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Bronze Age burial found

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AN EVENT was held last month in Penparcau to celebrate new and exciting findings about Pen Dinas Hill Fort.

The two-day ‘never been done before’ geophysical survey took place on April 5-6, by a team of archaeologists from Archaeology Wales, Trysor and a number of local people from the Penparcau Community Forum.

The survey shows that much more archaeology survives within the hillfort than can be seen on the surface, increasing the archaeological potential of the site.

A number of probable hut circles, the sites of round buildings typical of the Iron Age, have been identified as well as evidence of small ‘quarry scoops’ along the eastern side of the fort.

Undoubtedly the most significant discovery, is the confirmation that a low mound on the hilltop is a Bronze Age round barrow. This is a grave site, where the cremated remains of an important figure would have been buried over 3500 years ago.

“This is the first Bronze Age monument to be recorded in Penparcau and Aberystwyth,” explains Dr Alan Chamberlain who is a local resident and trustee of the Penparcau Community Forum.

“Its discovery changes the way we look at Pen Dinas and its hinterland. Its presence means that the hill must have been a place of special importance long before the hillfort was constructed.”

He adds: “The Bronze Age inhabitants of the district would have been a sophisticated and well-organised community, farming the land around the hill.  Speculation surrounds the location of their settlements, but they must have looked up at Pen Dinas with a similar sense of wonder as modern people would.”

“To them it was a place to bury someone of importance, perhaps a sacred landscape, from where an ancestor could watch over them.  We can only wonder if the Iron Age inhabitants of the hillfort were aware of this ancient grave when they built their fortified settlement.”

“These findings are re-writing history for Penparcau, Aberystwyth and Wales.  It’s really exciting and nationally significant! It’s especially important, because the local community has made this happen – how amazing to think that Penparcau has its own ‘Time Team.”

John Davies, Chair of the Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (LAG), which is administered by Ceredigion County Council said: “The project aims to continue the good work already completed by all those involved, and add value to local identity by using digital technologies. We hope this will attract more visitors to the site for tourism and education and enhancing a sense of place.”

The survey is part of an innovative ‘grass roots’ community led bilingual heritage and environment project called ‘Pen Dinas Hill Fort: Exploring the Celtic Coast’, which was developed by Penparcau Community Forum History and Heritage Group.

The project received LEADER support through the Cynnal y Cardi Local Action Group (LAG), and funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government. The project is also supported by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales (RCAHMW).

The project is looking for more volunteers from the local area, so if you would like to get involved in this exciting project please contact: contact@Penparcau.cymru

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Council tax reduction supports people on low incomes

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A COUNCIL Tax Reduction Scheme is in place to help people who are on a low income. The council administers the scheme on behalf of the Welsh Government for people who are liable to pay Council Tax and who live in Ceredigion. With the recent decision to raise Council Tax by 7%, residents on low incomes are being urged to find out if they are entitled to some help towards paying their Council Tax.

People can be eligible for the reduction if they are on a low income, working or unemployed, cannot work because of illness, retired or are caring for someone. The amount of the reduction depends on a person’s circumstances and how much Council Tax they need to pay.

Councillor Gareth Lloyd is the Cabinet member responsible for Financial Services. He said, “We made the difficult decision to raise Council Tax by 7% to reduce the amount of cuts we have to make to council services. The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising.”

“We want to urge anyone who is on a low income to consider if they are eligible for Council Tax Reduction. Tax increases can add pressure onto people’s budgets, and although this increase is vital to keep quality services in Ceredigion, we want to make sure that anyone who is eligible for help gets it.”

For more information on eligibility and how to claim council tax reduction, email revenues@ceredigion.gov.uk or call 01970 633 252.

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7% council tax increase to protect education funding

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THE COUNCIL TAX in Ceredigion for 2019-2020 will increase by 7%. The increase was agreed by councillors to reduce the impact of cuts to the Council’s budget and, in particular, to protect education spending. The decision was made in a Council meeting on 21 February 2019.

2% of the 7% increase will be used to protect education spending. Schools budgets have been under severe stress after years of needing to make savings. Costs have increased yet again following the agreement of new teachers’ salary increases together with increased pension contributions. This extra 2% uplift will enable school budgets to be kept flat.

The council tax rate increase is set by three key components, the County Council’s tax, the precept of Town and Community Councils and the Police precept. Increases set by the Police and Town and Community Councils result in a combined increase of 7.56%.

Councillor Ellen ap Leader of the Council, said, “We had no option but to ask Council to increase Council Tax by 7% in order to reduce the impact of the cuts we have had to make across council budgets. A successful Ceredigion in the future needs well-funded and well run schools. We want to invest in the future of our children and our county.”

“The reality is that the council is getting less money from the Welsh Government at a time when costs and demand for services are rising. The uplift of teachers’ salaries and pensions has not been fully funded by Welsh Government to date. If council tax had not increased, we would have to make deeper cuts.”

In 2018-2019, the average Council Tax Band D property was £1,226.48. The increase means that the same property will pay £1,312.33 in 2019-2020. The council’s budget has been cut by £39m or 25% in the last seven years. The Council will still need to save another £6m in the coming financial year.

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Information management policies updated to improve security

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THREE key information management policies have been updated by Ceredigion County Council. The policies were updated because of new laws and the need make sure that they are effective in a changing technological environment.

The updated policies were approved by the council’s Cabinet in a meeting on 19 February 2019.

The three policies that have been reviewed are:

· Data Protection/GDPR Policy
· Information Security Policy
· Information and Records Management Policy

The Deputy Leader of Ceredigion County Council and Cabinet member responsible for Governance, Councillor Ray Quant MBE said, “The council needs to keep information and data to carry out the many service we provide. Because of this we have to make sure we’re up to date on data and information protections laws. This decision means that we have approved the hard work done to update the policies and make sure that they are fit for use.”

The policies are essential to manage digital and paper records of the council.

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