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Plans for over a thousand homes discussed

Plans for over 1,700 homes at Bodelwyddan in Denbighshire will be discussed today.

Plans for nearly 2,000 homes in Denbighshire will proposed later. Credit: David Davies/PA Archive

The application is an outline proposal for the development of 1,715 dwellings including affordable dwellings, an up to 80 bed care home and 50 close care flats, an up to 100 bedroom hotel, a new primary school and two local centres.

It also includes a new access and a link between A55 Junction 26 and Sarn Road, pedestrian and cycle routes.

Areas of formal and informal open space, green space and structural landscaping and drainage infrastructure are also envisioned.

The planning application was submitted to the Council in December 2013, and a consultation took place between January and March 2014.

Around 100 jobs at risk at aircraft engines plant

GE Aviation at Nantgarw near Caerphilly says around 100 workers could be made redundant due to a fall in sales. GE Aviation Wales specialises in the overhaul, repair and maintenance of a range of aircraft engines.

Credit: ge.com/uk

In a statement the company said data for 2015 suggested a drop in business and it was "considering a range of options, including tighter controls around overtime, review of the current shift arrangements and the possibility of a voluntary redundancy programme for Aircraft Engineer grade employees."

Over the coming weeks, the Company along with Unite representatives will be reviewing the 2015 business plan against these options to determine how we may implement one or more of these programmes in order to address our current business challenges.

Based on our projections, if we were to progress with a voluntary redundancy programme, we would not anticipate reducing our overall headcount by more than 100 employees.

Details of any redundancy programme would be the subject of consultation with Unite representatives prior to any final decision being made. We remain committed to continuing an open dialogue with our workforce and to providing information and advice to support our employees.

– GE aviation spokesperson

The plant at Nantgarw, north of Cardiff employs a highly skilled workforce of over 1,350 people. The company has over 90 customers worldwide.

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'Finishing post in sight' for revamped Cardigan Castle

The Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust says the next few months will be an "incredibly intense" time for Cardigan Castle during the final phase of its £12m restoration project.

The castle is set to reopen its doors to visitors in April.

It's been a long time coming but the finishing post is nearly in sight. We have worked so long and so hard for this. The castle will really put Cardigan on the map.

– Jann Tucker, Chair of the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust
Extensive restoration work has been underway at Cardigan Castle since 2011. Credit: Equinox Communications

The trust has received more than £6m from the Heritage Lottery Fund and £4.3m from the European Regional Development Fund to restore the Grade I listed building.

Further funding has come from a Communities Asset Transfer grant with support from the Welsh Government, Cadw, Big Lottery Fund, The UK Association of Preservation Trusts, The Architectural Heritage Fund, Ceredigion County Council, Cardigan Town Council and The Prince's Regeneration Trust, and community fundraising.

Family time at heart of new Visit Wales TV advert

A new television advert will hit our screens today aiming to encourage people from the UK and Ireland to enjoy family time in Wales.

The latest phase of the Visit Wales 'Have You Packed for Wales?' campaign focuses on the family activities on offer here, including adventures at Caernarfon Castle and dolphin-spotting along the Ceredigion Coast.

The latest TV advert by Visit Wales will encourage families to explore Wales. Credit: Visit Wales

The family market is very important to Wales. The Great Britain Tourism Survey tells us than children were present on 40% of holiday trips taken by British residents in Wales in 2013 and expenditure on these holidays was in excess of £350 million.

This campaign will concentrate on the family adventures to be had in Wales. There are plenty of opportunities to try something new for the first time - catching your first fish for a BBQ, soaring through the sky on a zip wire or bouncing on a trampoline in an underground cave, trying out surfing and coasteering for the first time, getting closer to nature and feeding a Red Kite or stepping back in time to visit your first castle.

– Ken Skates, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism

Cardigan Castle to reopen in Spring after £12m revamp

Cardigan Castle will re-open its doors this Spring following a four-year £12m restoration project, it has been announced.

The 900-year-old site is due to reopen in April as a heritage attraction and leisure and events venue.

A view of Cardigan Castle from the River Teifi. Credit: Louise Noakes

Its overhaul follows more than a decade of lobbying and fundraising, led by the Cadwgan Building Preservation Trust and volunteers.

It is hoped the newly-revamped castle will attract at least 33,000 visitors in its first year of reopening, as well as boosting the local economy.

Plea to save Swansea tropical hothouse from closure

More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling on the council to drop its plan to close a popular tropical hothouse in Swansea.

Plantasia was opened in 1990 Credit: Vanessa Harvey

Plantasia, in Parc Tawe, could be shut after Swansea Council announced plans to make savings by slashing £81 million from its budget.

The council has put forward a second option which could see the facility handed over to another organisation.

The proposals have sparked outrage among Plantasia fans who have started a petition to save the hothouse from its demise.

The tropical hothouse plays host to 45 different species of animals Credit: Vanessa Harvey

The attraction is Wales' only indoor living rainforest and has seen over two million people through its doors since its opening in 1990.

The hothouse is also used for educational trips with 10,000 school children visiting every year.

Plantasia plays host to a variety of animals including species of Cotton Top Tamarin monkeys and Egyptian tortoises.

We have to find £81 million of savings over the next three years. This means difficult decisions have to be made to protect as many services as possible for residents across Swansea. The proposal currently out for consultation is to offer an appropriate group the chance to run Plantasia at no cost to the council or, if one can’t be found, to stop providing the service. No decisions have yet been made and all feedback forming part of the consultation process that runs until January 21 will be considered.

– Swansea Council spokesperson

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Cardiff to Dusseldorf service announced

Credit: Flybe

Regional airline Flybe has announced it's adding weekly flights from Cardiff to Dusseldforf to its Summer schedule

The Saturday service will start in April.

This link not only adds to the direct destinations from Cardiff, but brings with it some great potential for inbound tourism into Wales from Germany.

– Spencer Birns, Cardiff Airport Aviation Business Development Director

Average Christmas spend in Wales is almost £600

Today is the last full shopping day before Christmas, and it's also the busiest.

Figures show people in Wales plan to spend almost £600 on Christmas this year.

But around a third of us are worried about how we will afford it.

And three in ten of us will turn to credit cards to fund the festive season.

Our Business Correspondent Carole Green has been taking a look at this year's Christmas spend.

Busiest shopping day of the year expected for Welsh high streets

Today is likely to be the busiest shopping day for retailers, with consumers predicted to spend £1.3 billion on UK high streets.

That's according to Visa Europe who say shoppers are expected to spend nearly £1 million per minute.

Shoppers are expected to spend nearly £1 million a minute across the UK Credit: PA

Thousands of people are expected to descend upon Welsh city centres in a dash to grab last minute Christmas presents.

Money advice experts also say people are spending more this Christmas than ever before with the average person spending £584.

But there are concerns that many people risk falling into debt because of splashing too much cash during the festive months.

Figures from The Money Advice service show:

  • 34% are worried about how they will afford Christmas
  • 30% will turn to credit cards to fund their shopping
  • 3% will take out a pay day loan to cover the costs of Christmas

Whilst some people are spending more this Christmas, others are still struggling to make ends meet and are becoming more dependent on foodbanks.

That's the warning from foodbanks who say this time of year can be difficult with many families relying on centres for help with their groceries.

Over £30 million to be invested into deprived parts of Wales

Over £30 million is to be invested into some of Wales' most deprived areas.

The Welsh Government announced the funding will be given to its Communities First programme which will help 52 areas across the country.

52 areas around Wales are to benefit from the funding Credit: PA

The £31.7 million will support the most vulnerable by combating poverty and promoting education, health and economic prosperity.

Areas across Wales will benefit from the funding between April 2015 and March 2016

Providing £31.7 million for our Communities First programme during a time of unprecedented budget cuts shows the Welsh Government is committed to supporting our most vulnerable communities and narrowing the economic, education and health gaps between our most deprived and affluent areas. Far too many people’s lives are affected by poverty. Too many families have nobody working and cannot afford basic essentials such as heating their home during this cold weather. Addressing this issue is a priority for me and the Government as a whole.

– Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Communities and Tackling Poverty

The breakdown of funding is as follows:

  • Anglesey County Council - £662,200
  • Bridgend County Borough Council - £1,738,317
  • Caerphilly County Borough Council - £2,902,016
  • City of Cardiff Council - £2,984,094
  • Carmarthenshire County Council - £580,007
  • City and County of Swansea - £2,844,812
  • Conwy County Borough Council - £580,381
  • Flintshire County Council - £676,315
  • Gwynedd County Council - £576,675
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council - £1,888,535
  • Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council - £1,729,229
  • Newport City Council - £2,391,530
  • NSA Afan - £526,800
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council - £4,850,025
  • The Co-operative Group - £2,584,539
  • Torfaen County Borough Council - £1,302,452
  • Vale of Glamorgan Council - £580,922
  • Wrexham County Borough Council - £1,252,447
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