Rising fuel costs and the cost-of-living crisis have prompted an increase in taxi fares within Bridgend County Borough for the first time in three years.
Following a formal request from the Bridgend County Hackney Association, Cabinet members recently agreed that the first half-mile ‘flag rate’ can increase to 70p.
They also approved a request to increase the meter rate by 2p for every tenth of a mile, and to increase waiting charges from £15 to £20 per hour.
Cabinet heard that since the pandemic began, the number of licensed taxi vehicles in Bridgend County Borough has fallen from 510 to 439.
In requesting the increase, Bridgend County Hackney Association chair Paul Pride said: “The last increase in fares was on 14 January 2019. Since then, the trade has endured the economic devastation of the pandemic.
“We have record increases in the cost of fuel resulting in a weekly cost of between £30-£60, and now the country is facing a cost of living crisis never witnessed in our lifetime.
“Several councils in South Wales have already implemented emergency increases to help combat the financial crisis faced by taxi drivers, and we ask that the council acts promptly and passes this emergency application.”
The proposed increases will now be advertised with a view to introducing them on 26 September.
Councillor Rhys Goode, Bridgend Council’s Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations said: “We are all feeling the squeeze of the cost of living crisis, across the whole of the UK, and it is important that we recognise the increase in costs associated with running a cab.
“As a council, we have to ensure that a balance can be struck which is fair to our taxi drivers, but does not deter the public from using licenced vehicles, and I think that given the circumstances, this request is completely understandable and appropriate.”
(Lead image: Google Maps)
Maesteg woman dies in serious Llangynwd collision
South Wales Police are appealing for witnesses after a serious collision on the A4063 near Maesteg.
A local woman was pronounced dead at the scene following the collision between a blue Hyundai and a blue Renault Clio shortly before 9.30pm on Wednesday (10 August).
The accident, between Nicholls Road and Bridgend Road on the A4063 closed the road from the Shwt turn off to Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd for several hours.
Police Sergeant Jason Beaumont said: “Despite best efforts from the emergency services, the driver of the Hyundai a 29 year-old female, from the Maesteg area, was declared deceased at the scene.
“The driver and passenger of the Renault Clio were taken to hospital with minor injuries.”
Officers are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed, has dash-cam footage, or who stopped at the scene to contact them online or by calling 101 quoting occurrence number 2200269545.
(Lead image: Google Maps)
New sensory garden helps Bridgend adults with dementia
After two years of planning, fundraising and hard work, volunteers and staff at Bridgend Resource Centre have unveiled a new sensory garden to support local adults with dementia.
Based at the resource centre in Waterton, the garden was planned and landscaped by students from Bridgend College who worked closely on the design alongside advisors from Age UK, Age Connects and the Alzheimer’s Society.
With brightly-coloured resign pathways winding through a mix of raised flower and herb beds, the garden has been specially planted with specific types of flowers and shrubs designed to help stimulate the senses.
Visitors to the garden can enjoy quiet, tranquil areas for reflection as well as a range of water features, shade sails and living walls covered in flowers and vegetation. Particular care has been taken to ensure that the garden remains accessible, and includes wheelchair-friendly bespoke furniture.
Bridgend Councillor Jane Gebbie, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help said: “This fantastic new facility is helping adults with dementia as well as people with learning or physical disabilities, and is the result of more than two years’ worth of effort and hard work. Research shows that being outside and able to move about can reduce tension and anxiety for people with dementia, and this custom-built space is specifically designed to enable people to stroll freely and safely.
“To create the garden, staff and volunteers raised more than £16,000 through a variety of different ways, and donations were gratefully received from the families of users of the centre, G4S, Rockwool, Bridgend Rotary Club, Tesco and Asda. Local residents also helped by donating unwanted clothing, shoes and linen to a special recycling bank located opposite the nearby Lidl store at the Bridgend Retail Park.
“In addition to the work undertaken by Pencoed College, Age Concern, Age Connect and the Alzheimer’s Society, further support was received from the Carer’s Trust and B-Leaf, and the garden is the result of all of these efforts and more. It is already proving to be of great benefit, and I would like to congratulate and thank everyone who had a hand in helping to make it a reality.”
(Lead image: Bridgend Council)
Business boost for Bridgend Indoor Market
Bridgend Indoor Market is set to benefit from a funding boost to help develop small business opportunities and increase consumer interest and footfall.
A series of popup initiatives are being developed at the market in Bridgend’s Rhiw Shopping Centre to create opportunities for business start-ups and micro-business to establish and grow.
The council hopes this will lead to greater footfall and dwell time in the market.
The project aims to not only makes spaces available, but to also help broker the process, with wraparound business support and advice, as well as some small grants to further assist business development.
One new entrepreneur taking part in the pop-up initiative Katrina Evans, said: “This is a great opportunity to develop my small business, and I am looking forward to trialling my products in front of a wider audience at Bridgend Indoor Market.
“I’m really grateful for the support I have received from the Pop Up Wales initiative, and I can’t wait to get Kat’s Wax, Wick and Wonders up and running.”
The pop-up initiative is thanks to a £120,000 funding package from the UK Government through the UK Community Renewal Fund that the council is using to deliver its Bridgend Elevate and Prosper Project (EAP).
An additional £11,800 match funding has been received via the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns initiative, which is a Welsh Government programme providing support for the revitalisation of town centres in Wales.
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Neelo Farr said: “This is exciting news for people in the county borough, and an excellent opportunity for start-up businesses and potential entrepreneurs to test out their business ideas in the marketplace.
“The level of financial support and advice offered through this initiative presents an ideal opportunity for individuals to establish an enterprise with very little outlay, offering the best chance of success while investing in and helping to nurture the local economy.”
(Lead image: Bridgend County Borough Council)
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