Concerns were raised about the late collection of refuse on several occasions lately resulting in an unsightly scene around the village. This mainly appears to be due to extended rounds due to additional homes in the area and occasional vehicle defects. The situation is exacerbated by people leaving food and unwashed items in recycling bags which get torn open by foraging birds and animals and scattered over the road.
Tenders for the library have been submitted and the Council awaits consultation with the Vale over the approved contractor. It is anticipated that work will commence in early July and complete around Christmas. The present library will remain in use until the new building is ready for occupation.
The Boundary Commission are reviewing the present Vale wards. The exercise is regularly undertaken to maintain equal representation for residents. With the increase in housing in the Wenvoe Ward (this consists of Wenvoe, Dyffryn, St
Nicholas and Bonvilston) there could be some adjustment. The consultation period continues until the end of July. Community Council boundaries will be considered after the completion of the review.
The Council are still consulting about improving the cemetery area. The aim is to level the ground where necessary and improve the grass cutting regime.
It has been reported that on occasions buses to Cardiff have failed to arrive in Wenvoe; this appears to be due to a shortage of drivers for Cardiff buses. To avoid the possibility of missing hospital appointments etc residents can use Green Link system. Pamphlets detailing the system are available in the library.
The Clerk to the Council has submitted his resignation. From early June the office will be closed. Messages and queries etc should be left on the Council answer phone – 029 2059 2655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following applications have been approved.
• Glebelands, 27, Rectory Close, Wenvoe. A two-storey side extension to replace the existing single storey side extension.
• 4, Larchwood, Wenvoe. Trim over hanging branches on 2 Oak and an Ash tree.
• Goldsland Walk, Wenvoe. Work to Oak tree covered by TPO.
The following applications have been refused
• 9, Tarrws Close, Wenvoe. Loft conversion incorporating rear dormer with balcony and roof extension front elevation. The size and form of the proposed gable dormer on the front roof plane would unacceptably impact on the character of the existing dwelling and would be out of keeping with the consistent roof form of the bungalows located on the east side of Tarrws Close.
• Poundfield Farm, Pound Lane, Wenvoe. The retention and completion of the existing building to provide ancillary living accommodation associated with the dwelling at Poundfield Farm. The proposed residential annex and associated use of land as extended residential garden is considered to represent an unjustified and unacceptable form of development that would be widely visible from the adjacent public right of way and would have a harmful impact on the character and appearance of the countryside. In addition, the proposals will likely result in long term impacts on the protected Wenvoe Woods, part of which forms the application site.
The Council AGM voted Cllr Dickon Oliver as chairman and Cllr Rhian Sexton as vice-chair for the forthcoming year. Sub-committee representatives were agreed.
• 7, Church Rise, Wenvoe. Remove over hanging branches of a Sycamore tree covered by a TPO.
• Lingfield, 34 Old Port Road. Extension to existing detached garage. No objections were raised.
Pollinators Are In Serious Decline
Everyone knows that pollinators, i.e. insects that pollinate our flowers and crops, are in serious decline and we are being encouraged to do everything possible to help them, not least by planting flowers, shrubs and trees that can supply accessible pollen. Typical of the advice that you will find in magazines and the media is that good plants for pollinators are:
… and if you planted these you would certainly be helping wildlife. However it is worth looking beneath the surface as no two lists agree and there is seldom any indication of what research has been done to reach these conclusions.
We have three main types of bee in this country. First Honeybees, possibly not native but producing honey and living in colonies. Next Bumblebees with which we are all familiar as they are usually large, furry and highly visible. Then there are the Solitary bees of which there are 225 species in Britain. As the name suggests these do not live in hives but individually and you will often see them using our bee hotels. Which raises the next question – do all these types of bees use our recommended plants in equal measure?
A five-year research programme by Rosi Rollings has found marked differences in bee preferences. Amongst the garden flowers most visited by Honeybees are Veronicastrum virginicum (Culvers Root) and Sedum spectabile (Ice plant) yet these are largely avoided
by Solitary bees. However the latter love Anthemis tinctoria (Golden Marguerite) which is studiously ignored by Honeybees and Bumblebees and also Campanula (Harebell) which is seldom visited by them. Bumblebees will go for Echium vulgare (Vipers Bugloss) but Solitary bees will not go out of their way for them.
So if you want to favour one category over another you can find more detail on what plants to go for in Rosi’s website -www.rosybee.com. Or you can simply take the top five irrespective of bee type which are:
Helenium – Sahins Early Flowerer
Remember to factor in the seasons ideally providing a range of plants that will offer pollen from Spring through to Autumn and finally note that the bees are not remotely interested in whether the plants are native species or not.
Coed Morgannwg Way above Hirwaun
It was a lovely morning but as we got out of the cars, at the Mynydd Beili-glas viewpoint, we did a group shiver – the wind chill factor really hit us and we quickly set out so that we could warm up.
It had been a week of wintry showers and the ground around us still had snow lying in patches. We were close to Graig a Llyn, the highest point in Glamorgan at 1969ft and below us we could see the road snaking up the hill, with a white car roaring up round the bends, as if it was in a Grand Prix.
We could also see Llyn Fawr, a lake which was made into a reservoir in 1911. When this was done a number of ancient objects were found in the peat at the water’s edge. These became known as the Llyn Fawr hoard and include 2 large bronze cauldrons, bronze axes, sickles and a sword. Probably dating from around 600BC they are among the most important Iron Age objects found in Wales; they are now in the National Museum, Cardiff.
Initially we walked on natural footpaths which soon became roadways for the vehicles which installed the Pen Y Cymoedd wind farm. One advantage of the wider tracks was that we had good views all day.
We decided to take a slight detour from our route to visit a memorial stone at the spot where the body of Willy Llewellyn, aged 5 years, was found. He was lost in Aberaman on 11th April 1902 and his remains found on 26th April, after a search by the whole community. Offerings of coins and small toys were on the stone.
We passed through areas where the trees had been decimated by fire and maybe the road building but new saplings were springing up. For lunch we found a protected area, sitting on tree stumps and fallen trunks, enjoying the sunshine. Tiny red flowers of moss covered one of the stumps. Bright yellow flowers of coltsfoot decorated the ground as we continued.
Now the 500ft wind turbines were towering around us. A series of notice boards provided information on the wind farm – 76 wind turbines produce an estimated output of 256MW. Natural Resources Wales state that there are 211 wind turbines planned for the Welsh woodland estate. The estimated output is 663MW (enough to power over 416,000 homes). The turbine footprint will be 450 hectares of land not replanted (20% of the estate). [Aberthaw Power Station generating capacity 1,560MW]
We met no walkers all day but a few cyclists, one of whom stopped us and asked for directions – he’d bought a map online and it was ‘being delivered tomorrow’.
Soon we arrived at the wind farm electricity sub-station where a large electrical installation loomed over us like a huge robot. From here we walked along a road through a forest of wind turbines and returned to the cars via our original footpath. The peaks of Pen y Fan and Corn Ddu in the distance were both covered in snow.
Hirwaun (long meadow) Common below us was gifted to the people for free grazing of their animals. Also in sight was the Tower colliery, closed as uneconomic in 1994 but run as a co-operative by the miners for a further 13 years until the coal finally ran out in 2008. Walk 8miles ascent 800ft. Map 166.
The midweek walkers parked near the quarry man’s tribute and kept south of the St Lythan Road. Walking past one of the Wenvoe Wildlife Group orchards, people commented on the progress that had been made here and then walked north and west towards Dyffryn.
The sky which had been getting darker by the minute opened up and a deluge of hail descended on our heads. A few had umbrellas which were soon covered in ice with slush dripping off their edges. After cooling us down the shower passed on and the sky brightened a little only to be followed by another shower. Passing through a wood a flash of lightning was discounted momentarily but a rumble of thunder followed – at least the storm wasn’t near us.
At Dyffryn the warmth and hot drinks available were very welcome and we stayed quite a while. Then we walked up to the A48 and through The Downs, across open land and back to the cars. A lovely walk enlivened by the weather. Distance about 5.5mile
‘Meet The Author’ Evening In The Wenvoe Arms.
Our thanks to Ian Pate and The Friends of Wenvoe Library for organising another excellent ‘Meet the Author’ evening in the Wenvoe Arms. The topic ‘Motorway Madness’ might not have initially sparked your interest, but through photographs, expert knowledge and an array of personal anecdotes, Ian ensured that we had an evening which was both sobering and entertaining.
With a twenty-five year career in sales, which required extensive travelling in the UK, Ireland and the Benelux countries, Ian thought he knew everything there was to know about driving on motorways. However, it was not until he started working as a Traffic Officer in 2008, that he learnt about the unpredictability of our motorways. In this role, with powers to stop and direct traffic and work under the authority of a police officer, he began to appreciate the phrase ‘expect the unexpected’.
Statistically, the motorway is the UK’s safest road. Drivers know that if something happens whilst driving on the motorway they should move onto the hard shoulder, put their hazard lights on, get out of the car if possible and get to a place of safety. The last of these is important because the most dangerous place on the motorway is the hard shoulder. A safe place Ian reminds us is ‘behind the barrier, up on the embankment, under signs, by bridges or even on a police observation post’. If you stay in your car, your life expectancy according to police statistics is 30 minutes. The message is ‘When it is safe to do so – get out, keep safe, stay alive!’ At night, this risk increases. There have been cases in which lorry drivers at night have put their inside wheels onto the rumble strip that separates the hard shoulder from lane one, to keep them alert whilst watching TV!
As a Traffic Officer, Ian was involved in a wide range of incidents. Twenty five percent of all breakdowns attended on the motorway are simply because drivers have run out of fuel. Some drivers get into trouble when transporting goods like a mattress or even a complete bed from IKEA on the roof of their car without the legally required roof rack and safety harnessing! Getting animals to safety – horses, swans and at one time a small herd of water buffalo in Newbury – were all in a day’s work. Drunk drivers, unwell drivers, car fires and extreme weather all require assistance from the Traffic Officers. These people ensure that you and I are safe if an incident does occur. Ian and his colleagues set up rolling roadblocks, clear dangerous debris from motorways and are the people on the ground responding to alerts from the Traffic Management Centres across the country.
Ian concluded his talk with a look at new smart motorways where all lanes are running. On the first smart motorway on the M42 in the West Midlands, there is no hard shoulder and a refuge area every 500 metres. Above every lane there are signs to note variable speed and clear messages e.g. lanes closing. Any difficulties drivers encounter, are immediately picked up by the control centre and a lane can be automatically closed. The M4 between J3 and J12 is currently being upgraded to a smart motorway. However, the model has undergone modifications. Refuge areas are now1.6 miles apart and overly detailed signs on the left hand side of the motorway, have replaced the clear signs above each lane. It can take up to one hour for an ambulance to get to an incident. Inevitably, such concerns have led road safety campaigners to lobby Parliament and they are now working with an all-party group of MPs to look at the safety concerns relating to the rollout of smart motorways.
The Friends of Wenvoe Library would like to thank Ian for his support in helping to raise funds for Wenvoe Library. Please look out for the next ‘Meet the Author’ evening – we would love to see you there.