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Monday, February 29, 2016

MP furious over bank transactions letter

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones MP has slammed as "total nonsense" a claim by HSBC Regional Director Jonathan Byrne that giving information about the number of transactions undertaken at Chirk and Ruabon HSBC bank branches would be "commercially sensitive" and that bank was unable to do this.
 
In an earlier letter (dated 18th January), the Clwyd South Labour MP (pictured) asked the HSBC Director:
 
"Can you provide numbers that show that transactions have fallen? Can you provide information on how many accounts are held at both branches? Following the closures of Cefn Mawr, Llangollen and Rhosllannerchrugog branches, how many accounts were served by these two branches and will those accounts now all be transferred to Wrexham? Please provide figures to show why you consider Ruabon and Chirk branches to be no longer commercially viable."
 
Ms Jones said: "Local residents will be as furious as I am with this. Not only is HSBC about to close two local bank branches in Chirk and Ruabon, but they won't give us any objective evidence why they're doing it.
 
"In the last few weeks, I've visited 124 local businesses in Chirk, Ruabon, Cefn, Johnstown and Rhos. There's no doubt that the two bank closures will have a big impact on most of these businesses. The same is true too for the many individual customers who have loyally stayed with HSBC.
 
"The problems we are witnessing with bank closures are part of a UK-wide phenomenon - and this is why I am determined to press on in Parliament with this issue.
 
"I have now had my call accepted for a national inquiry. The Government used to talk about keeping the last bank open in every community, but all we're seeing is banks being closed. This doesn't happen in the same way in most other countries. We need UK Government action and a better approach here." 
 
The HSBC letter appears below:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AM presses for care home to be kept open

Assembly Member Ken Skates has praised a ‘fantastic’ care home in Corwen – and repeated his plea for it to be kept open.

The Clwyd South AM, pictured outside the home, has previously urged Denbighshire Council to push through plans which will keep Cysgod-y-Gaer open and see services expanded and improved.

Mr Skates visited the centre on Friday to talk to manager Sian Owen and residents.

He said: “Cysgod-y-Gaer is a fantastic facility. The staff do a wonderful job and the residents are happy and well looked-after. We simply can’t afford to lose it.”

Mr Skates wrote to the council’s chief executive Dr Mohammed Mehmet more than a year ago to raise concerns over the possible closure of the home. He wants the authority proceed with plans to further develop it.

The Labour AM added: “After the recent closure of the public consultation programme into the future of care homes in Denbighshire, I wrote to Dr Mehmet once again to encourage the council to push forward with plans to develop a support hub at Cysgod-y-Gaer with extra care facilities and outreach services.

“I hope we will soon see Denbighshire County Council progress these plans and further improve local care services for those who need them in the Dee Valley.”

New band to play at RAFA Club

A new band from Llangollen, Sky High, will play at Llangollen RAFA Club on Saturday March 12, starting at 7pm.

All are welcome and there's a small charge on the door.



         

Tour of Britain to pass through county


Denbigh will begin proceedings as the county hosts its first ever stage start of the Tour of Britain on the morning of September 7 before Stage Four heads through Flintshire and on to Powys, for the first ever stage finish in the county at the Royal Welsh Showground outside Builth Wells.

A day later Stage Five will re-start from Aberdare in Rhondda Cynon Taf, a new venue for the Tour of Britain.  That stage will cross South Wales, finishing in Bath.
 
Welsh Government, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, Ken Skates, said: “We’re looking forward to hosting the Tour Britain again this year and thrilled that some new venues and locations will get a taste of the action.   The Tour of Britain is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase Wales’ unique and beautiful landscape to the world, as well as highlighting our ability to host a variety of major events. 
 
“The spectators in Wales have always given the cyclists a real warm Welsh welcome and have created a fantastic atmosphere, I hope that people from across Wales come out to support the event again this year.  Being a part of an event such as this can really inspire people to want to take up the sport and 2016 being Wales’ Year of Adventure gives the perfect opportunity to plan some two-wheeled adventures in Wales.”
 
Wales has hosted stages of the Tour of Britain annually since 2010, with last year’s event beginning overall in the country, on Anglesey.
 
The Tour of Britain has passed through Denbighshire in each of the previous three editions, but 2016 will be the first time the race has started from the county.
 
Councillor Huw Jones, Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the start of the North Wales stage this year, as we feel it will have great benefits to the tourism industry here in Denbighshire, as well as showcasing what the region has to offer.
 
“North Wales is fast earning itself a reputation for hosting and staging major events, with the Tour of Britain a prime example of how councils and event organisers work closely together to deliver these spectacular events.  The support shown by our communities in recent years has well and truly added to the event’s success and we look forward to welcoming the sights and sounds of the event to Denbighshire in September”.
 
Powys hosted a stage start of the Tour of Britain annually from 2010 to 2014, but this year will mark the first time a stage has finished in the county.
 
Cllr Avril York, Powys County Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “I’m delighted that this fantastic sporting spectacle is returning to Powys – the green heart of Wales.  We have been proud to host five Tour of Britain starts since 2010 but to have a stage finish in the county for the first time is truly exciting.
 
“Not only will this attract thousands of people, hosting a stage finish will give the area a huge economic boost.  We’re looking forward to making this a memorable occasion for all and I’m sure our county will once again warmly welcome the race when it returns in the autumn.”
 
Previous editions of the Tour of Britain have infrequently passed through Rhondda Cynon Taff, most recently in 2012, but the county borough has never hosted the race before.
 
Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Council Business, Cllr Maureen Webber, said: “It is positive news for our county that Aberdare will be hosting the start of Stage Five of this year’s Tour of Britain.
 
“The Tour or Britain is a huge event and one which we cannot wait to welcome to Rhondda Cynon Taf on Thursday 8 September. Hosting the race gives us a great opportunity to showcase our County Borough and all it has to offer and really put Rhondda Cynon Taf on the map.
 
“We look forward to giving a warm valleys welcome to all the riders, their teams and all the many spectators who I am sure will be lining the streets to watch the race as it passes through the county.“
 
Further details of the routes of both stages will be announced in the early Summer.
 
Commenting on the Welsh Stages, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said;
 
“We have worked with our partners at Denbighshire and Powys Councils over the past year’s to ensure that we can bring a Start and a Finish to each respectively for the first time in the history of the modern Tour of Britain. Both council’s have supported the Tour of Britain in the past so we are pleased to be able to link the two with a new route.
 
“The stage route south through the heart of Wales will use a lot of roads previously unvisited by the Tour of Britain in the Cambrian Mountains including a great deal of climbing, before a flat run in along the Wye Valley to the finish on the Royal Welsh Showground, which will see an intriguing battle between the teams of the sprinters and overall contenders.
 
“We are pleased to be returning to South Wales with this year’s Tour of Britain and a new start venue in Aberdare before the race heads across the country taking in many new towns and villages in an area renown for its cycling passion.”
 
The Tour of Britain will begin in Glasgow on Sunday 4 September and finish in the heart of London on Sunday 11 September. Cumbria and Cheshire East will host previous stages, before subsequent stages take the race to the South West of England, including a summi t finish at Haytor on Dartmoor and a challenging circuit race in Bristol on the penultimate day.
 
For the fifth successive year fans can look forward to enjoying daily live coverage of all eight stages on ITV4, with the channel broadcasting a three-hour live programme from each stage, plus one-hour of highlights every evening during the race.
 
Chain Reaction Cycles continue their partnership with the race and sponsorship of the Chain Reaction Cycles Points Classification, won in 2015 by Team WIG GIN’s Owain Doull, while UK parcel carrier Yodel will continue to sponsor the daily intermediate YodelDirect Sprints classification, which Peter Williams of ONE Pro Cycling won last September.
 
ŠKODA remain official car suppliers and sponsors of the King of the Mountains jersey, also won by Williams in 2015.
 
The Tour of Britain is British Cycling’s premier road cycling event giving cycling fans the opportunity to see the world’s best teams and riders competing on their door step.  
 
Stage One
Sunday 4 September
Glasgow to Castle Douglas
168km
Stage Two
Monday 5 September
Carlisle to  Kendal
195km
Stage Three
Tuesday 6 September
Congleton to Tatton Park, Knutsford
182km
Stage Four
Wednesday 7 September
Denbigh to Builth Wells
217km
Stage Five
Thursday 8 September
Aberdare to Bath
205km
Stage Six
Friday 9 September
Sidmouth to Haytor, Dartmoor
150km
Stage Seven a
Saturday 10 September
Bristol Stage Individual Time Trial
15 km
Stage Seven b
Saturday 10 September
Bristol Stage Circuit Race
76.5km
Stage Eight
Sunday 11 September
London Stage presented by TfL
100km
 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

AM raises concerns over "vital" charity service

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has raised concerns in the Assembly that from the end of May charities in Wales will no longer have access to a vital service which allows them to check the criminal records of potential volunteers.
 
Speaking in the Business Statement, Mr Isherwood (pictured) said charities are worried that its withdrawal could have devastating long-term consequences and will affect some of the most vulnerable members of society. 
 
He said: “Could I call for a Statement on access to the Criminal Records Unit for Wale s currently run by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)? The Welsh Government has informed third sector organisations that they will no longer have access to the DBS check service (Disclosure and Barring Service previously called Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks)  provided by the WCVA from 31 May, and we understand that this was without prior consultation or discussion.
 
“The service provides a vital outlet for many third sector organisations to vet potential volunteers and its loss could have devastating long-term consequences, with deeply worrying consequences for the services provided by the third sector and ultimately leading to greater cost for the Welsh Government and the Welsh public sector.
 
“The Welsh Sports Association, representing all national governing bodies of sport in Wales, says this will cause significant concern for many organisations within the voluntary sector, and there are concerns that its closure will affect some of the most vulnerable members of society. The Chief Executive of St John Cymru says the decision will affect every charity in Wales, is short-sighted and potentially very harmful to the sector as a whole. Again, could I call for a statement accordingly?”
 
The Minister for Government Business, Jane Hutt AM, said: “The Minister for Com munities and Tackling Poverty is working very closely with the Wales Council for Voluntary Action to ensure that we can address this issue - because it is a very important service - and that there is, again, no difficulty in working through this to make sure that that service can be available, particularly to the third sector.”
 
 

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Punjabis who danced with prince are Llangollen Ambassadors

 
* Narinder Singh invites Prince Charles to join in
with the Sheerer Punjabi Dancers.
 
Punjabi dancers who inspired the Prince of Wales to get down to the Bhangra beat have been appointed honorary ambassadors of the iconic festival where it happened.
 
The Sheerer Punjabi Dancers from Nottingham made global headlines after dancing with the heir to the throne at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in North Wales.
 
Troupe leader Narinder Singh couldn’t believe his luck when Prince Charles joined in the impromptu routine on a visit to the event with the Duchess of Cornwall.
 
He and his dancers are big fans of the festival which is being celebrated for the 70th time this summer, from Tuesday, July 5, to Sunday, July 10, and he says that anyone interested in attending can contact them by e-mail to get all the inside information they require.
Narinder said the magical royal moment was so typical of Llangollen’s spirit of fun and international friendship that he’s happy to accept the invitation to spread the word about the annual event to potential competitors and visitors from Nottingham and the East Midlands.
Narinder said: “I’m absolutely delighted to become a Llangollen Ambassador and to let people know what a fantastic event the Eisteddfod is.
 
“I first came here as a visitor in the 1970s and then later as a competitor with the dance group so I know what a fantastic event it is.
 
“You meet people from around the world and get to learn about their music and culture. There’s a great atmosphere throughout the week of the festival.
 
“I also think it’s wonderful how it has grown and thrived throughout the years from a tent to the fantastic building it’s based in now.
 
“Another amazing thing about it is the way it is run by volunteers from the local community.
 
“I’ll be coming to this year’s Eisteddfod with the dance group and we’ll no doubt be performing for the public a number of times.
 
“As this will be the 70th Eisteddfod it’s going to be a very special occasion which I wouldn’t miss, and to help get people from my area there as an Ambassador is a marvellous opportunity.”
 
Narinder first visited the Eisteddfod in 1978 and has been coming back regularly ever since.
He said: “I came upon it by chance when I was visiting North Wales on my honeymoon that year.
 
“I started the Sheerer group after becoming interested in bhangra, the traditional Punjabi dance celebrating harvest time, when I was studying to be a pharmacist at Leicester University.
 
“We first competed in 1980 and two years later won the folk dance competition, which we did again the following year.
 
“Although we didn’t actually compete again after that we’ve been going back regularly to Llangollen every year, either as a group or individuals.
 
“Last year I got eight members of the group together and we came over. We have a couple of dancers and five musicians on tambourines and a traditional instrument called a chimta – two steel bars with bells attached.
 
“Little did we realise that we’d be at Llangollen for the Prince of Wales’s official visit.
 
“We were lucky enough to meet him and to have a nice little chat with him as he walked around the field.
 
“I then asked him if he’d like to join us and couldn’t believe it when he had a little dance with us. He was very co-operative and had a smile all over his face. It was something wonderful I’ll never forget.
 
“I’ve now taken the liberty of writing to Clarence House to see if the Queen would like us to dance as part of her 90th birthday celebrations this summer and they’ve said they’ll be back in touch with us, so now it’s fingers crossed.”
 
For further information about Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, send an e-mail Narinder Singh at mikesingh2000@yahoo.co.uk
 
Llangollen 2016 Chairman Rhys Davies said: “We’re thrilled that Narinder and his dancers have agreed to be ambassadors for the festival to spread the word about what a wonderful event it is.
“They will be able to give people in Nottinghamshire an inside track on what it means to attend, where to go and what to see and even how to enter any of our competitions.
“Most of all they can tell them how friendly Llangollen is and about the fantastic carnival atmosphere as this little town welcomes the world each July.”
Ticket sales for the concerts at this year’s Eisteddfod are already going well, especially for the opening night when superstar Katherine Jenkins gets the programme off to a sensational start as she sings Bizet’s Carmen.
Wednesday will be International Children’s Day and will include choral and dance competitions and also a new Under 16s solo competition while the evening will feature the Voices of Musical Theatre. 
The great Bryn Terfel will headline the 70th Classical Gala Concert on Thursday evening while the day will see the crowning of the Children’s Choir of the World. 
Friday will celebrate Rhythms of the World and will be a feast of music and dance from the best of the Eisteddfod’s international competitors with the Dance Champions of the World competition climax at the evening concert. 
It will open with a Caribbean Carnival Extravaganza, followed by the International Peace message delivered by Theatr yr Ifanc, Rhosllannerchrugog. 
In a change of the scheduling Friday will also see the Parade of Nations, led by Eisteddfod President Terry Waite, switched from Tuesday in anticipation of bigger crowds and more competitors being present. 
Saturday is dedicated to the top choirs and concludes with the Choir of the World competition for the Pavarotti Trophy while Sunday sees the Eisteddfod let its hair down for Llanfest before the climactic final concert.
To book tickets and for more details on the 2016 festival go to the website at www.international-eisteddfod.co.uk
* Video of Prince Charles dancing at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fw7htllOnrc
 

Friday, February 26, 2016

Warning over buying fake electrical items

North Wales Trading Standards authorities have joined together in an attempt to raise people’s awareness of the risks of purchasing counterfeit electrical items.
 
According to Electrical Safety First, the number of counterfeit and sub-standard electrical goods sold online has increased considerably in recent years with the most common fakes being for popular and sought-after items.
 
The number of fake mobile phones seized has risen by more than 50% with other top electrical fakes including hair straighteners, e-cigarette chargers and games.
 
Worryingly, research by the Electrical Safety First has shown that:
 
·         24% of people have knowingly bought a counterfeit product
 
·         21% would consider buying one in order to save money
 
·         16% do not think counterfeit products could put them at risk
 
However, these fake goods often contain faulty parts that can cause products to overheat and catch fire. With products left charging overnight or on beds, and sometimes under pillows, a small spark can cause a major fire within minutes.
 
Kevin Jones, Chair of North Wales Heads of Trading Standards, said: “With the current financial climate, people are looking for bargains to make their money go further. But if a deal looks like it’s too good to be true, then it probably is not only too good to be true but could actually be dangerous and life-threatening to you and your family.
 
More people now shop online which increases the opportunities for rogue traders to sell you fake products. Our advice is to stick to reputable retailers both on the High Street and online and have a look at Electrical Safety First’s online Safe Shopper’s Guide for advice on shopping safely online.”
 
Top five checks to avoid purchasing a counterfeit electrical item:
 
1. Check the reviews: Use reputable online review sites to see what people who have bought products say about them and the retailer and use website checkers set up by companies to confirm you are buying from an approved stockist.
 
2. Check the seller: Look for the seller’s contact details and ensure there is a full address, not just a PO Box number because just having a .co.uk address doesn’t mean they are based in the UK. Is the seller a well-known name or have you bought from them before?
 
3. Check the price: If a bargain looks too good to be true, it probably is. Check what others are selling it for and ask the trader why their price is so low.
 
4. Check the purchase process: Look for websites that allow you to pay safely – these have a padlock symbol on your screen when you are filling in your payment details – but don’t assume safe payment definitely means your purchase is genuine. Also ensure there is a returns or complaints procedure should you be unsatisfied.
 
5. Check the product: When it arrives, firstly check for damage or loose wires, the n check the voltage is 230V, 50Hz (the UK’s usual domestic voltage) and that they are fitted with a three-pin UK plug or charger. Also check the packaging note – does it come with instructions and a guarantee? If you have any suspicions about a product’s safety, or if you think it’s a fake, do not use it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Council is rooting for Eurovision hopeful Joe

 
* Joe Woolford, left, with fellow contestant Jake Shakeshaft.
 
Denbighshire County Council is lending its support to Joe Woolford’s bid to represent the UK in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm.
 
Joe is a former apprentice of the council and worked at Ysgol Brynhyfryd in Ruthin as a teaching assistant before deciding to leave his job in pursuit of a singing career.
 
Joe made the final five in the BBC’s The Voice singing contest and has teamed up with fellow contestant Jake Shakeshaft to compete for the honour of representing the UK.
 
Both Joe and Jake will perform on the BBC Four’s Eurovision: You Decide programme tomorrow (Friday) at 7.30pm.
 
Councillor Gwyneth Kensler, chair of Denbighshire County Council. said: “Joe is a great ambassador for Ruthin and for Denbighshire and regularly mentions his home area during media interviews.
 
"He is such a young talent who is proud of his roots, but also has a dream of making it in the pop world. 
 
"There’s a lot of interest locally in Joe’s quest and I would like to wish him the best of luck in the competition. I would ask everyone to show their support by picking up the phone and vote for Joe and Jake.”
 

County revises subsidised bus services

Following passenger consultations during the autumn of 2015, Denbighshire County Council says it will be revising some of its subsidised bus services with effect from February 29.
 
The principal changes are:
 
Ruthin-Mold-Chester (services 1/X1/2)
The service to Chester operates earlier from Ruthin, at 0930 and depart later from Chester, at 1420. During the consultation, passengers told us that they would welcome more time in Chester. There are also changes to the pattern of service for Llanarmon yn Iâl, Eryrys, Maeshafn and Llanferres and intending passengers should check Denbighshire’s website for details.
 
Denbigh-Ruthin-Corwen (service 55)
Following a range of passenger comments during the consultation, we have reintroduced some through journeys across Corwen to Llangollen & Wrexham. As a result, there will now be fewer journeys from Corwen/Ruthin in the Denbigh direction. Many times have changed and passengers are asked to check Denbighshire’s website for details.
 
Rhyl-Denbigh-Ruthin-Wrexham (services X50/X52)
There will be minor changes to evening journeys. The daytime service is will also see some changes, especially between Denbigh and Ruthin during off-peak periods.
 
Denbigh Town Service/Denbigh-Henllan-Llannefydd (service 66)
There are only minor changes to the timetable within Denbighshire but passengers for Llannefydd in particular should note important alterations. The service will be operated by GHA Coaches.
 
Denbigh-Llandyrnog-Ruthin-Graigfechan (service 76)
Minor changes only.
 
* Passengers will shortly be able to view new timetables online at www.denbighshire.gov.uk/travel or they are welcome to contact the County Council by phone on 01824 706964 to find out more information.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

County supports contract bids by local firms

Denbighshire Council is aiming to be a major driver for local economic development by working proactively with local suppliers and businesses to support them with bids to win contracts with the council.
 
As part of its new procurement strategy, the council is aiming to ensure local businesses are aware of any opportunities to sell to the council and are capable of submitting high quality bids for the opportunities that arise.
 
In 2014/15, £32 million was spent with Denbighshire based businesses, around 31% of council spend. 52% of council spend was with businesses in North Wales.
 
Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, Julian Thompson-Hill said: "We are committed to trying to ensure that local businesses in Denbighshire are equipped to tender for contracts with the Council and can navigate their way through our procurement processes.
 
‘"These are challenging economic times but we want to see Denbighshire businesses grow and develop and we want to continue to create opportunities to sell to the council and also win business from the council.
 
"We are proud that over 30% of our procurement activity is already spent with businesses in Denbighshire and we hope our new procurement strategy takes us a step forward to increasing this even further."
 

Parking measures on A5 given priority, says AM


* Ken Skates AM outside Stan's on the A5. 
The Welsh Government has confirmed that parking restrictions on the A5 in Llangollen have been prioritised.

Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the confirmation that the Welsh Labour Government intends to introduce double yellow lines to stop nuisance parking opposite Stans of Llangollen on Berwyn Street.

Mr Skates, who is based in the town, said parked cars opposite the garage caused an obstruction, particularly for older pedestrians trying to cross the road.

“I’m pleased that the Welsh Labour Government has reiterated its plans for parking restrictions opposite Stans,” said Mr Skates, who raised the issue last year.

“Transport Minister Edwina Hart said in January last year that the work would be put forward for funding, and she has now confirmed it is a priority. I thank the Welsh Labour Government for its support and for listening to my concerns and those of my constituents in Llangollen.”

In her response to Mr Skates, the Minister said: “We are progressing the order to implement the requested parking restrictions within the town centre. My officials have assured me that this is a priority and they are working to implement the works as soon as possible, subject to any public objections.

"The resurfacing works in Llangollen, including a length of carriageway to the west of the town, started on January 26 and will last approximately six weeks. Due to Wales and West Utilities’ intention to renew a length of cast iron gas main located within the carriageway, it will not be possible to resurface the section between Market Street and the 30mph signs to the west of the town. This work will be undertaken after the gas main has been renewed."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Tourism forum planned for March 3

The priorities for Denbighshire as a tourist destination will be high on the agenda for the county’s  next Tourism Forum meeting, taking place in early March – and there are  only a few days left for delegates to  register to attend.
 
The Denbighshire Tourism Forum meeting at the Oriel House Hotel, St Asaph on Thursday, March 3, will allow tourism businesses to agree the priorities for Denbighshire’s Destination Management Action Plan in 2016-17.
 
Guest speaker will be Melanie Sensicle, Programme Delivery Director, Northern Tourism Growth Fund, VisitEngland.
 
There will also be an opportunity to update delegates on tourism-related activity since the previous forum held in October.
 
To book a place at the forum, e-mail: tourism@denbighshire.gov.uk or telephone 01824 706223 together with details of any dietary or access requirements.
 
Registration for the event will take place from 10.30am ~ forum starts at 11am ~ lunch and networking at 1.30pm. 

New law on multiple occupation houses now in force

New legislation that will give planning authorities the opportunity to manage the impact of Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) in their local area comes into force this week.
 
Natural Resources Minister Carl Sargeant said the aim is to allow local planning authorities to require planning consent for new HMOs and to consider the effects such dwellings might have on local areas before deciding whether to approve planning permission or refuse it.
 
The new legislation will introduce a new use class (C4) for HMOs occupied by not more than six residents. This will mean that anyone wanting to create a new HMO for between three and six unrelated individuals who share basic amenities such as a kitchen or bathroom would have to apply for planning permission.
 
The legislation has been developed following recommendations made in an independent report into the effect HMOs can have on communities. The report found a clear need to take action to ensure the continued confidence of residents in areas with large numbers of HMOs, while also protecting the rights of those people residing in them.

The report also recognised that HMOs can provide a source of accommodation for people in specific circumstances and the intention of the changes is ensure better control of such households.

Carl Sargeant said: “HMOs make an important contribution to the private rented sector by catering for the housing needs of certain groups and provide accommodation for individuals who cannot afford to purchase properties or rent larger accommodation. 

“However, as our independent report found, large concentrations of HMOs can bring their own problems to local areas.  This new legislation will allow planning authorities to take action to manage the number of HMOs in their local area.

“I hope this legislation will be welcomed by those local communities affected by high concentrations of HMOs across Wales and by local authorities.”

Llan becomes region's comedy capital

 
 
* Ignacio Lopez.
 
Llangollen is becoming the comedy capital of North Wales, with audiences flocking to see top comedians from all over the world.
 
The Llangollen Comedy Club has been running for the past two years and has built up a reputation as one of the hottest venues in Wales to perform.
 
Names such as Tom Wrigglesworth, Mick Ferry, Lloyd Langford, Bethany Black and Howard Read have appeared so far at the monthly shows, generating large audiences.
 

* Keith Carter as Nige.
“At the moment each show is selling exceptionally well, with both online sales and evening walk ups over 80% up on 2014," said club organiser Paul Brown.
 
"We are seriously having to look at moving some shows to a bigger 400 seater hall in the International Pavilion.
 
“This will obviously have an impact on the economy of Llangollen as people visiting the show are coming from out of the area, with many visiting the excellent restaurants in the town before or after the show. This will only increase as the Comedy Club continues to grow.
 

* Host: Silky. Picture by Andy Hollingworth.
"The intimate nature of the club, where the comedians actually sit with the audience before going up on stage, is key and gives the opportunity for performers to try out new material in preparation for larger shows and TV appearances.
 
“Sarah Millican loved it here and tried out material in preparation for her UK tour. This meant the Comedy Club audience were the first to see Sarah’s new show and at a much more affordable price. Since then we’ve been in discussions with some really big names in the world of comedy so watch this space.”
 
“The Comedy Club is a great asset to Llangollen in so many ways. Not only does it give us, and the surrounding communities something to smile about, but brings in much needed revenue to the shops, cafes, pubs and hotels through footfall to the town,” said Denbighshire county councillor Rhys Hughes.
 
The next show on Friday February 26 sees the return of Keith Carter as his alter ego ‘Nige” along with Ignacio Lopez and host Silky.
 
Tickets are priced at £9 and can be bought online at www.radiantevents.co.uk or on the evening on the door.


Monday, February 22, 2016

County warns over fish salesmen

Denbighshire’s Public Protection officers are warning consumers across the county to beware of salesmen trying to persuade householders to buy fresh fish.
 
There have been reports to Denbighshire Trading Standards and North Wales Police in the last week of traders selling door to door, asking residents, including older people, if they would like to buy fish.
 
Emlyn Jones, Public Protection Manager said: “We have concerns regarding the matter, especially as to whether the fish sellers are registered as a food business operator which is a legal requirement for all food businesses, and indeed if they are adhering to all food safety and hygiene regulations which applies to such businesses, including the display of the relevant food hygiene rating for the business.
 
“When buying fish from door to door salesmen, the purchaser very often has no way of knowing how the fish have been stored and whether they are safe to eat. These type of sellers commonly use non-refrigerated vans, and there may be issues with the labelling, quality and descriptions of the fish and they may pressurise residents to buy more than they actually need.
 
“As with any doorstep caller we would urge people not to be tempted to buy and ask them to leave.  The best place to buy fish is from a reputable fishmonger at an established shop or stall or even with a trader with a regular prearranged round.”
 
* Anyone wanting advice on doorstep trading, or to report an incident, can contact the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 (03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language) which gives free, independent and impartial advice on all consumer issues, or the police on 101.  Any person feeling intimidated or threatened by any doorstep seller should shut the door and call the police emergency number 999.

Davies pleased as Boris backs Brexit campaign

Llangollen county councillor Stuart Davies says he’s pleased that Boris Johnson has joined the Brexit campaign for Britain to pull out of the European Union.

He said: “I’m pleased to see the great Boris (pictured) injecting life into the debate about in or out and congratulate him for coming out on the Leave side. 

“I remember him well from the 1997 General Election when he stood for Clwyd South and put up a superb fight.

“I was his press officer at the time and we spent the campaign going around the constituency spreading the word.

“The Clwyd South chairman, Ian Reynolds, said of him at the selection meeting, `A Prime Minister in the making’ and I am confident that his prediction will come true.”

Cllr Davies added: “Boris will be the game maker and I confident we will be saying goodbye to the diktats coming from non-elected officers of the EU.

“Boris was and is a superb communicator and has the ability to lead us to a resounding No to the EU. 

“After watching Cameron’s useless negotiation results I was ready to publicly burn my membership card and boycott the Conservative Conference here in Llangollen.

“But since Boris has come out in favour of Leave its game on again.”

The Welsh Conservative Party Conference will be held at Llangollen Pavilion on Friday and Saturday March 11 and 12.