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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Health Centre Friends back in action after pandemic


The Friends of Llangollen Health Centre, like so many other organisations, has been affected by the pandemic.  

One of its projects has been to contribute to the cost of installing defibrillators.  

The latest one is now outside the Conquering Hero in Rhewl.

The official hand-over (pictured above) was attended by Maggie Smith, Chair of Llantysilio Community Council, the Clerk to the Council Sandra Baker, and Audrey Brameller, a member of the Board of Trustees.

The Trust was also pleased to receive a generous donation from the Friends of Oakleigh represented by Ruth Tamms to the Friends' John Palmer (pictured above).

The Friends is a charity whose objectives are to relieve sickness and to preserve and protect good health amongst permanent or temporary residents in the catchment area of Llangollen Health Centre and Llangollen GP practice, including Glyn Ceiriog & Plas Madoc,by the provision of facilities, support services and equipment not normally provided from statutory funds.

With the support of volunteers, the Friends normally staff the cafĂ© in the surgery, but this is currently on hold until things get back to normal. Fundraising activities have also been on hold.  

However, the Friends will be resuming fundraising with a coffee morning in the Memorial Hall on Market Street on Tuesday May 31 and would like t see as many people as possible coming along to show support.

* If you have any ideas on how we can support patients, please email John Palmer

Fifth generation Kia Sportage is giant leap

Kia Sportage drive by Steve Rogers

There are not many car companies that can boast an SUV as their best seller in every corner of the world so turn the spotlight on the Kia Sportage.

I remember the UK launch in 1995 taking the car off road at the top of the Horseshoe Pass. Then it was nothing more than a capable, but only average utility 4x4 helping the fledgling Korean company break into the UK market.

It took 15 years and some inspirational design for us to sit up and take notice of the third generation Sportage, now an attractive all round family car which sold and sold and sold.

If 2010 was a big step forward then this year’s 5th generation Sportage is a giant leap. Not only has it undergone a radical redesign but there is cutting edge technology and hybrid power preparing the ground for what is ahead at the end of the decade.

Turning heads with stand out design is one thing but you have to do the business under the skin as well. So Kia started from scratch with a new platform, longer, taller and wider body, and plug-in or self-charging hybrid engine to compliment petrol and diesel units - yes there is still a diesel on offer.

There is even an all wheel drive with terrain drive mode, not that I think Sportage is going to spend much time off road although it will come in handy towing a caravan from a muddy field.

Sportage feels more grown up with its bigger body. Interior space has increased with ample leg and shoulder room for three adults in the back seats, which also recline, and a larger boot now boasting 587 litres with the back seats in place. The boot has two levels with small storage spaces under the floor because the spare wheel is replaced by a repair kit which, thankfully, I have not had to use so far in my motoring life.

For all its snazzy body styling, the cabin takes the star prize with its stunning dashboard  layout and general improvement in fittings and trim.

The area is dominated by a shiny black structure similar to a wide screen television housing two 12.2 inch screens. Dials ahead of the driver are computer generated and can be altered to display a variety of information. One novelty is a large camera in each of the main dials activated when indicating left or right, a modern take on a door mirror.

The driver’s eye still goes to the door mirror and the camera is impaired when it rains and in the dark but is another bit of new technology.

The centre touchscreen displays radio, various aps and navigation which was surprising slow to find a destination but easy to use.

Kia is well known for its generous level of kit, it was one of the first mainstream marques to have heated rear seats, an nothing has changed. My top of he range GT-Line S wants for nothing, ventilated front seats and 360 degree camera standout features, and the attention to small details in the cabin is admirable, check out the USB ports built into the shoulder of the front seats.

Of course there is a full suite of safety aids to keep you out of trouble.

Hybrid has added a new dimension to Sportage, a bit later than some rivals, and provides sprightly performance with decent economy. With the help of an electric motor the 1.6 litre petrol pumps out an impressive 226bhp so sixty comes up in an impressive eight seconds.

Driven sensibly the self charging hybrid should be good for 45-47mpg.

Which brings us on to towing and can it take the place of a diesel? Engine power is more than adequate and pulled effortlessly through the seven speed automatic box but around 24mpg was a good way off the 30mpg I get from my diesel Renault Kadjar but with the inflated price of diesel the gap has shrunk enough to make hybrid a viable alternative.

The downside is a modest 1650kg towing capacity. My lightweight four berth was only just inside the limit so many heavier family vans will not be a legal match.

There is plenty of high profile competition but this Sportage is a fine package and has to be on your shopping list.

Fast Facts

Sportage GT-Line S

£40,255 (starts £26,745)

1.6 litre petrol; 226bhp

0-60mph 8secs; 120mpg

44.1mpg combined

146g/km. 1st tax £215

Boot 587-1776 litres

Insurance group 26

Towing capacity 1650kg

Royal train artefacts go on show at railway over jubilee weekend

* Royal train artefacts which will be on show at Llangollen Railway.

A special display showcasing historic artefacts from Queen Victoria's Royal Train will be on display within Llangollen Station over the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend. 

In 1897, the Great Western Railway marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria by constructing a new royal train for her. 

Railway companies had provided special saloon carriages, but this was the first royal train to be built and was fitted out in an opulent style.  

The GWR abandoned its royal carriages of 1897 during the 1930s and subsequently borrowed stock from another railway company when the need arose. 

Some of the carriage survived as grounded bodies, holiday chalets and in one case as a skittle alley in North Devon!

Many of the artefacts from inside the 1897 Royal Train vehicles have been lost over the years, but some items have survived and are now in the personal collection of Peter Dickinson, one of the founding members of the railway's Heritage Group.

The temporary display inside Llangollen Station will include carriage prints, glass panels and even some of the surviving door handles that were once inside Queen Victoria's Royal Train. 

The railway has a full programme of other events planned for the jubilee weekend.

Two new free courses at Pengwern Community Hub

Pengwern Community Hub has two new free courses starting in June.  

Organisers say places are limited and booking is essential by calling 01490 266004 or emailing:

Both courses are suitable for beginners.  

Sewing machines and an overlocker can be provided for the sewing course, or people can bring their own along.  

The craft course takes place on the hub's Thursday Craft and Chat session and the first one is a taster session - so you can help decide what you would like to make - and then runs for the following five weeks.   

Materials will be supplied for the craft course.

The organisers add: "If you have service users, family or friends who would like to come along to either or both of these courses please do not hesitate to get in touch and if you can print to display the poster please do so."

Pengwern Community Hub's June diary

Monday, May 23, 2022

Riverside Park lands £200,000 windfall for new facilities

* How the new mini golf area will look.

A massive £200,000 injection of Welsh Government money will help bring a range of improvements to Llangollen’s Riverside Park. 

The cash is part of a £2.9 million package announced by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething under the government’s Brilliant Basics capital fund to be shared among 18 projects that will help deliver small-scale infrastructure improvements in strategically important tourism locations across Wales. 

According to the government announcement, in Llangollen “improvements will be made to this popular destination and include mini golf, play equipment, green infrastructure, including E-bike charging points, water play infrastructure, bandstand seating, interpretation boards and ramped access between levels of the park”.   

The fund, which is supporting local authorities and national parks to deliver the improvements which will benefit both communities and visitors, will finance projects to help alleviate pressure in areas that are seeing increased visitor numbers. 

Brilliant Basics will also support projects to improve accessibility to sites and projects that make their destinations more environmentally sustainable.

Llangollen Parks Project, a community group made up of local parents, has been spearheading the campaign for improvements to the park, which is run by Denbighshire County Council.

Its spokeswoman, Jessica Evans, said: “When the Brilliant Basics  funding became available we saw the opportunity to work with DCC to look at applying for improvements to the play equipment and band stand as well as improving accessibility around the park. 

“We have also been able to apply for some money to install the required water pipe input and electricity supply to the location that we hope will contain a splash pad/ water play facility which we will aim for in future funding applications.”

She added: “The full value of the project is £250k which should make a huge difference to the park.

“The bid focused on much of the feedback we had received from the survey we put out about the park a few months ago, most notably making the facility a much more inclusive one and ensuring that the Riverside Park is a place where people of all ages can come and enjoy this stunning location.

“The play equipment should cater for a much wider age range than it currently does and also have a greater capacity to cater more easily for the numbers that use the park.

“The band stand will have new seating and an electricity supply. Funding for the electricity supply had already been secured by a funding bid put together by Paul Keddie and the Fringe Festival and this funding served as match funding for the bid. 

“We are so delighted that Paul Evans and the team at Denbighshire Countryside and Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB had the vision to work with us and push this project forward. We were also encouraged and supported by Ken Skates with this application and are very grateful to him for his support. 

“The project should be completed by spring 2023 so a very exciting and busy time ahead. We can't wait to see the finished project and the difference that this will make for people living in and visiting Llangollen.”

Castle Street sewer blockage caused by construction debris, says council

* The pumping machine in action on Castle Street.

The current traffic disruption in Castle Street is due to construction debris from the ongoing 2020 project falling into a manhole and blocking a sewer pipe, according to Denbighshire County Council.  

A spokesperson for said this morning (Monday) told llanblogger: “Whilst carrying out road resurfacing work in Castle Street on Friday evening, some construction debris accidentally fell into a manhole and became stuck within a sewer pipe. 

"A specialist drainage contractor attended and attempted to unblock the pipe using drainage rods. 

"When this did not work, a camera survey was undertaken which revealed the debris had lodged against a damaged section of pipe. 

"The council is now liaising with Welsh Water to discuss options for repairing the damaged pipe. We would like to thank the public for their understanding and to apologise for any disruption caused whilst these works are undertaken."

Further information about the problem has been obtained from the council by new Llangollen County Councillor Karen Edwards who said: "The obstruction caused the surface water and sewage in the manhole to back up and started to flood out of the manhole last Friday.

"This was despite the best efforts of the drainage contractor who was brought in to clear the blockage through rodding.

"I am told that two options exist - an attempt to repair the damaged pipe, which will require a 1.2 metre deep excavation to access it, or a short length of pipe being run from the affected manhole to an adjacent one."   

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Suspected sewer problem affects Castle Street

* The large mobile pumping machine operating in Castle Street this morning. 

A problem appears to have developed with the sewer beneath the carroageway in Castle Street.

The problem developed on Saturday with what seemed at first to be a serious water leak in the roadway but which, it is understand, has since been diagnosed as an issue with the sewer. 

Yesterday afternoon a major pumping operation was going on the middle of the road and overnight a large portable pump has been operating within roadworks.

The problem has developed just as contractors for Denbighshire County Council are putting the finishing touches to the town’s major 2020 project to extend the pavements along Castle Street and resurface the carriageway. 

This has meant many months of disruption and there are concerns it will now be further delayed by rectifying the sewer problem.

* llanblogger has asked the water company for a comment.