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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

MP complains over controversial public appointment

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has signed a letter to Commissioner for Public Appointments calling on him to explain how controversial appointee Toby Young was put on the board of the Office for Students.  

The letter to Peter Riddell has been now signed by more than 60 opposition MPs.

Ms Jones (pictured) said: "People who hold public appointments need to be of the highest calibre and should also uphold decent ethical standards.

"However, five minutes spent searching on Google would have linked Toby Young to some really offensive comments against a whole range of people. It was only because so many people complained that he had to stand down.

"Most people in our area would have lost their jobs for saying far less than Toby Young did and I and other MPs want to know how he was even considered to be a board member of the Office for Students in the first place.

"I welcome the fact that on hearing of our the letter, the Commissioner has said he is looking into the appointment of Toby Young.

"However, it's vital we also get  a thorough review into the whole process of all the appointments to the board of the Office for Students."





Monday, January 15, 2018

Possible deal to save community garden revealed



* Volunteers gather in the garden during the recent snow. 

Llangollen Town Council could step in the save the area’s community garden from closure.

That’s the latest message from campaigners fighting to prevent the popular facility being lost to the local area by being sold off for housing development.
The garden had been threatened by a deal between a local developer and the landowner, Denbighshire County council.

At the end of last year the council's Asset Management Group decided to gift the 0.5-acre plot for housing on the basis that the developer will carry out works to nearby Plas Newydd.

Founders of the garden, which was established in 2012, say they received just four days’ notice ahead of the decision, which is still due to be ratified.

Only last week the campaign was featured in a report on BBC Wales TV news when North Wales reporter Matthew Richards interviewed a number of garden group members.

Now, people who signed a petition to save the garden have received an email from Warren Davies of the community garden group which says: “Thank you for signing our petition.

The council were due to make a decision today on the developer's proposal.
“However, your support has helped us delay the final decision on the garden to March 8th.

“With the financial support of an anonymous benefactor, Llangollen Town Council has made an offer to Denbighshire County Council to buy the community garden land.


“If this goes ahead, then the Town Council will work with the community garden group to ensure that the community garden is safe.

“This is great news. But we are not out of the woods yet, we have to keep the pressure on...

“If you have already written to your councillors then rest assured your input has had a huge impact on decision makers at Denbighshire County Council.”

Friday, January 12, 2018

Garden campaign features on BBC Wales


* Members of the community garden group featured in the TV report.

The campaign to save Llangollen's community garden from closure has been aired on national television.


* Reporter Matthew Richards presents the community garden issue.

The garden has been threatened by a deal between a developer and the landowner, Denbighshire County council. 


At the end of last year the council's Asset Management Group decided to gift the 0.5-acre plot for housing on the basis that the developer will carry out works to nearby Plas Newydd.

Founders of the garden, which was established in 2012, say they received just four days’ notice ahead of the decision, which is still due to be ratified.

On last night's BBC Wales news, there was a report about the campaign when North Wales reporter Matthew Richards interviewed a number of garden group members.

One of them, Kay Polley (pictured), spoke of the amount of hard work that had gone into transforming the garden from a wild piece of land to grow vegetables, fruit and flowers.

"The voluntary hours involved have been astronomical," she said.

The reporter said no decision had yet been taken on the future of the garden by the council but that until then it would "continue to grow".   

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Your views sought on cost of policing


* North Wales PCC Arfon Jones.

A police boss is urging people in North Wales to take part in a survey to gauge how much voters are prepared to pay for policing the region.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner  Arfon Jones has launched the online poll as police across the country digest the news of how much the Home Office is providing towards their budget – about 50 per cent of the total cost.

The rest will come from Council Tax dependent on the precept local Police and Crime Commissioners ask for from councils.

In consultation with the North Wales Police and Crime Panel, Mr Jones will make the proposal on January 22 against the backdrop of news that the North Wales force was having a standstill grant imposed on it by the Home Office which effectively meant a real terms cut in grant of £2.1 million.

The latest financial blow came on top of the 20 per cent North Wales Police had been forced to axe from its budget since 2012.

Last year the precept was set at 3.79 per cent, the lowest increase in Wales, and amounted to just £9 a year or 17p a week, which is less than the cost of a piece of fruit.

But, as the financial squeeze continued, Arfon Jones spelt out the difficulties that police chiefs face.

The former police inspector said: “We do face a twin threat of increasingly diverse crime driven by the internet and tighter budgets.

“But first we have to arrive at a precept so we know how much money we have and, as last year, I will be asking the people of North Wales what they are prepared to pay for.

“In a democracy we have to trust people and last year the results of the survey showed that a majority, 63 per cent of almost 1,000 who took part, were in favour of an increase of five per cent or more.

“In the event we didn’t have to go that high but having that evidence of public support was very helpful when I had make my case for the Police and Crime Plan.

Mr Jones added: "In calculating the right level of precept, I have to balance the need for financial prudence with my responsibility to ensure that North Wales Police is an effective and efficient force that is capable of delivering of my Police and Crime Plan.

“What we are seeing now is more and different forms of crime with cybercrime having grown so much that the thin blue line of policing is now on line rather than on the street.

“In addition we have the issues of modern slavery and domestic abuse and we need to ensure that victims are confident enough of being listened to, to come forward and report it.

“Policing is under great pressure from these increased demands being placed upon it.
Despite these increased demands there remains uncertainty over what North Wales Police will receive in the years to come but the need to meet these spending challenges has to be balanced by the recognition that many people find it difficult to find even a small amount of additional money.

“My reserves are in a stable and healthy position, and therefore I have decided to increase council tax only in order to fund the coming year’s expenditure, and to deal with the effect of further reductions in government grant if and when this should occur.”

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Well-being sessions are success says county

A series of drop in sessions set up in Denbighshire to provide people with health and well-being support and information in their own community is proving to be a great success, according to the county council.

The sessions, called Talking Points, are held in the county’s main towns and direct people to support available locally through organisations and initiatives – this has resulted in less people accessing the more traditional route of accessing health and social care services for formal, planned support.

Over the past three months (October to December), 62 Talking Points sessions were held and supported 292 people. 

The majority of people wanted information, advice and assistance whilst some individuals who needed more specialised support were referred to social services.

All participants were asked to complete surveys, and 100% of those who responded said they were satisfied with the support they had received and had been able to do so in the language of their choice.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, the county council's Cabinet Lead Member for Well-being and Independence, said: “This new approach in Denbighshire has worked really well, with all of the organisations involved working together for the benefit of residents.

“There is a requirement for us to modernise the way we work and the changes are also in response to the fact that people’s needs are changing.

“Many people who previously would access the more traditional health and social care services are now finding that the support or information they require is available in their local community, right on their doorstep.  This helps people to maintain independent lives, whilst accessing the support they need in their local community. It also helps people to increase their confidence and skills."

* Information on well-being matters can also be found on the DEWIS website: www.dewis.wales

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

On-loan loco switches from rail to road


After being on loan to Llangollen Railway over Christmas, locomotive number 2807 was yesterday afternoon (Monday) carefully hoisted aboard a low-loader ready for the trip back to its home base at Toddington on the Gloucester Warwickshire Railway. 


Monday, January 8, 2018

Canoeist airlifted to hospital in River Dee drama


* Reader Allan Potts supplied this picture of the air ambulance at the scene yesterday.

The Leader is reporting that a canoeist had to be airlifted to hospital after falling in the River Dee near the Horseshoe Falls yesterday (Sunday).

For the full story see: