Health services are stood down
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has started to stand down some non-urgent services and is redeploying staff to assist in maintaining core and emergency functions amid rising numbers of Covid-19 cases. The health board’s Chief Executive, Paul Mears, told a meeting of Council on Wednesday that 116 patients are being treated for or are recovering from Covid-19 at the Princess of Wales Hospital. An additional 53 patients are recovering at the local field hospital, Ysbyty’r Seren. Urgent cancer services and clinically urgent patients will continue to be seen. The health board will issue updates if there are any further changes. For more information, visit the Cwm Taf Morgannwg website.
Returning to school in January
All Bridgend County Borough schools will use January 4 and 5 to assess staffing levels and review risk assessments, meaning no pupils will be at school on those days. On January 6, 7 and 8, infant, junior, primary and special schools with primary school age children will provide on-site support for vulnerable learners and children of critical workers. There will be no in-school provision for the children of critical workers in secondary schools in the week commencing 4 January. However, secondary schools will provide on-site support for vulnerable learners on January 6, 7 and 8. Pupils who will be learning from home will receive online learning activities from their schools. From Monday, January 11, learners will start to return to school and parents and carers will be informed about this in January.
Additional food parcels
Secondary school pupils who are entitled to free school meals will receive an additional food parcel in the week commencing 21 December. A two-week parcel has been delivered to home addresses for all eligible pupils this week but after the announcement secondary pupils would learn from home during this week, they will get an extra parcel to last them through this period. Anyone who has previously opted out of the provision will not receive a parcel unless they email [email protected] to reinstate the provision.
Santa Appeal delivers gifts to vulnerable children
Hundreds of youngsters across Bridgend County Borough will be getting a Christmas present thanks to the kindness of residents, businesses, pupils and parishioners who donated to this year’s Santa Appeal. The council’s Social Care Services department once again supported the annual appeal for those who may not otherwise receive a gift. The appeal was also supported by Brynteg Comprehensive School, which raised more than £3,000, Brackla Tabernacle Church, which acted as a collection point, Hafod Y Wennol hospital, Trecco Bay Holiday Park, Horizon Roofing, and the Tesco store in Bridgend. Mayor of Bridgend County Borough Kenneth Watts, Bridgend County Borough Council leader Huw David, cabinet member for social services and early help Councillor Nicole Burnett, and the council’s corporate director of social services Claire Marchant joined Brynteg Comprehensive School teacher Craig Wade, lead pastor Craig Hopkins, and volunteers at the church as donations began to arrive. The presents are now being distributed by social services ready for them to open on Christmas morning.
Coronavirus vaccine update
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has confirmed it will be starting vaccinations for people over 80 years old in the New Year through its General Practices. A health board spokesman said: “Plans are dependent on the availability of the Oxford vaccine which we are awaiting confirmation of. We are also putting in place a contingency plan for over-80s to receive their vaccine from an immunisation centre if our available vaccines remain the Pfizer/BioNTech ‘Courageous’ vaccine. This vaccine requires additional storage and cannot be transported to multiple sites. People will receive an appointment through the post and will be able to book an alternative date if this is not suitable with details of the venue and time for vaccination.”
Mobile testing over Christmas
Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board has confirmed what the local mobile testing arrangements will be over the Christmas and New Year period. Both the mobile testing facility based at the site of the former Revlon / Cosi factory off Oakwood Drive in Maesteg (CF34 8TS) and the longer-term testing facility in the Bowls Hall car park of Bridgend Life Centre (CF31 4AH) will be available throughout the festive period, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day, the bank holiday on December 28 and New Year’s Day. Appointments for both facilities must be booked in advance by calling 191 or visiting the Welsh Government website.
Digital Christmas is underway
Between now and New Year, the Digital Christmas Festival website and special app is featuring promotional offers, vouchers, a loyalty card scheme and more. Further details are at the Digital Christmas website.
Bridge closes for urgent work
The A4061 Frithwaun Bridge between Blackmill and Pant-yr-Awel will be closed from 7am until 7pm on Saturday 19 December to enable a temporary surface to be relaid. The temporary surface is in use while work takes place to strengthen and renew the bridge decks on this well-used local landmark. Every effort will be made to minimise inconvenience, and the work will be completed as quickly as possible.
Hospitality business grant funding
Businesses in the hospitality sector who occupy a business premises and who are liable to pay rates but did not apply for a Non Domestic Rate Grant through the recent lockdown funding are able to apply for funding support if they have been directly impacted by the current national restrictions. The purpose of the grant is to provide businesses with cash flow support and to help them survive the economic consequences of the restrictions introduced. Businesses can check if they are eligible and apply at the council website.
Need for Gypsy and Traveller pitches identified
Five additional Gypsy and Traveller pitches are estimated to be required in Bridgend county borough over the next five years to meet statutory requirements, according to a report approved by the council’s cabinet. As part of an assessment process to establish the current and future need for accommodation, interviews were carried out with Gypsies and Travellers living in the area. With six private sites currently in the county borough (typically with 1-2 pitches on each site), it is recommended an additional five pitches are created by 2025 with a further two pitches required before 2033. The Gypsy Traveller and Accommodation Assessment will be submitted to Welsh Ministers for approval. If approved, it will inform the deposit Local Development Plan and any related allocations.
Cabinet agrees to implement new planning tool
Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet has agreed to implement a new tool that will assess the viability of future developments. The council is currently preparing its deposit Local Development Plan (LDP) for public consultation before submitting to Welsh Government. Sites prioritised and proposed for allocation in the plan first need to be evidenced as deliverable, particularly in relation to financial viability. At a meeting on 15 December, Cabinet approved a new schedule of charges for issuing a Development Viability Model to developers and/or site promoters based on the size of the development. The model will eventually be adopted by all 10 authorities in the Cardiff Capital Region. The fees will cover the council’s administrative costs and will not serve to guarantee site allocation within the Replacement LDP or result in the granting of planning permission.
Changes to waste collections over Christmas
Waste and recycling collections will be as normal on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve but not on Christmas Day, Boxing Day or New Year’s Day. Waste due for collection on Christmas Day (Friday) will be picked up on Sunday 27 December, and collections due on New Year’s Day (Friday) will be picked up on Saturday 2 January. Collections will be as normal on Bank Holiday Monday 28 December. Residents can put out one extra waste bag for their first collection after Christmas Day. Recycling centres are closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day but open on all other days as normal from 9am-4pm. Real Christmas trees can be recycled at the community recycling centres in Tythegston, Brynmenyn and Maesteg. They can also be taken to the Waterton Depot in Bridgend from Tuesday 5 January onwards. For more information, visit the council’s waste and recycling webpage.
Foodbank opening times
Foodbank opening times over the Christmas and New Year period have been confirmed. Bridgend Foodbank will be available between 11am-1pm on 22 and 29 December. Porthcawl Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 22, 24, 29 and 31 December. Pencoed Foodbank will be available between 1pm-3pm on 21 December and 4 January. Caerau Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 22 and 29 December. Cornelly Foodbank will be available between 1pm-3pm on 23 and 31 December. Pontycymmer Foodbank will be available between 1.30pm-3.30pm on 23 and 30 December, and 1 January. Aberkenfig Foodbank will be available between 10am-12pm on 24 and 31 December. Find out more and how they can be accessed by visiting the foodbank page on Facebook.
Homelessness services in Bridgend County Borough
A homelessness application can be made to the Housing Solutions team 24/7, 365 days a year. Residents are advised to get in touch if they think they are at risk of homelessness. The council will assess housing and support needs and advise about available options. Call 01656 643643 or visit www.bridgend.gov.uk for more details.
Free car parking this Christmas
Shoppers, visitors and traders across Bridgend County Borough can take advantage of free car parking this Christmas. In Bridgend, parking is free after 10am at the council-run Rhiw and Cheapside multi-storeys, the car park behind Wilkinsons, at Tremains Road and at Tondu Road. In Porthcawl, it is free after 10am at John Street and at Hillsboro Place. Provided by Bridgend County Borough Council as part of its ongoing support for traders during the pandemic, the free parking will be available until Thursday 31 December and joins the free facilities already available at Maesteg and Pencoed.
Rail delays in New Year
Network Rail is to carry out essential track renewal work on the Great Western main line between Didcot Parkway and Swindon every weekend between 9-31 January. This will cause delays on services between London Paddington and South Wales, with diversions and shuttle services in place for parts of the route. For more details, visit the Great Western website.
Applying for a Blue Badge
Residents are warned that there are websites offering assistance with Blue Badge applications for a substantial fee, but Bridgend County Borough Council provides the same service free of charge. For more information about applying for a Blue Badge, visit the council’s webpage.
Have your say on Bridgend town centre
Public consultation is underway on ambitious plans for Bridgend town centre. Featuring proposals such as a new square, moving Bridgend College into the town centre, transforming derelict and empty buildings into new shops and housing, improving vehicle access, relocating the police station, constructing an enhanced new railway station entrance and more, the Bridgend Town Centre Masterplan aims to deliver major improvements over the next 10 years. The consultation is live until 1 March 2021 – for more information, visit the councils’ consultations webpage.
Drive-in panto and festive films
A drive-in pantomime is on its way to Porthcawl to spread some festive cheer. The pre-recorded performance of Peter Pan, featuring Owen Money, will be shown on a big screen at the Hi-Tide car park in Porthcawl in the run up to Christmas. There will also be a chance to watch some festive films on the big screen with drive-in viewings of classics like Home Alone, A Muppets Christmas Carol and Polar Express. The events, which are being run by the Firefly Cinema Club, will have Covid-19 safety rules in place. For more information, visit the Firefly Cinema Club website.