So long and thanks for the support

Following the death of our founder Martin Crumpton the remaining members of KLS have decided to close down. This site will remain here until the subscription runs out but will not be maintained. Mike Edwards will continue to run the Buy Local group (find him on Facebook) and we are pleased to note that other initiatives such as the Town Council’s involvement with Cittaslow and Robyn Lovelock’s Food Assembly will continue to promote localism.

We started off four years ago campaigning against a supermarket development
on the edge of town. We pointed out, having spent ages studying the application
and other data, that was no need for it and that if it opened far from
‘creating jobs’ as promised it would simply take trade from existing shops and
reduce employment overall. We lost, the planners caved in and it is now built.

Sainsburys who commissioned it have signed a 25 year lease deal with the
finance company who bought it off the developer, but have now realised that
there is no demand for it so have no plans to open it. The carpark, which they
promised the planning dept would be free for 2 hours even if you weren’t
shopping at Sainsbury is closed ‘for insurance reasons’ because the building
has no tenant (though it does have a security guard 24/7).

Sainsburys PR people say they are looking for another tenant but cannot
comment until negotiations are complete. Aldi seems favourite, but the
building is twice the size of any of their stores so it seems they’d have to
partition it, make a new entrance (which will need planning permission) and
find another tenant that doesn’t compete with Aldi.

Total cock-up by all concerned and now we have a big ugly empty shed and a
barricaded carpark. In an ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’. The county
council and our local councillors in particular who both promoted the idea and
ridiculed our protests should be ashamed, but they aren’t.

Remember this at the next local election.

ASSEMBLY MEMBERS MEET WITH HSBC TO DISCUSS BRANCH CLOSURES

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood, together with Clwyd South AM Ken Skates, has met HSBC Bank’s Regional Director, Retail Banking, and Regional Service Manager in the Assembly today following HSBC’s announcement of bank closures in Llangollen, Conwy and Beaumaris.

The AMs highlighted concerns raised with them by constituents about the impact these closures will have on them, but were told that the bank was unable to reverse its decision because customer usage at these three branches was amongst the lowest of its network of 1,100 branches across the UK.

The AMs asked the bank to consider the provision of an ATM cashpoint machine and were told that the bank would give this its consideration and let them know what decision it reached.

The bank’s representatives stated their records showed that the majority of customers at the three branches already use other branches and are internet registered. However they want to talk with all their customers – and especially those who lack mobility or internet access – about alternative ways they can access services.

Mr Isherwood said: “They are using their own database to identify their most vulnerable customers, some information is not held by them and all information is helpful. The bank emphasised that all personal customers can access HSBC via any post office, that they offer personal internet banking, that mobile phones can now be used to pay bills and transfer cash and that business customers can use the ‘fast bank’ service. The bank also emphasised that it wants a conversation with its local business customers about the different ways it can help.”

Slow Food Llangollen

Businesses in Llangollen are being asked if they would like to “take it slow” by giving speedy help to an exciting new initiative.

Over 50 shops, restaurants, pubs and other firms are being invited to help start a local Slow Food group in the town.

Slow Food is an international organisation that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment by promoting local, seasonal produce and reconnecting people with where their food comes from.

It is a not-for-profit movement in which local groups, run by volunteers, organise a variety of events alongside local food and drink producers and chefs.

Membership is open to individuals, however businesses and other organisations can also become Slow Food supporters and/or partners to help organise and promote group activities.

Each group determines its own aims and activities, which could include ideas such as:

    • Helping to develop kitchen gardens in local schools
    • Sensory taste education workshops for children and adults
    • Local gastronomic tours: visits to local farms, food artisans, specialty stores and wineries
    • Tastings and dinners to highlight local and/or heritage products in the area
    • Running cookery classes and taste education courses
    • Exchanges with other Slow Food groups
    • Maintaining and promoting heritage foods and drinks

If you are interested in learning more about how you can help, or would like to be kept informed of our progress, e-mail slowfoodllangollen@gmail.com, or phone or text Sal on 07786 623802.

Organisers also want to hear from anyone in Llangollen who is already a member of Slow Food UK.

Donate to KLS

Our chief expense at KLS is printing, mostly posters and flyers for Buy Local days. Committee member use their own computers and printers, but KLS needs cash to buy paper and ink cartridges or toner. We aren’t out to make a lot of money but we do want to grow and become more influential, and that takes cash.

Unlike most other bodies we don’t have a membership fee, anyone from Llan or round about can join by clicking here and filling in the form. If you support our aims, how about making a small donation? Whether you are a member or not, just click the button to right and send us a £ or two (or more).

Conditions Matter

When Denbighshire’s Planning Committee voted to allow J Ross’ plan to build a supermarket they asked for various conditions to be imposed which they hoped would go some way to reducing the impact on our existing shops and cafés in the town centre.

Two of them, banning a butchery counter and a deli from the supermarket, have already been neutered. Planning Officers Graham Boase, Paul Mead and Case Officer Ian Weaver, without referring to the Planning Committee, changed ‘No Deli and No Butcher’ to YES, Sainsbury’s can have both – provided they operated the counters themselves instead of a third-party concession. Surprisingly this was agreed by our local councillors, one of whom had put forward the conditions in the first place!

As Sainsburys do not normally have independent retailers operating in their stores, this is not problem for them. It will hurt Porters, Jones, Davies and Baileys a lot more.

Now, in  a letter received on Saturday, Denbighshire Local Planning Authority, have put out to public consultation- for 21 days – a proposal to release Sainsbury’s from a number of conditions, including overturning the ‘No Café’ restriction. If Denbighshire agree Sainsburys will be able to make more noise and not meet environmental standards in the first year of operation. And just to confirm what we’ve always said about the site being unsuitable for shopping on foot, they want to wriggle out of providing a pedestrian access point to the riverside path.

It’s not to late to fight this, there is a 21 day consultation period. Please sign our petition (above right) and email your thoughts to:

Graham Boase graham.boase@denbighshire.gov.uk; (Head of Planning)
Paul Mead paul.mead@denbighshire.gov.uk (Development Control Manager)
Ian Weaver ian.weaver@denbighshire.gov.uk (Principle Planning Officer)
Cllr Dewi Owens dewi.owens@denbighshire.gov.uk (Chair of the Planning Committee)
Cllr Stuart A Davies stuart.a.davies@denbighshire.gov.uk (Local Member)
Cllr Rhys Hughes rhys.hughes@denbighshire.gov.uk (Local Member)

 

Choir tunes up for market musical

Preparations for the free, open air musical, film and apple event taking place on Oswestry’s Bailey Head in October are gathering pace.

This unique day aims to rally support for Oswestry’s markets and town traders. It concludes with what promises to be an atmospheric night-time performance in front of the market hall of the song cycle, ‘Supermarket’, by composer, Neil Phillips*, and a choir specially assembled for the occasion.

The nine-voice ensemble has been rehearsing since July under the tuition of Barry Edwards who has created vocal arrangements of the 12 songs for the event. The ‘musical’ examines the impact on lifestyle, shopping and food culture of supermarket development in a mix of wryly observed songs dealing with themes such as alcohol, apples, milk and self-service tills.

Choir member, Marj Joscelyn, said: “The messages of the Supermarket songs are very relevant to Oswestry. They highlight the importance of shopping locally and taking advantage of the great choice of shops and quality produce the town has to offer.”

Supermarket starts at 6.30pm on Saturday 20 October and will be accompanied by projection on the market hall of original and local interest films curated by Kinokulture.

During the day, an apple celebration will be running as part of the market with stalls and activities dedicated to all things apple, including a display on the work of CROP (Cambrian Railways Orchard Project). There will be apple pressing, apple produce, a children’s corner, as well as an apple surgery with expert orchardist, Tom Adams, giving advice on apple grafting, growing and tending.

Town businesses are also getting on board with apple related displays and products, including Radio Café which will have apple specials on the menu, breakfast through to evening.

At a time when people power is growing in the town, the organisers believe it is an event that will help fuel community spirit and one not to be missed.

Maybe something KLS should try in Llangollen?

* “Supermarket” is available from iTunes or on CD

Or follow the event on Twitter

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board Consultation

I attended the consultation meeting yesterday at the Town Hall along with our Vice Chair, Phil Jones and our Secretary Jude Williams. Martin Crumpton and Councillor Phil Thane attended a later meetings and will report separately.

The meeting was very well controlled and time limited by BCUHB who as one would expect had many bodies present! There were many clever words and phrases used by the officials who used a great deal of techno health speak and gave very little specific information about their proposals. However what is crystal clear as far as Llangollen is concerned is that the existing Community Hospital will close and a proposed Multi function Health Centre will be provided in 2015 SUBJECT to the Health Board securing funding and Welsh Government approving a business case for the acquisition of the former River Lodge(Woodlands Hotel) site. In the intervening period services will be transferred to the existing GP Health Centre, but these proposals are under discussion with the GP Practice because of limited space at the Regent Street premises.

There is grave concern among residents that the Hospital will close in early 2013 which has been confirmed by a letter from Mary Burrows Chief Executive of the Health Board to our AM and that the proposed new Health Facility will never actually appear. It is clear that BCUHB intend to sell the existing Hospital along with Oakleigh higher up Abbey Road to produce much needed funds. What is not clear is whether these monies will be retained in Llangollen for future health service investment. Arthur Hardy Chair of the Hospital League of Friends expressed concern that money his organisation at invested in the hospital would also be lost.

In the meantime patients and their family support network will have to travel to Chirk and Wrexham to receive treatment since in future their will be no in-patient beds in Llangollen.

Residents can make their views known to the Health Board in forms which were handed out at the meeting or they can write to Mary Burrows Ysbyty Gwynedd, Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2PW or email Mary.burrows@wales.nhs.uk

Mike Edwards Chair Keep Llangollen Special