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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Calls to support £1 billion rail improvements package

Residents and businesses in Denbighshire are being encouraged to show their support for a campaign to secure £1bn of rail improvements to transform the North Wales and Cheshire regional economy and deliver 70,000 new jobs over 20 years.

The campaign is being driven by the North Wales and Mersey Dee Rail Task Force (NW&MD) and has the backing of the region’s eight local authorities, the Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, the Mersey Dee Alliance, the North Wales Economic Ambition Board, the North Wales Business Council and the West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce.

The Growth Track 360 campaign is calling for:

* Electrification of the line from Crewe to North Wales so the region can connect with HS2 services at Crewe, and fast London trains can continue to Bangor and Holyhead

* The doubling of frequency of trains between North Wales and Manchester

* Investment in new, modern, better equipped rolling stock

* New direct services between North Wales and central Liverpool over the Halton Curve via south Liverpool, which will open up a connection to Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

* Doubling of services on the Borderlands line between Wrexham and Bidston, through Shotton and Deeside.

Denbighshire County Council is asking its county residents and businesses to show their support for the project and complete a short questionnaire.

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “This is a prime example of how councils, business and public sector leaders are all working together for the benefit of the local economy, linking communities with the planned HS2 line between London and the North of England.

“If successful, the Growthtrack360 campaign would lead to a massive boost to the North Wales, Cheshire and Wirral economies.

“This project would result in quality jobs across the region, with far better rail links and greater opportunities for business development.  We really need the public’s help in showing the strength of support for the campaign.”

To show your support, please visit and answer six very quick questions.

Friday, July 29, 2016

llanblogger strides out to fight dementia

I’m putting my best foot forward to raise money for vital research into dementia.

A couple of people in my family who were very close to me both suffered from dementia and it was heartbreaking to see how they deteriorated.

Every year in the UK a staggering 225,000 people develop dementia – that’s equivalent to one person every three minutes.

* llanblogger Phil Robinson is striding
out in the 2016 Memory Walk.
So I’ve decided to do my bit to help by taking part in the Alzheimer’s Society 2016 Memory Walk which sees thousands of people raising money for a world without dementia across Wales, England and Northern Ireland.
People of all ages and abilities join in, from grandparents to grandchildren, and even furry four-legged friends.

They all walk together to celebrate loved ones affected by dementia, and raise money to reclaim the future.

As it’s the closest to Llangollen, I’ll be joining the Cheshire Memory Walk at Delamere Forest, which takes places on Saturday September 24.

There’s a choice of two routes - 3.5km or 6k.

I’m doing the 6k route through the forest's woodland paths and around Blakemere Lake.

Just £50 can help a PhD researcher to continue research into the causes of dementia, how it can be treated and, ultimately, to find a cure. 

I’m aiming to raise at least £150 for this very good cause, so I’m hoping that as many people as possible will sponsor me on the walk.

You can go online to pledge the odd pound or two on my Justgiving  page, which can be found at:

Please be generous as we never know who or when dementia will strike.

Language school celebrates re-launch with Eisteddfod link

* Toasting the success of the newly-branded Mulberry School of English are, from left, Llangollen town crier Austin Cheminais, Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod Vice Chairman Nick Jenkins, Sharon Thomas and Vincent Iannucci, of Mulberry, and Huan Japes of English UK, the language schools trade association.

ONE lucky overseas competitor at this year’s Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod stands to benefit from an all-expenses paid English course courtesy of the town’s newly relaunched language school.

After successfully trading under the name of ECTARC from its base in Parade Street for a number of years, the school has now been re-branded as The Mulberry School of English.

And at its fanfare official opening, its executive director, Vincent Iannucci, gave details of the Mulberry Prize launched at this year’s 70th Eisteddfod.

He said: “Each year the Eisteddfod attracts many international competitors and this year alone there are some 4,000 taking part in the festival.

“For the first time the new prize has been offered to all these performers by way of celebrating the Eisteddfod’s milestone year.

“To enter all they had to do was say what they’d enjoyed most about their stay in Llangollen and, after judging, the winners’ details will be posted on our Mulberry Facebook page by August 31.

“First prize is a £1,000 scholarship which includes two weeks’ tuition, accommodation and all airport transfers. All they have to do is pay their own air fares.

“Second and third prizes were one year’s access to our online learning programme, including tutorials with one of our teachers via Skype.

“I’m delighted to say the prize will be offered each year to Eisteddfod competitors.”

He added: “At the ceremony we were celebrating the re-launch of our organisation as a fully-fledged international language school in line with Llangollen’s history of internationalism fostered by the Eisteddfod.

“It’s certainly true that this town is where Wales welcomes the world.”

Over the course of the week TMSE has played host to a number of special performances by Eisteddfod competitors, including the Musica Oeconnomica Pragensis from the Czech Republic and the Pangudi Luhu Choir from Indonesia.

TMSE also sponsored the traditional parade of competitors from the Eisteddfod field into the heart of Llangollen on the Friday afternoon.

Eisteddfod Vice Chairman Nick Jenkins, who was amongst VIP guests at the language school’s re-launch, said: “We are delighted to have worked closely with The Mulberry School of English when it was known as ECTARC and very much welcome their on-going support in terms of the new prize for competitors and sponsorship of our parade.

“I hope the great relationship we have with them can continue for many years to come.”

Thursday, July 28, 2016

School pupils go bats about visiting new homes site

* Ysgol y Gwernant pupils are shown the special building put up for the bats by Bryn Davies, development manager for Grŵp Cynefin.

Children from a Llangollen primary school have visited an affordable homes development to see how a housing association is working around a colony of bats.

Pupils at Ysgol y Gwernant were at the site of the old Cottage Hospital in Abbey Road to learn more about the ecological nature of building homes for local people with wildlife present.

“Sometimes building homes brings with it some additional challenges, and Llangollen has been an example of that,” explains Bryn Davies, development manager for Grŵp Cynefin.

“We knew before we purchased the site that we had a colony of soprano pipistrelle bats to deal with, so our environmental expertise kicks in from the outset.”

The design and build planning for the site, which will become home to six three and four bedroom houses, and six two bedroom flats, has to take into consideration the bats breeding season.

Mr Davies added: “Bats are a Protected Species, so we had to prepare our building plans around the bats and obtain the licence from Welsh Government. The initial surveys that were carried out registered 656 soprano pipistrelle bats around the site during one particular evening.

“Our building period was therefore delayed as we had to wait for the bats to leave the old building once their breeding season finished at the end of the summer. We then set about the task of constructing a new home for them.

"We had to work within the winter months to build their new home, which will also serve as a bin store, as they would soon return to the site ready for the next year’s breeding season.

“We built a new stand-alone building, cedar clad with plenty of access points for the bats - which mimics the old hospital structure where the bats had been living and breeding successfully since the 1990s.

“The bats lived in the cavity of the building, so it was important that we replicated the environment that encouraged them to move into the new building once the roosting period began in May.

"In the former hospital building the bats were using a section of the building because of its aspect to the sun. It heated the structure during the day carrying and retaining the stored heat in the evening making it an ideal breeding ground. The females left the young at night to forage whilst the young were left safe in a warm environment.

“We’ve replicated these conditions in the new building, and are delighted to say that the bats have returned in their droves. The pupils of Ysgol Gwernant visited the site recently and we shared with them how complex it can be to build new homes, especially here in Llangollen.”

The school's Eleri Jones, who visited the site with the years three and four youngsters, said: “The pupils enjoyed their visit to the former hospital site.

"It was interesting to hear about the bats and how Grŵp Cynefin had to build a new home especially for them.

"It formed part of our recent Eco Council Platinum Banner Award which tied in with their local environment here in Llangollen. We also saw the houses themselves under construction on site, and of course, the big machines were a big hit with the pupils.”

The development on site is said to be progressing well with an estimated completion date of spring 2017.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Search is on for Britain's high street heroes

* Could Castle Street be in the running for a high street award?

Denbighshire County Council is encouraging people to nominate in this year’s Great British High Street Awards to recognise  the efforts of the business community across the county.

The Great British High Street Awards 2015 were a huge success, with over 230 high streets entering and nearly 200,000 votes cast for the 21 finalists.

Last year, Prestatyn High Street came second in the Coastal Community category after a fiercely contested public vote.

Now, organisers of the campaign are calling for entries for the 2016 competition.  As well as the Great British High Street categories, there are two other main categories.

The  competition categories for places are:
  • Best Town Centre High Street
  • Best Market Town High Street (small)
  • Best Market Town High Street (large)
  • Best Coastal Community High Street
  • Best Village High Street
  • Best Local Centre - precinct or parade of shops
  • Rising Star - to recognise towns who are turning fortunes around
The four competition categories for individuals are:
  • Best Store Manager or Employee from a National Retailer / Organisation
  • Best Store Manager or Employee from an Independent / Small Business
  • Best Market Manager, Operator, Farmer or Trader
  • Best under 25 year old, manager or employee from a high street business
Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE said: “All of our town centres are important to us in Denbighshire and town centre growth has been identified as a priority in our Economic and Community Ambition Strategy.

“We want our local high streets and business people to be recognised for their efforts, to help celebrate all that is good about our high streets. With competition from large retail parks and the internet, we want people to visit and use our high streets and the wide array of goods and services they have to offer.

“Only recently the council launched its  #lovelivelocal campaign, in a bid to encourage greater use of the High Street and for people to share their shopping experiences.

“Getting involved in the Great British High Street also helps raise the profile of a high street through its associated publicity and marketing opportunities, so we would encourage people to get nominating, as the deadline is fast approaching."

The deadline for nominations is September 8. For further information, visit:

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Police appeal follows fatal Nant y Garth collision

Police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal road traffic collision in the Denbighshire area during the early hours of this morning (Tuesday, July 26th).

Shortly after 2am police were called by the Ambulance Service to a report of a one vehicle collision involving a motorcycle on the Nant y Garth Pass.

Sadly, the male motorcyclist was pronounced dead at the scene.

Anybody who may have witnessed the collision, or anybody who may have been travelling along the road prior to the collision is asked to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit on 101, quoting reference number U110055.

Soap maker lands major contract in China

* Carol Allen makes some of her goats' milk soap. 

A former teacher who launched a company making handmade soap from goats' milk during a career break following a freak accident has won a major contract in China.

According to Carol Allen, who set up Llanvalley Natural Products six years ago, the Hamper Llangollen food festival has helped propel her business to success over the past five years, putting her in the right place at the right time to secure new customers.

The 58-year-old, who makes traditional soaps, face creams and lip balms from Welsh goats’ milk produced at her small holding in Froncysyllte, Llangollen, now supplies her products to local B&Bs, gift shops and specialist beauty outlets based in the North West and North Wales.  

But the brand is fast gaining popularity further afield thanks to a chance encounter during the festival – and Carol is now celebrating a major new contract for the Ai Zhi Zao beauty store based in the XuHui District in Shanghai.

“I can’t believe quite how much it has all taken off. It still surprises me,” said Carol, who has four grown up sons.

“I had planned to go back to teaching one day before I started to do this and now I just don’t have the time.

“It’s always been my dream to live for my work rather than work for my living and I think I’ve achieved that.”

Carol had been a design/technology and home economics teacher for more than 10 years before embarking on a soap-making hobby.

The businesswoman was teaching food and textiles at Ysgol Bryn Alyn in Gwersllt, Wrexham, when she was involved in a freak accident on her farm. She had been moving an electric fence when her horse entangled its leg in the fencing, which was turned off, and bolted across a field, dragging her with it.

Carol dislocated her elbow and injured her shoulder, losing the movement in her left arm for more than a year. Insurers said it would be too risky for her to return to work and operate machinery while she recovered, and as a result she resigned from her position.

“I didn’t want to be living on sickness benefit but it was quite by accident I got into making soap,” she said.

“I already had three goats at the time. I told the local man I’d bought them from that they were producing quite a bit of milk and that I didn’t know what to do with it all, aside from making cheese and drinking it.

“He suggested I made soap out of it. It was the first time I’d ever thought about it.

“He gave me a recipe his grandmother had given him and I looked online for different techniques. I did a lot of research and experimentation and there were many triumphs and mistakes along the way but eventually I had developed a really good soap recipe.

“Originally, we were using it ourselves and giving it to friends and family but soon enough I ended up with a chest of drawers full of it so I took it to the Erddig Christmas Market in Wrexham and it all sold. That was definitely the light bulb moment.”

Before long, Carol was developing her own packaging and gift assembles to sell at other local craft markets, including Hamper Llangollen.

Her design background and packaging knowledge was put into practice and she found that she could be self-reliant in every area of her business.

Within a few months of launching, she was exhibiting at the Llangollen Food Festival and has been back there every year since.

Carol is in the unique position of being able to exhibit beauty products at the festival because they are made from food ingredients including olive and coconut oil and Welsh spring water which she collects from the valley where she lives to give her products an authentic Welsh feel.

“I started exhibiting at the Llangollen Food Festival almost as soon as I launched my business,” she said.

“It’s definitely helped me and I’ve got a big local following now. The same people come back to see me every year and say they’re really glad I’m back. It’s lovely to have that local, friendly relationship. I recognise the customers and they recognise me.

“I’ve also got lots of regular online customers who live further away but who arrived at the festival on coach trips. It’s really helped my business and I would recommend every business specialising in hand-produced products to give it a go to get their name about.”

It was while attending Hamper Llangollen that the editor of a national magazine was introduced to her soap products.

A magazine feature followed which was recently picked up by the owners of the Shanghai beauty chain. Before long Carol had secured her first international order.

“They like it because it’s goats’ milk and made in Wales,” said Carol.

“I send off a consignment every quarter and they buy two types of soap: the Welsh honey and oatmeal and the camomile and eucalyptus essential oil, both of which feature local hand-pressed flowers, as well as various lip balms.

“Apparently it’s going down really well.”

Carol, who now has four goats; Billy, Rosie, Eira and Wennol, admits there could be more major contracts on the way but she is currently running the business singlehandedly, which is giving her little room for growth.

“I used to enjoy teaching a practical subject but this is more self-satisfying. Teaching is a very rewarding career but this career chose me really.

“It has driven me as much as I have driven it. I’m working pretty much 18-hours a day but it fits in with other things and it’s not like work.”

With another feature in a coffee table magazine due to be published this year and plans to seek official organic status, it won’t be long before more orders beckon. But until then, Carol says she is firmly focused on the Llangollen Food Festival – her favourite event of the year - and meeting her oldest customers again.

Hamper Llangollen chair Colin Loughlin is delighted the food festival has played a part in Llanvalley's success story.

He said: "It is very pleasing to know that we provide an effective shop window for companies competing for attention in a crowded market place and I would like to congratulate Llanvalley on securing this exciting order from China.

“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."

* For more details about Hamper Llangollen 2016 visit and for more information about Llanvalley Natural products go to

Monday, July 25, 2016

Vandals strike at Llangollen Railway

* The damaged windows on one of the coaches.

Police are appealing for information after vandals struck at Llangollen Railway.

Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused when two windows were smashed on one of the railway coaches on Monday July 18.

PCSO Delia Bellis said: “We are keen to speak to a group of youths who were seen near the railway after 6pm last Monday.

"The railway is run predominantly by a group of volunteers, including youngsters who are part of the Railways Youth Group, who give of their time to ensure everything runs smoothly. 

"They now feel aggrieved by the damage which has been caused."

* Anyone who may have witnessed the windows being smashed is asked to contact PCSO Bellis at Llangollen Police Station on 101 quoting reference is RM160113025. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111 or contact the control room direct via the new web live chat

Residents will need proof to use recycling parks

Residents in Denbighshire will soon be asked to provide proof of residency to use recycling parks due to increased use from outside of the county.

The centres at Rhyl, Denbigh and Ruthin have reported a dramatic increase in the amount of non-recyclable waste passing through the sites. 

If the current trend continues, the disposal costs at the sites could increase by an additional £100,000 a year, says the council.

In a statement the authority says: "Staff have reported a marked increase in the number of people living outside of Denbighshire who are making use of the sites.

"To alleviate this issue, the council will be asking users of the sites to bring proof of residency with them, eg a driver’s licence or utility bill. Residents living in other counties will be asked not to use the facilities in Denbighshire, as the facilities are there for Denbighshire residents’ use only.

"Notices will be placed  at the prks over the coming days, with the new way of working introduced from August 1."

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “This decision has not been taken lightly and we do not wish to discourage any Denbighshire residents from using the centres.

“We have seen a marked increase in the number of people living in neighbouring counties making use of the facilities, to such an extent that it is adding additional costs to the taxpayers of Denbighshire. Based on the current trend, the disposal costs would increase by £100,000 a year. That is unsustainable and we need to protect the public purse. 

“That is why we are introducing the new way of working, to discourage those living outside of the county from using facilities which are there for local people.

“We would like to thank people in advance for their co-operation."

New Dot's fabulous Fringe night

* Audience members select their cakes before the show.

* The Town Hall stylishly decorated for the evening.

* Accordionist Dave Greenald sets the tone outside the Town Hall. 

* Founder and chair of New Dot Cinema
Jen Sandiford arrives for the show.

* Glamorous vocalist Betzy Jean rounds
off the evening with a song. 

For last year's Fringe Festival, New Dot Cinema partied like it was the 1920s.

This year, there was a stylish 1930's themed evening based around the film, Cabaret.

The evening drew a healthy crowd of locals and visitors, many of whom took the opportunity to dress-up for the occasion.

Outside the entrance, accordion player Dave Greenald played traditional European music in top hat and tailcoat whilst, inside, a party atmosphere was created by the New Dot team, who decorated the hall with foil curtains and tissue paper pom-poms.

Young artists Pebble Hayward, Niamh Connaughton and Rhianna Martin had decorated lampshades to match the theme.

German coffee cake and heavenly florentines were found on the refreshment table, served on vintage crockery.

An impressively sturdy, pop-up Fringe Festival bar served ice-cold German pilsner alongside
locally brewed beverages.

After the Mayor of Llangollen, Cllr Mike Adams said a few words, the audience was treated to some entertaining film footage from the 1930s.

They then settled down to enjoy the classic musical Cabaret which won eight Oscars and was in turns entertaining, exciting and dark.

It received an enthusiastic round of applause from the appreciative audience.

Finally, the evening was topped off with a live performance by glamorous vocalist Betzy Jean.

Her set included well-loved hits of power jazz and heart-felt blues.

Having recently invested in a new mirror ball for the Town Hall, New Dot was able to turn it on for Betzy Jean and it cast magical beams of lights over the crowd.

Founder and chair of New Dot Cinema Jen Sandiford recently announced that she'll be stepping down to spend more time with her family.

"It's been an exciting and satisfying role and I'm really pleased with what we've achieved in the last twelve months," she said.

"I very much hope that others are inspired to get involved and keep New Dot going from strength to strength.

"Llangollen deserves a cinema showing interesting films and I'm especially proud that we've managed to attract a BFI-funded projector to the Town Hall in our first year."

She added: "I'd like to say a particular thanks to co-founder, Simon Proffitt, without whose creative curation and hard work, the cinema nights wouldn't be nearly as successful.

"Also, a big thank-you to all the volunteers that have stepped up to power the cinema. And finally,
thank-you to everyone who bought a ticket and came along to support the first 12 months of New Dot Cinema Llangollen."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Vintage Singers gather at Chirk Castle

Around 40 gleaming machines gathered at Chirk Castle today (Sunday) for the 40th annual Association of Singer Car Owners Vintage Car Rally.

llanblogger was there to record the scene.

Police boss pledges high tech battle on rural crime

* Arfon Jones, Police and Crime Commissioner for
North Wales, on his visit to Dolgellau
Farmers Mart to meet members of the Rural Crime Team.
He is pictured with Dewi Evans and Rhys Evans.

A police boss has pledged to use high tech methods to combat rural crime.

The new North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Arfon Jones, is calling for more mobile Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to be used to catch criminals trying to avoid detection by using back roads.

Mr Jones, a former police inspector who was raised on a farm in Harlech, was speaking during a visit to the farmers' mart in Dolgellau when he also promised to support the pioneering Rural Crime Team which was set up by North Wales Police two and a half years ago.

Mr Jones said: "I used to come to the mart in Dolgellau every week and it's great to be back.
"It's important that the rural areas of North Wales are given the same attention by the police as the urban areas.

"I am determined to make sure the police station in Dolgellau remains open 24/7 because this area needs to be policed properly.

"The work of the Rural Crime Team is tremendously important and they are well respected by farmers and others who are interested in the countryside and wildlife.

"The team have been highly successful since they were established two and a half years ago and have won a number of richly deserved awards.

"A lot of forces are looking to this team as a benchmark of best practice so they can try and emulate what's happening in North Wales.

"I am determined to continue funding the Rural Crime Team. In the grand scheme of things, they don't cost a great deal and I would hope that a number of our partners like Natural Resources Wales would contribute because they also benefit from the team's work.

"Farmers are having a tough time so any losses incurred because of theft, whether it is livestock or machinery, can be a hammer blow to them.

"There is a real need for ANPR in rural areas so we know when criminals are in the area.

"They don't use main roads and use instead smaller country roads so we need to a have mobile ANPR kit so it can be used on these back lanes to see who is using them.

"ANPR cameras can read a registration number and instantly check it against database records of vehicles of interest. Police officers can intercept and stop a vehicle, check it for evidence and, where necessary, make arrests.

"It's important that we are not just reactive but that we are also proactive so that we can stop rural crime taking place before it happens.

"Our rural areas are geographically very large so we need technology to help us in our fight against countryside crime and to catch to offenders.

"This technology is already used in the urban areas and it's important that rural areas like Meirionnydd enjoy the same level and quality of policing.

"They are first class people and they deserve a first class policing service.

"The message to criminals is clear. There is no welcome for them in North Wales and if they come here they will be caught."

The support of commissioner was welcomed by PC Dewi Evans who has been working with the Rural Crime Team since it was established two and a half years ago.

He said: "We have been successful in reducing farm crime and rural crime.

"We have cut wildlife crime by 80 per cent and we reduced farm crime by 40 per cent early on and we are maintaining that level.

"We have a very good relationship with the people who live in the rural areas as well as other agencies like the Snowdonia National Park and Natural Resources Wales, along with the farming unions.

"We have some excellent contacts and that has been a crucial part of our success.

"The fact that the new police and crime commissioner is so supportive of our work is great news for us and more importantly for the people who live in the countryside.

"The continuing support of the team will help us ensure that rural crime remains at a low level."

The commissioner also met Huw Jones, the county officer of the Farmers' Union of Wales, in Meirionnydd, who is fan of the Rural Crime Team.

He said: "The role of the Rural Crime Team is very important and it is something we had been calling for.

"It is important that we see them in marts like this one in Dolgellau and that farmers get to know the members of the team so that they know who to turn to if they need them.

"The farming community can also act as the eyes and ears of the police in the countryside."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Summit planned to discuss bus services

The Welsh Government will continue providing support to Wrexham and Denbighshire councils to help replace bus services in the wake of the area’s main operator going into administration.

That's the word from Clwyd South AM Ken Skates who has also set up a meeting with all three North East Wales authorities to discuss plans following the collapse of Ruabon-based GHA Coaches.

Mr Skates said: “The news of the demise of GHA Coaches came as a huge blow for our area, with more than 300 people being told their jobs had gone and thousands more who relied on their buses at risk of being stranded.

“People in some of Clwyd South’s most rural and isolated areas, places like Glyn Ceiriog and Penley, have been severely affected, and that is something that the council needs to address urgently. Some of my constituents are effectively trapped until alternatives are provided.”

Mr Skates has arranged a meeting with Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire councils to discuss ways forward.

He added: “The Welsh Government has been working with councils to try to protect the bus network. We will continue to work collaboratively, including with the administrators, to minimise the effects of the firm entering administration.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said funding to local authorities under the Bus Services Support Grant, to help them to subsidise buses and community transport, has been maintained at £25m since 2013-14 despite ‘very challenging’ funding settlements from the Tory Government at Westminster.

Over that period, a number of councils cut their own budgets, the spokesperson added.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Skates welcomes A5 parking restrictions

Assembly Member Ken Skates has welcomed the introduction of parking restrictions on a busy main road in Llangollen.

The Clwyd South AM has been pressing for double yellow lines to stop parking opposite Stans of Llangollen on the A5 for more than a year,

Mr Skates (pictured on the A5), who is based in the town, said: “The Welsh Labour Government confirmed in February that the work would be prioritised, and I’m glad that my constituents’ concerns have been listened to and it has now been completed.

“I hope this will help improve safety on what is a very busy main road.” 

Residents had complained that parked vehicles opposite the garage caused an obstruction, particularly for older pedestrians trying to cross the road.

Mr Skates recently took over responsibility for trunk roads when he was appointed the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure.

He added: “The Welsh Government has always maintained its intention to do this. I’m pleased to have been able to act upon local concerns and get this matter addressed.”

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mountain biking film gets local premiere

In association with North Wales Mountain Bike Association, One Plant Adventure in Llandegla is hosting an exclusive advanced showing of the film Mountain Biking The Untold Story for riders in North Wales.

It will be projected on to a 2.4m screen in the café between 5 and 7pm on Sunday July 31.

Tour of Britain race heads for county

* The world's top riders will race from Denbigh to Builth Wells.

Britain’s most prestigious professional cycle race, the Tour of Britain, will return to Wales for two stages once again this September.

Wednesday 7 September sees the world’s top riders racing from Denbigh to Builth Wells, where they will finish on the Royal Welsh Showground.

Thursday 8 September will then see the world’s top cyclists racing from Aberdare across South Wales through Rhondda Cynon Taf, Caerphilly County Borough, Torfaen and Monmouthshire before a finish in Bath.

The two stages will include almost 300-kilometres of racing on Welsh roads, with Stage Four from Denbigh to Builth Wells the longest of the 2016 race at 218-kilometres also including the most ascent of any leg, with over 4,000-metres of climbing.

Stage Four will begin from Denbigh town centre at 10:30 and is expected to finish on the Royal Welsh Showground at Builth Wells at around 15:29.  It will mark the first time that Denbighshire has hosted a stage start of the Tour of Britain and the first time that a stage has finished in Powys.

Flintshire will host an intermediate Yodel Sprint, sponsored by parcel delivery company Yodel, in Mold and the day’s opening SKODA King of the Mountains climb to the village of Rhydtalog.

Two further SKODA King of the Mountains climbs will come at Bwlch-y-Safn in Denbighshire’s Berwyn Mountains and at Dyfnant forest in Powys, with the final Yodel Sprints in the villages of Foel and Newbridge-on-Wye.

The Tour of Britain will resume a day later from Aberdare Park in Rhondda Cynon Taf at 11:00 on Thursday 8 September for a 205-kilometre stage to Bath.  From Aberdare the stage will pass through Mountain Ash, Ystrad Mynach and Pontypool, before the opening Yodel Sprint on Monmouth Road in Usk.

The Stage Five route continues through Monmouthshire to Tintern, crossing the River Wye into Gloucestershire via the Bigsweir Bridge north of Llandogo.

Commenting on the Welsh stages, Tour of Britain Race Director Mick Bennett said; “We are looking forward to this year’s Welsh stages of the Tour of Britain and taking in new venues and new climbs.  As always the Welsh stages will be amongst the hardest in the Tour, and this year is no different with both stages in excess of 200-kilometres and containing plenty of climbing.”

Anne Adams-King, Chief Executive Officer at Welsh Cycling said; “Welsh Cycling is delighted to once again welcome the Tour of Britain to Wales. A stage start is a first for the town of Denbigh, and to finish at the heart of Wales at the Royal Welsh Showground in Builth Wells will be spectacular. We are also pleased to see Stage Five depart from Aberdare as the race travels across the border to finish in Bath.

“We have a fantastic summer of cycling activities here in Wales for everyone to enjoy. With our elite athletes competing in the Tour de France and Rio Olympic Games, and major events like the Tour of Britain on our doorstep, we hope that Wales will be inspired to cycle this summer.”

Councillor Huw Jones, Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet Lead Member for Tourism, Leisure and Youth “We are absolutely delighted to have secured the start of Stage Four of the race this year, as we feel it will have great benefits to the tourism industry here in Denbighshire, as well as showcasing what the region has to offer.

“We are working closely with our colleagues in Flintshire and the rest of North Wales to make sure that the level of public support shown over recent years is repeated again this year.

“North Wales is fast earning itself a reputation for hosting and staging major events, with the Tour of Britain a prime example of how councils and event organisers work closely together to deliver these spectacular events.”   

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Archeological sites will open this weekend

Anyone who digs archeology is in for a real treat this weekend.

Two excavations are taking place on adjacent hillforts in the northern part of the  Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Archaeologists from Oxford University are continuing their work at Moel y Gaer, Bodfari, and at nearby Penycloddiau another group of Liverpool archaeology students are learning about the principles of archaeological excavation.

* Moel y Gaer, Bodfari.
There are opportunities to see both sites with visits and open days organised by Fiona Gale, County Archaeologist for Denbighshire.

She said: "It is a great opportunity for us to learn more about what life was like in these enigmatic places when people built them around 2500 years ago, the spotlight is really on sites in our area, with archaeologists from across the UK waiting to see what is found.

"It's especially appropriate that this work is taking place during the UK’s Festival of British Archaeology."

On Saturday July 23rd there is an open morning at Penycloddiau and Fiona will lead a walk up from the Llangwyfan car park (SJ13896663), leaving at 10am.

At the site visitors will meet Dr Rachel Pope of Liverpool University who will explain what has been found so far.

On Sunday July 24th there is an open day at the excavations at Moel y Gaer (11am to 4pm).

The site is privately owned and not normally open to the public, however for this one day you can park close to the site (SJ09447123) and walk up to see what is taking place.

Fiona will lead people around at the top but there will be opportunities to talk to Professor Gary Lock and Dr John Pouncett from Oxford University who are organising the work.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Police seek help to find missing man

Merseyside Police are appealing for help in tracing the whereabouts of a man seen in Llangollen last Sunday.

Russell Beck, 51, from Port Sunlight, was last seen on Boundary Road in that area at around 8am on Thursday 14 July.

There was also a confirmed sighting at 10am on Sunday 17 July in the Wynnstay hotel, in Llangollen, say officers.

Mr Beck is described as a white male, 5ft 10in tall, of medium build, with short grey hair, grey eyes and glasses.

When last seen on 14 July he was wearing a khaki jacket and light coloured trousers.

Mr Beck is known to frequent pubs in the New Ferry and Port Sunlight areas as well as North Wales.

Anyone who has seen Mr Beck or has any information about his whereabouts is asked to contact Merseyside Police on 101 (quoting log 772 of 16/7/16) or the Missing People charity on 116 000 or