Monthly Archives: February 2012

26 February 2012

The Friends of the park had its first gardening session of 2012 this Monday.  Seven of us including Gwyl from Keep Wales Tidy spent a couple of hours tidying up the beds and picking up general debris (seven bin bags worth).  This modest amount of work made a great difference to the general appearance of the park.

These sessions are going to be held regularly, every fortnight throughout the year.  We think this is the best way of making sure we keep on top of all the gardening tasks and it will allow us to improve on what we have already.

Sessions are planned for the following Monday mornings, meeting 10am everyone is welcome to come along and help

5th and 19th March

2nd, 16th and 30th April

14th and 28th May

We do appreciate not everyone will be able to take an active part.  Support in the form of donations of plants (or money!) and ideas will be very welcome.


Protestors will lobby Conwy county councilors over development plan

North Wales Weekly News Feb 23 2012 by Judith Phillips

PLACARD carrying protestors will turn out in force to lobby councillors when they vote on controversial plans to designate green field sites for housing.

They will stand outside Conwy County Council’s offices at Bodlondeb, Conwy, this morning as councillors arrive for a crucial meeting to discuss the draft Local Development Plan (LDP).

People from throughout the county are furious that green spaces in their communities could disappear.

The Bodafon Fields Preservation Association in Craig-y-Don is fighting to save part of Bodafon Fields off Nant-y-Gamar Road being included in the plan.

And their anger was fuelled when they recently discovered it had been taken off the contingency list and placed on the definite list of sites suitable for homes.

“We are holding a mass picket at Bodlondeb. We need to convince councillors that these valuable green fields must be protected,” said Association spokesman Ruby Williams.

People living in Queen’s Road in CraigyDon, only found out on February 1 that land at Fferm Farm close to their homes had been included in the plan at the last minute.

They too will be protesting today.

“There has been no consultation with us by the local authority, no notices on the site, no prior warning of any kind,” said Ceridwen Simpson, who with her husband Keith is leading the residents’ protest.

“The site’s inclusion is neither democratic or fair play. This site should be withdrawn completely at this stage and not allowed into the overall plan again unless adequate consultation takes place first.

“We believe that brown field development in Llandudno should be encouraged before removing Grade A agricultural land from one of the last two green field sites in the town,” she complained.

Villagers in Dwygyfylchi are equally furious that planners are ploughing ahead with the allocation of four development sites there.

The sites earmarked for commercial and housing development are off Ysguborwen Road and include the village football field.

Campaigner Anne McCaffrey said: “Building this excessive number of houses in Dwygyfylchi is in direct contravention of the Welsh Government’s Wales Spatial Plan which stipulates houses should be within urban hubs where they are needed.

“Dwygyfylchi s classified as being a village within a rural area, obviously not an urban hub.”

The council meeting starts at 10am today.

St Dunstan’s armed forces charity changes name to Blind Veterans UK

Daily Post by David Powell Feb 21 2012

A CHARITY for visually-impaired ex-servicemen and women is today changing its name from St Dunstan’s to Blind Veterans UK.

The historic name was taken from the organisation’s first main premises back in 1915, but charity leaders say it is time for change because too few people know what St Dunstan’s actually is.

So rebranding themselves as Blind Veterans UK is their way of telling people exactly who they’re helping.

As he nears the end of his first six months in the Llandudno rehabilitation and training centre, its manager, Squadron Leader Mark Lovatt said: “The primary reason (for the name change) is that a lot of the population don’t understand what the charity does under its current name and by changing the name it will allow us to raise awareness which will give us two benefits.

“One, we believe, is that there are 50,000-plus ex-servicemen who have got some form of visual impairment who could benefit from the charity. So it will give us a better opportunity to have access to them.

“Secondly, in a difficult market we need to raise a considerable amount of money so we can service that membership and serve our three centres (in Llandudno, Brighton and Sheffield).”

Speaking at the Llandudno centre on Queen’s Road, Craig y Don, Sqn Ldr Lovatt said: “We are incredibly proud of the heritage. We’re going to dedicate a little room to St Dunstan here.

“The charity was the Help for Heroes charity of its day. Post-war, it was a very rich charity and everybody knew who it was but they don’t now.

“We recognise that my generation, and younger, probably don’t know what the charity is. This (name change) is an effort to address that.”

Sqn Ldr Lovatt says the cost of changing to Blind Veterans UK is a less than 1% of the organisation’s annual spending. He added: “We’ve been really inclusive and communicated with our 3,000 members, and staff to make sure they know what’s going on, they have some kind of buy-in, and they’ve get some influence.

“Ultimately, we had 200 names proposed. We sifted it down to a final four before we made the choice. St Dunstan’s itself was in the last four, and Battle Blindness was another one. But it was almost too clever. I think the name we settled on describes accurately what we do.

“I think people realise what veterans means now. It’s not just someone who’s just come back from war.”

The charity helps ex-military personnel who have lost sight from conflict, age, disease or accidents.

Sqn Ldr Lovatt adds: “I think one of the beauties of the charity is that once we support them, that’s it for life. So we have to think considerably far ahead to make sure the charity’s viable. We’re just coming up to our centenary. We’d like to think we’ve got a business plan to take us somewhere towards the next one.”

He reckons the first five months of the Llandudno centre have been a success. “I’m biased but I think it’s gone really well. I think we’ve got a really unique personality here partly to do with being in North Wales and the people we’ve recruited but also the location.

“This building gives us a wonderful platform. You see how it’s lit up at night. You see how it sits in the town. It makes it a real pleasure to come into work and for people to visit.

“It was a convalescent home until the 1970s then a private hospital (Queen’s Road Medical Centre) and we’ve restored it to its former glory. We’ve got old photos of soldiers convalescing here – so it really has come full circle.”

After the war, it was Lady Forrester, the wife of a West Midlands shale mine owner, who set it up as a convalescent home for their workers. She didn’t live to see it finished.

Sqn Ldr Lovatt added: “The members feel we care for them and care for each other. When you walk down the corridor here I’d be devastated if someone didn’t look you in the eye and smile and say hello.

“And you don’t need to be able to see. If you get a hello with a smile in the voice, you can tell the smile is there.”

Only 4% of registered blind people are completely blind.

“Our rehabilitation officers teach them to use what they have much better. We get moving stories of people with only peripheral vision left being told that if you put a photo out to the side and tilt your head in a certain way you might be able to see your grandkids for the first time. We’ve actually had that experience.”

19 February 2012


Having used some of the facilities available in Craig y Don hotels recently it has highlighted to me that there a lot on offer locally that we sometimes overlook.

The friends of the park recently held an informal meeting at the Manor Hotel.  We used the public lounge area, which was very comfortable and ideal for our needs.  There is also a bar with sea views.  A great place to pop in for a drink, open to non-residents.

This weekend my family went with another to the Regency Royal hotel to sample their Indian buffet meal.  The restaurant is nicely presented; the food was good and only cost £9.95 for as all you can eat.

I am not particularly endorsing these hotels, although I am happy to say that in both cases the experience was good.  My point is that these are examples of businesses in Craig y Don that provide useful services to local people.  I see businesses, especially small ones, being a key part of the community and Craig y Don is certainly better off for having them.


A park working party is taking place on Monday 20th February at 10:15am.  This will be a regular activity, carrying out basic gardening type activities to maintain and enhance the park.  Everyone is welcome to assist.  Meet at the centre piece.  Bring a spade (if you have one).

Craig-y-Don residents accuse council of deviousness over housing plans

North Wales Weekly News Feb 16 2012 by Judith Phillips

A COUNCIL has been accused of “deviousness” after residents discovered by accident that a greenfield site close to their homes has been designated for housing.

People living in the Queen’s Road area of Craig-y-Don are furious because land at Fferm Farm adjacent to a sheltered housing complex could see over 100 new homes built on it.

And other Craig-y-Don residents are angry that a field on Nant-y-Gamar Road has been reclassified in the draft Local Development Plan (LDP), meaning it could also be given the green light to be built on.

“This is a very worrying development,” said Ruby Williams, a member of the Bodafon Fields Preservation Association.

“It brings the housing plans for Bodafon and Queen’s Road significantly closer and we urge councillors to put a stop to this now.”

Originally the Nant-y-Gamar Road land was designated as a contingency site, only to be used if other more suitable locations weren’t available.

But the Queen’s Road site has been included in the plan at short notice, according to residents.

Keith Simpson, who lives opposite the land which extends on both sides, said he and his neighbours were angry when they heard the news.

“This site wasn’t in the original plan and we knew nothing about this until this week. It’s an absolute disgrace.

“We’ve had no opportunity to object. This isn’t at all democratic. We feel completely let down by the council and our councillors,” he complained.

Residents are worried about access and traffic problems and pressure on the infrastructure of the area.

The site was placed in the draft LDP late last year at the suggestion of Craig-y-Don councillor Christine Jones, but she says she was assured by officers that both it and Nant-y-Gamar would only have contingency status.

“The officers have now told me they have put both these pieces of land into the LDP as definites. I’m absolutely livid as they’ve been put in at the last minute when I was given to understand they wouldn’t be. It’s appalling,” she said.

The LDP will be up for final approval by Conwy County Council on Thursday, February 23.

Principal planning officer James Harland commented: “Once members of the council have agreed the proposed changes to the plan it will be submitted to the Welsh Government.

“At the same time there will be a six week consultation giving the public a further opportunity to comment.”

12 February 2012

Although it was not a Craig y Don event I am sure that quite a few of the 6,000 people at Eirias park on Friday watching Wales v Scotland Under 20s were from Craig y Don.  It is not just that Wales won; but the rugby was good and the event was really well organised.  I think bringing matches like this will have benefits for all of North Wales and the new indoor training centre at Eirias is a great resource on our doorstep.

Closer to home, there seems to be quite a lot going on that may, if we are lucky and work hard, lead to some significant improvements to the park.  As well as the sensory garden that I blogged about a couple of weeks ago, there may be the chance to renew the trim trail.  However, I have to point out there is some way to go before we know if these things will actually happen.  Anyone who can support or has ideas please get in touch.

On a smaller scale, but equally important in my mind, we have set up a team to carry out regular gardening activities in the park.  The first working party will take place on Monday 20th February at 10:15am.  Everyone is welcome to assist.  Meet at the centre piece.  Bring a spade (if you have one).


Llandudno primary school pupil running to help sick children

North Wales Weekly News Feb 9 2012 by Judith Phillips

A PRIMARY school pupil is going to run and walk around the Great Orme to help disadvantaged and sick children.

Courtny Dixon, 11, who attends Ysgol Craig-y-Don in Llandudno was moved to raise money for the Happy Faces Children’s Charity after seeing a TV programme at Christmas.

“I was sad to see children who weren’t well and I wanted to help them. I’m really excited about raising money for Happy Faces,” she said.

Courtny will be walking as fast as she can and running around the 5k long Marine Drive on February 25. Anyone who would like to sponsor her should leave their contact details at the reception in Ysgol Craig-y-Don.

5 February 2012

Although we do see ships from the Craig y Don shoreline, it is not an everyday occurrence. According to ShipAIS website, the one anchored this weekend was the Patricia Buoy/Lighthouse vessel.

The friends of the park had an informal meeting in the bar of the Manor hotel on Thursday. A good turn-out and lots of chat.  A good opportunity for everyone to catch up with developments.

There are a few dates for you to put in your diary:

  • 16 February – Llandudno Horticultural Society – St David’s Methodist Church. 7:30pm. Illustrated talk by Anne Harrison. Tel 07850 283805
  • 27 February – Drawing classes for beginners start. CYD community centre
  • 28 February – Teen Drawing classes start.  CYD community centre
  • 30 March – Park social event for all the family. Meal and entertainment.
  • 5 May – Llandundo Extravaganza & Transport festival starts
  •  29 May – Olympic Torch passes through Llandudno
  • 3 June – Big Jubilee Lunch (Queen’s diamond jubilee celebration)
  • 17 June – Llandudno 10 mile run passes through Craig y Don (roads closed)
  • 8 September – Party in the Park


LDP protest sparks new row over homes

North Wales Pioneer 5 February 2012 by Chris Hogg

EFFORTS to save a Llandudno green space from development have taken a dramatic twist with an alternative site now also possibly earmarked for housing.

Campaigners fighting to save Bodafon Fields put forward a site on Queens Road as a replacement but now both sites have been included in a draft version of Conwy Council’s Local Development Plan (LDP), leaving residents from the two areas furious.

Residents on Queens Road were outraged the agricultural land site, near to the Queens Road roundabout, was being considered.

Keith Simpson, who lives on Queens Road, said no warning had been given about the late inclusion of the site.

“Nobody wants it here,” he said.

“All the traffic that will be going through Queens Road will be a big problem.”

Another resident, Brian Marsden, added: “It would be just as damaging to a development here.”

Objections have also been raised by residents from the nearby Maes Berllan retirement properties and Llandudno councillor Gareth Jones, who said he was concerned that the Queens Road site had been included “without any consultation whatsoever”.

Cllr Christine Jones, who initially recommended replacing Bodafon Fields with the Queens Road site, defended her decision, saying on the advice of council planning officers, she believed it was the lesser of two evils.

“I’m strongly opposed to both these sites in principle,” she said.
“I do not think the area can sustain anymore houses.”

Ruby Williams of the Bodafon Fields Preservation Association said the LDP plans were bad news for Llandudno.

“We have always thought that if this goes ahead it will open the way for further development,” she said.

“We see it as the beginning of the end for the majority of Bodafon Fields.”

The draft LDP is due to go before Conwy’s Full Council on February 23.

A Conwy council spokesman said: “Once members of the council have agreed the proposed changes to the plan it will be submitted to the Welsh Government.

“At the same time there will be a six week consultation giving the public a further opportunity to comment.”


Soldiers show Ysgol y Gogarth pupils how to see at night

North Wales Weekly News Feb 2 2012 by Judith Phillips

SOLDIERS have visited a special school to show pupils how to use night vision equipment.

Seven members of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers went to Ysgol y Gogarth in Craig y Don last week.

They are going to do a blindfolded sponsored walk from Chester to Llandudno’s St Dunstan’s Centre for blind ex-service personnel.

And on February 9, the final day of the walk, there will be coffee morning and raffle, which they will attend. Several pupils will then join them on the final part of the walk to St Dunstan’s.

Lorraine Priestley of Ysgol y Gogarth said: “We are delighted as a school to make links with both the Royal Welsh and St Dunstan’s and hope we can support them both in the future.”