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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Work on new woodland area near cemetery almost complete

* Jeanette Robinson and Mike Gleed of the Tidy Town Team plant a tree in the woodland area.

* David Davies, left, of the Tidy Town Team and John Gambles of the Mission Area get stuck into the tree planting. 

Work to transform an area of under-used woodland near St John’s Church off Abbey Road into a 'tranquil' outdoor area should be finished by the end of this month.

That's according to the man in charge of the Green Space project to sympathetically redevelop a 1.5-acre triangular-shaped piece of land between the river, the railway and the cemetery into what he described as a “tranquil area where people can find peace with themselves ... where they can sit, relax and contemplate.”

John Gambles leads the Valle Crucis Mission Area, the body which co-ordinates the work of 15 parish churches in the Dee Valley area and has led the project with cash from the Green Communities Project match-funded by St Collen’s Church.

Yesterday (Friday) volunteers from Llangollen's Tidy Town Team, who have been closely involved with the work since it began last year, were back on site to add the final touches to the woodland area in the shape of 20 new trees.

Mr Gambles said: "Work on the tranquil area will be finished by the end of this month with the pathways in place and the land cleared and tidied, and then it's a case of doing a little more work around the cemetery.

"Also included in the scheme is extending the existed limited car parking area for graveyard visitors by the removal of a privet hedge and the planting of a line of ornamental trees to screen it from the consecrated land set aside for the extension of the burial area, the creation of a small wildflower meadow plus the fixing of posts and chestnut palings along the rider side of the site."

He added: "The Tidy Town Team has done more good work for us by planting the trees in the woodland area.

"The 20 they have put in are a mixture of apple and quince trees, which have all been sourced in either north Wales or the border counties of England - the apples are from Bardsey Island off the Lyn Peninsula, so hopefully we will soon have an edible forest here. 

"Some trees, a number of which were diseased, were removed from the woodland area but logs from the healthy ones have been left on the ground to create a habitat for small mammals.

"Wildlife will also benefit from the 20 bird nesting boxes created for us by the technical department at Ysgol Dinas Bran and put in place ready for this year's breeding season.

"Everything that's been done will soon be turning green, so hopefully this will be a lore more pleasant place."  

Friday, February 3, 2023

Choir's St David's Day concert announced


Safety concerns expressed about new-look Hill Street/A5 junction


The resident's picture of the way the junction is currently.

* Their interpretation of the many ways pedestrians and drivers will have to assess the re-modelled junction before negotiating it.

A Llangollen resident has voiced concerns that the work currently being carried out to re-shape the junction of Hill Street and the A5 could be “very dangerous” for pedestrians.

Contractors for the county council and working on behalf of the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent moved in on January 9 to begin a six-week programme at the busy junction.

This will include the creation of three new signalised crossings.

Two of these will be on the A5, one from the front of number 4 Berwyn Street to the side of the Armoury, and the second from the front of M’Eating Point to the front of the Welsh Methodist Chapel.

The third crossing will be on Castle Street, near the A5 junction, running from the side of the chapel to the front of the shop opposite.

The priority of the junction of Hall Street and Hill Street will be amended, with the existing island there being removed. A new uncontrolled crossing will run between the Armoury and the Grapes.

There will be a new stop-line position marked on the A5 in front of the junction.

The concerned resident, after a long study of the issue but does not wish to be named, says they have expressed their fears about the work to the county council and the Welsh Government.   

They explained: “I've been trying to raise concerns for over a year. I have just been passed around. I was told the plans would be revised. They haven't been. 

“I have now been forwarded to the Welsh Government but they won't be back for comment for 15 days. It's too late then. Plans need to be changed now.  

“Pedestrians crossing from bottom of Hill Street will have to look for traffic coming from five directions at any one time from a 315-degree radius, on a very busy junction.  

“As it is at the moment it can be dangerous to cross to the island, having to assess for traffic from three directions, the other two being on other side of island as the current layout is now. 

“People are limited to concentrate on only a few things at any one time. Putting this fact in a scenario for pedestrians to cross the road is very dangerous.  

“It is dangerous because not only will the pedestrians have to assess dangers from five possible directions but also and a driver will have to assess vehicles and pedestrians from five possible directions. Drivers will fail to see pedestrians crossing if they are concentrating on traffic from four directions.  

“To add, the crossing will be longer than what it currently is now.”

The resident added: "The 'keep clear' area will get blocked as there is only space for one car in front of the traffic lights (which already partially blokes the exit from Hill St). 

"With a flow of traffic, I doubt very much that vehicles will wait for the space in front of lights to clear before they proceed to it. It is inevitable that when the lights turn red that at least one car will be in the 'keep clear' area, blocking off exit and entrance. 

"In the new plans there will be no space for vehicles caught in the 'keep clear' area to move to, in turn completely blocking the junction every time the lights are red. I think there should be a box junction instead of 'keep clear'. 

"I also think it is vital that a pedestrian refuge island is placed halfway across the crossing at bottom of Hill St crossing." 

* Llanblogger has asked the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agent to comment. A spokesperson said: "The correspondent will receive a reply to his letter/e-mail very soon. We won’t be providing a separate response."

Thursday, February 2, 2023

Entertainer Shea vows to keep on singing Delilah despite rugby ban

* Shea belting out Delilah for a local audience a couple of years ago.

A young entertainer with strong links to Llangollen says he's determined to go on singing the Sir Tom Jones hit Delilah despite its ban by the Welsh Rugby Union.

The sport’s ruling body has ordered the 1968 blockbuster to be removed from its Principality Stadium choirs’ song list on the eve of the 2023 Six Nations.

The song about a jealous lover stabbing his unfaithful paramour has been lustily sung by Welsh fans and become something of an alternative sporting anthem.

But with the WRU facing allegations of a “toxic” culture and misogyny the governing body has responded to claims that it promotes violence against women by banning it.

The song includes the lyric: “She stood there laughing/I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more.”

But  20-year-old Shea Ferron, who has been entertaining crowds with his solo performances since he was a tot and raised thousands of pounds for charity, has vowed to keep on belting out Delilah for his own fans.

Shea made history as the youngest councillor in the history of Llangollen Town Council is currently on BA (Hons) Performing Arts course at the ICTheatre College in Manchester.

He  said: “I do think it’s a bit over the top to have banned it.

“At the end of the day, it’s possibly one of Tom Jones’s most iconic songs that on match day is sung all around the stadium.

“It’s a song that I always have in my concert set list, a song that everyone loves and sings.

“Yes there may be a violent twist in the song but I feel it’s an iconic Welsh hit, that creates a huge atmosphere on match day in Cardiff, both in the stadium and in the pubs!

“Next time I’m front of an audience I plan to sing it for them.”   

People encouraged to join the big Llangollen Canal Walk

* Jane Williams is encouraging people to join the canal walk in aid of the children's hospices.

People are being encouraged to pull on their walking boots to support Hope House and Ty Gobaith Children’s Hospices by taking part in its ever-popular Llangollen Canal Walk. 

The 12th annual walk, sponsored by Principality Building Society, will take place on Sunday, March 12, and will see walkers join a special 10-mile walk taking in the stunning scenery, including the world-famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. 

Encouraging people to sign up for this year’s event is Jane Williams whose son Evan died suddenly in his sleep weeks before his 13th birthday in 2013.  

Jane and the family, from Wrexham, have been supported by Hope House ever since and she has been walking the Llangollen Canal Walk for many years to support the hospices. 

“Evan had no illness at all. He was fit and healthy and he simply went to bed and died in his sleep,” she said.  

“I found him when I went to wake him in the morning. It was a huge shock for us all. I can honestly say if we hadn’t had Hope House I don’t know what we would have done. 

“By walking the Llangollen Canal Walk and supporting the hospices you’ll be making sure families like mine continue get the support when they need it the most.” 

Starting at the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct walkers will follow a marshalled five miles along the canal to The Poachers at Chirk.  

After a comfort stop and goody bag, everyone will return along the same route to cross the aqueduct for the second time where they will get their hands on a colourful limited edition 2023 medal. 

Fundraiser Cat Dowdeswell said: “This wonderful event is guaranteed to put a smile on your face and a spring in your step this March. Bring along friends, family, colleagues and those four-legged friends and embrace the great outdoors. 

“We have already sold more than half the places for the canal walk, which is absolutely incredible.  

“This event is extremely popular and has always been a sell-out, so make sure you sign up and get your tickets via the Hope House website to avoid disappointment.” 

* Tickets for the walk are £10 for adults and £5 for children and you can sign up today at 

Skates calls for swimming pools to get help with power bills

* The pool at Plas Madoc.

An MS has renewed his calls for increased support for swimming pools. 

Ken Skates wants pools like Plas Madoc to be designated by the UK Government as ‘energy-intensive’ enterprises – meaning they would get more help to subsidise their electricity bills. 

He first raised the issue in October and has now written to the UK Government after the plight of pools was discussed in the Senedd this week. 

Mr Skates, MS for Clwyd South, said: “Swim Wales recently warned that nearly a third of the 500 public swimming pools in Wales could close because of the ever-increasing costs they’re facing. Not only are their energy bills spiralling, but they also face the twin challenges of the rising cost of essential chemicals – and the delays in their delivery – as a consequence of Brexit. 

“Many swimming pools in Wales are owned and maintained by local councils, who have received a very good settlement from the Welsh Government for the next financial year. But some, like Plas Madoc in my constituency, don’t get council funding and have to make ends meet in other ways. 

“Being classified as energy-intensive would give these vital community facilities a real shot in the arm. I have written to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Grant Shapps, to make this case and I know the Welsh Government continues to press him on this as well.” 

Economy Minister Vaughan Gething previously said the Welsh Government would work with the UK Government – which is responsible for regulating the energy industry – to find a resolution. 

This week in the Senedd, Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport Dawn Bowden said: “Local authorities have had the best financial settlement in a long time, much higher than they had anticipated, and how they utilise that budget is a matter for them. I hope that the decisions that they come to, following their deliberations and their consultations, will be that they take things like leisure centres and realise that they are part of the wider well-being agenda for their population. 

“But one of the things that I remain concerned about is the UK Government's relief scheme that has still excluded swimming pools from their proposals, and we do continue to press the UK Government to utilise their powers to support swimming pools.”

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

MP impressed by visit to Tyn Dwr Hall

* Simon Baynes MP with Tracey Owen at Tyn Dwr Hall.

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes visited Tyn Dwr Hall in Llangollen to learn more about the business and its contribution to the local economy.

He met with general manager Tracey Owen to learn more about the venue, which hosts weddings, conferences and team events and has on-site accommodation for 66 people. 

Tracey Owen’s family bought Tyn Dwr Hall in 2016 and since then have renovated the house and seven acres of gardens and grounds building a successful weddings business which recently had two open days.

Mr Baynes leerned that with 80% of its clients from England, Tyn Dwr Hall is making a major contribution to the local economy in Clwyd South, helping local businesses and employing a significant number of people locally, particularly young people. 

He was also told that after a difficult two years due to the Covid pandemic, its wedding business bounced back strongly last year and is looking very favourable for 2023.

Mr Baynes said: “It was a pleasure to visit Tyn Dwr Hall and meet with Tracey Owen to find out about this beautiful venue near Llangollen. 

"I was impressed to hear that the venue can offer not only weddings but also conferences and team events and how it is playing a key role in contributing to the local economy and helping local businesses and people in the area. 

"I was particularly impressed to learn about the training they provide for their staff, particularly young staff members. 

“I would like to thank Tracey and the team at Tyn Dwr Hall for a fantastic visit and would like to wish them all the very best for 2023.”