Category: News

Housing development wins award for top builder

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An environmentally-friendly development has won a top builder a major construction quality award.

Residents of Cwrt y Glowyr in the village of Penyffordd, near Holywell, stayed warm this winter and helped save the planet thanks to an advanced heating system installed by builders Anwyl Construction.

The air-source heating systems were an integral part of the £1.1 million nine-home scheme built by Anwyl for major North Wales social housing company Grwp Cynefin.

The new estate of five three-bed and four two-bed properties has just scooped the Flintshire Local Authority Building Control award for the Best Social Housing Development for Anwyl, one of two awards they have won across North Wales this year.

They are now in the running for the North Wales award which will be announced later this month at a ceremony at St David’s Park Hotel, Ewloe, just a stone’s throw from the company’s new headquarters.

Cwrt y Glowyr’s nine homes are arranged in a block of three and three pairs of semi-detached houses and as well as air-source heating each also has photo-voltaic solar panels to provide electricity.

Councillor Kevin Jones, Flintshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Protection, said: “This is an extremely well laid out rural development which enhances the area and I would welcome similar cost effective schemes in the future.

“It’s good to see developments in the rural villages helping to keep young people in their historic environment – villages age together but often they lose the younger generation.

“The use of air source heating and solar panels is also a benefit and it would be good to see more developments like this across the county.”

Anwyl Construction Director Tom Anwyl said: “The development here in Penyffordd has gone very well under out site manager Dave Haken and I think the residents are very happy with it.

“It’s a very ‘green’ development with the air-source heating and the solar panels and it is important to have these sorts of skills.

“We are always delighted to win a Local Authority Building Control award as we consider them a hugely important accolade and a benchmark for the construction industry.

“It’s always nice to have your work recognised and to have it done by the people whose job it is to oversee all the building work that goes on in Flintshire is very satisfying.

“We do feel it is important to work with the local authority building control departments in North Wales. We have a good working relationship with them which has been built up over the years. You can talk to them about issues and it works very well for both sides.

“We also value our partnership with Grwp Cynefin with whom we have worked before because they believe in using North Wales-based builders to make sure that the local community and its economy benefits from their projects.”

Grwp Cynefin Development Manager R Bryn Davies said: “We congratulate Anwyl Construction on their nomination for this award.

“The homes at Cwrt y Glowyr are part of our commitment to providing high quality homes in rural communities.

“The inclusion of energy efficient heating systems helps keep down the running costs of the homes, and is part of our commitment to reducing fuel poverty.”

Flintshire Council Building Control Team Leader John Wilkinson said: “Anwyl and their site manager have been keen throughout this project to liaise with Building Control to ensure full compliance without the need to rectify matters later.

“This ensured a very smooth construction phase as no significant problems arose. It also enabled a fast and smooth completion of properties with no difficulties.

“The developer has built up an excellent understanding with Building Control over a number of years and consistently delivers high quality work in all aspects of the build programme.”

Big increase in demand for private hospital services

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A zero infection rate in blood-borne MRSA and C.Diff. is helping a private hospital to expand its services.

The number of self-pay patients going to Spire Yale Hospital has doubled over the last five years and is continuing to grow.

As part of the strategy for future growth, the hospital has now appointed a new business development manager, Heidi Parker-Jones.

Since it first opened in 1988, skilled surgeons at the hospital have successfully carried out more than 52,000 procedures ranging from hip and knee replacements to bariatric and cosmetic surgery.

Throughout that period it has also managed to achieve a zero rating for both the bloodstream infection MRSA bacteraemia and Clostridium Difficile – C.Diff – which has been once again maintained over the past 12 months.

According to Mrs Parker-Jones, a mother-of-two, she had always wanted to work at Spire Yale Hospital.

With a background working in facilities management, she joined the team at Spire three years ago, initially as customer service team leader before being promoted to business development manager.

She recalled: “I used to drive past Spire Yale and I thought to myself, I’m going to work there one day.

“I love working with people and I think that was a big attraction for me, and I always thought that was something I would really enjoy.

“When the job for customer service team leader was advertised I applied and I was absolutely thrilled to be appointed.

“I’ll now be managing the customer sales team which looks after the self-pay patients that enquire within the hospital. It’s a big challenge but one that I am relishing

“I think for us the biggest message is that you don’t have to have insurance to come into the hospital, and we’re finding that people don’t always know that. They can some in and self-pay for consultations, treatments, they don’t have to have insurance.

“We need to let people know it is affordable and we offer zero per cent finance. So it’s just about us getting that message out and helping the patient along with their journey and getting speedy treatment.

“The facilities here are second to none and we have spent more than £500,000 on improvements over the past couple of years. We’re also doing some refurbishments to the patient rooms at the moment.

“In the 28 years we’ve been open we’ve seen over 300,000 patients for consultations and treatment and that number is growing all the time.

“Since the very first operation on November 22, 1988 our surgeons have carried out many thousands of procedures with differing levels of complexity.

“The majority have been orthopaedic operations, such as hip and knee replacement and spinal surgery as well as surgery on feet, ankles, shoulders and hands.

“Apart from orthopaedics, we have carried out lots of cataract surgery on patients’ eyes and also many gall bladder removals, hernia repairs and operations to correct varicose veins, along with a significant number of gynaecological procedures.

“Abdominal surgery has also accounted for quite a number of our operations.”

Mrs Parker-Jones added that over the years there had also been increasing demand for cosmetic surgery and weight loss surgery in which Spire Yale specialises.

She added: “We now carry out a large number of cosmetic procedures, ranging from breast augmentation and reductions to tummy tucks and liposuction and that number is also on the increase, whilst our weight loss surgery provides gastric bypass and gastric sleeve procedures.

“We’ve seen a big growth in the number of self-pay patients with numbers doubling over the last five years.

“Rather than wait for it to be done on the NHS, patients are deciding to forego their holiday and get their hip or knee fixed so they can get back to normal more quickly. That kind of thing is becoming more and more commonplace.

“Another factor is our zero rate of blood-borne infections which gives people reassurance and peace of mind. This combined with the opportunity to choose their consultant and to schedule treatment when it is convenient for them is making paying for treatment an appealing option for more and more people.”

Veteran snappers help clinch awards double

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An arts-loving housing association has clinched a major awards double – with the help of some veteran photographers.

Cartrefi Conwy were honoured at the prestigious Arts & Business Cymru Awards at the Millenium Centre in Cardiff.

First they scooped the prize in the Arts, Business and Health category and then capped the night off by being named Business of the Year.

The housing association are long-term supporters of Arts & Business Cymru.

The first joint project happened in 2012 when they created a Military Wives-style choir from the Peulwys estate in Llysfaen to perform at the North Wales International Music festival under the baton of royal composer Paul Mealor.

One of their eye-catching projects involved a group of silver surfers who took dramatic photographs which were exhibited to great acclaim at Venue Cymru in Llandudno and Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay.

Around a dozen older tenants of Cartrefi Conwy signed up for the 10-week digital inclusion and photography course, known as the Focus project.

The aim was to encourage them to learn and develop computer skills while having fun and meeting new friends.

The awards, now in their 23rd year, aim to encourage, acknowledge and celebrate exemplary partnerships between the private sector and the arts and reflected the broad range of work undertaken by Arts & Business Cymru.

Cartrefi Conwy chief executive Andrew Bowden said: “I am immensely proud that we have been honoured at the Arts & Business Cymru Awards, not for the sake of winning awards but for what they represent and say about our wonderful organisation.

“Even in times of budgetary challenges, the arts have a big role to play in improving the quality of people’s lives and this is certainly the case for our tenants who have been involved in a variety of arts-related projects in recent years.

“We fully support the ethos of bringing arts and business together for mutual benefit because it helps us in our aim of creating communities to be proud of.”

The digital inclusion course was led by Paul Sampson, curator of the Oriel Colwyn photographic Gallery at Theatr Colwyn.

He explained that photography was used to encourage participants to use computers.

He said: “Most people take and have photographs and have access to a digital camera. So, as well as learning a few photographic skills participants learned how to store, retrieve, manipulate and file their images on a computer. We also looked at how to share images on social media.

“The group went out taking photographs on Llandudno promenade, the Happy Valley Gardens on the Great Orme and at a 1940s festival in Colwyn Bay.

“It gave me the opportunity to teach a few things about photography, such as using light and shade, composition and exposure techniques, and once we returned to the computer room, what to do with those images.”

Some of the most memorable images in the project were taken by 78-year-old great-grandmother Renee Williams, of The Fron, Old Colwyn.

She admitted: “I paid just £20 for a small digital camera from the local supermarket, so I’m surprised and delighted that about our work being shortlisted for such a big award.

“Just to be on the shortlist is enough but to actually win would be amazing.”

Renee came up with a trio of powerful pictures showing a young boy holding a red balloon and an authentically dressed air-raid warden, both from the Colwyn Bay 40s festival, and a shot of smiling Cartrefi Conwy staff at Happy Valley.

She added: “Being part of course has given me a fantastic sense of achievement.

“I’ve enjoyed everything about it, including going out to take the pictures and the comradeship other members of the group.

“I have met new friends and neighbours I didn’t previously know. I think it all helps to keep you young.”

Nerys Veldhuizen, Cartrefi Conwy’s Older Person’s Engagement Co-ordinator, who helped organise the Focus project, was thrilled.

She said: “Originally, we just saw the project as a 10-week photographic and digital imaging course but it became so successful that we just couldn’t leave it there.

“There were the exhibitions at Venue Cymru and Theatr Colwyn and some of the group’s amazing images were transformed into art work at Cysgod y Gogarth, the £5 million development of 30 state-of-the-art apartments and houses for older people in Llandudno.”

Builder gets go ahead for £35 million apartments

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Top North Wales builders Anwyl Construction have been given the go-ahead for a £35 million plus new student accommodation development in Liverpool city centre.

Liverpool Council planning committee approved plans for the Ewloe-based company to start work on the development of 566 student apartments on the Norton Street site of Liverpool’s former National Express coach station.

It is Anwyl’s first major development in Liverpool and will be made up of two blocks of 16 storeys and 10 storeys at 45-degrees to each other and facing onto busy Islington in the heart of the city and will be one of the largest new student accommodations in Liverpool.

It will also include commercial units on the ground floor which will also feature communal facilities including a gym, dining area, games room, laundry and office/reception area together with cycle and bin stores for the residents.

The two blocks will be joined at ground floor level by an interlinking glazed block with landscaped areas at the entrance on Islington/Norton Street and within a courtyard area between the blocks.

Director Tom Anwyl, who heads up Anwyl Construction, said: “Liverpool is a thriving and exciting city and we’re proud to be playing a part in its transformation.

“The Anwyl Group has a solid reputation for high quality and thoughtful building in North Wales and we have ambitious plans for expansion in the North West.

“We believe that to gain unanimous approval for such a significant development in a key location in the city is the perfect way to launch Anwyl across the border.

“There were no objections and it was commended by Peter Jones of Liverpool Planning and suggested that the scheme was in the right location for the local universities.”

The council gave the development unanimous approval and said it would contribute towards the mix of residential accommodation and support the regeneration of the Islington area.

The report of the Interim head of Planning said: “The development will respond well to the surrounding buildings and will be of sufficiently high quality to ensure it contributes positively to the surrounding area whilst respecting the distinctive nature of the locality.”

Part of the disused Waterloo rail tunnel runs underneath the Norton Street site and Anwyl is consulting with Network Rail over the development while the tunnel’s Grade II-listed ventilation tower will be preserved as part of the scheme.

A council consultation on the development didn’t receive any objections.

Anwyl also have plans for a second prestige development in the city centre, a £50 million eco-friendly apartment complex on Pall Mall where they are planning a 21-floor development housing 342.

A planning application is set to be lodged by Anwyl Construction in the next month, including plans for a mix of luxury studio flats, and one, two and three bedroomed apartments.

Tom Anwyl added: “We are committed to ensuring that the areas in which we work benefit from the investment in them by ensuring that wherever possible we use local sub-contractors and source our materials through local supply chains and this is a policy we will continue in Liverpool.”

The Anwyl group is a family run company founded in Rhyl in 1930 and which this year moved into a new £2.5 million headquarters in Ewloe, in Flintshire.

As well as the Liverpool developments the company have announced a massive programme of more than £80 million in new building projects across both their housing and contracts divisions during 2016.

The construction division has a number of developments both in progress and due to start this year and the company is scheduled to build over 300 houses this year and over a thousand over the next three years.