Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 24th December 2014

NB Our four one stop shops will close at 15:00 hrs on Christmas Eve
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Tuesday 30th December 2014

Closes: 17:00 hrs. Wednesday 31st December 2014
Re-opens: 09:00 hrs. Friday 2nd January 2015

Many of Monmouthshire County Council’s attractions and services will operate on Good Friday (3rd April), Easter Monday (6th April), Tuesday 7th April, May Day Holiday (May 4th) and Spring Bank Holiday (May 25th) even though its offices will be closed on these dates.

The council’s three museums at Abergavenny, Monmouth and Chepstow will maintain their usual opening hours of 11am to 5pm with free admission.  Over the Easter break Chepstow will hold an egg hunt.  Meanwhile, the county’s four leisure centres will be closed on bank holidays but open as usual on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April with limited hours from noon to 8pm on Tuesday 7th April.  Monmouthshire’s libraries will open on Tuesday 7th April only – Abergavenny and Caldicot from 9am to 7pm, Chepstow and Monmouth from 10am to 7pm, Gilwern from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6.30pm and Usk from 9am until 5.30pm – and will be closed on Saturday, April 4th.

Caldicot Castle hosts a number of attractive bank holiday events during the spring.  On Good Friday through to Easter Monday, the Freemen of Gwent will hark back 700 years to re-enact the period of medieval history during the One Hundred Years War.

Fortress Wales makes a welcome return to the castle and adjoining country park for a fourth year on May 3rd and 4th with a living military history re-enactment encompassing the American Civil War, the Second World War and the Vietnam conflict as well as medieval times.

The Welsh Perry and Cider Festival revisits Caldicot Castle from 22nd to 25th May with its annual celebration of craft ciders and perries made from producers across Wales. Over 100 products will be on offer in the cider bar, complemented by an impressive live music line up, craft and food stalls, workshops and tutored tastings, as well as Medieval Monday – the family fun day.

Tintern’s Old Station, the council’s award winning countryside visitor centre in the heart of the Wye Valley opens its doors on all four bank holidays.  The Old Station is noted for its award-winning tea rooms and is particularly popular as a picnic site as well as having a full programme of activities for youngsters.

Monmouth’s Shire Hall and its fascinating historical exhibits will also be available to the public over the bank holidays.  The iconic eighteenth century building in the centre of the town is the setting for the court room and the grim holding cells that imprisoned the Chartists before they were transported to Australia, as well as the Henry V tapestry created by residents.

 Saturday 4th April features a creative workshop in Shire Hall designed for those who wish to improve their flower-arranging skills and produce something new and exciting – phone 07721 955297 for details.

Also on Saturday 4th April a sponsored walk in aid of the council Chairman’s charities – Macmillan Cancer Support and Welsh Warrior; The Richard Hunt Foundation – sets out  from Abergavenny Leisure Centre.  For details, to register and obtain a sponsorship form contact lindagreer@monmouthshire.gov.uk or the Chairman’s Office on 01633 644020.

For many residents bank holiday weekends are an ideal time to put the garden in order or indulge in a spring clean.  The council’s four household waste recycling centres at Caerwent, Llanfoist, Mitchell Troy and Usk will be open from 8am to 6pm so that materials may be recycled or disposed of.

In addition, the council will maintain a rota of staff who will remain on call in case of emergencies during bank holidays.

County Councillor Bob Greenland, Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for Innovation, Enterprise and Leisure said: “This spring is the very time to seek out what Monmouthshire offers.  There’s a lot going on the county, not least within the activities run by the council itself.  Many people unaware of the attractions offered by such places as our wonderful museums, Caldicot Castle or The Old Station in Tintern could be in for a very pleasant surprise.  These are situated in our pleasant market towns or within stunning countryside and contribute to a wonderful day out!”

Thornwell Primary School in Chepstow is celebrating a successful follow-up report by Estyn – the inspectorate for education and training in Wales – that indicates the school has taken great steps since the last time inspectors published their findings.

Following the previous inspection in December 2013 the school was asked to improve in six key areas and the focus of the revisit was to measure progress in addressing these.

Inspectors found that since the original inspection standards of writing across the curriculum have improved substantially while the school has made very good progress in developing pupils’ presentation.

Literacy and numeracy skills have benefited from the range of opportunities provided by teachers’ medium and long term planning and the inspectors recognised a high level of consistency in the quality of marking throughout the school.

Effective management by governors and senior leaders was also acknowledged. Inspectors noted that governors have suitable links with subject co-ordinators and make appropriate visits to help them monitor progress.  Meanwhile, senior leaders have established effective methods for monitoring pupil performance and progress.

Councillor Liz Hacket Pain, cabinet member for schools and learning said: “This impressive report reflects the progress made by all elements associated with the school.  They have worked together over the past twelve months to deliver improvements in standards and planning and the school’s performance has demonstrated that it’s currently in good hands.  It’s heartening to witness how the school has moved forward since the devastating fire nearly four years ago.  The future looks bright.”

Headteacher Tim Appleby added: “I am very pleased that the hard work of the whole team has been recognised.  We feel that we have laid a firm foundation on which we will continue to build, and in doing so, provide an inspiring environment for the pupils of Thornwell so that they can reach their full potential.  I would like to thank all members of staff and the pupils for their diligence in securing these improvements.  My thanks also go to the governing body, the leader of the Chepstow Primary Alliance and of course all parents and carers for their continued support of the school.”

 Monmouthshire County Council’s covenant with the Ministry of Defence signed in October 2012 has reaped reward for a walking group in Monmouth.

The town’s Walkers Are Welcome organisation has recently received a £30,000 Armed Forces Community Covenant grant which will help fund an interpretive poppy trail from the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers regimental headquarters in Monmouth Castle to the site of the former Troy Station – from where the regiment embarked to the battlefields of Flanders over one hundred years ago.

The 1.3 kilometre trail, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, will feature ceramic plaques – decorated with the iconic poppy and describing the experiences of the Royal Mons during the First World War – as well as an art installation near the former railway station.

The project was launched in the regimental headquarters on March 20th at an event attended by representatives of the regiment, town council, county council and Monmouth Walkers are Welcome.  David Evans of the town’s creative agency Platform One delivered a short presentation saying that local suppliers and labour will be used where possible while regimental personnel will be involved in the fitting of the plaques and art installation, carrying out preparatory groundwork and using skills normally employed while training and on active duty.

Monmouthshire’s Chairman and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor John Prosser said: “This is a wonderful project with the potential to involve the whole community, young and old.  It will relate the story of the regiment and its association with the town so that generations to come will recognise the sacrifices made by our armed forces.”

Brian Ramsey, Chair of Monmouth Walkers Are Welcome added: “We were delighted to hear that our bid was successful.  We are looking forward to working with the many different community groups and the Royal Mons to bring this project to completion.”

Monmouthshire County Council will host a spontaneous night of comedy and music to mark the re-opening of Caldicot Castle following its winter break.  Jester Fest will take place on Wednesday April 1st from 7 to 11pm and features professional live entertainment in the castle’s guard room.

Tickets cost £5 per person and are available by calling 01291 420241 or emailing caldicotcastle@monmouthshire.gov.uk  Bar facilities will be open and there will be ample parking in the castle’s grounds.

Councillor Bob Greenland, the council’s cabinet member with responsibility for leisure said: “We are pleased to promote an affordable evening out in Caldicot and I’m sure residents will have an enjoyable time.”

A much-anticipated scenic route around Llandegfedd Reservoir will open to the public on Wednesday April 1st following a partnership between Monmouthshire County Council, Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru and Llanbadoc Community Council.  The project was initiated in 2012 and the route takes in woodland, pasture, a golf course, a conservation area and a small section of road on the reservoir’s dam.

An inaugural walk led by the Llanbadoc Community Council pathcare group will take place on the opening day (April 1st) and people wishing to join should assemble at the main car park near the new visitor centre on the Welsh Water site for 10am.  Dogs on leads are permitted and the visitor centre will be open for refreshments during daylight hours.

The ten kilometre circular trail passes through areas of Welsh Water land on permissive paths as well as on established rights of way.  It will be fully open for walkers except for a section passing through the wildfowl conservation area at the north east corner of the reservoir which will be closed during the winter.

Monmouthshire County Council’s Principal Countryside Access Officer Ruth Rourke looked forward to the launch and praised the many volunteers who helped to establish the new route.  She said: “There has been demand in the past for a walk around the reservoir and I am glad that this opportunity is now available to the public.  I therefore look forward to the opening and pay tribute to those involved in setting up the route, particularly the pathcare group which I am sure will lead an interesting and enjoyable walk.”

Contact Monmouthshire County Council’s Countryside team – Countryside@monmouthshire.gov.uk – for information on rights of way and volunteering.

Monmouthshire County Council has introduced a valuable service that allows the county’s council tax payers, business rate payers and benefit recipients to check their accounts swiftly and effectively.  The online facility means that residents have only to log onto the council’s website to view their details.

To access details residents must use their account reference number and their unique online key printed on the latest bill or notice.  This secure system will save the time and money expended in making a telephone call, sending an email or writing a letter.  Residents may verify the council tax band or rateable value of their property with its annual charge as well as view their account details including charges, instalment plans and payments for the current and previous years.  In addition, people receiving benefits may check their council tax and housing benefit award.

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member with responsibility for finance, Councillor Phil Murphy commented: “This new facility will benefit residents and businesses alike as it will enable them to locate information quickly and efficiently.  We hope eventually that this provision will be extended to enable users to complete direct debit forms and notify the council of changes to the account.”

For further details log onto: www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/counciltaxandbenefits

Usk Household Waste Recycling Centre will be closed for one day on Wednesday 1st April so that necessary safety work may be completed.  The centre will re-open on Thursday 2nd April.

The council and Viridor (our partners in waste management) apologise for any inconvenience caused.  If you need to use a waste or recycling site, our other sites at Llanfoist near Abergavenny, Troy near Monmouth and Five Lanes near Caerwent will be open as usual.

Applicants are invited to tender for the supply of Chiropody services at Severn View Resource Centre, Chepstow.

Severn View caters for elderly residents with Dementia and Day Centre service users.

Applicants should have suitable Public Liability cover in place to a minimum limit of indemnity of £5m and should apply in writing giving details of previous experience together with the names and addresses of two referees.  Please also supply details of current prices.

Please note an enhanced CRB check would be required by the successful applicant.

Closing date for expressions of interest is 25th March 2015 and interviews will be held on 1st April 2015.

Please send your details to:

Hilary Gooch
Team Leader
Severn View Resource Centre
Chepstow
NP165BS

If you have any questions regarding the tender please telephone 01291 638925 to speak to Hilary Gooch.

Friday 20th March 2015 to Monday 23rd March 2015

Due to the forecasted high tides scheduled this weekend, the A466 through Tintern may be closed for short periods on the following dates and times:-

  • Friday March 20th:                  19:45 to 20:25 (7:45pm to 8:25pm)
  • Saturday March 21st: :            8:10am to 9:50am
  • Saturday March 21st:              20:30 to 21:10 (8:30pm to 9:10pm)
  • Sunday March 22nd                8:50am to 9:30am
  • Sunday March 22nd :              21:10 to 21:50 (9:10pm to 9:50pm)
  • Monday March 23rd :              9:30am to 10:15am

The closure points will be as follows:

  • North End closure: Trelleck Road junction
  • South End closure: Royal George junction

Closure times are estimated based on the forecasted tide times. The highest tide currently forecast is Saturday night – when road closures are most likely. The tide heights will continue to be monitored – with temporary closures only being put in place if overtopping on the highway occurs.

Natural Resources Wales will be monitoring the situation and issuing Flood Warnings as necessary.

Again, please note road closures will only be temporary and only when tidal water actually overflows onto the highway.  The road will reopen as soon as the water has receded from the highway.

Two charities are set to benefit from an early spring sponsored walk arranged by the Chairman of Monmouthshire County Council, Councillor John Prosser.

Councillor Prosser has chosen Macmillan Cancer Support and Welsh Warrior – The Richard Hunt Foundation as his chosen charities during his year of office and he hopes that a seven mile walk from Abergavenny to the summit of the Sugar Loaf and back will help to boost funds.  The walk starts from Abergavenny Leisure Centre at 9am on Saturday, 4th April.  Registration begins at 8am and free changing and showers will be available.

The cost of entry is £5 for adults.  No charge is made for children but they must be accompanied by an adult.  Certificates will be handed to those who complete the walk and in addition, a prize will be given to the person who raises the most sponsorship.

Councillor Prosser said: “I’m hoping that as many people as possible will take the opportunity to participate in a moderately challenging walk that combines fabulous scenery with wonderful views and which will benefit two very worthy causes”.

The walk is taking place in conjunction with the Sugar Loaf Race organised by Mynydd Du Mountain Runners.

For further details, to register and obtain a sponsorship form contact lindagreer@monmouthshire.gov.uk or the Chairman’s Office on 01633 644020.