County Voice

News

Pension Credits

Have you reached the State Pension age?  Do you have family or friends who have reached this age?

Did you know that you, or they, could be eligible for Pension Credits?

A leaflet will arrive in the post along with your Council Tax Bill over the coming week with further details. 

Check whether you’re eligible or talk to family and friends.  You can find out more on the Department for Work and Pensions website on www.gov.uk/pension-credit or call 0800 99 1234.

The following video will also give you more information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hbr7xTt3zkI

Help us improve our services: Closing date 19 March

We want to hear from you about the services that the Council provides, and how you feel about Denbighshire and your local area. Whether you live or work in Denbighshire, complete our stakeholder survey to tell us what you think! The results from the survey will be used to help us improve services that are important to you, as well as monitor the progress of our Corporate Plan. To take part and have your say, please visit countyconversation.denbighshire.gov.uk or scan the QR code below:

 

The survey is running until 19 March.

To review our current Corporate Plan, visit www.denbighshire.gov.uk/corporateplanTo keep up to date, visit the county conversation portal at http://countyconversation.denbighshire.gov.uk, and sign up for Y Panel!

Paper copies of the survey are also available in Denbighshire Libraries / One Stop Shops.

The Council to continue successful ‘Micro-provider’ development programme

The Council will continue to offer a free development programme which supports residents to set up their own micro-provider service in their local communities, following the success of the project over the past year. 

‘Micro-providers’ offer care and support to older and disabled people in their own homes, helping them live their lives their way. So far, there are over 20 micro-providers operating in Denbighshire, who support around 140 residents.

The mentoring programme is completely free to join and allows the micro-providers to work for themselves, choose their own hours, work locally and offer a service that they will be proud of.

The programme offers a friendly and supportive point of contact to help to set up the micro-provider service. It also offers practical information on regulation, training and opportunities in the social care sector.

Micro-providers offer a range of services, including practical help around the house, cleaning, helping with meals, DIY, shopping, personal care, dog walking, companionship and much more.

Councillor Elen Heaton, Lead Member for Health and Social Care said: “This is a brilliant service that helps provide the local community with a range of vital services. I am looking forward to seeing our micro-providers out and about helping in our communities all across the county”.

For more information go to: https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/micro-provider-initiative

Rhyl and Central Prestatyn Coastal Defence Works

The Council is due to carry out works to replace the coastal defences in central Rhyl and central Prestatyn.

They are ongoing projects to protect the coast of Denbighshire and the council gave approval for them to begin work. The Council has worked with its partner Balfour Beatty to design both schemes and their combined cost is £92 million. These schemes are supported by Welsh Government funding and the new coastal structures will further reduce the risk of flooding and will provide reassurance to communities in the face of rising sea levels caused by climate change.                                                                                                                                  

As works get underway a series of press releases and updates will be issued to local residents informing them of each stage of the works. Works are due to take two and a half years to complete.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport said: “These works are necessary to ensure that our communities are protected from any potential risk of flooding. We need to ensure that we adapt our towns appropriately for the future, so they are protected from the negative impacts that global warming will bring. Protecting the public and businesses is the Council's number one priority; it is vital that we act now before it is too late.”

For more information about the scheme visit our website

Join us for an interactive information sharing event

Families First and Flying Start are holding an interactive information sharing event on the 6 April at Rhyl Town Hall.

For more information contact Joanne on 07879 115233 or you can e-mail her at joanne.evans@denbighshire.gov.uk.

Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Award presented for 2022

An inspirational Llanarmon-yn-Iâl volunteer has been presented with a coveted countryside award.

The Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) present the award every year to a community, individual or business that has made an outstanding contribution to the landscape it covers.

This year the awards is recognising the volunteering work of Christine Evans.

Prior to her retirement Christine was a consultant urologist and transplant surgeon and was responsible for putting Ysbyty Glan Clwyd on the urological map.

She was awarded overall hospital doctor of the year award in 1997 and is a recipient of British urology’s highest award.

Christine has also worked tirelessly in the developing world including Errbil and Duhok in Northern Iraq, Zimbabwe, Zambia to name but a few, where she has helped develop vital urological services.

She has been involved with the AONB for many years and first became part of the Partnership or as it was then known as the Joint Advisory Committee, when she was a County Councillor for Llanarmon-yn-Iâl and following on from that a member of the AONB Partnership.

She is also the Chair of the Heritage, Culture & Communities Working Group a role that she takes very seriously and very rarely misses a meeting and sometimes she even supplies cakes from the Llanarmon shop.

Christine tries her utmost to make any site visits and was one of the first people to try out the ‘Tramper’ (off road disability scooter - which the Friends of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley purchased).

She is one of the original Board members of the Friends of the Clwydian Range & Dee Valley, and once again is always on hand to help in any way that she can.

Christine also restarted and ran the Youth Club from 2009 till 2017 held at the Old School House, Llanarmon.

AONB Officer, Howard Sutcliffe, said: “The AONB have benefitted over the years from all who have given their time and effort to help improve the landscape and communities of the AONB and it is important that recognition and appreciation was given from the AONB to those special people and groups.

“Christine has been fundamental in putting the ‘heart’ back into the community of Llanarmon-yn-Iâl.

With her support for the Raven, which is a community run pub, Christine is also a regular volunteer at the Community Shop.

Chair of the AONB Partnership, Andrew Worthington OBE, said: “Christine is an inspiration to us all. Her enthusiasm, drive and ability to work with people at all levels for the greater good deserves respect and admiration. It is apparent for anyone to see that Christine has a real devotion to the AONB and will assist at any level to try and secure its future.

“On behalf of the AONB Team and the Partnership we would like to thank Christine for her diligent work for the AONB, we are very grateful to her."

Chair of the AONB Joint Committee, and Deputy Leader of Flintshire County Council, Councillor David Hughes said: “I am really pleased that Christine has been presented with this award. Her support to the AONB has been immense over the years and she has inspired so many.”

Councillor Win Mullen James, the Council's Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “I am delighted that Christine has won this award. Her enthusiasm and drive for supporting the AONB has been nothing short of inspirational to so many people and I would like to personally thank her for all of her hard work.”

A night on the red carpet for the stars from Ysgol y Gwernant

Pupils from Ysgol y Gwernant, Llangollen, and their families were given the red-carpet treatment recently as a special film made by and starring the Year 6 class from the school was premiered at Llangollen Town Hall.

The film, entitled ‘A Time Travel Adventure: Discovering Castell Dinas Brân’s Camera Obscura, 1869 – 1910’, is the result of a project the pupils have undertaken with the Our Picturesque Landscape project, a Landscape Partnership Scheme funded by the National Lottery Heritage Trust.  

Over the last few months, the Year 6 class have worked alongside filmmaker Rob Spaull to research, write, produce and star in the short film, which takes viewers on a journey into the past to discover the amazing history of Castell Dinas Brân in the late 19th century, in particular the Camera Obscura which stood on the peak of the hill overlooking the stunning views below, and was a major attraction for tourists visiting the Dee Valley in search of the sublime.

The film premiered to an audience of over 100 people, and the children enjoyed a red-carpet entrance, photo booth and popcorn, before seeing their creation on the big screen.

The event also saw the launch of ‘An Animated History of the Dee Valley’, a virtual flythrough of the Dee Valley past and present, which allows viewers to experience the sights and sounds of the landscape through the ages.

Both films can now be viewed on their website.

Councillor Win Mullen-James, Lead Member for Local Development and Planning said: “This project really shows what a talented group of young people Llangollen has, and I’m sure this is an experience that the children will remember and value for a very long time."

Hannah Marubbi, Project Manager for Our Picturesque Landscape: “It was such a pleasure to work with the children of Ysgol y Gwernant in creating this amazing film, and wonderful to see their delight at having it premiered in front of their friends, family and the wider Llangollen community.  We were also thrilled to be able to share the digital animation created by DextraVisual, which looked truly impressive on the big screen. We are very grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for enabling us to deliver these experiences that explore our rich local heritage.”

Year 6 pupils at Ysgol y Gwernant working with filmmaker Rob Spaull to create their film

The audience at Llangollen Town Hall enjoying the Ysgol y Gwernant film on the big screen

 

Councillor Win Mullen-James presenting pupils with a framed Dinas Brân poster in
recognition of their amazing work creating the film

Plas Newydd Seed Swap

Join us on the 26 March at Plas Newydd, Llangollen for our annual Seed Swap Event! Bring your spare seeds and cuttings to swap and exchange with other green-fingered visitors.

From 10am - 11am we will be open to those who have seeds and cuttings to swap, and from 11am onwards they can be joined by anyone who is looking to start growing!

A donation of 50p per packet is suggested for those who do not bring seeds to swap.

There will also be a gardening themed raffle on the day, plus a session with Nature for Health!

 

Playing with time

On Saturday 4th March 2.30pm - 4pm, Sean Harris and cave palaeontologist Professor Danielle Schreve (Royal Holloway University London) discuss their extensive creative collaboration with Elinor Gwynn at Ruthin Craft Centre.

Moving between time-frames stretching from twenty-fifths of a second to geological epochs they consider how understanding mammalian response to past abrupt climate change can help to avoid future extinctions (including our own), how past environments create valuable context for the present – and how the research lineage of which Danielle Schreve is a contemporary part emerged from the mythology of the Old Testament. Were we happier in a universe defined in ritual storytelling? And where does the most enduring truth lie?

Followed by an opportunity to experience their collaborative work The Cave Hunters And The Truth Machine in an installation within the watermill at Loggerheads Country Park, CH7 5LH. This will also offer a unique opportunity to talk to Harris and Schreve about their work both collaborative and as individuals working in diverse but complimentary disciplines.

The Cave Hunters And The Truth Machine runs in the watermill at Loggerheads Country Park, 6.00pm – 8.00pm. The piece is 25 minutes long and will run on a loop. Stay for as little or as long as you like – and perhaps embark on a meditative walk at dusk through this beautiful and scientifically important limestone landscape using the animation app Udfil, specially created for Loggerheads, as your guide.

For more information, please visit the website.

Sheep tackle biodiversity support on Denbighshire hillside

Sheep are spearheading a project to boost wildflowers and wildlife on a Denbighshire hillside.

The Council’s Countryside Service has introduced a flock of sheep to Prestatyn Hillside to support the maintenance of the variety of wildflowers and wildlife that gives the site its special character.

The introduction of the animals is part of the ‘Unique Opportunities - Landscape Solutions for North East Wales’ Project and was supported and funded through the Welsh Government Rural Development Scheme and Natural Resources Wales.

Prestatyn Hillside SSSI was one of the project’s 40 potential nature conservation sites, designated for its internationally rare Limestone Grasslands.

The project aims to bring all sites into sustainable management regimes and reduce the need to mechanically manage sites using heavy plant and machinery, with a large focus on using traditional grazing livestock such as cattle, sheep and ponies.

Community consultation days were held at the Shed in Prestatyn to talk to members of the local community about the plans for the hillside and Botanical Surveys were also carried out in June 2021 to better understand what was currently on the site and act as a reference marker to monitor and direct future management.

Fencing and water were installed in January 2022 with all materials carried onto site by hand due to limited vehicle access. Kissing gates were also put up to ensure access was not limited along Offas Dyke Path.

Jack Parry, Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty North East Wales Project Officer, said: “The sheep coming are a hardy breed used to grazing high grounds and are able to survive outside in extreme weather conditions, as long as they are not disturbed they are happy grazing away. By using sheep to graze it allows us to manage the site more sustainably and reduce the need to use machinery on the site.

“Our aim is to support the high number of wildflowers and wildlife on the site. The sheep will help us achieve this by removing the dense rank vegetation and opening up the sward in the autumn/winter which will allow smaller flowering plants to flourish come the summer providing a haven for butterflies and other wildlife.

“The sheep will be on the site for a couple of months and only be grazing in one compartment at a time. During this time access will not be restricted but we will ask that dogs are kept under close control when passing through the compartment with sheep in.”

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Supporting and improving our local biodiversity is vitally important and a priority of the Council. I am pleased to see such a unique project underway at Prestatyn Hillside and look forward to seeing the benefits flourish at the site.”

Countryside Services

Prestatyn Roman Bath House Open Day

Countryside Services will be having an open day at the Roman Bath House in Prestatyn, on Melyd Avenue LL19 8RN.

The open day will be held on Saturday 18 March, 10am-4pm. Parking is available at Prestatyn High School, Princes Avenue, LL19 8RS. Melyd Avenue is available for disabled parking only.

Visitors will be able to view the work that has been completed on the stonework. There will be opportunities to view artwork completed by local schoolchildren. Attendees will be able to have a go at making their own Roman-inspired crafts, as well as view a collection of historical artefacts.

The Prestatyn Roman Bath House was first discovered during excavations in the 1930s. it was then re-covered and excavated again in the 1980s, during the construction of the neighbouring housing estate. The Bath House is believed to have been constructed in around 120 AD, then extended in 150 AD. There is some debate over the reasons for its location in Prestatyn. However, it is believed to be linked to the Roman legions in Chester and Caernarfon, lying around halfway between the two. It may also have been associated with a nearby harbour, due to its coastal location. The site is now managed by Denbighshire County Council.

The open day will be a celebration of all the Roman Bath House project has achieved, including:

  • Works to secure the stonemasonry, which had become loose over time.
  • Works to the path surrounding the bath house.
  • New information panels.
  • Wildflower plug planting.
  • Arts workshops and site visits with local schools.
  • An exhibition in Prestatyn Library to display the schools’ artwork.

Denbighshire Countryside Service aim to raise the profile of the Roman Bath House, with a long-term increased number of visitors to the site.

The Prestatyn Roman Bath House

Roman-inspired crafts

Historical artefacts

Contact claudia.smith@denbighshire.gov.uk for more information.

Birdwatching favourite samples regenerating wetlands

Sitting next to the Prestatyn gutter, the wetlands forms a natural sink during times of high rainfall, acting as an important flood defence.

A feathered favourite has arrived at a developing Denbighshire wetland.

The 2nd February was World Wetlands Day which encourages the revival and restoration of degraded wetlands.

The campaign also supports the regeneration of these important areas to encourage more wildlife to return and one such area seeing revival is located at Prestatyn.

Work on the Morfa, a 35-acre wetland in Prestatyn, started in 2020 when it was purchased by the Council after securing Welsh Government funding to protect its status as a natural wetland resource. Three ponds were created on the site to expand the support for the wetland’s nature.

The benefits of this include increased biodiversity, flora and birds and a wetland attraction for bird watchers to visit from three viewing platforms each with an interpretation board about the area it looks out on.

Sitting next to the Prestatyn gutter, the wetlands forms a natural sink during times of high rainfall, acting as an important flood defence.

And now a birdwatcher’s favourite has been spotted enjoying the delights of the area along with other species including Egrets and Mallards.

Countryside Ranger Sasha Taylor, who looks after the site, explained: “It’s a fantastic habitat for lots of different bird species and other animals as well. We have had some Snipe and a member of the local environmental group actually saw a Kingfisher here which is fantastic. The smaller birds also love the little willow trees in the middle, it’s always busy in there.

“We have got some lovely new interpretation boards which explain the benefits of having this wetland system. They explain all about carbon storage and how beneficial it is for climate change.”

An endangered UK animal has also been spotted nearby the wetlands and work to help it thrive in the area will see development of water drainage ditches to provide a stronger habitat for it.

Sasha added: “With our volunteer group there is a lot of people who do spend a lot of time here and a lot of them have also caught pictures of water voles along the nearby cut.”

The Council is continuing to use Belted Galloway cattle to graze the area and support site management, and these are due to be back on the wetlands during the summer.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “It is fantastic to see this area continue to revive local biodiversity. I am grateful for all the hard work local volunteers have put in alongside our Countryside staff to make this site something special for supporting our wildlife and climate.”

Community collaboration sees biodiversity thrive at nature reserve

A community partnership has helped biodiversity flourish at a popular Rhuddlan venue.

The Council's Countryside staff have worked closely with the community group behind Rhuddlan Nature Reserve to grow a thriving environment for both biodiversity and visitors to embrace.

Countryside staff have carried out the management of the site since opening in 2011 on behalf of the Rhuddlan Reserve Management Advisory Group to breathe life into a number of initiatives for the community.

This work resulted in the nature reserve winning last year's Wales in Bloom award in the 'Overall It's Your Neighbourhood' category. The group members and Countryside staff were presented with the RHS National Certificate of Distinction. 

Wales in Bloom wrote in their report about the reserve that ‘In all areas of management, planning and volunteer organisation through to practical on-site endeavours the Rhuddlan Nature Reserve is a shining example of nurturing and creating habitat.’ 

Thanks to the green vision of the group and the skills of Countryside staff, the site over the years has grown with the introduction of initiatives including two wildflower meadows, three wildlife ponds, 300 metres of hedgerow, wildflower seeded verges, planting of 6,000 trees, a heritage species orchard, two picnic areas and a pond dipping platform.

A unique addition to the nature reserve is the Sensory Garden which has involved the local Dementia Group and the nature reserve group working with Countryside staff. A dementia friendly space with sensory, trees, wildflowers and historic landscape features such as dry-stone walls and laid hedges, as well as traditional Welsh oak timber seating has been created on the site.

Anita Fagan, Chair of the Rhuddlan Reserve Management Advisory Group, said: “The Committee has worked hard and is delighted to have been awarded the ‘National Certificate of Distinction’ in last years ‘Britain in Bloom’.

“As Chair, with the aim of enhancing and diversifying the reserves habitats for the education and enjoyment of our visitors, mostly local residents but increasingly holiday visitors, I draw on the committee’s many skills. These encompass wildlife expertise and local area knowledge, including town and county councillors and of course the biodiversity skills of Denbighshire County Council Countryside Services staff Garry Davies, Jim Kilpatrick and Brad Shackleton.

“Since its opening in 2011, Rhuddlan residents have enjoyed this safe open space. Families bring children to play and picnic, walk their dogs and take photos of bird life. In addition, we arrange bug hunts for local nursery and primary school children, support volunteers to learn hedge laying and lead guided walks for local adult groups.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “It was a privilege to visit the Rhuddlan Reserve recently to see how the group’s passion for enhancing the land has been brought to life by the management of our Countryside staff.

“This collaboration has produced such an amazing area in Denbighshire for the support and improvement of biodiversity. The wealth of knowledge driving the development of the site from the group, coupled with the skills of the Council’s Countryside staff has created an area Rhuddlan can be proud of when it comes to supporting our wildlife and nature.”

Highways

How we prioritise the highways maintenance programme

We are responsible for the maintenance and repair of all 1,400 kilometres of Denbighshire roads which provide access to jobs, schools, services and businesses. It is essential that we spend our Capital funds in the most cost-effective way possible and therefore prioritising roads that need works require thorough consideration.  Our approach uses a number of criteria including:

  • Skid resistance issues – these are identified by the annual surveys
  • Road priority – greater priority given to A and B roads due to their greatest usage and speed limits so risk to users is greater
  • Communities – to have at least one good quality road
  • Isolated properties – access when there is a risk of them being cut off

The programme will include a variety of methods:

  • Surface dressing and Micro asphalt to prevent deterioration – these save money in the long run ‘a stitch in time saves nine strategy’
  • Jetpatcher to treat localised areas
  • Patching of other roads to save deterioration

This criteria and method of treatment ensures that the available funding is used on roads that are in greatest need of treatment in a fair and consistent manner across the county, whilst also fulfilling our statutory duty to keep roads safe. The draft programme is discussed at Member meetings for their feedback and once agreed is developed into the programme for the year and publicised on our website.

Below are some examples of works that have been undertaken in the County.

Bull Lane, Denbigh (prior to the works taking place)
Bull Lane, Denbigh (prior to the work taking place)
Bull Lane, Denbigh (after completion of the works)
Bull Lane, Denbigh (after completion of the works)

Gronant Road, Prestatyn (prior to the works taking place)
Gronant Road, Prestatyn (after completion of the works)

Old Lon Parcwr, Ruthin (before commencement of the work)

Old Lon Parcwr, Ruthin (after completion of the works)

Y Glyn, Llanrhaeadr (prior to the work)
Y Glyn, Llanrhaeadr (after completion of the work)

Tourism

Packed agenda at next Denbighshire Tourism Forum

The next Denbighshire Tourism Forum takes place on Tuesday, 21 March at the Oriel House, St Asaph, 10.30am-1.30pm.

The Forum provides a great opportunity for delegates to hear about the latest tourism developments and meet other like-minded businesses and share experiences.

Guest speakers include Robyn Lovelock, Programme Manager for the Agri-food and Tourism Programme, Ambition North Wales, who will be presenting on the progress and opportunities of the North Wales Growth Deal. Jenny and Tom Williams from The Laundry Retreat in Llanrhaeadr will be telling their story of this family business and how it’s grown. Alice Kirwan, Employment Coordinator, will also be discussing the Working Denbighshire and Work Start Programme.

Ian Lebbon, Chair of Denbighshire Destination Management Partnership, said: “The Forum is a great platform for everyone in the sector to get together and share their knowledge, ideas and plans to ensure sustained future tourism growth. It’s not only for tourism businesses, but also a good opportunity for students and anyone with an interest in tourism to hear from industry experts.”

A variety of information stands will be present including Visit Wales, Clwydian Range & Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Business Wales, North Wales Tourism, Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, Development Bank of Wales and Llangollen Railway.

Book your FREE place at the Tourism Forum here

Tourism Team organise a familiarisation trip around the Vale of Clwyd

Last week a 'Familiarisation' trip was organised by the Council's Tourism Team, designed to highlight the best parts of the area with local tourism businesses so that they, in turn, can share the knowledge and encourage visitors to delve deeper into the local history, attractions, cafes and shops.

This trip concentrated on the Vale of Clwyd, an area that has recently benefited from new signage. Our tour guide Pete pointed out walks such as Lady Baggot’s drive along the Clywedog River on the way to Denbigh, and the reason they called it Lenten Pool in Denbigh was because before it was drained in the 19th century following a cholera epidemic, it would have been stocked with fish, which provided food for the townsfolk and garrison at Denbigh during Lent.

We then visited Denbigh Library. Roland, one of the librarians, chatted to the group about how Denbigh Library was originally built as a Town Hall by Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester and Baron of Denbigh in 1572. Robert Dudley was a great favourite of Elizabeth I at the time and was also responsible for the building of Leicester's Church. Extensively remodelled in 1780, originally the building was a market hall and a courthouse and was then used as a town hall up to the second half of the 20th century. The building is now an extensive and well used public library, situated over three floors. Opening times can be found here.  

The group then walked up to Denbigh Castle via the link through at Broomhill Lane, enjoying a series of artwork along the way depicting poetry by Rhys Trimble - light fittings in the form of Broom Flowers as well as the Mabinogion story of Blodeuwedd who is known as the Goddess of Flowers who ran away to the forest, only to be tracked down by Gwydion a wizard who is enraged by her betrayal of his nephew. She is turned into an owl, to roam only at night, denied the rays of the sun she loved so much and destined to a solitary life. When you reach the top of the lane you will see a beautiful shield of flowers, turn back around the way you have just walked, and you will spot a beautiful owl taking flight.

The group then walked up to the Castle through Burgess Gate which was one of the two principal entrances into the walled town. Denbigh (“Dinbych” in Welsh, meaning small fortress) is one of the most historic towns in North Wales. The town is first mentioned in records in the years following the Norman Conquest when it became a border town guarding the approach to the Hiraethog Hills and Snowdonia. Denbigh was also probably the location of a fortified settlement during the Roman occupation and in the twelfth century, Dafydd ap Gruffydd, the brother of Llewelyn, the last Prince of Wales, had his headquarters here. Edward I created the Lordship of Denbigh in 1282 which was granted to Henry de Lacy who authorised the building of Denbigh Castle to be built over the stronghold of Dafydd ap Gruffydd. The Castle's finest feature is its triple-towered Great Gatehouse bearing the unmistakable stamp of Master James of St George, the architect responsible for all of Edward I's major North Wales castles.

The group saw the remains of the unfinished Leicester’s Church.  A building started in 1578 with intentions of being the grandest of the period, designed for Protestant service and a potential replacement for St Hilary’s Chapel and possibly St Asaph Cathedral. It was only progressed as far as window height due to lack of finances and local opposition and was abandoned completely when Robert Dudley died in 1588. Elizabeth I was deeply affected by his death and kept his last letter to her by her bedside until her own death 15 years later.

The next stop on the trip was a fabulous lunch at the Translators' Tearoom café at St Asaph cathedral. The group took the opportunity to network with a talk about the rich and varied history of the cathedral. First built in the 13th century, but in the perilous ‘war path’ of the Welsh Princes and English Kings, little is known of how much damage the original building would have suffered. The Cathedral was remodelled in the 14th century using fine-grained yellowish sandstone quarried at Flint for the outer casing of the walls and for mullions and other carved work. Used as a stable by Owain Glyndwr in 1402 it has since become the beautiful building we see today.  It really does take your breath away and it is open 365 days of the year with an active choir who you may hear practising on your visit!  

The group then visited Rhuddlan Castle, another of Edward I's strongholds. He liked his castles to be on the coast in order to easily obtain supplies by sea if his campaigns against the Welsh were not going according to plan. But with Rhuddlan being inland, the plan was to use the river Clwyd instead. Edward conscripted hundreds of ditch-diggers to deepen and divert its course. Rhuddlan still looks like a castle that was worth moving a river for! Beginning in 1277 it was the first of the revolutionary concentric, or ‘walls within walls’, castles designed also by James of St George. You can still clearly make out the medieval grid layout of the streets in modern-day Rhuddlan.

The group then walked across to St Mary's Church which has been serving the people of Rhuddlan since 1301 as a place of prayer and worship, celebration and remembrance. It is a beautiful Church and well worth a visit, it was moved to this site by Edward I who it appears was very fond of moving things to suit his overall plans. Inside are many medieval drawings uncovered by previous renovations and are believed to be some of the earliest still in existence in Wales.

They finished the day with a visit to St Margaret's Church (also known as The Marble Church), Bodelwyddan. This decorated Gothic Style parish church with a 202 foot spire can be seen for miles in the lower Vale of Clwyd and is easily accessible from the A55 expressway.

The church was commissioned by Lady Margaret Willoughby de Broke from nearby Bodelwyddan Castle in memory of her husband, Henry Peyto-Verney, 16th Baron Willoughby de Broke. She laid the foundation stone on 24 July 1856 and the new church designed by John Gibson was consecrated by the Bishop of St Asaph on 23 August 1860 after construction at a cost of £60,000. The new parish of Bodelwyddan was created on 3 August 1860. Because of its lavish material and design it was nicknamed the 'Pearl of the Vale'.

The church contains fourteen varieties of marble including pillars made of Belgian Red marble, a nave entrance is made from Anglesey marble and shafts of Languedoc marble on bases of Purbeck marble. It also contains elaborate woodwork, and in the tower can be found windows of stained glass on the north and south sides, featuring Saint Margaret and Saint Kentigern.  If you look closely, you can see her and her husband's name carved into the roof as well as their faces, she obviously had much input with the design as well as being a beautiful memorial to her late husband.

They certainly packed a lot into the day in the Vale of Clwyd and if you would like to find out more about the area why not consider taking part in the free Ambassador course. The Council was the first to launch an online course of this kind in Wales. A series of online modules on a variety of themes relevant to the area including the Welsh language, communities, culture, history, sustainable tourism, cycling and walking. There are three levels of awards – bronze, silver and gold. Residents, volunteers and local community groups are particularly encouraged to become Ambassadors to learn more about the unique characteristics of the area. If you would like to find out more about the scheme or if you're interested in receiving our newsletters, please contact us.

Climate Change and Biodiversity

Bws Benthyg stops at Ruthin to tackle climate crisis

A collaboration recently brought a bus stocked with reusable items designed to tackle climate change.

The Council has been taking part in a programme with the Design Council called ‘Design Differently’.

The programme looks to discuss, better understand and celebrate how community organisations are working together to tackle the challenges produced by climate change.

Throughout the programme the Council has been working on ideas around the circular economy with staff from ReSource CIC and Bryson’s Recycling. Bryson’s Recycling will be working with Resource CIC to intercept items destined for landfill which could be donated and reused through the Bws Benthyg project.

It was decided to focus on showcasing Bws Benthyg (Borrow Bus) which is a fairly new Denbighshire based project.

Bws Benthyg has many items ranging from lawn mowers to chocolate fountains and allows people to borrow the items for a short period rather than buying new.

This supports the reduction of non-recyclable waste materials harmful to the environment that are thrown away when needing newer items.

Bws Benthyg was present at the Old Court House alongside representatives from the collaboration and items from the bus were showcased with information provided on how to use them at home.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “I am really pleased we with our partners were able to host and showcase this unique service in Ruthin and hope residents found it very useful how reusing can make a difference when tackling climate change.”

A major school wide biodiversity project has planted its first roots.

Pupils across Denbighshire have helped plant the first of thousands of trees that will be distributed across the county’s schools to tackle climate change and the nature emergency.

Approximately 9,000 trees will be planted at school sites as part of a project to improve local biodiversity and increase carbon absorption.

Council staff from Climate Change, Biodiversity and Countryside have worked with Ysgol Bro Cinmeirch in Llanrhaeadr, Ysgol Dewi Sant in Rhyl and Prestatyn High School to embark on this project.

Ysgol Bro Cinmeirch
Prestatyn High School

Ysgol Dewi Sant

Council staff are also working with other schools to enhance existing grounds to add interest for children and wildlife whilst still ensuring space for recreational play is preserved.

Other schools involved include: Ysgol Bro Famau, Ysgol Bodnant, Ysgol Melyd, Ysgol Carreg Emlyn, Ysgol Clocaenog, Ysgol Esgob Morgan, Ysgol Dewi Sant and Ysgol Penmorfa.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport for the Council, said: “It is fantastic to see such a major project get underway that will support and improve our local biodiversity. We are really pleased that the schools have got involved and more so that the pupils are helping us tackle climate change in the county.”

The Council declared a climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019 and committed to seeking to become a Net Carbon Zero and more Ecologically Positive Council by 2030.

Nearly 5,000 trees were planted at the beginning of 2022 across Denbighshire creating new woodland sites to help reduce carbon emissions and promote nature’s recovery.

These were in addition to the planting of over 18,000 trees across the county as part of the Council’s Corporate Plan focus on the preservation of the natural environment and also maintaining and enhancing of biodiversity within Denbighshire.

Education Matters

Extension at Ysgol Penmorfa

Building work is taking place at Ysgol Penmorfa in Prestatyn to extend the onsite childcare facility. The project has been funded by the Welsh Government’s Flying Start Capital Grant.

Work on the extension began in September 2022 and the facility will be completed in the spring of 2023. The extension will increase the capacity of childcare provision allowing more local families to access the Flying Start funded childcare in Prestatyn. This will not only provide more families within the locality access to high quality affordable childcare but also enable parents to seek employment and support the well-being of children, reducing the risk of poverty in families.

Councillor Gill German, Deputy Leader and Lead Member for Education, Children and Families visited the Ysgol Penmorfa site recently to look at the progress being made so far.

Councillor German said: “Our Welsh Government funded Flying Start provision in Denbighshire is so important to support our families and to give our children the start in life they deserve.

"This extension at Ysgol Penmorfa will increase capacity for Flying Start childcare places within the area to extend our current offer.

"This is fantastic news for the community and will provide an opportunity for more children to attend quality early years education, thereby better preparing them for their future primary education and beyond.

"The build is progressing really well and will include high quality facilities for the benefit of the children who will attend. I am delighted to see this happen and am looking forward to seeing how the work progresses.”

Council Chairman visits winners of Denbighshire Schools Art Competition

Council Chairman, Councillor Arwel Roberts, visited the winners of his schools art competition which was launched in partnership with one of his nominated charities, NSPCC Cymru/Wales, North Wales Hub, Prestatyn. The Chairman visited the schools and presented certificates, medals and prizes for their outstanding efforts.

The competition, entitled WELLNESS - ‘What Makes You Happy?’ aimed to raise awareness of the NSPCC’s Childline service, and asked pupils under 12 to draw what made them feel happy.

After receiving over 560 entries, the winning schools were announced at the beginning of February.

The successful schools included Ysgol Christchurch, Ysgol y Parc, Ysgol Twm o’r Nant, Ysgol Melyd and Denbigh High School, with Bodnant Community School receiving a special merit.

The winning artwork showed a variety of situations, including a portrait of the beach, a drawing of a school library and a scene depicting a walk up a hill during sunset.

The Council Chairman, Councillor Arwel Roberts said: “It is brilliant to be able to meet some of the talented artists behind some of the amazing artwork that was submitted for this competition.

"I am glad we could use this competition to raise awareness of the NSPCC’s Childline service, as it is a vital lifeline for every child and young person to be able to talk about their mental health.”

A list of all the winners, and their artwork can be found here: www.denbighshireenrichment.com

Business Section

March for Business

The March for Business campaign is back for 2023, providing free workshops, networking events and advice sessions for businesses across Denbighshire. For further information on all the below workshops and how to book, please visit our website.

Libraries and One Stop Shops

Are you interested in researching your family tree?

Are you interested in genealogy and family history? Ever thought about researching your family tree?

Did you know you can now use Find My Past free in your local library, including access to the 1921 Census. This is in addition to the free access to Ancestry which is already available at all our libraries. To use either of these fantastic family history resources you will just need to use your library card and PIN to log onto one of our library computers – you’ll only need to pay for any printouts.

There is more information on how to become a member and much more, on our website.

Bookstart service launches new baby book

Bookstart service launches new baby book

A new book for tiny babies has been launched by Denbighshire Libraries’ Bookstart service to help give children the best start in life.

At a special baby rhymetime event in St Asaph Library this week, babies and parents were the first to be given copies of Siarad Babi: Du a Gwyn / Baby Talk: Black and White. Denbighshire Bookstart staff explained how to use the book with a very young baby and suggested rhymes and songs to sing with the images.

Bethan Hughes, Denbighshire’s Principal Librarian, said: “Babies can only see in black and white and shades of grey at birth, so this new book has been specially designed for them with simple clear black and white images. The concertina book can be placed alongside a baby when they’re lying down or in front when they are able to lie on their tummy, or shared by the parent and baby on their lap. Using the book will help a baby develop the physical and cognitive skills to focus their eyes, to turn and lift their heads and to respond to the book and the parent’s voice.

“We welcome hundreds of babies and their families into our libraries every week to enjoy Bookstart rhymetimes and to borrow books as library members.

“We needed a little book to give as a gift soon after birth as it’s never too early to introduce babies to books and rhymes. We commissioned the illustrations from a young local graphic artist, Charlotte Chapple, of Chalice Media, and the production of the book was made possible thanks to funding from the Child Development Fund.

“When these babies are a little bit older, they will also be gifted Bookstart bags and books – this little book helps to get them ready. The book will soon be distributed to families by midwives and health visitors, and it will be available to pick up at all Denbighshire libraries.”

Councillor Emrys Wynne, Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture and Heritage said: “I am delighted that this special little book has been published by our libraries’ Bookstart team. I hope that it will be the start of a lifelong love of books, reading and libraries for the babies who will receive it. Denbighshire’s Bookstart service makes a significant contribution to the support offered to all families with young children in Denbighshire, helping to develop their language, learning and social skills, and giving parents the chance to meet and make new friends networks. I congratulate the library service on yet another successful initiative and would like to encourage all parents to bring their young children to the library regularly.”

Library service turns the page to new electric chapter

A Council home library service has welcomed the start of a new electric powered chapter.

Denbighshire Libraries are taking delivery of a Peugeot e-expert van to cut down on the home library service’s carbon emissions.

The Council declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019 and committed to seeking to become a Net Carbon Zero and more Ecologically Positive Council by 2030.

Part of the drive to reduce carbon output across the Council includes supporting the reduction of carbon emissions from fleet vehicles.

The home library service supports those who cannot make it to a library due to ill health, disability or caring responsibilities.

It can visit someone’s own home, sheltered accommodation, nursing home or day centre once a month.

People can use the online catalogue to request items 24 hours a day and the service offers a wide selection that can be borrowed for a month at a time – including books and audiobooks in Welsh and English and can help you download free digital eBooks and newspapers if you wish.

The new addition to the service is able to cover ranges of up to 200 miles.

Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport said: “The Council is working hard to reduce our carbon footprint and I am pleased to see such a vital service receiving a modern mode of transport to help us achieve this goal.”

Cllr Emrys Wynne, Lead Member for the Welsh Language, Culture and Heritage said: “This new electric van will carry on delivering the same important home service to those who cannot access their local library to allow them to continue to enjoy the fantastic benefits our libraries have to offer.”

To contact the Home Library Service please phone Ruthin Library on 01824 705274 or email library@denbighshire.gov.uk.

Working Denbighshire

Jobs Fair: 8th March

     

A Spring jobs fair will be held on Wednesday 8th of March at the Town Hall, Llangollen LL20 8PW (11am – 3pm).

This Job Fair is part of the Working Denbighshire Programme which is being delivered by the Council in partnership with Llangollen Town Council.

Working with local businesses and organisations, the Working Denbighshire programme is committed to supporting people who live in Denbighshire, with help to gain a place in education or training and help to get into work.

By holding this event, we hope that you can meet people who are interested in the type of work on offer and who have the skills and experience that you are seeking.  Such events are mutually beneficial.

Young Person enters a paid work placement on the Work Start Scheme

A self-referral was received from a young person from the South of Denbighshire. Participant A had completed her GSCEs in 2022 and did not want to return to education. She requested support to increase her experience and for support to find and apply for a suitable position in administration.

A face-to-face enrolment was scheduled at the participant’s closest library to her home. Participant A was NEET (Not in education, employment or training), economically inactive and living with her parents. Her barriers to employment were lack of experience and transport. She ideally wanted to work close to home so that she didn’t have to rely on her mum for lifts.

At her first appointment all the enrolment paperwork was completed, including her Work Star and an action plan of support was developed.

Her Action Plan and what was worked on together was as follows:

  • Review and update current CV
  • Support to apply for a Work Start Scheme position
  • Support with pre-screen and interview process

The team went through a job description for an admin assistant vacancy with the Council and discussed her transferable skills for the role. The Work Start Scheme application process was discussed and the valuable in-work support element from a placement officer. Participant A informed that she would like support to apply.

Another appointment was scheduled on Microsoft Teams a few days later to complete the application form. Her CV was also updated and emailed across to her.

Participant A was shortlisted for a pre-screen interview and the team helped her prepare for the interview which took place online via Microsoft Teams and the mentor attended the pre-screen interview with her, together with a Working Denbighshire placement officer. Participant A did very well in answering all questions and was invited back for a more formal interview with the recruiting manager. More preparation for the interview took place and Participant A was successful - she has subsequently started a 12-week paid placement with the Council, within walking distance of her home. She also has on-going in work support whilst on placement. This will increase her skills and provide valuable experience for her to move onto another suitable role when her placement finishes.

Participant A said: ‘My mentor was really supportive throughout the whole process and made sure I was fully prepared with all the information I needed about the pre-screening and the interview. She helped me with practice questions and how to answer questions correctly. I do not think I would have been successful without my mentor's support.’

Council’s Working Denbighshire Job Fair attracts largest ever attendance

Held at the 1891 Restaurant & Bar at the Pavilion Theatre in Rhyl, the Working Denbighshire Team hosted over 50 organisations and employers to meet and discuss career opportunities with Denbighshire residents last month.

The record-breaking event saw over 250 attendees pass through the doors and utilised both levels of the seaside restaurant and bar space.

A wide variety of employers exhibited at the fair, with both local and nationally recognised organisations in attendance such as Aldi, Qioptiq, Airbus, The Fire Service, The Army and many more, providing opportunities for individuals at all levels of experience.

The Working Denbighshire Team signed over 35 people up to their framework during the day and will now provide the candidates with full support after the event and until they find employment.

Rachael Sumner-Lewis, Employment Engagement Manager at Working Denbighshire said: “We are over the moon with both the attendance and feedback from the Job Fair. This was our best event to date, and we have surpassed all previous metrics. We had over 250 people through the doors, and over 50 exhibitors in attendance. Hosting the event in 1891 in Rhyl was a great decision, allowing us to increase capacity by over 50% as well as adding the convenience of onsite parking. Visitor feedback was overwhelmingly positive, with 98% of the attendees rating the event as excellent or good. The employer feedback we have received from the exhibitors was also extremely positive, with many stating they were confident of securing new talent as a result of attending. They also commented on the benefits of networking with so many business partners at the event. This was a great event, which greatly benefited the people of Rhyl, as well as the county as a whole. I would like to thank the whole Working Denbighshire team for their hard work and dedication which really helped to make this event both possible, and a brilliant success.”

Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader of the Council and Lead Member for Economic Growth & Tackling Deprivation said: “It is brilliant to see such a high attendance at the most recent job fair. They are held to help the people of Denbighshire thrive, and to provide employment opportunities and support to the whole county. The Working Denbighshire team have worked extremely hard to arrange this fair, and I thank them for making it such a great success.”

For more information, please visit the Working Denbighshire pages on our website.

Planning Services

Local Development Plan Update

The replacement Local Development Plan is moving forward following the approval of a revised Delivery Agreement. The Delivery Agreement sets out the timetable for preparing the plan and also how, when and who the Council will consult with at all key stages.

The timetable sets out that the next consultation stage will be for the Deposit Plan which will include all detailed planning policies and recommended land allocations.

The deposit consultation will take place towards the end of 2023.

A copy of the revised Delivery Agreement can be found in all Denbighshire libraries and One-Stop-Shops and on the Council's website.

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