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New Start Centre expands education provision

New Start Centre expands education provision

30 November 2022

Image of opening of New Start Centre

An education setting in Brecon has expanded its provision to support learners aged 6-11 overcome barriers to learning, the county council has confirmed.

The New Start Centre, Powys County Council’s Pupil Referral Unit in Brecon, has been providing alternative education provision to secondary school-aged learners since 2014. It supports the individual needs of all learners by offering rich learning experiences and nurturing support so that pupils flourish and grow in all aspects of their development.

The centre has now added Key Stage 2 provision for learned aged 6-11 which will enable the council to provide earlier interventions specifically tailored to the emerging needs of learners.

With a dedicated and highly experienced Key Stage 2 team in place, the centre can quickly apply direct and appropriate educational interventions to allow learners to overcome barriers to learning.

Key Stage 2 learners will be able to attend the centre full-time for a 12-week block and, when completed, enter a transition period. After the transition period, learners will then return to their mainstream education setting with the right support in place that will allow them to recover from past experiences and thrive.

Another addition is a dedicated training room that will allow staff at the centre to provide dedicated and bespoke training to mainstream education settings and service providers to upskill and share the latest tools and strategies for managing, addressing, supporting and modifying challenges that learners today not only display themselves but also experience.

Cllr Pete Roberts, Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said: “Our Pupil Referral Units promote a bespoke educational provision that supports the individual needs of their learners by offering rich learning experiences and nurturing support so that they can flourish and grow in all aspects of their development.

“I’m delighted that the New Start Centre has expanded its provision to include Key Stage 2 learners. This is an exciting time for the centre and for Powys as it is now one of the very few pupil referral units in Wales that can now cater for learners from 6-16 all on one site.

“The centre will ensure that all learners are well-equipped with the abilities and confidence to move to the next phase of their life and become active members of their community.”

Still time to submit potential development sites

Still time to submit potential development sites

30 November 2022

Image of countryside and houses

Residents, landowners, developers and community councils still have time to identify suitable land that can meet the needs of their local community.

Powys County Council has started a three-and-a-half-year process to prepare its new Replacement Local Development Plan which will cover all of Powys, excluding the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Replacement Local Development Plan will set out the council’s proposals and land-use policies for the future development of land in its area. It will cover 15-year period from 2022 -2037 with implementation due from 2026, when it will be used to guide decisions on planning applications.

The council is still calling for potential development sites, which will be collectively known as Candidate Sites, to be submitted for inclusion in the Replacement Local Development Plan.

The call for sites is open until Tuesday, December 13, 2022.

Any one person, group or organisation can submit a site, submissions are being invited for sites suitable for all types of land use including:

  • All types of Housing (including affordable and specialist)
  • Employment
  • Community Facilities
  • Tourism
  • Green Infrastructure / Open Space
  • Waste
  • Health, Education and Social Care
  • Gypsy and Travellers
  • Retail
  • Recreation
  • Renewable Energy
  • Biodiversity
  • Transport Infrastructure
  • Minerals

The council will then assess the submissions to determine whether or not they are suitable for inclusion in the Replacement Local Development Plan.

Cllr Jake Berriman, Cabinet Member for a Connected Powys, said: “It is no secret that one of the reasons that we are reviewing our Development Plan early is because we have under delivered on housing completions.

“Ordinarily, this would be disappointing, but in a time when we face a housing crisis, it is unacceptable.

“Although the reasons for this lack of development are complex, what is striking is that that 68%, that is 54 of the 80 sites allocated in the existing Plan, do not have any form of planning permission, they have simply sat on someone’s books and contributed nothing to our pressing housing needs.

“In calling for sites now I want to make it very clear that we be examining all proposals very carefully and testing them for clear deliverability.

“Landowners and developers sitting on the 54 stagnant sites I have mentioned should beware that they will not simply be passported across to the new plan, I expect to see a clear route to delivery, this is the only way we can properly serve the needs of all our communities.”

To find out more visit Candidate Sites.

Alternatively, visit one of the following 12 libraries: Brecon, Builth Wells, Llandrindod Wells, Llanfyllin, Llanidloes, Llanwrtyd Wells, Machynlleth, Newtown, Presteigne, Rhayader, Welshpool and Ystradgynlais.

The contact details and opening hours for each library are available at Find nearest library.

Powys Veterans Urged to Get Involved in Survey

Powys Veterans Urged to Get Involved in Survey
Image of British military camouflage uniform

29 November 2022

Image of British military camouflage uniform

Powys armed forces veterans are being urged to take part in a UK-wide Office of National Statistics veteran’s survey to learn more about their needs.

Powys County Council Deputy Leader and Armed Forces Champion, Cllr Matthew Dorrance said the survey launched earlier this month aimed to learn more about veterans and their families and their needs.

“The Office for National Statistics and Office for Veterans Affairs survey is asking about access to services and circumstances since leaving the armed forces, their lifestyle, health and well-being.

“The Welsh Government devolved administrations and UK Government have been fully involved in the survey and the results will be used to strengthen plans to meet the needs of veterans in the future,” he said.

The survey can be found at: Veterans’ Survey – Office for National Statistics (ons.gov.uk)

Cabinet Assistants – Powys County Council

Cabinet Assistants – Powys County Council

29 November 2022

Cllr Jeremy Brignell-Thorp (left) and Cllr Adam Kennerley

The Leader of Powys County Council has announced the appointment of two Cabinet Assistants to support the work of portfolio holders in key areas.

The new assistants will have specific roles, attend and contribute to cabinet meetings but they will not have voting powers. The roles will support the work of portfolio holders but will not have delegated powers and cannot deputise for Cabinet Members at Scrutiny committees.

Forden and Montgomery Member, Councillor Jeremy Brignell-Thorp, who is a member of the Green Party, has been named as Cabinet Assistant for the Climate Emergency and Councillor Adam Kennerley, Member for Newtown North and a member of the Liberal Democrat Group, has been named Cabinet Assistant for the Nature Emergency.    

Council Leader Councillor James Gibson-Watt said: “Cabinet Assistants will support the work of portfolio holders and jointly chair a cross-party Climate and Nature Steering Group. The Steering Group will agree a work programme which will report to the cabinet on a quarterly basis.

“We hope the Steering Group will set up ad hoc working groups on specific topics, establish external stakeholder groups on climate and nature to support their work and report annually to full council.

“The new roles, which are unpaid, will bring additional skills around climate and nature emergency, areas that are key to everything we do.”

Four-day school week option removed by council

Four-day school week option removed by council

29 November 2022

Image of a primary school classroom

Schools in Powys will not move to a four-day week to reduce running costs, the county council has confirmed.

To help support schools with the pressures they face due to increasing energy and inflationary costs, Powys County Council has produced a financial management toolkit which included ideas on how to reduce costs around the school.

One of the potential options put forward in extreme cases was a four-day school week with the fifth day moving to online learning.

However, this option has now been removed by the council.

Cllr Pete Roberts, Cabinet Member for a Learning Powys, said: “The result of the national cost of living crisis and ever-increasing costs is having an impact on every household, business, school, and public body across the UK.

“We now expect to see the full impact of energy price increases over the next financial year. It is essential that schools are aware of the potential severity of the situation they face in preparing their budgets.

“That is why the council prepared a financial management toolkit for schools containing detailed budgetary comparison data and ideas on how to reduce costs around the school.  A four-day school week was the most extreme of these options.

“However, the council has removed this option from the toolkit following advice from the Welsh Government, who were not supportive of schools moving to a four-day week at this time.

“This decision doesn’t mean the financial challenge has fundamentally improved just that there is one fewer option on the table.  We will continue to support our schools and look at options to reduce their running costs which do not impact on our learners.”

Two-year jail sentence for rogue trader

Two-year jail sentence for rogue trader

28 November 2022

Image of a gavel

A rogue trader who defrauded a retired Powys resident into paying £60,000 for construction work that was substandard and incomplete has been given a two-year prison sentence.

Leslie James Smith of Pershore, Worcestershire was prosecuted by Powys County Council’s Trading Standards Service after carrying out work at a property in Felindre.

Smith, who pleaded guilty to two offences under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and Fraud Act 2006 at an earlier hearing at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court, was sentenced to two years in jail and ordered to pay a £156 victim surcharge by Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court.

An investigation by Trading Standards officers found that between April 8 and July 8 last year, Smith had been excessively paid for construction work and then failed to complete the work to a competent standard.

The investigation also found that Smith had committed fraud by way of making a false representation, namely his identity.  Trading Standards officers also found that Smith had lied about purchasing supplies when he had not, and also claimed the cost of supplies had risen and that he required additional payment when those supplies had purportedly already been purchased.

Smith also asked for additional payment from his victim to subsidise work for other customers with the intention of making a financial gain for himself, the investigation found.

Cllr Richard Church, Cabinet Member for a Safer Powys, said: “The conclusion of this case sends out a clear message that trading practices like this will not be tolerated.

“This case should serve as a reminder to our residents to be vigilant of these crimes and scams to avoid becoming a victim of a rogue trader. I would urge residents to do their research on a business before entering into an agreement and to be cautious when paying money upfront.

“For work carried out at a resident’s home that is more than £42 in value, traders are required by law to provide cancellation rights. This gives 14 days for contracts to be cancelled.

“Under the regulations, traders are required to exercise professional diligence in the work they carry out. If the council receives reports of particularly bad workmanship or work not as described, then this could lead to an investigation by our Trading Standards team.”

New compulsory biosecurity and housing measures to further protect against avian influenza

New compulsory biosecurity and housing measures to further protect against avian influenza

28 November 2022

Image of a chicken

Poultry owners in Powys are being urged by the county council to prepare for new biosecurity and housing measures that will come into force later this week.

The biosecurity and housing requirements for poultry and captive birds in Wales, which come into force on Friday, 2 December, are being taken to get ahead of a possible increased level of avian influenza virus in the environment and build extra resilience to the important measures introduced in October through the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone.

From Friday, 2 December, it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers to keep their birds indoors or otherwise separated from wild birds.

Keepers must also complete and act upon a bespoke biosecurity review of the premises where birds are kept. This is to minimise the risk of virus entry in bird houses, which usually results in high mortality.

These new measures are in addition to those in the Wales Avian Influenza Prevention Zone, which remain crucially important.

Now Powys County Council’s Animal Health Team is encouraging bird keepers to prepare for the introduction of the new measures, by making sure housing is suitable, with the housed environment enhanced to protect bird welfare. Keepers should consult their vet for advice where needed.

Cllr Richard Church, Cabinet Member for a Safer Powys, said: “There has been an unprecedented incursion of avian influenza into Great Britain and Europe in 2022.

“Housing is effective in protecting birds against avian influenza only if accompanied by rigorous biosecurity to keep the virus out of bird houses. This is best done by completing the biosecurity checklist, which will be compulsory for all keepers.

“Public health advice remains that the risk to human health from the virus is very low and food standards bodies advise that avian influenzas pose a very low food safety risk for UK consumers.

“I want to thank all keepers in the county for the steps they have taken to keep birds in Wales safe from this devastating disease, steps which we know have protected birds. The additional measures announced will build on that effort. If implemented rigorously, our birds will be protected.”

To view the Mandatory biosecurity self-assessment checklist visit gov.wales/mandatory-biosecurity-self-assessment-checklist

For the latest updates on Avian influenza (bird flu) visit gov.wales/avian-influenza-bird-flu-latest-update

Vision for the Future – we want your views

Vision for the Future – we want your views

28 November 2022

Cllr James Gibson-Watt and Cllr Matthew Dorrance with a digital copy of the Vision for Powys

Powys County Council has a new vision for the future, and it is quite simple – Stronger Fairer Greener.

The vision is simple the delivery is not and will challenge the county council in more ways than ever before.

“The cabinet has been discussing the vision since the summer, it will be the foundation of the Corporate and Strategic Equality Plan, the most important plan for the county council for the next five years,” said Cllr James Gibson-Watt, Leader of the Council and Cllr Matthew Dorrance, Deputy Leader of the Council.

“But the vision has to be more than a branding statement that can be written on the side of a council vehicle – it is a commitment to the communities and people of Powys, and we want to know what you think.

“What do we mean by Stronger Fairer Greener?

Stronger – We will become a county that succeeds together, with communities and people that are well connected socially, and are personally and economically resilient

Fairer – We will be an open, well-run, Council where peoples’ voices are heard and help to shape our work and priorities, with fairer, more equal, access to services and opportunities. We will work to tackle poverty and inequality to support people’s well-being.

Greener – We want to ensure a greener future for Powys, where our well-being is linked to that of the natural world, and our response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies is at the heart of everything we do.

“Underpinning the three objectives is an approach that will see climate, nature and equalities as a key thread throughout everything we do as an organisation, strengthening organisational decision-making by understanding the most significant issues affecting Powys.

“We have a clear idea about what our vision means but we cannot act alone we need the support of our communities. Let us know what you think of our vision, is it right for Powys, can we strengthen it, have we missed key elements, we need your views,” they added.

To get involved:

Leave your feedback online through our survey here: www.haveyoursaypowys.wales/corporate-plan-survey, or download and complete the survey and email it to [email protected] or drop it off at your local library.

Only have one minute? Share your ideas with us here: en-gb.padlet.com/haveyoursaypowys/CIP  

The closing date to provide us with your feedback is 23 December 2022.

Work to begin on improving walking and cycling links between Builth Wells and Llanelwedd

Work to begin on improving walking and cycling links between Builth Wells and Llanelwedd

24 November 2022

Image of a cycle path sign

Work to introduce an improved walking and cycling route between Llanelwedd and Builth Wells will begin early next month (5 December).

The route for the shared use path was identified and agreed during previous public consultations on the county’s Active Travel Network Maps. To be funded by the Welsh Government Safe Routes in Communities Grant, this scheme will mark the first phase of establishing an active travel route connecting Builth Wells and Llanelwedd, and the beginning of a local active travel network.

Expected to be completed in approximately eight weeks, the scheme will consist of two safe highways crossings, one crossing the A483 on the corner from the Llanelwedd Arms Hotel across to the Jewson’s entrance, and the other crossing the A483 from Station Yard across to the showground side of the road.

The path between through Station Yard will be renewed with an improved surface accessible for pedestrians and cyclists and the path between the crossing opposite the showground and Llanelwedd primary school will be widened.

“Following consultation and the development of the county’s Active Travel Network Maps, it is great to see plans for these safer routes for communities being implemented.” Says Cllr Jackie Carlton, Cabinet Member for a Greener Powys.

“The Active Travel (Wales) Act 2013 aims to make Wales a walking and cycling nation. These routes within our local areas will improve road, pedestrian, and cyclist safety. This is particularly true for families walking to and from school and this route between Llanellwedd and Builth Wells provides a direct safe route between the two communities and Llanellwedd primary school.

“We appreciate that any roadworks can be frustrating at times, especially on busy trunk roads, but the creation of these accessible shared-use routes will ultimately encourage more of us to make shorter journeys, such as our commute to work, school or local shops, by physically active means, like walking or cycling, meaning less cars on the road.

“On completion, the route will allow people to confidently choose to walk or cycle rather than using the car, improving our health and wellbeing as well as reducing our carbon footprint and going someway to help tackle the climate emergency.”

Creating canals for everyone to enjoy

Creating canals for everyone to enjoy

24 November 2022

Image of the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

Developing connections along the two canal corridors within Powys is the focus of the Canals, Communities and Wellbeing project and, whether you’re a resident or a visitor to Powys, we’d love to know what you think about our canals.

Until 11 January 2023 we’re gathering your thoughts and comments so that we can shape our future plans around your ideas and needs. Whether that’s what you’d like to see improved, or what currently prevents you from making the most of the canals and their surrounding areas.

Working within a corridor of 5km along each side of the Montgomery and Monmouthshire and Brecon canals, the aim of the Canals, Communities and Wellbeing project is to increase opportunities for public access, recreation and rural active travel to support enhanced wellbeing. But we need your views on how to do this. It could be improvements to the towpaths, canal access and public rights of way, creating or enhancing wildlife areas, providing opportunities for people to connect with nature along our canals or simply adding more seating or picnic areas for everyone to enjoy.

“We are extremely lucky here is Powys to have two historically important and beautiful canals running through our county.” explains Cllr Jackie Charlton, Cabinet Member for a Greener Powys. “Not only do they play a crucial role in creating incredible nature-rich habitats for all kinds of wildlife, but they also provide a unique place for residents and visitors to enjoy.

“By joining forces with other key partners as part of the Canals, Communities and Wellbeing project, we are determined to make sure that these remarkable waterways are accessible for all and can provide opportunities for everyone to experience.

“In order to do this, it is important to us to find out what you think. What is it that makes these spaces special for you? Is there anything that stops you from visiting the canals? What could be done to encourage more people to use the outdoor space along the canal corridor? Have your say and share your thoughts with us through our online survey.”

Running until May 2023, this collaborative project is being led by Powys County Council’s Countryside Access and Recreation Team, working in partnership with Glandŵr Cymru, the Canal & River Trust in Wales, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. The activity will complement other initiatives being delivered by the partner organisations and is supported 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.

Please share your thoughts and ideas online: www.haveyoursaypowys.wales/canals-communities-and-well-being

Image: Pencelli, Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal

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