Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Llandudno .....Christmas Extravaganza hailed a great success despite empty streets!

I am glad it was hailed a success, however for anyone who went, it was like a Ghost Town and quite empty. But for those who went, they appeared to enjoy themselves. We did not stay long as there was hardly anything to do!

ABOUT 30,000 people turned out for Llandudno’s first Christmas Extravaganza.

The free event was held over four days.

Billed to be one of the biggest events in North Wales’ social calendar for the festive season, the spectacular event certainly didn’t disappoint.

With stalls galore, foodie treats, rides, entertainment, decorated igloos, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, and more - the high-spirited extravaganza turned out to be the event the town had been missing.

Chris Williams, chairman, and director of Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza Ltd Co told the Pioneer: “I feel quite emotional for lots of reasons.

“We took this event on knowing it was going to be a challenge especially after the tough time many have endured over the last couple of years. At stages it looked like we wouldn’t achieve what we set out to do, however, we persevered and created a Christmas event that I hope the town of Llandudno can be proud of.

Guests could hire an igloo. Picture: Llandudno Christmas Extravaganza?

Guests could hire an igloo. Picture: Llandudno Christmas Extravaganza?

“Over the course of the event we saw families enjoying themselves, friends meeting up and taking in a great atmosphere and people who probably didn’t know each other dancing and singing together to the sound of the Ommph Stompers.”

Chris added: “This wasn’t a Christmas market it was a Christmas Extravaganza which is exactly what we wanted.

“Our team worked tirelessly to ensure everyone had a great time and we are truly thankful for all of the support.

“This event was for Llandudno. I know it had many teething problems but we have taken everything on board and our small team will work tirelessly to make any improvements needed to try and satisfy the many different needs of the residents and businesses.

“I’m proud of our efforts and everyone involved can hold their head high because so many people were able to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”

Rides were in place for thrill-seekers. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

Rides were in place for thrill-seekers. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

Chris was delighted that the event welcomed about 30,000 over four days.

His personal highlights included entertainment and two traction engines.

“We have plans to make it even better next year and having more time to plan will only improve it,” Chris said.

“It will always be free to enter under my management but the question is... does Llandudno want to see it again?”

The joyous event was opened on Thursday by Ysgol Morfa Rhianedd Choir.

Other performers who took to the stage, over the four day period, included Rafael Pianist, the Maelgwyn Male Voice Choir, Neil and Shereen Acoustic Band, Chris Williams Magic Show, Llandudno Silhouettes Morris Dancers, North Wales Rock Choir Flash Mob, Cambria Band, The Quaynotes Jazz band and Lydia Tunstall.

Dr Diablo also attended and brought thrills and spills of the Circus to the Christmas cracker.

German sausages were a hit. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

German sausages were a hit. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

“Astounding and dangerous acts” were performed live including the Human Blockhead, Challenge Straitjacket Escape, the Pain-Proof Man, and Spectacular Fire.

Residents and visitors also enjoyed a screening of two Christmas films - Polar Express and Home Alone 2.

The November Fest was a big hit. The evening German Extravaganza featured German beer, German sausages as well as the Oompah Stompers.

Rides on Trinity Square included the Sizzler and Miami Trip. There was also a Snowman Ride experience.

Maelgwn Male Voice Choir on stage. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

Maelgwn Male Voice Choir on stage. Picture: Suzanne Kendrick

Magic Light Productions concluded the entertainment on a Sunday. The show on the main stage featured magic, illusion, and Timmy the Toucan

Dates have been penciled in for the next Christmas Extravaganza. This is set to be on November 17, 18, 19, and 20 of November 2022.


Llandudno.....Café & Fish & Chip Shop Awarded 1 out of 5 Food Hygiene Rating by Inspectors!

Dear o dear! The last thing you would expect at these two places! But very worrying.

TWO Llandudno businesses have been handed one-out-of-five ratings by food hygiene inspectors.

Cafe Culture, on Mostyn Street, and fish and chip shop St George’s Plaice, on St George’s Place, both scored poorly following an assessment in October.

At both sites, there was found to be ‘improvement necessary’ regarding hygienic food handling (including preparation, cooking, re-heating, cooling, and storage), and the cleanliness and condition of facilities and building to enable good food hygiene.

But both were also told there was ‘major improvement necessary’ in the management of food safety.

This concerns the system or checks in place to ensure that food sold or served is safe to eat, evidence that staff knows about food safety, and that the food safety officer had confidence that standards will be maintained in the future.

Of Conwy's 275 restaurants, cafes, and canteens with ratings, 227 (83 percent) have five-star ratings and none have zero.

From ....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19735004.conwy-cafe-fish-chip-shop-need-major-improvement-one-star-rating/

North Wales ... Second home buyers or proposed new holiday lets will need to apply for planning permission!

What a great idea, higher taxes and planning permission needed will help stop the homes crisis, it is sadly the only way. 

Second-home buyers or anyone planning to turn a property into an Airbnb or short-term holiday let in Wales may soon need to apply for planning permission.

Welsh Government Housing Minister Julie James confirmed today it will launch a consultation on major changes to planning laws in a bid to dampen a housing crisis engulfing many Welsh-speaking communities.

The leader of Gwynedd Council, Dyfrig Siencyn has welcomed the move as "a key moment in our efforts to address the Welsh housing crisis facing our communities".

The consultation exercise will launch in January and seek views on introducing a new "planning class" for short-term holiday accommodation. The change, if implemented, would allow councils to designate specific "problem" areas where planning permission would be needed if any buyer planned to use a property as a second home or a short-term let.

The change could be introduced from next summer.

Julie James also announced plans for a pilot scheme in Dwyfor, Gwynedd, to look at the issue of bringing long-term empty homes back into use.

Gwynedd Council will receive an additional £2 million to fund measures, including buying and refurbishing empty homes for social rent in the area, as well as shared equity schemes.

Dwyfor, which includes the Llŷn Peninsula, Porthmadog, and the surrounding area will receive £1m from that pot, where as much as 50% of the entire housing stock is made up of holiday accommodation.

If the pilot scheme is a success it could be rolled out across other parts of Wales.

Anglesey, Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, and Pembrokeshire, will also each receive £1m, Ms. James confirmed today in the Senedd.

This beach at Abersoch is almost deserted outside the tourist season
This beach at Abersoch is almost deserted outside the tourist season

She said: “We want young people to have a realistic prospect of buying or renting affordable homes in the places they have grown up so they can live and work in their local communities," she said.

“High numbers of second and holiday homes in one area can threaten the Welsh language in its heartlands and affect the sustainability of some rural areas.

Welsh Government is pushing ahead with the idea which would run alongside all six councils and Snowdonia National Park Authority
Housing and Local Government Minister Julie James MS 

“We are a welcoming nation and tourism is a major part in our economy bringing jobs and income to many parts of Wales.

"But we don’t want ghost villages in seasonal holiday spots – places where no one’s at home in the winter months.

“These are complex issues and there are no quick fixes. What may be right for one community may not work for another.

"We will need to bring forward a range of actions, there is no one silver bullet here!”

The Welsh Government also confirmed this will form the basis of the Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan.

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said that while they wanted to ensure that people could afford to live where they grew up, it was also vital that Welsh-speaking communities "continue to be economically viable places for local people, especially young people, to live and work and where the Welsh language and culture can thrive".

The draft plan includes support to create community-led social enterprises to help allow local
people the first chance to buy or rent a property and help protect historic Welsh place names.

Many of the proposed housing measures had been recommended in a report compiled by Porthmadog based academic, Dr Simon Brooks, who earlier this year outlined a series of measures to tackle the affordability and linguistic impacts felt in many communities.

The leader of the Plaid Cymru-run Gwynedd Council has warmly welcomed the announcement.

UNESCO World Heritage Site announcement at the National Slate Museum at Llanberis in Gwynedd on Wednesday, July 28. Gwynedd Council leader, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn.
UNESCO World Heritage Site announcement at the National Slate Museum at Llanberis in Gwynedd on Wednesday, July 28. Gwynedd Council leader, Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn. 

Describing it as "a defining moment," Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn said: "For the first time, the Welsh Government has recognized that it has a key role to play to ensure that current and future generations can continue to live in our coastal and rural communities as a matter of fundamental social justice.“

"Following today’s announcement, the practical discussions regarding the regulation of second homes, holiday homes, and AirBnBs can begin in earnest."

Dwyfor Meirionnydd MS, Mabon ap Gwynfor welcomed these "concrete steps".

He said: “The challenge is huge, but with the political appetite, vision, strong policies, and sufficient financial resources to achieve our goals, there is still hope for a better future for Welsh communities.”

Consultations on both changes to planning classes and the proposed Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan will launch in the New Year.


North Wales .... 11,000 cases of domestic abuse recorded!

This is beyond shocking more needs to be done to reach the victims. The Police do a wonderful job, but the courts need to do more as does our society. This is not acceptable in any way.

CRIMES of domestic abuse more than doubled in North Wales in the last six years – and more than 11,000 were recorded during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, figures show.

Nearly 850,000 such crimes were reported to police across England and Wales last year, and that is mere ‘the tip of the iceberg’, according to charity Women's Aid.

Rates for many other crimes dropped during a year that included coronavirus restrictions and national lockdowns, yet domestic abuse rose by six percent nationally.

Home Office data shows 11,808 offenses were recorded by North Wales Police in 2020-21, making up 22 percent of all offenses recorded that year.

That is the equivalent of 17 for every 1,000 people in the area, up from 15 the previous year.

And the area has seen a 146 percent rise in domestic abuse offenses since 4,798 were logged in 2015-16 when records began.

The data shows women are disproportionately more likely to experience abuse, and they have accounted for more than three-quarters of those killed in domestic homicides since 2018 nationally – seven women were killed in North Wales in that time.

Farah Nazeer, chief executive of Women's Aid, said to tackle domestic abuse, society must work together to tackle the ‘inherent sexism and misogyny which underpin women's inequality and violence against them’.

She said: "Women will not report domestic abuse if they aren’t confident they will be believed and action will be taken on their behalf.

"We all have a part to play in unlearning sexism."

The figures suggest most cases of domestic abuse will not see perpetrators charged, with just eight percent of cases concluded nationally last year resulting in a charge or summons.

Cases handled by North Wales Police were even less likely to end with a suspect before the courts, with seven percent concluding with a charge or summons.

Ms. Nazeer said work was needed to restore faith in policing after more than three-quarters of investigations were dropped due to evidential difficulties nationally – more than half because the victim pulled out of the investigation.

In North Wales, 76 percent of cases were closed due to problems gathering evidence in 2020-21, with 58 percent abandoned because the victim did not wish to support the investigation.

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for domestic abuse, assistant commissioner Louisa Rolfe, said the ‘complex and entrenched societal problem’ was a policing priority and highlighted an increased number of victims reporting abuse in recent years.

She said forces could still pursue cases to keep victims safe, even when they are reluctant to support prosecution but said arresting offenders was a temporary respite from the problem.

She called for a multi-agency approach to provide effective and sustainable support and solutions.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the UK Government is committed to ending violence against women and girls and said its landmark Domestic Abuse Act would improve victim support and strengthen the legislation.

She said funding had been doubled for 2021-22 to £25 million in an effort to tackle perpetrators.

From .....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19749323.domestic-abuse-doubles-north-wales-just-six-years/

North Wales ... World's rarest sea turtle washes up alive on beach!

What a wonderful story, and to think how far this lost Turtle has traveled! I hope it can get home safely.

A COUPLE made a remarkable discovery when they stumbled across the world's rarest turtle on a local beach.

Ash James, and his wife Samantha, made the amazing discovery of a Kemp's ridley sea turtle on Talacre beach on Sunday.

Also known as the Atlantic ridley sea turtle, it is the rarest and the world's most endangered species of sea turtle.

North Wales Pioneer:

Ash, from Holywell, was walking his dog on the beach when he found the turtle.

"Ash thought it was dead as it was motionless," Samantha said.

But the pair decided to report the finding to the British Marine Life Rescue.

Ash then returned to the beach with Sam, and their nine-year-old son, Gethin.

Specialists attended and asked them to locate the turtle - which was, remarkably, still alive - despite being thousands of miles away from where it should be.

Adults primarily live in the Gulf of Mexico, so Ash and Sam named it Raphael.

It was in a state of cold-water shock, but when it was gently prodded it began to move.

North Wales Pioneer:

Raphael was then collected by Anglesey Sea Zoo - where it'll spend the next few months recuperating before being released back into its natural habitat in the Gulf of Mexico.

It is thought the turtle was pushed way off course by Atlantic storms which affected the jetstream.

Sam added: "It was astonishing to find such an amazing creature on our local beach - we all have our fingers crossed that he survives."

From ....https://www.northwalespioneer.co.uk/news/19749491.flintshire-worlds-rarest-sea-turtle-washes-alive-talacre-beach/

Colwyn Bay .....Banned driver armed with 'nail scissors' who spat at police vehicle is jailed!

Just 6 months, so out in 3 or two! What a joke, and he had previous too!  It does not give you much faith in the courts, does it?

A 35-year-old man caught with what he claimed was “nail scissors” in his jacket was jailed for six months by a court.

Stephen Jones, of Prince’s Drive, Colwyn Bay, admitted possessing scissors in public at Blaenau Ffestiniog on Sunday, having cocaine, driving while banned, and damaging a police vehicle by spitting.

He also pleaded guilty to damaging Land Rover and Audi vehicles by kicking mirrors at Penrhynside in October.

District Judge Anita Price at Llandudno court said Jones had two relevant convictions triggering a six months minimum sentence for having the scissors. He must pay £429 compensation for the vehicle vandalism and the £87 police cleaning bill.

Defense solicitor Graham Parry said the scissors weren’t produced.

It was “something of an achievement,” in terms of his record, that Jones had stayed out of trouble for 12 months.

From .....https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/banned-driver-armed-nail-scissors-22312188

Llandudno ....Developer urged to withdraw 55 flats plan on parking site for cars and campervans!

To be honest the whole area there is oap flats and council housing, but a car park is a busy place. If the owner is not making money then they have the right to submit an application like this, all the council needs to do is turn it down.

A developer has been urged to drop plans to build apartments on a car park and campervan site in Llandudno.

McCarthy Stone is proposing to develop land at Maelgwyn Road car park off Gloddaeth Street - erecting 55 flats for the over-60s.

As well as being used as a car park Conwy council says it can accommodate campervan and motorhome parking during the day due to larger parking bays - with a growing number of visitors holidaying in these vehicles.

The developer said demand for retirement living accommodation was growing in the UK and Aberconwy already has a higher than average older population.

Redevelopment of land at Maelgwyn Road car park, Llandudno

They added: "The site’s location in Llandudno will benefit future residents, with local amenities on their doorstep, including shops, restaurants, and health care facilities.

"The area also has excellent public transport links with local bus services stopping close by."

But Aberconwy MS Janet Finch-Saunders is concerned about the loss of car parking space - especially with tourism in the town booming after the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

The Senedd member urged the developer to instead reach a deal with Anwyl Homes for the former Gogarth Abbey Hotel site at West Shore, which has been empty for over a decade.

She said: "As is noted in the virtual exhibition, the site has a great range of local amenities close by.

“The site is therefore ideal as a car park and should remain a car park.

Maelgwyn Road car park, Llandudno

“Llandudno cannot afford to lose any parking spaces. Residents and people who travel to Llandudno for weekly shopping or holidays will know well the parking chaos the community encounters.

“I would recommend that McCarthy Stone withdraw and contact Anwyl Homes so to try and acquire the Gogarth Abbey Hotel site which has been left undeveloped for far too long."

From .....https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/developer-urged-withdraw-55-homes-22311606

November 29th On This Day In History......


  • Some interesting events happened on this day a few years ago!
  • 1745 Bonnie Prince Charlie's army moves into Manchester and occupies Carlisle
  • 1877 US inventor Thomas Edison demonstrates his hand-cranked phonograph 
  • for the first time
  • 1935 Physicist Erwin Schrödinger publishes his famous thought experiment 
  • "Schrödinger's cat", a paradox that illustrates the problem of the Copenhagen 
  • interpretation of quantum mechanics
  • 1951 1st underground atomic explosion at Frenchman Flat in Nevada

Monday, 29 November 2021

Conwy Council.....Proposed pay-rise for Conwy councillors is branded ‘obscene’

I think the town councilors are excellent, however, the ones who sit on the panel for planning, some of them like Cllr Brian Cossey need sacking.

Also, the council cannot manage money, they have just blown 1 million on a Windows 365 update for staff!

Conwy’s strained finances could be put under further pressure if draft plans for a £146,000 overall pay-rise for councilors get the go-ahead.

And whilst members voted for all councilors’ salaries and expenses to be frozen, a final decision is yet to be made.

The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales (IRPW) has released its plans for salary payments for Conwy councilors, which includes a  £6,726 pay-rise for the council’s leader.

READ MORE: Vale council tax could rise by up to 3.9 due to budget shortfall

The draft IRPW plan was considered by Conwy County Council’s democratic services committee today as part of a consultation process that ends on November 26, and councilors were asked for their comments on the matter.

The payments would come into effect following the May 2022 elections.

Conwy’s leader’s salary is proposed to rise from £49,974 to £56,700 a year. The deputy leader’s wage could also shoot up £4,370 from £35,320 to £39,690.

But other councillors can also expect a pay increase if the plans are passed.

Executive members, such as cabinet members, would earn an extra £3,247 a year as their wages increase from £30,773 to £34,020.

The civic head’s salary is proposed to increase from £23,161 to £25,593, and the deputy civic head’s salary would increase from £18,108 to £20,540.

The basic salary for councilors would also increase from £14,368 to £16,800.

But the total number of councilors is set to drop from 59 to 55 due to boundary changes, resulting in some savings.

READ MORE: Conwy: ‘Second homes crisis spiraling out of control’

Cllr Harry Saville proposed the committee recommended that all salaries be frozen, branding the proposed increase “obscene”.

“Considering we are currently working through the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, I think a 16.9 percent pay-rise for elected officials is obscene,” he said.

But some councilors felt the pay increase would attract younger, working-age people from more diverse backgrounds.

Cllr Goronwy Edwards said: “The point that Cllr Harry has made about obscene increases,  but I go back to the reason why these salaries have gone up over the last few years because we have tried to attract people of working age, younger people into local government, and I think if we are going to attract those people, we need to be realistic about the sort of pay they can expect for taking on these roles. I do think we need to keep abreast of that if we are going to attract new people into local government.

“I remember when I first became a councilor back in 1991, the actual amount we were paid was next to nothing, and gradually over the years, they’ve recognized the increase in our workload and the responsibilities we had to take on. Obviously, there is a boundary change as well coming in this election. Members will have to take on larger wards.”

“If we are going to attract working people, younger people, and people from different backgrounds, it has to bear that in mind – the remuneration should reflect that extra work.”

Cllr Nigel Smith said: “Well, this is always a difficult subject to discuss, but whilst I look at the screen at my fellow councilors, I see a group of people like myself who are quite comfortably well off, probably without a mortgage, and it is very easy for us to stipulate that we don’t need an increase. I understand where the IRPW is coming from. They want to increase diversity among councilors, and that is something that we need to do.”

Cllr Harry Saville proposed that all salaries and expenses be frozen, which was seconded by Cllr Sue Shotter, and this vote was carried eight votes to six.

The final decision will be made by The Independent Remuneration Panel for Wales.

From .....https://www.thenational.wales/news/19737713.proposed-pay-rise-conwy-councillors-branded-obscene/?fbclid=IwAR2zWKqAR1zPZRk7_Cnpxl3Mr9Rp5IDT2j13sFdv_vm9RepBxBgONCSBhog