County Voice

News

One day reduction for Ruthin and Denbigh recycling park opening

The Council has announced that both Ruthin and Denbigh recycling parks will close one day a week each from April 2019, as part of cost cutting measures being introduced by the authority.

The proposals were amongst a £5.6 million package of efficiencies recently approved by the Council.

The Denbigh Recycling Park will close every Thursday but will remain open for the rest of the week. Householders needing to the use facilities at a Recycling Park on a Thursday can visit their nearest recycling park in Ruthin or in Rhyl.

The Ruthin Recycling Park will be closed every Friday but will stay open for the remaining six days of the week.

Councillor Brian Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Travel, said: “The budget position means that we have needed to look very closely at everything that we do and some difficult decisions are now needing to be made.

“We have looked at our recycling park operations and have agreed to close both Ruthin and Denbigh for one day a week. The closures will be on different days and on the days that will traditionally be the quietest for that particular location. However, both locations will be open for the remaining six days of the week (including the weekend days when all recycling parks tend to be busier).  The new way of working should not affect residents too greatly, as other facilities will be available in the county.

The opening days of the Rhyl recycling park are not affected.

Signage informing residents of the changes will be placed at both the Denbigh and Ruthin recycling parks in March to help residents plan their visits around the new opening times from April.

Details on recycling in Denbighshire can be found on the Council’s website: www.denbighshire.gov.uk/recycling

Council Tax matters

We have agreed the budget for the next financial year.

Councillors have agreed that council tax levels should increase by 6.35% in the next financial year.  This will address current financial pressures in Children’s and Education Services, social care, highways and environment.

The 6.35% equates to an additional £72.24 a year for a Band D property, or £1.52 a week.

Savings of £5.6 million were identified by services directly and these have been found through a wide range of cuts and efficiencies in functions that support the Council, with the services offered directly to the public being protected as much as possible.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “It is our duty as councillors to make sure that the budget balances at the end of the financial year and the uncertainty over the levels of settlements in recent years has made our jobs a lot harder.

“Significant real terms funding reductions to local councils in Wales have continued whilst costs continue to grow. Schools and social care represent the most significant elements of the Council’s budget and the costs of these is growing beyond the resources available.

“While the Council will always endeavour to be more efficient to save money, given savings of over £35m have been made in the last six years, it is no longer possible to address the funding gap through efficiency savings alone and a careful balance between service savings and local taxation has to be struck.

“The Council also expects to need to find £7 million in savings in 2020 and £4.5 million the following year.  That means that tough decisions are needing to be made and further cuts are predicted over the coming years. However, we are making a commitment to continue to provide the best services possible for the residents of Denbighshire."

Cleaning up West Rhyl’s community

Efforts to clean up the streets of West Rhyl are paying dividends.

The Council, working with its partners, had previously identified 10 locations in this part of the town where fly-tipping was a concern.

The rubbish ranged from bagged household waste, mattresses, sofas, chairs and other household items and furniture.  People were also putting out bags of rubbish, often including food waste, well before their refuse was due to be collected. This often attracted seagulls who ripped bags open, looking for food.

The Council has worked closely with property owners, residents and businesses to understand the issues behind the fly-tipping, to educate the public about the anti-social effects of fly-tipping and to provide larger bins for those individuals that needed it.

As a result, the area has seen a dramatic improvement, with the number of hot-spots reduced to one.

Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing, Regulation and the Environment, said: “We are delighted that the on-going efforts in Rhyl is working well. We are seeing a marked improvement in how the local community looks and feels and people seem to be taking more of a pride in how their property looks.  Our education efforts seem to be working.

“However, we continue to have properties or individuals here who think it’s acceptable to fly-tip and the message is still not getting through.  If we come across examples of people fly-tipping, we look through the rubbish to see whether any information that identifies the culprits.  

“We will continue to work with our partners to help improve the quality of life for residents and to clean up the town’s streets. With significant developments going on along the seafront and work progressing with the Rhyl Masterplan consultation, it essential that the close working relationship in West Rhyl changes perceptions and make living there a positive experience for residents."

Of course, fly-tipping happens in other parts of the county. This incident at Graianrhyd near Llanarmon yn Iâl saw a load of agricultural waste dumped on a bridleway, much to the annoyance of local residents.

If you see people fly-tipping, please report it to 01824 706000, providing as many details as possible of the offenders. You can also report a problem through the Council’s website: www.denbighshire.gov.uk.

 

No tolerance approach to abuse against council staff

The Council will not tolerate abusive behaviour towards its staff – that’s the message after two civil enforcement officers were subjected to abusive behaviour during an incident in Ruthin.

Officers had identified a vehicle at St Peter’s Square in Ruthin which did not display a ticket and officers waited five minutes before they could issue a Penalty Charge Notice for £50.  During this time, the vehicle owner made a number of threats against the officers, witnessed by a number of passers-by.

His behaviour persisted, despite the attendance of two Police Community Support Officers.

At Llandudno Magistrates Court the man was fined and ordered to pay costs after pleading guilty to a charge of Breach of the Peace.

Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing, Regulation and the Environment, said: “Neither officer was hurt but suffered verbal threats and intimidation. Officers behaved impeccably in this case. They refused to be diverted from their duty and dealt with the situation in a highly professional manner.

“Civil Enforcement Officers are deployed to all parts of Denbighshire on a daily basis.  They do not, and should not, expect this kind of verbal aggressive behaviour. It will not be tolerated and the Council will take legal steps against individuals acting in this manner."

 

Pupils given chance to create ‘buzzing’ logo

Schoolchildren can create a ‘buzz’ about their work with the chance to design a new logo.

We are offering children aged 5-14 the chance to design the Council’s ‘Bee Friendly’ logo.

Last year the Council was awarded 'Bee Friendly' status from the Welsh Government, a scheme which aims to make Wales a pollinator-friendly country.

The Council is working with schools and community groups to create bee and bug ‘hotels’, reduce the use of pesticides and herbicides and identify sites to improve for pollinators by planting wildflowers and sowing wildflower seeds.

Students are being asked to come up with a simple, eye-catching design to be used on all Bee Friendly sites and in publications and should include a pollinating insect like a bee or butterfly.

Councillor Tony Thomas, the council’s lead member for the Environment, said: “I’d like to wish all those who enter the competition the best of luck and I look forward to seeing the fantastic entries.

“Bees are vitally important to the eco system and as well as pollinating plants in gardens, parks and the wider countryside, they contribute to the wider environment. Denbighshire becoming a Bee Friendly county is part of our work to enhance and protect the county’s environment.”

There are three age categories, 5-7, 7-11 and 11-14 and a winner will be chosen from each category, before an overall winner is selected.

Schools attended by the category winners will be provided with assistance to create a ‘Bee Friendly’ area at their school.

The closing date for the competition is March 14 and to enter, send your designs to Denbighshire Countryside Services’ ‘Bee Friendly’ Logo Design Competition, Liam Blazey, Biodiversity Officer, Loggerheads Country Park, Ruthin Road, Mold, CH7 5LH.

For more information contact Liam on 07787 741763 or via e-mail at liam.blazey@denbighshire.gov.uk.

 

Reading group pilot to be launched in Rhyl

A reading group is being launched to help those living with dementia and their carers.

The Council and the North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) are piloting the Read and Remember reading group at Rhyl Library and One Stop Shop.

The Library Services and NEWCIS will be holding the group sessions to encourage reading together, sharing memories and to meet new people in a relaxed atmosphere.

Other work being undertaken by the Library Service includes increasing the range of books of interest to carers, a housebound library service which brings books to people’s homes each month and clinically approved books to help people living with dementia, their families and carers understand the condition.

The reading group will be held on Wednesday, March 6 from 1.30pm at Rhyl Library and if successful more groups could be set up across the county.

For more information contact Rhyl Library on 01745 353814.

Council and advice organisations join forces in anti-poverty work

Efforts to reduce poverty and improve the financial well-being of Denbighshire residents remains a priority for the Council as it awards a new four year contract to Citizens Advice Denbighshire to carry out work on its behalf.

CAD were selected to provide an  independent, confidential and free consumer advice service for Denbighshire residents. This service will be effective in preventing and reducing issues around benefits and tax credits, debt, energy housing, fuel, employment, consumer and family / relationship issues.

The organisation already has a strong track record of working in Denbighshire, having delivered a benefits service after cuts were made to the service offered by the Council.

CAD will provide a specialist welfare service, looking at all aspects of the benefits available to residents. They will provide support to individuals with benefit reviews and appeals process, will help mitigate any issues arising from Universal Credit and will generally direct people to the correct advice at the right time.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance said: “We’re delighted to have CAD back on board to help with the work of providing a real benefits service, assisting residents to deal with financial concerns and making sure they are aware of all the support and advice that is available to them.

“We have already seen some ground-breaking projects happen in Denbighshire and we look forward to working closely with Citizens Advice Denbighshire, to make sure we build a community that is resilient”.

 

About Working Denbighshire

If you or someone you know is in, or at risk of poverty and would like help to get into or progress at work, we can help by providing support and guidance with:

  • Motivation and confidence
  • One to one advice and guidance
  • Training opportunities
  • Volunteering
  • CV writing
  • Work experience
  • Interview techniques
  • Applying for jobs
  • Personal finances
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Anything else that is preventing you getting into education, employment or training

Working Denbighshire is our approach to tackling poverty through employment. Our aim is to co-ordinate support that helps people into work, removes barriers into work and gives children the best start in life. We want to reduce poverty by enabling people to access a network of services that supports them in their journey towards employment, and to maintain their position and progress once in employment.

If you or someone you know is 16 or over, in, or at risk of poverty and would like help to get into or progress at work, visit our ‘Help getting into and progressing at work’ webpage to find out how we can help.

Lets work together to tackle problems with seagulls

This year, we are again reminding residents not to feed seagulls.

Seagulls are a common cause of complaint for the Council and are seen as something of a nuisance, predominantly in coastal communities, but also inland.

Now the Council is looking at ways of tackling the issue and will focus its efforts on encouraging residents and visitors not to feed seagulls.

We are also asking businesses in the county involved in the preparation of food to make sure they have adequate bins in place for their rubbish and that these bins are safely secured. We are also asking them to encourage all of their customers to dispose of food in the proper manner and not discard it on the street.

Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and the Environment, said: “We fully recognise that seagulls are part of life in all coastal communities. They have been present for many years and continue to thrive.

"However, we do get regular complaints from residents in coastal communities, as well as some of our communities inland about the dangers posed by seagulls, especially when they are attracted to food.

“There are limited options to the Council as they are a protected species.  We have tried some scare tactics similar to the angry birds and netting/ bunting being provided in some areas and to a degree they have been successful.

“What we need is the public’s support. By not feeding the seagulls and making sure food waste is covered, we can greatly reduce the amount of opportunities for the seagulls to swoop on our town centres”.

Working Together in Rhyl

There has been fantastic progress with the regeneration work in Rhyl so far, we want to build on this by broadening our focus from regeneration alone to include community development. The goal of this community development work is to support residents to shape the future of their community and overcome the persistent factors of deprivation faced. To achieve this we are working together with key public sector partners including Health, Police, Housing and Education.

We are currently in the early stages of organising people and resources to begin this work which will include discussions with people living and working in Rhyl.

We’ll keep you informed of developments over the next few months and look forward to continuing our work to make sure every community in Denbighshire is a place where people can expect to live healthily and safely.

Landlord Offer

Do you have an empty property that's currently not in use?  If so, the Council would like to use your property for 6 months to help a homeless person or family.

Interested?

You will get:

  • 6 months' rent in advance
  • Deposit
  • The council will manage the property for the first 6 months
  • Incentive payment at the end of 6 months if the occupant takes over the tenancy
  • Ongoing support via our tenancy sustainment and supporting people services
  • 'Renting Ready' training will be offered to tenants

We will support the people we re-house in your property. After 6 months, we would like for the people that we have placed in your property, to enter into a 6 month assured shorthold tenancy with you. This will give you a chance to get to know the people before they become your tenants.   At the same time, you will be helping people in need of a home.

If you would like more information, please e-mail homeless.prevention@denbighshire.gov.uk or ring them on 01824 706354.

Recycling and Waste

Food for thought

Let’s work together to improve our food waste recycling.

In 2021, a new waste and recycling service will be introduced.

In the meantime, we are starting a campaign to get more people recycling their food waste and encouraging those that do to recycle even more.

Councillor Brian Jones, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways, Planning and Sustainable Travel said: “We are very pleased that so many residents in Denbighshire recycle their food waste and the majority of households have the equipment to do so.

Over the coming months, you will see messages on social media, in the local press and in editions of County Voice, encouraging you to recycle more food waste. We will be sharing information about what goes into the food caddies and we will be following a family from the Vale of Clwyd as they share their experiences of recycling with us.

“It’s all about getting more information out there about food waste and now is the right time to do so, ahead of the preparations we are making for the big changes over the coming few years.

To find out more about food waste, go to: www.denbighshire.gov.uk/recycling

Just a reminder

Here’s what the new service will offer:

  • a new weekly collection for recyclables such as paper, glass, cans, and plastic
  • a weekly collection for food waste
  • a new fortnightly collection for clothes and small electrical items

With 64% of waste already being recycled and a weekly recycling collection with extra capacity there should only be small amounts of non-recyclable waste left in the black bin.

The Council is therefore changing the collection of non-recyclable waste to every four weeks for the majority of households. Residents can opt for bigger black bins if they need them, but overall, households will have an additional 35 litres of capacity each week in their Trolliboc for recycling packaging waste (including cans, tins, glass bottles& jars, plastic bottles & tubs, paper and card) compared to their current blue recycling bin.  They can free up even more space in their black bin by using the new kerbside recycling services for textiles, WEEE, batteries and where needed, nappy and incontinence waste.    

The Council believes that increasing the size of the bins to the new larger ones and introducing weekly and recycling kerbside sort collections, supported by other special collections, should meet the needs of residents.

Business Section

March for Business returns for 2019

An annual month-long series of events to support businesses returns this March.

The Council's March for Business month returns with 25 events offering more than 100 hours of business support at venues across the county.

The business month, held throughout March, includes social media and retail skills training, networking events with the Federation of Small Businesses and the West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber of Commerce as well as events with Superfast Business Wales and the Development Bank of Wales.

A chance for food buyers to sample local food and drink produce to secure more contracts for local businesses will also be held, Blas Lleol - Meet the Producer is being organised in conjunction with the Clwydian Range Food & Drink Group and the Llangollen and Dee Valley Good Grub Club.

Other events include a session for businesses to make the most of the Urdd Eisteddford when it is held in Denbigh in 2020 as well as an event to help businesses who export.

Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, Leader of Denbighshire, said: “Our March for Business programme has been designed to meet the needs of businesses in the county.

“March for Business offers firms the chance to network and get expert advice around issues that matter to them.

“They can then take this knowledge forward and help grow their business, making a real difference to the county’s economy.

“There is also a focus on helping young people with the transition from education into business, something the Council believes will help the county’s young people develop the skills they need.

“The focus of March for Business was devised following feedback from our annual business survey and shows the Council is listening to businesses and offering them support to suit their needs.”

March for Business is part of the Council’s work on developing the local economy to make sure the county’s communities are resilient and residents have access to goods and services.

For more information or to book visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/marchforbusiness

Cafe R

Mother's Day at Cafe R

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Discover the Dark Sky in 2019

The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are pleased to announce an exciting programme of events to raise awareness of our Dark Sky Project.

We have teamed up with astronomical experts Techniquest to bring you a diverse package, from planetarium shows and laser talks to out of this world crafts including building a constellation viewer and rocket workshops not to mention opportunities to dress up as an Astronaut!

We hope these events will raise awareness of the importance of the night sky, not only to our own health and well-being but also the wildlife and flora and fauna that depend on darkness for survival.

We would also like to introduce a new member of our team, Dani Robertson.

Dani is the Dark Sky Partnership Officer for North Wales and is working on behalf of Anglesey, Llyn and the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB’s as well as Snowdonia National Park Authority. She will be in post for two years to assist with the delivery of events as well as coordinate actions associated with our application to the International Dark Sky Association. Good luck Dani.

Spring has Sprung in Our Picturesque Landscape

The team on Our Picturesque Landscape Project have been busy over the winter planning events to engage the local communities with the stunning locations on their doorsteps.

The latest programme of events will be publicised in the Out and About events guide for Denbighshire.

On Saturday, 13 April the project will hold an official launch at the Spring Fair at Plas Newydd in Llangollen, an afternoon of activities, including have-a-go at wool felting, discover the story of wool and meet the sheep. Also, there will be an opportunity to try the new self-guided discovery trails round the grounds and join a guided walk and talk about the future plans to restore the Dell back to its former glory as it was in the romantic period when the Ladies of Llangollen lived at Plas Newydd. The new season for the house and tearooms will be in full swing too, as doors open to visitors from April 1 onwards.  

Since the 1700’s people have been on inspirational journeys through the Dee Valley, across the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct and Canal, along Telford’s A5, the Llangollen Railway and the River Dee. They came to enjoy and engage with the unique landscape and many felt compelled to recall this stunning landscape in art. Through a wide range of events and community activities, the OPL project hopes to engage local people today to follow in the footsteps of the artists of the past and to engage in artistic activities themselves to celebrate this beautiful and unique landscape. We also hope to encourage people to discover and learn about their heritage and habitats, the modern day pressures these face and how we can protect and manage them for the future.

If you would like to know more about the OPL project or are part of a community group based along the Dee Valley between Corwen and Chirk and would be interested in participating in the project through art or outdoor activities then please contact our.picturesque.landscape@denbighshire.gov.uk or by phone on 01824 706163.

Plas Newydd, Llangollen

Spring is afoot in Plas Newydd and we’re busy preparing for new season.

The site will be open every day from 1st April through to the 3rd November this year, and visitors will notice a few changes. 

In the grounds we’ve had funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Natural Resources Wales to improve the entrances to the Dell, so these are much safer now.  The house has benefitted from exciting new audio guides, for both adults and children, which will be available in a number of languages. Children can also enjoy new seasonal trails around the grounds, which will be available to buy in the ticket office.

And finally….if you’re looking forward to Steve the chef’s cooking again, we hope you’ll like the makeover that the Tea Room is getting – we think it should be a great improvement. 

Come April, the gardens will be coming to life, and we’ll be celebrating the season with a Spring Fair on Saturday 13th April, from noon until 3pm.  There be lambs and plenty of wool-based crafts to get involved in, so why not join as at this fabulous site?

Education Matters

Headteacher appointed at Christ the Word school

Amanda Preston has been confirmed as the new Headteacher of Christ the Word 3-16 Catholic School in Rhyl.

The school, which will be part of the Diocese of Wrexham, will open its doors in September in a brand new building and the appointment is a significant step forward.

The school, which will cater for 420 full time pupils aged 3-11 and 500 pupils aged 11-16, is funded in partnership by the Council and the Welsh Government through its 21st Century Schools Programme.

Christ the Word Catholic School will replace Ysgol Mair and Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School. The building programme is progressing well and remains on target.

Amanda, who is currently deputy headteacher of Elfed High School in Buckley, said: “I am hugely excited and immensely privileged to have been appointed as the first Headteacher of Christ the Word Catholic School.

“I have been teaching for over 20 years in a range of schools. During my teaching career I have held several senior leaderships posts, including acting headteacher, deputy headteacher, assistant headteacher and Head of Mathematics.

“I graduated from Strathclyde University with a Masters in Engineering and relish teaching Mathematics to all abilities.

“I have held responsibility for a number of key aspects of school leadership including standards and progress in Skills, Curriculum and Wellbeing.

“My immediate priority will be to ensure that both children and staff are settled and happy in our new school.

“I am passionate about learning and believe that, as well as ensuring outstanding educational provision across the board, a truly outstanding community school needs to nurture confidence and resilience in young people so that they are able to meet life’s challenges with enthusiasm.

“I believe that children need a secure foundation from which to grow and flourish, in all areas, and I am so looking forward to leading Christ the Word Catholic family. Supporting and developing every single young person’s faith, abilities and aptitudes and hence preparing our children to live and lead in a changing world.”

Councillor Huw Hilditch-Roberts, lead member for Education, Children, Young People and the Welsh language, said: “I’d like to congratulate Amanda Preston on behalf of the Council and wish her well in her new role.

“Amanda will provide vital leadership and help contribute to the success of Christ the Word Catholic School, which will offer first class facilities for pupils and provide a great learning environment for them to thrive. Supporting  young people to reach their potential is a priority for the Council and providing modern school facilities that further enhance pupils’ learning helps us achieve that.”

Gill Greenland, Chair of the Temporary Governing Body, said: “This is really positive and exciting news for the new school. We look forward to welcoming Amanda to our community as a new chapter in Catholic education begins in Rhyl.”

Former pupil returns to Rhyl school to launch short film project

Pupils had a brush with Hollywood when a high-profile former student returned to a Rhyl school.

The Council and Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School welcomed former student Paul Higginson, who is executive vice President EMEA for Twentieth Century Fox, to talk about how to pursue a career in the movie business.

Paul also launched a short film project in collaboration with Denbighshire's Curriculum Enrichment initiative and Tape Community Music and Film, after a scriptwriting masterclass in 2017, when film and television writer Jimmy McGovern visited the school and helped students start a script for a short film entitled Flight or Flight.

Paul has worked on a number of blockbusters, including 1997’s Titanic, and was responsible for bringing the premier of the Jim Carrey comedy Me, Myself and Irene to the town in 2000.

He said: “Rhyl is where I grew up, I went to this school and I wanted to be involved in this project.

“I was excited about coming back and it was very emotional. I wanted to get across to the students what is possible, there is so much negativity around reaching beyond your environment and what people around you set as your parameters.

“I wanted to tell students they can push beyond the boundaries. I am very proud to support an initiative that can help children feel that way.”

Pupils will now film and produce Fight or Flight, which deals with issues of self-esteem, body image and social media, with a premiere set to be held at the school later this year.

Mathew Smith, a year 11 pupil said Mr Higginson’s talk inspired the students.

He said: “One thing for me is that since he is from the same town as us, it makes it more relatable and makes it seem it is a possible thing to do.”

The project is a collaboration between Denbighshire Curriculum Enrichment initiative, the school and Tape, with funding also provided from the Thomas Howell’s Education Fund for North Wales.

Dominic Tobin, Headteacher at the school, said: “Our students relish the opportunity to put themselves outside of their comfort zone. Having an opportunity for professionals to come into school, work with our students and extend their skills and experiences is fantastic.  In addition, this will boost their confidence and self-belief, opening their minds to future career possibilities.”

 

A whistle stop tour of the achievements of Denbighshire’s 21st Century Schools projects

Ten years ago Denbighshire Councillors approved the commencement of the Modernising Education Programme in Denbighshire which has placed investment in school buildings as a key priority. This support from Councillors together with partnership working with the Welsh Government will have seen nearly £97m spent on new or improved school buildings in Denbighshire since 2010 on projects from Rhyl and Prestatyn in the North down to Llangollen and Cynwyd in the South.

The Modernising Education Programme is responsible for reviewing school provision in Denbighshire and investing in school buildings and facilities. The first wave of funding for 21st Century schools, a national programme which has seen the Welsh Government provide match funding for school building projects, is coming to an end this year and to date there have been a number of excellent school projects completed, with three more to be completed this year.

The programme has also boosted the local economy. The majority of the schemes have been progressed by companies based in North Wales with a strong emphasis on ensuring local procurement. This has brought training opportunities and employment to the local economy

The primary school projects completed to date include:

The secondary projects completed to date include:

The ongoing 21st Century Schools projects are as follows:

To find out more about each of the individual projects above, click on the links.

Dee Valley: Ysgol Dyffryn Iâl, Llandegla

The school opened in November 2013 at a cost of £900,000 which was funded by the Council.

The project involved the provision of a new building for teaching and learning adjoining the local village hall.

This enabled the school to operate from a single site in purpose built classrooms.

Dee Valley: Ysgol Gwernant / Ysgol Bryn Collen, Llangollen

The school opened in September 2011 at a cost of £900,000 which was funded by the Council and Welsh Government.

Investment at this Primary site in Llangollen saw a three classroom extension built and refurbishment of parts of the existing school.

This project accommodated the growth in demand for places in the town, the removal of old mobile facilities and provided spaces for the displacement of pupils following the closure of Ysgol Glyndyfrdwy

Dee Valley: Ysgol Bro Dyfrdwy, Cynwyd

The school opened in June 2014 at a cost of £1.4million.

It was funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of the 21st Century Schools Programme.

This project allowed for a three classroom extension and refurbishment of other classrooms together with new reception area and school administration facilities.

The completion of the project enabled the newly amalgamated school to operate from one site and for the removal of a mobile classroom.

Prestatyn Area: Ysgol y Llys, Prestatyn

The school opened in September 2014 at a cost of £2.8million.

It was funded by the Council and Welsh Government.

With an increased demand for Welsh Medium Education this project provided an eight classroom extension and refurbishment to accommodate future requirements.

The completion of the project enabled the removal of mobile classrooms from the site.

Prestatyn Area: Bodnant Community School

Ysgol Bodnant Community School opened in September 2016 at a cost of £3.5million.

The build was funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

The extension at the Junior site enabled the school to operate from a single site. The project provided a seven classroom extension and refurbishment of other teaching areas together with a new reception area, school administration facilities and hall. The project also enabled the removal of all mobile accommodation and enabled the recently amalgamated school to operate from a single site.

Ruthin Area: Rhos Street School / Ysgol Pen Barras

The schools opened in April 2018 at a cost of £11.3million.

The build was funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

This project saw the schools of Rhos Street School and Ysgol Pen Barras relocate to a new site designed to meet their needs in a modern environment.

The new school building replaced the existing site which was overcrowded and had extensive use of mobiles.

Denbigh Area: Ysgol Twm o'r Nant, Denbigh

The school extension opened September 2014 at a cost of £1.4m.

It was funded by the Council and Welsh Government.

The project provided for a three classroom extension at the rear of the site and refurbishment of some areas in the school together with a new reception area and school hall. The project was designed to remove mobile accommodation and meet growing need for Welsh Medium Education

Rhyl High School / Ysgol Tir Morfa, Rhyl

The school opened April 2016 at a cost of £24m.

It was funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

This project saw Secondary education transformed in the town of Rhyl. The old buildings spread across the site, many of whom were in very poor condition were replaced by a new state of the art facility. The new replacement school provides 1200 places for pupils at Rhyl High School and 45 places for Ysgol Tir Morfa.

Ysgol Glan Clwyd

The new extension was opened in November 2017 at a cost of £16.5m.

It was funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

This project was completed in phases. A new large extension was completed in December 2017 which then provided the space for the refurbishment of most of the main block including the Victorian building which was a prominent feature on the St Asaph landscape together with the demolition of poorer accommodation. This project also enabled the removal of mobile accommodation and was designed with capacity to meet growing demand for Welsh Medium Education

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, Clocaenog

The ongoing 21st Century Schools projects which are expected to be completed this year are as follows:

The school is scheduled to open Summer 2019 at a cost of £5m.

It has been funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

A new single site school for Ysgol Carreg Emlyn is being built in the village of Clocaenog, to replace the current buildings in Cyffylliog and Clocaenog. 

Ysgol Carreg Emlyn has operated on both the Clocaenog and Cyffylliog sites since the amalgamation of Ysgol Clocaenog and Ysgol Cyffylliog in 2014.

The main contractor Wynne Construction started on site in May 2018 and during the construction phase staff and pupils have visited the site at key milestones during the project to view the progress.

The new site will include new classrooms, additional learning areas, hall, community room, external play areas, new vehicle access and car parking with a drop-off area.

The project is on schedule, with build now in the final stages of construction, it is expected that pupils will move into the new school site in the summer term 2019.

Ysgol Llanfair

The school is scheduled to open Summer 2019. 

The cost of the build is £5.3m and is being funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

A new bilingual church school for Ysgol Llanfair DC, is being built on land opposite Bryn y Clwyd, Llanfair DC.

The project is joint funded by Welsh Government and the Council, in partnership with the Diocese of St Asaph and will provide new classrooms, additional learning areas, a reflection area, hall, community room, external play areas, new vehicle access and car parking with a drop-off area. This is a much needed investment for the school, as the current school facilities are dated and are in desperate need of modernisation. There had also been concerns about the lack of car parking, staff areas, public areas and accessibility to the school, which is located on the busy A525 in the centre of the village.

Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction, the main contractor, started on site in June 2018. Great progress has been made on site during the construction phase and staff and pupils have visited at key stages of the project to take a sneak peek at their new facilities, as the building work progresses on site.

It is expected that pupils will move in to the new school during the summer term 2019.

Christ the Word Catholic School

First phase of the school scheduled to open Autumn 2019.

The cost of the build is £23m and is funded by the Council and Welsh Government as part of 21st Century Schools Programme.

Work continues to progress well on Christ the Word Catholic School in Rhyl. The new school, which will replace Ysgol Mair primary school and Blessed Edward Jones Catholic High School, will cater for 420 full time pupils aged 3-11 and 500 pupils aged 11-16 with the new building is set to open in autumn 2019. Following this the existing school buildings will be demolished and make way for sports/ play areas with the completion of the whole site set for summer 2020.

To follow the development of this project please follow the education blog: https://educationindenbighshire.wordpress.com/

Features

St Peter’s Church Bells Project – Ringing The Changes

The bells of St Peter’s Church, Ruthin, bought in the mid nineteenth century by public subscription, are being restored to their full ringing glory in 2019 thanks to a major grant from the National Lottery and other donations.

Archives show that ‘a great bell’ has been rung at St Peter’s since at least 1654 and by 1788 the church had a peal of six. These were replaced in 1843 and two new treble bells added in 1889, to make a peal of eight. 

Local schools were invited to design a logo for ‘Lottie’ the newly repaired bell when she returns from John Taylor & Co the Loughborough Bell Foundry. Over 120 entries were received from pupils aged 4 to 11 years from Ysgol Borthyn, Ysgol Pen Barras and Ysgol Rhos Street and the winning designers are being rewarded with a trip to the Bell Foundry in Loughborough. 

An exhibition to celebrate the return of ‘Lottie’ will show all of the entries received in the design competition; it can be seen in Studio 5 at Ruthin Craft Centre from April until June.

Lent Flower Installation - St Peter’s Church, Ruthin

Ruthin Craft Centre is working with St Peter’s Church to create an installation of flowers around the Cross in the grounds of the Church.   Everyone is welcome to create their Lent Flower either at the Church or in the Studio 3 activity space at Ruthin Craft Centre from 23rd February until Easter weekend.

The floral installation will be located at the front of St Peter’s Church from 20th April until 9th June 2019.  

When Ruthin Headquartered the County’s Police

Peter Daniels investigates the local knowledge on Heulfre, now part of the Ruthin School campus

Largely hidden behind outlying extensions is Heulfre, once a large proud private residence of manorial proportions. As its size suggests, its early occupants were wealthy and important and included, in 1911, William Robert Evans, solicitor and Clerk of the Peace. In the 1950s, it became a children’s home and, later, county offices and a nursing home but for six all-too-brief years it was the headquarters of the Denbighshire Constabulary.

The reasons why the Denbighshire police force HQ moved from Wrexham to Ruthin are now vague. Perhaps for the same reason that Ruthin was the county town of Old Denbighshire, Ruthin was simply more central. Denbighshire at the time included Llanrwst, Colwyn Bay, Abergele, the Ceiriog Valley and Wrexham. The council’s slightly odd shape filled the convoluted and curious void between earlier established Caernarvonshire (sic) and Flintshire.

The former police HQ was on Wrexham’s Regent Street, where the Wrexham town museum is now. It was in 1961, upon the HQ’s transfer to Ruthin, that Heulfre played host to this important central office. Based at Heulfre were between 40 and 50 staff, some of whom were support staff, usually administrators, but there were other roles, such as storemen and a gardener.

Heulfre had formerly been a Denbighshire County Council children’s home, with a large catchment. Pupils attended Ysgol Brynhyfryd. Heulfre, meanwhile, was owned by Denbighshire County Council.

In 1961, there was initially insufficient space at Heulfre to accommodate all Denbighshire Constabulary’s HQ activities. The central CID was billeted on the second floor at the end of Railway Terrace before later moving to the town police station on Record Street.

It was in 1967 that Denbighshire Constabulary merged with Flintshire’s and the Gwynedd Constabulary. It was at this point the Denbighshire’s final chief constable, Walter Stansfield, retired. The Gwynedd Constabulary itself had existed since 1950, upon the earlier amalgamation of the Anglesey, Caernarfonshire and Meirioneth forces.

The 1967 combined police force was also given the title Gwynedd Constabulary. Obviously, the combined Gwynedd police service did not require three HQs. It adopted as its central location a base in Caernarfon. Interestingly, and no doubt as a nod towards things to come, the police authority was based at Mold, the clerk being Flintshire’s chief executive, T M Haydn Rees.

The 1967 changes were not the end of the matter for Heulfre, though. Heulfre continued in a downgraded capacity but was still one of the most important assets for the new combined police force. From 1967, Heulfre hosted all the enlarged force’s criminal and court records. In the early post-1967 years, these had to be catalogued, assimilated and filed at Ruthin. This, of course, was in the days before there was any comprehension of the computerisation to come, let alone thoughts of a police national computer.

In addition, on behalf of the new Gwynedd Constabulary, Heulfre played host to the central stores, dog handlers’ section and driving academy. The combined police force’s two instructors would teach drivers over a five week period and the novice constables would usually lodge with families in town. New recruits would visit Ruthin to obtain uniforms. Passers by could see dogs trained on the lawn to Heulfre’s front.

More locally, Heulfre continued to house the Denbighshire division’s photographic staff and the Denbighshire division’s operations room, even though the nearest traffic police officers were based at Denbigh. Heulfre offered locally stationed officers at Record Street their night time mess facilities.

It was during the early 1970s that the combined police force considered a new, larger headquarters. During the many meetings, the police authority gave serious consideration to Ruthin as the town to host the new building. It was apparently a close thing but Ruthin lost out.

The black & white photo was taken on the last day that Heulfre was open as a police building, in 1973.

In 1973, Gwynedd Constabulary opened its new centralised headquarters at Colwyn Bay. The functions based at Ruthin at once migrated to the new site. Immediately beforehand, at Heulfre, there were 19 staff remaining, seven of whom were uniformed, the highest ranked being a chief inspector. A year later, to avoid confusion with the new Gwynedd County Council, the Gwynedd Constabulary changed its name to the North Wales Police.

In 1973, Heulfre was surplus to police requirements. In early 1974, after a period of disuse, a small task force of Denbighshire & Flintshire planners commandeered part of the building to thrash out early transport policies for the approaching county of Clwyd. It had not taken long for the building to become slightly dilapidated. It then saw use for education. For some two years, it became the sixth form building and common room for Ysgol Brynhyfryd. Immediately after, it was also refurbished as one of four Clwyd County Council area education offices, which supported local schools and housed peripatetic teachers. As such, it was labelled as County Offices. It never regained its past glory in the public sector but it did play a key role in hosting meetings & discussions which would establish Welsh medium primary education at the new Ysgol Pen Barras. Heulfre closed in the 1980s.

By the early 1980s, it became a nursing home. This coincided with a considerable expansion of the private nursing home sector. In the mid-1980s and again in 1993, the nursing home applied for permission for more extensions. In 1997, Ruthin School acquired the building and converted it into residential accommodation for its boarders.

Heulfre is located off Mold Road, less than a minute’s walk on the left from Ruthin School’s new barrier. Although on a right of way, bear in mind this is still part of a school.

We would like to thank Peter Daniels, the Ruthin and District Civic Association together with Val Roberts, Ron Hughes, Roger Edwards, Pat Astbury, Emrys Wynne, Kay Culhane and Gareth Evans for writing and the information in this article.

Housing Matters

Entries now open for prestigious housing awards

Denbighshire Housing is proud to announce its brand new awards, to honour the achievements of tenants and their work in local communities.

The awards will be hosted at 1891 in Rhyl on May 8, 2019 and the organisers have confirmed that Jewson and Roger W Jones of Rhyl will be the main sponsors for this first awards ceremony.

Entries are invited for the following categories:

  • Tenant of the Year
  • Housing resident / Community Group of the Year
  • Customer Services Award for Denbighshire Housing
  • Young Tenant of the Year
  • Garden of the Year – Community Area
  • Garden of the Year – Tenant/Individual
  • Community Projects of the Year

Councillor Tony Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing, said: “There’s a tremendous amount of good work going on in local communities to improve the quality of life for residents. Communities also work together on local projects aimed at local people.

“Improving housing is a priority for the Council and hosting our first awards will be a great way of honouring individuals and communities for their commitment and we would encourage nominations from communities across Denbighshire”.

For more information about the awards or to make a nomination, please contact Denbighshire Housing on 01824 706000, housing@denbighshire.gov.uk or visit our website www.denbighshirehousing.co.uk/awards

Results of Tenants and Residents (STAR) Survey 2018

Tourism

Denbighshire Tourism Forum

Do you have an interest in tourism?

A  Forum set up to keep tourism businesses, students and anyone with an interest in tourism, up to date with the latest developments in the industry takes place this March. Key speakers include Development Bank of Wales and Urdd Gobaith Cymru.

The next Denbighshire Tourism Forum will be on Wednesday 27 March at the Oriel House, St Asaph. This free event offers a great opportunity for delegates to network, share experiences, knowledge and ideas.

To book on the Tourism Forum please visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/fforwm-twristiaeth-sir-ddinbych-denbighshire-tourism-forum-tickets-56551189129

Latest Events

Take a look at the latest ‘What’s On’ booklet for the latest events happening across Denbighshire until May 2019.

https://www.discoverdenbighshire.wales/whats-on/

Year of Discovery Food Challenge

To celebrate the 2019 Welsh ‘Year of Discovery’ – the North East Wales Tourism Team laid down the challenge to local eateries to devise a dish that would celebrate the best local produce in the area, along with giving visitors the chance to try something a little different.

For restaurants, the challenge was to develop at least three small plates and for cafes/tearooms the challenge was to create a dessert. Both categories are encouraged to use local North East Wales producers that will play on the senses. Mystery dining visits will score the entries and the two highest scoring dishes from each category will then be invited to a cook-off with prizes including publicity, a stand at the Wrexham Food & Drink Festival and other commercial event opportunities throughout the year.

For more details on participating eateries and the dishes please visit – http://www.northeastwales.wales/tour-food-challenge/

Keep posted on tourism news!

Would you like to hear about the latest tourism news in Denbighshire & North East Wales?

If so, it’s easy and simple to sign up –

www.denbighshire.gov.uk/business-sign-up-for-tourism

Tourism Leaflet Distribution Service

We run a free quarterly tourism leaflet distribution service for businesses to order leaflets and brochures. This information is produced to encourage visitors to the area, and to enhance their experience once they are here.

Products include:

  • Town Trail leaflets
  • The 5 Journeys brochure
  • Denbighshire Digital Adventures
  • Ruthin Craft Centre brochure
  • Heritage leaflet
  • SC2 Rhyl

Who can order?

  • You can order from the leaflet distribution service if your business is in and around North East Wales and you come into contact with visitors.

How to order?

Looking for new places to visit this year?

Need a bit of inspiration? For ideas of things to do and places to visit in our stunning corner of North Wales, take a look at www.northeastwales.wales

Heritage

What's new in Heritage for 2019

2019 Season

Over the winter, Denbighshire’s Heritage Service has been busy getting the sites ready for the 2019 Season. Rhyl Museum (within Rhyl Library) is open year round, whilst Plas Newydd (Llangollen), Ruthin Gaol and Nantclwyd Y Dre open for general visits from April, but are available for pre-booked groups all year round (see ‘Plan Your Visit’ below).

What’s new for 2019?

Brand new state of the art Audio Tours will be launched at Plas Newydd and Ruthin Gaol this spring.

With voiceover work provided by local people, these new tours will add a brand new layer of interactivity to the sites. The new system is easy to use, lightweight, and contains updated and new information about Plas Newydd and Ruthin Gaol and the people connected with these historic buildings.

There is also an all new interactive digital Children’s Tour to encourage younger audiences to explore and learn whilst taking part in a fun quiz.

All Audio Tours are available in Welsh and English, with more languages being added throughout 2019.

There are some fantastic events this year, new spring and summer trails at Plas Newydd, a big Nature Day at Nantclwyd Y Dre in June, Bat walks, garden talks, kids dressing up events and even a chance to be a prisoner at Ruthin Gaol!

Achieving Excellence

Ruthin Gaol, Plas Newydd and Rhyl Museum reached a high standard of excellence in 2018 and gained full Accredited Museum status following inspections carried out by Welsh Government. We’re delighted to have achieved full accreditation – it reflects the excellent customer service, hard work and dedication provided by our team.

All sites have also been awarded the Visit Wales Quality Assurance mark and Nantclwyd Y Dre and Ruthin Gaol have again won the Hidden Gem Accolade from Visit Wales.

Plan Your Visit

Heritage sites open from April 2019, opening times/days vary so please visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/heritage for individual details. Ruthin Gaol is fully accessible with lifts for wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and prams/pushchairs. Nantclwyd Y Dre is accessible to the ground floor, with interactive visual displays of upper floors and Plas Newydd is accessible to the ground floor with an accessible café. You can visit on any of the advertised opening days without booking, or book in advance for a private group tour, in English or Welsh, led by one of our fantastic guides. Please call 01824 706868 for more details.

Competition time - Win a FREE Family Ticket!

On Facebook throughout March we will be offering the chance to win three free Family Tickets worth £17.50-£20. A question about these historic sites will be posted on Facebook each week and every correct answer will be entered into a prize draw at the end of March. One family ticket for each site is up for grabs so if you are planning to visit Ruthin Gaol, Nantclwyd Y Dre, or Plas Newydd this year, keep an eye out in the coming weeks.

Visit our Facebook page for more details https://www.facebook.com/heritagedenbighshire/

Leisure Services

St David's Day Leisure Sale

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