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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Fresh lockdown forces railway to close for a second time

Llangollen Railway has had to close for a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It shut down regular services for the first time during the early days of the nationwide lockdown last spring.

But now the heritage line, which operates as a charity, has announced it is to close for a second time following yesterday's announcement by the Welsh Government of a local lockdown starting tomorrow (Thursday) at 6pm.

In a statement issued late this afternoon general manager Liz McGuinness said: "After a meeting with the interim board it has been agreed that we will close after the last service tomorrow until 14th October

"This will be under constant review. We don't have an option and I do hope this will be short lived."

During the first lockdown the railway ran into a major financial  crisis due to a massive shortfall of income from passengers.

But help came in the form of £161,000 of National Lottery support aimed at addressing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cash, from the Heritage Fund, was intended to support the attraction through the coming difficult winter months and help with the implementation of its recent governance review.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown began the railway has been working hard to raise funds to ensure its survival. 

It has also been implementing many changes to help safeguard its future.

Extra restrictions will help fight ‘second wave’ say councils

Four North Wales councils, the Welsh Government and other key partners have agreed to support extra restrictions to help fight coronavirus in the region.

As of tomorrow (Thursday) at 6pm, extra restrictions will be introduced in the counties of  Denbighshire, Conwy, Flintshire and Wrexham.

The restrictions will mean that residents will not be able to travel out of the county in which they live without a valid reason.

By taking early action, partners hope they can slow the upward trend in cases over the past week or so – helping to protect local people from the virus, as well as businesses from more radical lockdown measures further down the line.

The two other North Wales councils – Anglesey and Gwynedd – have lower rates of coronavirus at the moment, but will continue to monitor the situation.

Councillor Hugh Evans, OBE Leader of Denbighshire County Council said: “It makes sense for Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham to act together given the rise in cases. 

"However, it is important to stress that the restrictions will mean that residents will not be able to travel freely between the counties unless they have a valid reason.”

The restrictions which come into effect from 6pm on Thursday will mean that:

• People will not be allowed to enter or leave the county in which they live (Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham) without a reasonable excuse such as travel for work or education;

• People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households (sometimes called a “bubble”). 

Residents are also asked to remember to stick to existing guidance, which includes:

• Staying at home if you have Coronavirus symptoms and request a test immediately.

• Working from home wherever you can.

• Avoiding car-sharing.

• Those over 11 must wear a face-mask in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

• Covering your mouth whenever you sneeze or cough.

• Keeping your hands clean.

• Hospitality businesses in Wales have to close by 10pm, with table service only, and off-licences and supermarkets having to stop selling alcohol from 10pm.

Cllr Evans added: “We can see the instances of Covid-19 rising in Denbighshire and we feel that it is right to act now in order to keep our vulnerable citizens safe.  

"I am keen to reduce the long-term economic impact of Covid on our communities in Denbighshire, so by taking this decision now I hope to avoid the need for the more severe lockdown rules that we saw earlier in the year.”

* Full details about the restrictions including frequently asked questions is available on

Council cancels remembrance service due to Covid-19 threat

* A scene from last year's Remembrance service in Centenary Square.

Llangollen Town Council has announced that this year's traditional Remembrance Day service in November has been cancelled due to the coronavirus situation.

In a statement released to llanblogger late yesterday evening it said: "It is with deep regret that the Town Council have made the decision that there will be no Civic Service on Remembrance Sunday this year."

The Town Mayor explained: “All Town Councillors acknowledge that the Remembrance weekend is a vitally important time to reflect and honour the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community.  

"Unfortunately, given the current limitations in place on gatherings outside and recent local developments, it is impossible to see how the services which involves over 40 organisations as well as the Town Council, Llantysilio Community Council, the Royal British Legion, substantial numbers of veterans and members of the public, can be held safely in line with the regulations."

The Town Clerk, Gareth Thomas, confirmed that the Llangollen Branch of the Royal British Legion will launch this year’s Poppy Appeal on the 29th October and funds raised locally will go to support of the costs of the legion's welfare work.

He commented: “The restrictions will not prevent the laying of wreaths or poppy crosses, on both War Memorials and this is encouraged from the date of the local launch until Armistice Day, Wednesday 11th November 2020, as long as social distancing guidelines are met.  

"Indeed the Town Council is looking at a way to capture these moments and are asking any group or individual that lays a wreath, or a poppy cross, to take a pictures on their mobile phone or camera and then send them to  

"The Town Council will then create an archive of these photographs with a view to producing a photomontage or slideshow to post on the Llangollen Remembers Facebook page as a record of what happened this year."

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Denbighshire goes into coronavirus lockdown


New coronavirus restrictions are being introduced in four local authority areas in North Wales – Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham – following a rise in cases, Health Minister Vaughan Gething has just announced.

The new measures will come into force at 6pm on Thursday 1 October, to protect people’s health and control the spread of the virus in the four areas.

The new restrictions will apply to everyone living in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Conwy and Wrexham:

  • People will not be allowed to enter or leave each of these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education;
  • People will only be able to meet people they don’t live with outdoors for the time being. They will not be able to form, or be in, extended households;

The restrictions will be in addition to the rules that apply everywhere in Wales, including:

  • All licensed premises must stop selling alcohol at 10pm
  • Everyone over 11 will be required to wear face coverings in indoor public areas – as is the case across Wales.

Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in coronavirus cases in four north Wales local authority areas – in Denbighshire, Flintshire, Wrexham and Conwy. These are largely linked to people socialising indoors and are the pattern of transmission similar to what we have seen in South Wales.

“We have worked closely with local authority leaders and the police in North Wales and we all agree about the need to take swift action to control and the spread of the virus.

“Large parts of Wales will now be subject to local restrictions but I want to be clear – this is not a national lockdown. These are a series of local restrictions to respond to rises in cases in individual areas.

“It’s always difficult to make the decision to impose restrictions but we hope that these measures will make a positive difference – just as we have seen in Caerphilly and Newport, where local residents have pulled together and followed the rules.

“It is important we all work together and support each other. This isn’t just about protecting ourselves, it’s about protecting each other.”

The restrictions are being introduced following a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases in coronavirus, which have been linked to people meeting indoors, not following social distancing guidelines and returning from summer holidays overseas.

The Welsh Government met with local authorities, health boards and police across North Wales today (29 September) to discuss the situation across the region, and what measures could be taken to prevent the further spread of the virus and how to protect people’s health.

The local restrictions will not be introduced in Anglesey or Gwynedd at this stage, where cases are lower.

The new local restrictions will be kept under regular review. They will be enforced by local authorities and by the police.

Keep Wales safe by:

  • Always keeping your distance
  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Working from home wherever you can
  • Following any local restrictions
  • Following the rules about meeting people
  • Staying at home if you or anyone in your extended household has symptoms.

Government's new £140m boost for businesses

* Llangollen businesses could benefit from Welsh Government cash support. 

Tourism and hospitality businesses  in Llangollen could benefit from an additional £140 million being made available by the Welsh Government.

The new cash for businesses is aimed at helping them deal with the challenges of coronavirus and the UK’s exit from EU, Economy Minister Ken Skates has announced.

The funding from the third phase of the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund (ERF) will see wider support being provided to secure jobs and help businesses develop, as well as additional help for firms affected by local lockdowns.

To date, the ERF has delivered almost £300 million of support to more than 13,000 companies in Wales. This has helped to protect in excess of 100,000 jobs which might otherwise have been lost.

This new phase of the ERF will see £80 million being made available to support businesses with projects that can help them transition to the economy of tomorrow.

It will require co-investment from companies and a clear plan about how they will adjust to the post-covid economy.

Of this, £20 million will be ring fenced to support tourism and hospitality businesses who are facing particular challenges as they enter the winter months.

Meanwhile, an additional £60 million will be allocated to support businesses impacted by local lockdown restrictions.

The rest of the funding will be used flexibly to provide additional support, for example to increase lending to Welsh businesses through Development Bank of Wales initiatives and to help companies deal with the impacts of the UK leaving the European Union.

The ERF has been designed to complement and build on the support offered by the UK Government.

Ken Skates said: “Our Economic Resilience Fund has been absolutely crucial in supporting businesses throughout Wales in dealing with the economic challenges of the coronavirus and helping protect the livelihoods of more than 100,000 people.

“The next phase of the fund, worth £140 million, builds on that success, helping us to secure jobs and enabling businesses to continue to develop and grow in these challenging times. There is also a specific part of the fund earmarked to support businesses affected by local lockdowns.

“This additional help has been designed to complement and build on the support announced by the Chancellor last week, again demonstrating the Welsh Government’s proactive approach to go above and beyond in providing extra financial assistance that we know our businesses and workers need.

“The £80 million worth of business development grants will be open to micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses.”

Micro businesses (employing between 1 and 9 people) will be able to apply for up to £10,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10%.

SMEs (employing between 10 and 249 people) will be able to apply for up to £150,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 10% for small business (1 to 49 staff) and 20% for medium sized (50 to 249) business.

Large businesses (employing 250+ people) will be able to apply for up to £200,000 on the condition they match this with their own investment of at least 50%.

Companies that received grant funding through phases one and two of the ERF, or Non-Domestic Rate linked support, could also be eligible for phase three of the ERF.

The Minister added: “We are going through a time like no other. Coronavirus and the increasing risk of the UK reaching the end of the European Union transition period without a deal have placed incredible challenges on our businesses.

“As a Welsh Government, we continue to do all we can to back our businesses, our workers and our communities.”

Monday, September 28, 2020

Oak Street Gallery hosts work by artist Carys Haf Roberts

* Above and below: Work on display by artists 

Carys Haf Roberts at Oak Street Gallery.

Oak Street Galley is currently exhibiting the work of Carys Haf Roberts. 

A gallery spokesperson said: "Her beautiful colours and deep sense and love of the local landscape comes through in all her work. Her work is full of joy and gratitude and a perfect antidote for our times. 

"So please stop by to see her paintings, prints, greeting cards, bookmarks."

The gallery will be open Thursday through Sunday (11am-5pm) and viewable anytime through the windows. 

The current exhibition is on until October 18.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

MP praises railway's Covid fightback

Simon Baynes MP and Liz McGuinness at Llangollen Railway.

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes met with the chair of Llangollen Railway, Liz McGuiness, to learn more about their very successful re-opening following the Covid-19 pandemic.

On the visit, Mr Baynes and Liz McGuiness discussed the changes that have been made since re-opening, such as enhanced cleaning regimes, an advanced booking system and hand sanitising stations.

They travelled in the steam train to Carrog, where the tea-room was very busy, then back to Llangollen.

Mr Baynes praised Liz McGuiness and all the staff  and volunteers at Llangollen Railway for their efforts in ensuring that all visitors, staff  and volunteers can enjoy their experience at Llangollen Railway safely. 

He also learnt more about how they have weathered the Coronavirus crisis through fundraising and a grant of £161,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

They continue to invest in the railway infrastructure, particularly in Corwen where the Corwen Group is making big strides in restoring the station, and also see a steady income stream from their engineering department.

Liz McGuinness said: “We are really grateful for the support received by Simon during the past months. The volunteers and staff have worked extremely hard and we are looking forward to our Santa season and to a great 2021.”

Simon Baynes MP said: “Following their fundraising events earlier in the year, it is great to see that the Llangollen Railway has re-opened with the appropriate social distancing guidelines. 

"The railway is a terrific tourist attraction and I look forward to seeing it continue to bounce back following the Covid-19 pandemic. 

"I fully agree with the Prime Minister’s comments about the Llangollen Railway in May in Parliament when he said it had a “fabulous future.”

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Hundreds turn up for their jabs at the Pavilion drive-through flu clinic

* The long but orderly queue of cars waiting for their flu jabs at the Pavilion this morning.
At least 800 people had turned up by lunchtime for today's drive-through flu vaccination day at the Pavilion.
And with the session, run by staff from Llangollen Health Centre, due to last until 5pm this evening many more are likely to take advantage of the special clinic aimed solely at patients born before April 1 1956.
Volunteers from the Tidy Town Team helped with the arrangements which saw scores of vehicles pulling into the car park to be formed into a long queue winding its way through the eisteddfod field to the front of the Pavilion where medical staff were carrying out the vaccinations through their wound-down windows.
After their "jabs" the vehicles, all travelling in one direction, were directed out again through the other car park exit.  
Only people arriving by car were allowed to take part. 
The health centre's Tessa Orton-Jones said later that a total of 1,547 patients enventually received immunisation during the day.

* Part of the queue waiting on the Pavilion car park for their turn.

Mike calls halt to his Tai Chi classes at Plas Newydd

Mike Gleed, who has been running his popular weekly Tai Chi exercise sessions in the grounds of Plas Newydd for the past few months, has decided to call a halt to them.

In a message to llanblogger he says: "I have decided that the last meeting of our Tai Chi/Chi Kung group will be next Thursday, October 1. 

"It has been a pleasure and such a nice group of people/friends. 

"It has been beneficial health-wise and also socially with us respecting social distancing during exercise and afterwards with the cafe. 

"I'd like to thanks the Plas Newydd management for allowing us to use such a fabulous venue. 

"I hope that those who attended will continue the exercises at home and stay safe and well. 

"Thank you to those who attended and contributed to the experience." 

People urged to use NHS COVID-19 app

People across Wales are being urged to download the NHS COVID-19 app to help stop the spread of coronavirus and protect themselves and their loved ones as case numbers rise.

The app has been launched after positive trials and the Welsh Government says it will be a useful tool when used alongside Wales’ own manual contact tracing system.

It will be available to those aged 16 and over, and forms a central part of the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme identifying contacts of those who have tested positive for coronavirus.

The roll-out of the app in Wales coincides with a national campaign around how people in Wales can best support the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme, including only getting  a test if they are showing symptoms; self-isolating when required; and working with local contact tracers if they are contacted.

Wales’ contact tracing system - which is a publicly-run service and locally delivered - is working well, says the government, and has seen a very high contract and trace rate. Latest stats show 94% of cases are being successfully contacted.

The new app works by logging the amount of time you spend near other app users, and the distance between you, so it can alert you if someone you have been close to later tests positive for COVID-19 – even if you don’t know each other.

The app will advise you to self-isolate if you have been in close contact with a confirmed case. It will also enable you to check symptoms, book a test if needed and get your test results.

Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething said: “The launch of the NHS COVID-19 app is an important part of Wales’ coronavirus response, supporting the NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect programme. The more people who download and use this app, the more it will help us to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“We have worked closely with the app development team to ensure it works seamlessly across Wales and England, providing people with the right advice based on where they live. In Wales, the app will complement our existing contact tracing and testing services and will further support our co-ordinated response to COVID-19 at both a local and national level.

“I strongly encourage everyone in Wales to download and use the app to keep Wales safe.”

The app has been designed with user privacy in mind, so it tracks the virus, not people and uses the latest in data security technology to protect privacy. 

The system generates a random ID for an individual’s device, which can be exchanged between devices via Bluetooth. These unique random IDs regenerate frequently to add an extra layer of security and preserve anonymity.

The app does not hold personal information such as your name, address or date of birth, and only requires the first half of your postcode to ensure local outbreaks can be managed.

The UK’s major mobile network operators, including Vodafone, Three, EE and O2, Sky and Virgin, have confirmed that all in-app activity will not come out of customers’ data allowance.

In a joint statement Apple and Google said: “We built the exposure notifications system to enable public health authorities in their efforts to develop apps to help reduce the spread of the virus while ensuring people can trust in the privacy-preserving design. We are committed to supporting the government’s effort to launch an app based on this technology.”

  • The app is available for smartphones only - not tablets, smartwatches or other devices.
    To get started, go to Android's Google Play or Apple's App Store and search for "NHS Covid-19".
    The handsets must have Android 6.0 (released in 2015) or iOS 13.5 (released in May 2020) and Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. That excludes the iPhone 6 and older versions of Apple's handsets.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Case for upgrading facilities at Llan schools approved

A business case for a £52 million investment programme for schools in Llangollen and Denbigh has been approved by the county council.

Plans to improve facilities at Ysgol Bryn Collen and Ysgol Gwernant along with those in other parts of the county  are included in the second phase of the Welsh Government’s 21st Century Schools and Colleges Programme.

A proposal for the second phase of the programme, funded by the Welsh Government and Denbighshire County Council, was approved at the council’s cabinet meeting earlier this week and options for developments at these schools will now be progressed and business cases developed to seek the funding for individual projects.

Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, the Council’s Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and Public Engagement, said: “Supporting young people is a priority for the council under our Corporate Plan and during the first phase of the programme more than £90 million has been invested in Denbighshire’s schools benefiting more than 3,500 pupils.

“As well as the benefit to young people, the investment of £90m also impacted on the local economy with a strong emphasis placed on local procurement which saw five of the eight projects led by North Wales firms and work secured for many local contractors.

“The second phase of the programme is set to see further investment in Denbigh and Llangollen which will benefit even more pupils in the county. This investment will be targeted to ensure we address the condition of our school buildings and improve the pupils’ learning environment.

“The council has also been lobbying the Welsh Government for additional funding to enable investment at Ysgol Dinas Bran, Llangollen, St Brigid’s Denbigh and the primary sector in Rhyl as part of the second phase of the programme.”


Have your say on protected landscape plan

The Clwydian Range Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) management plan is up for review.

The Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is the iconic protected landscape in North East Wales, stretching from Prestatyn in the north and running the length of the majestic Clwydian Eange to the valley of the river Dee, Corwen and Llangollen in the south.  

It covers parts of the counties of Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham.

It is a working landscape of farms and forests, rich in wildlife and history which is hugely valued as a place to walk, cycle and to enjoy many other activities.  It is also a place to appreciate the spectacular views, fresh air and relax from the busy lives we all lead.

The AONB has a management plan, which identifies why this nationally important landscape is special. 

This looks at the issues and opportunities that affect the area and sets out an action plan for the future.

Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “The current management plan is now 6 years old and a lot has happened in that time, many of the issues and opportunities we face now were not imagined when it was written. 

“An example is Covid-19 and currently the management team  are working hard with partner organisations to manage the influx of visitors after the lockdown, balancing the needs of visitors, businesses such as farming within the AONB to reduce potential conflicts.

“We need your help to make sure we include all the important issues and opportunities to inform our thinking.  We need this to ensure that we have the best possible Plan to help us keep the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty a wonderful place to live, work and visit for the years to come”.

If you would like to be part of this review, there are a number of ways you can help:

You can respond to our brief survey - 

You can send in more detailed responses as to issues and opportunities for the AONB you believe need addressing in the new management Plan to:

The "forgotten" Mazda that's not at all bad

Mazda2 road test by Steve Rogers

A friend admiring the Mazda2 asked the usual question: Did I like it?

I hesitated and then said it was an okay car but I would sooner have a Volkswagen Polo which pleased her because she drives a VW Up. I could also have said Citroen C3, Ford Fiesta or Peugeot 208.

Which is why I found myself feeling a bit sorry for this well-made, well-equipped supermini because it is the one model in Mazda's outstanding range that has been left behind. A bit like a naughty child left doing lines while his classmates are out playing football.

Mazda has put lashings of time and effort into making the 3,6 MX-5 and the CX range superb cars while the 2 trails behind struggling to keep up.

It has had a few tweaks since the current shape hit our showrooms in 2007 and an update this year gave it a new grille, rear bumper, cabin trim improvements and extra sound deadening but most of this will go unnoticed.

For all that the little Mazda has many good points even if they are often followed by a negative. 

The cabin materials have more of a premium feel than many of its rivals with quality trim along the door cards and dashboard but it is still starting to look dated. The three-dial binnacle needs updating if only to give the central speedometer clear 30 and 70mpg markings. An easy solution is a digital speedo already in the binnacle on the range-topping GT Sport Nav.

Something worth shouting about is the infotainment centre operated by touching the 7in central screen or, better still, by twirling the rotary controller between the front seats. Other manufacturers could learn from its simplicity and ease of use, particularly on the move, and the response time is excellent as well.

Heating controls are separate, thankfully, operated via three nice big dials. Perfect.

Cabin space is nowhere near class leading but good for front seat people and adequate for two and a half adults in the back. The back seats split and drop to increase carrying space - here's another but - boot space is not its best feature.

The hatchback opening at the base is on the narrow side and there is a 25cm (10in for us old 'uns) drop into the boot well which makes lifting heavy shopping bags a strenuous exercise.

Sharp handling is a given with all Mazdas and the 2 is no exception but the downside is a ride that is on the hard side of firm, and in spite of the extra sound deadening there is a fair bit of road noise while the suspension needs to do better at smothering jarring from potholes and poor surfaces.

Mazda has bucked the trend to go for small turbo charged petrol engines so the choice is the normally aspirated 1.5 litre SkyActiv G with 74 or 89bhp. My test car was the latter and is nippy enough although be prepared for plenty of gear changing to extract the best performance. Pick-up low down the rev range is pedestrian without flicking down the box and the ratios are long with second is good for a lofty 60mph.

Economy is excellent and I beat the official figure by a country mile averaging 58mpg over 350 miles. One 30-mile stroll returned 60mpg according to the on board computer.

Exhaust emissions are commendably low, due in part to the mild hybrid system which also sharpens the response time of the stop/start so pulling away from junctions and traffic lights is seamless as the engine fires up.

Mazda2 isn't the cheapest supermini out there but part of that is down to a generous list of kit from the base model up. The Sport Nav model has climate control, cruise control city brake and lane keep assist, keyless entry LED lights and rear parking sensors among the highlights.

So a real mixed bag for the Mazda2 which needs a little more TLC from its makers. If I was a cartoon artist drawing the Mazda2 I would give it a sad face with a big tear dropping from its headlight eyes!

Need to know

Mazda2 Sport Nav

£17,540 (starts £15,840)

1.5 litre; 89bhp

0-62mph 9.7secs' 114mph

53.3mpg combined

120g/km. 1st road tax £175

Insurance group 15

Boot: 280 litres

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Chancellor's measures are "welcome benefit" for businesses, says MP

Welsh Conservative MP for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes, has welcomed today’s announcement of  Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economy Plan.

The announcement unveiled a series of new packages designed to support viable jobs and businesses through a time of depressed demand, and forms the next phase of the UK Government’s planned economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The packages contained within the plan include:

*  Job Support scheme – directly funds businesses to protect viable jobs and people’s wages rather than laying off employees during a difficult winter period. Businesses will continue to pay employees for the proportion of time they work, but the burden of hours not worked will be shared equally between the employee, employer and Government.

Employers can use the Job Support Scheme as well as claim the Jobs Retention Bonus. There will also be a grant-extension for self-employed small businesses who have used the SEISS scheme.

Greater support for businesses: - introduction of the ‘Pay As You Grow’ scheme, providing greater flexibility to businesses repaying loans by extending the term of Bounce Back Loans to ten years. This allows more time for businesses to access Government loan schemes by extending the application deadline for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Future Fund loans to the end of November.

Extension of temporary VAT cut for tourism and hospitality sectors – the temporary 5% rate of VAT will be extended from the end of January 2021 to March 2021

Deferring repayments of VAT – new scheme launched to allow businesses to pay back VAT owed in smaller equal monthly payments, until the end of March 2022.

More time for self-assessment businesses to pay back – 18-month deferral for the Time To Pay service until the end of January 2022.

Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement, Simon Baynes MP said: “I very much welcome the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan, and am delighted that the packages contained will provide a huge boost to many businesses and employers who are at the heart of Clwyd South’s economy.

“There are already reasons to be cautiously optimistic, with the UK enjoying three consecutive months of growth thanks to the Government’s comprehensive economic response back in March, and with millions of people moving back to work out of furlough and consumer spending returning. But the recent resurgence of Coronavirus threatens this recovery, and with the clear knowledge that the world has to learn to live with Covid-19 for months to come, the next phase of economic support must be different from the packages unveiled in March.

“Measures such as the Job Support Scheme will give employers the breathing room they need to protect employees jobs whilst navigating what is likely to be a difficult winter, and support to further protect businesses by extending loan deadlines and defer VAT for the tourism and hospitality sectors will provide a welcome benefit to many businesses within Clwyd South.”

Latest Citizens Advice column

Here is the latest advice column from Denbighshire Citizens Advice.

Q: I’ve worked at the same company for many years but I’ve been told I’m being made redundant. What redundancy pay am I entitled to? 

A: If you’re being made redundant, there are two types of redundancy pay you could get. ‘Statutory’ redundancy pay is the minimum that the law says you’re entitled to, or ‘contractual’ redundancy pay, which is extra money your contract says you can get on top of the statutory amount.

You’re usually only entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you’ve been an employee for at least two years. It’s worth asking your employer or checking your contract to see if you’re entitled to more than the statutory redundancy rules allow.

Statutory redundancy pay is based on age, weekly pay and number of years in the job, up to a max of £538 a week. The Citizens Advice and websites have calculators to help work out how much you’ll get. For example if you’re aged 41 and over, you’ll get 1.5 week’s statutory redundancy pay for each full year you’ve worked, up to a maximum of 20 years’ service.

If your employer offers a suitable alternative job, but you refuse to take it without good reasons, they can refuse to pay your redundancy.

You won’t get statutory redundancy pay if you’ve been employed for less than two years, are self-employed or are in certain jobs like the armed forces or police (though you may be entitled to contractual pay).

If you’ve been furloughed, the law now says that your redundancy pay should be worked out using your usual wages, even if you were paid 80% while you were furloughed. However, statutory redundancy pay still limits a weeks’ pay to £538.  

If your employer has told you that your redundancy pay will be based on your furlough rate of pay, you could explain to the employer that isn’t what the website says about redundancy pay, or contact your nearest Citizens Advice.

Plas Newydd needs your help with restoration project

* Restoration work is to be carried out in the Dell 

to the bog garden and ram pump building.

The home of the Ladies of Llangollen is inviting people to help with research into an exciting restoration project it is undertaking in the coming months.

Plas Newydd, which can trace its roots back to the 18th century, is continuing to enhance its visitor experience. 

The scheme will include carrying out a programme of restoration work in the Dell to reinstate the bog garden and ram pump building.

Site manager Paul Evans explained how Plas Newydd is working with the Our Picturesque Landscape team who have been funded through the National Lottery Heritage Fund to deliver on a five-year restoration and interpretation project across the Dee valley. 

And he says the involvement of the public can play a key part in the success of an important part of the project.

“So many people in Llangollen, and further afield, have stories to tell about our beautiful house and its grounds from different periods in history. We would love to hear from them,” said Paul.

“It would be wonderful to know what details are out there in the community about Plas. The contribution provided by the public could make a major input to the research needed for the project.”

Plas Newydd is a popular destination for tourists from across Britain and attracts visitors from all across the world.

But Paul stressed the house and its grounds also take great pride in providing an oasis of calm and beauty for residents in Llangollen who have enjoyed its tranquil setting for generations.

 “Unfortunately due to Covid-19 we haven’t been able to open up the house to the public this year,” said Paul.

 “But even throughout lockdown our gardens remained available for visitors and in July we re-opened our tea rooms utilising our courtyard and outdoor space. We have had many comments from people over the last few months saying how much they enjoy coming here to exercise or meet friends, and how much Plas means to them.”

* If anyone has information about Plas Newydd’s history and specifically the ram building that they would like to share with the museum, they can get in contact by telephoning 01978 862834 or email 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Llangollen Town Council back to full strength

* New councillor Peter Carol.

* New councillor John Palmer.

With the co-option of Peter Carol at the last night’s meeting and John Palmer at the meeting in August, all casual vacancies on the Town Council have now been filled.

Cllr Palmer replaces the seat vacated by former Cllr Beech and Cllr Carol that of former Deputy Mayor, Cllr Richards.

Commenting on the appointments Town Clerk Gareth Thomas said: "The process of co-option is governed and controlled by a number of regulations and the pandemic did not change the requirements for clerks to follow  defined procedures. 

"The initial notices of vacancy were displayed for a period of 14 days in which time 10 constituents could have requested a by-election.

"With both applications the necessary requisite numbers were not met and therefore the appointments were made by co-option, a process again governed by a further set of regulations.”

He added: "Following advice from the county council's Returning Officer there were concerns that any appointments to a contest seat, which was the case with the resignation of Cllr Richards, should not be made until the Town Council could meet face to face again without restrictions. 

"However, more recent guidance allowed the Town Council to proceed with the second appointment this month.

"This recent advice also means that the annual meeting of the Town Council, which is normally held in May, will now take place in November and at that meeting councillors will consider the appointment of the Town Mayor and Deputy Town Mayor."

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Denbighshire becomes area of Covid concern


Denbighshire has become one of the ”areas of concern” to Public Health Wales (PHW) when it comes to an increase in coronavirus cases.

In its latest statement issued earlier this afternoon PHW says: “We are continuing to see a steady increase in cases in many communities across Wales, and our investigations show that many of these have been transmitted due to a lack of social distancing.

“The council areas of Cardiff, Swansea, the Vale of Glamorgan, Carmarthen, Anglesey, Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire are all areas of concern to us and we are watching the data from there carefully, but numbers of cases are increasing in all parts of Wales so there is no room for complacency in any area.”

The statement adds: “We are also seeing an increase in the number of people who are seriously ill and have been admitted to hospital with COVID-19.

“We are concerned that much of the good work conducted over the past few months is at risk of going to waste.

“If the situation continues to worsen, we may find ourselves at the same levels of infection that we experienced earlier this year in March and April; and with that comes the potential for more extended restrictions to be imposed nationally.

“Coronavirus has not gone away. It remains the responsibility of everyone to help prevent the spread of this virus to protect older and vulnerable family members and friends. 

“They should do this by self-isolating when asked to do so, staying two metres away from others, and by washing hands regularly.

“Public Health Wales is urging all eligible people in Wales to have their free flu vaccine as NHS Wales begins its largest ever national flu vaccine programme.

“Flu (also known as influenza) can be serious, particularly for those who are older or have a health condition and are more vulnerable to complications as a result of the flu. Having a flu vaccine every year is one of the most effective ways to protect against flu.

“Those eligible for a free NHS flu vaccine include people with long term health conditions, people aged 65 and over, pregnant women, children aged two to ten years old, carers, domiciliary carers and care home staff with regular client contact as well as care home residents.”

For the latest information, visit or or search Beat Flu or Curwch Ffliw on Twitter and Facebook.

On its Facebook page Llangollen Health Centre has given details of its drive-through flu vaccination day this Saturday.

It says: “All patients born before 1 April 1956 should have received a letter inviting them to a drive-through flu clinic on Saturday 26th September at Llangollen Pavilion. If you have received a letter we would like to draw your attention to the following important points:

• We will not be able to vaccinate any patient arriving on foot. Any patient who cannot get to the clinic in a car needs to let us know (via or 01978 860625) and we will contact them within the next couple of weeks with an alternative. However we are asking that our patients born before 1 April 1956 make every effort to arrange car transport to this clinic (subject to Covid regulations on car sharing) as it is in their best interests to be immunised as early as possible. 

• The alphabetical time slots are there to avoid excessive waiting times and queues. If you cannot keep to your slot, you can turn up a time convenient to you between 9am and 5pm. 

• Please car share if it is safe for to do so i.e. those living in the same household, those in extended households (even if you have different surnames). Please note: We will inject the arm nearest to the car window so please consider where in the car you will be sitting and dress appropriately so that their upper arm nearest the window is easily accessible. For example, short sleeves or sleeves that can be easily rolled up. 

• We will not be able to give any other vaccinations or flu vaccinations to other age groups at this clinic. 

Other patients who are eligible for a flu vaccination, who do not fall into this age group, will be contacted with details of further clinics. There are different vaccines for different age groups which are delivered to the practice at different times and we will be sending out invitations as we get our vaccine deliveries.”