Header

New Common Bye-Laws

A set of proposals has been drafted for the introduction of New Common Bye-Laws. A copy can be found by clicking here.PDF Document

Town Centre Changes

As a town, Buckley is still the largest single community in Flintshire, both as at the 2011 Census and as of now in the latest 2017 figure for residents, which shows up as 19,639, some way ahead of our nearest rivals for that status, which are Connah’s Quay and Shotton, with similar populations of around 16,700 each.


It is a fact of life that the old local hey-days of industries based on coal and clay are now history. Flintshire- and Buckley as that county’s largest town – became the county in the UK with the longest travel to work distance, much of it by car. Many residents choose to shop on the way to and from work and more and more people are shopping and transacting on-line.


Despite its size, the town’s retail and commercial heart has not been immune to the difficult national, if not global, retail and commercial atmosphere of recent times. Thankfully, we still have Lloyds Bank in the middle of the town and the reliable Rowlands Pharmacy, among other offerings. The relocation and downsizing of the Post Office into the Spar Store proved to cause much less upheaval and anguish than had been feared. Sadly the last year saw the final demise of The Windmill Grill, which had been a popular and welcome venue in the town for a long time.


The town now has a Flintshire Connects section in the library, where local people can go to connect electronically with the many county council services that are part of everyday life. Buckley Town Council’s offices are still where they have been for many a long year, in the town hall. Cognizant of changing times, the Town Council now has its own website. On the upper floor of that same building, the offices of Welsh Border Community Transport Scheme, of which both my wife and I are trustees, can be found. Not far away on the same floor, there is a Citizens Advice office, open on a Wednesday of each week. Of that county organisation, I have been a trustee for some years and am currently the chairman.


That the Precinct is struggling to fill its available floor space is clear to anyone who walks through it. Despite the best efforts of the owners, their agents and councillors at all levels, high rental costs and high business rates combined with a lower footfall rate than a town of its size would statistically suggest, has seen the closure of a number of smaller, locally-based shops, both in the Precinct and elsewhere in the town. That of course was not helped by the Wales Government forcing the location of the new medical centre a half-mile or more out of town, purely to save themselves money. They chose to ignore local wisdom that informed them they would damage footfall on our high street and dent retail sales.

 

Thank Heaven, after much chasing, the county council’s Highways Department has finally, in March 2017, overseen the installation of a full set of traffic lights at the awkward road junction, almost but not quite a cross-roads, where Liverpool Road, Alltami Road and Higher Common Road meet. We locals to the county officers that that junction would inevitably need equipping with traffic lights in order to safely cope with the increased traffic flow. Exercising the “Better late than never” rule, the officers have now done what is proving to be a good and useful job with the traffic lights at the junction, which is now much safer for traffic and pedestrians.

 

Regrettably that piece of good work is overshadowed by the ill-effects of the Labour Administration at county hall slapping car parking charges on the Precinct Way and other car parks in and around the town. The cost of a ticket may, presently, be small, but the annoyance/irritation factor is far greater, especially if any driver has forgotten to put a few bits of small change in their pocket before leaving home for town centre. However, not all is doom and gloom, for the Costa Coffee shop opened in the Precinct last year appears to be doing steady trade and the Iceland Store, having expanded and improved, is a welcome and busy location.


Moving not too far from that New Medical Centre location, one of the I am sure unintentionally best-kept secrets the town has to offer is that of the Hawkesbury Little Theatre Company, with its almost out of sight small theatre located between Hawkesbury Community Centre and the New Medical Centre. Their periodic plays throughout the year and the Christmas Pantomimes are not to be missed.


2016 saw the departure of the Co-op and the take-over of their premises alongside Precinct Way by Budgens, which group and its Buckley store in particular, right from the start, did not seem to be geared up to compete successfully with the Aldi Retail Store just across the way. At the beginning of March in this present year of 2017, the Budgens Retail Group was put into liquidation by their creditors.  Price Waterhouse Coppers were appointed liquidators. One very wise move they have made is to block off the car park associated with the store, to prevent its occupation by any Traveller Group. Let us all hope that a buyer can be found, one with the skills and determination to compete effectively with Aldi, whose plans to re-arrange the war memorial are proceeding very slowly indeed.


With Flintshire County Council intending to levy 20% of Business Rates on the plethora of charitable shops along high streets all across the county, from April, where they have been business rate free for many years, it will be interesting to see, as the year progresses, just how many of them will survive. Only time will tell. None of us want more whitewashed windows on our high street or in the Precinct.


Many residents are watching with great interest and some impatience, to see some visible signs of progress over the intention to turn the Old Buckley Baths Building from a derelict shell into a vibrant and useful multi-purpose community hall, in accordance with the town development plan that was publicised more than four years ago. Progress towards registration as a charitable enterprise is under way, that I am aware of and I believe it is fair to comment that the several local councillors who are the directors of the company involved are probably as disappointed at the lack of visible progress as those residents who are interested onlookers.
As 2017 progresses, it is hoped by everyone that there will be some visible signs of progress and development on the site of the Old Medical Centre, between Precinct Way and Padeswood Road North. Planning permission was granted at the end of last year, 2016, for a block of 24 Maisonettes to be build on the site. Now Grwp Cynefin, one of our many Social Landlords in Wales, need to get on and build there, for there is little doubt that demand to occupy them will be high.


Crossing over to the eastern side of Precinct Way, the parcel of land between Budgens Store and Manor Drive was sold by Medical Centre Developments London Ltd, to a more local company, Edwards Homes, who are in the process of applying to county council to build 14 houses there. Hopefully, that batch of houses will be built and occupied before the end of 2017.
Moving a little further eastwards, work on 14 or so off-road parking spaces by Jubilee Road, between the Cricket Ground and Prince of Wales Court flats, in order to relieve the roadside parking pressures and traffic congestion at the Brook Street/Chester Road junction, is scheduled to start shortly.

Dog Control Orders

Since 2009, when Dog Fouling Regulations were finally introduced in Flintshsire, there have been some dozens of formal prosecutions and many dozens of warnings issued.  Despite that activity and although there has been a notable improvement, our community is still beset by some dog owners who choose not to clean up after their dogs.  If your local area is still having problems, please let me know, by the usual email (arnooldwoolley@outlook.com) or by phone at FCC on (01352) 752121 or on my home number of (01244) 549421, which you are welcome to use at all hours and over the weekend too if you need to.


Meanwhile, FCC is not alone in relation to this issue of difficulty in catching the offenders, in that it is quite difficult to do so.  Local people do not like "finking" on their neighbours and they like even less the thought of being asked to give evidence in court should a ticket be disputed. Where does that leave us, because we really do need to get a grip upon and to educate or sort out the persistent offenders whose dogs still foul our pavements, footpaths, playing fields and other areas threatening the health and welfare of both children and adults?  


Well, the scene has been set by one or two other local authorities who have called in the snoopers as it were.  They have engaged private companies to monitor the hot-spots and gather the evidence needed to ensure successful prosecution.  If FCC moves in that direction, I will support that action. Those who may get prosecuted as a result will have only themselves to blame.

 

For those responsible dog owners who wish to dispose of their dog mess correctly there is an app available for your smart phone which details the locations of dog mess bins and also gives only helpful infformation. The app is called Flintshire Doogy Do and is available in both Welsh and English versions.

 

Recently there have been a couple of successful prosecutions against dog owners who have failed to clean up after their dogs.

The New Medical Centre.

I know! We all wanted it to go into the centre of our town.  If we, townspeople and local councillors, had had our way, there it would have gone.  However, do please register and remember that you residents, alongside us councillors, had no say in the matter at all, when decisions had to be made.   The decision, made solely between the new North Wales Health Trust, the Welsh Assembly Government and the chosen Developer, was made and the new Medical Centre built.

Buckley Old Swimming Baths.

Old BathsSome four years ago, there was an attempt, a quite shameful attempt, by Flintshire County Council, to sell off the land and the Old Baths Building, so that it could be demolished in order to build another block of flats. In fact, the first that was really known about it was when a demolition company's representative, acting for developers, appeared at the town council offices right out of the blue and asked Martin Wright, the Town Clerk, for the keys to the baths building so that they could take a look around it before starting demolition!


I am delighted to say that with much good, hard work performed by our Town Clerk, Martin Wright and a great deal of research into archived and non-archived records by his wife Mary, the county council's effort to sell off what they did not own,  was swiftly and firmly scotched.  The town's councillors were able to protect the interests of residents because there is no doubt that, while the land on which the Old Baths Building stands, is owned by Flintshire County Council, there is clear evidence that the building itself, built by the mining and other communities of Buckley way back in the 1920s, is NOT owned by the county authority, but by CISWO, the Coal Industries Social and Welfare Organisation.

Walkabout Buckley

Walkabout BuckleyWalkabout Buckley walks are organised and led by Jim and Lyn Dyson, assisted mainly by David and Kath Waller, Sandy and Alex McLeod, Paula Woolley and a cluster of other local volunteers who have all undergone Walk Leader Training.  The walks are fully insured, well controlled and very well attended.  There are walks to suit all abilities and inclinations, starting with a regular Thursday morning gathering at the small section of the Precinct Way Carpark, adjacent to the rear of Iceland Store in Buckley at 09:45 hrs for a 10:00hrs start.  Two walks, one shorter and a little slower than the other.  Take your pick!   2-2.5 miles in an hour over easy terrain, or 3 miles+ in 1 - 1.5 hrs.  All followed by a relaxing cup of tea or coffee and a biscuit at the Community Centre Hall within the Jubilee Court Sheltered Housing Complex, which is across Precinct Way, opposite the new Aldi Store, where you can finish off the chattering you have been doing along the course of the walk.  The atmosphere is warm and friendly and so are the walkers.

There are also longer walks, on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, usually around 5 miles in length, out of Buckley, sometimes in the Clwydian Range AONB, sometimes in adjoining counties. One recently saw 30 walkers from Buckley and other local walking groups, all headed off to Hilbre Island off the Wirral.  No, they did not walk all the way there and back!  Only from West Kirby.  On this occasion a coffee break was taken on the island and lunch was had either in West Kirby or at Parkgate, or at home as the mood suited. 

Through the summer there are Friday evening walks, on the last Friday of each month.

It has to be said that most of the walkers are mature people, although a number of younger folks do come along too, mostly over the summer months and school holidays.  If you feel like some exercise at a comfortable pace in friendly company, why not come along.  The cost is £6 per year to cover insurance, or 50P per walk - and if you attend 12 occasional walks in the year, the rest become free anyway.
       

Make contact with Lyn or Jim on 01244 550488 or give me a call on 01244 549421.

 

Total number of attendances during 2016 was 2865, which represents a 25% increase in the 2291 number of walkers for 2015.
New walkers who joined us in 2016 numbered 14.
The total cumulative mileage covered by the Thursday walkers in Buckley, during 2016, was 7625.16 miles.
             

Walking is good for you and so is socializing, so why not come along for a trial walk with us – you will be warmly welcomed!

 

Walkabout BuckleyWalkabout BuckleyWalkabout Buckley

Buckley Little Theatre Group

I am not quite sure why, but the existence of this group and their really terrific stage presentations seem to be one of the least known of Buckley’s community activities.

The Little Theatre itself has been a county council owned building.  Until a few days ago that is, when I had the pleasure of signing off the documentation that has now agreed the sale of the theatre to the Little Theatre Group.  The building stands directly behind the derelict listed building that is the old Hawkesbury Hall House.  Now that they own the theatre, the company can get on and do some of the alterations and improvements to the  building that they have been unable to do as tenants. 

For a bunch of dedicated amateurs, the quality of performance, be it Pantomime, Comedy, or Drama, is high.  When the next production comes about, as they do every few months, do get a ticket or two and go along for an evening of quality entertainment at very reasonable cost – and right on your doorstep at that.

Incidentally, I know that the group is always on the lookout for new faces.  So, if you feel the call of spotlights, greasepaint and applause, get in touch with me, or with George or Joyce Hughes (01244 543225) and you will find yourself warmly welcomed.

 

Back to top

 

Home | News | Biography | Independant Alliance | News | Contact Arnold Woolley | Site Map | Local Affairs | Useful Links