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Sunday, September 30, 2012

AM calls for Wales-only TV licence

Clwyd South Assembly Member Ken Skates has called on the Culture Secretary Maria Millar to develop a separate Channel 3 Licence for Wales.
The new Culture Secretary is currently considering options for the renewal of ITV’s public service licence after 2014 and the Labour AM, who recently chaired an Assembly Enquiry into the Media, has called for a distinct Wales-only licence.
The AM said the future health of ITV was vital to a healthy media in Wales and warned of the impact further staff cutbacks could have on coverage of news and politics.
He said: “The future of ITV in Wales is vital if we are serious about developing a strong media landscape. The current Channel three licence expires in 2014 and the renewal options currently being examined by the Secretary of State are hugely important to the future of public service broadcasting in Wales.
“I believe ITV should have its renewal but as we suggested in our report, maintaining the current licence terms and conditions must be the absolutely bare minimum. As a Bridgend-born Secretary of State, Maria Millar will know the importance of a strong and distinct ITV presence in Wales.
“I would certainly urge the Minister and ITV to be seriously examining the possibility of a separate, Wales-only licence that is commercially sustainable and meets the needs of the community. The importance of this would be that it would make it much easier in future years to encourage other players into the market to develop an alternative Channel three offering for Wales.
“We’ve already seen ITV’s public service broadcasting commitments scaled back quite drastically over the last few years. It’s had a big impact in Wales where ITV now only broadcasts four and a half hours of news and 90 minutes of non-news every week.”
This week ITV announced a wave of redundancies to staff across its regional news with cutbacks affecting technical and support staff including directors, craft editors and camera operators ITV introduces a new centralised graphics unit based in Birmingham.
The move is believed to be the first phase of a two-part redundancy plan, coming after just a handful of staff opted for voluntary redundancy in a scheme announced on September 7.
Mr Skates warned: “If renewal does go ahead I would seriously urge ITV to think long and hard about how the planned regional cutbacks will impact on output here in Wales.
“We have historically had a very weak media in Wales and it is vital both to the plurality of output and to the future of our devolved democracy that we ensure the health and vibrancy of our most important commercial station.
“Cutbacks at ITV Wales in terms of staff and jobs would seriously impact on their ability to be a rigorous and authoritative public service broadcaster for the nation.”

Roadworks in the pipeline

The county council has given details if the following roadworks in the area: 

+ Pendre Road, Berwyn, will have a road closure in place from October 8-26 to allow bridge works by DCC to go ahead. 

+ Berwyn Street, Berwyn, will have temporary traffic lights in place from October 13-17 to allow work by Dee Valley Water to take place. 

+ In Trevor, Bryn  Howel Road, from the A539 to Plas Yn Pentre Farm, will have a road closure in place from October 1-12 to allow bridge works by DCC to go ahead.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Railway exhibition gets off to steaming good start

* Llangollen Railway Trust chairman Jim Ritchie and Martin Christie from
Carrog station lift the Welsh flag to open the exhibition.

An exhibition promoting interest in the Corwen’s railway past and Llangollen Railway’s plans for the railway extension project opened at the Oriel Gallery, London Road, Corwen last Friday.

Entitled “Corwen – a Railway Town”, the exhibition features railway photographs and documents, together with items of former railway artefacts from the local lines around Corwen.

Another feature is a display about the new build Patriot class locomotive “The Unknown Warrior”, as currently being erected at the Llangollen Railway’s engineering base.

The exhibition is organised by local author Paul Lawton and Martin Christie from Carrog station.

At the opening ceremony, Llangollen Railway Trust chairman Jim Ritchie was joined by Martin Christie from Carrog station in lifting the Welsh flag from the entrance photographic display.

Initial attendance was mainly by those who had played a role in setting up the displays, but by lunchtime other visitors began arriving to take in the exhibits and favourable comments were left by all of them about the quality and content of the exhibition.

Of particular appeal is the digital slide show comprising some 200 assorted views of Corwen and its railway over the past many decades which comes with steam age sound track accompaniment.

It is a notable collection of images shown to advantage through the modern medium of a large screen.

The display containing details of the Llangollen Railway's track extension project was well received and many questions were asked about progress and delivery of the trains back to the Corwen East station, pending provision of the ultimate terminal station.

Chris Magner, from Bridgnorth, Shropshire, also attended to launch his new book, “Ruabon to Barmouth - A Tribute to a Welsh West Highland Line".

Opening dates for the exhibition are September 28– 30 and October 4 – 7, between 10am and 4pm. Admission is free.

Mike Edwards speaks out on health shake-up plans

Mike Edwards, chair of Keep Llangollen Special, (pictured below) has made the following statement about the briefing meeting he attended last Wednesday by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board at Llan Town Hall about its proposals to shake up health services across region.

These include the closure of Llan Cottage Hospital and its replacement with a new primary health care centre.

He said: "I attended the consultation meeting yesterday at the Town Hall along with our Vice Chair, Phil Jones and our Secretary Jude Williams. Martin Crumpton and Councillor Phil Thane attended a later meetings and will report separately.

The meeting was very well controlled and time limited by BCUHB who as one would expect had many bodies present! There were many clever words and phrases used by the officials who used a great deal of techno health speak and gave very little specific information about their proposals. However what is crystal clear as far as Llangollen is concerned is that the existing Community Hospital will close and a proposed Multi function Health Centre will be provided in 2015 SUBJECT to the Health Board securing funding and Welsh Government approving a business case for the acquisition of the former River Lodge(Woodlands Hotel) site. In the intervening period services will be transferred to the existing GP Health Centre, but these proposals are under discussion with the GP Practice because of limited space at the Regent Street premises.

There is grave concern among residents that the Hospital will close in early 2013 which has been confirmed by a letter from Mary Burrows Chief Executive of the Health Board to our AM and that the proposed new Health Facility will never actually appear. It is clear that BCUHB intend to sell the existing Hospital along with Oakleigh higher up Abbey Road to produce much needed funds.

What is not clear is whether these monies will be retained in Llangollen for future health service investment. Arthur Hardy Chair of the Hospital League of Friends expressed concern that money his organisation at invested in the hospital would also be lost.

In the meantime patients and their family support network will have to travel to Chirk and Wrexham to receive treatment since in future their will be no in-patient beds in Llangollen.

Residents can make their views known to the Health Board in forms which were handed out at the meeting or they can write to Mary Burrows Ysbyty Gwynedd, Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2PW or email"

Top children's author at Llan Library

Popular children’s authors are visiting libraries in Denbighshire to meet their young readers, as part of the annual Children’s Book Week celebrations.

This year the visiting authors are Helena Pielichaty, Nicola Davies, Guy Bass, and Tracey Corderoy.

Bethan Hughes of Denbighshire Libraries said: “Giving children the opportunity to meet an author is a very effective way of encouraging children to read more books and to visit the library regularly. The experience stays with them for a long time. They get a chance to ask the author questions about their books and about what it’s like to be a professional author.

“Children’s Book Week is a focal point of our work with schools to promote reading for pleasure and develop children’s literacy skills, and we are delighted that we have been able to attract such fantastic authors to Denbighshire.”

The week is organised by Denbighshire Libraries and supported by Literature Wales.

Helena Pielichaty will will be at Llangollen Library on Tuesday, October 2.

From 9-10.15am she will meet Ysgol Bryn Collen Year 4-5 (including the Chatterbooks groups) and from 10.45-11.45 it will be Ysgol Gwernant Year 5-6.

Open doors event was a hit with visitors

* The Old Lock Up was one of the buildings open in Llangollen. 
Around 1,300 people took advantage of special weekends of events aimed at opening the doors of historic properties in Denbighshire during September.

A total of 43 properties opened their doors to the public in Llangollen, Denbigh, Ruthin, St Asaph, Bodelwyddan and Rhuddlan as part of Open Doors Denbighshire– with people taking part in 45 guided tours and events.

Properties opeb in Llangollen included the Chain Bridge, Valle Crucis Abbey, Plas Newydd, Y Capel, Castell Dinas Bran and local churches.

Helen Calder, Event Co-ordinator for Denbighshire, said: “We would like to thank everyone involved in this year’s Open Doors events that took place throughout September. We would particularly like to thank the leaders of the guided walks and tours and the owners of private homes that opened their doors to the public.

“All of the guided tours were fully booked and all events were well populated. We have received some very positive feedback from members of the public and the feedback forms are still pouring in.

“We are very proud that the event is seen as one of the best in Wales and one that the Civic Trust for Wales would like to see repeated throughout Wales”.

The committee includes members and volunteers from:Llangollen Civic Society, Denbigh and District Civic Society, Ruthin and District Civic Association, with funding and support from Denbighshire County Council, Cadwyn Clwyd, Ruthin, Denbigh and Llangollen Town Councils.

Open Doors Denbighshire also received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Action group formed to safeguard Llan health services

AN action group has been formed to safeguard health services in Llangollen.

Its aim is to halt controversial proposals by the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board which include closing the town's Cottage Hospital and replacing it with a new primary care health centre on another site in the town.
Members of the new Keep Llangollen Health Services  (KLHS) group – formed at a public meeting at The Hand Hotel on Thursday night – are deeply worried the new facility will take years to complete and will not include the in-patient beds or minor injuries unit currently offered by the hospital on Abbey Road.
The community hospital, which the health board says is outdated and in need of replacement, also provides a range of vital health services, such blood testing, and campaigners are concerned about whether these will continue to be provided locally during an expected gap of two or three years between it closing and a new centre opening.
Thursday’s meeting was called by Mabon Ap Gwynfor from Corwen, whose residents will also be hit by the closure of the hospital, he claims.
Mr Ap Gwynfor is on the staff of North Wales Plaid Cyrmu Assembly Member Llyr Gruffydd but he stressed his involvement in the campaign was on a personal level and was not connected to his work with the political party.
Residents opposed to the hospital closure plan called a public meeting at The Hand Hotel in August at which a local referendum on the proposal was demanded.
Last Wednesday, health board officials held three public consultation sessions in Llangollen Town Hall at which residents were briefed on the full range of health service changes planned for the region.
But Mr Ap Gwnfor said: “We don’t think all the questions we have about the proposals for change were answered at the sessions, which were more of a tick-box exercise.
“At the Hand public meeting there was a strong feeling that something ought to be done to oppose the hospital closure and retain existing services locally.
“What we have now decided on is to mount a focused and targeted campaign against it but we have only a short time to do this as the health board’s consultation exercise on the changes will finish at the end of October.”
Action plan agreed by the new group includes a demonstration at the next health board meeting, seeking the backing of politicians and other decision-makers, a leafleting campaign inviting affected residents to write in to the health board with their own objections and the setting up of a dedicated website to act as a focal point for the battle
KLHS will also liaise with other groups opposing health service changes, such as the one in Flint which recently organised a march through the streets of the town by 1,500 people fighting the closure of their own community hospital.
A further public meeting to co-ordinate the new campaign is being planned in Llangollen in the next few weeks. 
The group is also collecting personal accounts from local people about how important the Cottage Hospital has been in their lives over the years. 

Event highlights town's rich railway past

* Volunteers Paul Lawton and David George sprucing up the front pavement on London Road ready for the grand opening of the exhibition on Friday.
An exhibition promoting interest in the Corwen’s railway past and Llangollen Railway’s plans for the railway extension project opens at the Oriel Gallery, London Road, Corwen at 10am today (Friday, September 28).

The exhibition features railway photographs and documents, together with items of former railway artefacts from the local lines around Corwen.
A digital slide show of some 200 historical local railway images is also presented.  

Another feature is a display about the new build Patriot class locomotive “The Unknown Warrior”, as currently being erected at the Llangollen Railway’s engineering base. 

The exhibition is organised by local author Paul Lawton and Martin Christie from Carrog station. 

Paul Lawton, one of the organisers, said: "This will be the biggest railway display so far held in Corwen with many items that will interest all residents, not just railway enthusiasts. 
"We all hope it keeps interest alive in Corwen's future link with the Llangollen Railway, which is so important to the town. 
"The team who have pulled this together have put in a lot of effort and we hope everyone enjoys the exhibition. We really hope that people from the town will come along and share with us their memories of the railway." 

Norman Jones, of the Edeyrnion Heritage and Cultural Society, said: "I am delighted that Denbighshire County Council had agreed to allow The Corwen Oriel to be used for the Railway and Art exhibitions.
"I am looking forward to other exhibitions in the future, including one proposed on the farming heritage of the Dee Valley."

Opening dates for the exhibition are September 28 – 30 and October 4 – 7, between 10am and 4pm. Admission is free.
The Oriel Gallery is in the red brick former chapel opposite the black and white Corwen Manor on London Road at the eastern end of the town. Car parking is available on the road or around the back in the town car park.
The event is supported by Cadwyn Clwyd - Rural Development Agency, Denbighshire Rural Development Plan Partnership, The European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, Welsh Government.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Survey shows state of the Welsh nation

People in Wales are extremely satisfied with GP surgeries, hospitals and schools but remain concerned about the financial situation, the National Survey for Wales reveals.
The survey collects robust, detailed information on the views and experiences of people across Wales, on a wide range of topics including wellbeing and satisfaction with public services.
The survey, which began in January 2012, involves face to face interviews with around 14,500 people a year.
This first set of results is based on interviews with 3,500 people aged over 16 and over.
The survey reveals people’s views – where nought is ‘extremely bad’ and ten is ‘extremely good’ – on the transport, health, and education systems.
The overall rating for health was 6.5, education 6.5 and transport 6.1.
People were also asked to rate their satisfaction with how the Welsh Government is doing its job, and the average rating given was 5.8. People under 25 were more satisfied with the Welsh Government, with an average score of 6.3, while people over 25 gave an average score of 5.7.
When asked about their ability to pay bills and other financial commitments, 48 per cent of people said they could keep up, a fall of seven percentage points from 2009-10.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: "It is important that we collect the views of the people of Wales, not only as a measure of how well we are delivering for people but also to get an insight into people’s concerns about topics like the services they receive and their local environment.
“It is pleasing that the results show people are extremely satisfied with services delivered by GPs and schools.
“We are committed to making sure our decisions and actions take into account the views of people across Wales. Only by engaging with people can we get a true reflection of people’s satisfaction levels. Only by listening to the people of Wales in this open and robust way can we address areas where people express more concern.”
Some of the results, which are published online on the Welsh Government website, show that in health 92 per cent of people were satisfied with the care they received from their GP or family doctor at their last visit.
The same proportion were satisfied with the care they received at their last appointment at an NHS hospital. Overall, 69 per cent found it easy to get a convenient appointment with their GP or family doctor.
On the topic of schools, 91 per cent of parents were satisfied with their child’s primary school and 88 per cent were satisfied with their child’s secondary school.
A total of 57 per cent of people said that their local authority provides high quality services and 44 per cent said they would like to be more involved in the decisions the local authority makes that affect their local area.
In terms of wellbeing, 73 per cent of people agreed that people in their local area treated each other with respect and consideration; a similar proportion agreed that “people in this neighbourhood are willing to help their neighbours”.
“Satisfaction with financial situation” was given a low or very low rating by 40 per cent of people. Young adults aged 16 to 24 were more likely to give a low or very low rating (52 per cent) compared with those aged 65 and over (23 per cent).
And in an increasingly digital world 70 per cent of households had access to the internet. This means that 77 per cent of people aged 18 or over had access to the internet. Four out of 10 households in the most deprived areas in Wales did not have access to the internet.

Second body found in river at Erddig

North Wales Police have now confirmed that two bodies were found in the River Clywedog at Erddig, Wrexham last night.

In a statement they say: "The body of a 27 year old woman was found at just after 5pm and the body of 25 year old man was discovered around midnight after a major search involving the Fire and Rescue Service and Mountain Rescue.

"Both are believed to be from the Wrexham area.

"The deaths are not being treated as suspicious.

"However, the circumstances surrounding the incident are still being investigated.

"The coroner has been informed and a post mortem is to be carried out."

Public briefed on big health shake-up

llanblogger special report

There will definitely be no in-patient beds or minor injuries unit in the new primary care centre proposed to replace Llangollen Cottage Hospital.

And the planned new centre would not be open before the hospital is closed.
However, every effort would be made to provide services lost from the hospital in the local area.
These were the main messages which came from health chiefs at Wednesday evening’s public briefing at Llangollen Town Hall on proposed service changes across the region.
The 6pm gathering was the last of three sessions held at the same venue during the day and attracted just over 20 local people.
* Geoff Lang.
Soundings taken at these and similar meetings across the region will be taken into consideration before the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which is proposing the changes, makes up its mind on what exactly will happen, possibly in December.
Seven key members of the board were on the panel.
Director of primary, community and mental health Geoff Lang outlined plans to close the Cottage Hospital and replace it with a new “extended primary care centre”.
From the new facility, he said, social services, the voluntary sector and mental health staff could work closer with resident the resident team of professionals.
While there are currently 10 in-patient beds at the hospital, Mr Lang was clear there would be none in the new centre, with localised in-patient services being provided instead at Chirk Hospital or, for the elderly, in private care homes where these were closer to their homes.
Mr Lang added it was not proposed to provide a minor injuries unit in the new centre, either.
However, he explained that conversations had been taking place with local GPs on whether they might be able to provide minor injuries services in the future.
Questioned from the floor of the meeting on whether phlebotomy (blood) services would be available in the new unit, he said “yes, absolutely”.
A number of points were raised by local county councillor Stuart Davies who said the general view in Llangollen was that the Cottage Hospital was very old and that a new facility to replace it would be welcomed.
He said there were difficulties with the site earmarked for the new centre, currently occupied by the derelict River Lodge  hotel, which were mainly traffic related as it bordered the main A539 road.
Cllr Davies said it had been suggested a bridge could be built over the river to link the site with the town. 
He added local people would like to see at least four in-patient beds in the new centre but conceded that health professionals had said this was not going to happen.
Mr Lang came back to make it clear that “everything, but not the beds, that goes on at Llangollen Hospital will be provided in a primary care centre”.
Cllr Davies then raised the issue of how the proposed changes would be timed, pointing out: “We don’t want to see the hospital closed before a new centre opens”.
The same point was made by town mayor, John Haddy, who added that if there was a two or three year gap between the two and patients became used to having to travel to receive these services elsewhere, this might take pressure off the health board to provide a new health centre in the town.
Mr Lang replied: “Timing is very important. Enhanced care (for the elderly in their own homes) will come on line at the same time or before we close the hospital beds.
“As for the other services, we are looking at ways of keeping these in Llangollen before the primary care centre is provided.”
He suggested that these services might be provided at the existing Llangollen health centre.
Mr Lang added: “We recognise the fears and concerns that if these services go out of the area we might never bring them back.”
He said that across the south Wrexham health area – of which Llangollen is part – about £550,000 would be provided – mainly to cover the cost of extra staff – for enhanced care provision.
Martin Crumpton, who has been active in the campaign to save the Cottage Hospital and was the organiser of a recent move to hold a local referendum on the issue, asked for a straight answer on the timing of the changes in Llangollen, given that building a new primary care centre could take three years.
He also pointed out that the provision of a suitable site for the new facility would be subject to the planning system.
The board’s director of planning Neil Bradshaw (pictured right) said it was guaranteed that alternative services would be in place when the hospital closed.

He added that the Woodlands hotel was the preferred site but that if this could not go ahead the board would have to find another way of delivering its objective.
However, he admitted that Llangollen was a “really challenging area” when it came to finding a suitable site
And he conceded: “We will not have provided the new primary care centre         before the hospital is closed.”
From the floor of the meeting the point was made that there was no evidence the 10 beds at the Cottage Hospital were not needed.
The speaker, a local resident, said that, in fact, as soon as one of the beds became empty there was a queue to fill it.
This won applause from the audience.
The meeting, which was presided over by independent chairman Meirion Hughes, closed after just over 90 minutes.
* A public meeting will be held tonight (Thursday) at The Hand Hotel, starting at 7pm.

It has been called by North Wales Plaid Cyrmu Assembly member Llyr Guffydd in an attempt to persuade local people to orgaise a structured campaign against the hospital closure, similar to the one which saw 1,500 people take part in march through the streets ast week to protest against the proposed closure of Flint Community Hospital.

Banners stolen from Llan pavilion

* Llangollen Pavilion from where the banners were stolen.

The organiser of a wedding fayre  at Llangollen Pavilion on Saturday (September 30) is asking the public to help track down the “lowlife” who stole three large banners advertising the event, which aims to raise cash for charity.

Graham Jones, who runs Wrexham Wedding Directory, told llanblogger:  “We supplied  the banners, two of which were 12ft by 3ft, at the Llangollen Pavilion event last week advertising our wedding fayre on the Saturday.
“This will have a giant charity raffle for Hope House Hospices.
“Now some lowlife  has stolen the banners.
“We are now in contact with Denbighshire Council and local police.
“Let’s hope they have been captured on CCTV … scum!”
Graham, who is based in Wrexham, added:  “The council are at a loss to what has happened as this have never happened before.
“The Pavilion confirmed yesterday that the banners were put up the strong cable ties and they have all been cut away to remove the banners.
“One banner was placed over 10ft off the ground, so someone needed a step ladder to remove it.
“Could you please ask your readers if they have seen anything. Ladders would have been needed to cut down the banner over the walkway.
“They were in place last Friday evening, but not there this morning (Tuesday).
A spokesperson for Denbighshire County Council, which runs the pavilion, said: "We are aware of the thefts and the police are involved." 
·         Graham Jones can be contacted on 01691 773587 or via his website at




Woman's body found in river near Erddig, reports BBC

The BBC and other local media are reporting today that police are investigating the "unexplained" death of a 27-year-old woman whose body was found in a Wrexham river.

According to the BBC news website for North East Wales, the alarm was raised shortly after 5pm on Wednesday by a member of the public, who found the woman on a sand bank in the River Clywedog.
The report adds: “North Wales Police said the body was discovered near Felin Puleston, close to the entrance of Erddig Park.
“People with information are asked to contact police on 101.
“North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and the ambulance service also attended the scene.
“Police said the local coroner had been informed of the death.”


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

llanblogger's video of the raging River Dee

llanblogger took this video film of the River Dee as a raging torrent yesterday (Tuesday) following the heavy rain.

We hope readers enjoy it ...

Llan could become "last town in Wales to be ruined by a supermarket"

Warning from anti-Sainsbury's campaigner

to government official

Unless the Welsh Government has a re-think about calling-in plans for a new Sainsbury’s, Llangollen will become known as the “last town in Wales to be ruined by a supermarket”.
That is the warning from anti-supermarket campaigner Martin Crumpton in a letter to John Saunders, the government official who last week outlined the reasons why the controversial application for the site of Dobson & Crowther printworks in Berwyn Street – approved by Denbighshire planning committee last Wednesday - would not be held up while it was reviewed by Cardiff.
In a nine-page letter, Mr Saunders, of the decisions branch of the government’s planning division, told Mr Crumpton that none of the agencies asked for their views on the application had raised any objections to it.
These included the government’s own transport experts, historic buildings body Cadw and the Countryside Commission.
Consequently, Mr Saunders said in his letter he saw no reason to call-in the application, which the developers claim will create 109 full-time equivalent jobs.
But now Mr Crumpton has sent a letter back to Mr Saunders, which we bring you here, unedited:
“Dear Mr Saunders, there are seven criteria for considering a call-in request.
- in conflict with national planning policies;
- raises issues which would have wide effects beyond their immediate locality;
- gives rise to controversy beyond the immediate locality;
- affects sites of scientific, nature conservation or historic interest;
- raises issues of national security; or
- raises novel planning issues.
In your letter, which I received on Saturday, you gave your explanation for refusing a call-in in clinical detail. You have dismissed the claim that the issue goes beyond local interest, and though I certainly dispute this and have provided evidence to the contrary, most especially regarding controversy, it was a matter for your judgment.
Similarly, you dismissed my claims of negative impact on the scientific, nature conservation and historic interest of the area, but I can see the statutory consultees have not supported my views.
You have not commented upon my assertion that the effect on tourism will be widespread and damaging. Perhaps there are no statutory consultees for this.
You may also recall that, in the last category of novel planning issues, I even raised the issue of secondary or indirect discrimination on those elderly, disabled and with no means of private transport who would be disenfranchised if the proposed Sainsbury’s has the predictable effect of driving their nearest store, the Co-op, out of business. Are there no statutory consultees for these vulnerable groups? Again, you made no comments regarding this criteria.
However, most importantly, nowhere in your letter – which I’ve re-read several times – have you addressed the issue of conflict with national policies, for which I have provided incontrovertible evidence (and I do so again as an attachment).
Perhaps you would be kind enough to explain why breaches of national policy were not considered, and perhaps you might agree that they should have been, and so reconsider your decision as a matter of urgency. If you agree to give this your consideration, I would ask you to contact Denbighshire County Council and prevent them issuing Decision Notices until your deliberations are complete.
I would wish to add that, had the LDP in Denbighshire not been delayed from 2011 until 2013, it would have – and will – incorporate the national policy restriction of limiting edge-of-town new stores to 500m2, instead of the 1858m2 planned.
It is no fault of the residents that the new LDP has been so disastrously delayed. It is a loophole exploited by the developer that Denbighshire continues to follow an out-dated and expired UDP.
Consequently, unless you reconsider, Llangollen will earn the epithet of being The Last Town In Wales To Be Ruined By A Supermarket. I’m sure you would not wish that.”

12th century brought to vivid life near castle

* From left, re-enactors Rhodri Bach, Nahir ap Neb and Switht in a vicious skirmish.
* Group members known as Llewellyn,
front, and
Killi, seated, prepare a meal on an open
fire at the encampment.

* Llwyd ap Tegid outside her
authentic linen tent.

* Helen of Antioch busy outside her tent.

* The 12th century encampment in the
shadow of of Castell Dinas Bran.
MORE than 500 people stepped back in time to sample Welsh life 800 years ago in Llangollen over the weekend.
Medieval re-enactment group Cwmwd Iâl were camped just below Castell Dinas Brân, on the area known locally as the Pancake, on Saturday and Sunday.
The North East Wales-based group  were there to depict life as it was in the year 1165 on the day before the legendary Battle of Crogen, which was fought in the nearby Ceiriog Valley between an alliance of Welsh princes and the forces of King Henry II of England.
Although outnumbered, the ambush tactics and valour of the Welsh aided them in their defeat of King Henry's army.
Visitors were able to find out about the sort of things the Welsh fighters ate, their clothes, healing and warfare techniques as well as watch set-piece battles on the hillside.
About 30 re-enactors, all wearing authentic clothing of the period, set up camp in the shadow of the castle with linen tents and cooking fires.
About 10 of them were hardy enough to spend two nights in the tents.
All group members insist on using their 12th century names, and one of those who slept in the encampment, known as Llwyd ap Tegid, said: “It was very chilly but once you get settled in your animal furs and cloaks it’s quite cosy.” 
Another group member with a story to tell was a lady known as Helen of Antioch.
Keeping in character, she said: “My brother had been fighting in the Crusades and was wounded.
“I went out there to look after him but he died, so I had his body boiled in vinegar so I could bring the bones back home with me to Wales.”
A group spokeswoman  known as Heulwen said: “It has been a very successful weekend.
“We set up our encampment and demonstrated  a range of activities for people who came to see us.
“On our open fires we cooked rabbit stew and pheasant.
“We have also had a number of skirmishes to show fighting techniques of the period.
“We have also been teaching young visitors to our camp to fight with wooden swords and sticks, which they enjoyed very much.”
She added: “Over the weekend we must have had a total of about 500 people coming to see us.”
The event was organised by Denbighshire’s Countryside team.
A modern marquee housed fun children’s activities and information about the local area, part of the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and close to a World Heritage Site.
There were walks up to the castle from The Pancake throughout the day.
A special bus service ran between the town and the encampment.

Youngsters ready to tuck into Llan's big food event

* Salad days at Ysgol Y Gwernant, with from left, pupils Lily Anderson,
Tomas Griffiths, Courtney Phillips and Ben Hacking with Denbighshire Healthy Schools Co-ordinator Paula Roberts and School cook Joy Pingram.

Schoolchildren are learning all about healthy eating as they get ready to take part in an annual food fiesta, Hamper Llangollen 2012.
The Llangollen Food Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday, October 20 and 21, but earlier that week, on Tuesday, October 16, there is a special all-day children’s event at the festival site at the International Eisteddfod Pavilion.
It will see 150 Year Five and Six children from seven local primary schools enjoying workshops ranging from the best drinks and foods for sportsmen and women to nutrition to preparing, cooking and eating a meal as well as instruction on sausage-making and bee-keeping.
The festival is supported by rural regeneration agency Cadwyn Clwyd through the Rural Development Fund for Wales 2007-2013, funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the Welsh Government.
Robert Price, Cadwyn Clwyd Agri-Food Project Officer, said: “It’s really important to involve young people in the festival so they can learn about how food is produced and about the importance of a good diet.
“The work being done in schools by Paula and her colleagues is vital and they make the business of food, health and nutrition fun while still getting their message across to the children.”
This year’s Hamper Llangollen will also feature three of Wales’s top chefs, Graham Tinsley, the star of ITV’s Taste the Nation and a former captain of the Welsh Culinary Team, S4C favourite Dudley Newberry and the ever popular Dai Chef, who is returning to the event after an absence of several years.
Schools involvement in the event has been a regular feature, according to Denbighshire Healthy Schools Co-ordinator Paula Roberts who has been at one nof the participating schools, Ysgol Y Gwernant, in Llangollen, this week.
Paula, who works with all Denbighshire’s primary and secondary schools, said:“The school has just passed the third stage of the Welsh network of Healthy Schools Scheme and is very committed to the project and the food festival fits in very well with the scheme.
“Health and well-being are very important and all the schools involved are fully signed up to the scheme and it’s a lot of fun as well and the pupils learn about how to prepare a nutritious meal.
“Children who have school meals every day will get 30 per cent of their nutrition from those meals and school cooks also work very hard to make sure they provide tasty and nutritious menus.”
Ysgol Y Gwernant Cook Joy Pingram said: “We provide a full range of meals for the children including vegetarian and salad options and they really enjoy them and all the menus are very carefully worked out.
“We have a School Nutrition Action group or Snac, with a pupils from each year and staff members and they talk about the food and give us ideas about what they would like to try.
“It’s not chips with everything and they are very good for trying different foods and we even had a competition to design a healthy meal and we cooked it and served it to the whole school.”
Ten-year-old Tomas Griffiths said: “I like cooking at home, especially chocolate brownies but I don’t think they’re very healthy.”
Courtney Phillips, nine, said: “I like pizzas and salads and the lasagne we had in school this week. I’d like to learn how to cook it.”
Robert Price added: “In addition to many favourites, we have lots of new food producers wanting to come this year.
“Thanks to a whole host of indigenous companies, North East Wales is rapidly establishing a reputation as a centre of excellence for high quality cuisine.
“The food festival is a perfect shop window for the companies who form the backbone of our rural economy.
“The location of the Pavilion is absolutely spectacular – I can’t imagine that any other food festival in the UK has a more beautiful setting.”

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Get Llan "on the march" to save hospital, says AM

llanblogger exclusive

An Assembly Member wants to get Llanbgollen people on the march to save the town’s closure-threatened Cottage Hospital.

Plaid Cymru member for North Wales Llyr Gruffydd says he would like to see a similar protest effort to the one organised to preserve Flint’s community hospital, which saw 1,500 people march through the town last week. 

The Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board recently unveiled its controversial plan to shut Llangollen hospital and replace it with a new health centre on the site of the derelict Woodlands hotel off the A539. 

But the news caused a wave of protest locally, with a call for a referendum of residents being made at a heated public meeting in the Hand Hotel.   

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will see a series of public briefing sessions on the plan being staged by officials of the health board at the Hand.  

But Mr Gruffydd, who is supporting the campaign to save the hospital, has arranged his own public meeting at the same venue the following evening. 

He said: “A campaign meeting to fight the current proposals to close the Llangollen Community Hospital will be held at the Hand Hotel, on Thursday evening (September 27) at 7pm. 

The plan is to form a group to push the campaign forward. 

“You might have heard that 1,500 people marched through Flint to save their community hospital last week. This will have made a significant impact.
“Flint is a town of 12,000. If we could get an equivalent from in Llan to march that would mean getting over 400 people marching!
“We’ve got over 800 signatures on the petition already.
“To do this we need a committee to organise things.
“If you want Llangollen to have a similar impact then please join the meeting. It would be good to have your input.”

Government may support major cycling event

The Welsh Government is considering lending its support to next year's Etape Cymru cycling road race which passes over the Horseshoe Pass.
This year's event took place earlier this month and was a huge success. 
Now, Clwyd South Assembly member Ken Skates has called on the Welsh Government and council officials in North Wales to secure the future of race.

* Ken Skates AM - questions.
The event attracted 1,200 riders, including local Olympic medallist Chris Bartley, as well as drawing in many hundreds of spectators along the route.
However, there is uncertainty as to where the race will be held in 2013 with a start and finish point yet to be agreed.
The AM raised the issue with the First Minister in the Senedd t6oday (Tuesday).
Mr Skates said: “The Etape Cymru road race was a huge success this year, drawing in over a thousand riders and scores of people coming out onto the roads in Denbighshire to watch and enjoy the racing.
“It’s clear that the event has huge potential. Cycling is one of the most popular sports in the UK and the roads of North Wales are absolutely perfect for top-level racing of this kind.
“The 92 mile race takes in some of the most stunning landscapes in Europe along The Horseshoe Pass, The Garth and Worlds End and can help promote Denbighshire and North East Wales as a top-level holiday destination, boosting cycling tourism in the region.
“If we worked hard to grow the event it could be a real money-spinner for the local economy, but crucially it needs support, vision and energy to make it a success.
“The local Council in Denbighshire need to get fully behind the project and officials in the Major Events Unit at the Welsh Government need to better understand its growth potential.
“There is still some work to do to secure the future of the event and ensure it has a venue and sponsorship for 2013. This needs to be sorted out quickly in order to capitalise on the potential of the event and establish it as a major feature on international road cycling calendar.”
The First Minister said the Etape Race would be one of the events the Major Events Unit would consider for support.

TV show featuring hospital battle is delayed

The screening of a TV show featuring the battle to save Llangollen Cottage Hospital has been delayed until next month.

In August an ITV Wales film crew turned up in Abbey Road headed by political editor Adrian Masters.

* The film sequence is shot outside the hospital last month. 
They were there to interview Llan campaigner Martin Crumpton for a report on a forthcoming episode of Sharp End, the station's flagship political programme, about the controversery surrounding the health board plans to shut down the town's Cottage Hospital.

Mr Crumpton has been campaigning against the closure proposal, which is currently out to public consultation until October 28.

ITV said at the time that the segment, which was shot on the pavement opposite the hospital, would be screened in late September.

But producer Greg Lewis has been in touch with llanblogger to say: "Just to let you know for reasons beyond our control the programme Wales This Week: Who Runs Wales? is now being broadcast on Tuesday, October 9, at 7.30pm."

Emergency guide for youngsters

With the weather taking a turn for the worse, advice about what to do in an emergency has been re-issued on a website for young people in Denbighshire.

Developed by Denbighshire and Flintshire County Council’s Emergency Planning Department with the Flintshire Youth Inspectors and the Young Flintshire Editorial Group, the site tells young people how to be prepared in case of fire, flood and extreme weather as well as who to contact in a crisis. 

There are also links to the various emergency services

The information can be found by going to and following the links from the front page.

History made on Llangollen Railway

* The diesel train formation leaving Carrog on the new track as
seen from the riverside walk footpath crossing.

* Colin Wheeler in the cab of diesel locomotive No D5310 at Carrog.

A LITTLE bit of history is believed to have been made at Llangollen Railway over the weekend.

Rail fans from across the country flocked there for a special diesel day on Saturday.

Among the attractions was the last Llangollen appearance of Class 31 diesel locomotive No 5580 before its departure to the Great Central North railway at Ruddington.

The loco has been at Llangollen for the past two seasons and has made an impression with its early-body styling and unusual six-wheel bogie arrangement.

Before leaving for its new home, the Class 31 made history as it hauled the last train of the day on to the new track extension to the present railhead near Plas Bown Farm.

This is believed to have been the first occasion a diesel locomotive has pulled a passenger train west of Corwen as, prior to closure of the line in January 1965, all services were steam hauled, although there had been special excursion trains operated by diesel rail cars.

To provide this special shuttle train a Class 26 diesel was attached at the rear to provide a "top and tail" working arrangement.

Railway press officer George Jones said: "The operation of this train on the extension created a lot of interest with visiting rail fans keen to sample a new stretch of track alongside the River Dee.

“They were pleased to see what has been achieved so far in extending the line towards Corwen."

Saturday also saw a prime piece of nostalgia when Colin Wheeler from Smethwick was reunited with one of the diesel locomotives he helped to build back in the late 1950s when he worked at the Birmingham Railway Carriage & Wagon Company.
Colin was able to sample the cab of Class 26 locomotive No D5310 and he recalled the days when this was a new class of diesel locomotive built for British Railways and most of which were sent to work in Scotland.