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Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year to you all!



llanblogger wishes a Happy and Prosperous New Year to all our readers.

Thank you for joining us during 2012 and we hope you stay with us as we head into 2013.

First Minister's New Year greetings

First Minister Carwyn Jones has wished Wales a Happy New Year and is calling on the country to come together to face the challenges of the global economy.

Mr Jones (pictured left) said: “As we say goodbye to 2012, let us look forward with optimism to 2013. No one is denying Wales, like the rest of the world, will continue to face some very real economic challenges. This will require all of us to work together, to unite as a country to face these tough times.

"I believe that despite the current climate we can come through these times stronger as a nation.

"I give my personal commitment to continue to make sure the Welsh Government does all it can to support our economy and help create jobs. I will sell the message to the world that Wales is ready and open to do business.

“We will continue to invest in our infrastructure, help our young people find jobs and maintain our drive to improve standards in our schools so we have the skills needed for the 21st Century.

“New Year is a time to put aside differences, a time for us to focus on family and friends and a time to look to the future.

"I wish all of you a Happy New Year!”

Talk Talk to sponsor Llangollen FC

Llangollen Football Club has received a £600 financial boost from TalkTalk, he home phone and broadband provider.

The club will be sponsored by TalkTalk for the next 12 months and the funding will be used to buy new training equipment.

Residents in Llangollen, Dinbren and Berwyn will also benefit from a £50,000 investment by TalkTalk, which is expanding its Next Generation Network to provide residents with access to fast, reliable, better value and more secure broadband.

Built into the broadband network itself and unique to TalkTalk is the network-level security service HomeSafe™.

Homesafe gives customers control over the type of websites their household can access across every single device that connects to the internet in their home.

Robert Evans, Chairman at Llangollen Football Club, said: “We are very pleased that TalkTalk has chosen to support Llangollen Football Club over the next twelve months. The donation has been used to purchase new training equipment."

Tristia Clarke, commercial director at TalkTalk, said: “By investing in the exchange in Llangollen TalkTalk will be able to bring our great value offers to even more families in the area and give customers access to our fantastic security service HomeSafe™.

"In this amazing Olympic year, TalkTalk is also delighted to be supporting sport at grassroots level up and down the country. Llangollen Football Club is a fantastic example of a local club engaging and enthusing the next generation to enjoy sport. We wish them every success with future endeavours."
  
By installing its own equipment in the local exchange, TalkTalk claims it can offer even better value services and innovative products to its customers.

The NGN enables speeds of up to 14mb and customers who have recently been upgraded to the new network experience an average increase in broadband speed of 50%.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bids invited for Oakleigh by mid-January


* Agents say bids for Oakleigh should be in by January 18.

Anyone interested is buying Oakleigh, the former mental health facility in Abbey Road, Llangollen, now has just a couple of weeks to put in an offer for the property.

That’s the message from agents acting for the vendor, the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.

The imposing property, which stands off the A5 in front of the eisteddfod field, has been empty for some years and is now being sold off by the board as surplus to its requirements.

A spokesman for agents Legat Owen’s Chester office, which is handling the sale, recently told llanblogger that Oakleigh had an asking price of £350,000 and that they had been contacted by a number of potential buyers.     

We have just heard again from Stephen Wade, director business space for Legat Owen, who said: “In view of the level of interest in Oakleigh we are inviting Best Offers by 1.00pm on Friday 18th January 2013.

“Anyone wishing to be bid should register their interest with our office and we will provide them with a form for the submission of an offer.”

The sale details show that Oakleigh covers 306 square metres (3,293 square feet) on a site of 0.28 hectares (0.69 acres).  

The description continues: “Oakleigh comprises an attractive two storey period propertyfof brick construction under a pitched timber framed roof with clay tile covering.  

“Internally the property retains many of its original features.  

“The property has a rateable value of £10,000 and is available for sale freehold.  

“The property offers potential for a variety of alternative uses subject to securing the appropriate planning permission.  

“Planning permission has recently been granted for a change of use to a residential dwelling.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Continued heavy rain leads to warning

The Daily Post is reporting tonight that on its website that Environment Agency Wales is asking people to remain alert to the risk of localised flooding as forecasts indicate that more heavy rainfall is likely to affect large parts of Wales.

See the story at:
http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/2012/12/29/warning-to-remain-alert-as-more-heavy-rain-set-to-hit-wales-55578-32514450/

llanblogger now back in action!

Following our Christmas break, the llanblogger editorial team is now back in action and looking forward to providing readers with all the latest news - local, regional and national.

If you have got anything you share with readers, either from over Christmas or looking ahead into the new year, just get in touch with us at the usual e-mail address - llanblogger@gmail.com.

We're waiting to hear from you!

Landslip leads to reorganisation of train services


* The locomotive No.802 at Glyndyfrdwy where
the Mince Pie Specials are temporarily terminating
due to a riverside landslip.
 
A riverside landslip has led to the temporary reorganisation of seasonal train services on Llangollen Railway. 

Railway officials discovered on Boxing Day that a short section of banking had fallen into the river just west of the station at Glyndyfrdwy where the heritage line runs close to the river. 

For safety reasons they immediately suspended services between Glyndyfrdwy and Carrog.  

Railway spokesman GeorgeJones said:  “Pending further investigation of the situation, and any potential for the landslip intruding on to the track, the decision was taken to terminate the winter-time series of Mince Pie Special trains from Llangollen at Glyndyfrdwy.” 

Railway chairman, Jim Ritchie, said:  “Llangollen Railway regrets the disruption to visitors' plans for visiting the Dee Valley for the train ride through to the terminus at Carrog.  

“The riverside situation requires a detailed assessment as to the repair which may be needed, but we will be unable to put this in hand until after the New Year period. 

“In the meantime, we trust our visitors will still enjoy the shorter run by steam train through to Glyndyfrdwy and take advantage of the opportunity to explore the Welsh countryside." 

Train time departures from Llangollen have been revised to start 11.15am, 1.15pm and 3.15pm through to the end of the festive season services on  January 1.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas to all our readers!


llanblogger would like to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very Merry Christmas.

And we are delighted to say that there are now quite a few readers out there.

In fact, since we started the blog on July 9 this year, we have managed to notch up a total of over 26,000 page views, which averages out at 200-300 each day.

We would like to thank everyone who has so far taken the trouble to have a look at our site, especially our regulars who we know keep on coming back.

We trust that people like our blend of very local, regional and Welsh national news, which aims to bring you an accurate and unbiased presentation of the stories that affect us and our town.

We also aim to update the blog as often as possible to keep it fresh and newsy.

A bit of an exception to this rule will be that there will be no new posts for the period over Christmas - from Friday, December 21 to Friday, December 28 - as our editorial team are taking a seasonal break.

However, we will be back in full swing straight after that and over the New Year period, hoping to bring you all the best in newsy updates right into 2013 and hopefully well beyond.

Once again, Merry Christmas ... and thanks for reading our blog!

Phil Robinson,
llanblogger editor.

Report domestic abuse, say police

Historically, incidents of domestic abuse increase over Christmas, when the pressures of family and money and an increase in alcohol consumption place additional strain on relationships.
A publicity campaign which highlights Domestic Abuse at Christmas time has been launched by the Welsh Government and it has the full support of North Wales Police.
 
* Domestic abuse (picture posed by models).
Domestic abuse happens all year round, however research indicates there is a strong link between alcohol consumption and domestic violence.
Detective Superintendent John Hanson from North Wales Police said: "I want to encourage victims to report incidents of domestic abuse so together with our partner agencies we can access appropriate support and intervention for these victims and their families.
 
 “Christmas is a special time when families should be enjoying the festive season; I want to inform any victim of domestic violence, that we have dedicated domestic abuse officers and public protection officers across North Wales who will ensure that all domestic abuse crimes are investigated, as well as providing support and information to victims about police procedures and legal proceedings."
Domestic abuse is happening every day in every part of the UK and one incident of domestic abuse is reported to the police nationally every minute. One in four women and one in six men will be affected at sometime in their lives.
As part of their campaign the Welsh Government has launched a television advert and a poster using the slogan‘Don’t just wish for it to get better,’ which is being aired in the run up to Christmas. Social media is also being used to highlight the campaign.
If you are living with domestic abuse, North Wales Police encourage you to come forward. You will be treated with compassion and dignity. You will be believed and your complaint thoroughly investigated. We are committed to giving you the support and assistance to live your life free of fear.
Further information and advice regarding Domestic Abuse, together with links on how agencies can help you, is available via our Advice and Support section.

Pick a safe party say health chiefs

Emergency Department staff are calling on revellers to choose a safe night out on the eve of the year’s busiest party season.
 
NHS staff working in the regions three emergency departments at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Glan Clwyd Hospital and Wrexham Maleor are supporting the Choose Well campaign as the festive season begins to get into full swing.

Year on year, Wales’ emergency departments and ambulance service have seen a rise in the number of people using both services. Emergency Department attendances in Wales are up by 12 per cent since 2005

December attendance at the three emergency departments in North Wales has increased from 12,642 in 2009 to 13,280 in 2011.

Welsh Government figures also report that only 27 per cent of people who go to Emergency Departments are admitted as an Emergency.

The Choose Well campaign centres on a colour coded thermometer to assist people in linking their symptoms or injury to the right service, which is right for their need.

And this year NHS partners across North Wales have reached out to the younger generation to help make sure the right services are available for the right patients across the winter months.

Stats have revealed that people aged between 15-29 regular use an emergency department when their ailment could be dealt with more quickly and efficiently by a pharmacist , GP or minor Injuries units for cuts, bites and strains.

Dr Aruni Sen, Consultant in Emergency Medicine said: “We all know that traditionally, December can be a busy month following the onset of colder weather, increase in flu and norovirus cases and above all, the aftermath of the Christmas party season.

“We don’t want to spoil the festive season for people but we would urge them to make the right choices while out for the night, be sensible when consuming alcohol and keep safe whilst in crowded places.

“Emergency Departments are ready first and foremost for those facing a life threatening situation. Having to deal with a person sleeping off the effects of too much alcohol could draw out resources away from someone who really needs our support urgently.”

If you do need help over the festive season, please remember the services below:

• Self care –Many illnesses can be treated at home by using over-the-counter medicine, taking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest. Self care is the best choice to treat very minor illnesses and injuries.

• NHS Direct Wales offers confidential health advice and information 24 hours a day by either calling 0845 46 47, or via the internet www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk Contact NHS Direct if you are ill and have any questions about health. The service can also help you to find health services in your local area.

• Pharmacist Visit a pharmacy when you are suffering from a common health problem which does not require being seen by a nurse or doctor. Your local pharmacist can give you advice on common illnesses and the medicines you need to treat them. They may help if you have run out of your normal repeat prescription. They can also provide Emergency Contraception

• GP and Out of Hours Services - During office hours please contact your GP for advice and treatment of most illnesses. GP advice is available outside office hours from your local out of hours service, To contact out of hours services, telephone your usual GP number or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

• Dental Services For advice contact your registered Dentist. If you are not registered with a dentist and need urgent treatment, you can call the North Wales Dental Helpline on 0845 60 10 128 to find out about emergency dental clinics.

• Minor Injuries Units– Located at some hospitals, these should be used for the treatment of minor injuries such as cuts, bites, stings and muscle and joint injuries. There is no need for an appointment. Minor Injuries Units are located throughout North Wales. They can treat minor injuries and give you health advice. For details of your nearest Minor Injuries Unit, please contact NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.

• Emergency Department (A&E) or 999 – Emergency Department (A&E) can treat people who are very ill or badly injured. They can be found in Bangor, Bodelwyddan and Wrexham. You should always call 999 in a life threatening emergency - if someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Hillsborough survivor welcomes new inquests


* Survivor - Kelvin "Kelly" Davies.
 
A HILLSBOROUGH survivor fsys news that fresh inquests are to be held into the deaths of 96 Liverpool fans who died in the 1989 disaster is an “early Christmas present” for relatives.
Yesterday, the High Court quashed the original inquest verdicts returned on those who died in the crush which developed on the terraces at the Shefffield stadium.
The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge also ordered fresh inquests following an application by the Attorney General.
And, in a separate development, Home Secretary Theresa May has announced a new police inquiry into the tragedy.
These moves have been welcomed by 56-year-old Kelvin “Kelly” Davies, who narrowly survived death himself and had to be carried unconscious from the terrace on an advertising hoarding which fellow fans had ripped from the side of the pitch.
After being given emergency first aid he came to surrounded by dead bodies in the stadium’s gym, which was being used as a makeshift mortuary.
Mr Davies, who  works as a machine operator at the Dobson & Crowther factory in Llangollen, still has flashbacks of a young boy dying right next to him as they both lay fighting for breath on the terraces.
He said of yesterday’s developments: “This is very good news for the relatives of those who died and for the survivors – it has come as an early Christmas present for us.
“It has taken a long time for this to happen but at last it has and these are two important steps on the long road to final justice.
“As a survivor of that day I have gone through hell over the past 23 years, so god knows what the relatives of those people who died have had to endure.
“It’s as though the 96 who died were just swept under the carpet and didn’t mean a thing.”
He added: “I was at the original inquest and sat there for two days without being called and now I intend to take some time off work to attend the new hearings.
“It would be marvellous to see the inquests this time go in favour of the families.
“Two or three years ago you’d never have dreamt that things would develop like they have today but we’ve had some good people helping us out.
“They’ve been prepared to step up to the mark and demand something is done to set the record straight at last.
“Hopefully, when this new legal process is over someone will be held accountable for what went wrong that awful day.” 

Property mark your gifts, say police


* A bike is property marked. 
With Christmas just around the corner police are reminding people to property mark gifts as many of us will be purchasing and receiving the latest electronic gadgets, computers, jewellery and must-have accessories.
Unfortunately, having these items will provide thieves with the perfect incentive to commit burglaries.
A number of precautions can be taken to help protect your new gadgets and belongings from opportunistic burglars.
One of the best ways to do this is to mark your property by using an ultraviolet pen to mark your items with your postcode and the number of your house/flat.
Items can also be registered with Immobilise - an online tool where you can register items such as mobile phones and other items free of charge. Once an item has been registered, police officers can access the database to trace the owners of any property they may recover.
Items such as bicycles can also be registered with Bike Register - the UK’s leading online bicycle identification and registration initiative.
Other tips on how to secure your property:
  • Take pictures of all valuable items
  • Make a note of the make, model and serial numbers of your items. This will help the police to identify them if they’re stolen
  • Invest in motion sensor lighting to light up the approach to your house.
  • Dispose of gift packaging carefully. Make sure you only put your rubbish out just before the collection and do your best to fold boxes so they don’t advertise your new contents of your home to thieves. Ideally take the packaging to a recycling plant
  • Protect your identity and shred receipts and personal information.
  • Make sure your doors and windows are locked
  • Keep your curtains/blinds closed at night
  • Make your home looked lived in if you’re going away. Cancel milk and paper deliveries, use light timers to turn lights on and off, and ask neighbours or a family member to pick up your mail and open and close your curtains
  • Make sure your garage and shed are locked securely. Any ladders that you leave outside are also secured against something so burglars can’t use them to access your house
  • Don’t hide keys under flowerpots or under door mats as burglars know where to look.
  • Use a house alarm if you have one.
Further information is also available via theImmobilise and Bike Register websites.
.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

'Sainsbury's gets Llan as Christmas present,' says correspondent

Letter to llanblogger ...
 
The news that Sainsbury’s have been granted almost everything they wished for is very disappointing and this is a black day for Llangollen.
 
What is the point of local businesses and volunteer groups striving to create a thriving community, if Sainsbury’s are allowed to ride roughshod over us and take the spoils?
 
I feel we have been betrayed and I am not sure I can forgive.
 
Denbighshire Councillors have played Santa Claus and given Llangollen to Sainsbury’s as a Christmas present.
Gill Thomas

Osborne says no VAT on Hillsborough single

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has today announced that the Government will waive VAT on sales of the Hillsborough single, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

The donation will be equivalent to the VAT receipts collected on sales before the end of March 2013.

Proceeds from the release of the single will be deposited into a fund to provide legal support for the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

The Chancellor said: “These families have been campaigning for justice for almost 24 years; it’s been a long journey so I’m pleased to be able to say the Government will effectively waive the VAT on sales of the Hillsborough single, ensuring that as much money as possible goes towards helping these families.”

Store's cafe restriction removed by councillors

A ban on including a café in the new Sainsbury’s food store earmarked for Llangollen has been lifted by Denbighshire’s planning committee.

At their meeting this morning (Wednesday) members followed the advice of county planning chief Graham Boase and voted 21-3 to remove the condition - imposed in September when they approved the scheme - preventing an in-store café when the store is built on the site of the Dobson & Crowther printworks.
Again on the advice of Mr Boase, the committee also voted to remove or vary three other conditions relating to permitted levels of noise from the store site and pedestrian access to it.
When the store was given the go-ahead by the planning committee in the autumn, it was subject to a long list of conditions on what could be included in the building and how it should be allowed to operate.
But agents for the developers recently submitted a fresh application to either remove or vary five of these conditions, which relate to the café, permitted levels of noise and pedestrian access to the site.
White Young Green Planning & Design said the changes are needed to allow the store to operate successfully.

Over 20 objections were received by the council ahead of the new application being considered by the planning committee this morning.
 

Among those who have declared their opposition are the Town Council and the Civic Society.
The bid to remove the café restriction, which was imposed at the request of local councillors to protect other cafes in the nearby Riverside Park and the town centre, has been the most controversial.
Opponents claim an in-store cafe would damage those already operating in the town.
However, in their submission, Roger Tym & Partners, who have acted as retail consultants on behalf of the county council, say there is “probably no strong basis to condition out a café”.
In recommending that the committee allow the restriction to be removed, Graham Boase said in a report: “Whilst officers consider there are a number of relevant arguments in objection to the variation proposed, the absence of support for a refusal from the retail consultant offers little professional backing for a negative recommendation here, and it is ultimately considered unreasonable to insist on precluding a café use which is now a common facility ancillary to the operation of a modern food store.”
Catherine Veasey, of Llangollen Friends of the Earth, who attended the committee meeting as an observer, told llanblogger immediately after it ended: “The council voted 21 in favour and three against. So the café will now go ahead.
“The only variation opposed was regarding the protocol if noise emissions are breached.”
She added: “Big business wins the day again.
“What frustrates me in relation to the café is that there is legislation there to protect town centres and it just feels like everyone is too scared to use it.”

Minister asked to call in supermarket plan

Mike Edwards, chairman of Keep Llangollen Special (KLS), has written to Wales’ Environment Minister John Griffiths asking him to call in the application to build a Sainsbury’s supermarket on land currently occupied by the Dobson & Crowther printworks on the A5.

Mr Edwards (pictured left) says he is unhappy with the way this has been handled by Denbighshire County Council, whose planning committee will today (Wednesday) consider a fresh application by the developers to delete or remove five conditions attached to the original application which it approved in September.

Most controversially, this includes the removal of the restriction on an in-store café being included.
Mr Edwards’ letter says:

“Dear Minister,
 
I am writing to you on behalf of a Local Community Group, Keep Llangollen Special of which I am Chair.
 
We previously requested you to look at "Calling in" these applications because of the significant impact the developments will have on Llangollen Town Centre. You declined to act initially, but we wish to draw to your attention what has transpired subsequently which considerably changes the circumstances and we would ask you to look at it again, please?
 
I am enclosing an email received from the Case Officer at Denbighshire CC, the LPA which includes various enclosures for your officials to examine carefully.

Firstly I would like to point out that the Committee were advised by the Case Officer that "the emerging LDP carried no weigh at all" which totally mislead the Committee in making its decision.

The Minutes also record that the Councillors asked for restrictions on the presence of butcher, delicatessen and cafe, in store because of the detrimental impact on business in the Town Centre. However you will see from the resultant Certificate issued that the condition in relation to butcher and delicatessen was drafted by the Chief Planning Officer in such a way is not to prevent the end-user of the supermarket from having butchery and delicatessens counters within their store to the huge detriment of those businesses already operating in the town centre.
 
The matter has further deteriorated in that there is now an application before the LPA Ref 03/2012/1407 to have the restriction amongst other matters in relation a Cafe removed from the permission and the Planning Officer has a report before Committee on this Wednesday the 19th September, 2012 recommending this is approved!
 
This means that in addition to Denbighshire CC as LPA ignoring Planning Policy Wales in relation to Protection of Town Centres and Sustainability issues they are now prepared to give the developer an effectively unfettered planning consent which will ruin Llangollen's currently vibrant and viable town centre with its numerous independent businesses.

The LPA have failed to request a major impact study of the effect of this development on Llangollen which as you will know is within an AONB and the Pontcysyllte and Llangollen Canals World Heritage Site and River Dee SSSI. It did receive an updated retail impact assessment, but this was flawed in that it failed to take account of the opening of Stan's Superstore in February 2012 and also a large Tesco in Cefn Mawr only four miles from
Llangollen.
 
Sainsbury's intend according to their own projections to extract £18.4m per annum out of the Llangollen which will cause major detriment to the local economy and although some new jobs will be created these will be principally part-time jobs, and other jobs will clearly be lost from businesses in the town centres which is not the gain suggested.

Research by the CPRE indicates that money spent in a local economy recirculates and is worth three times the amount if it is exported out of the local economy to a Corporate Headquarters.

We have concerns that a new supermarket out of the town centre fronting the A5 trunk road which is a major tourist route to North Wales will cause increased traffic congestion which is already significant in the holiday season causing grid lock through Llangollen.

Residents can currently walk to Llangollen town centre and shop at the Co-op, Spar or Stan's for their groceries, but this development will force residents to use their cars to drive to the out-of-town location proposed for Sainsbury's. It will significantly increase vehicle journeys on an already congested trunk route through our town.
 
We would therefore urge you to urgently call in these applications and have your own Planning experts examine the issues comprehensively which we feel has not been accomplished by the LPA who have failed to grasp the significance of this development on Llangollen which is a major inland tourist destination.

We currently have a "Vibrant and Viable" town centre with minimal vacant retail premises unlike many towns and cities up and down Wales and the UK. This development if approved will destroy that situation and is not aligned with Planning Policy Wales and the work currently being undertaken by Welsh Government under the "Vibrant and Viable Places" initiative upon which your colleague Huw Lewis AM is consulting widely.” 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

'There'll be no stopping them,' says letter writer

llanblogger has received the following letter which relates to our post earlier today about the supermarket planning application:

How can Denbighshire County Council recommend allowing Sainsbury’s to have a cafe when the planning committee meets tomorrow (Wednesday) and at the same time urge people to buy local and support small businesses?
 
I attended the original presentation to the Llangollen Chamber of Trade & Tourism given by Dobson & Crowther and J-Ross Developments in November 2011.
 
It was emphasised several times that this was to be a pre-packed food store only, and unfortunately we believed them.
 
They have already been granted permission for a manned butchery and delicatessen counter and if they are allowed the other concessions including a cafe, on Wednesday, there will be no stopping them until they destroy the delicate balance of our High Street.
Gill Thomas
The Elms
Llangollen 

Ysgol Dinas Bran keeps its top banding


* Ysgol Dinas Bran - still tops.

Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen has retained its top Band 1 listing from the Welsh Government.

All of Denbighshire's secondary schools have seen their bandings improved or maintained, according to information issued by the government today (Tuesday).
No school in the county appears in the lower bands.


Banding uses the relative performance of schools across four sets of data to group them into one of five bands – those in band 1 show good overall performance and progress and those in band 5 show weak performance and progress relative to other schools.

Last week, statistics were released by the Welsh Government which showed that 82.7% of pupils at Key Stage 4 achieved the Level 2 Threshold (5 GCSE A*- C or equivalent) which ranked Denbighshire the top education authority in Wales in this measure. 

Councillor Eryl Williams, Cabinet Lead Member with responsibility for Education, said: "We believe that these bandings are a reflection of the tremendous amount of effort going on to raise standards in our secondary schools.

"The council and individual schools have made resources available to really drive home our programme of school improvements and the achievement of pupils at Key Stage 4 in last Summer's examinations are a testament to that effort.

"Improving standards in education remains a key priority for the council and this is a very positive profile for all our secondary schools across Denbighshire.”

10,000 tested for drink driving in region

A campaign to crack down on drink driving and driving under the influence of drugs over the Christmas period has seen almost 10,000 breath tests being administered in North Wales in just over two weeks.

So far over 50 people have been arrested after drivers failed breath tests in roadside stop checks as part of the All Wales Anti Drink Drive campaign that begun on Saturday 1st of December.
 
Chief Inspector Darren Wareing from North Wales Police’s Roads Policing Unit said: "We announced at the start of the Wales Christmas Drink Drive Campaign that we would be out and about, in force, targeting drink drivers/riders.
“Many people don’t realise they can still be over the limit the morning after a drinking session. We would urge everyone to think twice before getting behind the wheel the morning after and consider making alternative arrangements to get to work.”
“Despite the warning that we would be out and about, in the first two weeks of the campaign, over 50 motorists have been arrested. If convicted, each will be disqualified from driving for at least 12 months; face a heavy fine and many could lose their jobs. Drink drivers are a danger to themselves, their passengers and other road users. We will continue to conduct high profile roadside checks and use intelligence to identify offenders. Please heed the warning."
North Wales Police are also using the campaign to reinforce Operation Sodium, a campaign which was launched during the summer, in response to the growing number of young people who are involved in collisions linked to drink or drug driving, and in particular in rural areas of the force.
Chief Inspector Wareing added: “Younger drivers tend to take more risks and this is a cause for great concern. Operation Sodium is aimed at reducing the number of young drink-drivers and those who drive whilst under the influence of drugs, who are putting their lives, and the lives of other road users, at risk on our roads.”
If you know of someone who regularly drinks and drives, or if you suspect someone who is behind the wheel whilst under the influence of alcohol, contact North Wales Police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Councillors urged to remove Sainsbury's cafe ban



* Planning officers recommend that the restriction on a cafe being included
 in the supermarket to be built on the Dobson & Crowther site should be removed.

A ban on including a café in the new Sainsbury’s food store earmarked for Llangollen should be lifted, advises Denbighshire’s planning chief.
Graham Boase also suggests that changes to three other conditions imposed on the planning permission for the store, to be built on land currently occupied by the Dobson & Crowther printworks in Berwyn Street, should be approved by county councillors.
When the store was given the go-ahead by the planning committee last September, it was subject to a long list of conditions on what could be included in the building and how it should be allowed to operate.
But agents for the developers recently submitted a fresh application to either remove or vary five of these conditions, which relate to the café, permitted levels of noise and pedestrian access to the site.
White Young Green Planning & Design say the changes are needed to allow the store to operate successfully.

Over 20 objections have been received by the council ahead of the new application being considered by the planning committee tomorrow (Wednesday).
Among those who have declared themselves their opposition are the Town Council and the Civic Society.
There were also letters of objection from a number of individuals, including well-known campaigner Martin Crumpton who sent in a detailed statement of opposition accompanied by an online petition.
The bid to remove the café restriction, which was imposed at the request of local councillors to protect other cafes in the nearby Riverside Park and the town centre, has been the most controversial since it was revealed.

Opponents claim an in-store cafe would damage those already operating in the town.
However, in their submission, Roger Tym & Partners, who have acted as retail consultants on behalf of the county council, say there is “probably no strong basis to condition out a café”.
In recommending that the committee allow the restriction to be removed, council planning chief Graham Boase says in a report: “Whilst officers consider there are a number of relevant arguments in objection to the variation proposed, the absence of support for a refusal from the retail consultant offers little professional backing for a negative recommendation here, and it is ultimately considered unreasonable to insist on precluding a café use which is now a common facility ancillary to the operation of a modern food store.”
In the same report Mr Boase recommends that changes to three other conditions on the new store covering noise emissions and the wording on the provision of an additional footpath into the site are also granted.
The only condition he suggests should be refused as “unacceptable” is the one which relates to arrangements for the investigation and implementation of mitigation where noise exceeds permitted levels.
The supermarket plan is closely related to a separate application to move Dobson & Crowther to a new factory to be built on farmland at nearby Cilmedw.
This was also approved by the planning committee in September but at their meeting this week members will consider a fresh application from the developers to delete or vary two of the conditions imposed on the original permission.
In a report Mr Boase is recommending that both of these, which relate to the factory being allowed to operate and to have deliveries and waste collected on Sundays in addition the rest of the week, should be granted by the committee. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scheme aims to unite stolen goods with owners

An initiative which is aimed at helping to reunite owners with lost or stolen property has now been extended to Denbighshire.
The Immobilise register, which was launched in Bangor during the summer, is an online tool where people can register items such as mobile phones free of charge.
 
Once an item has been registered, officers can access the database to trace the owners of any property they may recover.
Other valuable items such as iPads, laptops, iPods, game consoles, cameras and satellite navigation systems can also be registered with Immobilise.
“The free Immobilise property registration service is a very powerful tool in the fight against crime,” said Inspector Julie Sheard from the North Wales Police Community Safety Department.
“We are urging people to register their property, in particular items such as mobile phones onto the Immobilise database. It only takes a few minutes and if your property is stolen and later recovered, there is a greater chance of it being returned.”
“Once you have opened a free account on Immobilise, it is important to keep it up to date, either in notifying the system that an item has been lost or stolen or in registering new items that you have purchased.”
She added: “The more people that register their phones on the Immobilise website, the better chance we have of tracking down criminals and returning stolen property back to its rightful owner.”
Immobilise is used by various police forces all over the country and has proved to be a popular tool in deterring crime.

Shop local urges county council chief


* Support your local shops in Llangollen and across the county, says the council.


Support your local town centres is the message from Denbighshire County Council as it encourages people to shop local in the run up to Christmas and New Year.

Councillor Hugh Evans, Leader of Denbighshire, who is also the Cabinet Lead Member for Economic Development, met a representative of the Denbigh Business Group during a recent visit to the town and highlighted the need for people to think local, shop local.


Councillor Evans said: "The run up to Christmas and New Year is usually one of the busiest times for local businesses and we need people to support them and for businesses to make sure they promote what they have on offer. 


"More and more shoppers are choosing out of towns shopping centres or online shopping, thinking they are more convenient and they will get better bargains. 

"However, we think that our town centres in Denbighshire have a lot to offer - they are unique and offer a wealth of goods and services that people want. Not only do they provide a business, but they also provide a valuable service.

"It's vitally important to get behind local businesses during the current economic climate. Many businesses now realise that they must be in a position to compete with the larger out of town businesses and it is encouraging to see businesses taking initiatives to be able to compete and we would encourage people to offer their support. 


"Towns are also arranging a number of events in the run up to Christmas and New Year, in a bid to entice people for late night shopping and a festive atmosphere."

The council, working with the main town councils across the county, is offering free parking after 3pm in its car parks until the New Year, in a bid to encourage more people to use the town centres.

Advice on Christmas prescriptions

People suffering from long term health conditions are being urged to ‘be prepared’ and pick up their prescriptions to cover them through the festive holiday.
 
The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board is urging those with asthma, lung and heart disease and diabetes not to leave it too late to pick up their repeat prescriptions.
 
They say it is important to remember that most GP practices and pharmacies will operate limited hours during the holiday period.
 
A spokesperson said: “It is very important to be prepared for the Christmas period, especially if you do have a long term health condition. A simple call to your GP before the holiday or a trip to the pharmacist can help you stay safe and well and enjoy the festivities.
 
“Stocking up on over the counter medicines as well at your local pharmacy is a good idea as many people do succumb to illness despite the seasonal cheer. And don’t forget that if you do feel unwell between Christmas and New Year with a sore throat or cold, choosing a trip to a pharmacist can help put you right."
 
NHS partners in North Wales are supporting the Choose Well campaign which highlights the message that Emergency Departments and 999 services are for life-threatening and serious conditions.
 
The Choose Well campaign assists people by linking their symptoms or injury to the right service.
 
A new app has been developed and can be downloaded to show the pharmacies, GP surgeries, out of hours GP service and Minor injuries units close to you.
 
For more information log on to: www.choosewellwales.org.uk

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Seasonal recycling arrangements announced

The county council has issued the following advice about recycling arrangements over the Christmas period:


BLUE WHEELIE BINS / RECYCLING SACKS AND ORANGE FOOD WASTE CADDIESYour recycling collection and food collection days may change during the holiday period so please CHECK your collection day to see the changes to the schedule:
USUAL COLLECTION DAY ACTUAL COLLECTION DAY
Monday 24 December stays the same Monday, 24 December
Tuesday 25 December changes to Wednesday 26 December
Wednesday 26 December changes to Thursday 27 December
Thursday 27 December changes to Friday 28 December
Friday 28 December changes to Saturday 29 December
Monday 31 December stays the same Monday 31 December
Tuesday 1 January changes to Wednesday 2 January
Wednesday 2 January changes to Thursday 3 January
Thursday 3 January changes to Friday 4 January
Friday 4 January changes to Saturday 5 January
USUAL COLLECTION DAY ACTUAL COLLECTION DAY

x2 GARDEN WASTE COLLECTIONS
There will be no collection of garden waste in the week starting Monday, 24 December.

X2 GREY WHEELIE BINS / PINK SACK COLLECTIONS

Your non-recyclable refuse collection day may change during the holiday period so
please CHECK your collection day opposite to see the changes to the schedule:

Monday 31 December stays the same Monday 31 December
Tuesday 1 January changes to Wednesday 2 January
Wednesday 2 January changes to Thursday 3 January
Thursday 3 January changes to Friday 4 January
Friday 4 January changes to Saturday 5 January

Fire service issues seasonal safety advice

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service is appealing to residents to spare a thought for safety in the run up to Christmas.

Firefighters have attended events in Llangollen, Johnstown, Penmaenmawr, Caernarfon and Abersoch to spread the word on Christmas fire safety.

Gareth Griffiths, Senior Fire Safety Manager, said: "The build up to Christmas and New Year can be a time to relax and enjoy the party atmosphere - but extra vigilance is vital to prevent a fire that could easily devastate the family home with the loss of presents and valuables, or even worse seriously injure you or a loved one."

Gareth explained that Christmas trees, lights and decorations add considerably to fire risk in the home and shared these golden rules for festive fire safety:
  • Always turn Christmas tree lights off and remove the plug at night, and when the room is going to be unoccupied for a length of time.
  • Ensure Christmas lights carry the British Safety Standard mark.
  • Do not overload plug sockets.
  • Ensure candles are in proper holders so they can't fall over, and do not leave lit candles unattended for any length of time.
  • Make sure open fires are well guarded and that wrapping paper, Christmas decorations etc., are kept well away.
  • Make sure smokers extinguish their cigarettes completely.
  • Take extra care after drinking alcohol.
  • Push the button, not your luck - Check your smoke alarms are working and don't be tempted to use the batteries to power any Christmas presents.
  • Make your plan. Get out alive - will everyone (including guests) know where your door and window keys are kept?
  • Don't be distracted when cooking - fire starts when your attention stops.
Gareth added: "Everyone likes to enjoy themselves over Christmas, and we're just asking them to keep safety in mind while celebrating. I'd also like to remind residents about the dangers of cooking after drinking alcohol - cooking and drinking just don't mix.

"We all need to consider the possible consequences of our actions and think safe to stay safe."

For more advice on fire safety and for the opportunity to have free smoke alarms fitted in your home, please contact North Wales Fire and Rescue Service for a free home fire safety check.

* To register, please call our free 24 hour hotline on 0800 169 1234 or visit www.nwales-fireservice.org.uk or text 88365, ensuring you prefix your message with the word HFSC.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Beware of dodgy "David Cameron" e-mail


* Cheers! Hope you enjoy the two million quid I'm sending you.

llanblogger has received an e-mail from the Prime Minister.

And, apparently, he wants to make us £2 million richer.
The only stipulations are that I get in touch with Foreign Secretary William Hague to arrange for payment to be made, I can’t have the windfall all at once and I shouldn’t tell anyone else about it – or I’ll get nothing.   
Hard to believe?
Well, of course it is because it’s a load of rubbish.
The e-mail in question dropped into our inbox early on Friday morning, and it says: 
“Our ref: ATM/13470/IDR
Your ref:...Date: 13/12/2012

IMMEDIATE PAYMENT NOTIFICATION

I am The Rt Hon David Cameron MP,Prime Minister, First Lord of the Treasury
and Minister for the Civil Service British Government. This letter is to
officially inform you that (ATM Card Number 5454 7168 0041 0640) has been
accredited with your favor. Your Personal Identification Number is 1090.The
VISA Card Value is 2,000,000.00(Two Million, Great British Pounds Sterling).

This office will send to you an Visa Card/ATM CARD that you will use to
withdraw your funds in any ATM MACHINE CENTER or Visa card outlet in the
world with a maximum of ?5000 GBP daily.Further more,You will be required to
re-confirm the following information to enable;The Rt Hon William Hague MP
First Secretary of State for British Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs.. begin
in processing of your ATM Card.

(1)Full names: (2)Address: (3)Country: (4)Nationality: (5)Phone #: (6)Age:
(7)Occupation: (8) Post Codes

Rt Hon William Hague MP.
First Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Email; ef-ministry@superposta.com
Tel: +447035907446

TAKE NOTICE: That you are warned to stop further communications with any
other person(s) or office(s) different from the staff of the State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs to avoid hitches in receiving your payment.”
Even if you’re tempted to believe there might be a grain of truth in all this, there are a few glaring errors such as the “Prime Minister’s” reputed e-mail address of (araraquara@stb.com.br), which hardly seems like one Mr Cameron is likely to have, the spelling and grammatical errors and the fact that governments usually take money away from you rather than handing out.
The expert advice to anyone who receives such communications is always that if something seems too good to be true it invariably is.
This e-mail is so preposterous it’s laughable, so let’s hope no-one actually falls for it by giving the sender any personal information.

Hospital visitors asked to help combat stomach bugs

Visitors to hospitals across North Wales this winter are being asked to help banish the bugs which can put a serious strain on services.
This time of year traditionally sees cases of sickness and diarrhoea rise considerably, causing admissions to be restricted, staff to go off ill and appointments to be postponed.
 
The bugs behind the winter blues are the two types of virus, Norovirus and Rotavirus, which cause short-lived unpleasant symptoms for the patient and a headache for hospital services.
 
Already the virus will be circulating in the community, waiting to thrive in a place where there is a lot of people movement and contact...such as a hospital.
 
A Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board spokesperson said: “The ideal environment for this virus to spread is any place where large numbers of people mix together which is why outbreaks of the illness are particularly common in hospitals.
 
"One the bugs gets into the hospital, they can make already poorly patients seriously ill, especially the elderly and those with chronic conditions.
 
“Although we have decontamination polices in place to combat outbreaks, these can take a few days to have an impact, meaning wards and services are still affected during an already busy time for the NHS.
 
"We might have to restrict visiting or even close wards until the problem is contained, meaning a lonely festive period for some patients.
 
"People can help the NHS beat the bugs and keeps services running over by choosing to take the few simple steps below:
· Wait at least 48 hours if you have experienced symptoms of vomiting or diarrhoea
· No more than two visitors to be at a patient’s bedside at any one time
· We strongly advise visitors not to bring small babies or children onto the wards
· Visitors should always wash their hands with soap and water before entering and exiting the ward
· Visitors should always use the chairs provided and not sit on beds
· Always wash your hands after visiting the toilet
The main symptoms of the Norovirus infection are sudden nausea, stomach ache followed by severe ‘projectile’ vomiting and or diarrhoea.
 
You may also have a slight fever, headache, stomach cramps and aching limbs. Symptoms usually begin between 12 – 48 hours after a person becomes infected, with most healthy people making a recovery within one to three days; however young children and elderly people can sometimes suffer complications, the most frequent of which is dehydration.
 
Sickness and diarrhoea can be best treated by staying at home, drinking plenty of fluids and getting some rest. Advice is available from your local pharmacist, or by logging on to www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk or calling 08454647.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Council's weather warning

Denbighshire County Council is urging people to take extra care on the roads this morning, as icy weather continues to affect the North Wales region.

Gritting teams have been out and about overnight, but the road temperatures have been slow to rise this morning. All roads are open, but the Council urges extreme caution.

Wetter, milder weather is forecast for the rest of the day.

Winter bug closes three Maelor wards



The Leader is reporting this morning (Friday) that three wards at Wrexham Maelor Hospital have been closed to new admissions following the outbreak of a vomiting bug.

Eight patients are displaying symptoms of diarrhoea and vomiting, adds the story.

For the full report see: http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/118382/hospital-wards-close-after-bug-outbreak.aspx

Reminder to check food hygiene ratings

Denbighshire County Council is reminding consumers of the national food hygiene rating schemes as they prepare to eat out over the festive period.

The National Food Hygiene Rating Scheme, knwon as Scores on the Doors, is a UK-wide scheme being developed between the Food Standards Agency (FSA), food businesses, local authorities and other related organisations.


The chief purpose of the scheme is to allow consumers to make informed choices about the places in which they eat out and from which they purchase food, and through this, to encourage businesses to improve hygiene standards.


Restaurants, takeaways, cafés, sandwich shops, pubs, hotels, supermarkets and other retail food outlets, as well as other businesses where consumers can eat or buy food, are given a hygiene rating as part of the scheme.


There are six different hygiene ratings - the top one represents a very good level of compliance with legal requirements and businesses across the country will be rated consistently by participating Local Authorities, so ensuring that they are compared fairly. All local authorities in Wales are intending to take part in the scheme.


All ratings are published on a national website where consumers can see them, and businesses will also be encouraged to display them at their premises.


Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "We want people to eat safely this Christmas and people considering eating out in local restaurants can check the score achieved by the establishment prior to dining there. The majority of local businesses do comply with the stringent health and safety rules, but occasionally, some may fall below the standard required and we will ask the business to take steps to rectify the problem."


Ten pages of ratings related to the LL20 postcode covering Llangollen and district can be seen at: 
 
http://ratings.food.gov.uk/search/en-GB?ba=ll20&sm=1&st=1&pi=0&sc=%2fsearch%2fen-GB 

Llan band youngsters delight Glyndyfrdwy audience


Llangollen Silver Band youth section goes from strength to strength.

Last Friday the people of Glyndyfrdwy were delighted to welcome the youngsters to their annual Christmas get-together to play a mixture of carols and Christmas music interspersed with items of songs and music by local children.

Their next major engagement is at Llangollen Town Hall on Friday, December 21 at 7pm  for a Grand Gala with the Training Band and Senior Band.

Tickets at £5 are available on the door or via the website at www. Llangollensilverband.org

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Llan in the bleak mid-winter

With temperatures not moving much away from zero all day today, most of the local landscape ended up under a thick carpet of frost.

You don't see it happen often but even part of the canal basin was frozen over.

The eisteddfod field also looked pretty bleak, in stark contrast the hive of activity it was back in July.

Send in your chilly pics to llanglogger@gmail.com


* Part of the canal basin was frozen over. 


* A wintry eisteddfod field.

Let us see your frost pictures

Town councillor Phil Thane has sent in this atmospheric series of frost pictures taken in the garden of his Llangollen home earlier today.

We're still looking for pictures which reflect the "winter wonderland" experience we're having at the moment, so if you'd like to share yours with our readers please email them to: llanglogger@gmail.com








Stan's £250 boost for Tidy Town Team


* From left, Tidy Towns Team member Alan Williams and
co-ordinator David Davies receive the £250 cheque from
Stan’s store owner Andrew Faulks. 
 
A GROUP of dedicated volunteers who help keep Llangollen running smoothly has received a welcome boost to its funds.
The Tidy Town Team, which has this year worked hundreds of unpaid hours on projects as diverse as picking up litter to controlling traffic for a major funeral, has been given a donation of £250 from the Stan’s superstore chain.
The team was formed in 2006 by local residents with the aim of providing a volunteer resource to supplement official activity in the town.
Now around 20 strong, it meets on the first Friday of every month and in 2012 has done an incredible 800 hours of work including collecting 83 sacks of litter and picking up 152 discarded vodka bottles.
Other tasks undertaken by the team during the past year have included the supply and installation of seating for the band stand and the installation of three extra picnic tables in Riverside park, planting trees, clearing overgrown vegetation and tidying dilapidated property.

Team members, a number of whom are retired professional people, have also assisted with events such as marshalling vehicles taking part in a car rally at Plas Newydd, the Food Festival at Llangollen Pavilion and the town’s Christmas festival.
In the summer they also hoped control traffic to allow the funeral cortege of Llangollen Silver band stalwart Albert Hammonds to pass through the main street.
The £250 contribution from Stan’s was handed over to the team by owner Andrew Faulks.
He explained that the money came from Nisa, the trade organisation to which the store belongs, as part of its national Making a Difference Locally Fund, which has so far enabled Stan’s to donate a total of over £11,500 to various good causes within 20 miles of its branches in Llangollen and St Martin’s, Oswestry in the past few years.
He said: “We believe in supporting good causes in our communities and the Tidy Town Team is one of them.”
Tidy Town co-ordinator David Davies said: “We are very grateful to Stan’s for this contribution which will help us to continue our work throughout 2013.
“As a group of local residents our aim is to provide a volunteer resource to supplement official activity in maintain Llangollen as a Tidy Town to the pride of residents and visitors alike.”