Tribute to Councillor Pete Prendergast
On the 22 September, the Council was deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of the Chair of the Council, Councillor Pete Prendergast.
Councillor Prendergast served as Chair of the Council for the 2017 – 2018 municipal year and was re-elected as Chair in May of this year. He had been Vice Chair the previous year and had served as a County Councillor, representing Rhyl South West, since March 2015.
At the time of his death, Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader of the Council, said: “We are shocked and saddened to hear of Pete’s passing. He was such a kind and well-respected member of the Council and extremely well thought of by everyone who met him and worked alongside him.
“I know Pete really loved getting behind his local community to help out where he could in his role as a Councillor, he always helped with such kindness, compassion and care. Pete gave such positive support for Rhyl residents in his role, supporting many community groups and I know he really enjoyed doing more for groups across the county when he became our Chairman early this year.
“On behalf of the Council and Pete’s colleagues, we will miss him very much and we would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends at this sad time.”
‘Hidden Gem’ award for Ruthin historic house and gardens
Nantclwyd y Dre has been accredited as a Quality Assured Visitor Attraction and awarded Hidden Gem status following an assessment by Visit Wales.
The historic house offers a unique exploration of over 500 years of history, from medieval up to the 20th century. The hidden and extensive gardens are described as ‘immaculate, with attractive flower beds and fruit and vegetable plots, provide a tranquil space right in the heart of Ruthin’.
Nantclwyd y Dre also offers visitors the opportunity to observe the house’s special maternity roost of Lesser Horseshoe Bats via a ‘Bat Cam’!
Following the assessment Visit Wales granted the house the Hidden Gem award for 2023, an accolade the historic site has won before in 2017, 2018 and 2022. The assessor stated that the attraction provides ‘an excellent welcome with the highest standards of customer care and information provided’ and that Hidden Gem status is ‘deservedly awarded once again this year’.
Kate Thomson Manager of Nantclwyd y Dre, said: “We are really pleased to receive the accreditation and the Hidden Gem award from Visit Wales. Our staff here work really hard to help and support visitors to the house and it’s great that Visit Wales have recognised their contribution in the assessment.
“We are also grateful for the support from the Ruthin community that inspires us to share this fantastic house that’s full of history with all ages who come through the door.”
Councillor Emrys Wynne, Denbighshire’s Lead Member for Welsh Language, Culture and Heritage, said: “This is great news for Nantclwyd y Dre, it is a fantastic attraction to visit in Ruthin, backed by a hard working team of staff and volunteers. It is a hidden gem that we want to celebrate and also encourage many people to come through the doors to experience its wide range of history.”
Key UK nature report highlights Little Terns project
Photo credit: Michael Steciuk
Work to protect a Denbighshire bird colony is worthy of international significance according to a major annual report on UK nature.
The Council’s Countryside Service Gronant Little Terns project has been listed as a positive example for protecting wildlife in the latest State of Nature Report.
The State of Nature Report 2023 is split into the individual UK countries and is produced through a collaboration of over 60 biodiversity and nature related group partners.
Species studied by the collaboration have on average declined by 19 percent since monitoring started in 1970. The declines are much higher for some groups including birds, which stands at a 43 percent loss.
However, the State of Nature Report highlights the Little Terns Project as a positive piece of conservation work of ‘international significance’.
Countryside Service teams and local volunteers have dedicated nearly 20 years to protecting and managing the Little Terns colony at Gronant Dunes.
The site is the largest breeding colony found in Wales, contributing to over 10 percent of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other colonies.
Little Terns spend the winter in Africa, they arrived at the dunes in May to breed on the shingled beach in a protected site prepared in April by Countryside staff and volunteers. They start flying back south at the end of August. This season 155 fledglings were recorded at the site and in 2022, 211 breeding pairs were monitored.
The report also recognised the work of the staff and volunteers to protect the site by highlighting that the colony growth is ‘likely driven by high levels of breeding success rather than by recruitment of adults fledged from other UK colonies’.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Countryside staff and many volunteers work tirelessly throughout the season to protect and support this important colony we have in Denbighshire. It is great to see their efforts highly recognised as a positive step forward in reversing the decline of our bird populations across the UK.
How is the council doing?
It’s time to have your say! The council’s Stakeholder Survey for 2023 to 2024 is up and running. We want to know what Denbighshire residents, businesses, staff, elected members and partners think of the work we are doing here at the council.
The survey is a great opportunity for the council to understand and learn from what people think so we hope you’ll help us by answering a few questions.
It’s also a great way for you to find out more about the themes that make up the council’s current Corporate Plan. To take part and have your say, please complete the survey by visiting County Conversation Stakeholder Survey
Council Leader pays tribute to community spirit during Storm Babet
Denbighshire County Council’s Leader has praised the community’s resilience and efforts following the heavy rainfall which hit the County during Storm Babet on 20 October.
Councillor Jason McLellan said, “Many Denbighshire residents faced a very difficult time during the storm, with some people being evacuated, and others having to protect their homes following an unprecedented amount of rainfall in a short period of time.
“The impact of Storm Babet affected residents, schools, and businesses. Yet again, the community spirit in our county shone through with people going the extra mile to help each other.”
The Council experienced a surge in demand during Storm Babet dealing with over 600 calls on Friday and over the weekend. The Customer Service Centre took over 500 calls on Friday alone and logged 195 incidents. From 5pm on Friday until 8.30am on Monday Denbighshire’s out of hours line dealt with an additional 118 calls and logged 63 incidents. These included road flooding and road closures, property flooding, river flooding, and damage to property.
The Council’s teams worked throughout the night on Friday and over the weekend to resolve a range of issues. Teams continued to work with individuals directly affected by flooding and worked to clear debris affecting many of the county’s rural roads and critical culverts.
Councillor McLellan went on to say, “I’d also like to thank the tireless work of Council Officers, some of whom worked through the night and into the weekend to deal with the aftermath of Storm Babet.”
Information about what you should do in the event of a flood is available on the Council’s website:
You can find out how best to prepare for a flood on Natural Resources Wales website:
Minister Visit to Tŷ Pride in Rhyl
The Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS, visited Tŷ Pride in Rhyl on Thursday 19 October.
Tŷ Pride is a groundbreaking project dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ young people who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This project, established through an innovative collaboration between Denbighshire County Council, homeless charity Llamau, and the West Rhyl Young People’s Project's Viva LGBTQ+ team, stands as Wales’ sole LGBTQ+ specified supported living initiative.
Since its launch in the summer of 2019, Tŷ Pride has addressed the pressing issue of LGBTQ+ youth homelessness. Alarming research, including the 'Out on the Streets' report by End Youth Homelessness Cymru, highlighted the increased vulnerabilities faced by LGBTQ+ young people in Wales, such as family rejection, abuse, family breakdown, and stigmatisation. These factors contribute directly and indirectly to their elevated risk of experiencing homelessness and suffering from poor mental health.
Sam Austin, Deputy Chief Executive said, "It is the first provision of its kind in Wales. As we go into yet another round of restricted funding and limited budgets, it is vital we protect services like this. Since the project first opened, the Tŷ Pride partnership has been able to support ten young people with great outcomes for all.”
Emma Evans, Assistant Head of Service Delivery & Quality Assurance at Tŷ Pride, expressed, "Tŷ Pride provides a safe, non-judgmental, and inclusive space for young LGBTQ+ individuals facing homelessness. Residents embark on a programme of intense life skills within a supportive and accepting community of peers who understand the challenges, stigma, and discrimination they have faced. With nearly 50 young people referred to Tŷ Pride from across Wales, the demand for this service is evident."
Councillor Gill German, Denbighshire County Council Deputy Leader and Cabinet Lead Member for Education, Children and Families said, “It was a pleasure to share with Finance Minister Rebecca Evans how Tŷ Pride is leading the way in supporting vulnerable LGBTQ+ young people in the county thanks to excellent partnership work, including with Welsh Government. The positive impact made on so many lives is inspirational, and we are proud to have this project in Denbighshire.”
Nicola Stubbins, Denbighshire County Council’s Corporate Director Social Services and Education emphasised the project’s alignment with the Council’s key aim of reducing inequalities. She said, “Having a dedicated facility that engages with young people to build a better future is part of the Council’s commitment to ensuring a fairer, safe, and more equal Denbighshire. We can see in the way that young LGBTQ+ individuals are supported and thriving in Tŷ Pride that this commitment is yielding positive results.”
Since its inception, the Tŷ Pride partnership has supported ten young people, with four now living independently, thriving in their new homes. Three residents remain at Tŷ Pride, and three have successfully returned to live with their families.
The visit by Rebecca Evans MS underscores the commitment of the Welsh Government to inclusivity and support for LGBTQ+ individuals facing homelessness. Tŷ Pride stands as a beacon of hope, exemplifying how collaboration and innovation can create positive change in the lives of vulnerable youth.
Clwyd South Levelling Up projects making progress
In recent weeks, the Council’s Clwyd South Levelling Up programme has been making great progress towards the completion of some of its projects.
The Clwyd South Levelling Up programme is an investment by the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund that was secured through a joint application between Denbighshire County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council for the Clwyd South Constituency. The application was supported by Simon Baynes MP. £3.8 million was allocated to Denbighshire to invest in the communities of Llangollen, Llantysilio, Corwen and surrounding areas.
Two of our Llangollen-based schemes have been gaining momentum. Our Plas Newydd project has made great progress with work to widen the path, install a new handrail down in the Dell and improvements to the site’s viewing area having been completed.
Our Wenffrwd project aims to improve town links to and from the Wenffrwd Nature Reserve and the Health Centre and canal. The works have started to connect the canal tow path and nature reserve and are expected to be completed in late October 2023. A weekly park run has been established, utilising the path connecting the Health Centre and Wenffrwd, which is proving to be popular!
We are also pleased to see that our Corwen-based projects have made significant progress, starting with the Corwen railway platform canopy. This project, delivered by the Llangollen Railway Trust, has now been completed and we are pleased to see the railway open to the public, receiving over 20,000 passengers in its first 3 months!
External refurbishment works to protect a key heritage building, Canolfan Llys Owain (former HSBC bank), have commenced as part of a project to improve Corwen’s town centre infrastructure. This portion of the project is being delivered by Cadwyn Adfywio and is expected to be completed by winter 2023.
Initial works have also started on the high street and Green Lane Car Park in Corwen, with these due to re-commence at the end of October 2023.
Further information about these projects can be found on the Denbighshire County Council website: https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/levelling-up-fund
If you have any questions regarding the Clwyd South Levelling Up Fund projects, please contact: email@example.com