Yn anffodus ni fydd Porth Ar-lein Cwsmeriaid ar gyfer Treth Gyngor/Trethi Busnes ar gael rhwng 4pm dydd Iau 31 Mawrth a 12pm dydd Llun 03 Ebrill.

The Citizen Access facility for Council Tax/Business Rates will be unavailable from 4pm on Friday 31st March until  12pm Monday 3rd April.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

People in Monmouthshire considering running their own business could benefit from a series of free start-up workshops in April.

The Welsh Government’s Business Wales service, in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council, will offer workshops intended to provide in-depth knowledge, develop practical skills and encourage confidence among Welsh entrepreneurs at the beginning of their business journey.

Delivered by experienced advisers, the workshops in Usk and Newport will cover a variety of topics, including pricing, marketing, business planning and sourcing finance.  These workshops aim to equip budding entrepreneurs with the knowledge to develop ideas further and guide them towards making their business a success.

Workshops will take place in Usk’s Three Salmons Hotel and Newport’s Business in Focus (89 Lower Dock St), as follows:

Taking the plunge: 9.15am to 12.30pm

Usk – Wednesday, 5th April

Newport – Wednesday, 19th April

Sizing up the market: 9.15am to 1pm

Usk – Thursday, 6th April

Newport – Thursday, 20th April

Winning and keeping customers: 1.15 to 5pm

Usk – Thursday, 6th April

Newport – Thursday, 20th April

Pricing for profit: 9.15am to 1pm

Usk – Friday, 7th April

Newport – Friday, 21st April

Managing your finances: 1.15 to 5pm

Usk – Friday, 7th April

Newport – Friday, 21st April

Places at the workshops may be booked by visiting: https://wales.business-events.org.uk/

Business Wales’ Regional Manager for South Wales, David ap-John Williams, said: “We are really happy to be able to hold these free workshops in the area. We strongly believe that they are a great opportunity for local Welsh entrepreneurs to gain an understanding of the basic principles and skills needed to start their own business.

“Business Wales start-up workshops will give those attending the chance to discuss their business idea and their plans, but also their fears and challenges with like-minded people, ultimately helping them gain a different perspective and reassurance.”

Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews added: “One of the council’s major priorities is to support business and job creation so we’re delighted to recommend these helpful workshops to anyone aiming to start their own business in the county.”

Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support.

To find out how Business Wales can help start or develop your business, call 03000 6 03000, follow @_businesswales or @_busnescymru or visit www.businesswales.gov.wales/ or www.busnescymru.llyw.cymru/ for further information.

Caldicot’s community hub recently hosted an informative and entertaining evening presented by iNeed, a local action group providing crisis support to refugees.  Speakers from the UK, Syria and elsewhere highlighted the plight of displaced people and the campaign to support people in need.  Also featured were an art exhibition of children’s work entitled ‘From Syria with Love’ and performances from the Chepstow Castle Singing Group.

 Among the speakers were Baraa Kouja who described his experiences in Syria and Eritrean Michael Kasney on his journey to the UK via the Sahara Desert.  Also present were Monmouthshire’s Community Cohesion Officer, Shereen Williams and iNeed chairperson Natasha Cadman who outlined the history of the group and its work to date.

 Caldicot Community Hub manager Richard Drinkwater was delighted with the event’s success.  He said: “What was planned as an intimate evening at Caldicot Community Hub soon snowballed into something much, much bigger with nearly a hundred people attending.  It was fair to say there wasn’t an empty chair in the house – mainly because we ran out of chairs and it was standing room only at the back!”

 Monmouthshire’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews added: “We were pleased to host a group of passionate and community-spirited people who entertained and informed.  This event is a great example of how the council’s five hubs can bring people together to benefit a good cause and support local community activity.”


Families in Monmouthshire will benefit from a £1.8m grant earmarked for spending during the 2017/18 financial year.  The cash will be used to fund projects for the council’s Families First and Flying Start programmes.

 A total of £650,000 has been allocated to the county’s Families First programme – an initiative which supports families and aims to improve outcomes. The programme focuses on prevention and early intervention support services to tackle child poverty.  The amount includes £51,000 to help families affected by disability.

 Meanwhile, the council’s Flying Start programme which operates in selected areas in Monmouth, Abergavenny, Chepstow and Caldicot will receive £1.17m.  Flying Start aims to give children the best start in life from the prenatal period to three years old.  The money will help the programme to deliver high quality part-time childcare for eligible two year olds alongside evidence-based health, parenting and early language support.

 Paul Matthews, Monmouthshire’s Chief Executive said: “Families First and Flying Start teams carry out invaluable work targeted to make a positive difference.  It’s really positive that this work will continue into the next financial year.”



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Highways Survey

Year Eight students at Abergavenny’s King Henry VIII Comprehensive School recently watched a play entitled It’s Not OK to help them understand the risks of sexual grooming and abuse. The play by Jules Dorey Richmond and Rachel Conlon of York St John University drama department, supported by Connecting Youth Culture and in partnership with the South East Wales Safeguarding Children Board, aims to raise awareness of healthy and unhealthy relationships in both real world and on-line contexts, as well as empower and encourage young people to seek support and keep safe against sexual abuse and exploitation.

 A two hour session featured the 30-minute play following four teenagers through their experiences of the internet, relationships and family life.  It was followed by a large group discussion exploring themes arising from the production and facilitated smaller drama workshops examining strategies to guard against, and seek help from, sexual abuse and exploitation.

 It’s Not OK has also been performed at Monmouth Comprehensive, Caldicot School and Chepstow School in Monmouthshire where pupils from Mounton House School also attended. Feedback from pupils was extremely positive.

 Jules Dorey Richmond said: “The response to It’s Not OK has been overwhelmingly positive, during the tour we have again found that drama is an effective tool for engaging young people in, and talking about, difficult subject matter. We have been impressed by the level and expertise of support around the production, which has enabled young people to receive timely and effective help.”

 Monmouthshire County Council’s Chief Executive Paul Matthews added: “This production has been very well received in our schools and is an effective method of getting across the message to children that sexual grooming and exploitation are wholly unacceptable and anyone affected should ask for immediate support.”


Monmouthshire County Council has announced its support once again for Earth Hour the annual, global celebration of the planet.

 At 8.30pm on Saturday 25th March, the council will join forces with landmarks across the globe like the Senedd in Cardiff Bay, Sydney Harbour Bridge and New York’s Times Square by switching off the lights at selected buildings.

 In 2017, Earth Hour marks its tenth year, and by taking part, Monmouthshire is showing its commitment to taking action to tackle climate change.

 To save energy throughout the whole year, the council already turns off lights in the vast majority of its buildings when not in use but the authority is making its Earth Hour matter by switching off at Monmouth’s Shire Hall and its Llanfoist and Five Lanes household waste recycling sites.

 Around half a million people in Wales participate in Earth Hour every year, and by taking part, they’re showing that they want to see action taken to tackle climate change now.

 Paul Matthews, Chief Executive of Monmouthshire County Council, said: “Monmouthshire County Council is very proud to support WWF’s Earth Hour once again this year.  Local authorities likes ours have a big role to play in tackling climate change, so we’re looking forward to turning off the lights at Shire Hall and our household waste recycling sites at 8.30pm on Saturday 25th March to demonstrate our support.”

Anne Meikle, Head of WWF Cymru, added: “We’re delighted that Monmouthshire is supporting WWF’s Earth Hour again this year.  Climate change will have a massive effect on people’s lives here in Wales and around the world.  So it’s great that Welsh local authorities are throwing their weight behind the call for action to tackle it.

 “Everyone—from individuals and community groups, to schools and businesses — can sign up to Earth Hour by visiting www.wwf.org.uk/earthhourwales and switching off their lights at 8.30pm on Saturday 25th March 2017.”


Chairman’s statement following yesterday’s tragic events (more…)

This year’s Spring Clean Cymru campaign organised by Keep Wales Tidy and supported by Monmouthshire County Council saw record numbers of organised litter picks across the area.  Over 200 people participated in the week-long campaign.

Events arranged in Abergavenny, Chepstow, Crucorney, Monmouth, Trelech and Usk culminated in over 80 volunteers litter picking in Magor.  Support came from local businesses including the Co-operative and Roadchef.

Keep Wales Tidy and the council organised a Litter Champion Celebration on Thursday March 16th at the council’s Raglan Depot for over fifty community-spirited volunteers helping to keep Monmouthshire spick and span.  Councillor Bryan Jones, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for council operations said: “It’s fantastic that so many residents are willing to give up their time to keep the county beautiful and this should be celebrated.  It’s such a shame that some think it’s acceptable to litter and the huge increase in verge side litter across Wales is very disappointing.”

The council’s waste strategy manager Carl Touhig added: “People’s cavalier attitude to the environment cost over £150,000 each year merely to keep the county’s main “A” roads clean.  Like many parts of the UK we have seen a big increase in verge side litter.  Crews are busy litter-picking along the main routes but this can only be done alongside planned maintenance work.  Many visitors come to Monmouthshire to enjoy its beauty so it’s baffling why people throw litter from vehicles when they could take it home and dispose of it properly.”

For more information visit: http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/recycling-and-waste/dogfouling

 Monmouthshire is a step closer to running its own solar farm on council-owned land after the Welsh Government approved a £4.5m repayable investment.

 Once completed, the Oak Grove Solar Farm in Crick could generate enough electricity to power around 1,400 homes. It will also save over 2,000 tonnes per year of CO2e by generating clean, renewable energy.

 The £4.5m funding has been awarded to Monmouthshire County Council through the Welsh Government’s Invest to Save Green Growth Fund which aims to support public services to become more energy efficient and invest in green technologies. The scheme has also benefited from help from Local Partnerships, who are public sector owned delivery experts, funded by Welsh Government for this initiative.  

 Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “Wales has huge potential develop projects which generate electricity for the benefit of Wales.  Through our Green Growth Wales initiative, we are supporting the development of public sector energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.  I am delighted we have been able to support the delivery of the project and also provide finance to support Monmouthshire’s ambitions to run its own solar farm.  This project has huge potential and I would like to see more local authorities developing renewable energy projects”

 Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Mark Drakeford added: “I’m very pleased to see the fund has played such an important part in bringing the project to this stage.  Once completed, I hope the solar farm becomes a model of sustainability and encourages other local authorities to follow suit.”

 Councillor Phil Hobson, Monmouthshire County Council’s cabinet member for sustainability said: “The solar farm means Monmouthshire takes another big step towards its goal of being a sustainable, green-power county.  We’ve managed to use the same land to construct a solar power station while keeping access for grazing animals.  We’ve balanced the need for clean home-produced energy and food production at the same time.

 Councillor Phil Murphy, cabinet member with responsibility for estates added: “This scheme represents a significant move by the council in diversifying, not only to improve our environment but also to find alternative ways of supporting front-line services.”

 Jane Forshaw of Local Partnerships said: “We are delighted that through the Welsh Government’s Green Growth initiative we have been able to support Monmouthshire County Council in accelerating delivery of this brilliant renewables project. This is a truly pioneering achievement for the public sector, which also has significant scale and will earn welcome income for the council.”

 Most of the panels have been installed and electricity generated from the solar farm is due to be fed into the National Grid at the end of this month.


Monmouthshire’s deputy leader and cabinet member for enterprise, Councillor Bob Greenland has written on behalf of the council to the Welsh Government’s Mark Drakeford to urge further support for the county’s independent businesses facing unsustainable increases of up to 585% in rateable value.  Some of these ventures will have little or no access to relief of any kind.

 Councillor Greenland has identified four main areas of concern:

 The Welsh Government scheme he says fails to protect businesses from large increases and is in contrast to rate relief in England where increases have been capped at £50 per month for small businesses and pubs.  This has been made possible partly by a graduated annual change from pre-revaluation lists to the new lists.

 He also pointed out that money was made available in the recent UK budget to help alleviate the threat to businesses. As a result of that decision, funding to Wales for the relief of businesses threatened by revaluation was made available within a headline figure of £200 million. He enquired if it was the intention of the Welsh Government to use any of that money to help hard-pressed local businesses faced with enormous hikes in rates.

 Councillor Greenland also raised the appeal process against revaluation fearing that the lengthy and costly procedure could force businesses out of existence because of cash flow difficulties caused by having to pay increases later found to be unwarranted.  He suggested that such businesses should be subject to pre-revaluation rates while appeals are heard.

 Finally, Councillor Greenland queried whether revaluation had been assessed in a consistent manner across Wales, given the decrease in rateable values in Cardiff (-3.5%) and an increase in Monmouthshire (+7%).

 Councillor Greenland said: “Rates revaluation and its effect on business rates remains a critical issue for our businesses in Monmouthshire.  I’m hoping the Welsh Government recognises the damage that will be inflicted on some of them and I seek action to prevent the closure of some iconic local firms.”