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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Health Centre Friends back in action after pandemic

 

The Friends of Llangollen Health Centre, like so many other organisations, has been affected by the pandemic.  

One of its projects has been to contribute to the cost of installing defibrillators.  

The latest one is now outside the Conquering Hero in Rhewl.

The official hand-over (pictured above) was attended by Maggie Smith, Chair of Llantysilio Community Council, the Clerk to the Council Sandra Baker, and Audrey Brameller, a member of the Board of Trustees.

The Trust was also pleased to receive a generous donation from the Friends of Oakleigh represented by Ruth Tamms to the Friends' John Palmer (pictured above).

The Friends is a charity whose objectives are to relieve sickness and to preserve and protect good health amongst permanent or temporary residents in the catchment area of Llangollen Health Centre and Llangollen GP practice, including Glyn Ceiriog & Plas Madoc,by the provision of facilities, support services and equipment not normally provided from statutory funds.

With the support of volunteers, the Friends normally staff the cafĂ© in the surgery, but this is currently on hold until things get back to normal. Fundraising activities have also been on hold.  

However, the Friends will be resuming fundraising with a coffee morning in the Memorial Hall on Market Street on Tuesday May 31 and would like t see as many people as possible coming along to show support.

* If you have any ideas on how we can support patients, please email John Palmer friendsofllanhc11@gmail.com

Fifth generation Kia Sportage is giant leap



Kia Sportage drive by Steve Rogers

There are not many car companies that can boast an SUV as their best seller in every corner of the world so turn the spotlight on the Kia Sportage.

I remember the UK launch in 1995 taking the car off road at the top of the Horseshoe Pass. Then it was nothing more than a capable, but only average utility 4x4 helping the fledgling Korean company break into the UK market.

It took 15 years and some inspirational design for us to sit up and take notice of the third generation Sportage, now an attractive all round family car which sold and sold and sold.

If 2010 was a big step forward then this year’s 5th generation Sportage is a giant leap. Not only has it undergone a radical redesign but there is cutting edge technology and hybrid power preparing the ground for what is ahead at the end of the decade.

Turning heads with stand out design is one thing but you have to do the business under the skin as well. So Kia started from scratch with a new platform, longer, taller and wider body, and plug-in or self-charging hybrid engine to compliment petrol and diesel units - yes there is still a diesel on offer.

There is even an all wheel drive with terrain drive mode, not that I think Sportage is going to spend much time off road although it will come in handy towing a caravan from a muddy field.

Sportage feels more grown up with its bigger body. Interior space has increased with ample leg and shoulder room for three adults in the back seats, which also recline, and a larger boot now boasting 587 litres with the back seats in place. The boot has two levels with small storage spaces under the floor because the spare wheel is replaced by a repair kit which, thankfully, I have not had to use so far in my motoring life.

For all its snazzy body styling, the cabin takes the star prize with its stunning dashboard  layout and general improvement in fittings and trim.

The area is dominated by a shiny black structure similar to a wide screen television housing two 12.2 inch screens. Dials ahead of the driver are computer generated and can be altered to display a variety of information. One novelty is a large camera in each of the main dials activated when indicating left or right, a modern take on a door mirror.

The driver’s eye still goes to the door mirror and the camera is impaired when it rains and in the dark but is another bit of new technology.

The centre touchscreen displays radio, various aps and navigation which was surprising slow to find a destination but easy to use.

Kia is well known for its generous level of kit, it was one of the first mainstream marques to have heated rear seats, an nothing has changed. My top of he range GT-Line S wants for nothing, ventilated front seats and 360 degree camera standout features, and the attention to small details in the cabin is admirable, check out the USB ports built into the shoulder of the front seats.

Of course there is a full suite of safety aids to keep you out of trouble.

Hybrid has added a new dimension to Sportage, a bit later than some rivals, and provides sprightly performance with decent economy. With the help of an electric motor the 1.6 litre petrol pumps out an impressive 226bhp so sixty comes up in an impressive eight seconds.

Driven sensibly the self charging hybrid should be good for 45-47mpg.

Which brings us on to towing and can it take the place of a diesel? Engine power is more than adequate and pulled effortlessly through the seven speed automatic box but around 24mpg was a good way off the 30mpg I get from my diesel Renault Kadjar but with the inflated price of diesel the gap has shrunk enough to make hybrid a viable alternative.

The downside is a modest 1650kg towing capacity. My lightweight four berth was only just inside the limit so many heavier family vans will not be a legal match.

There is plenty of high profile competition but this Sportage is a fine package and has to be on your shopping list.

Fast Facts

Sportage GT-Line S

£40,255 (starts £26,745)

1.6 litre petrol; 226bhp

0-60mph 8secs; 120mpg

44.1mpg combined

146g/km. 1st tax £215

Boot 587-1776 litres

Insurance group 26

Towing capacity 1650kg

Royal train artefacts go on show at railway over jubilee weekend


* Royal train artefacts which will be on show at Llangollen Railway.

A special display showcasing historic artefacts from Queen Victoria's Royal Train will be on display within Llangollen Station over the four-day Platinum Jubilee weekend. 

In 1897, the Great Western Railway marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria by constructing a new royal train for her. 

Railway companies had provided special saloon carriages, but this was the first royal train to be built and was fitted out in an opulent style.  

The GWR abandoned its royal carriages of 1897 during the 1930s and subsequently borrowed stock from another railway company when the need arose. 

Some of the carriage survived as grounded bodies, holiday chalets and in one case as a skittle alley in North Devon!

Many of the artefacts from inside the 1897 Royal Train vehicles have been lost over the years, but some items have survived and are now in the personal collection of Peter Dickinson, one of the founding members of the railway's Heritage Group.

The temporary display inside Llangollen Station will include carriage prints, glass panels and even some of the surviving door handles that were once inside Queen Victoria's Royal Train. 

The railway has a full programme of other events planned for the jubilee weekend.

Two new free courses at Pengwern Community Hub

Pengwern Community Hub has two new free courses starting in June.  

Organisers say places are limited and booking is essential by calling 01490 266004 or emailing: heulwen@sdcp.org

Both courses are suitable for beginners.  

Sewing machines and an overlocker can be provided for the sewing course, or people can bring their own along.  

The craft course takes place on the hub's Thursday Craft and Chat session and the first one is a taster session - so you can help decide what you would like to make - and then runs for the following five weeks.   

Materials will be supplied for the craft course.

The organisers add: "If you have service users, family or friends who would like to come along to either or both of these courses please do not hesitate to get in touch and if you can print to display the poster please do so."




Pengwern Community Hub's June diary


Monday, May 23, 2022

Riverside Park lands £200,000 windfall for new facilities


* How the new mini golf area will look.

A massive £200,000 injection of Welsh Government money will help bring a range of improvements to Llangollen’s Riverside Park. 

The cash is part of a £2.9 million package announced by Economy Minister Vaughan Gething under the government’s Brilliant Basics capital fund to be shared among 18 projects that will help deliver small-scale infrastructure improvements in strategically important tourism locations across Wales. 

According to the government announcement, in Llangollen “improvements will be made to this popular destination and include mini golf, play equipment, green infrastructure, including E-bike charging points, water play infrastructure, bandstand seating, interpretation boards and ramped access between levels of the park”.   

The fund, which is supporting local authorities and national parks to deliver the improvements which will benefit both communities and visitors, will finance projects to help alleviate pressure in areas that are seeing increased visitor numbers. 

Brilliant Basics will also support projects to improve accessibility to sites and projects that make their destinations more environmentally sustainable.

Llangollen Parks Project, a community group made up of local parents, has been spearheading the campaign for improvements to the park, which is run by Denbighshire County Council.

Its spokeswoman, Jessica Evans, said: “When the Brilliant Basics  funding became available we saw the opportunity to work with DCC to look at applying for improvements to the play equipment and band stand as well as improving accessibility around the park. 

“We have also been able to apply for some money to install the required water pipe input and electricity supply to the location that we hope will contain a splash pad/ water play facility which we will aim for in future funding applications.”

She added: “The full value of the project is £250k which should make a huge difference to the park.

“The bid focused on much of the feedback we had received from the survey we put out about the park a few months ago, most notably making the facility a much more inclusive one and ensuring that the Riverside Park is a place where people of all ages can come and enjoy this stunning location.

“The play equipment should cater for a much wider age range than it currently does and also have a greater capacity to cater more easily for the numbers that use the park.

“The band stand will have new seating and an electricity supply. Funding for the electricity supply had already been secured by a funding bid put together by Paul Keddie and the Fringe Festival and this funding served as match funding for the bid. 

“We are so delighted that Paul Evans and the team at Denbighshire Countryside and Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB had the vision to work with us and push this project forward. We were also encouraged and supported by Ken Skates with this application and are very grateful to him for his support. 

“The project should be completed by spring 2023 so a very exciting and busy time ahead. We can't wait to see the finished project and the difference that this will make for people living in and visiting Llangollen.”

Castle Street sewer blockage caused by construction debris, says council


* The pumping machine in action on Castle Street.

The current traffic disruption in Castle Street is due to construction debris from the ongoing 2020 project falling into a manhole and blocking a sewer pipe, according to Denbighshire County Council.  

A spokesperson for said this morning (Monday) told llanblogger: “Whilst carrying out road resurfacing work in Castle Street on Friday evening, some construction debris accidentally fell into a manhole and became stuck within a sewer pipe. 

"A specialist drainage contractor attended and attempted to unblock the pipe using drainage rods. 

"When this did not work, a camera survey was undertaken which revealed the debris had lodged against a damaged section of pipe. 

"The council is now liaising with Welsh Water to discuss options for repairing the damaged pipe. We would like to thank the public for their understanding and to apologise for any disruption caused whilst these works are undertaken."

Further information about the problem has been obtained from the council by new Llangollen County Councillor Karen Edwards who said: "The obstruction caused the surface water and sewage in the manhole to back up and started to flood out of the manhole last Friday.

"This was despite the best efforts of the drainage contractor who was brought in to clear the blockage through rodding.

"I am told that two options exist - an attempt to repair the damaged pipe, which will require a 1.2 metre deep excavation to access it, or a short length of pipe being run from the affected manhole to an adjacent one."   

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Suspected sewer problem affects Castle Street


* The large mobile pumping machine operating in Castle Street this morning. 

A problem appears to have developed with the sewer beneath the carroageway in Castle Street.

The problem developed on Saturday with what seemed at first to be a serious water leak in the roadway but which, it is understand, has since been diagnosed as an issue with the sewer. 

Yesterday afternoon a major pumping operation was going on the middle of the road and overnight a large portable pump has been operating within roadworks.

The problem has developed just as contractors for Denbighshire County Council are putting the finishing touches to the town’s major 2020 project to extend the pavements along Castle Street and resurface the carriageway. 

This has meant many months of disruption and there are concerns it will now be further delayed by rectifying the sewer problem.

* llanblogger has asked the water company for a comment. 

New grants to help spread dementia awareness

Denbighshire Council for Voluntary Service (DVSC) has announced a new round of grants to support activities and initiatives spreading dementia awareness throughout the county.

The grants, which have been enabled by the Welsh Government Integrated Care Fund, will give voluntary and community groups, Third Sector organisations, social enterprises and small businesses with less than 100 employees who operate in Denbighshire the chance to apply for up to £2,000. Individuals can also apply for grants up to £250.

Grants are available for events, activities and training sessions, which can raise awareness about dementia and encourage people to turn awareness into action and improvement in their communities.

“We have supported a variety of groups across Denbighshire through this grant over the last years," said Rebecca Bowcott, DVSC Community Wellbeing Officer. 

"These projects have delivered incredible support to individuals and families living with Dementia. This new grant will allow us to continue to help new and existing initiatives in the county from North to South to continue this great work." 

DVSC says it is operating a rapid grant decision-making process with applications being considered on a rolling basis until funds are disbursed.

* To apply for the grant, fill out DVSC’s application for groups and businesses hereor for individuals here.

If you want advice and guidance you contact DVSC’s Enterprise & Learning Officer, Rhys@dvsc.co.uk or call him on 01824 702441.

Denbighshire Voluntary Services Council

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Work planned for next week on 2020 project

Work planned for week starting Monday, May 23 on the town's 2020 project is:

  • Remedial works only
  • Temporary traffic lights will be removed
  • There are plans to reduce the size of the compound in Market Street car park when it’s possible to do so

Council's update on school attendance guidance

Parents and carers in Denbighshire are being informed that the Welsh Government has reverted back to the use of Fixed Penalty Notices for non-school attendance.

Following an announcement from the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Denbighshire County Council will follow the guidance to ensure young people are accessing their education.

Geraint Davies, the Council’s Head of Education, said: “Denbighshire is informing parents and carers of the update from the minister for education. We are committed to ensuring school attendance, attainment and the well-being of our young people.

“The Fixed Penalty Notices are to be used in only the most extreme cases, as part of a range of options and when all efforts to engage have been tried and failed, and where it is evident that there are no underlying reasons that are impacting upon attendance at school.

“We ask that parents and carers work with schools and education closely communicating any difficulties and issues that are impacting on their child attending school regularly.

“Where there are genuine reasons for absences these must be discussed with school to ensure Denbighshire can work collaboratively with parents and schools to maintain school attendance of all pupils in the county.”

The new guidance is effective immediately.

Fixed-penalty notices for non-attendance had been available to local authorities during the pandemic, however the Welsh Government had recommended against their use.

For more information visit https://gov.wales/oral-statement-school-attendance

 

Friday, May 20, 2022

Castle Street to be closed Sunday night

Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards says she has been notified that Castle Street will be closed from 6 pm until midnight on Sunday in order to complete white -lining works connected to the 2020 project.

The works had originally been scheduled to complete this evening (Friday 20th May), but some delays with the road resurfacing works have caused an overrun.

The works will require a road closure with the diversion route via the A5, A483 and A539.


 

Wrexham is awarded city status

The Leader is reporting that Wrexham has today been awarded official city status.

* For the full story, see: Wrexham is awarded city status | The Leader (leaderlive.co.uk)

Member of Parliament for Clwyd South, Simon Baynes, has welcomed the announcement today (Friday 20th May) that Wrexham is among eight winners selected for city status as part of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.  

He said: “This is excellent news for the town of Wrexham, the wider County Borough, and North Wales as a whole. Wrexham has, of course, made several bids for City Status in the past, so I’m extremely happy to hear that we have been successful and will be awarded full City Status for the County Borough. 

“Wrexham and Clwyd South’s strong cultural identity, as well as its status as an industrial and commercial hub, mean that we are well placed to reap the benefits of City Status, and I am particularly excited about the opportunity this gives us to celebrate the amazing history, language and culture of our part of Wales and share them with a wider audience.”


Message from the town's new Mayor, Cllr Paul Keddie


* New Town Mayor, Paul Keddie.

Paul Keddie was chosen earlier this week by his fellow town councillors as Lllangollen's new Mayor.

Cllr Keddie, who also became one of the area's two county councillors at the May 5 election, has sent this message to the people of the town:

"I am truly honoured and proud to be voted Mayor of Llangollen, thank you to Cllr Haddy and Cllr Rush for proposing and seconding me and to those who voted for me.

As with County Council, my goals are to improve the way we all live our lives by improving the local facilities, transport links, waste and recycling management and moving towards a greener community.

The way we live our lives in the aftermath of the dreadful pandemic is slowly becoming more ‘normal’ and similar to pre-pandemic ways, but some of the changes that were forced upon us in the Covid times can still be used to make things easier and greener for us.  Examples of this are working from home and attending meetings using virtual access methods, both are saving on travel and reducing the toxic waste given out as a result. 

Festivals and events are returning to their former glory, please support these as best you can.  They bring the community together and share our wonderful town and surroundings with people from all over Britain and the world.  A smile to a stranger goes a long way in a town like ours, it is helping to secure our future - keeping our visitors happy so they are more likely to return and will spread the word that the Welsh can be friendly.

I wish you all well and look forward serving you during my term of office."

Cllr Keddie replaces Austin Cheminais. who stood down from the Town Council on May 5, as Town Mayor.      

Councillor Jen Rush (pictured below) has been appointed Deputy Mayor.

She said “I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve the town and look forward to supporting Cllr Keddie in his well-deserved role as Mayor.

"We are fortunate to have two experienced councillors and an accomplished Town Clerk to guide those of us who are new to the role, with the benefit of new councillors to bring fresh ideas and ways of thinking to the table.

"I hope the co-option process makes the Town Council more diverse, so all residents feel supported and represented. I would urge anyone interested to get in touch with the Town Clerk before 10 June.

"I know from volunteering with New Dot Cinema that our community groups and events are a huge part of what makes our town so vibrant. Our wonderful grass-roots support groups like Llangollen Food Share do an invaluable job of making sure no resident of Llangollen has to go without. These groups are going to be more important than ever as we rebuild post-pandemic, let's do our best support them.

"Outside my role as Town Councillor, I am mum to a toddler and own a small digital marketing agency, where I work exclusively with charities and not-for-profits. I am also due to complete a Master’s in Digital Communications this year, so it is a busy time, but as several people have recently said to me ‘If you want something doing, ask a busy woman’! 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Former butchers shop at centre of spirited social media debate


* The former Gwyn Davies butchers which a dog has trouble walking past.

A fascinating Facebook post about a closed-down Llangollen business has turned into a running story with ghostly overtones.

It began yesterday afternoon when a visitor to the town posed the question on Llangollen & District Noticeboard, above a picture of the former Gwyn Davies butchers in Castle Street which closed about six months ago: “Why does my dog freak out walking past this old butchers shop?

“Been coming Llangollen, for years, great place, whenever I walk the dog past this place my dog goes crazy and tries to run away, he's done this for four years since he was a pup, has anybody else experienced this? He's a huge mastiff and has never been spooked by anything other than walking past here.”

* Copper, the dog that started the debate.

The question immediately sparked an intensive online debate about the reasons behind the dog’s odd behaviour which has so far attracted around 80 comments.

A number have been the usual mickey-taking but some have suggested a supernatural reason for why the animal gets spooked outside the shop, which remains unoccupied following the retirement of Gwyn Davies.

One person commented: “Senses animal death vibes/energy maybe.

Another suggested: “They can smell blood.”

And another: “All animals are sensitive to spirits. May be coincidence it’s a butchers.”

“He feels like he is walking past a graveyard with all the dead meat in there,” said someone else.

Other people related similar experiences such as: “We had a collie many years ago, when we took her with us on holiday there was a butchers in Barmouth that she wouldn't go past.”

Then the history of the Castle Street shop comes in focus, with one person commenting: “Recent historic pictures of Llangollen have shown many raw carcasses hanging outside the shop years ago. Row upon row of sheep cows and chickens before Gwyn had it.”

Then another person explained: “It used to be slaughterhouse and butchers.”

Later in the comments things took a supernatural turn as someone posted: “I remember my Uncle, old Noddy (local historian) telling me that above the shop was haunted. Maybe that is why?”

The ghostly theme is taken up in another comment which said: “There was a large German Shepherd that would not enter the kitchen in our local pub, as he got to the door of the kitchen he froze. It was said the pub was haunted.”

And someone else said: “My father worked there when Edwards’s owned it many years ago, they used to do their own slaughtering in those days at the rear of the premises, he may sense these things, dogs are really intelligent/sensitive.”

There are further ghostly suggestions with the comment: “I found at article about a previous butcher seeing a ghost whilst walking to work in the butcher shop.”

Taking this up, another person commented: “I worked there for Gwyn Davies a few years back in the early 90's and heard tales that the cellar and the flat upstairs were haunted. I never saw or heard anything though.”

Amusing but rather unhelpful was one of the later comments, which suggested to the original poster: “You need to call ghost butchers.”

* To see the Facebook post, go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/220715008050894/permalink/4965354713586876/

Tourism bosses call for return of London rail link

* North Wales and Mersey Dee Business Council members Ashley Rogers, Adam Williams, Sean Taylor and Jim Jones at Rhyl train station.      

A group of influential business leaders are calling for direct train services between North Wales and London to be reinstated in full as a matter of urgency.

The plea came from the North Wales Mersey Dee Business Council along with some of the biggest names in the tourism industry who fear the coming summer season will be a “major lost opportunity” because of the lack of services.

Among those fronting the campaign are two of the region’s biggest tourism operators, Zip World president and co-founder Sean Taylor and Adam Williams, owner of Llandudno Pier, Tir Prince Raceway in Kinmel Bay and a string of holiday parks and amusement arcades.

Also playing a central role in the drive is North Wales Tourism, a private membership organisation which represents nearly 2,000 businesses across the region’s six counties and is a founder member of the Business Council.

The sector employs more than 43,000 people and, before Coronavirus struck, they generated around £3.6 billion a year, providing a massive boost to the regional economy.

There were big promises from Avanti when they took over the West Coast franchise from Virgin Trains in December 2019.

Avanti vowed to maintain and increase the existing services linking North Wales, Chester and London, saying that passengers would benefit from more trains, more seats, simplified fares and more frequent services.

But the UK’s transport infrastructure ground to a virtual halt when lockdown was imposed.

As a result, the number of direct trains between North Wales and London was slashed to three return services a day.

Earlier this month Avanti introduced another two direct services a day, taking the number to five and in September the number should increase to at least 10 daily services both ways.

But that’s still well short of the 14 daily return services that were running before the pandemic.

The Business Council has been lobbying Avanti and UK Government to reinstate the full original timetable by December at the latest.

According to Sean Taylor, having first class rail links with London was crucial to Zip World who already employ more than 500 people.

As well as branching out in other areas of the UK, the fast-growing, adrelaline-fuelled adventure company are unveiling two brand new attractions in North Wales this summer, with Underground Golf in Llechwedd Slave Caverns in Blaenau Ffestiniog and the SkyFlyer airship in Rhyl that will take thrill seekers 400ft in the air.

Mr Taylor said: “It’s hugely important to us and everybody else in North Wales to have  proper direct train services for lots of different reasons.

“One is perception because symbolically having a great train service says that North Wales is open for business and that we’re not some sleepy backwater.

“On a practical level, if people want to come here on business or on holiday, having limited direct services puts them off – it’s a very real barrier for travellers.

“When Virgin had the franchise, it was a fantastic service and we want that service back because it’s not just important for Zip World, it’s important to the hotels, retailers and other businesses involved in the sector because those customers will do other things as well while they’re here.”

It was a sentiment echoed by Adam Williams whose growing businesses employ around 320 people.

He said: “Resorts like Rhyl, Towyn, Kinmel Bay and Llandudno depend on trains and, with the issue of climate change looming large, it’s more important than ever that we encourage people to travel by train.

“The trouble is that by not having a proper direct train service we are sending out the message that people who want to come should drive here in their cars.

“Surely, on that basis alone, we should be running a lot more trains to take cars off the road.

“It’s a bit of shock to hear where things are at. It’s frightening for our investment and it’s frightening for all our staff and something needs to be done asap.

“Not having a full train service means that this summer season is going to be a total lost opportunity. We’ll lose a large enough percentage to make a big difference.

“It’s hugely important that the Business Council is banging the drum on our behalf and championing the call for improved rail services.

“Getting to where we were isn’t the goal. We need to improve on that and have even more direct trains. That’s the only way we’re going to thrive – otherwise, we’re going to be in trouble.”

Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, also has fears for the future without a “fit-for-purpose” train service.

He said: “Transport connectivity is incredibly important in terms of tourism and the flow of visitors in and out of North Wales, especially this link between London and Holyhead.

“It’s long overdue because this is a vitally important strategic route and tourism is central to the economic recovery here in North Wales.

“I use the route quite frequently and there is nothing more infuriating than having to change trains at Crewe and or Chester.

“It was even part of the franchise agreement that Avanti would improve what we had before because it’s such an important route.

“I know there are issues in terms of resource because of a shortage of drivers and the time it takes to train new ones but North Wales is such an important destination.”

The campaign is being coordinated by Ashley Rogers, chief executive of the Business Council and board member of Growth Track 360, a cross-border alliance of business, political and public sector leaders in North Wales and Cheshire that was launched to secure £1 billion of rail improvements.

Ashley Rogers said: “The increase in services in May and planned for September are a welcome step in the right direction and testament to positive working between the Department for Transport and Avanti. 

“However, direct services to and from North Wales and Chester are essential for the regional economy, whether that’s tourism bringing in our visitors or business travel, and anything below 14 return services a day means a 20th century service in a 21st century world. 

“Without complete re-instatement of the full timetable, there are real long term risks of major damage to the North Wales economy because it’s such a crucial part of our connectivity to London and other key areas of the UK.”

Railway launches its packed Royal Jubilee programme


* The Queen and Prince Philip on the Royal Train at Llangollen station in 1953.

Llangollen Railway is planning a busy Platinum Jubilee weekend between June 3 and 5. 

Memories will be cast back some 69 years to July 10 1953, when Llangollen station proudly welcomed the Royal Train conveying the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to visit the International Eisteddfod Music Festival, just days after the Coronation.

Great Western steam tank locomotive No 5619, visiting from the Telford Steam Railway, will run on all three days.

This will be highest consecutive number of days that a steam service has run in the Dee Valley since Llangollen Railway Trust managed to reopen the highly scenic line in July last year. 

The railway currently operates between Llangollen and the former slate quarry village of Carrog and services are soon due to be extended to a new station at Corwen.

Although Corwen station, which has been built completely from scratch by volunteers, is yet to welcome its first trains, the Jubilee weekend will see the station open to visitors between 10 and 4pm to inspect progress. 

A train of ballast wagons, which are being used to finish the trackwork off, will be on display all weekend. 

Wayne Ronnenback, Corwen’s new stationmaster, said: “The team at Corwen have all been working extremely hard to finish our new station, which should be opening soon. We’re not quite there yet, but are looking forward to welcoming visitors over the Jubilee weekend."

Also back by popular demand after a successful Easter trial will be 1956-built Class 08 diesel-electric Shunter No 13625, which will be allowing visitors to fulfil their childhood dreams by trying their hand at being a train driver - for just £5 a go.

The shunter will also be working a shuttle service between Llangollen and Berwyn Stations, which will run in-between the three daily steam trains that run between Llangollen and Carrog.

With a return journey time of 50 minutes, the Berwyn Shuttle allows those looking for a shorter trip the chance to travel to the beautiful Berwyn station. 

There is a station tearoom and it is also possible to take a walk to the Chain Bridge or nearby Horseshoe Falls and return back to Llangollen on a later train, if desired. 

Departures from Llangollen are 10:20, 12:15, 14:30 and 16:30, with returns from Berwyn at 10:50, 12:16, 12:45, 14:26, 15:00, 16:31 & 17:00. 

Tickets cost £8.50 for adults, £5 for a child and £7.50 for seniors, purchasable from Llangollen station on the day.

The Driver-for-a-Fiver experience will run in Llangollen station and allow those over 12 (under 16s musty be accompanied by an adult) the chance to drive the locomotive for a short distance along the platform and back. 

Driver-for-a-Fiver is available between 11:20-12:05, 13:15-14:15 and 15:35-16:15. Tickets can be purchased on the day.

More details can be found on the Llangollen Railway’s website, Facebook page or by telephoning 01978 860 979. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

What police found in A5 corridor speed check

Police have commented on the speed of one motorist they recorded on the A5 earlier today (Wednesday).

In a message sent out through the Neighbourhood Alert online network PCSO Geraint Jones of Corwen Police Station says: "Early morning speed checks have been conducted this morning along the A5 corridor between Corwen and Llangollen following concerns from local residents. 

"Most vehicles were sticking to the speed limit's however one vehicle was seen travelling above 60 mph.

"NPT (Neighbourhood Policing Team) will continue to monitor on regular occasions - results will be fed back to local councillors."

Team creates improved visitor welcome at the Horseshoe Falls


* The Our Picturesque Landscape team outside the Lengthsman's hut.

After six months' preparation the area around the meter house at the Horseshoe Falls has been transformed to create an improved visitor welcome.

The job was undertaken by the Our Picturesque Landscape project, which is a landscape partnership scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund based in the Dee Valley.  

Partnership officer heading the small team running the project is Kate Thomson who said: "Using Welsh Government Brilliant Basics and National Lottery Heritage funding, the area around the intake and the meter house has been transformed to create a much improved visitor welcome.

"To celebrate this we formally opened the Lengthsman’s Hut to the public for the first time yesterday (Tuesday). 

"It has been closed up for many years and has been decorated as if the lengthsman has just popped out to work and will be back shortly.

"At the opening we were also trying to recruit volunteers to open it up going forward.

"The Lengthsman's Hut is located opposite the meter house on the canal towpath, just past the Chainbridge Hotel."

In one of her first official engagements since being elected as one of Llangollen's two new county councillors, Karen Edwards visited the project yesterday.

She said: "I was delighted to be invited to the opening of the Lengthman’s Hut and meet the team involved with the picturesque landscape project. 

"It’s so important to restore and preserve these buildings that are part of the heritage of the Dee Valley."

Cost of living support payments begin in county

Denbighshire County Council has begun one-off payments of £150 to those paying Council Tax.

As part of the Welsh Government’s Cost of Living Support Scheme to help residents with cost of living increases, payments will be made to those with properties in Council Tax bands A-D.

Payments will also be made to residents who were in receipt of Council Tax Reduction Scheme Support on February 15, 2022, irrespective of the Council Tax Band, and those with properties in Council Tax Band E where the property has had modifications for disability, reducing the chargeable value to Band D.

The first payments are being made to residents who pay for Council Tax via direct debit and payments began on Monday, May 16.

Steve Gadd, the Council’s Head of Finance and Property, said: “The council is administering this scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government and we have been working as quickly as possible to be able to start making these payments to our customers.

“Payments will be made automatically to the majority of residents paying via direct debit, with the remainder of customers needing to complete a short form on the council’s website.

“We would like to thank residents for their understanding while the council has worked on IT upgrades and to ensure robust and correct procedures are in place to implement this scheme.”

Residents who do not pay their Council Tax by direct debit must complete a short application form on the Council’s website.

Our intention is for this form to be made available during the week commencing May 23 with payments made during the following week.

We will continue to keep members of the public informed on the scheme.

For more information visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/cost-of-living