More coronavirus restrictions to be relaxed

Welsh Government has confirmed that up to six people from six different households will be able to meet in indoor regulated settings, such as cafes and pubs, when they open from Monday 17 May. The relaxation of restrictions comes as the public health situation continues to improve in Wales, which has the lowest coronavirus rates and the best vaccination rates in the UK. A further announcement on changes to restrictions is expected on Friday 14 May. First Minister Mark Drakeford has also announced that businesses still affected by coronavirus restrictions will be able to claim up to £25,000 more in support to help them meet ongoing costs. Businesses that stand to benefit include nightclubs and late entertainment venues, events and conference venues not covered by the Cultural Recovery Fund, hospitality and leisure businesses, and supply chain business. More details will be released soon.


Platinum award for eco-friendly school

Cefn Cribwr Primary School has been presented with the Eco Schools Platinum Green Flag Award. Schools achieve platinum status once they have been awarded a Green Flag four times, demonstrating a long-term commitment to environmental education, student involvement and sustainability. Since 2012, the school has worked to boost its eco credentials, with pupils getting involved with litter picks as part of the Love It, Don’t Trash It! campaign in conjunction with Bridgend County Borough Council, Keep Wales Tidy, SeaQuest and Cefn Cribwr Community Council. Fruit trees and wildflowers have been planted to encourage bees, and a bike/scooter parking area has been established to encourage staff and pupils to walk or cycle. The Eco-Council has introduced reusable water bottles to reduce plastic waste, and paper, plastic and batteries are recycled. They have also worked with Dwr Cymru to reduce water consumption.


Blood donation sessions

Residents aged over 17 and under 66 who are generally fit and well can make a difference and save lives by giving blood. There are appointments available at the Heronston Hotel in Bridgend on the 19, 20, 21 and 26 May. For more information, visit the Welsh Blood Service website.


Vaccine reserve list update

With more than 123,944 residents of Bridgend County Borough and 390,678 people vaccinated across the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board region, the health board has opened up its Covid-19 vaccination reserve list to include people aged 18 and over. Residents can apply to be on the list if they are aged between 18 and 49, live in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg area or are registered with a GP locally, and can be available at short notice for an appointment at a community vaccination centre. Please note that being on the reserve list does not guarantee you a reserve appointment, and if you have already received a vaccination appointment, you should not join the reserve list. For more information, visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board website.


New homes planned for vacant site

A disused plot of land in Tondu is being transformed into a new Valleys to Coast (V2C) development of 10 homes. The three-storey development in Maesteg Road will consist of 10 single-bedroom flats with car parking spaces. The site, previously owned by a private landowner, has remained vacant for several years. Construction work is due to begin this month with completion expected this time next year. Funding for the scheme has been secured from Welsh Government through V2C’s housing partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council. V2C will be working with the local authority to allocate properties to people in housing need. To register for housing or for support if you are facing homelessness visit the council website and apply for housing through the Housing Jigsaw Portal.


Work to resolve issues at Maesteg Cemetery

After earlier planned work was disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, Bridgend County Borough Council is taking fresh action to try to resolve ground and drainage issues which have affected several graves at Maesteg Cemetery. The issues are affecting several graves on land that forms part of a cemetery extension which was carried out more than a decade ago. Additional top-soil is always required following an interment as it is normal for the surface of a fresh grave to settle and drop, sometimes by several inches. However, because the ground within the extended section of the cemetery is largely made up of clay and stone, some graves have become waterlogged due to heavy rainfall and difficult ground conditions. The council is seeking to appoint specialists who can carry out a full study of the area and support a series of future improvements. Work is also ongoing to improve the appearance of the extended area, and to provide additional infrastructure which will enable more regular maintenance and grass-cutting to take place – further updates will follow as this work progresses.


Council clarifies development status of burial ground

Bridgend County Borough Council has clarified its position regarding the potential sale of a privately-owned plot of land in Coity following recent media coverage of the sale and subsequent discussion of the matter on social media. The 1.3-acre plot, which is advertised as having residential development potential, is understood to have been used as a burial ground for deceased patients of the former Parc Hospital. As the hospital has since been demolished and replaced by HMP Parc, the plot now lies adjacent to the prison and existing local housing. The council’s Draft Local Development Plan does not include this site, and it has no specific allocation. Because part of the site lies outside the defined settlement boundary, any future application for housing would more than likely be opposed in principle by the council. The plot’s status as a burial ground would be a significant constraint to any potential development, and the council would also need to consider the likely impact of additional traffic on the existing highways infrastructure.


Update on decarbonisation strategy

Town and community councils have been updated on Bridgend County Borough Council’s decarbonisation strategy. The local authority is supporting Welsh Government’s commitment to achieving a net zero carbon public sector in Wales by 2030. The areas of focus are energy, transport, buildings, procurement and open spaces. An emissions audit by the Carbon Trust will be used as a baseline to prepare a plan. A provisional estimate is that about 60 per cent of the local authority’s emissions result from procurement, meaning work with suppliers and the supply chain will be crucial. The council is already taking action by implementing multimillion pound energy efficient measures in its buildings, piloting the use of ultra-low emission vehicles and installing new low-energy street lights.


Help shape the Welsh language strategy

Bridgend County Borough Council is inviting residents to have their say on its draft Welsh language strategy for 2021-2026. The local authority has launched a consultation for residents, the council’s workforce, elected members and stakeholders to share their views about its proposed Welsh language objectives. The results will be used to inform the council’s final Welsh language strategy, which will be implemented in September 2021. As part of its requirements under the Welsh Language Standards, the council has to produce a five-year strategy and an annual report to outline how it has complied with the standards, progress made towards objectives, and how, in collaboration with partners, it has promoted and facilitated the use of the Welsh language more widely in the county borough. The consultation runs until 18 June 2021 and is available in English and Welsh. To take part, visit the council website.


EU Settlement Scheme deadline approaches

EU citizens living in Bridgend County Borough have less than 50 days left to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. Part of the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system, the scheme offers citizens of EU member states, as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, the right to keep living and working in the UK as they did when the country was part of the EU. Those who were resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 should apply without delay. Applications are free but must be submitted by 30 June, 2021. So far, almost 2,000 applications have been completed in Bridgend County Borough, with 1,370 granted settled status and 570 receiving pre-settled status depending on how long they have lived here. To check if you need to apply, visit the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme webpage. For more information about how to apply, visit Bridgend County Borough Council’s Preparing for Brexit webpage.


Covid-19 testing facilities remain available

Coronavirus testing remains available for residents who feel unwell. If you have one of the three main symptoms of Covid-19 – a high temperature, new continuous cough, or loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, you must book a test as soon as possible and self-isolate at home. You can also book a test if you are unwell with other symptoms such as a sore throat, headache, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. When you get tested for other symptoms, you don’t have to self-isolate while you wait for your result but you should do so if your test comes back positive. A drive-through mobile testing facility is available daily at the site of the former Revlon / Cosi factory off Oakwood Drive in Maesteg (CF34 8TS), between 9am and 5pm, and a walk-through testing facility at the Bowls Hall car park of the Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH) is available between 2pm and 8pm. Booking is essential at the Welsh Government website or by calling 119. If you have hearing or speech difficulties, you can call 18001119.


Self-test kits available

Access to rapid Covid-19 self-test kits is now available to unpaid carers in Wales. Lateral flow tests enable regular asymptomatic testing for coronavirus and make it convenient for people not covered under existing schemes at workplaces, childcare settings, schools, colleges and universities. About one in three people who test positive for coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others. Tests can be collected from the Bowls Hall testing site daily between 8am and 1pm. No appointment is necessary. They can also be ordered at the Covid-19 testing webpage. All results should be recorded on the UK Government portal and if there is a positive result, you should self-isolate immediately and book a Covid test (PCR test) within 24 hours by calling 119, visiting the Welsh Government website or via the NHS Covid-19 app.


Rescheduling a vaccination appointment

To ensure Covid-19 vaccines are not wasted, you can reschedule or cancel an appointment online – please visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University health Board website to find out more.


Foster Care Fortnight

As part of Foster Care Fortnight (10-23 May), Bridgend County Borough Council is calling on more people in the area to consider fostering. Hundreds of new foster families are needed every year in Wales to care for children of all ages, and in particular for sibling groups, older children and young people, children with additional needs, and unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. Foster carers provide day-to-day support, love and stability to children and young people who can’t live with their birth families. On Thursday 20 May, residents are being asked to show their support by placing a lamp in their front window to ‘shine a light’ on the work being done by local authority foster carers and celebrate their efforts in transforming the lives of children and young people. Buildings across Wales, including the Grand Pavilion, Porthcawl, will also be lit up in orange. Welsh artist Nathan Wyburn has been helping to support the fortnight, creating a special digital art project based on a poem about the role of foster carers. You can watch his video here and find out more about becoming a foster carer on the council website.