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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

New Llangollen Repair Cafe announces its first dates

The first monthly session of the new Llangollen Repair Cafe will take place at St Collen’s Community Centre next month.

Repair cafes are free, community-run meeting places where locals can bring broken items for volunteers to fix.

People in Llangollen have been working hard behind the scenes for some time to organise a regular one for the town.

Last Saturday at St Collen’s Community Hall things finally came together when 22 people turned up to find out more about the concept and to volunteer their services to help out.

It was decided to go ahead with holding regular Saturday sessions, from 11am-3pm, at the same hall, and dates for the first seven were arranged, starting on May 18 and continuing on June 15, July 13, August 17, September 19 and November 16.  

A spokesperson for the repair cafe said: “Last Saturday was a great meeting for volunteers. We had 22 people who were enthusiastic and ready to get involved.

“We will try to let people know what type of repairs can be done. It all depends on how many volunteers we have and what they can do. We will start small and build in more things as we develop.

“We still need volunteers and resources. We need donations because we have to pay each time we hire the community centre.

“Refreshments and repairs are by donation of what people can afford. We will be grateful for any support. We want people to spread the word.”

Llangollen Food Share has already pledged its support for the cafes. 

In a post on its Facebook page, it says: “We are proud to be partnering with and supporting Llangollen Repair Cafe, a community venture where members of our community can bring broken items to be fixed once a month at St Collen's Community Hall. 

“The repair cafe shares our values of reducing waste, community supporting each other and saving money and we look forward to working together for our mutual benefit and that of our community. 

“The first Llangollen Repair Cafe will be Saturday May 18, from 11am-3pm. Come along to have an item for repairing, if you'd like to support whether it's repairing, serving teas, organising or any other way.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Latest local roadworks alerts from county council

Latest local roadworks alerts from Denbighshire County Council are:

JUNCTION OF CHAPEL STREET TO S/O NO.1 OAK STREET 29/04/2024 14/05/2024 Gwaith Nwy / Gas Works WALES & WEST (DCC) LLANGOLLEN Ffordd ar Gau/Road Closure

A539 JUNCTION OF HILL STREET VICARAGE ROAD 06/05/2024 08/05/2024 Gwaith Dwr / Water Works WALES & WEST UTILITIES

JUNC BACHE MILL ROAD - O/S GRANGE LODGE GRANGE ROAD until 07/05/2024 Gwaith Nwy / Gas Works WALES & WEST (DCC) LLANGOLLEN Ffordd ar Gau/Road Closure

A539 - Ponsonby Arms, Mill Street, Llangollen MILL STREET 09/07/2024 10/07/2024 I reoli traffig ar llwybr amgen / To control traffic on an alternative route NMWTRA (DCC) LLANGOLLEN Goleuadau Traffig Dros Dro/ Temp Traffic Lights

Welsh Government invests £20.8m in north Wales public transport


* Ken Skates MS.

The Welsh Government is investing £20.8 million in north Wales to improve public transport and encourage economic growth, the Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport, Ken Skates has said.

Local authorities were invited to submit proposals to the Welsh Government for local transport improvements in their areas that will help to deliver the priorities and ambitions of Wales’ Transport Strategy - Llwybr Newydd. These include:   

  • Addressing disruptions to the highway network caused by severe weather.   
  • Improving road safety   
  • Delivering walking and cycling routes   
  • Improving bus journey times and waiting facilities  
  • Delivering publicly available EV charging infrastructure 

The substantial support, which is designed to help local councils to improve transport in their area, includes funding for Active Travel and Safe Routes, Road Safety, EV charging facilities, road resilience, local transport and unadopted roads.   

In north Wales £20.8m will be invested in projects such as improving walking and cycling connections to Llandudno Station, a safer route to walk, scoot and cycle to Ysgol Treffynnon and Ysgol Maes Y Felin in Holywell and an active travel route connecting Holyhead Rail Station and Ferry Terminal with Penrhos employment and retail sites, the leisure centre, Parc Cybi and Trearddur Bay. Funding will also support Sherpa’r Wyddfa bus service around Eryri.   

Cabinet Secretary for North Wales and Transport, Ken Skates said: “These grants are a substantial investment to support sustainable local economic growth, enhance public transport facilities and create and improve routes that will enable and encourage more people in Wales to walk, wheel and cycle.  

“The projects are prime examples of the practical solutions we have asked local authorities to design in order to make it easier for residents to connect with their places of employment and businesses, and to do so more sustainably.”  

This funding also builds on allocations which have been made to different phases of some projects in previous years.   

Denbighshire programme: 

Active travel fund

Core allocation of £500,000, plus:

  • £130,000 for Corwen to Cynwyd active travel route

Safe routes in communities

  • £63,000 for School Street study, year 2

Road safety

  • £94,000 for implementation of 20mph speed limit
  • £53,350 for National Standards Cycle Training
  • £13,740 for Bike Safe motorcyclist training (regional bid)
  • £1,672 for Pass Plus driver training
  • £1,020 for Mature Driver training for ages 65 and over

Local transport fund

  • £275,000 for North Wales Metro T8 service: Corwen, Ruthin, Mold, Chester  

Resilient roads fund

  • £750,000 for Pont Llannerch replacement bridge

Monday, April 22, 2024

Honda's new hybrid with sharp sporting edge



Honda ZR-V drive by Steve Rogers

Another month, another new SUV.

Our appetite for these high riders is insatiable and car companies are hell bent on filling every little gap in their SUV portfolios.

Honda saw such a slot between HR-V and CR-V so enter ZR-V, a hybrid for the family but with a sharp sporting edge.

The modern day SUV is a solid drive but can't match the handling of a hatchback. Or can it? Honda has built ZR-V on the same platform as the outstanding Civic, so this is more fun to drive than its illustrious rivals? Can it be as good as a Civic?

Of course not, yet Honda has made a pretty good fist of it and this SUV is a genuine fun drive gliding confidently through twists and turns. The suspension is on the firm side but is still pretty comfortable.

To back up the sporty handling ZR-V has sporty performance with plenty of punch from the 2-litre hybrid engine. The hybrid set up is quite interesting and deserves a couple of paragraphs of explanation.

This is not an electric car but drives off electric power most of the time. Confused? Don't be. The 2-litre petrol engine generates power to the charge the batteries which power two electric motors that drive the front wheels.

The upshot is that driving in town or poodling around the lanes will be on electric power with the engine seemlessly taking over at motorway speeds. That translates into sprightly acceleration and a good lump of torque for strong mid range pick up.

Economy will play a big part in tempting buyers as ZR-V should easily top 50mpg.

Honda has gone for continusouly variable transmission, or CVT as we know it. This provides an infinite number of gear ratios rather than the hard shifts in a conventional gearbox. Not the most popular of systems because changes can be random, and often holds on to a gear for too long.

But I was pleasantly surprised and liked the way Honda has introduced fake changes. You don't feel a change but somehow sense it when the rev counter pointer alters just like a conventional gear change. Weird, I know, and best experienced by driving the car.

Enough of performance and gearboxes, ZR-V is first and foremost a family SUV so is it up to the challenge? Two important areas to consider: passenger space and luggage capacity. It passes with flying colours on one and falls short on the other.

As a C segment car you expect it to be capable of carrying five people and ZR-V does it well. Back seat legroom is generous so there should be no complaints from six footers, and the seat base is set higher than the front which will please toddlers who get a decent view of what is going on outside.

With no transmission tunnel the flat floor makes it a comfortable fit for three across the back, and headroom is fine as well.

Which brings us on to point number two, boot space. For a car this size you could reasonable expect a capacity of at least 450 litres, and that is way off class leading, but ZR-V can only muster 390 which is actually less than the Civic!

It is an obvious area to criticise and then I ask myself how often is a boot filled to capacity? Even when my two children were young I cannot remember packing a boot until it was bursting, so is it really that big a deal? It would not put me off.

Honda is keen to emphasise quality and to be fair the ZR-V has a quality look all around the cabin. The full width mesh covering for the air vents is eye catching and there is plenty of soft touch trim. Chunky switches for the heating controls is pleasing with a nine inch touch screen dealing with radio, navigation etc.

There are three trim levels with the entry Elegance good for heated front seats, keyless go, rear camera, LED headlights and adaptive cruise control. Move up to this Sport model for electric seat adjustment, wireless charger, privacy glass and power tailgate. All three get an excellent suite of safety features including hill descent which will be reassuring on an icy slope.

Apart from excessive wind noise at motorway speeds there is nothing much not to like about ZR-V although compromises might have to be made when it comes to matching bootspace against the best of the rivals.

But as hybrid SUVs go ZR-V is definitely challenging for medals on the winners podium.

Fast facts

ZR-V Sport eHEV

£41,095 (starts £39,505)

2-litre petrol hybrid; 181bhp

0-62mph 7.9secs; 108mph

48.7mpg combined

131g/km. 1st year tax £270

Boot: 390-1322litres

Insurance group 35

West End queen Kerry packs her running shoes for Eisteddfod return

                

* Kerry Ellis is heading for Llangollen on July 4.

A performer known for her dazzling runs in the West End and on Broadway hopes to try a run through the beautiful Dee Valley when she stars at Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod this summer.

Kerry Ellis – known as the Queen of the West End after playing a leading role in shows from My Fair Lady to We Will Rock You and from Les Miserables to Wicked – will take to centre stage during one of the Eisteddfod’s big Core Week concerts on Thursday July 4.

She will be performing alongside another musical theatre great, John Owen-Jones, in Direct from the West End and says she just can’t wait to get to Llangollen and, as a keen runner, maybe find time to take a dash through the local countryside.

“I did my first half-marathon last year and I’ll be arriving in the area the day before the concert so hopefully I’ll get the chance to fit in a bit of a run in the hills close to the town,” she said.

Hailed as the First Lady of West End musicals, Kerry was catapulted to fame in 2002 when she landed the role of Meat in the original London cast of We Will Rock You, a role for which she was especially scouted by Sir Brian May himself.

Taking some of musical theatre’s biggest roles, she has earned numerous awards along the way.

She has also recorded four studio albums, and toured the world both as a solo artist and with her good friend Sir Brian.

She said: “I have been to the Llangollen Eisteddfod before in 2016 when I appeared in a musical theatre evening concert with the singing group Calabro, which I really enjoyed.

“I’m very excited about coming back again and performing with John Owen-Jones, who is an old friend of mine, and a hand-picked orchestra of first-class West End performers. It should be a great evening.

“We’ll be performing a combination of songs from the shows we’ve both been in, like Les Miserables and Wicked, and no doubt John will do something from Phantom of the Opera and some other well-known favourites.”

At the Eisteddfod, Kerry will be gracing the same stage as another of her old duet partners and Llangollen favourite Alfie Boe. She worked with him on his very first studio album and fondly remembers him as a “brilliant guy”.

She has also previously worked with the Eisteddfod’s Artistic Director, Dave Danford, and says she is delighted he will be musical supervisor on Direct from the West End.

Soon after her Llangollen appearance Kerry will be heading off on a 40-date UK tour. Meanwhile, she says she’s looking forward very much to coming to Llangollen which, after all she says, is at the heart of the Land of Song.

Direct from the West End, under musical director Iestyn Griffiths, also features the final of the Voice of Musical Theatre competition, which will have been running through Eisteddfod week.

* Tickets for Direct from the West End on Thursday July 4 are available online from: Thursday 4 July 2024 Direct from the West End: Kerry Ellis & John Owen-Jones - Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod (international-eisteddfod.co.uk)

Call to move historic Llangollen monument sparks opposition

A controversial call has been made to relocate the Eliseg Pillar - ranked as one of the most important monuments in North Wales - according to a story on North Wales Live. 

A Senedd petition has demanded the pillar, sited close to Llangollen, be housed in a museum so it can be saved from further decay out in the open.

People in the area have angrily dismissed what many see as a culture grab by South Wales. The idea has been labelled “ridiculous” and likened to “moving Hadrian's Wall to the British Museum”.

* For the full story, see: Tug-of-war over iconic monument dedicated to North Wales hero and coveted by others - North Wales Live (dailypost.co.uk)

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