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Thursday, February 22, 2018

MP attacks Prime Minister over farmers' Brexit concerns

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has accused Prime Minister Theresa May of not addressing the concerns of farmers in the run up to leaving the EU.
Ms Jones (pictured) quoted the words of National Farmers Union Deputy President Minette Batters who said that losing full access to the European Single Market could be “absolutely disastrous” for British agriculture.
Theresa May responded by saying: "We are going to negotiate a new economic partnership with the European Union and I can assure the Honourable Lady that the interests of agriculture will be one of the considerations we take into account when we make sure we have a good trade arrangement with the EU as well as improved trade arrangements with the rest of the world."

Speaking after the fiery House of Commons exchange, Ms Jones said: “Spinning vague phrases like ‘economic partnership’ may help the Prime Minister within the Tory Party, but it means absolutely nothing for farmers and rural communities across the UK.
"Her Government still won’t agree to respect Wales properly by giving the powers due to the Welsh Government nor will they make commitments that would protect trading markets.
"Theresa May’s words will ring very hollow indeed in Corwen, the Ceiriog Valley, Horsemans Green and all of the other farming communities in the Clwyd South constituency.”
* To see House of Commons exchange at Prime Minister's Questions between Susan Elan Jones MP and the Prime Minister go to:

County backs care and support package

Councillors in Denbighshire have given their backing to a five year regional plan responding to care and support needs across North Wales.

Local councils and the regional health board are expected to produce a long-term Population Assessment Regional Plan, in response to a population assessment that has been carried out.

The plan clearly sets out  the range and levels of information, advice and support services to be provided by partners; how regional partnership boards will work together; how funding will be used and how services will be delivered through the medium of Welsh.

Councillor Bobby Feeley, Cabinet Lead Member for Well-being and Independence, said: “The aim of this plan is to show how we will meet people’s care and support needs and the support needs of carers across North Wales.

“The information collected through this whole process will allow all partners to plan and commission services more effectively, to meet the needs of specific groups.  There are also close links with reducing poverty through improving the way social care and health needs are met, as well as links to health and well-being through working to reduce crime.

“If the Plan is successful, then we expect to see people’s health and well-being improve, it will help reduce inequalities and will help develop communities that work more closely together”

Councillor Huw Hilditch- Roberts, Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and the Welsh Language, said: “The regional plan supports the corporate priorities already agreed in Denbighshire, in particular around housing, building resilient communities and providing the best possible support for our young people.

“By working together as one region, we can pool resources, experiences and expertise that can then be shared, for the benefit of every community across North Wales.”

Subject to approval from all of the partners, it is expected that the Plan will be published on April 1, 2018.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Police thanked for targeting illegal off-roaders

North Wales Police have been thanked for taking steps to tackle illegal and irresponsible off-road drivers by a county councillor who has been urging action for many years.

Cllr Mabon ap Gwynfor (pictured), who represents the Llandrillo/Cynwyd ward, also thanked the police for heeding his advice to use drones to tackle the problem.

He said: "Illegal and irresponsible off roaders have been a scourge in this area for many years. 

"We regularly hear complaints of how grazing land and wildlife are damaged on the Berwyn Mountains by irresponsible off-roaders. In turn these give the majority of those who enjoy the past time responsibly a bad name.

"What these irresponsible drivers don't understand, or don't care for, is that their actions damage the countryside and people's livelihoods.

"These mountains and hills are difficult enough to scrape out a living, let alone having to spend more on fixing fences, posts, gates, walls and other things because of the actions of a few selfish people. They're also home to rare flaura, fauna and ground nesting birds. It's a Site of Special Scientific Interest, which should be respected."

Last year Cllr ap Gwynfor called on the police to use drones to help tackle the problem.

He said: "It's very difficult to police the activity given its nature. The irresponsible drivers can speed off in almost any direction especially in such a remote area like the Berwyns.

"This is why I called for the police to consider using drones. I'm glad to see that they are using this technology to assist them and that they had a successful operation over the weekend. 

"The police are called on to do a lot of work, and are under serious financial pressures, so they must be thanked for listening to our concerns and working with our communities to help tackle them.

"I'm also grateful to Arfon Jones, the Police and Crime Commissioner, for listening to us when he put the police budget together."

The Dee Valley Policing team updated their Facebook page saying:
@Northwalespolice conducted a joint operation on Saturday 17/02/18 targetting the ongoing off road related problems in Llangollen, Corwen, Llandrillo, Nantyr and also across to Llanarmon DC, Glyn Ceiriog and Chirk areas.
We had a number of resources dedicated to the operation including 14 officers, 2 4x4 patrol vehicles, 2 4x4 Roads Policing vehicles, 2 unmarked scrambler bikes, and 2 marked police vehicles. For this operation we also had use of the NWP Drone.
The operation was a massive success with 58 vehicles stopped, 16 Vehicle Defect Rectification Scheme Tickets, 2 Traffic Offence Report Tickets and 1 vehicle seized for no insurance.
Dee Valley SNT (Safer Neighbourhood Team) would like to thank all of the officers and units involved in Saturdays operation!!! 

MP looks into "disturbing" online abuse of disabled

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones joined three other members of the House of Commons Petitions Committee to meet with disabled people to discuss their experience of online abuse.

The hearing is based on a well-supported public petition and will form part of an inquiry by the committee into the online abuse that disabled people have been subjected to.

People with a range of disabilities and experiences of abuse were invited to Parliament to talk about what it’s like to be disabled online, the challenges that disabled people face when reporting abuse, and what social media companies and the Government should be doing to tackle abuse. 

Ms Jones (pictured) said: "Some of the accounts given by disabled people were very disturbing.

"We really do need social media companies and the Government to do more to protect disabled people online. 

"I welcome the fact that the House of Commons Petitions Committee, disability charities and advocacy groups, and individual disabled people are bringing this very concerning form of online abuse to light."

Petitions Committee chair Helen Jones MP said: “We heard from disabled people themselves about the shocking abuse that they face when they go online.

"We know that it’s not always easy to talk about such difficult experiences, and we’re very grateful indeed to everyone who came to Parliament today to help us with our work.

"The petitions system was set up to help people to have their voices heard in Parliament, so it’s very important to us that the views of disabled people are at the heart of our inquiry."

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Railway's half term train rides continue

* Boarding the train for Corwen.

In the second week of half term, 19-23 February, Llangollen Railway is operating the off-peak service with the diesel railcard.

Trains depart Llangollen at 1040,1300 & 1510 for the full ten mile run to Corwen.

The heritage Wickham railcar offers best all round views of the journey through the Dee Valley.

For those sitting at the front, the view from behind the driver shows how the line climbs and twists and turns all the way. If sitting at the back you get the "where we have been" view of the track.

The ideal way to see the countryside in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Special offer fares for child travelling with an adult. See details at:

* The view from the cab ...

Monday, February 19, 2018

Plas Newydd's water tower gets facelift

* llanblogger reader Mike Edwards took this picture of the old Water Tower at Plas Newydd which has been refurbished by the county council to help preserve the history of the beautiful Grade 2 Listed house and gardens originally the home of the Ladies of Llangollen.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gales serves up victory in top food competition

* Gales chef Jack Hatley, second from right, receives the overall winner's prize. 

Three of the top eateries in North East Wales went head to head in the grand final of the Year of the Sea Food challenge – with Gales of Llangollen being crowned the overall winner.

Over the past month 12 eateries across Wrexham, Flintshire and Denbighshire have put their best fin forward to showcase the best of local produce and hit the rather tricky ‘Year of the Sea’ brief.

The challenge took inspiration from the 2018 Welsh ‘Year of the Sea’, with the North East Wales Tourism and Marketing team inviting local eateries to create a dish that would celebrate the region’s amazing coastline, epic inland waterways and great local produce.

Each restaurant has been visited by a mystery diner, including food bloggers from South Wales, local press (such as and food writers, who had the very difficult task of tasting and scoring the dishes.

While Year of the Sea may seem a difficult challenge for a semi landlocked North East Wales, all the participating rose the challenge and offered their interpretations of the classic fish and chips with a twist or their surf and turf dishes.

Friday saw the three finalists – The Fat Boar Wrexham, Gales of Llangollen and the Royal Oak in Bangor on Dee – compete against each other in a live cook off at Hafod in Coleg Cambria.

Each restaurant faced tough critique from a panel of experts and top chefs, including Kevin Lynn – Machine House, Kerry Thatcher – Food Division Visit Wales, Chris Nelson – Artisan Street Food Chef, Alex Jones – Bank Wine Bar Wrexham, Caroline Dawson – Welsh Seafood Cluster Manager and Tracey Hughes – Porters Delicatessen Llangollen.

Speaking yesterday Joe Bickerton, Destination Manager at Wrexham Council, said the standard of competition this year had been excellent – with all three finalists scoring a whopping 59/60 in the mystery diner feedback.

First up was The Royal Oak, with their ‘Surf & Slurp’ – a dish billed as a ‘winter hearty dish that will warm you up from the inside’.

Providing a background on the dish, Lee Williams, general manager of the restaurant, explained it was made of locally sourced pork from Lewis’ farm shop and Menai Mussels which were freshly delivered.

The competition entry was also described as being a hit with customers, with between 60-70 dishes being served over the past month, all of which receiving positive. feedback.

Next up was Gales of Llangollen, who also offered their unique twist on surf and turf with sous vide Pen y Lan pork belly, saffron mash, American sauce, a smiling langoustine and a couple of lovely quails eggs.

Finally was another interpretation of the classic surf and turf, with the Fat Boar serving up an massive 18oz bone-in Celtic pride ribeye, giant crab claws, Perl las sauce. Crispy ‘spiralised’ Covent Garden potato, Anglesey salted roast tomato and Wrexham Lager battered onion rings.

After a lot of deliberation from the Judges, Gales of Llangollen was crowned the winner of the Year of the Sea Food Challenge – with judges describing their dish as having a ‘good use of local produce’ and the ‘visual wow factor’ – a vote that matched the verdict in room.

In what was a tough competition, the Fat Boar came in second and The Royal Oak third.

* The full list of entrants this year was:  Gales of Llangollen , Old Wives Tales, Corwen , Fat Boar, Mold , Druid Inn , Fat Boar, Wrexham , Lot 11, Wrexham , Croes Howell , Royal Oak Bangor on Dee , Lemon Tree, Wrexham , Holt Lodge , Hafod Restaurant, Coleg Cambria and The Alyn, Rossett