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Monday, May 27, 2013

Just a short break

Llanblogger is taking a short break for the rest of this week.

However, we'll be back with all the latest news and views affecting our town and our region early next week.

So see you then ...

KLS safety concerns over Post Office switch

Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) says it has concerns about one aspect of the plan to transfer the town's main Post Office from Castle Street to Stan's on the A5.

A member of the group has seen a notice in the Post Office to say the Castle Street premises will be closing on July 20, with the move to Stan's taking place on July 22.

But KLS chair Mike Edwards said: "We are concerned about the dangers for pedestrians crossing the A5 at this very busy location and these dangers will be intensified with increased volume of pedestrians going to and from the new Sub PO.

"We will be discussing this at our next meeting and will consider representations to our local members on DCC, but we may also establish a petition to make clear the community's concern about this issue."

Public asked to help tackle alien invaders in the Dee



* Himalayan balsam may look pretty but it can
cause havoc on river banks, out-competing native
vegetation and dying back over
winter leaving banks open to erosion.
 Organisations across North Wales and Cheshire are appealing for volunteers to help eradicate non-native species from the River Dee and its tributaries. 

Preparations are now gathering pace for Big Dee Day – the Invasion – which takes place on 28 and 29 June and follows on from the success of the annual Big Dee Day river clean-up.

This is the first ever coordinated event to tackle invasive non-native plants and animals, such as Japanese knotweed, Himalayan balsam and Chinese mitten crab.

A Denbighshire County Council spokesperson said: "It is open to everyone across the area – and we need your help to tackle our alien invaders right across the Dee catchment, from the river’s source in Snowdonia National Park right through Cheshire to its estuary in Liverpool Bay.

"These alien species are brought to the UK either accidentally or intentionally and can cause big problems for our native wildlife, as well as having other effects such as making river banks more prone to erosion, which can lead to flooding."

Local authority Countryside Services, Snowdonia National Park Authority, the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Natural Resources Wales, Wildlife Trusts, the Welsh Dee Trust, Cofnod, Record and Chester Zoo are among the many organisations involved in organising this major event.


Councillor Carolyn Thomas, Chairman of Flintshire County Council and Chairman of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, said: “This is going to be a fantastic opportunity for everyone to pull on their wellies and make a huge difference to our local environment. This is about direct action, on both sides of the border, and we are encouraging members of the public and voluntary groups to get stuck in with balsam bashing! We also need people to spy on the alien invaders and record their locations. Please keep 28 and 29 June in your diary and register your interest at  www.bionetwales.co.uk or contact your local biodiversity officer.”

Big Dee Day – The Invasion also has a Facebook page –
www.facebook.com/BigDeeDayTheInvasion

Local biodiversity officers are listed below:





























 

 

 

 

Cheshire Wildlife Trust

Lyn Byrne

07971 052162

lbyrne@cheshirewt.org.uk

Denbighshire

Lizzy Webster

01824 708263

elizabeth.webster@denbighshire.gov.uk

Flintshire

Amy Green

01352 703263

amy.e.green@flintshire.gov.uk

Snowdonia National Park

Gethin Davies

01766 772515

g.davies@eryri-npa.gov.uk

Wrexham

Emma Broad

01978 298762

emma.broad@wrexham.gov.uk

Gwynedd

Adam Daniel

01286
679381


adamdaniel@gwynedd.gov.uk



Sunday, May 26, 2013

Fish and chips will help build special steam loco



* An artist's impression of how The Unknown Warrior will look on its launch day on 2018. 

VISITORS to Llangollen Railway are being invited to tuck into fish and chips to help top up the £1.5 million fund to build a new steam engine to mark the end of World War One. 

Specialist engineers at the heritage railway are steaming ahead with the ambitious scheme to create an entirely new locomotive, to be called The Unknown Warrior, by November, 2018 – exactly a century after the guns fell silent on the Western Front at the end of the 1914-18 conflict. 

The aim of the LMS Patriot Project is to commemorate all those who died in the “war to end wars”.

To keep the building project rolling ahead regular cash injections are needed, and the latest fundraiser will the running of a Fish n Chip Special train from Llangollen Station on Saturday, June 15.  

Tickets are £15 each and include a return trip on the Dee Valley line, starting at 7.30pm, hauled by the steam engine Black 5, subject to availability. 

The LMS-Patriot Project  was launched by heritage railway enthusiast David Bradshaw with the aim of building a new Patriot class loco, the originals of which ran in the 1920s and 30s. 

This will tour heritage railways across the country and will also be capable of running on the mainline rail network. 

Finance for the project is coming from public donations, legacies, commercial sponsorship and grant applications. 

It has received the endorsement of the Royal British Legion, and the engine will carry a Legion crest above its nameplate.  

Many original LMS drawings have been obtained for the project and, where necessary,  draughtsmen are preparing new plans using computer techniques which produce them in 3D. 

Assembly of the The Unknown Warrior began in 2009 led by Dave Owen, chief mechanical engineer of Llangollen Railway Works.  

Other workshops around the UK are making components for the new loco. 

The massive chassis of The Unknown warrior have now been laid using heavy gauge steel plate and enormous castings at a cost of £48,000. 

Next stages are to install the steam parallel boiler. Roughly the length of a single-decker bus and three times as heavy, this will cost £500,000. 

Next will come the fitting of the loco’s six 6ft high wheels iron wheels, which have a total cost of £60,000. 

The “tyres” which encase the wheels and the axles on which they will turn are both being sourced from specialists in South Africa. 

While some of the components for the engine are new, others are being reclaimed from scrap or bought from private railway collections. 

The booking form can also be downloaded from: www.lms-patriot.org.uk/FishnChip.pdf and the deadline for bookings is May 31. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Chance to get your dog micro-chipped

Denbighshire County Council Dog Warden Service, working in partnership with North Clwyd Animal Rescue, is holding a micro-chipping event on Friday 31 May, from 9am to 5pm ,at the Car Park, Market Street, Llangollen.

Dog owners who have yet to microchip their pet are invited to come along and for a cost of £10 have their dog safely and securely micro-chipped.


For further information please contact Denbighshire County Council Dog Warden Service on 01824 706444.

Latest roadworks


 
Latest local roadworks notified by Denbighshire County Council are:

A542 Llandegla, Dafarn Dywrch roundabout to Ponderosa Café, temporary traffic lights on May 29 and 30 to allow tree cutting.

A542 Horseshoe Pass, Lllangollen, temporary traffic lights until May 24 to allow sign erection.

A539 Llangollen Road, Llangollen, temporary traffic lights from June 3-5 to allow water works by Dee Valley Water.

Birch Hill, Llangollen, temporary traffic lights until September 20 to allow water works by Welsh Water.

A539 Mill Street, Llangollen, temporary traffic lights from May 30-June 3 to allow water works by Dee Valley Water.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fresh police appeal for missing Acrefair man

North Wales Police are continuing in their efforts to trace David Clwyd Davies who has not been seen since the April 8.
 
It was initially believed that Mr Davies (pictured below) had not been seen since April 7.

However, investigations show that he was seen in the Cefn area of Wrexham County between 1 and 2pm on Monday April 8.

Since then there have been several unconfirmed reports that Mr Davies has been sighted outside North Wales namely in the North West of England.
 
Detective Inspector Arwyn Jones who is leading the enquiry said, “It is seven weeks on Sunday May 26 since Mr Davies was last seen and our investigation into his disappearance remains a priority.  We would again ask members of the public who may hold any information that may assist the enquiry to come forward, particularly anybody who knows Clwyd, and who may have any information about his life or movements, past or present.    
 
Anybody with any information should contact North Wales Police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.Pictured below) had not been seen since April 7. However, investigations show that he was seen in the Cefn area of Wrexham County between 1 and 2pm on Monday April 8.

Since then there have been several unconfirmed reports that Mr Davies has been sighted outside North Wales namely in the North West of England.
 
Detective Inspector Arwyn Jones who is leading the enquiry said, “It is seven weeks on Sunday May 26 since Mr Davies was last seen and our investigation into his disappearance remains a priority.  We would again ask members of the public who may hold any information that may assist the enquiry to come forward, particularly anybody who knows Clwyd, and who may have any information about his life or movements, past or present.    
 
Anybody with any information should contact North Wales Police on 101 or alternatively Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Warning follows bike theft

Neighbourhood Watch has put out the following message to people in Llangollen:

"Please be aware that thieves are operating in your area.  On Thursday 23rd May 2013 at approximately 15.00hrs an unknown male was sighted at Dinas Bran School stealing a mountain bike.

"The mountain bike is described as a lime green “Identity” mountain bike with, front suspension and disc brakes.

"The male is described as approximately 18 to 25 years of age, white appearance, medium to stocky build with stubble.  He was wearing a grey hoody and dark jogging bottom with white trainers.

"If you see a person or a bike matching the above description call North Wales Police on 101 quoting reference P079807."

AM raises government's "failure to respond" over health changes

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood is concerned that the Welsh Government has failed to respond to  Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council’s urgent concerns regarding proposed changes to health services in North Wales.

Mr Isherwood raised the matter in this week’s Business Statement, emphasising that the health council submitted its response to the proposals in March, but are still awaiting a reply. 
  
Speaking in the Chamber, Mr Isherwood said: “Could we have a response to last week’s statement by the Betsi Cadwaladr Community Health Council that it still awaits a detailed response from the new Minister for Health and Social Services, following its objections to some of the health board’s plans for local services?
 
“Members of the community health council’s executive committee were disappointed to learn that, although they had submitted a formal response to the previous Minister for health—yourself, Minister—at the beginning of March, it had yet to receive a full response addressing some urgent concerns that they had about the effect of changes to services in north Wales.”
 
The Minister for Local Government and Government Business Lesley Griffiths told Mr Isherwood: “You will be aware that all health boards are going through service reconfiguration plans at present. I am sure that the Minister is looking at the plans holistically for all of Wales.” 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

First Minister's statement on Woolwich attack

Wales' First Minister Carwyn Jones (pictured left) has made this statement on yesterday's attack in Woolwich in which a young soldier from Greater Manchester was killed:

“The horrific events in Woolwich yesterday will be condemned by communities across Wales. 

"I have today spoken to Brigadier Napier, the Army Commander for Wales, to express solidarity with the Armed Services and to send our deepest condolences to the family of the serviceman killed yesterday.

"As Chair of the Faith Communities Forum, I am proud that Wales is a multi-cultural society that enjoys the experiences and vibrancy that this brings to our country.

“Now is not the time to point fingers and play into the hands of these isolated attackers, but is a time to build on the strong unity of our communities and defy the very nature of these barbaric attacks.” 

June 1 is date for Llangollen Fete at Plas Newydd


* The grounds of Plas Newydd is the venue for Llangollen Fete on Saturday, June 1.

Llangollen  Fete, jointly organised by the Rotary and Inner Wheel Clubs, takes place on Saturday, June 1, opening at 2pm.

Attractions include the beautiful grounds of the venue, Plas Newydd; Punch and Judy and music shows; toy, book, bathroom and bric-a-brac sales stalls; home-made refreshments and a cake and produce stall; Llangollen Town Band; make a scarecrow competition; decorated bikes and fancy dress competition for children; a bottle stall and a grand raffle with quality prizes, sideshows and local organisation stalls plus Chem, Llangollen's own town crier.

New town mayor installed - one councillor stepping down




Llangollen has a new mayor in the shape of Cllr Bob Lube.

The official transfer of the office from Cllr Jon Haddy took place at the annual meeting of the Town Council on Tuesday night.
Cllr Lube (pictured below left) told Cllr Haddy as he stepped down: “Thank you for the sterling work you have done during your term of office and I hope I can continue at the same level.”
Cllr Haddy was then presented with the traditional previous mayor’s medal before taking his place on the benches.
Cllr Mike Adams was unanimously voted in as deputy mayor.
Cllr Phil Thane becomes chair of the planning committee for the municipal year ahead and Cllr Adams will chair the general purposes committee.
Later, during the normal monthly council meeting, Cllr Tim Palmer (pictured below right) who was elected last year, announced that he is standing down from the council and that this meeting would be his last.
He told members that he and his family were moving to the United States where he would be taking up a new job.
Town clerk Gareth Thomas said the vacant position on the council would now be advertised.
Cllr Palmer said: “I would like to thank everyone for their patience, counsel and good humour during my time on the council. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself.”
The mayor told him: “On behalf of the council I would like to thank you for 12 months of service and wish you all the best for the future.”  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

More focus needed on supporting older people, says Skates

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates met with the Older People’s Commissioner Sarah Rochira on Wednesday to discuss the future of services for older people living in his constituency.
 
The AM said plans needed to put in place now to support the regions ageing population to avoid putting intolerable strain on council budgets in future years. 
 
He said more focus needed to be put on supporting older people to live independently in their own homes to prevent situations escalating into crisis.
 
He welcomed the proposed Older People’s Commissioning Strategy in Wrexham which outlines plans for older people’s services in Wrexham over the next five years.
 
Mr Skates said: “Our local population is getting older and in future years there is inevitably going to be an even bigger demand for care and support services to help older people live their lives in a dignified and enjoyable way.
 
“One only need look at Wrexham Council’s own figures to see the growing requests for care services.  Of the 475 care packages currently being delivered for a period of 12 months or more by the Council, 54% have seen an increase in the number of hours delivered.
 
“At the same time we are moving into a period of much tighter financial resources and even tighter council budgets.  If we are to avoid our care system collapsing in future years it is vital we use the funding we do have set aside for older peoples services to care for our older people in a much more efficient and streamlined way.
 
“I met with the Older People’s Commissioner to discuss some of the issues facing older people in areas like Wrexham so we can ensure the structure of services works for the big challenges ahead.
 
“I welcome Wrexham Council’s proposed new Older People’s Commissioning Strategy which will shape care for older people over the next five years.  It recognises we need to support more of our older people in their own homes rather than letting them get into a crisis situation where they need more expensive and more traumatic interventions, such as a move into a care home or local hospital, at a later stage.
 
“Wrexham currently enables 81% of the older people it supports to continue living independently within their own homes, so this is a good basis from which to start from.
 
“We need to see services such as domiciliary care delivered in a more personal way as well as an even greater focus on reablement to enable people who use care services to remain independent within their own homes for as long as possible.
 
“There are big challenges ahead for our ageing population, but ones we can address if we plan effectively.”
 
Ken Skates is part of the National Assembly’s Health and Social Care Committee scrutinising the Social Services and Wellbeing Bill currently making its way through the Assemb

Town council briefed on county issues affecting Llangollen

Councillor Stuart Davies, one of Llangollen’s representatives on Denbighshire County Council, gave a run-down on recent matters affecting the local area last night’s Town Council meeting.

Invited to speak by the new Mayor, Cllr Bob Lube, he began with an update on the plan to create a day nursery for local youngsters in a new building at Ysgol Bryn Collen.

This, he said, would be somewhere safe where mums could drop off their children in a morning and pick them up in the afternoon.
Cllr Davies explained that, with his support, a community interest company had been formed to run the new facility whose members were now working on the details of funding for it.
He said that Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates had also been asked for his support.
On the issue of the future use of the former county council refuse tip on the A539, Cllr Davies said a study was being made of this and a number of possible uses had already been suggested.
These included one proposal by Friends of the Earth to turn it into some form of tourist attraction using the nearby railway and others to use it for football or rugby pitches.
Cllr Davies was questioned by Cllr Mike Pugh on what the county was doing about the “dangerous” state of the old brewery opposite Dobson & Crowther on the A5.
Cllr Pugh said that in March a large quantity of snow had fallen from the roof of the building badly damaging a vehicle being driven along the A5.
He asked Cllr Davies if he could pursue the issue with the county council.
Cllr Davies agreed to do this and explained that about six months ago the county had held a meeting about the number of derelict buildings in the town, including the old brewery.
At that meeting, he said, it had been suggested that the owners of these buildings should be ordered to do something about the properties.
Cllr Lube said another building that was giving cause for concern was the former Jobcentre in Castle Street.
Cllr Davies said this had been another of the buildings discussed at the meeting and added: “The owner won’t engage with us but  is on our radar, it is on our system.”
Questioned by Cllr Jane Palombella about the addition to the county’s Local Development Plan as a possible site for housing of an area in front of Fron Bache in Llangollen, Cllr Davies said he was opposed to this and that he would try to get it turned down and referred to the appropriate Welsh Government Minister.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

AM hits out over new truancy penalties

North Wales Assembly Member Aled Roberts, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Education, has described yesterday's announcement that fixed penalty notices will be issued to parents whose children are regularly absent from school, as counter-productive.

The Minister's decision has been based on the results of a consultation carried out between November 2012 and February 2013.

Mr Roberts said: "I believe this is a disproportionate response to a problem which requires a far more creative response than a fining system.

"Evidence shows that children from poorer backgrounds are more likely to play truant and achieve poorer educational outcomes. I am concerned that fining parents of truant pupils will cause them even more economic hardship and will do nothing to address the problems of their child missing vital school hours.

"It is also crucial that we consider the reasons why children are often absent from school.

"There were just 53 responses to this consultation, including only 12 of the 22 Welsh local authorities, along with 16 schools/headteachers and 12 parents/carers. Of those 53, only just over half - 55% - agreed with the penalty notice option.

"Fixed penalty fines can never replace targeted intervention and effective engagement with pupils and parents.

"Whilst parents must take responsibility for their children's behaviour and fulfil their obligation to ensure they attend school, a community-wide approach involving parents, police and local welfare officers would be much more effective than theses punitive measures being implemented by the Education Minister.

"This is yet another attempt at a quick fix by the Minister which is unlikely to be of any benefit to the families concerned."

Clwyd South political duo have designs on new logo

 
* Susan Elan Jones MP and Ken Skates AM.
 
A political duo are giving their constituents the chance to design a logo that distils the spirit of their constituency
 
Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates and Member of Parliament Susan Elan Jones have launched a competition open to all residents of their constituency to design a logo for use on all official correspondence.
 
The competition is open to all individuals and organisations in the Clwyd South constituency and the winning design will feature on all letters, emails, and information publications issued by the pair while they are in office.
 
Clwyd South AM Ken Skates said: “This is an opportunity for our constituents to help us create a logo for our constituency that gives a powerful sense of what the Clwyd South constituency is and what it represents.
 
“Entries can be in any medium – whether that’s a picture, a photograph or a digital image – and we’re excited to see the creativity that comes from our constituents.”
 
Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones said: "We’re very lucky to represent such a diverse constituency that includes the rural areas of Llandrillo and Corwen and extends along the Dee Valley, through Llangollen to the Shropshire border and into the more populous areas of Ruabon, Rhosllannerchrugog, Coedpoeth and Brymbo.
 
“We’re looking for a design that encompasses everything this area represents – our history and heritage as well as the future and potential for the area.”
 
Entries should be sent to the office of Ken Skates AM, Unit 19, The Malthouse Business Centre, Regent Street, Llangollen, LL20 8HS and electronic submissions can be emailed to Ken.Skates@Wales.gov.uk. All entries should be received by Wednesday, July 31.
 
To check whether you live in the Clwyd South constituency, enter your postcode into the search engine at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/ or telephone Ken Skates’ constituency office on 01978 869058.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Mayor presents 20 Civic Awards


* Civic Awards recipients with the Mayor, Cllr John Haddy, far left.

Twenty individuals and organisations from Llangollen were presented with Civic Awards during a special ceremony at the Mayor's Charity Concert at the Town Hall on Saturday.

The Mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy, made presentations to:

Llangollen Railway, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Llangollen Christmas Festival and Llangollen Food Festival for services to the local economy.
Llangollen Rotary Dial a Ride, Llangollen Community Project and Llangollen Tidy Town Team for services to the community.
Llangollen and District Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, Llangollen Fringe, Llangollen Silver Band, Llangollen Twenty Club Amateur Players and Llangollen Pantomime Group for services to culture.
Individual award winners were: Lynda Wood (Llangollen Youth Football), Sharon Jones (Young Farmers), Stella Bond (music), Albert Hammonds (music), Gill Thomas (the community, Sgt Paul Hughes (Llangollen policing), Margaret Pierce-Jenkins (Llangollen News), David Davies (Tidy Town Coordinator).

Latest roadworks ...





Latest local roadworks notified by Denbighshire County Council are:

Birch Hill, Llangollen, until September 20, road closure to allow water works by Welsh Water.

A542 Horseshoe Pass, Lllangollen, until May 24, temporary traffic lights to allow sign erection.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Llangollen Community Garden is a growing success


* Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, left, helps community gardener Sam Rex-Edwards with the planting.



* Warren Davies cultivates one of the growing areas watched by fellow group members and an open day visitor. 
A green-fingered bunch who have turned an overgrown plot into a thriving garden proudly showed off their handiwork to the public yesterday (Saturday).
A constant stream of people turned up to see the job done by members of Llangollen Community Garden on a site of around half an acre close to Plas Newydd.
Once the kitchen garden of a nearby grand house, the area has been leased by the group from Denbighshire County Council since late last summer.
Since then, the 25-strong organisation, which was originally set up with the help of Friends of the Earth, has spent months transforming the site from a wilderness of overgrown trees and weeds into a carefully cultivated garden.
The land is on two tiers, with the higher section being used to grow flowers and the lower part being turned over to vegetables.

According to Catherine Vesey, who has helped co-ordinate the project, the first crop of onions, potatoes, broad beans and peas should be ready for picking in a few weeks’ time.
She said that, throughout Saturday, more than 20 people had visited the garden open day, including Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones.
“She turned up in her wellies and stayed for a couple of hours to help us with some planting,” added Catherine.
“She also pledged her support for The Bee Cause, which we are promoting. This aims to persuade the UK Government to back measures to protect bees which are currently under threat.” 
Garden sessions are held every weekend and on selected weekday evenings, with group members taking it turns to help with the work.
More details of the Community Garden can be found online at www.llangollengarden.co.uk, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LlangollenCommunityGarden or by text/calling 07525 016503.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Railway stages its teddy bears' picnic

Llangollen Railway is hosting a teddy bears' picnic tomorrow (Sunday).

The poster below gives details of what visitors can expect ...


Search begins for county's sporting champions

Denbighshire is on the lookout for the county's top sporting stars for this year's Community Sports Awards.

This follows on from an extremely successful 2012 event, when three out of the nine Denbighshire Community Sport Award finalists went on to win national awards in Cardiff.

Nominees must live in Denbighshire, or be affiliated to a Denbighshire club relevant to their nomination and have achieved their success in the last 12 months up to the application closing date - Friday July 19th 2013.

A council spokesperson said: "Over the last month many sporting seasons have come to an end and as a result, we can now reflect on the sporting year.

"Clubs have been holding their presentation evenings, where players are awarded for different accomplishments during the year.

"The sporting season is also beginning for other sports such as tennis and cricket and we look forward to seeing what their season brings forward. We would like clubs to forward the names of players they wish to nominate for an award." 

Categories include Sports performer, Junior Sports performer, Coach of the year, Team of the year, Volunteer of the year, Disability Sport Award, Young Inspiration Award, Lifetime achievement Award and, after feedback from last year's event, a new award has been added to the list which is the ‘Sport in School award’.

An individual or team will also be chosen from all the previous category winners for their outstanding achievements/contribution to sport and will represent Denbighshire for the next year as a Community Sport Ambassador 2013.

For information on the criteria of each category, to look at pictures and the winners list from last years event, or to make an online nomination for this years event, then please visit www.denbighshireleisure.co.uk/sportawards.html

One of the highlights of last year's event was a double scoop for Aaron Evans, who has Cerebral Palsy.  Aaron won the Disability Sport Award and has also been Denbighshire’s Community Sport Ambassador for 2012.

He then also went on to win Sport Wales young coach of the year award in recognition of his voluntary work visiting primary schools throughout Denbighshire.

In this role he shared his experiences as a past disability footballer and captain for Everton FC and Wales, and introduced youngsters to new Paralympic sports.  Aaron has also now become a mentor for the Denbighshire Young Ambassador scheme in 2013.

He said: "To have been recruited as a volunteer with Denbighshire Leisure staff has been an amazing experience, to be able to give something back to my local community and to broaden people’s horizon about disability sport has been fantastic, and it was an honour to be recognised for my achievements.”

Denbighshire Leisure service staff are also looking for suitable organisations that would like to link to their brand to the community sport awards as a category sponsor and a ‘sponsorship package’ can be sent for more information.

For more information on the awards and details on how to nominate or sponsor next year's event please contact Matt Hilliker on 07798742290 or matthew.hilliker@denbighshire.gov.uk or visit www.denbighshireleisure.co.uk.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Inspector gives the nod to county's planning blueprint

Another milestone has been reached in the history of the Denbighshire Local Development Plan  (LDP) - with the Inspector's report deeming the document to be 'sound'.

The Local Development Plan allocates land to meet the needs of the County for uses such as housing, including affordable housing, employment, retail and leisure as well as providing protection for our high quality environment and landscape.

Councillors in Denbighshire will discuss the LDP at a Full Council meeting taking place on 4 June.

The Local Development Plan makes provision for 7,500 new homes over the 15 year period 2006 – 2021.  

The council successfully argued that this was the appropriate level of growth for the county in the face of pressure from Welsh Government and the building industry that the figure should be significantly higher.  

Of the 7,500 new homes over 1,400 have already been built and a further 1,750 have planning permission.  The Inspector identified through the examination that additional sites should be put forward to ensure the remaining housing supply could be met.  

The council put forward 21 additional sites which the Inspector has included in the final Plan along with another four sites not put forward by the council.  

All sites included in the final Local Development Plan have been submitted by landowners during the preparation process and consulted upon.

The Key Strategic Site at Bodelwyddan forms an important part of the Local Development Plan strategy and will provide 1,715 new homes, 26 hectares of employment land as well as a new primary school, community facilities and open space.  

There are also significant development sites located in Rhyl, Meliden, Rhuddlan, St Asaph, Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen.  Smaller development sites to meet local needs have also been allocated across the county.

A new settlement tier for hamlets has been introduced which will allow limited affordable housing development in very rural areas for people with a local connection to the area. 

Affordable housing provision will be required on all sites of 3 or more homes starting at 10% and rising progressively to 30% as house prices rise in the future.  

All permissions for conversions of rural buildings, infill developments and exceptions sites outside of development boundaries will only be permitted as affordable homes to meet local needs.

The re-use of brown field land is promoted through the Plan, along with the regeneration of Rhyl.  A zone protecting and promoting tourism uses has been allocated along the coast and appropriate, sustainable tourism initiatives are encouraged throughout the county.  

In order to protect and enhance the landscape, the redevelopment of caravan parks to reduce density and improve landscaping is encouraged. The development of new static caravan sites will however not be permitted.

The St Asaph business park will continue to provide high quality employment land to boost the local economy along with policies to encourage appropriate employment development in the County’s towns and more rural areas.  Retail development will be concentrated in town centres to assist in regeneration and ensure they remain vibrant and able to meet the needs of the people of Denbighshire now and in the future.

Open spaces are protected; including land on the Park View Estate in Rhyl that has been a key ambition of the local population for many years; and policies are included to ensure that new developments include open space.  

Areas of high landscape value are protected from inappropriate development including the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB, the Area of Outstanding Beauty around Cynwyd and Llandrillo and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal World Heritage Site.
Once adopted, the Local Development Plan will be monitored on an annual basis to ensure that the policies are delivering the desired outcomes, and meeting the agreed targets.  

Copies of the Inspectors Report can be found on Denbighshire County Council's website  (www.denbighshire.gov.uk) and at all council libraries, one stop shops and Bodelwyddan Community Centre.  

If the LDP were to be ratified by councillors on 4 June, copies of the full Plan would be available at the same locations.

Free smoke alarms uptake urged by AM

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates has called on his constituents to get a free smoke alarm fitted by North Wales Fire and Rescue Service.
 
If you live in North Wales, the local fire and rescue service is offering a free smoke alarm and installation service. They will also conduct a home fire safety check and assess whether vulnerable people need extra support.
 
Statistics show that individuals are six times more likely to die from a fire in the home if they do not have a smoke alarm.
 
The AM is urging every constituent without a smoke alarm to take up the offer.
 
Mr Skates said: “It is a tragedy that even today house fires still take the lives of far too many people.  Yet with the right safety advice and by installing a smoke alarm, individuals and families can greatly increase their chances of surviving a fire if one occurs at their home.
 
“That’s why I’m urging every constituent who doesn’t have a smoke alarm fitted in their home to take up this offer and call North Wales Fire and Rescue Service to get one installed.
 
“The home fire safety visit they do takes about twenty minutes and can be arranged at your convenience. Fully trained fire and rescue service staff, who always carry an identification card, will help supply and install free home smoke detectors or ensure that your existing alarms are in good working order.
 
“They can also help provide advice on how to make your home safe from fire and assist you in preparing an escape plan to help you and your family make your way safely out of the property in the event of a fire starting.
 
“They can also help provide specialised equipment for deaf and hard of hearing people and assess whether you are at high risk and may benefit from specialist equipment to help keep you safe.
 
“I’d urge everyone to get one installed as soon as possible.”
 
All of the above is FREE of charge and can be arranged by:
 
·        Filling in an online enquiry form at www.freesmokealarm.co.uk
 
·        Calling 0800 169 1234 at any time of the day or night to register
 
·        Texting 88365, prefixing the message with the word HFSC
 
Twelve top tips for fire safety at home:
 
1.     Fit smoke detectors on each level in your home. Keep them free from dust and test them once a week. Consider buying a 10-year alarm, otherwise change the batteries every year.
2.     Make a fire action plan so that everyone in your home knows how to escape if there's a fire.
3.     Keep the exits from your home clear so that people can escape if there's a fire. Make sure that everyone in your home can easily find the keys for doors and windows.
4.     Take extra care in the kitchen - accidents while cooking account for over half of fires in homes. Never leave young children alone in the kitchen.
5.     Take extra care when cooking with hot oil. Consider buying a deep-fat fryer which is controlled by a thermostat (if you don't already have one).
6.     Never leave lit candles in rooms that nobody is in or in rooms where children are on their own. Make sure candles are in secure holders on a surface that doesn't burn
7.     Make sure cigarettes are stubbed out properly and are disposed of carefully, and never smoke in bed.
8.     Get into the habit of closing doors at night. If you want to keep a child's bedroom door open, close the doors to the lounge and kitchen. This may well help save their life if there is a fire.
9.     Don't overload electrical sockets. Remember one plug for one socket.
10. Keep matches and lighters where children can't see or reach them.
11. Take special care when you're tired or when you've been drinking.
12. Don't leave the TV or other electrical appliances on standby as this could cause a fire. Always switch them off and unplug when not in use.
  

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Support latest Buy Local day tomorrow



Keep Llangollen Special (KLS) is running its latest Buy Local day tomorrow (Friday).

It’s another chance to patronise smaller independent businesses in the town in a bid to ensure money stays in Llangollen rather than being spent elsewhere.

Various participating shops and traders will once again have special offers during the day.  

KLS chair Mike Edwards said: “We postponed the event from last week – it is normally held on the second Friday in the month - to coincide with the Federation of Small Businesses own buy local week, which calls for residents and communities to support their local independent shops and suppliers.  

“KLS has now been holding our Buy Local initiative for over 12 months and the events continue to build up impetus because they are fully supported by our local independent businesses and many local residents.  

“I would appeal to all residents of Llangollen to support our local shops because they provide high quality and fresh goods at competitive prices.  

“The majority of residents can walk down into town, whether you live on the A5 side of town or the Abbey Road area. So why travel to distant locations with all the hassle of the traffic and the hidden cost of fuel to get there? 

“Residents can also be assured that if they spend locally their money recirculates in the Llangollen and Dee Valley economy and will not be exported to some distant corporate HQ in the south of England if you buy from a supermarket.” 

First Minster quizzed over elderly care costs

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has questioned the First Minister over Welsh Government action to address the substantial care costs many elderly and disabled people are faced with.
 
Speaking in the Assembly, Mr Isherwood referred to the UK Government’s Care Bill announced in the Queen’s Speech last week which  is aimed at joining up health and social care and will protect families in England from the "catastrophic" bills that can be run up,  and asked what is being proposed in Wales to deal with the problem.

He said: “One of the proposed Bills in the legislative programme announced in the Queen’s Speech was the Care Bill, which, among other things, proposes to cap care costs and extend the threshold for financial assistance from some £23,000 to £118,000 to protect people from catastrophic costs.

“My understanding is that that is England only, although, presumably, Barnettised money will come to the Welsh Government. How does the Welsh Government propose to address this particular problem, on a similar basis or otherwise, to protect people from those catastrophic costs in Wales?”

The First Minister told Mr Isherwood that the Welsh Government will “keep a close eye on the Care Bill in England”.
 
He said: “This is an issue on which we have to accept that there is a substantial cross-border flow of people who, potentially, will need to access care, and so, putting Wales in a better or worse position, as people might see it, will have an effect on where people would seek that care. Therefore, we will have to keep a close eye on the situation in England as we formulate our policy in Wales.”

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

County making "good progress" says finance watchdog


Denbighshire County Council continues to make good progress in delivering its improvement programme, according to the latest evaluation from the Wales Audit Office.

Each year, the Auditor General must report how well councils are planning for improvement and delivering their services. They draw on the work of relevant Welsh inspectorates, as well as work undertaken by the Wales Audit Office.


There are no recommendations for improvement in this year's Annual Improvement Report for Denbighshire.

The report's main highlights include:
  • The council has made good progress in most aspects of its work to adapt its services to address demographic change. This includes arrangements to support independence for older people and people with a learning disability and plans to support community initiatives to meet the need of older and disabled people.
  • Progress has been made in supporting regeneration projects in Rhyl. The council has begun to identify the resources necessary to achieve the ambitions it shares with partners for the town.  The council has also delivered many actions to support the county's economy, but its measures of success show limited progress during very challenging economic times.
  • Estyn has judged that the council provides good quality education services for children and young people, with good prospects for further improvement
  • The council's programme of road improvements is progressing, although an investigation is underway to identify whether  any additional work is needed to manage flood risk in the county following the 2012 flooding.
  • The council continues to make good progress with its plans to improve the way it works.

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans, said: "This latest report makes for very positive reading.  We are pleased that the report authors recognise the work going on around the Council's main priorities and there are already many successes that the Council can be proud of.

"Our work is centred around improving services for residents and it is clear from this report that the Council is heading in the right direction and that it has a sound plan for improving services and monitoring performance in the future.

"However, there is always room for improvement and the report recognises areas where the Council needs to make some progress. We will work to address those matters. "

This morning's flooding latest ...

A press statement on the flooding from North Wales Fire & Rescue Service this morning says:

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service has been attending flooding incidents this morning (15th May) - mainly involving surface water with no homes or buildings seriously affected.

Wrexham is the most affected area, although flood alerts issued by Natural Resources Wales / Environment Agency Wales also exist in other areas.

In Froncysyllte near Llangollen, the A5 has suffered significant flooding and is impassable to cars. At 7.11hours this morning a fire appliance from Llangollen was mobilised so that firefighters could help to push a car and its driver from floodwater to safety.

At 6.51 hours, two appliances from Wrexham were called to Lambourne Court to assist in pumping floodwater away from a property.

At 7.54 hours an officer was called to advise at a property in Bethania Road, Acrefair where sandbags are being deployed.

At 7.47 hours, a fire appliance from Wrexham was called to Hightown Road where a number of properties are affected and sandbags have been requested. North Wales Police is assisting in managing the traffic in the area.

Further advice is available from Natural Resources Wales / Environment Agency Wales and on the following websites;
www.environment-agency.wales.gov.uk
www.naturalresourceswales.gov.uk
/keeping-you-safe/near-water/advice.aspx?lang=en

Heavy rain causes flooding in the area

The Leader is reporting on its website how this morning's heavy rain has caused flooding which has affected this area.

See the full story at:
http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/news/122720/downpours-in-flintshire-and-wrexham-cause-flooding.aspx

Skates calls for more foster carers


 
* Assembly Member Ken Skates in the frame.
 
 
Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates has marked Foster Care Fortnight in the Assembly by calling for more foster carers to be recruited in North Wales.
 
A report by the Fostering Network to mark the campaign fortnight found that children are being moved too many times between foster families because of a shortage of foster carers across the country.
 
The survey found that in the last two years 3 in 5 foster carers (61 per cent) have cared for children who have previously had two or more moves between homes.
 
The Fostering Network photographed Assembly Members ‘In The Frame’ to help mark this year’s campaign which runs from 13th to 26th May.
 
Mr Skates said: “Foster carers in my constituency and right across North Wales do a fantastic job providing care and loving support to looked after children who need it most.

“The problem is we are short of up to 600 foster carers right across Wales.  This causes local authorities big capacity problems, particularly as the latest statistics show the numbers of children in care have risen 6% in the last year and 24% in the last five years.
 
“That’s why in areas like North Wales we need to recruit and train more foster carers to help young people in care.  The current shortage of foster carers causes instability for looked after children, particularly those with challenging needs.
 
“Yet we face a huge challenge in terms of finances and there is a sustained squeeze on local authority budgets everywhere.
 
“However we cannot put a price on the value of Fostering or adequately do justice to the role foster carers play every day in the lives of children and young people in care.  The aim of Foster Care Fortnight is to remind us all how challenging but ultimately rewarding the role can be.”
 
The survey also found that 2 in 5 (43 per cent) of foster carers have looked after at least one child who has been moved four or more times, while 1 in 10 (11 per cent) have cared for children who have had 10 or more moves before coming to live with them.
 
It found that as a result, children are being moved too far away from their families, are being unnecessarily split up from brothers and sisters and are being forced to move school.
 
Others live with a foster carer who has space but may not have the experience and skills to meet their specific needs. This can put such a strain on relationships that they break down, resulting in these multiple, damaging moves.
 
The survey also found that in the last two years:
 
·        1 in 3 (34 per cent) foster carers have looked after children whose brothers and sisters were placed elsewhere because the fostering service couldn’t find a place to keep them all together. 
 
·        Almost 1 in 3 (28 per cent) of foster carers have felt under pressure to take children (mainly teenagers) who they felt they were not trained or supported to look after.
 
·        1 in 10 foster carers (12 per cent) have felt under pressure to take in another child (mainly teenagers) when they felt they had no more capacity.
 
·        2 in 5 foster carers (39 per cent) have looked after children temporarily because the fostering service couldn’t find a suitable long-term home.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Police warning over illegal parking near car boot sale site

Police are reminding motorists visiting a popular car boot sale that they will crack down on illegal parking.
 
Last summer illegal parking at the Chirk car boot sale on Sunday mornings resulted in 12 motorists being issued with tickets.
 
Following recent boot sales at the site there are concerns that the problem may return this summer, so police are putting out an early warning that enforcement action will be taken against offending motorists who ignore warnings from the police and council officials.
 
Local Inspector Nick Evans of North Wales Police said: “A lot of drivers display a total disregard and ignorance for other road users. 
 
"When they abandon their cars on pavements or grass verges they not only obstruct the free flow of traffic on a very busy road, but more worryingly they cause a hazard obstructing a clear view for other motorists and obstruct pedestrian’s right of way which could lead to a collision and injury." 

Police warning after Carrog burglaries

Police appealing for information following two burglaries in Carrog are reminding individuals to be vigilant.
 
On Tuesday, May 7, an offender or offenders targeted the isolated properties in Carrog near Corwen.
 
Once inside, untidy searches were made and a few items were taken from one property including a CD player and mobile phone.
 
The first offence is believed to have happened sometime between 12.30pm and 3.38pm and the second between 11.30pm and 4.37pm.
 
Police inquiries are underway and officers are issuing the following tips which can help keep property secure: 
 
•             Always keep your property secured – keep all windows and doors locked including those on conservatories.
 
•             Never keep spare house keys under plant pots or under foot mats – these are the first places a burglar is likely to look.
 
•             Ensure that garage doors are kept firmly secured – especially if it has a connecting door to your property. 
 
•             Don’t leave any valuable items in full view of people passing by your door or windows. This includes gaming stations and handbags etc.
 
•             Remember to postcode all your property.
 
•             If you are planning to go away on holiday for a few nights, use a timing switch which controls the times the lights, radios and other electrical items are activated. This will give an impression that someone is at home.
 
•             If you are planning to go away remember to cancel any deliveries, such as papers and milk.
 
Finally, report any suspicious behaviour to police immediately.
 
Inquiries are continuing and police are keen to speak to individuals who saw anyone acting suspiciously or has information to contact officers at Denbigh on 101. Similarly, they are keen to hear from anyone who saw any suspicious vehicles in the vicinity around the time of the burglaries. Individuals with information can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.