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Friday, October 31, 2014

AM calls for anti-speed measures at two Llan schools

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates is calling for speed reduction measures near two schools.

Labour AM Mr Skates has urged Denbighshire County Council to consider 20mph limits near Ysgol Bryn Collen and Welsh-speaking Ysgol Gymraeg y Gwernant after being contacted by a constituent concerned that speeding near the two sites on the Pengwern estate in Llangollen could lead to a serious accident.
Mr Skates, whose constituency office is based in Llangollen, said: “As part of a public consultation exercise to see what issues matter to my constituents, I was contacted by a gentleman who raised serious concerns about speeding on roads around the two schools on this estate.
“He asked me to try and persuade ‘the powers that be’ to reduce the speed limit in these areas, so I have contacted the council to see what can be done.”
Mr Skates added: “At the end of the day any measures – whether it’s a 20mph limit, speed bumps or flashing warning signs – will help make the area safer and help reduce the chances of a child getting seriously hurt or worse.”
Mr Skates recently welcomed a crackdown on dangerous speeding motorcyclists in rural Wrexham after he contacted North Wales Police to convey constituents’ concerns, particularly regarding the A525 in Bwlchgwyn.
The police and Go Safe, the road casualty reduction partnership, have both now identified the area, which will see a coordinated and targeted crackdown on irresponsible drivers.

Castle in line for £50,000 facelift


The Daily Post is reporting today (Friday) how Llangollen's Dinas Bran Castle is to undergo £50,000 worth of repairs.

For the full story see: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/ancient-ruins-castell-dinas-bran-8025561

Sports clubs asked to back dog fouling campaign

Sports clubs are being urged to support Denbighshire County Council's campaign to tackle dog fouling.

The council has written to sports clubs highlighting the problem of dog fouling on sports pitches and open public spaces and asking for support in spreading the message that dog fouling is an anti-social form of behaviour.

Earlier this month, former Welsh rugby player Rupert Moon, (pictured right) who is the General Manager of the North Wales Development Region of the Welsh Rugby Union, lent his support to the campaign and encouraged people to help put a stop to the problem.

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: "Problems with dog fouling incidents on sports pitches across Wales have made the headlines and a small group of individuals allow their dogs to foul on fields and pitches without thinking of the potential consequences  of their behaviour on the health and well-being of others.

"In Denbighshire, we are trying to put a stop to this kind of behaviour and have asked sports clubs for ideas on how we can get the message across to as wide an audience as possible. We need to work together to send a clear message that dog fouling is anti-social and will not be tolerated in our communities."

Sports groups, or indeed any community group wishing to get involved in the campaign should contact Gareth Watson on 01824 706222 or by e-mail: gareth.watson@denbighshire.gov.uk 

Minutes of off-roader meeting at the Town Hall

SOPS, the action group formed to address what it claims is off-roader abuse in the countryside close to Llangollen, has asked llanblogger to publish its official minutes for the public meeting it held in the Town Hall earlier this month.   

It must be stressed that the wording of the minutes is that of SOPS and not llanblogger.
 
 
Llangollen Community Meeting Re Off-Roader Abuse
Called by The Save Our Paths Lobby Group on   2nd October   2014 
 
SOPS Minutes
Chair Tony Betts
Present: Committee
Shirley Marriott, , Edwina L Hart, Jaqui Garratt, Julie Fergusson, Sian Glynne-Jones, Andy Beech, Jan Deeprose. Clare Bryan.  Absent, Sally Clark . 
Invited Dignitaries
MP Susan Elan Jones, AM Ken Skates, Mabon ap Gwynfor (Representing Plaid), AM Aled Roberts, NW Police, Chief Inspector Gareth Jones,
NW Traffic Police, Wrexham Streetscene Officer,  Councillor Stuart Davies (DCC),  Dr.Jean Rosenfeld (Chair of all Wales Local Access Forums),     Diana Mallinson (Researcher, Yorkshire Dales Green Lane Alliance (YDGLA) and Peak District Green Lane Alliance(PDGLA)). Arfon Hughes (Natural Resources Wales). Portia Kennaway. Rhun Jones (Countryside Warden DCC).
 
1] E.L.Hart opened the meeting by thanking all those attending and setting out the reasons why the meeting had been called. She high-lighted multiple negative impacts suffered by local residents as a result of intensive activity by off-road vehicles. She commended the support received from the Police and the Town Council with reference to this problem. Although vague promises had been received from Denbighshire County Council (DCC) regarding noise pollution, no action has been taken, and the head of DCC Highways Department informed her that he would not be sending an officer to the meeting as it was his intention to hold a ‘closed meeting’ within DCC with invited interest groups and politicians. The meeting tonight hopefully brings together  off-road users and all those who have an interest in protecting the local environment from unsustainable use.  Comments were then invited from those attending.
 
2] Councillor S. Davies pointed out the distinction between legitimate legal use of un-metalled public roads by motorised vehicles  and illegal actions by of persons using motorised vehicles off public highways.
 
3] Llandegla (Rider) The issue is what does the most harm?  Little impact by walkers/riders/cyclists. 4x4s have a negative impact.
 
4] Steve Austin of Trail Riders UK stated that he estimated that his clients had spent £250,000 in the Llangollen area over the last three years, and that his guided parties only use legal tracks, showing respect for other users they encounter.
 
5] Andy, posed the question...Why can’t I use the Allt-y-Badi Highway ?, because it has been so damaged by motorised use as to make it too dangerous for walkers and other users. The environmental impact of use by motorised vehicles is not sustainable.
 
6] Ceiriog Valley resident: observed that Trail bikes go onto bridleways and footpaths.
 
7] Cllr.Stuart Davies: stated that in his opinion the condition of Badi has always been the same. It is a highway. To close a highway causes problems, DCC does it by the book (IE. work within the law) and to close this road would cost £150,000. Off-roaders would take it to the High court. DCC cannot tarmac it as the cost would probably be in excess of in excess of £1,000,000. Regarding illegal use, DCC cannot enforce the law, the police do this. DCC have used TRACKERS on tracks to count horses/walkers/vehicles.
 
8] Diana Mallinson (YDGLA) spoke about Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs), (which can be used to limit the type of traffic permitted to use a road made subject to an order). She explained that County Councils have had the power to use them since the 1930s. and that there are 6 grounds  (and 2 extra if the road is in an AONB) on which an order can be established Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has 10 TROs in place. Why can’t Denbighshire not do the same?
 
9]Portia Kennaway, stated that many residents are affected by misuse of tracks. Noise levels are causing problems, Farmers cannot graze stock safely due to fences being cut. She made an impassioned plea for the environment, stating that illegal off-road users on the high moors surrounding Llangollen were threatening the survival of ground nesting birds
 None of this is fair.
 
10]Phil Jones, Pengwern Vale resident, asked how it could be that in a time when libraries and leisure centres were under threat of closure for want of money, that DCC would not consider the closure of a road which it did not have the funds to maintain? He asked Cllr. Davies to call for a report from DCC's legal officer into 'best practice' adopted by other councils in securing cost-effective TRO's elsewhere in the UK.
 
11]Brad Jones, (Llangollen + District Motorcycle Club), stated that the  Badi is a Highway. It has always been in bad condition. Club member’s bikes are not noisy. Using these tracks brings in tourists.
 
12] Matt Ellison, Stated that because of increases of bike numbers on Badi, he can no longer walk up there with his kids. It is not safe for all users. It is an accident waiting to happen.
 
13] Biker, when farmers chain gates people will cut fences.
 
14] Abuse Incident,  Person  using a footpath with difficulty because of deep single rut in path.  A Biker from Newcastle said when accosted, he was doing his best to rip up the track.
 
15] Rhun Jones, (DCC Countryside Officer), stated that we need to differentiate between legal and illegal use. Problems are on the increase. Meetings are taking place to discuss the problems.   The Trail Riders Federation has been volunteering to unblock drains.
 
16] Dylan Jones, (Wrexham CBC Highways). endorsed the previous comment regarding legal and illegal usage. If in a hot spot, work with police. His budget is shrinking month by month they are struggling to maintain “normal” roads. Classified network is crumbling! This is a national problem. Banning 4x4s from these tracks would need legislation. A TRO would apply blanket closure which would affect farmers also.
 
17] Janet Williams (British Driving Society. BDS), stated that The Wayfarer’s Track damage makes it too dangerous for horse drawn carriages. The Forestry Commission has closed tracks because of off-roader trespass and as a result Carriages are banned too.
 
18] Susan Elan Jones, wants to hear from YDGLA to find out how they are achieving progress in their area. She stated that noise through the night is not acceptable. Although the meeting was advised that the DCC Highways Officer was on leave, she questioned why DCC didn't send another officer from the Highways Department? Put a speed limit of 5 or 10 mph for Bikes. 4x4s restricted to 12mph. No separation for walkers on the Gwernant road.
 
20]  Steve Harris (Tread Lightly), 4x4 driver, explained that drivers had been asked NOT to use the Badi because of erosion. Tread Lightly will  try to repair 4x4 damage.
 
21] An opinion was expressed that because English Counties were bringing in regulation to limit off-roader abuse of un-metalled roads, more 4x4’s and motor-bikers are coming to Wales.
 
23] Wrexham 4x4 driver “The Badi should be closed it is a death trap”
 
24] Chief Inspector Gareth Jones, stated that a Police Officer has been out to “see” the illegal damage caused by off-roaders.
All vehicles checked on the Badi have been found to be road legal. It is a large area to police, when farmers report incidents the culprits have long gone.
 
25] Andy, we get good support from the N W Police.
 
26] A person stated that the owner of land by the Wayfarer's Track  was told there has never been a successful prosecution by the Police. Also on the Wayfarer's lots of litter, damage and illegal trespass is occurring.
 
28] Cllr. S. Davies, stated that he would be attending the up-coming ‘closed meeting’ to be held by DCC.  and that he has  to go before Council and ask for funds to sort these issues out. (Leisure Centres are run at a profit by DCC.)
 
29] Dr. Jean Rosenfeld (Chair of All Wales LAF);  the issue is being 'ducked' at a strategic level.  AMs need to discuss these issues nationally. We all have a right to access the countryside. We all have a duty to do no harm.
 
30] Diana Mallinson: contradicted the comment made by WCBC highways officer and said that TROs can be selective, Emergency vehicles and Local Authority vehicles can have access to TRO regulated routes.
 The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 made it difficult to upgrade Bridleways and footpaths to BOATs on the basis of historic use by horse and cart.  But  many green lanes are not protected by this act –  YDGLA and PDGLA are trying to get motor vehicles excluded from them, via an amendment to a Bill going through Parliament at the moment (but only applies to England).
 
31] Wrexham  Highways Officer.  responded by saying that a TRO is not feasible – How to Police?
 
32] Cllr. S. Davies Stated council tax would have to go up by 25% if a TRO was imposed.
 
33] Ken Skates AM , Would like to work on the 2006 amendment. It is essential we engage BOTH sides. We know this is a National problem, a relatively new activity (in the last two decades) We cannot upgrade all roads We need to get agreements with residents etc. so that upset is not caused. He has witnessed some damage. We need practical solutions that are agreeable to both sides. The Welsh Government has undertaken a consultation on this issue.
 
34] Portia Kennaway, asked how areas under threat might be protected by preventing illegal access through the use of gates etc. and she cited the example of controls frequently imposed in urban areas, which restricted access to areas that had suffered from anti-social behaviour.
 
35] Wrexham Highways Officer, responded by saying that would need full public consultation exercises. Everything comes down to cost.
 
36] Dr. Jean Rosenfeld, We should be investing in Green lanes. Only by according our roads and footpaths status as 'assets' and including them in a proper asset management plan would real progress be achieved. The whole topic should go higher up within Local Authorities –Raise its Priority.
 
37] Horse Rider, We need to crack down on illegal users. Good guys attend the Meetings – we need to sort out the bad guys. Can 4x4 users challenge the irresponsible users? She uses public tracks sensibly, but is prepared to pay a fee to go for a gallop, on private land.
 
38] Steve Harris (Tread Lightly); 4x4 person; “BLESMA” is for ex Servicemen. They drive amputees / wounded servicemen round so they can enjoy the countryside and get access to it by using 4x4's.
 
39] Lane Care Scheme GLASS/Trail Riders Fellowship on bridleways , footpaths etc. they have dug drains. They volunteer to help with maintenance. He has had  his bonnet bent by a Walker using his walking stick. All vehicles are MOT’d, So noise pollution is not an issue because they are noise tested.
 
40] Janet Williams (BDS); stated that the Welsh Government now appears to have no green paper going through on this subject.  She would like to ask our AM’s... What is happening with the Green Paper?
 
41] S.A.Marriott (Sops); the meeting was called to address the real problems we are experiencing all the time, (we know what track classifications are). Problems such as Revving engines, Screaming, breaking gates etc. We cannot safely use the Pengwern Valley road, volume of traffic, damage to drains, and noise pollution.--- Close the Badi off.
 
42] D Matthews (Game-keeper); Privately installed sleepers put in by the land owner on the Wayfarer’s track have been carried off and put somewhere else by unknown 4x4s.
 
43] Arfon Hughes (NRW): They can give landowners permission to place and remove sleepers without being prosecuted.
 
44] Pengwern Resident, Mountain Bikes can cause damage too. Look at Pengwern Mountain.
 
Resume
Chair
The impact on Community and local environment has been clearly stated. The 4x4 people represented at this meeting are trying to do things the right way. It is another element that is causing the problems. The community needs to work together- maybe using legislation to work things out.
Conclusion:
A further meeting will be held in 2 months time:
Ken Skates AM will be asked to provide feedback on what the Welsh Government is doing in terms of the consultations it has undertaken and what new legislation is proposed to address this issue. (current position with Green Paper).  (It would be helpful if the Civil Servant dealing with this matter in WG is also invited to attend the next meeting, to  answer any technical questions from the community).
 
Councillor S. Davies  was asked to call for a report from the Denbighshire County Council's legal officer on 'best practice' adopted by other Local Authorities who have been successful securing TRO's to regulate use of un-metalled roads. (It would be helpful if a representative from the Council's legal department could attend the next meeting to explain the Council's legal options on this issue). Cllr. Davies will also be asked to report back on the outcome from the forth-coming DCC ‘closed meeting’ he is due to attend. 
 
Final Comments:   
 
This meeting has allowed persons to air points of view. We need to have a moral argument for what these paths are used for.
 
Dr. Jean Rosenfeld (LAF) and John Palmer  suggested SOPS could create a subgroup with interested parties to explore problems and then advise AMs and Councils. A smaller group would be more effective. (SOPS to consider this).
 
 
Phil Jones proposed a second open meeting in (say) two months time. This was seconded by E.L. Hart.
 
S. Davies; I will take representations made tonight to the up-coming DCC Meeting. All things go back to costs
 
Andy; I live by the Badi and see the same Landrover going up and down; how can that be considered ‘normal traffic’. Cllr. Davies only gives excuses, DCC Highways are not here. Thanks to the Wrexham Highways officer for turning up.
 
Aled Roberts AM, who attended the meeting, but did not speak , indicated that he will help in any way he can.
 
Footnote: A total of 99 people signed the register of attendees in the foyer; 54 of whom indicated their support of SOPS.
22)10)14

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Campaigner speaks out on county consultation

Local campaigner Martin Crumpton gives his personal views on the recent llanblogger story in which Denbighshire County Council called for feedback from the public on its plans for budget cuts.
 
 
The opening gambit by Denbighshire is: “The Council has worked really hard over recent years to protect jobs and vital public services wherever possible."
 
This bothers me as questionable priorities. In protecting services, a statement which makes no distinction between services which are a legal obligation and those which aren't, it is surely implicit that the jobs involved will be, effectively, reserved occupations and so explicitly protected. However, that shouldn't mean protection is automatic. If there's fat, then trim it - the days of Jobs for Life are over except in the sedimentary layers of local government.
 
The authority is less squeamish about non-statutory services and has threatened closure of he Scala Arts Centre (Prestatyn) 'within days' - pretty much the same kind of hatchet-job Wrexham did on Plas Madoc.
 
They want our views - or are they testing the waters to see which cuts would draw the greatest furore? Are they seeking another paper mandate to cover their backs while they wield the axe just as if the 'consultation' was never going to make a difference anyway? Those who remember Betsi Cadwaladr's sham public consultations will know exactly what I mean.
 
I'd like to offer a simple test: If a service currently provided has no geographic dependency upon being run in Denbighshire, then centralise it. Apply this test across all local authorities in Wales, and £millions of savings can be achieved, not only in personnel costs but also IT, buildings and infrastructure costs.
 
In tandem, but a complete block on recruitment except where a business case, a GENUINE business case, can be made. Maximise redeployment of staff and let so-called 'natural wastage', i.e retirements and resignations, take care of reducing budgets all by itself.
 
Publish ALL expenditure over £5,000 so that in-house expertise, such as planning, no longer needs to be farmed out to consultancy firms, who make £millions from Denbighshire every year. Where technical expertise is required, fair enough, but make the case for it.
 
Crucially, STOP giving departments their own budgets. They will ALWAYS spend the whole lot in order to ensure they get at least that much next year. Ridiculous; they should have incentives NOT to spend.
 
The argument that Westminster government needs downsizing applies just as much to our devolved government and local authorities. The country can no longer sustain the behind-the-scenes practice of bloating the public sector in order to massage the unemployment figure.
 
Individually, you may not agree with all of my view s, but I hope we can all agree that it's in all our interests to make informed choices - not only where the axe should fall, but where increased investment needs to be made. Denbighshire, if they're serious about consulting us, could declare regular Open Weeks where members of the public can sit in on departments and watch how our money is being spent. Let's see if a system based on pay grades that delivers decent, cushioned salaries and perks actually gives us value for money.
 
All the above, in my opinion. Now I'd like to hear yours.
 
Martin Crumpton
 

Work progresses on Chain Bridge project

George Jones of Llangollen Railway has kindly supplied these great pictures showing how well work is progressing on the major project to facelift the famous Chain Bridge.

He said: "Riding the trains these past few days means views of the bridge have been obtained and the work in progress.

"Scaffolding is being erected on the railway side of the bridge as per the attached photos.

"I understand further scaffolding will follow on the hotel side and a site office is now deposited in the car park."
 
 

 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

County council trials body cameras

Denbighshire County Council is presently conducting a trial of body worn cameras for its Civil Enforcement Officers to help improve their personal security.

Civil Enforcement Officers are responsible for carrying out parking enforcement, which is decriminalised in Denbighshire.

The cameras are no bigger in size than a mobile phone and are securely attached to the clothing of the enforcement officers. Use of body worn cameras has increased significantly across the parking enforcement industry in recent years.

The trial will run until mid-November and Denbighshire's Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, Councillor David Smith, explained: "The trial will help inform us about the practical issues surrounding the use of the cameras and how they will assist the safety of our officers in performing their duties."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

North Wales board welcomes HS2 extension

The North Wales Economic Ambition Board, which is made up of representatives from all six North Wales Councils, welcomes the Recommendation by Sir David Higgins in his Rebalancing Britain Report that the HS2 line should be extended to Crewe by 2027 - six years earlier than originally proposed.


Earlier this year, Sir David outlined the role that HS2 has in unlocking the potential of regional economies outside London and how a hub at Crewe would open up HS2 connection to other locations in the north including North Wales.


The North Wales Economic Ambition Board aims to establish North Wales as a confident and outward looking region with a diverse and high value economy, and believes that to take full advantage of the economic opportunities envisaged by Sir David, electrification the route onwards from Crewe to Holyhead will be needed at the same time. That would enable faster travel to the HS2 Hub at Crewe with onward high speed connections to London, Manchester, Manchester International Airport and Birmingham.


Member of the Economic Ambition Board and Leader of Denbighshire County Council, Councillor Hugh Evans, OBE said: "The North Wales Economic Ambition Board is working to improve inward investment and accelerate economic growth in North Wales.


"We have identified the current transport infrastructure as a barrier for growth and I am delighted that Sir David has recommended the North West hub at Crewe and the extension to it six years earlier than originally planned. His Report also sets out the importance of improving the connectivity between East and West across the north of England. That makes makes electrification in North Wales even more important so as to link seamlessly into the economies of North West of England and beyond."  


"Travel times to and from those business centres would be significantly reduced making connectivity between businesses faster and easier. That will generate a higher level of economic activity not just for businesses in North Wales but for businesses in other parts of the UK as well."

MPs should be banned from second jobs says Jones

MPs should be banned from having second jobs, according to Clwyd South Labour MP Susan Elan Jones.

Speaking in the House of Commons Chamber in yesterday's debate (Monday) on the recall of MPs, she said:"One of the big issues with trust in politicians concerns money....we really should look at Members’ second jobs, which has a lot to do with the erosion of trust."

She added: "Only last weekend a survey showed that 20 MPs declare over £100,000 from second jobs. That is not the norm and a large number of us do not take on any paid jobs.

"However, I think the practice is wrong in principle and it should be banned full stop. A few MPs looked and sounded very unhappy when I said this in Parliament, but I think it needs to be said and I believe the issue needs to be sorted if we are to restore trust in politics."

AM praises team who fought to re-open Corwen line


* Ken Skates AM on his visit to Llangollen Railway yesterday. 

Clwyd South AM Ken Skates hailed the ‘decades of hard work and dedication’ by volunteers to restore of an historic rail line linking two towns.

Labour Assembly Member Mr Skates took a trip on the recently-reopened Llangollen-Corwen line on Monday (October 27), six months after rolling up his sleeves to help lay sections of track.

Mr Skates said: “It’s fantastic to see this Welsh Government-supported project going full steam ahead after decades of incredible hard work and dedication by an amazing team of volunteers.

“While this restoration project has been a genuine labour of love for those involved, the unbelievable amount of blood, sweat and tears that’s gone into this fantastic achievement cannot be overestimated.

“They have turned mission impossible into a reality and created something we can all be exceptionally proud of.”
 
Enthusiasts had fought for years to reinstate the Llangollen-Corwen, via Carrog, after its closure by British Railways in 1965.

 

Older People's "Czar" will be at Llan meeting

Sarah Rochira, the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, will be special guest at an open meeting being organised by Age Connects (North Wales Central) at The Hand Hotel in Llangollen on Friday, November 14.

* Sarah Rochira
The meeting, which runs from 10am-1pm, will also be addressed by Clwyd South Labour AM Ken Skates.

Questions are invited from people over 50 on issues affecting older people and should be submitted to Age Connects before the meeting.

This is a bookable event as places are limited.





* To book a seat or submit a question, call Age Connects on 01745 816947.

Llan RBL officials attend Rhyl Poppy Appeal launch


* The Lord Lieutenant and civic leaders at the Poppy Appeal launch in Rhyl.

Officials of the Llangollen branch of the Royal British Legion recently attended the official launch of the annual Poppy Appeal in Rhyl.

Hosted by the legion’s Rhyl branch, a highlight of the event was the release of 100 red balloons in the town’s High Street to mark the centenary of the RBL.
With the Lord Lieutenant of Clwyd, Henry Fetherstonhaugh, performing the official launch assisted by the chair of Denbighshire County Council, Cllr Brian Blakeley, the event also featured displays by the Army’s Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Royal Logistical Corps along with the police and ambulance service.

Children from local schools were amongst the large crowd who turned out to watch the event.      

Music was provided by the Beulah Brass whose bugler sounded the Last Post and Reveille.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Have your say on budget cuts

Denbighshire County Council is considering a range of cuts, as part of its efforts to cut £17 million from its budget over the next two years.

Now the Council is launching a debate called 'Cutting Our Cloth' , asking residents for views on how the impact of the cuts can be lessened on local communities.

One set of proposals totalling £4.6 million has already been agreed by Full Council. The current round of proposals worth £5.4 million are being considered, with councillors expected to discuss them formally in December and February.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of the Council, said: “The Council has worked really hard over recent years to protect jobs and vital public services wherever possible.

“We have managed to save £20 million by concentrating on  inefficiencies, bureaucracy and management, but the time has now come for us to make cuts.

“These cuts are unavoidable. They are the ‘least-worst’ options that the Council has to consider as it sets its budget for the next financial year”.  

Dr Mohammed Mehmet, Chief Executive of Denbighshire, said: “The budget situation in Denbighshire is certainly not unique and we are facing our biggest challenges since devolution.  

“Before final decisions are made on these proposals, the Council wishes to fully understand their impact on the public, on staff and on the wider community.

“While the scale of cuts facing local government in Wales will change the structure and purpose and councils will inevitably do ‘less with less’, they will still continue to provide vital services to residents and good quality, safe care to their vulnerable adults and children.

“And we are making a commitment in Denbighshire to continue providing the best possible services, despite the big challenges we face.”

A summary of proposals can be found on the website, www.denbighshire.gov.uk, together with a short online form for you to complete. 

You can submit your response online.  Alternatively, you can e-mail: public.relations@denbighshire.gov.uk or write to: Cutting Our Cloth, Communications Department, Denbighshire County Council, County Hall, Wynnstay Road, Ruthin, LL15 1YN or you can leave your comments at any council reception area.

If you wish your comment to be considered by the Council at its December meeting, it should arrive with the Council no later than November 27.

Ladies' self-defence class planned

A ladies’ self-defence class is to be staged in Llangollen next month.

Being organised by Paul Keates, of specialist training company RSS Ltd, it will take place on Saturday, November 15, from 12.30-3.30pm, in St Collen’s Church Hall.

Paul said: “I ran a course at the beginning of the month for the ladies from Metafit Llangollen who really enjoyed it and have asked me to run a second so the rest of the ladies can come, as I have the large hall this time I thought I would also open it up to the ladies of Llangollen.

“The course is an in depth one outlining the legal aspects of self-defence along with tried and tested techniques that have all been risk assessed and specifically designed for this course.”

The cost is £15 per person and more details are available at http://www.rssltd-training.com/#!Landing%20Page%201/c12br


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trains run again from Llan to Corwen


* One of the Special trains at the platform in Corwen. 

Trains are now running between Llangollen and Corwen for the first time in almost 50 years.

The operation of a sequence of three Corwen Specials heralded the arrival of the Llangollen Railway at the temporary station platform of Dwyrain Corwen East earlier this week.

The first two trains provided the opportunity for supporters of the Corwen Appeal and volunteers to celebrate the completion of the extension west from Carrog.

The first train with No.3802 leading and Black 5 45337 on the rear arrived on time at 11.35 having run non-stop from Llangollen. 
 
A large crowd of townsfolk were on hand to welcome the train and the regional media gave the occasion extensive coverage.
 
After a brief ten minute stop over the train reversed out.
 
Later the Black 5 lead the second train into the platform after 3802  had detached at Carrog, and the third train saw 3802 on the front for the final run.

Again crowds turned out from Corwen and district to witness this historic occasion. Many older people said they remembered the last days of trains in Corwen nearly 50 years ago and others recalled their childhood taking the school train to Bala.

The topping and tailing of the five coach train was specially arranged for this opening day, but showed how uneconomic such an operation would be for the course of normal day-day running.

The daily service, which operates in half term week from 27 October, will be hauled by one engine.

In the absence of a run round loop at the temporary terminus, the train will be propelled back to Carrog under the control of a driver in the PCV (Propelling Control Vehicle) at the rear of the train. Run round of the locomotive will take place at Carrog and the timetable reflects this operation.

The 2014 season of trains will conclude with Remembrance weekend trains operating to Corwen 8/9 November.

The post Christmas Mince Pie Special Trains will operate to Corwen from 26 December. There after a formal opening ceremony at Dwyrain Corwen East is planned for St David’s Day, 1 March 2015, followed by a full season of trains in 2015.

George Jones, for Llangollen Railway Trust, said: “This project has been a great challenge, but its completion a great achievement for all those involved in the many aspects of its construction. The further challenge is to tackle Phase 2 and build the proper terminus nearer to the town centre.”

Plaid candidate slams welfare cuts

The UK Government’s welfare reductions are cutting £1bn from the Welsh economy, the equivalent on £590 for every working adult in Denbighshire, new research by the respected Sheffield Hallam University shows.

In a speech to Plaid Cymru’s annual conference in Llangollen yesterday (Saturday), Mabon ap Gwynfor, the party’s candidate for Clwyd South, cited the report and said: “We want more than a change of government, we want a complete change of direction – none of the London parties are offering that."
 
He called for a programme of investment in communities such as Clwyd South in order to create jobs and a better quality of life.
 
Mabon ap Gwynfor (pictured right) told delegates at the conference said:  “Instead of investing in job creation to strengthen the economy and generate more wealth, the Government is choosing the slash and burn option, hurting our most vulnerable and deprived. This lessens the life chances of thousands of people, making life even harder for them, but it takes a huge chunk of money out of the Welsh economy, resulting in more job losses, more poverty and greater dependency.
 
“Arguing that austerity is a programme of cutting public expenditure back to what they disparagingly refer to as ‘within our means’ is just smoke and mirrors. If they have enough money to maintain and develop a new generation of Nuclear Weapons; if they can build a brand new superfast train line from Leeds to London; if they can afford to let £85bn in unpaid tax by corporations and millionaires leave our economy, then they can afford to ensure that everyone has a decent standard of living, with a roof over their heads.
 
"By cutting Trident and HS2 alone, every council in Wales would on average have an extra £17million a year to safeguard frontline services.”
 
Mabon ap Gwynfor added: “We need to invest in our people and communities. Business rates are crippling many of our smaller businesses. Plaid Cymru would take 70,000 businesses in Wales out of business rates altogether; we would ensure public contracts go to local business to create 50,000 local jobs; and we will fight to ensure a living wage for all. Because we believe in the potential of our neighbours and communities. We see them as our nation’s most valuable assets.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Dobson & Crowther factory nears completion


* llanblogger reader Mike Edwards has kindly sent in this picture of the new Dobson & Crowther factory at Cilmedw in Llangollen which is now nearing completion.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Friends create red hot chilli business

 
* Living dangerously: Dominic Haynes and Llyr Jones.
 
Two friends have turned their love of chilli peppers into a red hot business - after donning face masks and protective clothing to get it going.
 
Dominic Haynes and Llyr Jones, who launched their enterprise after being made redundant, came up the idea of creating a chilli jam while sat in their local pub.
 
They had to wear protective gear to create their first jars of jam in Dominic’s kitchen using ghost chillies – judged one of the hottest varieties in the world.
 
Their Dangerous Food Company is now going from strength to strength, winning a Great Taste award in September, and will be unveiling their latest products at Hamper Llangollen food festival this weekend, October 18-19.
 
Supported by rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd, the event in Llangollen’s Royal Pavilion is recognised as one of the UK's top 10 food festivals.
 
Cadwyn Clwyd’s contribution comes via the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, which is funded through the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
This year’s festival sees a quartet of Wales’s best chefs take a starring role. Graham Tinsley, executive chef at Carden Park in Cheshire and Conwy’s Castle Hotel, will be cooking up a Welsh feast with Mike Evans, hospitality lecturer at Coleg Llandrillo, Rhos on Sea, and Dion Jones, one of Europe’s finest young chefs.
 
The ever popular Dai Chef, now the resident chef at Bodnant Welsh Food, the centre of excellence for Welsh food in the Conwy Valley will be there too.
 
The two 31-year-olds, who live just 80 yards apart in St Asaph, were both working for an Irish dairy company when they came up with the idea of combining chillies with British fruits to make a spicy relish to go with cooked meats, cheese, fish and vegetarian dishes, explained Dominic, from St Asaph.
 
“We were pitching the idea to Asda about a ready-made chilli jam to go with cheese but we didn’t really think the variety was very good. So we were sat in the pub talking about it and decided that we could make our own.
 
“It took us 38 attempts at making it – some of them definitely not fit for human consumption - before we finally came up with a version that we liked and started to trial it with our friends.
 
“Then we were both made redundant so we decided to start up in business together, as we’d already worked together for 10 years. At first we made it in my kitchen -although it had just been refitted after the floods. However, making vast quantities of chilli jam in a tiny kitchen in a cottage did have some drawbacks, particularly the smell.
 
“Now we have a base in St Asaph, at the Old Courthouse, and the jams are made at Patchwork Foods in Ruthin for us, as we needed a food production base that met strict criteria.
 
“The staff still have to wear protective clothing though, especially when they make the ghost chilli variety, as it’s so hot.
 
“We have met some officials in the food industry who find it difficult to understand how our products are classed as a jam. However, we can call jam that because of the fruit and the sugar content.”
 
They now make around 1,000 jars a week of their jams, in five varieties, all of which will be on sale at Hamper Llangollen food festival  - red chilli with a hint of lime, jalapeƱo with bramley apple, habanero with mango, bird’s eye with morello cherry, and the hottest: ghost chilli with blueberry.
 
Ghost chillies, also known as bhut jolokia, measure up to 1.5million on the Scoville scale – the universally accepted gauge of hotness – making it one of the hottest chillies available.
 
 
Dominic, a former pupil of Blessed Edward School, Rhyl, concentrates on business development and marketing for the company while Llyr, who grew up in Bala, looks after the production side. They are planning to expand by taking on a new part-time worker to help them at food festivals and other events.
 
The Dangerous Food Company’s jams are on sale at 20 outlets in North Wales, including Tweedmill Shopping Outlet’s new Farm Shop along with Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and local farmers’ markets. They are also available to buy online at www.dangerousfoodco.co.uk
 
 
Helen Roberts, from Cadwyn Clwyd, said: “Hamper Llangollen will be a great showcase for a wide variety of food and drink producers, all of which are helping to boost the economy of this part of North Wales.
 
“The Dangerous Food Company is a wonderful example of how two friends can create their own business, putting their dreams into action, and we are delighted to be able to bring their products to the attention of the thousands of people who will be visiting Llangollen later this month.”
 
For more information about Hamper Llangollen 2014 visit  www.llangollenfoodfestival.com