SIX premises have been closed down across Carmarthenshire in a crackdown over breach of coronavirus regulations.
Carmarthenshire County Council, supported by Dyfed-Powys Police, have stepped up their enforcement of businesses that are failing to keep their customers safe as the number of positive Covid-19 cases begins to rise again in the county.
There is growing evidence across the country that where there are insufficient controls pubs, clubs and bars increase the risk of Covid-19 spreading in the community.
As well as the Drefach Cricket and Football Club, which was served a 14-day closure following a presentation evening which caused a cluster of positive cases, licensing officers have also served closure notices on Pembrey and Burry Port Bowls Club for 14 days, the Infinity Bar in Carmarthen for seven days, and 48-hour closure notices on The Railway Hotel in Ammanford, the Ammanford and District Miners Welfare Club, and the Golden Lion Hotel in Carmarthen.
Improvement notices are also being served on premises advising them to take action or face similar consequences.
However, the council said it was pleased to see how many businesses are operating well to provide a safe environment for their customers.
Many of those visited in recent weeks have made further improvements following the advice of the council’s public protection team.
Cllr Philip Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection, said: “In taking this action we are seeking to keep our communities safe. We have been visiting businesses across Carmarthenshire for several weeks offering advice and assistance, and we are really pleased to see how many premises have implemented systems that keep people safe.
“However, we are disappointed to see a number of premises failing to take their responsibilities seriously, and only in the worst cases we have taken immediate action to close them down for the protection of our communities and so that the owners can put in place the systems and controls that the majority of premises have successfully implemented.
“Whilst we have highlighted our actions over the weekend, our visits will continue to take place in towns and rural areas and we urge businesses to ensure the correct procedures are in place and properly managed to avoid action being taken.
“We will also revisit the premises that need improvement to check that our advice has been taken on board and put into practice.
“Serving a closure notice is always a last resort – we would much rather turn up at a premises and see them operating safely – but where we have serious concerns, we will not hesitate to put safety first.”
During the compliance visits, officers are checking that businesses are complying with the Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions)(No.2) (Wales) Regulations 2020, and have the power to close, force improvements of review the premises licence or club premises certificate.
All pubs and clubs must ensure that:
- A Test, Trace, Protect system is in place to accurately record all visits to the premises so that customers can be easily contacted in the event of a positive case linked to the venue
- Social distancing is maintained, with adequate signage, distance between tables and seating, and procedures for managing walkways and toilet areas
- Customers are not drinking and standing at the bar
- Customers are not drinking alcohol whilst standing, unless they are standing at a tall table – in all other instances they must be seated
- There is no live music, and that recorded music is only played at a low background level
Have your say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire
RESIDENTS and businesses are being urged to have their say on the future of housing in Carmarthenshire.
Carmarthenshire County Council is developing a new 10-year Housing and Regeneration Masterplan and residents are being asked for their views.
Providing quality, affordable homes is a key priority for the council and it is investing millions of pounds in new housing stock; creating much-needed jobs and helping to grow the local economy and regenerate communities.
In 2015, the council became the first in Wales to suspend the Right to Buy to retain its declining housing stock, and built a number of bungalows – the first local authority housing to be built in Wales since the 1980s.
A year later, in 2016, it launched its affordable homes plan to deliver 1,000 additional affordable homes in the county by 2021 by building new, buying from the market and converting empty buildings.
Now the council is shaping its plans for the next 10 years which includes building over 900 new council homes and investing nearly £150million across the county by 2029.
It is important that the new homes are of the right type, size and tenure, and in the right places to build strong sustainable communities where people want to live and work.
The Housing and Regeneration Masterplan will also recognise the role of housing development and investment in stimulating the overall economic growth of the county – which is now even more critical as we recover from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents are being encouraged to take part in our online consultation which starts on Monday, June 14.
Cllr Linda Evans, Executive Board Member for Housing, said: “We are proud to be leading the way here in Carmarthenshire to deliver new, affordable, high quality and much-needed homes for local people.
“We have already achieved so much during the last few years, but we must now plan for the next 10 years and we need the views of our residents to help tell us where they think these homes should be developed, who should have them, and what type and size they should be.
“We are committed to making more homes available for those in highest need, and aim to deliver a plan that will provide homes in communities where people want to live, with a range of homes to suit specific needs.
“This includes our rural towns and villages, where we must help to make sure that local people are able to afford quality affordable homes and remain in their communities; as well as increasing the residential offer in our town centres, increasing footfall and helping businesses to thrive.
“Aside from providing much needed homes in the county, the investment will also boost the local economy creating jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships in the construction industry.”
The council is delivering this commitment in a number of ways, including building more council homes and working with housing association partners to deliver more new build schemes, buying stock that suits our needs, working with developers to ensure a range of affordable homes are built as part of private developments and bringing empty homes back into use.
It is also actively working with landlords to encourage them to make their properties available at affordable rent levels, including bringing more private sector homes into the management of our in-house social lettings agency.
To take part in the survey please visit the consultation pages on the council website carmarthenshire.gov.wales/consultations Paper copies are available from one of our customer service Hwbs. The survey closes on July 26.
Community wardens hit the streets of Tyisha and Glanymor
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council has appointed two new community wardens to patrol the Tyisha and Glanymor areas of Llanelli.
The community wardens will support the local Neighbourhood Policing Team and other agencies to provide a visible presence within the area and will have a varied role which will include:
- Patrolling hot spot areas to deter crime and anti-social behaviour
- Tackling vandalism and fly tipping as well as issues relating to communal areas and open spaces/parks
- Supporting the introduction of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
- Organising the installation of crime prevention measures
- Offering targeted support to vulnerable members of the community
- Encourage wellbeing activities and community engagement with youth projects, schools and clubs including the promotion of volunteering opportunities.
Linda Evans, chair of the Tyisha steering group and executive board member for housing said: “I am delighted that Tyisha and Glanymor now have community wardens who will work closely with Dyfed Powys Police and other agencies to deliver a multi-agency approach to tackling issues of community concern. In response to community feedback they will prioritise tackling anti-social behaviour issues, reducing crime relating to drug and alcohol misuse and engaging with the community to make positive changes throughout Tyisha and Glanymor.”
Ann Davies, Executive Board Member and vice-chair of the Tyisha Steering Group said: “The work carried out by the community wardens will make a positive difference through helping to reduce fear of crime and incidents of anti-social behaviour as well as improving quality of life for those who live in these communities.”
The introduction of community wardens to the Tyisha area forms part of the council’s ambitious Transforming Tyisha project which looks to regenerate the area through increasing community safety, developing housing and community facilities and improving the environment.
To contact the community wardens or for more information on joining Tyisha and Glanymor’s Neighbourhood Watch Scheme please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Pollinators protected during annual grass verge cuts
CARMARTHENSHIRE County Council highways crews are starting their annual roadside grass cutting operations this week, but not every verge will be fully cut.
As part of its duty to protect biodiversity, grass will only be cut in one metre swathes in most areas where growth is affecting road visibility and pedestrian safety and several verges will be left until later in the year allowing flowers to set seed before being cut.
Much of Carmarthenshire’s roadside growth of grass and wildflowers will be left untouched to support local wildlife and pollinating insects.
Cuts will only be taken in these areas if there are health and safety concerns, particularly in 30-40mph areas in towns and villages.
Cllr Hazel Evans, the council’s executive Board Member for Environment, said the authority has taken a careful view of grass cutting operations not just for the sake of biodiversity but also to keep costs down.
“We have to carefully balance the needs of local wildlife with our responsibility for highway safety,” she said. “The importance of the road verge network for nature conservation is reflected in our verge maintenance policy. We delay the cutting of some verges in the interests of conservation as long as highway safety for motorists, cyclists, horse riders and pedestrians is not jeopardised.
“This is not only a reflection of our duty to the environment but also follows budget reviews which have identified cost savings by reducing and delaying grass cutting operations.”
Pollinating insects are essential for the maintenance of ecosystems through pollination of the wild plants which form the basis of most habitats. They also play an important role in the production of many crops.
The council works to conserve and enhance biodiversity and has a range of projects to support local species and habitats.
Managing areas for wildlife can provide opportunities for individuals, community groups and schools to get involved, benefiting wildlife and people.
Visit www.carmarthenshire.gov.wales/biodiversity for further information and ideas for ways to support local conservation.
For further information on highways operations, visit the website’s travel, roads and parking pages.
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