Monmouthshire County Council has confirmed that residents registered to vote – including those registered to vote by post – have no need to re-register if they wish to take part in the European Union referendum ballot on Thursday 23rd June.

Poll cards have been sent to all entitled to vote in the referendum and these indicate whether they are entitled to a postal ballot or should attend their local polling station.  The deadline for registering to vote by post is 5pm on Wednesday, 8th June.

Only people registered on the electoral roll will be able to vote in the referendum – applications to register must be received no later than Tuesday, 7th June.  Residents who do not receive poll cards by Friday, 3rd June or are unsure whether they are registered can register to vote online at: www.gov.uk/registertovote – alternatively, Monmouthshire residents may apply for the appropriate forms or check their name is on the register by contacting the council’s election office on 01633 644212 or emailing: elections@monmouthshire.gov.uk

Council Leader Peter Fox said: “I urge all of the county’s residents to participate in the democratic process and ensure that we achieve a high turnout.”

A partnership between Monmouthshire County Council’s Environmental Health and Waste departments, Abergavenny Town Council, Gwent Police and the Friends of Bailey Park has drawn attention to the scourge of dog mess in public areas with a targeted day of action.  Abergavenny’s Dog Fouling Awareness Day was held on Thursday 19th May.

Dog mess is one of the most frequently complained about environmental issues, especially in children’s play areas and sports pitches, and the campaign involved council officers speaking to dog owners about cleaning up after their pets, handing out free dog poo bags, erecting signs and distributing information leaflets. They also sprayed the “Give Dog Fouling the Red Card” logo on paths throughout the park while responsible dog owners were thanked for ensuring dog faeces was bagged and binned.  Unfortunately, not all dog owners are so caring and the resulting piles of dog poo were marked with red spray or removed to prevent other park users from falling foul.

Local authorities and Gwent Police are empowered to issue fixed penalty notices and people failing to pick up their pets’ excrement face a £75 on the spot fine.  If the person refuses to pay, and the case is taken to court the offender may be fined up to £1,000.

Abergavenny Town Council has recently joined the Give Dog Fouling the Red Card scheme, which gives town and community councils in Monmouthshire access to savings in purchasing kit such as signs, bins and dog poo bags.  These encourage residents to be responsible dog owners.  Chair of the scheme, Jessica Crook said: “Our actions are cutting the amount of dog fouling on our streets and footpaths.  We are asking residents to report irresponsible dog owners and support this initiative”. Dog owners who do not pick up can be easily reported to the council via: http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/streets-parking-and-transport/recycling-and-waste/dogfouling/

Leader of Monmouthshire County Council, Peter Fox added: “The community is frustrated by a minority who do not clean up after their dogs; we deplore this and there really is no excuse.  Our environmental health and waste teams have been working effectively with local councils and others to put in place local initiatives such as Give Dog Fouling the Red Card which have helped to raise awareness and achieved a notable measure of success.”

For further information contact Monmouthshire’s Education and Awareness Officer Sue Parkinson Tel: 01633 644525.

Abergavenny, Magor, Usk and Monmouthshire’s surrounding villages witnessed the impressive sight of 13,000 amateur and 120 professional cyclists taking part in the Velothon Wales cycling event on 22nd May.  Many Monmouthshire cyclists completed the gruelling 140 km route, residents volunteered to ensure the event ran smoothly and local people enjoyed cheering participants along the way.

Simon Key of the Nag’s Head public house in Usk commented: “The Velothon has been a great event and I’ve enjoyed welcoming cyclists and spectators into the pub today.  We’ve benefited from increased business in recent weeks as many cyclists have been visiting Usk as part of their training.  Some riders shouted out to us that they didn’t have time for coffee and tea cakes today!  Next year, I think we can make even more of the opportunity by selling hot dogs and creating a party atmosphere in the streets as cyclists go past.”

Cllr Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said: “Today has been fantastic.  Thanks so much to everyone who was involved and supported the event.  It was wonderful to see so many local people taking part and raising money for good causes.  Monmouthshire has a fabulous community of dedicated volunteers who contributed to make the event a success.  In Usk, Velothon volunteers donated spare food from the feeding station to the residents at the town’s Plas Mawr sheltered housing complex.  From a business and tourism perspective local enterprises have a massive opportunity to hold events to attract cyclists and spectators during the build-up and on the day itself.”

Cllr Greenland added: “I took the opportunity to listen to residents who would like to see even more of a party atmosphere next year.  That is certainly something I’d be happy to consider to make a great event even more enjoyable.”

2015 was an exceptional year for tourism in Monmouthshire according to the county’s 2015 STEAM (Scarborough Tourism Economic Activity Monitor) report.  The county welcomed 2.19m visitors, a 4.4% increase on the previous year and a 6.7% increase on 2013.  The 4.4% increase between 2015 and 2014 is slightly higher than the currently estimated 4.2% increase for South East Wales as a whole.

The 2.19m visitors generated 2.95m visitor days within the county, an increase of 5.2% between 2014 and 2015. Day visitor days increased by 3.8% between 2014 and 2015. The total of 1.7m day visits is the highest number for Monmouthshire since STEAM began monitoring tourism in the county seventeen years ago.

Tourism visits to Monmouthshire were estimated to have generated a total of £187m for the local economy through visitor and tourism business expenditure, representing growth of 6.6% between 2014 and 2015.  This increase is also slightly higher than the current South East Wales estimate of 6%.

Staying visitors accounted for £133.79m (or 77%) of the total amount generated by tourism in 2015 with an average stay of 2.5 nights.  The staying visitor market saw the highest growth levels between 2014 and 2015, driven by improved performance in both the serviced and non-serviced sectors.  The 8.7% increase in serviced accommodation continues the strong growth of recent years, with an average increase of 8% per annum since 2012.  The number of visitors staying in non-serviced accommodation also grew by 10.2% from 2014-2015.  This is a welcome improvement following annual falls in the sector since 2011.

Tourism visits to Monmouthshire last year were estimated to have supported 2,744 full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs). As many as 82% of these FTEs (2,246) were generated directly through visitor expenditure, with the remaining 18% being indirect and induced (498) – supported through the supply chain and further rounds of expenditure within the economy including employee spend.  Tourism spend supports the most employment in the accommodation (879 FTEs) and food & drink (675 FTEs) sectors. In addition, a significant number of self-employed people in Monmouthshire earned a living from tourism.

Tourism is a key driver of Monmouthshire’s economy, with each visitor day bringing an average of £63.19 per day to the local economy, ranging from £31.18 per day for day visitors to £158.77 per day for visitors staying in serviced accommodation.  Staying visitors generated an average income for Monmouthshire of £270.70 per visitor.

Events are an important means of attracting new visitors to a destination – often the primary or sole reason for a visit – and Monmouthshire’s growing high profile events programme undoubtedly contributed to the county’s exceptional tourism performance in 2015.

County Councillor Bob Greenland, cabinet member with responsibility for tourism said: “As we look forward to welcoming more than 150,000 visitors to Monmouthshire’s Eisteddfod this summer, this is no time to rest on our laurels.  Tourism is a fiercely competitive marketplace and while major and high profile events attract visitors from far and wide, the visitor experience – from the welcome they receive at the event itself to where they sleep, eat, drink and shop – can have a real impact on whether they visit the area again or recommend it as a destination to friends and family.  As social media and user review sites increase in importance for determining destination choice, the quality of welcome and visitor experience become ever more important.”

Log on to http://www.visitmonmouthshire.com/events for details of what’s on this season.

Where is the best place to spectate in Monmouthshire?

While some areas are closed to spectators for safety reasons, there will be many areas from where you can enjoy the action. More information and a spectator guide will be published closer to the event.

 

Who should I address complaints to?

For any complaints about the event including the organisation of the event please contact the Velothon helpdesk – 02921 660780 or email: helpdesk@velothonwales.co.uk

If the issue relates specifically to MCC:

By email: events@monmouthshire.gov.uk

By phone: Deb Hill-Howells 01633 644281 or Dan Davies 01633 644044

Who do I contact if I can’t find an answer to my road closure enquiry and the Velothon helpdesk are not assisting?

If you have a specific enquiry related to the road closures you can email route@velothonwales.co.uk. They will attempt to answer all enquiries within three working days.

Will public transport in Monmouthshire be affected?

Public transport will operate as normal – with the exception of route 74 – where possible with diversions put in place. Inevitably, some services will be reduced or suspended if they cannot get around road closures. Further information will be communicated by transport providers closer to the event.

What parking will be available to people living and working on affected roads?

While the route will be designed to keep restrictions to a minimum, some people will need to make alternative parking plans during the event. Any cars parked on the route after parking instructions are implemented will be removed. In the lead up to the event, in addition to the direct resident communications you will receive, cars parked on route will have leaflets placed on their windscreens with reminders and additional information.

Usk is an urban clearway from midnight until 5pm.  Where do residents park?

Maryport Street carpark will be available for residents to park their cars although they will not be able to exit the carpark until the road re-opens at 3.30pm.

Will Community Meals / Homecare be able to deliver on the day?

Monmouthshire County Council will be operating ‘business as usual’ on the day.  If there are any alterations to your visit or delivery you will be notified of these beforehand.

Will private care providers be working as usual on the day?

Yes – if there are any alterations to your visit or delivery you will be notified of these beforehand.

Will the Usk Household Recycling Centre be open?

No – this will be closed on the day. Please use an alternative centre.

Will routine MCC services be running as usual on Velothon Day?

Yes – apart from disruption to some bus routes, Usk Recycling Centre, Maryport Street car parking restrictions and Social Care Services (as detailed above) – other MCC services that routinely run on Sundays will continue e.g. All leisure centres,  emergency out of hours calls, telecare / careline / community alarms, housing / homelessness etc.

 

I am expecting visitors and live in Usk– where can they park if Maryport Street car park is closed?

We would ask visitors to be mindful of the road closures and the impact that it will have on their travelling arrangements. Car parking will be available at County Hall car park for those visiting Usk and able to walk into the town centre.

Will compensation be paid to affected businesses for loss of revenue?

Refer to the Velothon helpdesk.

I am a farmer and I need access to my fields/livestock that open directly on to the route.  How can you help?

Refer to the Velothon helpdesk.

The Velothon helpline are not answering / not returning my call.

Run4Wales has set up a call centre to respond to enquiries about the event. Please continue to try the number or contact them by e-mail.  If your query relates to a problem in Monmouthshire we may be able to help.  Please contact us at one of our hubs or on 01633 644644 and we will try and resolve your enquiry.

Why has Monmouthshire CC agreed to run this event again?  Who in the council agreed this?

Monmouthshire County Council discussed and agreed to host the Velothon event at a council meeting on 19th November 2015. The decision was taken on the basis that the route was to be amended and that consultation would be undertaken by Run4Wales to make sure that everyone affected would be made aware of road closures and possible impacts. The Velothon event provides an opportunity to showcase the county to participants, spectators and the media.

 

How much is the Velothon event costing the council?

The cost of organising and hosting the event is met by the event organisers, though the council has incurred costs in the form of staff time. There may be costs incurred following the event to remove rubbish and this will be known post-event.

Press enquiries?

All press enquiries regarding the event should in the first instance be directed to Run4Wales, the race organisers. For specific enquiries about Monmouthshire please contact our Communications Team via email: Communications@monmouthshire.gov.uk

I am a business – why was the route changed from last year as it now affects me?  Why was there no consultation and can it be changed next year.

The route was amended to reflect feedback received leading up to and following the 2015 event. Run4Wales has undertaken consultation with businesses to make them aware of the event. There will be a review of the event and feedback will be considered.

 

I pay business rates and my business is affected – will I get a discount?

There will be no compensation available to any businesses or residents impacted by this event.

I am a personal carer and I need to cross the route/travel along the route on the day.  How can I arrange this?

Please contact the Velothon helpdesk staff who will be able to advise you.

I am leaving to go on holiday on the day – how can I cross the route / travel along the route?

Please contact the Velothon helpdesk staff who will be able to advise you.

What arrangements are being put in place to prevent cyclists using my garden as a toilet?

The organisers have arranged for portable toilets to be placed at appropriate locations throughout the route.  For further details please contact the event organisers.

I am a patient who may need to receive medical treatment on the day (dialysis/ pregnant / diabetic etc.) who do I contact?

Please contact Velothon helpdesk / Aneurin Bevan Health Board – arrangements should have been made to accommodate your needs.  Emergency cases will be dealt with on the day and provision has been made for this.

What powers do you have that you enable you to close the roads for this event?

The council is relying on section 16A of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to undertake the road closures.

Queries relating to advance warning Velothon signage

For any advance warning sign issues or queries you receive in relation to Velothon signage, please direct these to Road Traffic Solutions:

josh.hughes@roadtrafficsolutions.com | 01724 848 246

dave.lawrence@roadtrafficsolutions.com | 01724 848 246

They aim to attend all sign issues within one business day, but within six hours where possible.

Caldicot councillor Jim Higginson will serve as Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council for the term 2016/17.  His appointment was agreed at the council’s annual meeting on Tuesday 10th May and he replaces Usk councillor Brian Strong.

Jim has been a member of Monmouthshire County Council since 1999 and currently represents Caldicot’s Severn ward.  He has been a Caldicot Town Councillor for 33 years, has served as mayor on three occasions and was a member of the former Monmouth Borough Council for two years before local government reorganisation in 1996.

During his time as a county councillor Jim has served on a number of committees including Licensing and Regulatory, Audit, Planning, Community Governance, and L.E.A. Governor Appointments while also representing the council on a number of external bodies.  He was the council’s cabinet member from 2002 to 2004 for Housing, Personnel, Health and Safety and led the Labour Group from 2008 to 2012.

Jim was born and raised in Ebbw Vale where he attended Briery Hill Primary and Ebbw Vale Grammar schools.  He was employed in the steel industry for 41 years, starting in Ebbw Vale before transferring to Llanwern in 1973.  Seven years later he moved to Caldicot.  As a steel worker he was a branch trade union official for the Iron and Steel Trades Confederation (now part of the union known as Community).

Jim married Rae in 1968 and they had one son, Paul who is married to Natasha.  Sadly, Rae, who was Mayor of Caldicot in 2003/04 died from cancer ten years ago.

A keen rugby follower, Jim has been a coach, administrator, referee and committee member of Caldicot RFC for many years.  He also has a great love of motorcycles.

Jim’s candidature was proposed by Councillor Dimitri Batrouni.  He said: “It’s an absolute honour to nominate Jim who has given such wonderful service to his community.”  Councillor Batrouni’s nomination was seconded by Council Leader Peter Fox who added: “Over many years I have enjoyed working with Jim on various bodies and look forward to his chairing the council.  I look forward to a great year and offer my full support.”

Jim’s chosen charities during his term of office are St David’s Foundation Hospice Care and paediatric palliative care organisation, Ty Hafan.

Abergavenny councillor Paul Jordan was elected as Vice Chairman of the council.

Pupils of Usk Church in Wales Primary have boosted school funds by raising £3,200 over the Easter holidays.  Each of the 230 youngsters was given one pound with a mission to demonstrate their entrepreneurial and creative skills with ideas ranging from baking and selling cakes to setting up a photo booth at a family birthday party.

The school’s “Grow a Pound” initiative is in its second year and provides pupils with confidence as they see their ideas generate money as they market goods and services to friends and family.

Medals and awards were distributed in a special school assembly to pupils who the judge, Kevin Mansell–Abel, felt had provided exciting, creative and innovative ideas.  Categories included Creativity & Enterprise, Eco, Horticultural, Culinary, Best Business Plan and Best Business Prospect.

Kevin, from local design and marketing company That Media Group, was impressed by the fantastic concepts and brilliant initiatives generated by pupils.  He had started his company as a young person and explained how simple ideas can lead to employment.  His company won the Excellence in Marketing prize at the last year’s Monmouthshire Business Awards.  He said: “I’m excited to have been part of this event, and am looking forward to collaborating with the school on further projects in the coming months.  Being part of a local business, it’s great to be able to support local initiatives that support enterprise.”

Councillor Liz Hacket Pain, cabinet member for Children and Young People added: “It is fantastic to see pupils taking on this challenge and having so much fun growing their pounds.  We have many budding entrepreneurs in our schools and we need to nurture their enthusiasm.”

Headteacher Victoria Evans commented: “The children have risen to the challenge of our Grow a Pound project and I’d like to thank them for their enthusiasm as well as their families and friends for supporting our fundraising initiative.  Many really exciting, thoughtful and promising enterprises were created.  We obviously have a large number of budding entrepreneurs on our hands – look out Lord Sugar!”

With less than three months to go until the National Eisteddfod comes to Monmouthshire and the local area, organisers are hosting a drop in session for local residents, so they can find out more about the Eisteddfod and the preparations over the next few weeks.

The event will be held at the King’s Arms Hotel, Abergavenny, which is very close to the Maes (site) itself, on Wednesday 18 May from 16.00 – 19.00, and there’s a warm welcome for everyone.

This session is a chance to discuss all the work over the coming months, including the Maes before and during the week, the locations of the car parks and the traffic system and any other matters relating to getting to the Maes.  It is also a chance to hear about the Eisteddfod’s plans as we work on the final preparations for the week itself.

Elements of the Eisteddfod will be split over various sites in the area.  The main Maes will be located on Castle Meadows.  This is where the Pavilion will be built and this will be home to most of the competitions and the concerts.

Eisteddfod Chief Executive, Elfed Roberts, says, “The drop in session is your chance to join us for find out what happens at the Eisteddfod, the local arrangements, and how we can work together over the next few weeks.

“It’s also an opportunity for those working in the hospitality and tourism sector to call in and find out more about how we can work together, to try to ensure that local businesses benefit from the thousands of visitors who will visit the area because of the Eisteddfod.

“Information will be available about the week itself, including activities during the day and the evening concerts.  We will also be promoting our volunteering scheme, offering opportunities before, during and after the festival.”

The Eisteddfod is held on Castle Meadows, Abergavenny from 29 July – 6 August.  For more information go online, www.eisteddfod.wales.

 Abergavenny Library will link with charity Look Good Feel Better to offer a master class on beauty advice to support people living with cancer.  This event takes place on Monday 23rd May from 10am to 12noon and is hosted by the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Cancer Information and Support Service which has information areas in all of the council’s libraries and community hubs.  The service also offers cancer information sessions and various activity groups.

Founded in the UK 21 years ago, Look Good Feel Better specifically helps women combat the visible side effects of cancer treatment.  Its two hour master class features volunteer beauty professionals taking patients through a specially designed skincare and make-up regime, helping to improve their wellbeing, confidence, self-image and appearance while bringing them together with others in a similar situation.

Volunteers carry a set of skincare products that can be shared hygienically by the group, but those attending the master class will be asked to provide colour products such as foundation, eye shadow, lip stick and mascara.  Each person attending will be provided with full information on what to bring.

For details of the master class contact Abergavenny Library on 01873 735980 or Erica Sheppard, the Macmillan in Monmouthshire Coordinator – macmillan@monmouthshire.gov.uk – telephone 07826 876772.

Look Good Feel Better is currently seeking volunteer beauty professionals – contact the charity on 01372 747500 or complete a volunteer application online at www.lgfb.co.uk

Monmouthshire County Council

 Election to the National Assembly of Wales

Monmouth Constituency

Thursday 5 May 2016

I, Paul Matthews, being the Constituency Returning Officer at the above election, do hereby give notice that the number of votes recorded for each Candidate at the said election is as follows:

Name of Candidate

 

Description (if any)

 

Number of Votes*

 

BLAKEBROUGH, Debby Independent 1,932
CLARK, Jonathan Thomas Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales 1,824
FOOKES, Catherine Welsh Labour/Llafur Cymru 8,438
GERMAN, Veronica Welsh Liberal Democrats/Democratiaid Rhyddfrydol Cymru 1,474
MORRIS, Stephen English Democrats – Letting Monmouthshire Decide 146
PRICE, Tim UKIP Wales 3,092
RAMSAY, Nick Welsh Conservative Party Candidate 13,585
WERE, Chris Wales Green Party, Plaid Werdd Cymru 910

 

And I do hereby declare that the candidate(s) as marked above has been duly elected.