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Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Vicar features in afternoon radio show



* Wynne Evans on whose show Father Lee Taylor was featured earlier today.

The town’s vicar got an admission from radio and TV star Wynne Evans that he’s never heard of the Ladies of Llangollen.

It came as Father Lee Taylor was being interviewed earlier today by the man best known as Gio Compario in the TV adverts for the afternoon show he hosts on BBC Radio Wales.

Father Lee was on air to talk about the special service he is holding at St Collen’s this Saturday afternoon at 4pm celebrating LGBT History Month.

But Wynne also took the opportunity to ask him about his earlier claim to fame for blessing beer in pubs, his keen interest in old time music hall and how he likes to inject humour into church services.

The host said he and Father Lee had a few things in common in that both had lived in Croydon, south London and both liked beer.


* Father Lee Taylor is music hall guise. 
Father Lee explained that when he lived in Croydon before moving to Llangollen he was invited by the landlord of a local pub to bless the beer, which he did, rounding off the occasion with a “good sing” and a drink.

Asked to explain about Saturday’s service, he said: “This month is LGBT History Month during which the lives of notable LGBT people, both past and present, are being celebrated.

“In Llangollen we had two ladies who found love and joy in each other, Sarah Ponsonby and Eleanor Butler.

“So it’s going to be a great service of celebration, celebrating diversity and we’ll be blessing the tomb of the Ladies of Llangollen because they are buried in our churchyard. And after the service we’ll be having celebratory bubbles.”

Wynn told him: “That’s fantastic. Now, I’ve spent a lot of time in Llangollen and I’ve never heard of the Ladies of Llangollen.”

Father Lee explained: “They were two upper class Irish women who came to Llangollen to start a new life together and people would visit them from all over.”

“They were definitely gay were they, they were definitely together?” asked Wynne.

Father Lee replied: “Well, what is clear from their writings and from the books is that they were in a romantic relationship, so they were clearly in love together. They were committed to each other ... whether it was sexual who knows, who cares?

“But we do know they were in love with each other and that’s what we are going to celebrate on Saturday.”

He went on to explain that the ladies were visited by army officers, poets, artists and royalty, with Wordsworth describing them in one of his sonnets and Swansea Pottery making dinner services featuring them.

Asked about his life before he became a vicar, Father Lee said he had worked in pubs and a call centre but had known from the age of 12 that becoming a priest is what he wanted to do.

However, he explained that it had been a long journey and he hadn’t been ordained until he was 35.

Wynne then asked him to explain his love of music hall and he said: “It’s just a fantastic genre which lasted from about 1880 to around 1920 after which came Variety with all the old comedians like Ken Dodd and Max Miller and I just love their humour.”

“Can you merge your work in the Church and music hall? asked Wynne.

Father Lee replied: “A lot of people think the Church has a sense of humour failure but in the Bible Jesus uses comedy and satire. I do humour in church, sometimes in sermons ... the essence of Christianity is joy.”

As the theme of the programme was collections, Wynne asked his guest if he was a collector.
And he replied: “I do collect old music hall song sheets from charity shops and antique shops. I like unusual and funny songs which I like to incorporate in my act.

“We recently formed the Collen Players, a variety show in Llangollen, and we’re doing a show on Friday.

“Tickets are available and the show starts at 6.30pm. I’ll be doing some funny songs and stand-up comedy.”  

Rounding off the interview, Wynne said: “So you’ve got a show on Friday and a service on Saturday. Llangollen sounds like the place to be this Saturday.” 

* Listen to the full interview on https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fdnf

Businesses set to vote on Llangollen BID

llanblogger special report on the major scheme which could change the face of the local business scene   



Llangollen businesses go the polls this week to vote on whether they want to take part in a Business Improvement District (BID).

A BID is a partnership in which businesses from a defined area elect to make a collective contribution to the development and improvement of their commercial district.

If the majority of those entitled to join a Llangollen BID vote in favour of the scheme when they take part in a postal ballot starting tomorrow (Thursday) more than £400,000 would be available to spend on a range of projects to boost the town over the next five years.

The working group promoting it have used consultants Mosaic to put the BID offer together and they have sent out a business plan to those due to take part in the vote.

Voting closes on March 19 with the result due to be officially announced the next day.
The ballot will be carried out by Electoral Reform Services (ERS).

For it to go ahead more than 50% of businesses who vote must vote in favour of the BID by number and, of the businesses that do vote, those in favour must represent more than 50% of the total rateable value of all votes cast.

The 22-page business plan, several of whose pages are emblazoned with the message “Vote Yes”, goes into detail about what the scheme means to Llangollen.

The plan document says that for the past year the BID team has consulted with businesses “in many ways” to get their views on the scheme. Consultation, it adds, has included:

·       *  Gathering feedback on a feasibility study  
·        * Task Group meetings to represent businesses across the town
·        * Newsletters distributed to all businesses via post and in person
·        * A website providing key BID information and contact details.
·        * Drop-in sessions providing businesses with the opportunity to meet Mosaic and ask questions

The plan says: “Throughout this consultation we have continued to hold face-to-face meetings, conduct telephone calls and written correspondence, provide presentations and facilitate group discussions with town businesses, public agencies and stakeholders as well as national headquarters, in order to gather input on the development of the Llangollen BID.”


* BID priorities chart.

It goes on: “You have told us you would like the BID to focus on the following three key priorities:

+ Marketing and Promotion: £180,000. Increasing footfall by delivering comprehensive and professionally managed marketing and promotional campaigns, an improved online presence and quality events and entertainment.

+ Access and Car Parking: £100,000. Creating a pleasant, efficient and accessible town centre environment by improving signage making it easier for people to navigate around town and improve the key entry points. Working with existing providers to look at ways of improving car-parking.

+ Business Support: £45,000 Providing the support and initiatives businesses need to thrive, increasing local loyalty, reducing business costs and providing businesses with data and information they need to make trading in Llangollen Town Centre easier.

The business plan makes the point that these projects are “over and above” those that have to be provided by public sector agencies such as Denbighshire County Council and Llangollen Town Council and through business rates.

And it says: “This is your chance to invest more than £400,000 over five years on projects and priorities that matter to your business through a BID in Llangollen.”

If approved, the BID will be run as an independent, not-for-profit, company known as Llangollen Business Improvement District Ltd.

It will be controlled and run by businesses that pay the levy, through a board of directors that represent the various sectors and stakeholders in the town. The company may also choose to employ staff as they see fit.

The BID will be funded by a levy on each eligible business in the defined area with a rateable value exceeding £2,500. Businesses below this threshold are exempt but can join voluntarily.

Collectively the total fund will exceed more than £88,000 each year to be spent exclusively in the town.


* BID indicative income and expenditure 2020-2025.

The BID will also generate additional funding through voluntary contributions, grants and sponsorships.

The business plan says the BID will create an “instantly recognisable Llangollen Town Centre brand, to be used in all BID projects and services.”

This branding will include the culture, heritage, leisure, independent, and office and commercial offer.

“This will then enable us to plan strategic marketing campaigns that can be delivered consistently over five years,” says the plan.

“The BID will build momentum and presence by making the best use of TV, radio, print and online resources so that we can get our message to customers both within and outside of the BID area. This will help to boost trade and activity during the day and night, and all year round.”

The BID says it will deliver a comprehensive website containing information on events, offers and news with business directories that can be edited and updated by each business as they wish.

There is also a promise that the BID will maximise on social media presence by using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and providing regular e-bulletins to both businesses and existing and potential customers on specific town promotions and offers.

The plan adds: “In addition to the consumer marketing that will help to bring in customers the BID will also promote Llangollen to potential investors as a business location.

“This includes work with both retail and commercial uses that complement our existing offer, through the provision of resources that help to make the case for why Llangollen is a good place to do business.

“We will also encourage creative entrepreneurship and investment, supporting a strong economic future for the next generation.

“The BID will pump more funding into current events and markets so that they become bigger and better. The BID will also sponsor and become part of current successful events to offer something really special to people coming into the Town Centre.

The board will set the key performance indicators (KPIs) and criteria upon which to measure the BID’s performance.

David Davies, past chairman of the Llangollen Chamber of Trade & Tourism, said: "I am very disappointed with the BID group for issuing such a bias-in-favour brochure with inaccuracies and an irregular, redefined area not previously presented or discussed openly with the town businesses.   

"The first some recipients knew they were included in the area was when their brochure arrived.

"Attempts to obtain a full listing of all businesses included in the BID area from Mosaic and Denbighshire County Council  have met with refusal.   

"A listing that could be published by Llanblogger would show openness of process.


"It is important on such an issue that after having formed a balanced analysis of the proposal all businesses do exercise their vote." 

·       *  Further details of the BID are available by contacting project manager Kevin Brownell at kevin@themosaicpartnership.co.uk or on 07496 718580.

·       *  The business plan can be viewed and downloaded from https://llangollenbid.co.uk/en/?fbclid=IwAR15NOMUbB_szVIwjyX02UObnFovizNExytlhOcAEXm4trghKH8CJhHAIy8

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Councillor Huw Jones – a tribute



Tributes have been paid to Councillor Huw Jones of Corwen (pictured) who died over the weekend after a long illness.

Huw had been a county councillor since 2008 and was a former Chair of Resources Scrutiny Committee.

He held two Cabinet positions during 2012-2017, one as Lead Member for Leisure, Youth, Tourism and Rural Development;  the other as Lead Member for Community Development

He was appointed Chair of Performance Scrutiny in 2017.

Huw was also a member of the Clwyd Pension Fund, Director of Cadwyn Clwyd and member of the AONB Partnership.  He was a former Board Member of Menter Iaith Sir Ddinbych.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire County Council, said: “Huw, or Huw Chick as he was affectionately known was a loyal and trusted councillor and was great at representing the views of the people of Corwen and promoting his town in meetings.

“He had a wide variety of interests, which led to him being given Cabinet portfolios which included leisure, youth, tourism, rural development the Welsh Language and community development. On top of these duties, he continued to serve his residents to the best of his ability and was known by some as Mr Corwen.  I think that sums up Huw’s contribution to Corwen perfectly.

He always carried out his duties professionally, diligently and with integrity.  He was seen as a trusted and loyal friend and colleague by fellow councillors, but also had the respect of staff and teams across the county.

“Denbighshire has lost a true gentleman but we will always remember Huw with warmth and affection."

New police team will crack down on crime gangs


* The new Intercept Team with PCC Arfon Jones outside police headquarters in Colwyn Bay.

A new high tech policing unit has been set up to clamp down on organised crime and drug gangs in North Wales.

The 16-strong Intercept Team will be using Automatic Number Plate Technology (ANPR)  to identify the vehicles of gang members and make the region a hostile environment for crime groups to operate in.

It comes as County Lines gang activity continues to make headlines, which police have labelled as an "on-going threat" and Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones says is one of the biggest problems facing North Wales.

The team consists of two sergeants and 14 constables and has been established with extra funding set aside by the commissioner.

It will focus on individuals and locations, including Organised Crime Groups) and County Lines targets that are causing significant crime-related problems for local communities.

Assistant Chief Constable Sacha Hatchett said: “The team’s aim is to disrupt criminals and protect communities across North Wales’ road network using a variety of techniques.

“We are listening to concerns and intelligence and acting upon them in an effort to make North Wales the safest place in UK.

“Our commitment in keeping our communities safe remains a priority and I’m sure the team’s introduction will reassure many in our communities.

“County Lines has a significant impact on towns across the country and involves the criminal exploitation of young people and vulnerable adults. We want to get the message across that we will be relentless in our pursuit of serious organised crime and will continue to disrupt those involved and safeguard those who are affected.”

ACC Hatchett added: “The Intercept Team will bolster our current capability to disrupt criminal activity even further and demonstrate our commitment to maintaining a pre-emptive approach to policing to prevent criminals causing misery across North Wales.”

“The team will be working closely with their Roads Policing, Firearms Alliance Team and Local Policing colleagues with proactive operational tactics and responses to major investigations.

“They will also support and develop new intel by identifying links across Organised Crime Groups and respond to specific tasking requests from Senior Investigating Officers.”

Commissioner Arfon Jones, a former police inspector, said: “Serious and organised criminals use the road network extensively in order to facilitate their criminal activities.

“The team will allow us to intercept offenders to disrupt such activity, seize their assets and then convict them to protect our local communities.

"The use of ANPR and the other technologies gives us the opportunity to respond more swiftly and increases the likelihood of criminals being arrested. This approach demonstrates that we are doing all we can to ensure communities are kept free from crime.

“Importantly, it also sends a clear message that North Wales is not a 'soft touch' when it comes to serious and organised criminality - we are determined to identify and bring such offenders to justice.

“We intend to make North Wales a particularly uncomfortable place for organised crime and I look forward to the new Intercept team play it's part in dismantling and disrupting organised criminal group with the intention of making North Wales the safest place in the UK to live in, work in or to visit.”

Latest advice column


Q: I’m from Austria and I know I need to apply for Settled Status as the UK leaves the European Union. But I’m really confused about what documents I need in order to apply for me and my children. We’ve lived in England for six years and I’m worried that if we don’t apply before the end of the month, we might have to leave.
A: You don’t need to apply by the end of the month - your rights won’t change until 31 December 2020. However, you should apply as soon as you can in case of any delays. After the transition period ends on 31 December you might be asked to prove your right to do things like get a job or use a service like the NHS. Having your status sorted will make this more straightforward.
To get settled status, you need evidence that you’ve lived in the UK for 6 months out of every 12 months for 5 years in a row. As you say you and your children have lived in the UK for six years, you should be eligible for this.
In order to apply, you’ll need to have a few things. These include a passport or national ID card, a digital photo, your National Insurance number or proof of how long you've lived in the UK, a mobile number and an email address.

If you’ve been working, you can find your National Insurance number on your pay slip. If not you can contact HM Revenue and Customs National Insurance Helpline on 0300 200 3500 to help find it.

It may be easier to make your children’s application after you’ve made your own. This way you’ll be able to ‘link’ your child’s application to yours, using the application number you got when you applied for yourself.
You can do this at any time after you’ve applied - you do not need to wait for a decision. And if your own application is successful, your child will get the same status as you.
In order to apply on behalf of your children, you will need to have proof of your relationship - for example a birth certificate.

If you need any extra help with your application, your local Citizens Advice is on hand to help. You can find their details by going to citizensadvice.org.uk and typing in your postcode.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Stormy weather fails to halt return of trains



* The first train of the season at Carrog awaiting return to Llangollen after a stop-over for refreshments in the station café.

Despite the River Dee running high and fast after the weekend's heavy rain, Llangollen Railway train services resumed for half-term week today (Monday).

The heritage Class 104 diesel railcar provided the service down the line to Carrog offering some dramatic views of the River Dee in full flood. 

And the results of this winter's lineside vegetation clearance west of Deeside Halt provided improved views of the landscape across to Llantysilio Mountain in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The diesel train is running Monday to Friday with a steam service at the weekend, and to encourage families to get out and about, a special fare offer for half-term allows first child free with a fare paying adult and second half price.

Police call for witnesses after serious A483 collision


A pedestrian has been seriously injured following a collision near Wrexham.
At 23:43hrs last night (Sunday) police were called to a report of a collision involving a HGV and a pedestrian on the southbound carriageway, junction 5 (Mold Road) of the A483.
The pedestrian was taken to the Wrexham Maelor Hospital but he has since been transferred to hospital in Stoke with serious, life threatening injuries.
Sergeant Stephen Richards of the Roads Policing Unit said: “We are appealing to anybody who may have witnessed the pedestrian prior to the collision to come forward. Equally we’d like to hear from anybody who may have been travelling along the A483 and who may have dash cam to also contact us.”
* Anybody with information is asked to contact officers at the Roads Policing Unit on 101 or via the live webchat quoting reference number Y022943.

Old time music hall show this Friday


There are still tickets left for the variety show and supper this Friday. 

It will be great night of music and comedy. 

Great raffle prizes! Further details below:


National recognition for county's work on dementia



Denbighshire County Council has won national recognition for its efforts to work towards becoming a dementia friendly council.

The council has achieved Alzheimer’s Society recognition through its Dementia Friendly Communities initiative for its work to raise awareness and support those living with dementia as part of its commitment to create resilient communities in the county.

Cllr Bobby Feeley, the council’s lead member for Well-being and Independence, said: “We are working hard to ensure the Council is an organisation that supports those living with dementia and continues to do so. We would like to thank the Alzheimer’s Society for working with us on this project.

“It is vital we work to deliver positive outcomes for those living with dementia and make life easier and more comfortable for them and for those who care for people with dementia.

“Helping people to be more resilient and independent is a priority for the Council under our Corporate Plan and this work helps us achieve that.”

There are 11,000 people living with dementia in North Wales, with 1,511 of those in Denbighshire and the number of people living with dementia in North Wales is expected to almost double by 2030.

As part of its work to support those with dementia the Council has delivered Dementia Friends information sessions for staff and councillors, set up a staff engagement network and libraries offer a books on prescription service.

There is a reduction in council tax for people living with dementia while free fire safety checks in homes and help with wheelie bins are also provided.

Future plans include an e-learning package to inform staff and councillors, a premises audit for dementia friendly buildings and libraries will be introducing the loan of memory boxes.

The council will be inviting people living with dementia to inform and influence changes in working practices as well as working with the county’s Dementia Friendly Towns to share learning and experiences.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Police appeal over missing man

North Wales Police seek the help of the public in relation to a missing man aged 62 years last believed to be in the vicinity of Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

The gentleman is described at 5ft7, white male, of slim build with short brown hair. He may have been wearing orange running shoes, black jogging bottoms and a grey waterproof jacket.

His Black VW Golf TDI was located at the car park at Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and may have been parked at the location between 0700hrs and 0745hrs on Saturday 15th February 2020.

North Wales Police have conducted extensive searches of the local area assisted by North East Wales Search and Rescue Team (NEWSAR) but seek new information to assist us in locating this man at the earliest opportunity.

Anyone with information please call 101 and quote reference Y022326 or go to the North Wales Police Web Chat service via the North Wales Police website.

River Dee reaches even higher levels after storms


Update.

North Wales Police tweeted an hour ago that A5 at Corwen is closed in both directions due to flooding.


The latest bout of stormy weather has swollen the River Dee through Llangollen even more than last week.

This morning it has become a raging torrent, with the water reaching half-way up the arches on the famous bridge.

The pathway in Riverside Park has been left underwater after the river gushed over the wall there also leaving the steps submerged.








Ride the heritage train during half-term



* Looking through the diesel railcar cab onto the line.

Llangollen Railway resumes train services tomorrow (Monday) in time for the schools half-term break giving familes the chance to visit the glorious Dee Valley. 

On weekdays, Monday to Friday, the timetable will provide an off-peak service with the heritage diesel railcars offering a journey alongside the River Dee, as an easy means of exploring the Welsh countryside.

Railway general manger, Liz McGuinness said: “Our heritage railcars may not be as glamorous as some of the exciting, new trains on the mainline network, but they do have some features modern trains don’t offer passengers. 

"On our diesel railcars you can sit behind the driver and see where the train is going, or sit in the rear and see where the train has been. 

"That way you soon find out the railway line is neither flat or straight as it climbs over the river and up the hill to Berwyn Tunnel."

She added: "The line twists and turns through the valley calling at our wayside stations with all the features of a traditional railway – restored station buildings, line-side signals, passing loops at signal boxes, a level crossing, bridges over and under the line and an impressive viaduct - as it follows the River Dee through the Welsh countryside.

“And all the seats line up with the windows to offer the best views of the Dee Valley as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, now recovering from a long winter with Spring just around the corner. 

"During the January close-down period our volunteers have been busy each weekend with a maintenance train out tackling the lineside vegetation where it had become overgrown. This has improved the view in the remote area past Deeside Halt where the railway runs through a great bowl in the landscape between the Berwyn Mountains in the south and the Llantysilio range in the north. A dramatic view well worth coming to see.

“And for the half-term period from February 17- 28 there is a special offer for families – the first child travels free with the second child at half-price when accompanied by an adult paying a full line fare. Just the thing to keep the children’s interest with a new adventure by train.”

For youngsters perhaps unused to modern train travel, a trip on the Llangollen Railway is an education in how grandparents used to travel before they had a car, when everyone went everywhere by train. 

This is a railway which has been put back in the landscape since it was closed and dismantled over fifty years ago, a testimony to much hard work by volunteers and supporters to restore the line.
At the weekends the train service will be operated by the traditional steam locomotive.

* See the timetable for details at: .llangollen-railway.co.uk

Saturday, February 15, 2020

How has a BID been for Rhyl, asks llanblogger

Llangollen is due to vote on whether its town centre will become a Business Improvement District (BID) next month.

Llanblogger therefore thought it would be useful if we got the views from another part of Denbighshire which has already taken the BID plunge on how it is working out for them.  

We spoke at length to Abigail Pilling, manager of Rhyl BID, to ask her some key questions.



* Abigail Pilling, manager of Rhyl BID. 

A Business Improvement District (BID) is an arrangement whereby businesses and organisations in a defined location get together, decide what additional improvements they want to make in their area, how they are going to manage and deliver those improvements and what it will cost them.
This all goes into a business plan, which is voted on by all those businesses who would have to contribute and pay the BID levy.
In order for a BID to be established a ballot of eligible businesses in the BID area is held.
For the ballot to be successful over 50% of businesses that vote must vote in favour of the BID.
Of the businesses that vote those voting yes must represent a greater total rateable value that the ones that vote no. If these conditions are met the BID will be established. The levy will be mandatory for all eligible businesses in the BID area. 
On March 19th 200 Llangollen businesses will be balloted on whether they wish to be part of the local BID.
If the vote goes in favour of the scheme each business will be asked to pay a levy to help raise £88,000 a year, or a total of £440,000 over the five years it will last.
It is proposed that all eligible businesses will pay a banded levy towards running the BID.
Smaller businesses with a rateable value of less than £2,500 and businesses that fall into the industrial, manufacturing, storage, and workshop sectors will be exempt from paying the levy as will the two schools.
Rhyl BID came into being after a ballot in November 2018 showed 66 of the 99 businesses who voted – or 67% - in favour.

A levy of 2% on the rateable value of the business premises in the BID area produced a pot of £1m to be spent on various projects.

One of its key achievements so far has been the launch of Rhyl Town Rangers last summer.
The team of two rangers spends 40 hours a week patrolling the BID area.
In their distinctive turquoise blue uniforms, they work as ambassadors as part of the wider community, interacting with Rhyl’s businesses, staff and residents, as well as providing guidance and advice to the public, and working closely with the police and other security personnel, reporting any anti-social behaviour through the radio link.
Throughout the consultation process Rhyl BID was advised by the Mosaic Partnership who have also been involved with Llangollen’s BID.

Abigail Pilling is manager of the not-for-profit company set up to run the BID.

She explained that the Rhyl BID area, which covers a T-shaped area running mainly along the sea front, was larger than that proposed for Llangollen, which covers 38 roads and 193 businesses in the town.

Rhyl BID includes 446 businesses, although this fluctuates slightly as members leave or join the patch.

She said: “In Llangollen you have got a much smaller area so that the amount of levy it would be bringing in would be less but I feel that because you have a smaller, concentrated area it would be easier for a BID company to do projects that would benefit everyone at the same time, which is a position I’m slightly envious of.

“In our BID area some may benefit from this project or that project but in Llangollen whatever project you’re doing would benefit everyone.”

Going on to outline a possible future project for Rhyl, Abigail explained: “At the moment businesses pay different rates for different things, like electricity, waste management and so, but because our BID is a collective it gives us a bit of negotiating power, so we’re looking at various companies and various models which could help us make sure our businesses are on the best rates for everything.”

In Llangollen there has been some criticism that businesses have not been adequately briefed about the proposed BID.

Abigail said that although the consultation process took place in Rhyl before she was appointed to her role, she did have an idea about of what took place.

“What I know is that Mosaic Partnership did engage. There was a team of people who were quite pro-BID and there were supporting members from the county council and Rhyl Town Council who did canvass the area before the vote,” she said.

“Being honest we did have some backlash and we did have some people saying ‘we don’t know about it.

“The majority, I think, knew about it. There was some level of ‘yeh, I’m really pro-BID and I’m going to go out and vote’, or ‘I’m really against the BID and I’m going to go out and vote’.

“The ones that are unhappy always shout the loudest, so it feels like, oh, so many people don’t know about the BID but I’d say this was a smaller percentage.

“The consultation process engaged with as many people as they could engage with.

“People engage when they know there’s something of interest to them and they engage less when they are either unsure or not that interested.

“I’d say that most people were either aware of it or had that ‘I’ll wait and see’ thing.”

Turning to the projects initiated by Rhyl BID, Abigail said: “Here in Rhyl we didn’t get to where we are overnight. It’s been 30 years coming and there’s a lot of pressure on the BID.

“When the BID’s been voted through and the levies are paid people want to see a splash. But what is nice about a BID as opposed to a county council is that it can afford to put its head down and ignore all the politicking and noise.

“So we’ve got lots of projects that are in the background but we will take our time to explore them in depth before we launch anything because, at the end of the day, it’s levy-payers money we are re-investing in the town, so we don’t have to say it would be politically favourable if we did this.”

She added: “One of the things we are looking at is seagulls, which is very controversial.

“It’s something that perhaps Denbighshire County Council may not have been able to tackle given its stance on seagulls, or given different political agendas or concerns.

“So if levy-payers decide this is as issue we will look at that independent of whatever the policy is at local authority level.”

And does she reckon that a BID would be good for Llangollen?

She said: “You’re lucky in Llangollen. There you are, quite poised as an area to take advantage of some of things that are on the agenda, from Tourism Wales, Visit Wales and that kind of niche experience they are trying to create.

“I think a BID shows very favourably that a business community is willing to come up with some thoughts and take some responsibility and ownership. When you have a BID you could be looking at things like can we get match-funding for our idea.”

If Llangollen decides to vote for a BID, Abigail offered to give help and advice to people from the company appointed to administer it based on her own experience of such a scheme.        

* Find out more about Rhyl BID at https://rhylbid.co.uk/

Friday, February 14, 2020

County urges caution in Storm Dennis

Denbighshire County Council is urging the public to be vigilant over the coming days as Storm Dennis approaches.

The Met Office is predicting very strong winds and heavy rain to affect the county on Saturday and Sunday, with the potential for some localised flooding and damage due to the wind strength.

Councillor Brian Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways, Environment and Sustainable Travel, said: “Our teams worked hard last weekend in atrocious conditions to deal with flooding issues and keeping the county’s roads as clear as possible.  We are now facing the second major storm in a week and the yellow waring in place urges people to be vigilant.

“Our teams have been out and about during the week preparing for the storms and we have teams on stand-by to work with the other agencies to respond to any incidents that may happen in our county.p

“We would advise people to  an eye on weather forecasts and any advice issued through social media, online and in the press.  The Council will be providing updates through its own social media accounts and we are asking people to take extra care.

Anyone concerned about the risk  flooding should contact the Floodline on 0345 988 1188 to register for updates or follow them on the Natural Resources Wales website: www.naturalresources.wales  Updates will also appear on the Met Office’s website: www.metoffice.gov.uk


Christmas Festival hands over £1,550 to air ambulance


* Christmas festival committee members hand over the £1,100 cheque. From left, helicopter pilot Paul Cakebread, critical care paramedic Greg Ambler, Austin Cheminais, Dr Ally Hogg and committee members John Palmer and Ian Parry.  



* The team receives the £450 cheque from Austin Cheminais.

Members of the committee behind the annual Llangollen Christmas Festival have handed over more than £1,500 in donations to the Wales Air Ambulance.

They went along to the ambulance base at Mid Wales Airport in Welshpool to meet paramedics, doctors and pilots manning the lifesaving helicopter which flies from there on missions across the country.
And they presented them with two cheques – one for £1,100 which was the proceeds of last year’s festival at the end of November and the other for £450, the cash collected by festival committee chair and Llangollen town councillor Austin Cheminais on his appearances with Santa during the festival season.

The group was then given a closer look at the banks of hi-tech medical equipment packed in the helicopter’s fuselage.
Wales Air Ambulance covers the whole of Wales every single day.
Each year its fleet of helicopters attend around 2,500 missions, covering countryside, towns and cities. This includes miles of Welsh coastline and mountain ranges.
Wales Air Ambulance prides itself that it can be there for anyone in Wales within 20 minutes and brings a mobile A&E direct to patients.
Its team of critical care consultants and practitioners has some of the most pioneering equipment and skills in the world, including blood products and techniques developed in the armed forces. This means that patients receive advanced care before they even reach hospital.
The air ambulance is funded by the people of Wales and relies entirely on the public’s support to help keep the helicopters flying.
The charity does not receive direct funding from the government and does not qualify for National Lottery funding.
It therefore needs to raise £6.5 million every year to operate the service, with each mission costing an average of £2,500.
Cllr Cheminais has raised many hundreds of pounds for the air ambulance over the past few years as a way of saying thank you for the way the Midlands helicopter zoomed in to airlift him to hospital back in 2010 after he was run over twice by a delivery van in the car park of the school in Walsall where he was then headmaster.
He said: “All our air ambulances do a fantastic job of and I am delighted that, once again, we have been able to support the charity with money raised at the Llangollen Christmas Festival.


“It was also very interesting for our committee members to get a first-hand look at the Wales Air Ambulance and chat to crew members about their vital role during our visit to Welshpool.”  

Thursday, February 13, 2020

AM's call to bring back Llan's minor injuries unit and others


* The former Cottage Hospital whee the Minor Injuries Unit was based before its closure.

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has called on the Welsh Government to restore the Minor Injury Units (MIUs) they closed in North Wales seven years ago, including the one in Llangollen.                                                                                                                                                                              
Raising the matter with the Minister for Health and Social Services, Vaughan Gething AM, in the Welsh Parliament yesterday, Mr Isherwood said those in power were wrong to ignore warnings at the time that closures would result in additional pressure on A&E departments and GP practices, as this is exactly what has happened, and urged the Minister to consider reinstating MIUs for the communities that lost them.

He said: “According to Betsi Cadwaladr's website, there are five Minor Injury Units identified, other than A&E units, across the North Wales regional constituency. Luckily for me, one of them is in Mold, but most people aren't so lucky.

“In accordance with Welsh Government policy, in 2013 Betsi Cadwaladr closed five others - Colwyn Bay, Ruthin, Llangollen, Flint and Chirk - despite local campaigns to retain them and despite repeated warnings that this would place extra pressure on our A&E departments and GP practices. Of course, this is exactly what's happened.

“What consideration are you giving to perhaps restoring Minor Injury Units to the communities that lost them or that are accessible to them in other communities nearby?”

The Health Minister said that “Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has established “a pan-health board group to assess the scope of minor injury services across North Wales to ensure standardisation and to reduce demand on busy emergency departments within north Wales”, but that there are many issues to consider including ensuring there are adequate staff for the units.  

Speaking after the Chamber exchange, Mr Isherwood said: “In early 2013 Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board announced that it was rushing through the closure of five Minor Injuries Units in North Wales. 

"We had repeatedly warned the Labour Welsh Government  that their NHS community bed cuts and Minor Injury Unit closures would add to pressure on A&E and GP services, but they ignored us and the chickens have now well and truly come home to roost."