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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Latest local roadworks bulletin

Latest local traffic bulletin from causeway one.network is: 

 

Bache Mill Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire,North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency


23 April - 25 April

 

Delays likely - Diversion route

 

Name: Diversion 1

 

Location: Bache Mill Road

 

Description: Streetworks / License - Streetworks

 

Responsibility for event: Denbighshire County Council

 

Current status: Planned

 

 

 

Grange Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire,North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency


23 April - 25 April

 

Delays likely - Diversion route

 

Name: Diversion

 

Location: Grange Road

 

Description: Streetworks / License - Streetworks

 

Responsibility for event: Denbighshire County Council

 

Current status: Planned

 

 

 

Roadworks

 

Bache Mill Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire


23 April - 25 April

 

Roadworks, Delays likely

 

Traffic management: Road closure

 

Description: REPLACE APPROX 5M X 100MM DI WITH 90MM PE

 

Works location: JUNCTION OF GRANGE ROAD

 

Public facing description: Wales & West Utilities Ltd has not assigned a specific description to this Works. Please note: Works Descriptions are not published by Wales & West Utilities Ltd.

 

Responsibility for works: Wales & West Utilities

 

Current status: Advanced planning

 

Works reference: XY254003001625596/01

 

 

 

Regent Street, Llangollen, Denbighshire


23 April - 24 April

 

Roadworks, Delays likely

 

Traffic management: Traffic control (two-way signals)

 

Description: Gwynedd CC lining to both sides of carriageway

 

Works location: A5 Regent Street, Llangollen.

 

Public facing description: one.network has automatically assigned a category of Unclassified works to this Works based on the information available. Please note: Works Descriptions are not published by NMWTRA/SWTRA.

 

Responsibility for works: NMWTRA/SWTRA

 

Current status: Planned work about to start

 

Works reference: PD5012411013951889

 

 

 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Skates hints at 'major U-turn' on Wales's 20mph regime, says story

Wales’ new transport secretary has hinted at a major U-turn on the country’s 20mph regime, according to North Wales Live. 

Ken Skates, Senedd Member for Clwyd South, said the lower speed limit should be targeted at schools, nurseries, hospitals and other "appropriate" areas, the story adds.

* For the full story, go to: Major U-turn on 20mph speed limits signalled for Wales - North Wales Live (dailypost.co.uk)

28th Llangollen Fringe unveils its diverse programme


* Craig Charles.

The 28th edition of the Llangollen Fringe Festival takes place from July 5-13 and will feature a diverse range of shows, with comedy, music, dance, workshops and more.

Kicking off the festival's festivities is the highly anticipated finale to its comedy season, featuring headliner Robin Ince. 

Renowned for his ability to educate through comedy, his performance promises "laughter and enlightenment." 


* The Undertones.

Supported by the dynamic duo, The Raymond and Mr Timkins Revue - with the possibility of a surprise guest appearance - the event is hosted by the charismatic Silky.

In the realm of music, the Fringe welcomes back three iconic acts - The Selecter, Craig Charles, and Band Pres Llareggub. 

Prepare to rock out with The Undertones as they bring their iconic sound to Llangollen. Catching them on their European Tour guarantees a night filled with timeless hits like "Teenage Kicks" that will have the Town Hall pulsating with nostalgia. 

Hailing from the Highlands of Scotland, Elephant Sessions will present their unique blend of traditional, funk, and electronica music. 


* The Selector.

Welsh talent takes centre stage with Adwaith and Melin Melyn, two bands that transcend borders with their captivating performances. 

Folk sensation Seth Lakeman returns to cast his spell over the audience, while the collaboration of Catrin Finch and Aoife Ní Bhriain promises to stir emotions with their fusion of Celtic and classical music. 

Complementing the musical line-up are a variety of theatrical performances, workshops, and artistic endeavours, ensuring there is something for everyone to enjoy. 

Commenting on the programme Paul Keddie, Chairperson of the Llangollen Fringe, said: "We are incredibly proud of the diverse and dynamic program we have put together for this year's Fringe, with a line-up featuring both established icons and emerging talents, we look forward to welcoming audiences to what promises to be an unforgettable celebration of culture and creativity." 


Catrin Finch and Aoife Ní Bhriain.

* Tickets for these headline shows are on sale now, as well as Festival passes. Priced at just £120 the festival pass allows access to all of the main events across the nine days.

Festival tickets and dates and times for all concerts and events are available from www.llangollenfringe.co.uk. 

Llangollen Fringe Festival is supported by The Arts Council of Wales

At a glance

Friday, 5th July: Robin Ince

Saturday, 6th July: Band Pres Llareggub 

Sunday, 7th July: The Undertones 

Monday, 8th July: Seth Lakeman

Tuesday, 9th July: Catrin Finch & Aoife Ní Bhriain 

Wednesday, 10th July: The Selecter  

Thursday, 11th July: Elephant Sessions 

Friday, 12th July: Melin Melyn and ADWAITH - double headline show 

Saturday, 13th July: Craig Charles 


Friday, April 19, 2024

North East Wales Archives launch new digital content


* Welsh Bibles added to the shelves of the Archives.

North East Wales Archives have recently launched a digital series named ‘Acid Free’, which explores some of the real life experiences and themes from their collections. 

In the series, archivists and featured guests take a closer look at the people and stories from the archived collections, bringing fascinating stories to life. 

In their the second instalment of this series, the focus is on the recently acquired Welsh Bibles Collection, which have been added to the shelves of the Archives. 

Back in 2023, the Archives catalogued a Welsh Bibles Collection and began to unravel some of the stories connected to items from this collection. 

The collection is one of the largest outside of the National Library of Wales, and contains very rare volumes. These include the earliest translations by famous figure William Morgan, a William Salesbury New Testament of 1567 and the Bible Mari Jones used before famously walking 25 miles to purchase her own copy. 

In the latest podcast episode, the Archives are joined by Hedd ap Emlyn and Bethan Hughes who discuss the origins of the collection, the different ways various bibles came to be collected and the significance of the collection for North East Wales. 

Katie Gilliland, Community Engagement Officer said: “We’re excited to share the latest episode of our podcast and digital stories series, ‘Acid Free’. 

It showcases our newly catalogued Welsh Bibles Collection and we’re excited to see our users engage with the collection as a result of this episode.” 

A digital story which provides a visual glimpse of the collection has also been produced. This is available to view on Youtube here: 

English - https://youtu.be/rKy0zHWaNVA

Welsh - https://youtu.be/8KZEa08HitU

Hedd and Bethan’s discussion is in Welsh, but an English translation of the episode is available on the website. Listen to the podcast episode here: https://spotifyanchor-web.app.link/e/Ar0dmNgKfIb 

The next instalment of ‘Acid Free’ will be focused on the Courtauld’s factories in North East Wales.

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Chain Bridge undergoes vital repair work


* Work taking place on the Chain Bridge.

The iconic Chain Bridge of Llangollen is undergoing vital repairs all this week until Saturday to ensure its continued safety and integrity. 

Llangollen Town Council has engaged the expertise of Beaver Bridges Limited, based in Shrewsbury, to execute these essential works, with a total investment exceeding £17,000. 

The decision to undertake these repairs follows a recent comprehensive survey, which highlighted several minor defects in the bridge's structure. 

While seemingly insignificant, if left unattended, these issues could lead to accelerated deterioration, potentially compromising the bridge's stability and safety. 

Commenting on the significance of the works, Llangollen's Town Clerk Gareth Thomas said: "These repairs were identified during a recent survey, where minor defects were discovered. Although seemingly minor, if neglected, these issues could lead to the rapid degradation of the structure. 

"The repairs range from fitting new deck boards to addressing minor plating and welding on some of the bridge's elements. 

"To ensure the efficiency and thoroughness of the repair process, the contractor is employing a combination of techniques, including roped access, to access and address all identified concerns comprehensively. 

"These are the first major works undertaken to the bridge since it was refurbished and reopened in May 2015. 

"The Town Council recognises the importance of preserving the historical and cultural significance of the Chain Bridge and these proactive measures underscore the council's commitment to maintaining the safety and longevity of this beloved landmark for both residents and visitors alike.

"There have been some diversions in place during the repair period, as some temporary disruptions may have occurred . 

"However, these inconveniences are essential to safeguarding the structural integrity of the Chain Bridge for generations to come."


Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Last chance to guarantee tickets for Tom Jones in Llangollen


* Sir Tom Jones in concert.

Sir Tom Jones will be making his long-awaited Llangollen debut in July, and tickets have been in high demand ever since they went on sale.

With the event quickly selling out, the only way to guarantee a ticket is by buying a season ticket before the end of April, say festival organisers.

This not only gives you a guaranteed seat in our pavilion to see Tom Jones, but also entry to a full week of other evening concerts, with artists including Welsh folk superstars Calan, Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Johns’ Boys Male Chorus, the royal harpist Alis Huws, West End stars Kerry Ellis and John Owen Jones, and jazz sensation Gregory Porter. 

The final 100 season tickets are now available for the Core Eisteddfod Week, which runs from Tuesday 2nd to Sunday 7th July. 

Season tickets guarantee the best seats in the house, and offer much better value for money than buying individual tickets for each concert, according to the Eisteddfod.

To secure your season ticket, call the Eisteddfod office on 01978 862001 before 5pm on Tuesday April 30. 

Dave Danford, artistic director of the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, said: “Our season tickets are strictly limited, and only available until the end of this month. There’s no other way to guarantee your seat in the pavilion to see Tom Jones make his Llangollen debut in July. 

“We’re so proud of the range of evening concerts we have during our Core Eisteddfod Week this year, and season ticket holders can enjoy a week of entertainment they’ll never forget.”

Festival bosses have been committed to protecting the heritage and values of the Eisteddfod, which was founded in 1947. 

The popular competitions will see international visitors arriving in the largest numbers since the pandemic, with over 3,000 competitors travelling to Llangollen.

Ladies Fellowship to hold coffee morning

Llangollen Ladies Fellowship is to hold a coffee morning at the Memorial Hall in Market Street on Tuesday April 23, from 10am-noon.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Town council agrees to seek more information about toilet takeover


* Fate in the balance: the public toilets in Market Street, Llangollen.

Llangollen Town Council members have voted to seek further information about taking over the running of the public toilets in Market Street from the county council.

Denbighshire plans to divest itself of almost all its public conveniences - including the one in Llangollen - to help balance its budget.

This has so far sparked a storm of local protest, with the area's Senedd Member Ken Skates, North Wales Tourism SEO Jim Jones and former GP Dr Rhys Davies among those backing the fight to save the toilets.

County chiefs are hoping that the running of some of the toilets can be taken over by town or community councils.

And Llangollen Town Council discussed the issue at its monthly meeting tonight (Tuesday).

In a report to members beforehand, town clerk Gareth Thomas said: “The town council must be cognisant of the financial implications that transfer of the facilities as initial figures indicate that the current public conveniences run at a loss in excess of £23,000.

“Should the town council be minded to consider an asset transfer then clearly these costs would have to be passed on to the precept [the amount added to the local council tax specifically to finance the town council] and would put additional pressure on local council taxpayers in that there would not be any reciprocal saving reflected in the county council’s charges.”

At the meeting, which was attended by a dozen members of the public a number of whome strongly opposed the loss of the Market Street toilets, the town clerk said: “We have to be mindful of the effects a takeover of the toilets would have on our budgets, bearing in mind the £23,000 deficit they have. We would have to increase our precept to cover this cost.

“If we are going to go down this road we will need independent expert advice. All in all, we need to approach this very carefully.”

Former mayor, Cllr Jon Haddy, said: “We are in the dark as to the financial situation. Unless we have all the relevant information we are not in a position to proceed.”

The deputy mayor, who had earlier made it clear that agrees with people who said the toilets needed to be retained, said: “This needs to be done on our terms.”

Cllr Katherine Susanthan said: “We don’t want to take on an asset that may be a money pit. I suggest that town clerk should look at the kind of grant assistance that may be available to us if we do decide to take them on. It is also important that the public feel their voices have been heard on this very important issue.”

Members agreed to authorise the town clerk to contact the county council’s principal catering and cleaning manager to enter into an “open exchange of information” for future consideration by the town council.

One member of the public present who argued strongly against the loss of the toilets was Rod Holt who also handed in a petition to the town clerk containing 144 names calling for them to be retained.

He also pressed for a public meeting on the issue to be held at the Town Hall, chaired by the mayor and attended by county councillors and officers to answer a series of questions he wants to raise about the proposal.

The town clerk said a meeting could be held but stressed that county officials could only be invited and did not have to come.

In her update on the situation Llangollen county councillor Karen Edwards stressed: “The retention of the public toilets has to be a top priority.”

She added that was still awaiting the analytical report on the situation she had requested from county officers some weeks ago.

Update on Bridge End facelift work

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting that a Llangollen pub has confirmed it will remain closed for four-months as it undergoes refurbishment.

Owned by Robinsons Brewery and Country Village Inns LTD, the company will be investing over £1.5 million into the Bridge End.

* For the full story see: https://www.denbighshirefreepress.co.uk/news/24255096.llangollen-bridge-end-pub-receives-1-5m-refurbishment/


Kia Sorento: big car which handles like a small one




Kia Sorento drive by Steve Rogers

Take a look at the Sorento, a giant of a car but with small car manners.

Seven seater SUVs have become a rarity, too often the third row best suited for children, but here is one that can seat seven adults in relative comfort.

There is no sitting with knees tucked under the chin; here legroom in the back row is more than adequate, and you do not need to be a contortionist to get in and out.

The second row powers forward leaving enough room to get in, and a touch of a button does the same for ease of exit.

So that's it then, job done for this seven seater. Not quite, there is a lot more to this Sorento than a couple of extra seats.

Sorento was a big car even before the fourth generation model hit the road. At 4810mm (15ft9in) it grew 10mm in length but gained extra cabin space from a longer wheelbase. Sounds like a recipe for slack, sloppy handling except it is anything but.

This is where the small car manners come in because it does not drive like a cumbersome old school SUV. Body roll is not eliminated but kept under control as long as the driver is not over enthusiastic, Handling is impressive on twisting roads where you might expect things to get a little unruly. Ride quality is top notch as well no matter what pot holed road is being tackled.

Kia has had plenty of time to get the make up of the fourth generation model right and covered all bases.

Crucially the technology was updated so there is no delay when files are selected from the central 10.5in touch screen. If a driver wants to keep eyes trained on the road then voice control is a quick and easy option for changing radio stations or selecting an address through the navigation system.

If you share my views on heating controls then you will be pleased to hear that everything is neatly laid out with swithces rather than fiddling with the touch screen.

Likewise the driver has a clearly laid out digital binnacle with enough information to fill an encyclodpedia but let me reassure you that this is not info overload because everything is easily accessed using steering wheel buttons.

With a choice of just two models the entry Vision gets a generous kit list so expect such luxuries as heated seats front and back, heated steering wheel, auto dipping LED headlights, power operated front seats and tailgate opening. Third row passengers are not left out with heating conrols and the latest mobile charging ports which are also scattered around the cabin.

The Sorento has a sizeable boot as a five seater and with the second row folded flat becomes cavernous with all but two metres of length. I easily transported a single bed, in fact there is so much space two adults could comfortably sleep on a thin mattress.

New to the model is plug-in hybrid, a 13.8kWh battery providing 35 miles of electric driving. Not as much as the 50 claimed by Honda CR-V and Toyota Rav4, or the 60 promised by Skoda for the new Kodiaq, but you do get the full 35.

It does mean short journeys can be covered on electric power but once spent the 1.6 litre turbo engine kicks in providing spirited acceleration through the six speed auto box. With all wheel drive there are modes for mud, snow and sand driving.

Keeping the battery topped up (just under four hours for a full charge) boosts economy to what seems like improbable heights but it will be mainly engine power on a long drive where a good ball park is stick to sixty and get 40mpg. It worked for me on a 340 mile round trip where Sorento returned 43mpg.

Is £51,000 good value for this plug-in Sorento? Post Covid has seen car prices rocket and sadly this is the going rate. Honda and Toyota rivals are around the same price but the Kia has the two extra seats and it is well equipped with a full suite of safety features so my verdict is yes.

But there is good news if buying new. The fourth generation model is getting a mid term facelift with a wide screen style dashboard display and restyled vertifcal headlights. The price of the base diesel model has been reduced by £3,030 to £41,995 and the range is increased to three models.

Fast facts

Sorento Vision PHEV AWD

£51,525

1.6 T-GDI; 262bhp

0-62mph 8.7secs; 120mph

176mpg combined

38g/km. 1st tax £10 then £190

Boot: 604-1988 litres

Insurance group 32

Repair Cafe to host get-together for helpers this Saturday

A get-together for anyone interested in helping in any way with the Llangollen Repair Cafe will be held this Saturday at St Collen’s Community Hall, off Regent Street, starting at 11am.

An organiser said: “It’s for people who have already volunteered and anyone who wants to know more. You don't have to be able to fix things, but of course if you can, we need you.

“We’re also looking for anyone that can make drinks, talk to people, input data or do admin, meet and greet people, organise things, or be around to sort out little practical things.

“If you don't have any skills or experience, come along and gain some. It’s great for your CV and will build your confidence.

“We are all going to be equal and work together to make this happen. This is a community venture to help each other, save money and help the environment.

“Come and find out what, when and how this will work. All are welcome and I guarantee you have value to us.”

PCSO Karl says 'let me entertain you' at the Town Hall this Friday


* PCSO Karl Joseph as Robbie Williams.

Limited tickets are now available to see popular Llangollen PCSO Karl Joseph swap one type of beat for another when he takes the stage at Llangollen Town Hall this Friday.  

Karl, who last year impressed Queen front-man Adam Lambert, Canadian Superstar Shania Twain and soul sensation Beverley Knight, will be supporting a highly-acclaimed Robbie Williams tribute act endorsed by the man himself. 

The event is the latest in the Live in Llangollen Town Hall fundraising gigs to raise money for the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.  

Karl Joseph, who serves with North Wales Police, is a familiar face across Llangollen and is fondly nicknamed "the Laughing Policeman".  

As well as providing a reassuring police presence on his beat in Llangollen he also loves to knock out the odd song.  

This time last year he appeared on ITV’s Starstruck with his own tribute to Robbie Williams.  

Karl cites his influences as Bon Jovi, Def Leppard and many of today's Country Music stars.  

He is also a massive fan of Bryan Adams, who will himself be singing at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod on Tuesday June 18.

Karl said: “I can’t wait to take the stage at our splendid Town Hall this Friday. I love my job patrolling the streets of Llangollen but anyone who knows me will tell you how passionate I am about performing.  

"That’s why swapping to the Town Hall stage from the streets of Llangollen is so great. I’ll be performing a mixture of Rock, Country, Pop and Indie songs, from the 70's through to modern songs. I can’t wait to entertain you.” 

Also performing will be Mike Andrews - “Robbie To the MAX’ – a highly acclaimed tribute act.  

Mike, from Denbigh, is one of the most accurate Robbie tributes currently available in the UK and is the only one in the world to be endorsed by Robbie Williams.

The show covers all of Robbie’s hits, starting off with some of his earlier hits like as Let Me Entertain You and Millennium and continuing all the way through to his more recent hits such as Love My Life, Candy and many more. 

Robbie to the MAX with support from Karl Joseph is on Friday, April 19 from 7.30pm.   

* Tickets priced £10 are available from Llangollen Tourist Information Centre on Regent Street, Llangollen or from https://international-eisteddfod.co.uk/events/live-april/ Please use promo code LIVE24 to remove the booking fee.  

Limited tickets will be available on the door on the night.

Monday, April 15, 2024

Clerk outlines implications of town council taking over public toilets

Town councillors are being advised by their clerk to give careful consideration to all the implications of taking over Llangollen’s public toilets in Market Street before making any decision on the issue.

Denbighshire County Council plans to divest itself of almost all its public conveniences - including the one in Market Street - to help balance its budget.

This has so far sparked a storm of local protest, with the area's Senedd Member Ken Skates, North Wales Tourism SEO Jim Jones and former GP Dr Rhys Davies among those backing the fight to save the toilets.

County chiefs are hoping that the running of some of the toilets can be taken over by town or community councils.

And Llangollen Town Council is due to discuss the issue at its monthly meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) evening.

In a report to members, town clerk Gareth Thomas says: “The Town Council must be cognisant of the financial implications that transfer of the facilities as initial figures indicate that the current public conveniences run at a loss in excess of £23,000.

“Should the Town Council be minded to consider an asset transfer then clearly these costs would have to be passed on to the precept and would put additional pressure on local council taxpayers in that there would not be any reciprocal saving reflected in the County Council’s charges.”

Mr Thomas suggests councillors pay particular attention to the position regarding the existing three staff, and whether legislation that protects employees, and their benefits when their employment changes hands would apply.

He adds: “These factors would have to be clearly defined as there would be considerable implications of taking on staff contracts and responsibilities, including training, management, and compliance with employment regulations and pension arrangements.

“In relation to the regular maintenance and management of the building structure a complete breakdown of all the current and historical operating costs will be required to provide a detailed analysis of the projected costs necessary to determine the budget required for ongoing maintenance and operation.

“The decision to agree to an asset transfer of the public toilets in Llangollen requires careful consideration of various factors, including financial viability, operational implications, community impact, legal and regulatory compliance, and long-term planning for the management and maintenance of the public toilets, considering factors such as population growth, changing demographics, and evolving community needs.”

And in his recommendation he says: “If Members are minded to consider the transfer of this asset to the Town Council, they authorises the Town Clerk to contact the County Council’s Principal Catering and Cleaning Manager to enter into an open exchange of information, as outlined in this report, for future consideration by the Town Council.”

Tomorrow’s town council meeting is online at https://msteams.link/G7VO and starts at 6pm.

* Meanwhile, organisers of the popular Old Railway Trail parkrun have written to county council chief executive Graham Boase outlining the impact on its runners if the toilets are lost.     

Co-event directors Dr Michael Clarke and Mike Edwards say in their email: “Our parkrun has taken place since the 17th June, 2023 and last Saturday’s was our 43rd event since we launched.

“We regularly get a hundred or so runners attending (105 last Saturday) and at our launch event we had 249 attendees.

“So as Event Directors Michael Clarke and I together with our Core Team of Volunteers are extremely concerned about the proposal to possibly close the Public Conveniences in Llangollen. 

“You will appreciate that participants attending our Community Event need to use toilet facilities. We currently direct them to park and use Denbighshire Council’s available facilities at Market Street. 

“We would therefore ask you to ensure the Council are aware of our concern about this proposal and it’s likely impact on an extremely important Community Event which enhances the health and wellbeing of participants whether they are local volunteers, walkers, joggers or runners from wherever they visit.”

Graham Boase replied: "Thank you for your email and for the excellent work you and colleagues do in regard to the parkrun in Llangollen.  I’m also glad to hear that you receive excellent support from Dave Shield and our Countryside Team. 

"I understand your concerns regarding the potential closure of the public conveniences in Llangollen.  I can confirm that no decision has, as yet, been taken as we are still considering all options.

"I have forwarded your email to Paul Jackson the relevant senior manager regarding this matter."


Chester Archaeological Society visit St Collen's

A team from Chester Archaeological Society visited St Collen's last week to hear about the Genesis Project to re-order the ancient church and bringing its facilities into the 21st century. 

The group, who were shown around by project leader Sue Evans, was led by Dr Pauline Clarke. 

This was the latest in a series of visits by experts who are offering valuable help and advice on how the project should proceed.