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The Conservative Candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth has suggested that Business Rate-Free Zones are the way forward in helping High Streets re-build following the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as High Streets across Wales have had a difficult twelve months, due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, with local retailers soldiering on, keeping local high streets alive.

Conservative Candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth, Leighton Rowlands says the struggles of traders highlights a bigger challenge: Wales has the least competitive business rates in the United Kingdom and the highest vacancy rate, which he says has happened for too long under Welsh Labour.

The UK Government has provided £5.85 billion in funding to the Welsh Government through the pandemic, as well as supporting local workers through the job retention scheme.

Senedd candidate for the Cardiff South & Penarth Leighton Rowlands said “That’s why I would campaign to create “Business Rate-Free Zones” in places Penarth, Rumney & Llanrumney where all businesses would be free from paying businesses rates for up to three years.”

“In addition to this, I would look to scrap business rates for all businesses rated under £15,000 in Wales.”

A new timetable has been published for the 97 and 97A bus routes, starting from Monday 15th February, to support customers in accessing the mass vaccination clinic at Holm View Leisure Centre in Barry.

Working with the Vale of Glamorgan Council, the bus company has added additional journey’s Monday to Saturday on both services.

Cardiff Bus confirmed that the timetable will be extended in order to include extra journeys during the opening hours of the mass vaccination centre.

You can view the updated timetable via: cardiffbus.com

An initiative between Bouygues UK and Cardiff Blues Community Foundation to engage secondary school pupils in career discussions was launched this week at Pencoedtre High School.

Cardiff Blues Tackle scheme is a sport engagement programme linked with essential and life skills workshops aimed to engage, inspire and motivate young people through an alternative curriculum experience.

The eight-week course aims to engage pupils from years 8 to 10 initially, through workshops and practical sessions geared towards career aspirations and higher education avenues. It aims to give children the chance to develop their employability skills and develop prospects by learning through rugby values such as teamwork, respect, discipline and passion.

Pupils will also work towards gaining an Agored Cymru award delivered through Cardiff and Vale College and, if Covid-19 rules allow, will be able visit to Cardiff Arms Park, where they will learn about jobs at Bouygues UK and Cardiff Blues.

Mike Baker, assistant head at Pencoedtre High School said: “We are delighted to be working with Cardiff Blues again, given the success of their Raising Aspirations programme that we participated in last year.

“The Tackle programme is a considerate and well thought out means of driving achievement in schools and our pupils can’t wait to get started. We are very grateful to Bouygues UK for facilitating and sponsoring this opportunity.”

Health Minister Vaughan Gething has said one in every 500 has coronavirus in Wales.

Speaking at Mondays Government Briefing, he said “the results from the ONS latest infection survey suggest that one person in every 500 has coronavirus in Wales and the R number is estimated to be around 1.37”

He also said the number of people with coronavirus in hospital is increasing steadily, with more than 330 people with coronavirus in hospital – up by more than 100 from last week.

In the briefing he said “we are seeing a steady increase in the number of people who are seriously ill and need intensive care treatment.”

“The NHS is implementing its plans to increase critical care capacity and transforming theatres and recovery areas into intensive care settings to treat the most seriously ill people.”

“Now, more than ever we need to work and act together, to Keep Wales safe” he said.

The Welsh government says it is “actively considering” imposing quarantine restrictions on people travelling into the country from areas of the UK with high coronavirus case numbers.

This could include hotspot areas of England such as the North East, North West, and West Midlands.

Health minister Vaughan Gething said he did not want to take a “whole-nation approach”, but that the restrictions would apply to people from “high incidence areas across the UK”.

“There’s no good reason to prevent someone from Devon, at this point in time, coming to visit a pre-booked holiday or trip to Pembrokeshire,” he said.

“So we are thinking about how we use something that is proportionate and deals with the reality of the threat that we face.”

Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford previously called for Boris Johnson to introduce travel restrictions for people in areas of England under a postcode lockdown.

People in Wales must not enter or leave an area subject to travel restrictions without a reasonable excuse.

Action for Children’s Headlands School in Penarth has introduced four alpacas to help student’s mental health and wellbeing.

The four Peruvian alpacas have been welcomed to the school grounds, with students involved in caring for the animals and developing their outdoor space.

It’s not the first animal at the school though – a King Charles Spaniel named Dexter has been helping pupils at the school, along with a number of hens.

The school says that the animals have had a a big impact on pupils’ mental health and wellbeing, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.

Teacher David Gillingham said: ‘We are redeveloping a huge area of our outdoor space for the alpacas and hens and have a group of students working with us on the project that have really flourished. 

“Where they have been previously unengaged in academic work, they have relished the physical work and the autonomy we give them in building and maintaining the space.  Their mental health has definitely improved, they love the animals and some are keen to work as landscape gardeners when they leave school.”

Casey Jones, 15, a student at the school said: “I enjoy working outdoors and caring for the alpacas.  They are lovely and interesting animals that seem to have a calming affect on other students too. 

“We are building feeding stations and picnic tables for everyone to come and enjoy the animals.

“This part of school is really good for me.  When I came to Headlands last year, I was angry but I’m much better now, the atmosphere here is great and working with the animals has also helped me a lot.”

Penarth RNLI airlifted two people from a yacht on Sunday, after one of the crew was injured.

A lifeboat from Penarth RNLI was involved in the rescue which took place near Lavernock Point at about 11.30am on Sunday.

A helicopter paramedic was winched down into the lifeboat and taken to the 32-foot vessel to give medical treatment.

Video:

The injured sailor was airlifted to hospital and the yacht taken to Barry Docks.

The Penarth crew helped the remaining sailor on board the yacht, which was struggling to make progress against the outgoing spring high tide and suffering engine difficulties.

An RTC which occurred during the early hours of Saturday morning has shown the dangers of drink driving.

A man has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a crash which occurred during the early hours of Saturday morning.

According to the South Wales Police Roads policing team on Twitter they were called to the collision which occurred on Cardiff Road at the roundabout which meets Ffordd Y Mileniwm in Barry just before 2am, after a grey Ford Focus was found overturned on its roof.

Credit: South Wales Police Road policing team

Police confirmed the driver registered at 56 during a breatherliser test at the roadside, the legal limit is 35 microgrammes of alcohol in a 100 millilitres of breath.

39 year nine pupils at Whitmore High School has been asked to self isolate, after coming into contact with a confirmed case of covid-19.

In an email sent to parents on Thursday the school headteacher said “Whitmore High School are sorry to have to inform you that a positive test of Covid-19 was reported to the school today, involving a pupil in year 9. This pupil attended school on Monday for one lesson and regrettably tested positive for the virus today.”

“The pupil has not attended school since Monday. As soon as the school was informed about the positive test result, prompt actions was taken to safeguard the well being of pupils, teachers and staff.”

“In consultation with the National Health protection cell of Public Health Wales, the school has now been advised that 39 pupils in Year 9 will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.”

“All other year groups will attend school as planned, and the school will continue to work closely alongside the Vale of Glamorgan Council during this period.”

Despite pupils and teachers not showing any symptoms, government guidelines state all within the group will have to self isolate for a 14 day period.

Whitmore High School is the first confirmed secondary school in the County to have a positive coronavirus test, following the news that an entire year at Dinas Powys Primary School were told to self-isolate last week.

A Vale of Glamorgan Council spokesperson said: “Whitmore High School has been informed by the NHS Wales Test, Trace and Protect system that one of its pupils tested positive for Covid-19.

“The school and Council have been working closely with Public Health Wales to undertake a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation and 39 pupils have been asked to self-isolate for a period of 14 days.

“The school will remain open to other pupils.

“In addition to social distancing and safety measures in place, a deep clean of the school has been carried out. Test Trace and Protect officers are also carrying out all necessary follow-on activity.”

The jury in a trial of a man accused of murdering Jordan Davies on Holton Road in Barry in December 2019 has been discharged.

Jordan Davies, 23 was stabbed to death on Holton Road in Barry on 16th December 2019.

Jordan Brown, 25 of Holton Road, Barry, denies murder and had been on trial but the jury hearing the case was discharged on Wednesday after two jurors fell ill.

Judge Rhys Rowlands told the 10 remaining jurors at Cardiff Crown Court: “We are two short still among the jury. Their absence is nothing to with Covid or the pandemic but they have medical issues and there’s no prospect of them coming back this week.

“I am going to have to discharge you as a jury in this particular trial and I will start the trial again with a new jury hopefully next week.”

Brown denies murder and his trial will be re-listed.

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