south of the county, which includes Llangollen, to sort out problems associated with the expansion of the X2 service.

In a statement issued this afternoon (Friday) the council says the backlog of service requests is gradually being cleared, but has been affected by the recent flooding events.

The statement adds: "If you are experiencing problems and have not already contacted the Council, please telephone Denbighshire's Customer Contact Service Centre on 01824 706100 (Welsh language) or 01824 706101 (English language). Our customer service team will be able to give advice, and check whether you are missing any equipment. We can then arrange to get the equipment delivered.


"Residents who have already contacted the Council with a request, can be assured that the request will be dealt with as quickly as possible."

Watchdog seeks assurances over health changes


* Llangollen Cottage Hospital is earmarked for closure. 

While it “broadly supports” plans to close Llangollen Cottage Hospital and replace it with a new health centre, a watchdog body says it still needs assurances on a number of points.
 
North Wales Community Health Council, which safeguards the interests of NHS patients, has just submitted its official response plans for a major shake-up of services by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board. 

Of the part of the plan which affects Llangollen, it says: “The CHC broadly supports the proposals for Llangollen Community Hospital services.  

“But we will not be sure that the proposals will serve the interests of people in Llangollen and its surrounding areas without further assurances from the health board about:  

 The way it will plan and deliver services with other organisations in the public, voluntary and independent sectors, and tell people how they can get access to the service  

 It’s plans to provide clinical services in Llangollen and its surrounding area in the time between the closure of facilities at Llangollen Community Hospital and the completion of a new primary care centre  

 Confirmation that the GP services in Llangollen are committed to the plans to deliver the new service

 It’s response to the particular needs of rural communities, including those to the West of Llangollen  

 The way it will work with care home providers to make sure its proposals in this area will work.”  

The CHC’s submission adds that it has “some serious concerns” about other aspects of the proposals for community hospitals.  

It explains: “We have seen little financial information or information about staffing plans. This means we cannot be sure that the health board has a financial and workforce plan which provides a firm basis for developing community and primary care services, or the proposals for providing enhanced care within people’s homes.  

“We are also concerned about the relationship between the health board and general practitioners in some areas. People, quite rightly, rely completely on these two sets of health care professionals to work together. We have seen and heard evidence that this is not the case everywhere.  

“Finally, the CHC is concerned that the health board’s proposals for community hospitals may represent an erosion of community-based services. This runs against a national policy which says that community hospitals play an important part in making sure people have easy access to the care they need. If people do not have easy access to services they may not seek help at the right time and when they do, the treatment may be less successful and more expensive.” 

Llyr Gruffydd, the Party of Wales Assembly Member for North Wales, said: “The Community Health Council’s response makes clear that in many instances, especially regarding community health services, there isn’t sufficient information to make an informed decision.
“Its report makes clear that there is insufficient information given in the consultation about staffing, finances and the fact that many of the recommendations conflict with the views of local GPs, the British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing.
“Running down community hospitals is a key area of concern in this report and recent events, where roads were inaccessible and travelling hazardous, stress the need for local services to serve the community.
 “The pressure is mounting on Betsi Cadwaladr’s management to explain their proposals and how they will improve the health of the region.”

Classic motoring event heads for Llan



* Action from a previous Le Jog event.

A prestige classic motoring event will pass through Llangollen tomorrow (Saturday).

Le Jog 2012, the 18th Land's End to John O'Groats Reliability & Touring Trial, which takes place between December 1 and 4, has been described as the toughest event of its kind in Europe.
That is because of the severe weather drivers taking part often encounter along the route.
Organised by HERO – Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation – Le Jog is once again open to cars built before 1984 and attracts entries from across Europe.

The Touring Trial is a non-competitive but challenging event aimed at testing the stamina of the crew.
Calling at the reliability trial main controls and with 'code board' questions between controls, there are no time penalties, regularities or tests.
Entrants receive finisher’s awards and are eligible for the concourse and Spirit of the Rally awards.
2012 Le Jog will break new ground with the route using roads and parts of the country that have never been used before on the event.
Among two new stop-off points will be Llangollen.
After setting off from Land’s End early on Saturday morning, the route takes a direct line to the Severn Bridge before heading to South Wales and heading up through the country to Llangollen where the drivers will have an overnight halt.    

After bed and breakfast the route will travel through Cheshire and Lancashire.
The final 24 hours will begin with a run through the remoter areas of Northumbria and the Borders.
In the afternoon the crews will drive west then north-west to skirt Glasgow and head via the famous Rest-and-Be-Thankful hill climb for an evening supper halt at Fort William.
Leg five will see them driving through the Highlands to arrive at John O'Groats for the traditional piper's welcome and breakfast before turning back south for the short drive to Wick for a deep sleep in preparation for the celebrations of the black-tie prize-giving dinner.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

County's appeal over flood donations

Following the devastating floods that affected hundreds of homes in Denbighshire, offers of help and donations of all kinds of goods have been pouring in from kind-hearted members of the public and businesses and Denbighshire County Council has thanked everyone for their kindness.

The counil says in a statement issued earlier today: "As a result of the tremendous amount of goods received, it is important now that they are distributed to the correct places. As a result, the council is asking people not to drop off any more goods, but to consider making a financial donation instead.


"People can do so by making a donation to the Ruthin Mayor's Appeal Fund or the St Asaph Mayor's Flood Relief Fund.

"To donate to the St Asaph Mayor's Flood Relief Fund, please make cheques payable to: 'The Mayor's Charity Account" and cheques can be dropped off at the Cathedral Diocesan Office, St Asaph.

"To donate to the Ruthin Mayor's Fund, please make cheques payable to 'Cyngor Tref Rhuthun' or 'Ruthin Town Council'. The account number is 20788929, sort code: 202576 and money can be deposited at Barclays Bank on St Peter's Square, Ruthin."

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "We have been overwhelmed by people's generosity and it's humbling to see communities pull together at a time when co-operation is needed the most.

"Receiving and distributing goods as a result of all this goodwill has become un-coordinated and we don't want to be in a position where goods don't get to people quickly. That is why we are now calling on people to donate financially instead.

"The council is extremely grateful for this co-operation."

The extent of the flooding in St Asaph can be seen at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/39543169@N02/8226554595

Plan to move Post Office to Stan's




* The Post Office in Castle Street.



* The Post Office could move to nearby Stan's store. 
The Post Office is inviting customers and interested parties to give their comments on its proposal to move Llangollen Post Office from its current location at 41 Castle Street to the nearby Stan's store in Berwyn Road.

The service, subject to a successful public consultation, will open as a new-style main Post Office branch.

The move is part of major three-year modernisation programme across the Post Office network designed to make it easier for customers to do business, through longer opening hours and modern open plan environments.

The investment programme, the largest in the history of Post Office Ltd, will see around 6,000 branches (about half the Post Office network) converting to new-style branches.

The Post Office, now independent of Royal Mail, is the largest retail network in the UK, with over 11,500 branches. It is also one of the fastest growing financial services companies and is developing its online and telephony services.

Post Office Regional Network Manager for Wales, Tony Jones said: “I am delighted to announce news of an important investment in our service in Llangollen.

"We know how important the Post Office service is to the community and we feel sure that our customers old and new will welcome the longer opening hours and modern open plan format. This move will help secure Post Office services in the town for the future.”

Mr Jones added: “Post Office Main is a new concept for delivering Post Office services, operated from a combination of screened and open plan counters in an established shop, with key Post Office products and services available alongside retail transactions during extended opening hours.”

Post Office customers will benefit from extended opening hours provided by the new retailer with the introduction of late night and all-day Saturday and Sunday opening.

The opening hours will be 8am-9pm, Monday to Sunday, offering customers an extra 45 hours a week in which to access Post Office products and services.

During the public consultation Post Office Ltd says it welcomes feedback on any issues customers would like considered before a final decision is taken on this proposal. The consultation will close on January 18, 2013.

Submissions can be made during the consultation by post at Freepost YOUR COMMENTS to Post Office Ltd, National Consultation Team, Wealdstone Post Office, 1st Floor, Admin, 2 Headstone Drive, Harrow, HA3 5QL, via email to comments@postoffice.co.uk, via the Customer Helpline: 08457 22 33 44 or Textphone 08457 22 33 55.

If the public consultation is successful the move is proposed to take place in January 2013 and for the following 12 months Post Office and its agent will monitor the new service to ensure it meets the needs of customers.

Houses should not be built on flood plains says AM

John Griffiths, Wales' Environment Minister, is visiting flood-affected Ruthin today (Thursday).
Llyr Gruffydd, North Wales Assembly Member for the Party of Wales, said: “The priority at the moment is the safety and wellbeing of everybody affected by the flooding, which has had a devastating effect across the region.
 
"We must also ensure that those areas affected are not subject to some kind of insurance blight due to the flooding. It’s vital that a safety net is maintained by the government and that we see proper and ongoing investment in flood defence schemes..”
 
Mr Gruffydd , who is also Plaid Cymru’s shadow minister for the environmental, added: “There is a also wider issue here that must be addressed by the planning authorities and the Welsh Government. We cannot continue to build houses on flood plains and expect to get away with it. Councils must address this matter in making their future Local Development Plans (LDP) fit for purpose.
 
“Some of the houses that were flooded were built very recently and all kinds of assurances were made. Those householders have clearly been let down and we cannot have more of this kind of development, which will end up with even greater disasters if we’re not careful.
 
“With that in mind, I want to see every council in Wales re-assess their housing allocations in light of these latest floods so that future LDPs do not repeat the mistakes made by planners in the past. Denbighshire Council, the worst affected area, is meeting next Tuesday to discuss allocating land for a further 1,000 homes. Can they give an assurance that these sites are safe from flooding?
 
“John Griffiths and his government also have to do more than offer words of sympathy for those whose homes have been flooded. He must act decisively and ensure that he does all in his powers to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”

County steps up dog fouling action plan


Denbighshire’s Cabinet members have approved an action plan and a raft of measures to stamp out dog fouling in the county.

At the Cabinet meeting, members gave their support for an anti fouling strategy which will involve three work strands - communication and marketing, suitable collection arrangements and enforcement, and will look to engage and educate residents in the first instance as well as ensuring there are adequate litter bins in public realm and robust enforcement.

In presenting the report to members, Cabinet Lead Member for Public Realm, Councillor David Smith, said: “Time and time again, residents have raised the issue of dog fouling. It is one of the issues they would most like to see tackled.

"We appreciate that there are many responsible dog owners who do pick up after their pets but there is still a significant minority that do not.

"In taking this strategy forward, we will be contributing to our Corporate Priority for ensuring ‘clean and tidy streets.

"We will be improving the environment, improving the quality of life for residents and our visitors as well as reducing the threat to health, particularly for our children.”

Cabinet members voted unanimously in favour of the strategy and added a recommendation that further studies will be carried out into the benefits, or otherwise, of dog control orders.

Cittaslow group meets at Town Hall

About a dozen members of Llangollen’s new Cittaslow group had their second monthly meeting at the Town Hall on Tuesday evening.

Cittaslow grew out of the ‘Slow Food’ movement in Italy to encourage people to use local businesses and delight in local produce.
Now it is a worldwide organisation and is a demonstration that a community is serious about sustainability – economic, social and environmental.
In some respects Cittaslow is rather like business certification schemes such as ISO 9000 and ‘Investors in People’ which reassure potential investors and customers that a business is well run and progressive.
Similarly Cittaslow membership says a lot about a town and can be the key to unlocking funds from central government and the EU in support of local initiatives.
Mold, the first Cittaslow town in Wales has benefited enormously from it.
One of Keep Llangollen Special’s members, Phil Thane, suggested to the town council back in 2011 that Cittaslow embodied many of the things that the council was trying to achieve with its Town Plan - and which KLS are also trying to achieve with things like its Buy Local days.
The council took up the idea and following Phil’s election to the council in May 2012 asked him to lead the group which is aiming to get Cittaslow status for the town.
The working group consists of three councillors and representatives from a wide range of community associations, including Philk Robinson, editor of llanblogger.
At this week’s meeting, members discussed various measures and initiatives which could help quality Llangollen for Cittaslow membership.
There’s a lot of work to be done though, so each group member will be calling on their friends and associates for help.
If someone approaches you, please get involved, we need everyone’s help and enthusiasm.
If you want to get involved, but are not a member of any of the community groups contact Phil Thane by e-mail at phil@pthane.co.uk

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

AMs speak out about mental health issues

Two Assembly Members who represent Llangollen have shared their experiences of mental health issues ahead of a debate about stigma and discrimination.

* Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM.
Labour’s Ken Skates, who represents Clwyd South, and North Wales Plaid Cyrmu member Llyr Huws Gruffydd are among four AMs who have revealed facing problems with anxiety and depression and have written about them on the Time to Change Wales website which aims to alter attitudes.
One in four people think those with mental health issues should not hold office, research by the site found.
* Ken Skates AM.
The Time for Change Wales campaign was set up to try to end negative associations with mental health as well as discrimination faced by those who experience it.
The assembly debate was prompted by the group's research, which reported one in ten people saying they did not think those with mental health problems should have children.
For some of the AMs, it is the first time they have disclosed their illnesses to family or friends.
It was through writing his blog that North Wales Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Huws Gruffydd found the courage to tell his parents he had    suffered from depression nearly 10 years previously, which he had come through with support from his community mental health team.
Clwyd South Labour AM Ken Skates' says his first encounter with generalised anxiety disorder came during his first week at Cambridge University, although he was not diagnosed with the condition for several years.

Mr Skates' account can be seen at:
http://www.timetochangewales.org.uk/blog/putting-those-pieces-back-together-again-ken-skates-am
 

Some county roads now open after flooding


* Wales First Minister Carwyn Jones has been in St Asaph today speaking to flooding victims. 
Just after 2pm today (Wednesday) Denbighshire County Council announced the following road are now open following the flooding:

* A525 RUTHIN LINK ROAD - BOTH DIRECTIONS

* B5381 LOWER DENBIGH ROAD - ST ASAPH

* LLANNERCH ROAD BRIDGE - LLANNERCH HALL

* PONT-Y-CAMBWLL (CAMBWLL BRIDGE)- TREFNANT/GRAIG

* Y LON LAS (GREEN LANE) - CORWEN

Welsh Government unveils its budget

 
 
 
 
The Welsh Government is delivering growth and jobs at the toughest of times, Finance Minister Jane Hutt said yesterday as she announced almost £47m of extra capital funding to meet economic and infrastructure needs.
 
The Final Budget for 2013-14 includes an additional £30m for a second phase of the Economic Growth Fund and £16.7m for the use of public sector land for housing.
 
This brings the total additional capital investment in the Final Budget to £220m.
 
The Minister said: "When I published the Draft Budget I announced £175m of capital funding. Today we are building on this with a further £47m investment in Welsh businesses and housing.

"In our Budget we are delivering growth and jobs at the toughest of times and we are determined to maximise this support for the Welsh economy. We have demonstrated this commitment with additional capital investment totalling over £220m in this Budget for Growth and Jobs."

Business Minister Edwina Hart said: "The first phase of the Wales Economic Growth Fund was a great success in creating and safeguarding jobs across Wales. This year we allocated more than £30million to around 120 business projects across Wales, with the potential to create around 1800 new jobs and safeguard some 1600 others.

"The additional funding announced today will now allow us to relaunch the Fund to provide much-needed financial support to even more businesses around Wales to allow them to grow and expand at a time when traditional avenues of finance are not readily available."

Housing Minister Huw Lewis added: "Thanks to this extra funding around 1,800 new homes will be built across Wales. During construction of the houses a potential 300 jobs will be created, so this funding will not only result in new homes for individuals, couples and families but will also give the construction industry a much needed boost."

Jane Hutt has also written to UK Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander urging the UK Government to consider further action in the Autumn Statement to increase capital investment in 2013-14 and beyond.

The Finance Minister has pointed to the Welsh Government’s top ‘shovel-ready’ projects in line with Wales Infrastructure Investment Plan priorities, including:
  • A465 Heads of the Valleys Dualling;
  • A55 Conwy Tunnel improvements;
  • Next Generation Broadband for Wales programme;
  • Acceleration of the 21st Century schools programme; Acceleration of new social housing projects; and,
  • An enhanced flood defence programme.
Jane Hutt added: "I believe it is our duty and responsibility to provide an economic stimulus in our Budget for Growth and Jobs. I am therefore calling on the UK Government to take swift and decisive action to increase capital investment in projects that will create jobs quickly and make a lasting difference to our economy."

Two big dates for Llan Silver band

Llangollen Silver Band has two important events coming up in December.

The band's Christmas Fayre will be held in the bandhut in Parade Street on Saturday, Decenmber 8, from10am-2pm.

It includes games and refreshments.

Entrance is 70p for adults and children free, which includes tea or coffee.

The Christmas Gala Concert will be held at Llangollen Town Hall on Friday, December 21, from 7pm.

It will feature carols and performances by the training, youth and senior bands plus special items from other band members.

Tuickets at £5 and including mulled wine, juice, mince pies are available from Gwyn's the Butcher and Honeypots on Castle Street.  
This event is part of an on-going series of fundraising events throughout the year, which provide the basic income for the band to cover running costs.

A band spokesperson said: "We look forward to welcoming local people into the Band-room and so building a relationship with the local community.
"The gala is a showcase evening for all our players. Everyone takes part – even if they’ve only just begun to learn.

"The smallest children start to practice their pieces in September and always very excited to show off their new skills to family, friends, and anyone else who will listen. The music featured is both varied and seasonal.

"Everyone is invited to share this grand finale event with us."

A5 closed Corwen to Llangollen

Traffic Wales reported at 6.30am this morning (Wednesday) that the A5 was closed in both directions between Corwen and Llangollen due to adverse weather conditions.

* The BBC's travel news website expands on this further by saying:

A5 Denbighshire - A5 in Corwen closed in both directions between the B4401 junction and the A494 junction, because of flooding.

* In an update issued just before 10am today, Denbighshire County Council says:



Most services are operating normally again this morning although they may still be subject to delays.

The main known exception is service 51 Rhyl - Denbigh. This cannot operate south of Rhuddlan at the moment. Arriva is providing a skeleton service to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd but operating via the Rhuddlan Bypass and Abergele Road and Borth Crossroads. Arriva is assessing whether it can extend services ...
to Denbigh via Lower Denbigh Road. A bus is trying the route but stuck in considerable queues, at present.

Indeed, queuing traffic in and around St Asaph and Rhuddlan appears to be a feature of things this morning.

This is also the case in Ruthin, where roadworks at Anchor Corner are causing significant problems. Not in Ruthin the X5 and X50 cannot service Llanfair Road and Wrexham Road owing to the works (see my em,ail of Friday).

GHA Service X50/X52 Wrexham-Ruthin-Denbigh-Rhyl is operating NORMALLY but may be subject to delay. Going north, the bus can enter St Asaph, and is operating along High Street and then via Glascoed Road, St Asaph Business Park to Ysbyty Glan Clwyd, after which it diverts via Borth Crossroads, Abergele Road and the Rhuddlan bypass.

We're sorry that passengers may need to be as patient as possible owing to these continued delays.

* The Daily Post is reporting this morning that a Facebook page has also been set up to offer help and support to #St Asaph flood victims.

It is at: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Please-help-support-the-victims-of-flooding-in-Ruthin/250720598388913#!/pages/Please-help-support-the-victims-of-flooding-in-Ruthin/250720598388913

 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Last flooding update of the day

The flooding situation has now eased in Denbighshire, according to the latest update from the county council, issued earlier this evening (Tuesday).
Latest reports suggest that approximately 400 properties have been affected in St Asaph, most if not all properties on the Glasdir Estate Ruthin and between ten and 15 properties in Rhuddlan, have been evacuated including the hotel/restaurant park.

The situation is stabilising and the rivers have stopped over topping now and the latest high tide had no impact on the flooding. T


The fire and rescue service is using high volume pumps to pump the water away from flooded areas where possible and Denbighshire staff are cleaning up where possible. The Environment Agency is in attendance.

The council continues to have two rest centres open at the moment, but with only one person expected to stay at St Asaph overnight .


The situation in Ruthin will be reviewed, depending on need.

There are enough volunteers to cover overnight and local supermarkets, Sainsbury's, Tesco, Asda, as well as Ysbyty Glan Clwyd have all donated food, medical equipment, bedding, clothing.

Both Ysgol Esgob Morgan and Ysgol Glan Clwyd(both in St Asaph) will remain closed tomorrow (Wednesday)


Mohammed Mehmet, Denbighshire County Council's Chief Executive, said: "Today has been a difficult day for many people affected by flooding, not only in St Asaph, Ruthin and Rhuddlan, but also in other communities.

"Even though we are still in the response stage, work has already started to plan for the recovery phase. A series of sub groups have been set up to look at each area of priority such as welfare, clean up and temporary accommodation and housing needs.
We have had a number of offers of help from the public, voluntary groups and neighbouring Councils and we are extremely grateful for their kind offers.

"We have been doing everything we can and have primarily focussed our efforts on the immediate emergency, ensuring that people are warm, fed and safe and rehoused where possible.

"I have been proud of the Council's response, many working through the night and in difficult circumstances to try and deal with the on-going situation. Teams of staff from many departments have dealt with an extensive number of enquiries from the public and the media and I would like to thank them for their professional and co-ordinated approach to dealing with what can only be described as unprecedented situation for many.

"Staff have worked closely with volunteers from the British Red Cross in the running of two rest centres and with the other emergency services in dealing with the developing situation during the day."

Any further developments will be placed on Denbighshire's website: www.denbighshire.gov.uk

residents can access public health information by visiting: www.hpa.org.uk or www.wales.nhs.uk/sitesplus/888/page/43887

Another flooding update

Latest update on flooding issued by Denbighshire County Council at 11.10am says:
Residents in parts of Ruthin have been evacuated from their homes as the threat of flooding increases.


Parts of the town have already seen flooding occur and there are potentially up to 400 properties at risk. A rest centre has been opened at Ruthin Leisure Centre.

This is in addition to the problems being experienced in St Asaph where flooding has been widespread. A rest centre has operated at the city's leisure centre since the early hours of this morning.

The flooding has also had a major effect on transport in the region.

Arriva

All services operating near normally except:


51 (Rhyl-Denbigh): not currently running south of St Asaph.


X94 (Barmouth - Wrexham): issues at Corwen preventing a through service (see below). Awaiting further information.

GHA

Ser 1/2 Ruthin - Mold

Operating as near to normal as possible but not diverting via the usual villages

Corwen area services
(GHA 5/X5/village services plus Arriva X94)


No services operating by GHA. Arriva X94 unlikely to be available owing to Corwen flooding.

Ser 14 Denbigh - Mold

This was operating near normally via the main roads only but the road has now been closed and therefore cannot now operate.

Ser 62 Denbigh - Nantglyn/Llansannan

Not operating

Villages south of Ruthin
(Clawdd, Betws etc into Ruthin)


Not operating

X52/X50 Rhyl - Denbigh - Ruthin - Wrexham

Service suspended between Denbigh and Rhyl. Denbigh to Wrexham operating as normally as possible but in Wrexham via A525 rather than Southsea and New Broughton

M & H Coaches

Ser 6 Denbigh Town and Llannefydd

Reported as operating normally

Ser 10 Bodfari - Tremeirchion - Rhyl

Subject to delays. Cannot serve whole route

Ser 76 (Denbigh-Llandyrnog-Ruthin-Graigfechan)


Subject to delays. Service is avoiding Gellifor and may have to divert away from other villages.

Other Services

All remaining services and those operating via revised routes subject to some delay. Note that the volume of general traffic on main roads and the number of car breakdowns adding to issues for bus services.

Latest flooding update

In its latest update on flooding problems this morning (Tuesday) Denbighshire County Council says:

Problems are now being reported in Ruthin. Properties on the Glasdir Estate on the outskirts of the town are being evacuated due to flooding.

Road closed in Denbighshire:

  • A5 Corwen
  • A525 St Asaph towards Rhuddlan
  • The Roe and surrounding roads in St Asaph.
  • A543 - Landslip on the outskirts of Denbigh.
  • Off slip of the A55 at St Asaph closed (westbound)

Floods should make health board re-think shake-up says AM

An Assembly Member claims the chief executive’s complaints that floods on the A55 caused transport problems for staff and patients of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board shows it should reconsider its controversial centralisation plans.
Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid member for North Wales, points out board Mary Burrows has just written to David Sissling, director general of NHS Wales, asking his assistance with other government departments to address the A55 flood risk
This, she says, has “yet again put at risk our ability, with Welsh Ambulance Service Trust, to provide continuity of service”.
Ms Burrows adds: “The closure of the A55 in at least two sections on Thursday, 22 November 2012 isolated many communities, affected staff getting home and coming into work and required deployment of our weather contingency plan. The West became virtually isolated.
“The only other road, the A5, which was accessible many hours later, is a single road that became completely overloaded with lorries. It was extremely difficult for ambulances to get to Ysbyty Gwynedd in any reasonable time.
Mr Gruffydd comented: "I share Mary Burrows' concern about the flooding of the A55 and the knock-on effects this had on local health services, in particular the ambulance service.
“There is a need to ensure the Welsh Government continues to improve flood defences rather than reducing spending on this important work for communities across Wales.
“However, we must also recognise that the A55 is vulnerable to one-off events like the recent flooding and traffic accidents. This is another reason why we should be questioning the proposal to centralise health services and, in the case of neonatal intensive care, moving it across the border to Arrowe Park.
“By this proposal the health board is expecting patients to travel ever-greater distances along a road that it is now saying is not fit for purpose.
"I will be raising this matter with the Health Minister and the Community Health Council as part of my objection to the centralisation proposals of the health board and hope that the board will also re-consider its plans.
“We have consistently raised concerns about the proposal to move new-born babies from across the North to the Wirral and last week's flood bore out the dangers of such a reliance on transport out of the community."

Bridge disappears under covers

A llanblogger reader has sent in this picture of the bridge over the Llangollen Railway west of Berwyn Station encased in covers.

The bridge, off the A5, is under repair by the county council and the covers are in place while shot-blasting is carried out.



Monday, November 26, 2012

Flood alert on upper Dee

 
 
The Environment Agency have now declared a flood alert on the upper River Dee, from Llanuwchllyn to Llangollen, including Corwen.

The agency says: "River levels are above normal but flooding of property is not expected at the moment. 

"Lake levels at Llyn Tegid are rising and are expected to do so for the next 15 hours.

"Further rainfall is forecast over the next 12 hours and conditions are expected to deteriorate. 

"River levels at Bala and Corwen are rising and are expected to do so for the next 15 hours. In addition to the area detailed, some localised flooding problems may result from surface water."

For more information, call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, select option 1 and enter Quickdial number 192002 to get more information

Council apologises over recycling scheme snags

Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Public Realm, Councillor David Smith, has apologised to people experiencing difficulties with the roll out of the new x2 recycling and refuse collection service following a number of problems in the south of the county, which includes Llangollen.

Over the past week, Denbighshire has been changing the service to 16,000 households, including the delivery of 50,000 additional bins, but problems with the deliveries have meant that some households have not received their new bins and information on their new collection times.

Councillor Smith said: "I would like to apologise to anyone who has experienced difficulties with the new service and would like to reassure people we are doing everything we can to rectify the situation.

"We expected some teething problems, but the issues have been worse than expected. We normally pride ourselves on our recycling service, but with this latest roll-out we fully recognise there have been problems and for that we are truly sorry.

"We have had crews out over the weekend in order to clear any backlog of bins that have been missed and also to ensure that people receive their new bins. We are putting every available resource into making sure that this situation is remedied as soon as possible and we would like to thank people in advance for their patience."

For the vast majority of residents in the affected area, this week (w/c November 26) is a recycling week, so the council has asked people to place their recycling out  on the new collection day, rather than their old one.

Residents can put their old-style recycling sacks out if they don't yet have their new containers, and the council says it will collect them.

For the vast majority of residents in the affected area, next week (w/c December 3) is for residual waste (waste that can't be recycled - black bins or pink sacks) so they are asked to put their residual waste out on the new collection day.

The council says it is aware that some people who are now on wheelie bins, wish to be on sacks and vice versa.

A spokesperson added: "We would ask anyone in this situation to contact us and we will try to accommodate people's wishes where we can, but we want to concentrate on the delivery of the new equipment at the moment."

If you have not received your recepticles and/or calendar, and have not already done so, contact Customer Services on 01824 706100 (Welsh line) or 706101 (English Line).

Flooding affects the region

The Daily Post is tweeting this morning (Monday)  that there are problems in both directions on the A5 Corwen at B4401 due to flooding,

The Environment Agency website says there is a still a flood warning in place on the Lower Dee Valley from Llangollen to Chester.

The agency is advising people to keep away from flooded areas, which it says can be very dangerous.

Louisa recalls her marathon Indian trip



* Louisa Jones with the bike which took her 260 miles across India.

 

* Louisa, left, celebrates with a fellow cyclist
at the end of their gruelling ride.


 

* The muddy roads the cyclists had to negotiate.



 
*Indian women smile despite their basic
 living conditions. 

A Llangollen Operatic Society member says taking part in a 260-mile charity ride through India has given her the sort of insight into the country that a tourist trip never could. 

Louisa Jones, 33, was shocked by some of the extreme poverty she saw along the way but amazed at how people with absolutely nothing still managed to keep smiling through their miserable circumstances. 

She returned at the weekend from her gruelling nine-day trek through north-western India as part of the Action for Charity’s Women V Cancer Cycle Challenge to raise cash for three women’s cancer causes. 

Along the way Louisa, who works as a European sales analyst for the Ruabon-based Flint Group printing and packing company, had to contend with pothole-strewn roads and soaring temperatures sometimes over 30 degrees. 

She and around 100 other women from across the UK who took on the challenge set out from the city of Agra – home of the iconic Taj Mahal - and pedalled through the rural state of Rajasthan, ending their momentous journey in the capital, Jaipur. 

To maintain their tight schedule the intrepid cyclists, ranging in age from their twenties to their sixties, needed to average around 40 miles a day.
Their route was far removed from the usual tourist trails and went both on and off road.
Louisa told how at one stage along the road she had been catapulted over the handlebars of her bike after being cut up by a jeep and ended up with a huge and painful bruise on her side. 

Later in the trip, she and many of her fellow cyclists were hit by the dreaded “Delhi belly”.  

Eventually reaching Jaipur, the group celebrated their achievement with champagne.  

Back home, she said: “It was an unbelievable experience and I’m still not sure I have been all the way to India and seen all that. 

“I saw things you don’t witness as a tourist. 

“Out in the rural areas there was poverty with people literally living in mud huts but the things we rode past on the way into Jaipur at the end of the trip will live with me for ever. 

“We went in through the slums and it was just mind-blowing – just a sea of rubbish and in that rubbish there were cows, pigs and dogs. 

“There was also children playing in all the filth, some wearing next to nothing. 

“There were also people’s dwellings amongst all the rubbish. 

“Despite their incredible circumstances it was amazing to see that people were still happy and  smiling at us as we cycled past.”

Louisa, who is also a regular lead performer with Llangollen Operatic Society, added: “I was also amazed by the women on the ride.

“I was amongst the youngest of the group. The oldest lady was 65 and the average age was around 42.

“Many have had or were still recovering from cancer or getting over other personal challenges.  

“Everyone had a story but no one wallowed in it and the support and camerarderie shown was  humbling.” 

In advance of her trip to the sub-continent Louisa raised the cash necessary to guarantee her a place on the ride. 

Thanks to strong support from family, friends and work colleagues she managed to burst through the £2,800 qualifying barrier some months ago and pledges are still coming in. 

She also made a personal contribution of £500 towards her fundraising total, which will be distributed between Breast Cancer Care, Jo’ Cervical Cancer Trust and Ovarian Cancer Action. 

She said: “I will personally have raised about £3,300 for the three charities and I am told that the three groups, including my own, which recently completed the ride have raised a total of £900,000. 

“I also hear that this has provided half the annual budget for Ovarian Cancer Action, so I think it was all well worthwhile.”  

 
+ To make a contribution towards Louisa’s challenge go to http://www.justgiving.com/louisa-jones2012/eurl.axd/5805f2ef88f5e749aa33e11e94dbaeb7

Latest roadworks information




Denbighshire County Council has given details of the following roadworks in the area:
Pendre Road, Berwyn, until December 6, road closure to allow bridge works by the county council.
A5 Carreg Afon to Heol Llundain, Corwen, temporary traffic lights until December 7 to allow retaining wall works.  

A5104, Highgate Crossroads to A5104 junction, Bryn Bras, Corwen, road closure to allow electrical works by Electricity Alliance West. 

Hatchery Lane, from  A539 to junction opposite Trevor Mill, December 10-12,road closure to allow drainage works by Dee Valley Water.

 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Flood warning on lower Dee

Flood Warning
The Environment Agency says a flood warning is in place on the Lower Dee Valley from Llangollen to Chester.

Latest Information is that river levels are above normal but flooding of property is not expected at the moment.

Flood defences are now in operation and the situation on site is being constantly monitored.

River levels at Farndon are rising and are expected to do so for the next 12 hours.

Levels at Manley Hall are rising.

More heavy rain is forecast this afternoon and overnight which will cause the river to rise further.

In addition to the area detailed, some localised flooding problems may result from surface water.
  • For the latest situation call Floodline on 0845 988 1188, select option 1 and enter Quickdial number 192102.

Flooding hits Wrexham/Shrewsbury rail service

The National Rail Network website is reporting that because of flooding near Gobowen and also Wem, buses are replacing Arriva Trains Wales trains between Shrewsbury and Wrexham General / Crewe until further notice.

Route affected is Cardiff Central, Hereford / Birmingham International, Wellington, Shrewsbury, Gobowen, Chirk, Ruabon, Wrexham General, Chester & Holyhead also Cardiff Central, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Wem, Nantwich & Crewe.  

For the latest rail travel news, follow National Rail Enquiries on Twitter, or on Facebook.

 

County's new strategy for Plas Newydd explained


* New marketing strategy for Plas Newydd.

Plas Newydd, Llangollen’s own stately home, is now being marketed as a tourist attraction as well as a museum.
That was the message from a top county council official who gave a presentation to the town council on fresh efforts to promote the iconic mansion at their meeting on Tuesday night.
Brian Edwards, Denbighshire’s environment group services manager, said when his department took over responsibility for running Plas Newydd about a year ago it had been decided to increase visitor footfall there.
He explained: “The emphasis had been on the museum side rather than the attraction side.
“We have appointed a commercial manager and we have been looking at new ways of operating Plas Newydd and increasing visitor numbers.”
Improvements made so far, he said, included bringing the running of the on-site café in house and appointing a Llangollen resident to oversee it.
In the grounds, maintenance was now being done as and when necessary by bringing in county council staff rather than having a resident team.
Three groups of volunteers had also been brought in to help with grounds maintenance.
A new management plan was in place for the house itself, which aims to engage more closely with the local community.
Plans were also in hand, said Mr Edwards, to encourage local groups to make more use of the Y Caban building in the grounds, where exhibitions have been held.
As part of the new marketing strategy, a number of events had been staged at Plas Newydd, including a dog show and a car rally, and more were planned for next year.
Mr Edwards said experts from Bodelwyddan Castle were advising on the protection of the museum collection at the house and delicate objects were now being taken to Ruthin for storage during the winter months and returned for exhibition in the summer.
Another possibility being looked at was the creation of an orchard or market garden in the grounds with produce being sold to the local community.
Cllr Phil Thane suggested there could be a gate between the grounds and the adjacent Brook Street children’s play area to allow easier access from the Pengwern estate side.
Mr Edwards said this was being looked into but health and safety concerns had to be borne in mind as a stream runs through the woodland area at the bottom of the grounds.
Cllr Mike Pugh said it was good to see that “such an important piece of Llangollen real estate” was being so well valued by the county council.  

Agencies clamp down on county's cold callers

As part of National Consumer Week Denbighshire Trading Standards officers and North Wales Police have been out patrolling the county on the look out for rogue traders operating in the area. 

Officers were looking for offences relating to consumers’ cancellation rights and aggressive selling techniques linked to “cold calling”.

Traders were also given advice as to their legal obligations.

The two organisations also teamed up with Neighbourhood Watch to get out and about and advise the public on dealing with cold callers.

One of the major issues identified by officers is that many residents do not report the activities of rogue traders.


David Smith, Denbighshire Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, is urging residents to be aware and to tell the authorities if rogue traders cold call in their area offering to do gardening, tree cutting, tarmacing, roof repairs and general odd jobs. 

He said: "These traders can do a poor job and subsequently charge over the odds for that work, ask for cash and then simply disappear. They are usually untraceable when things go wrong as they give false names, addresses and phone numbers.

"Whilst not all doorstep traders are ‘rogues’, many are completely legitimate and provide a good level of service, there are some who prey on the elderly or vulnerable members of society."


Ian Millington of Denbighshire Trading Standards said: "The theme for National Consumer Week this year was Cold Calling - Don't Buy It and the idea was to engage with the public and help give everyone the confidence to deal with cold callers. 


"Officers from each of the organisations teamed up and have spoken to hundreds of people at venues throughout the county. We hope that those individuals will not only follow the simple rules when dealing with cold callers but also spread the message to their neighbours and family. 

"Whilst we did not find any issues during our patrols we will continue to be on the look out for any activity which might be attributed to a rogue trader."

Neighbourhood Watch coordinator Pam Gardner said: "No cold calling zones are a good way of discouraging traders from operating in certain areas as any trader cold calling in No cold calling area could be committing an offence. Anybody wanting more information about cold calling zones should contact their local Neighbourhood Watch coordinator on 01745 539208 or via
www.ourwatch.org.uk"

Inspector Siobhan Edwards of North Wales Police said: "If in doubt, keep them out is the simple message to remember when somebody knocks at your door. 


"If you are concerned about anybody in your neighbourhood‘knocking’ on the door offering to carry out home maintenance work, then please make a note of vehicle make, model, colour and registration number and any descriptions of the individuals, and contact either the police on 101 or Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Customer Service on 08454 04 05 06, or for the Welsh Language Service 08454 04 05 05.

"Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. If you feel intimidated or threatened by any doorstep seller you should shut the door and call the police emergency number 999."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rain fails to dampen Llan's Christmas Festival

 
 
* Sion Corn makes a grand entrance.
 
 
 
 * The parade begins led by the Silver Band.
 

* The mayor, Jon Haddy aboard a horse-drawn coach.


                                                                            
 
* Hog roast in Oak Street. 
 
 
 
 *The Silver Band perform.
 
 
 
* A nativity scene by members of Cytun,
Churches Together,
 
  
 
 * The Melodic Mondays sing. 
 
 
 
* The Samba Band keep up the beat. 
 
 
 
* Carols by Llan Operatic Society. 
 
 
 
 * The lights are switched on by Cameron and Ffion.
 
 
 
* Castle Street is lit up.
 
 
 
* The fireworks display.
 
Heavy rain throughout the afternoon failed to dampen enthusiasm for Llangollen’s annual Christmas Festival today (Saturday).
Crowds thronging Castle Street cheered as the big parade got under way at 1pm, with Llan Silver Band leading the way.
Behind them came Sion Carn – the Welsh Santa Claus – aboard a sleigh, morris dancers, a samba band, a contingent from the local Army Cadets and town major, Jon Haddy, riding on a horse-drawn carriage.
After a procession through the town, the parade stopped outside the Town Hall and Sion Corn was escorted to his grotto upstairs where a long line of youngsters were waiting to meet him.
The Town Hall also hosted a seasonal craft fair with a range of stalls.
Outside, Oak Street had been transformed into a Christmas fair with children’s rides, a climbing frame, more stalls and a hog roast.
The rain started to come down around 2pm, not long after a packed programme of open-air entertainment got under way on the steps of The Chapel.
Despite the wet weather, which persisted without let-up for the rest of the day, the crowd enjoyed performances from the Silver Band, the town’s pantomime group, the Melodic Mondays ladies singing ensemble, Llan Operatic Society and the Karamba Samba Band.
The official switch-on of the lights was brought forward by half an hour because of the bad weather.
After thanks to everyone who had helped make the day a success from the mayor, youngsters Cameron and Ffion, from Ysgol y Gwernant and Ysgol Bryn Collen, who had won competitions to have the honour, turned on the lights above Castle Street to the accompaniment of a rousing cheer from the rain-soaked crowd.
Grand finale to the day was a spectacular firework display which lit up the sky from the hillside behind the canal wharf.    
Hope House Hospice will benefit from collections made during the festival.