Get in touch ...

Know of something happening in
us on

E-mail your contributions to:

We are on Facebook at

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Plaid comments on county budget

Denbighshire Council has voted 31-13 against increasing funding for disabled and less-able children after the full council rejected a Plaid Cymru budget amendment for an extra £500,000 for education.

The council budget passed yesterday will mean a 4.75% increase in Council Tax and the further outsourcing of services to external agencies, including commercial waste and archaeological services.

Plaid Cymru Group Leader Councillor Arwel Roberts said: “Councils across Wales have received cuts year on year that has resulted in some services being cut and others being outsourced. The Welsh Government is insisting that councils do more with less money. This is completely unsustainable.

“We understand how difficult it is to balance the books in the current economic climate. However we believe that we must sometimes invest to save. Our proposal was to add an extra £1/2m to our education services in order to ensure that disabled and less-able children get the proper attention they need.

“The End Child Poverty Campaign last week released a shocking report showing that, after housing costs, more than 27% of children in Denbighshire live in poverty. That’s an appalling figure.

"We know that the single most effective route out of poverty is through education. If we are serious about lifting people out of poverty, and ensuring that each pupil gets the due attention they need in order to reach their full potential, then we should invest in ensuring that we can properly resource the schools to accommodate disabled and less-able children."

Cllr Roberts added that the budget will also result in the council getting rid of the position of county archaeologist, outsourcing commercial waste, scrapping the grant to fund small and medium-sized businesses in the county and cuts to the council’s ICT department.

He added: “It’s a concern that the council’s instinctive response is to outsource services instead of first looking to see how and if we can collaborate with other councils across North Wales and ensuring that these public services are kept in public ownership.”

Castell Dinas Bran in running for magazine prize

Llangollen's Castell Dinas Bran has been shortlisted in the BBC Countryfile Magazine Awards 2018.

The awards recognise the best of the British countryside, from mighty landmarks and outstanding nature reserves to superb national parks and fine rural pubs.

The castle is one of five sites shortlisted in the Landmark of the Year category, along with The Dark Hedges, Country Antrim; High Force, County Durham; Minack Theatre, Cornwall and Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis.

Judges said of Castell Dinas Bran: "This 13th-century ruined castle atop a rugged pinnacle offers commanding views of Welsh valleys and has long captured visitor’s imaginations.

"Sitting high above Llangollen and alongside Iron Age embankments, it is a place of romance and legend.

"Wordsworth wrote of it: 'Relics of kings, wreck of forgotten wars, To the winds abandoned and the prying stars.'"

Judge Phoebe Smith says: “It is home to a legendary giant and is steeped in wonderful Welsh folklore.”

Voting for the awards runs until March 5. Winners will ne announced on March 13.

Vote online at, or fill in the form and send your choices to Awards, BBC Countryfile Magazine, Tower House, Fairfax Street, Bristol, BS1 3BN.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Denbighshire council tax to rise by 4.75%

Councillors in Denbighshire have approved the authority’s budget for 2018/19, with a 4.75% increase in council tax.

Members had considered the implications of the local government settlement and the increase in council tax has been introduced to address financial pressures in social care, as well as continued support for school budgets.

Denbighshire is not alone in considering how to fund an increased demand for funding education and, particularly, social care. 

The  budget includes an increase of £1.8m (2.7%) in budgets for schools, and an additional allocation of £1.5 million (3.2%) to social care.  Pressures exist across the organisation and further efficiencies in all services have been identified to help deliver a "balanced" budget.

The council tax increase for an average Band D property will mean an increase of £56.58 which equates to £1.08 a week.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “A tremendous amount of hard work and consultation has gone into planning for this budget and we are pleased that our efforts have resulted on the budget being approved.

“Setting a budget in a tough financial climate is difficult and over the years, Denbighshire has worked hard to plan ahead to manage the position and to reduce the impact on frontline services as much as possible.

“This has been one of the hardest budgets to work on so far. Whilst the actual reduction from Welsh Government was not as bad as first feared, we need to take into account a number of other factors, such as pressures in pay, pension and the National Living Wage, as well as price/energy inflation, 1% in fire service levy and allowances for increases to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

“The financial climate continues to be challenging and staff across the Council have found savings that will help us balance the books.

“We know that residents of Denbighshire demand that we protect the most vulnerable members of our society, while continuing to deliver the best possible services across the rest of the Council.  In order to address the increasing pressures in Social Care we are therefore recommending that the average Council Tax will increase by 4.75% allowing the council to invest an additional £1.5m in this area to support our most vulnerable residents.

“However, we also know that all our residents are finding the current economic situation challenging, which is why we must keep any increase in Council Tax down to the minimum necessary.

“We can reassure residents that, despite dwindling budgets, we will continue to work to the best of our ability on providing the best possible services to the public."

Community Garden threat removed

Llangollen Community Garden has today issued the following statement on Facebook:

Denbighshire County Council has confirmed that the developer has withdrawn their proposal for the community garden land.

This means that there is no longer an immediate threat to the community garden.

THANK YOU for your support that has helped save the garden.

Our disagreement over the land use and value of the community garden has always been with Denbighshire County Council. In order to safeguard the garden for the future we hope to work with Denbighshire County Council and Llangollen Town Council to find a long term solution.

So there is still work to do. Working out a long term solution could take 12 months or more.
We appreciate and would like to thank you once again for your support over the past few months. Your support going forward will also be very much appreciated.

Labour gives update on key Llan issues

* Improving town centre traffic flow is on the agenda, says Labour's newsletter. 

In their latest newsletter members of Labour's team in Llangollen give an update on a number of key issues in the town.

They say:

* Town Traffic – Llangollen’s town and county councils are working closely with the Welsh Government on plans to completely remodel the town centre to greatly improve the flow of vehicles and pedestrians. 

* Double yellow lines – The A5 will soon have double yellow lines on both sides right through the town following concerns over parked vehicles causing tailbacks, particularly on busy days.   

* Air Quality – Traffic pollution on the A5 is very close to the European limit, according to a Friends of the Earth survey. Cllr Graham Timms says he is working with the county council to monitor air quality in Llangollen, with three testing stations being set up. The first results are expected back in March.  

* Community Garden – The situation is changing by the day at the moment, but a satisfactory outcome moves ever closer. Well done to those who campaigned to keep the group growing.    

Monday, January 29, 2018

Tidy Town Team celebrates another successful year

* Members of Llangollen Tidy Town Team at their annual lunch in the Corn Mill.

Members of the Llangollen Tidy Town team met for their annual lunch at the Corn Mill yesterday (Sunday).

In his latest annual report the voluntary group's co-ordinator David Davies said: "The 18-strong team has continued to meet at least once a month come rain or shine during this our twelfth year of operation.

"2017 has seen the continuation of some annual events together with some new challenges.

"Ongoing has been our litter clears, with a total this year of 25 full sacks collected,  around the Wharf and canal side, especially pre-Eisteddfod week,  along the A5, around Dinas Bran School and on the Castle Hill.  Finds on Castle hill included garden seating and a porta loo!

"We have continued our third year tree clearing and opening up of Cemetery Woods, including felling a large tree dangerously overhanging Llangollen Railway's offside station platform. The bonfires at this location demonstrate the team's pyromania abilities.

"Hill Street cemetery also benefitted from a vegetation clearance.

"Various seats around the town have been repaired during the year and, after much negotiation and with the support of the Canal & Rivers Trust, we provided and installed a new seat on the canal side opposite the Llangollen Basin. 

"This arose as a result of an idea from senior residents of Cwrt Glan Y Gamlas who have limited walking ability. The seat in such a position was just right for a short stroll turnaround point and has since been much appreciated by them and many visitors.

"At Plas Newydd we completed the project of clearance of laurel growth from the steep sided bank of the Cyflymen.    

"Enjoying wading in water, we also this year cleared the water channel of the stream flowing down Dinas Bran hill past the school.  This had been lost under overgrowth for a few years.

"We assisted at the Town Christmas Festival in our usual capacities of stall erection/dismantling and traffic control for the parade and fireworks.  

"The Town Hall also received our attention with the kitchen and one dressing room being deep cleaned and then ceilings and walls repainted.

"Together with thanks from the Town Council it was good to receive a letter of thanks from a hall user who noticed the significant difference following our work.

"A big thank you to all our supporters  and  to all members of the team for over 500 hours of voluntary work during the year."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Plaid fights for Real Living Wage

Plaid Cymru claims more than a thousand low-paid workers could be in line for a pay boost if the party gets its way.

Denbighshire County Council should become a Real Living Wage Employer says the Plaid group as the authority prepares to vote on its annual budget later this month.

The minimum wage as of April will be £7.83 per hour for those aged over 25. The Real Living Wage Foundation has calculated that the Real Living Wage for all those living outside of London should be a minimum of £8.75 an hour.

Denbighshire County Council employs over 1,200 people on less than the Real Living Wage.

Plaid Cymru Councillor Mabon ap Gwynfor (pictured) said: “Denbighshire County Council has a chance to show that we value our workforce by ensuring that each and every person employed by the council received the real living wage.

"Earning a Real Living Wage has many proven benefits – the number of absences and sick leave falls; staff turnover decreases meaning less money spent on advertising, hiring and training new employees all the time. It results in a happier and more dedicated workforce.

“Around a quarter of Denbighshire County Council’s workforce earn less than the Real Living Wage, the vast majority of them women.

"In-work poverty is on the rise, and many people are having to double-job in order to make ends meet. Denbighshire Council should not be part of a system that forces people into poverty.

"We in Plaid Cymru have called for this policy to be adopted before, and we believe that the time has come for us to treat our workforce with respect and dignity by ensuring that they all receive at least the Real Living Wage.”

Cllr ap Gwynfor went on to say that the Plaid Cymru Group will not support any budget that sees cuts in frontline services: “We understand that Denbighshire Council has been given a poor settlement by the Welsh Government and that there is a squeeze on finances.

"But we will not support any budget that proposes to cut frontline services. Our Social Services, Education services, and public transport have been crying out for funds, and we will do everything that we can to protect them and if possible boost them.”

Saturday, January 27, 2018

New chief executive for county

Denbighshire County Council has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive.

Judith Greenhalgh (pictured), who was previously the Director of Corporate Resources at Derbyshire County Council, is from Manchester and is also a former Deputy Chief Executive of the Manchester Probation Service.

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming someone of such high calibre to Denbighshire.

“There were strong contenders in the running for the post and they all performed to an extremely high standard in a rigorous selection process”.

Judith said: “I’m delighted to have been offered the role. I cannot wait to take up the challenge and join Denbighshire. It is such a beautiful county, which is very close to my heart. I have often stayed in the Clwydian Range and I’ll relish the challenge of coming to work for such a progressive authority”.

The new Chief Executive will replace Dr Mohammed Mehmet who is due to leave his post in April.

Councillor Hugh Evans added:  “We would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Mohammed for 10 years of loyal and committed service to Denbighshire.

“During his tenure, the Council has continued to improve services to residents, has become closer to the community and is now consistently amongst the best performing authorities in Wales.  He is leaving a lasting legacy and we wish him the very best for the future."

Friday, January 26, 2018

EE signal lost again in Llan

2.45pm update: The EE signal has now been restored

People in the LL20 area are reporting that their EE phone signal is down yet again.

The company says it is aware of the problem and its engineers are investigating.

Police boss welcomes cannabis on prescription move

A Senedd vote in favour of making cannabis available on prescription to ease pain has been hailed as “victory for common sense and compassion” by a police boss.

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones (pictured) spoke out after a majority of Assembly Members backed calls for cannabis for medicinal uses to be legalised.

Mr Jones is a long-standing supporter of the idea and he believes public opinion has now swung in favour of legalisation.

He believes it is unfair and cruel that people living with conditions like multiple sclerosis who use cannabis are putting themselves at risk of being prosecuted.

As things stand, the UK Government has no plans to change the law and legalise the Class B drug.

The debate in the Senedd was triggered by Welsh Conservative AM Mark Isherwood, Labour AM Mike Hedges, and Plaid AMs Ms Wood and Rhun ap Iorwerth.

They argued there was "clinical evidence of the effectiveness of cannabis for medicinal purposes".
In the vote, 31 AMs backed calls for the Welsh Government to lobby their UK counterparts to reschedule the drug for medical use. Two voted against and 18 abstained, including the Welsh Government.
Even though the vote has no standing in law Mr Jones believes it is a step in the right direction.
He said: “This vote is a step in the right direction and a victory for common sense and compassion.
“I have a real sense the tide of public opinion has turned on this issue and now there is increasing pressure on the UK Government to take action.

"The debate around drug policy has moved on considerably in recent years and the view that cannabis for medicinal purposes should be legalised is not only held by me but is shared by many Police and Crime Commissioners of all political hues.

“My stance on drugs is a matter of record and was a part of my manifesto when I was seeking election as Commissioner, an election that I won with a significant majority.

“An All Party Parliamentary group has called for the drug’s legalisation for medicinal use and there is significant research that signposts that its use is of considerable benefit to sufferers from MS and other forms of illness and that at least 30,000 people use it daily in the UK.

“I fully support Paul Flynn's 10 minute rule bill to legalise medicinal cannabis which is due to have its Second Reading on February 23.
"Illness can be an isolating experience, especially if your medicine is illegal, and it is surely wrong that people seeking relief from suffering should be criminalised."

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Young musicians score in Rotary competition

* Elizabeth Mwale receives her certificate from President Lyn Pinel.

* Joel Brown is presented with his certificate.

Each year the Rotary Club of Llangollen asks local young people if they would like to take part in a music competition. 

This year there were two entries, Elizabeth Mwale and Joel Brown, who both play in the Llangollen Silver Band.

Elizabeth, 15, has played the euphonium for the past eight years and she chose some challenging pieces to play. 

Adjudicator Eulanwy Davies congratulated Elizabeth on the way she played both My Grandfather’s Clock and Song for Ina.

Elizabeth also sang Il mio bel foco, and was commended for her "beautiful and mature" voice.

Joel, 14, who has played the baritone horn for the last seven years, gave two recitals, including Cavalier and Autumn Leaves. 

These again were commended by Eulanwy and after some deliberation she announced that both candidates would be put through to the next round. 

Both young people were presented with certificates by President Lyn Pinel.

The next round of the competition will take place in Poulton Hall, Wirral, on February 3.

Those members of the Rotary Club and Llangollen Inner Wheel present on the night felt the evening was a great success and wished both competitors the best of luck for the following rounds.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Budget goes up for discussion

Delivering a balanced budget and making a final recommendation for the council tax levels for 2018/19 were some of the items on the agenda for Denbighshire County Council’s Cabinet, meeting in Ruthin today (Tuesday).
Members were asked to consider the implications of the local government budget settlement for 2018/19, which saw Denbighshire’s budget allocation from the Welsh Government continue to reduce.
The Council is now considering how to set a deliverable budget and the resulting level of council tax. Denbighshire is proposing to increase the council tax to a level that recognises specific pressures in social care and continues to support schools.

Denbighshire is not alone in considering how to fund an increased demand for funding education and, particularly, social care.  The proposed budget includes an increase of £1.8m (2.7%) in budgets for schools, and an additional allocation of £1.5 million (3.2%) to social care.  Pressures exist across the organisation and further efficiencies in all services have been identified to help deliver a balanced budget.
To support this year’s budget, Cabinet discussed a proposal to increase council tax by 4.75%. For the average Band D property, this would mean an increase of £56.58 which equates to £1.08 a week.
This will be discussed by Full Council on January 30 when it meets to set and approve the budget.
Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “Over recent years, Denbighshire has planned for the budget cuts well in advance and this has helped us to carefully allocate our resources, maintaining key frontline services as much as possible.
“Whilst the actual reduction from Welsh Government is not as bad as first feared, we need to take into account a number of other factors, such as pressures in pay, pension and the National Living Wage, as well as price/energy inflation, 1% in fire service levy and allowances for increases to the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
“The financial climate continues to be challenging and staff across the Council have found savings that will help us balance the books.
“We know that residents of Denbighshire demand that we protect the most vulnerable members of our society, while continuing to deliver the best possible services across the rest of the Council.  In order to address the increasing pressures in Social Care we are therefore recommending that the average Council Tax will increase by 4.75% allowing the council to invest an additional £1.5m in this area to support our most vulnerable residents".
“However, we also know that all our residents are finding the current economic situation challenging, which is why we must keep any increase in Council Tax down to the minimum necessary."

Council hits back over bridges survey

Denbighshire County Council has responded to a study which claims it has the second highest number of “sub-standard” bridges in Wales. 
The RAC Foundation survey, details of which were revealed earlier this week, found 361 out of 6,694 council-maintained bridges across the country did not meet Department for Transport standards for capacity and weight restrictions, which means they are not fit to carry the heaviest vehicles on the roads.
Newport had the highest proportion of substandard bridges (30%) followed by Denbighshire (22%) and Conwy (20%).

The survey said that 36 of Denbighshire’s 161 bridges failed to meet the standards, representing a work backlog of £11 million.
Philip Gomm, the RAC's head of external communications, said bridges were not "about to collapse" but the survey highlighted how many were incapable of supporting large vehicles such as 44-tonne lorries.
"These structures, many of which will have been built hundreds of years ago, are under relentless and growing pressure from both human activity and the elements," he said.
The RAC estimated the cost of bringing all of Wales' bridges up to a good standard would cost about £98m.
A spokesman for the county council said: “The figure for Denbighshire includes all bridges that have a sub-standard structural / scour assessment or where inspections have identified significant (capital sized) works.  All these bridges are being monitored, and restrictions are only being applied where necessary.
“The information has enabled us to identify works necessary to make sure that our bridges remain operational and we have a 10 year investment plan to address those works.
“We also made a substantial additional investment in the revenue budget for highway structures last year, which is aimed at ensuring they are adequately maintained and remain operational for the foreseeable future.”

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

County has volunteering opportunities

Are you interested in volunteering with Denbighshire’s leisure or youth services?

Denbighshire County Council currently has opportunities due to its current volunteers gaining employment or fulltime training.

Those opportunities are within Community Arts, GP referral, Community Sport, the Youth Service and DofE (Duke of Edinburgh Award) across Denbighshire.

If you are interested in any of these areas, or feel you have a certain skill set to offer and would like to volunteer then you are invited to attend one of the council's drop in sessions to find out more.

All volunteers are offered free relevant training, including Certificate in Youth Work, Sports Leaders, Safeguarding, First Aid and DofE Leaders. A DBS check will be completed and ongoing support in the role will be provided.

The council says it is particularly keen to offer more volunteering opportunities to Welsh speakers.

It adds that opportunities gained through volunteering in Strategic Leisure and the Youth Service have  previously led to paid employment for the leisure, children, young people's and social care related job opportunities and can widen skills and experience.

Two drop in sessions are being arranged for those interested in volunteering:

Wednesday 31st January 5-6.30pm at Ruthin Youth Centre, Ruthin Youth Centre, Ruthin, LL15 1NT and Monday 29th January 5-6.30pm at the Oaktree Centre, Ffordlas Road, Rhyl, LL18 2DY.

* For more information please contact Sian Bennett, Health and Wellbeing Manager 01824 712710

Monday, January 22, 2018

County helps chamber re-design its website

Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism has been given funding from Denbighshire County Council to redesign its website and to fund social media courses for businesses.

The chamber represents and helps promote more than 60 businesses in the town including independent traders, food producers and tourism businesses.

David Davies, chair of the chamber, said: “Llangollen Chamber of Trade and Tourism’s website launched in 2011 and achieved excellent viewing figures.

“However, it was recognised smartphones required a more functional, responsive design to sustain engagement and last year, with financial support from Denbighshire County Council, a local website designer updated the layout, colour scheme and typeface.

“This made the website more accessible and has improved engagement. The upgrade is not just a ‘refresh’ but a key development in our social media strategy supporting businesses in Llangollen.”

Denbighshire County Council also provided financial support for two social media training courses, delivered by the  Retail Skills Academy, for members to increase and develop their knowledge of social media as part of its work to develop the local economy by supporting local businesses.

Cllr Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, said: “Promoting your business online is vital to get your message out to the widest possible audience and to increase sales.

“It is great to see businesses in Llangollen engage with the Council and take advantage of the support available to help promote the town to both visitors and residents.

“As a Council we provide training and workshop sessions for businesses covering a wide range of subjects, including social media.

“Every year we listen to businesses by asking them to complete our business survey and plan training sessions around the responses.”

In 2016 Denbighshire County Council provided 40 hours of free practical training sessions to 123 businesses and 27 hours of free advice sessions to 289 businesses.

Mr Davies added: “I’d like to thank the Council for providing this support to members of the chamber. The redesigned website has seen an increase in traffic and businesses have benefited from help promoting themselves online.”

* If you would like more information on what support or advice is available for your business contact or 01824 706896.

Corwen-based project marks £350,000 boost

A four-year project to tackle rural poverty and isolation in part of the county has received a £350,000 boost from the Big Lottery.

The cash will go South Denbighshire Community Partnership and Citizens Advice Denbighshire for their joint project, Your Place or Ours, which aims to address rural poverty and isolation through a number initiatives across the Edeyrnion area.

This will include a variety of  community events and activities, meals on wheels and dial a ride service, reducing personal stress associated with low income, gains in welfare benefits and grants, lifting households out of fuel and income poverty and pre-negotiated personal indebtedness.    

A special launch event to celebrate the grant will be held from 10am-noon at Canolfan Ni in Corwen on Friday January 26.

Sally Lloyd Davies, Community Engagement & Development Manager for South Denbighshire Community Partnership, said: “There will be an opportunity to meet with  local service providers, including Citizens Advice Denbighshire,  DVSC, Mind, Youth Service, Nat West Bank, NEST, Denbighshire Housing, Denbighshire social services and many more,  take part in taster sessions in arts and crafts, indoor sports and find out how you or your organisation can get involved.”

* For further information, email:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Statement 'to clarify' Community Garden issue

* Plas Newydd is not to be confused with the site of the Community Garden, says our correspondent.

A concerned local resident who does not wish to be identified has contacted llanblogger over the ongoing issue of Llangollen Community garden.  

The resident writes: "My attention was drawn to some very confused and inaccurate statements on social media but these were widely off the mark and seem to confuse the Weaver's Garden area with Plas Newydd itself.

1. The Weaver’s Cottage and Garden was acquired by Denbighshire CC on the 30th October, 2002 for £38,000  from a former owner of Glascoed * source HM Land Registry;

2. In late 2001 the Council had received a report from Nicholas Pearson Associates, Landscape Consultants, describing the property as "part of the essential setting which if protected from future unsympathetic development(at that time it had outline planning consent for three dwellings) would enhance the heritage assets of the Council and add to the attraction of Plas Newydd for future visitors”.

The consultant’s report had led to the provision of a 65% grant from the National Heritage Memorial Fund. * source Report to Cabinet of Denbighshire CC dated 4th December 2001;

3. Plas Newydd (the house, stables, various other buildings and gardens including the Glen) has been in Public Ownership since 1933 when it was acquired by the Former Llangollen Urban District Council and subsequently transferred to Denbighshire CC through Local Government Reorganisation. I has been Grade  II Listed since the 24th April, 1951. * source history of Plas Newydd;

4. In 1999 Denbighshire CC received a grant of £599,000 from the Heritage Memorial Fund for approved purposes and usage. Source Agreement dated 4th August, 1999 between The Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund and Denbighshire CC;

5. In 2012 Denbighshire CC granted a Licence to Llangollen and District Friends of the Earth described as “Land at Mill Cottage, Bache Mill Road" for use as a garden area * Source Agreement made on the 19th May, 2012;

6. On the 24th October, 2017  Denbighshire CC’s Asset Group received a report recommending that the Weaver’s Cottage and Garden be “gifted” to the present owner of Glascoed in exchange for a number of unspecified improvements to Plas Newydd, this report spoke of a proposal to construct four or five residential properties. *Source report to the Asset Management Group 24th October, 2017:

It is understood that Denbighshire CC have recently reconsidered this decision which could lead to a more satisfactory conclusion from the Community Garden’s point of view and most importantly continue to protect Plas Newydd against unsympathetic development."   

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Snow White has some cool fresh touches

* Pictures by Barrie Potter

* The chat show sequence from Snow White.

While it still contains all the favourite ingredients Llangollen Pantomime Group’s latest offering at the Pavilion, Snow White, has a few novel touches.
Yes, the crowd-pleasing “he’s behind you” and “oh yes he is, oh no he isn’t” routines as well as the traditional booing and hissing at the baddie and the sweets distribution to the audience are all firmly in place – but look out for one or two fresh twists.

Without issuing a spoiler alert beforehand I can tell you that right at the end there’s a hilarious, pre-filmed chat show sequence in the style of Jeremy Kyle in which the wicked queen swaps insults with the heroine about the small mtter of attempted murder.
But I shall only hint at the other clever innovations introduced by director Justine Bradey and her team. All I can say is watch out for the entrance of the Mirror on the Wall early on in the action and also make a careful head-count of the Seven Dwarves.

All the usual hard work and attention to detail has clearly gone into this colourful production which is brought stylishly to life by a very talented cast of key characters and an enormous chorus of cute kids.    
Playing it for laughs in a big way is old panto hand Nico Decourt as the dame, Nurse Knick-Knack. The make-up and costume departments have worked wonders on him – particularly the assortment of wigs – and his line in patter is pretty smart, and scrupulously family-friendly, too.

Another natural deliverer of mirth whenever he appears on stage is another of the group’s stalwarts Neil Barrett as Chamberlain Potts. If ever anyone had the perfect face for comedy it’s this guy!
Talent obviously runs in the family as Neil’s son Harvey makes a rather good King Archibald while daughter Eve plays The Mirror – she of the crazy way of appearing on stage I mentioned earlier.

Deliciously loathsome in the role of the awful Queen Evelyn, the villain of the piece who tries to do in Snow White, is Joanna Potts and taking the title role with just the right amount of syrupy sweetness is Celyn Orton-Jones.
Shea Ferron, already something of a star of other local productions, plays Snow’s love interest Prince Rupert with aplomb and Jo Pearson, again magnificently bewigged, does a nice turn as the queen’s bumbling henchman Humphrey.

The diminutive bunch playing the dwarves – well, not all of them – are another hit with the audience and the whole show is bound together well by the bubbly Simon Orton-Jones as the ringmaster-attired Narrator.
The other elements which shine out here are the brilliant costumes, minimalist but effective stage settings and props, zingy script and well-chosen songs which are wonderfully backed by a six-piece band led by musical director Helen Belton.

If you fancy something to warm you up a miserable winter’s day there are two more performances of Snow White left, today and tomorrow.             

Chance to view Clwydian Range's distant past

Archaeologists have found new signs of pre-historic human activity in the Clwydian Range and a new exhibition is open to the public showing some of the archaeological processes revealing fleeting traces of our distant ancestors.

As successors to the Heather and Hillforts project, the Clwydian Range Archaeology Group (CRAG) have been surveying and excavating in the Moel Arthur area for a number of seasons. 

In that time, tantalising glimpses have emerged of human activity, some of it probably medieval, and some appearing to go back thousands of years, possibly as far back as Mesolithic times. 

As well as showing what has been found in successive years of excavation, the exhibition explains some of the methods archaeologists use to investigate, gather evidence and record the results.

Time? Daily from 10am to 4pm

Until Sunday 28th January 2018.

The Gallery, Loggerheads Country Park, Ruthin Road, Mold CH7 5LH

A member of the CRAG team will be on hand between 11am and 3pm to answer questions about the excavations and the archaeological processes involved.  Between these times the finds from recent digs will be displayed.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Sustainable Development Fund for the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
CRAG have recently won the Marsh Award for Community Archaeology and this national award is sponsored by the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and the Marsh Christian Trust. If you would like further information about CRAG, contact

Friday, January 19, 2018

Temporary road closure this Sunday

Denbighshire County Council is informing motorists in the Dee Valley  of a road closure due to take place between  Llangollen Bridge, Llangollen and The Sun Inn Public House, Trevor (A539) on Sunday,  21st January 2018.

The road closure is necessary  to remove trees overhanging the road as a result of a recent road traffic collision.

Contractors will commence the removal works  at sunrise on Sunday, to try and keep any disruption to a minimum.   

The works should be completed by 10am, but there may still be delays to bus service T3 (operated by Lloyd’s Coaches) and bus service 5 (operated by Arriva Buses Wales).

During this road closure the A539 between Ruabon Interchange and Llangollen Bridge, Llangollen will not be serviced by buses.

The Council says it would like to thank motorists in advance for their co-operation.

Railway unveils 2018 events programme

Llangollen Railway has revealed details of its 2018 season.

Here, llanblogger brings details of events planned over the next couple of months ...

Sunday, February 11: Valentine’s Special. Spoil the one you love and take a romantic steam train ride through the beautiful Dee Valley and enjoy an afternoon tea with a selection of finger sandwiches, assorted sweet treats, full Welsh Cream Tea (with tea or coffee) and a glass of pink bubbly.

The trip includes a return train ride to Corwen and there will be a soft drink alternative available. Adults £32.00 each, children £17.00 each.

Sunday, March 11: Take a return trip through the beautiful Dee Valley. Enjoy an afternoon tea with a  selection of finger  sandwiches, assorted sweet treats, (with tea or coffee) and a glass of bubbly. Adults £32.00 each, children £17.00 each.

Saturday and Sunday, March 24 and 25: Come and see Peppa at Llangollen Railway. The cheeky little piggy will be appearing at intervals between 10:30am – 3.30pm on both days… don’t’ forget your camera! Take a  train ride to Carrog to see the magic show. Face painting available at intervals on Platform 1 at Llangollen Station.
Train ride to Carrog. At Carrog Station there is a magic show , colouring sheets, miniature train ride.

Saturday, March 31: Real Ale Train. 6.30pm departure from Llangollen Station. Step on board and soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying the Real Ales on offer at our well stocked bar. Double return journey – arrive back approximately 9.30pm. £18 Advanced ticket price includes a free Llangollen Railway pint glass. Food will be available to purchase from The Station Cafe + Bar on the evening, along with a BBQ on the platform. Reserved seating will be provided for parties of eight or more. Advanced tickets – £18 per person with a FREE Llangollen Railway Pint Glass, tickets purchased on the evening – £20 per person.

Friday, April 6: Thomas the Tank Engine is back at Llangollen Railway Station. This fun-filled event offers children and their families the opportunity to take a ride with Thomas, meet The Fat Controller and enjoy trips on Thomas up and down Llangollen Station, you can ride in Rickety and Clarabelle as many times as you like. Take the Big steam Engine or Daisy the Heritage rail Car  to Carrog to the puppet show. Day Out With Thomas™ is an all day event and gates open at 10am.

Ticket Prices: Adults £19, Seniors £17, Children £11.50, Family (1 Adult + 1 Child) £27.50, Family (1 Adult + 2 Children) £38.00, Family (2 adults + 1 Child) £41.00, Family (2 Adults + 2 Children) £52.00, Children aged 2 and under free. All day ticket includes Brake Van Rides with Thomas & Clarabel at Llangollen Station, Unlimited travel on Daisy or Donald, Access to our Award winning Imagination Station. To book tickets please visit

Friday-Sunday, April 13-15:  Llangollen Railway’s ‘Spring Steam Gala . Full details will be added closer to the event.

Saturday, May 26: Come and see Paddington Bear  at Llangollen Railway. The cheeky little Bear  will be appearing at intervals between 10:30am – 3.30pm … don’t’ forget your camera! Take a train ride to Carrog to see the magic show. Face painting available at intervals on Platform 1 at Llangollen Station. Train ride to Corwen, stopping off at Carrog on the return journey. At Carrog Station there is a magic show , colouring sheets, miniature train ride.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

AM raises concerns over bus services

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called for a Welsh Government statement on local bus services following the demise of Acrefair-based bus company D.Jones and Son before Christmas.

Mr Isherwood (pictured) referred to the concerns of local residents and said a statement is needed to reflect these concerns and give residents some assurances  that they are being listened to.

He said:  No doubt like others, I received concerns from affected residents who had lost local bus services, asking for help in replacement of bus links.

"I submitted a written question to the Cabinet Secretary two days later, on the following Monday. I'm still waiting for a reply to that.

"I also contacted Wrexham Council's Lead Member for Environment and Transport, who told me that officers were continuing to look at options, but this is difficult as a number of operators have ceased across the region; that despite the Cabinet Secretary's (Ken Skates) Bus Summit, they'd seen no tangible actions coming forward and that having attended two to three bus workshops, this was most certainly a wider issue across Wales.

“The Cabinet Secretary held his Bus Summit a year ago, in January 2017, stating that this was to halt the demise of the industry, following the collapse of Ruabon-based GHA coaches the previous summer.

"So, given the concerns being raised not only by affected residents, who often are on commercial rather than on commissioned routes, and given concerns being expressed that, still, no tangible actions are coming forward from the bus summit and subsequent workshops, I would welcome a statement to reflect their concerns and hopefully give them some assurance that they're being listened to.”

The Leader of the House Julie James AM replied: “In terms of the local bus services point, he raises a very important point. He did say he was awaiting an answer to his written question, and I would suggest that the Member waits to see what the answer to the question is, and if there is a more general point that he then wishes to raise with the Cabinet Secretary that would be of interest to the entire Senedd,

"I'm sure that the Cabinet Secretary will be prepared to look at that, since it is a year since the bus summit took place.”

Health board reacts to Llan dentist closure

* The Chapel Street dental surgery which is now closed.

The local health board has responded to last week’s unexpected closure of the Chapel Street dental practice in town, which had been used by many local NHS patients.

* The closure note
in the window.
A Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board spokesperson told llanblogger: “Chapel Street Dental Practice in Llangollen closed unexpectedly on 15 January, 2018.

“We are making arrangements for the provision of NHS dental services on a cover basis until a permanent solution can be put in place.

“This will include exploring options for short term support from other nearby practices.

“Patients who require urgent treatment before they have registered with an alternative practice, should contact NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47.

“Patients wishing to see an alternative dental practice for the provision of routine dental care can find contact details for all NHS practices within North Wales on the health board’s website ( or contact NHS Direct on 0845 4647.”

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Apartments plan for old Berwyn Works unveiled

A construction company has given brief details of the development of apartments it is planning on the site of the derelict Berwyn Works on the A5 in Llangollen.

Earlier this week Wrexham-based Knights Construction made a brief announcement about the scheme, for which it will be seeking planning permission, on social media, and llanblogger asked them for further information.

The company’s residential development manager Joel Smith replied to say: “We are looking at multiple - more than 20 - apartments on the site.

“We really want local people to live in this development and we feel that this will be reflected in our potential sales prices along with any affordable considerations that are stated within our section 106 agreement if planning is granted.

“At this early concept stage it’s clear that some but perhaps not all buildings on the site would need to go but more will become clear once planning is achieved.

“I would like to point out though that there are no listed buildings on the site.”

Mr Smith added: “We hope to submit planning within the next financial quarter.

“Everything we would do on the site would have local residents in mind with a view to enhance access and be as non-disrupting as possible when/if works commence.”