Wrexham review of the year

Reporter:

Rebecca Cole

From fury over plans to shake-up children’s services at the Maelor
to the shock resignation of Wrexham Council’s chief executive, there was plenty to keep us talking in the second half of 2010. Reporter Rebecca Cole looks back at the people and events which made the news in an eventful six months

July
- VANDALS targeted parked cars in a spate of catapult attacks in Gresford.

In two incidents at least four vehicles were hit as ball bearings were fired from a car on Chester Road.

It was thought at the time that the attacks were at random and no specific individuals were targeted.

- FLASH floods wreaked havoc in Wrexham leaving many homes and businesses reeling under the cost of repair.

Alison Howell feared for the future of her fledgling business Passion for Hair on Brook Street after a ‘torrent’ of water caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.

And mum of three Alison Edwards had to have 130 litres of floodwater pumped out of her front room where 10 day old carpets were fitted.

- ARMY bomb disposal experts had to remove two Second World War shells after a bomb scare in Rhostyllen.

- AND a disabled ex-serviceman declared he would rather go to prison than pay a £70 parking ticket.

Keith Young, 71, refused to pay the charge after he left his van in the multi-storey car park at Eagles Meadow – he had not paid for a ticket because he was displaying his blue disabled badge.

This sparked a six month long war of words with car park operator Vinci Park.

August
-TWO police officers risked their lives to save a woman who was trapped in a burning building.

Sgt Paul Hughes and PC Yvie Johnson needed hospital treatment after fighting through thick black smoke at the house in Plas Madoc, but both valiantly finished their shifts before going home for the day.

- ANIMAL lovers were left saddened and shocked after vandals stooped to new lows by killing hens and their chicks.

The yobs wrung the hens’ necks and drowned their chicks in a mindless attack on Prices Lane allotments – the latest in a string of incidents which had blighted the area.

- IT WAS announced that one of Wrexham’s most recognisable landmarks was set to come down.

Welsh Assembly bosses overruled Wrexham Council to declare that Bersham slag heap was to be removed over a period of years.

But the owners –West Midlands-based Bersham (Glenside) Ltd – were keen to preserve historic elements such as original headgear and listed buildings.

- Brian Buckley, who subjected mum-of-two Leah Ingham to 18 months of cruelty before killing her, was given a life sentence at Mold Crown Court.

September
-NATHAN John White and Carl Anthony Davies pleaded guilty to stealing £54,000 in an armed raid at Cefn Mawr Post Office.

Both also pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm, or imitation firearm, with intent to commit robbery.

- ASTRONOMER Mark Young captured Wrexham’s imagination with photos of mysterious orange lights floating in the sky over the town.

Mark, who claims to have spotted asteroids, planets and moons, described them as a ‘very strange colour, bright white in the centre with orange and red around the outside’.

He said: “If they were Chinese lanterns then I’m the Pope.”

- A FORMER takeaway owner faced charges after an E.coli outbreak which left four people seriously ill.

Ramazan Aslan was investigated under the Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 in relation to the running of Llay Fish Bar, which is now under new management, for failing to ensure cooked and ready to eat food was protected at all stages of production.

- A BUS driver was stabbed as he tried to stop a raid in the former Spar in Johnstown.

The good samaritan had followed a robber into the store but sustained serious injuries when the criminal turned on him.

October
- THE month saw the council pledge to crack down on school bullies after official figures showed the county was one of the worst in Wales for attacks on pupils.

It was revealed that more than 200 youngsters are being targeted by bullies each year, which amounts to 1,250 separate attacks - the third highest number in the country after Cardiff and Caerphilly, which have much larger populations.

- WORRIED parents launched a fight to save children’s services at the Maelor Hospital after plans for a major shake-up across North Wales were revealed.

But health minister Edwina Hart created a storm by branding Maelor hospital campaigners ‘mischief-makers’ and said they should stop upsetting and worrying people unnecessarily. She later apologised but her comments infuriated mothers leading the protest who felt the changes threatened maternity and special care baby services.

- PLANS to build a new Welsh medium school on green land in Gwersyllt sparked a row among residents who believed the school would be more useful in Brymbo where hundreds of new homes have been built and land set aside for a school.

Wrexham Council’s executive board had rubber-stamped plans, subject to planning permission, for the £6million development on land off Delamere Avenue.

November
- THERE was heartbreak for many children and parents in November after vandals trashed a children’s play area leaving it too dangerous to use.

Ysgol Bodhyfryd Playgroup, in Hightown, was targeted for the second time in less than two months.

A wooden pirate ship worth £600 and a train worth more than £1,000 were smashed in the attack which led to one parent vowing to install CCTV.

- STEPHEN Mark Welsh was found guilty of setting fire to his lodger in November at Mold Crown Court.

He had doused the victim in fuel before setting him alight and his ex-girlfriend Kelly Kinsella, who was there at the time, told the Leader the “screams will live with me forever”.

- PLANS to fit council houses with solar panels were tabled in an ambitious 25-year project among the first of its kind in the UK.

If given the go-ahead by the council’s executive board, the solar panels would be installed on the roofs of 3,000 council houses and tenants would benefit from cheaper electricity. At a meeting of the board a few weeks later the proposal was agreed in principle pending further investigation and a report back to the board.

- AND despite the gloomy economy, Wrexham was labelled a boom town just in time for the festive season as official figures showed a dramatic fall in the number of empty shops.

The good news was revealed by the council’s economic development team and traders agreed that after all the doom and gloom the future was looking bright.

December
- FOLLOWING an early cold snap at the end of November the weather woes continued throughout much of December amid school closures and reports that mail services were cancelled.

Council grit levels quickly shrank and the Maelor Hospital’s A&E department was inundated with people suffering ill health due to the sub-zero temperatures and injuries from slips, trips and bumps.

Claims also surfaced that thieves were stealing salt from roadside bunkers and in some cases were taking the actual bunkers themselves.

- AS THE year drew to a close the debate over whether Wrexham should bid for city status raged on.

In December council leader Aled Roberts said it was “not such a big deal” and called for residents to be given the power to decide, but MP Ian Lucas declared that winning city status was vital to Wrexham’s future prosperity.

- AND a shock move saw Isobel Garner resign as Wrexham Council’s chief executive.

Many members of the council were surprised by the revelation, but no date for her departure was set and councillors will meet in the New Year to decide how to select a replacement.

See full story in the Leader

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on

Characters left: 1500

Most Read