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Demolition stops as Cuddy collapses

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DEMOLITION work on the former Pontrilas factory on Llanelli’s North Dock has stopped after the contractors in charge of the site went into administration.

Work on the prime development site ground to a halt at the end of last week.

The Cuddy Group entered administration on Monday (Jul 23) following a protracted period of ill health for its head, Mike Cuddy, the former Ospreys Managing Director.

A statement from the company said: “During his enforced absence from work at Cuddy Group, he had hoped that others would have stepped up to fill the gap he had left. Unfortunately this did not happen and the challenges facing the company increased month on month throughout 2017 and into 2018.”

With the company’s finances deteriorating, Mike Cuddy returned to work in April six months earlier than planned and against medical advice but despite injecting personal funds into the business he ‘ was left no alternative but to put the company into administration’.

The company added: “Mike is devastated and as you can imagine, the news and the associated stress, are taking a heavy toll on his health.

“He intends to continue however, to do everything he can to ensure that the company workforce is successful in finding alternative employment.”

For the year ended July 21, 2016, the latest accounts filed at Companies House, Cuddy Group made a pre-tax profit of £233,000 on turnover of £31.5m.

Cuddy had been in restructuring talks with Grant Thornton, but it appears that those talks have ended without agreement on a way forward that keeps the firm intact.

The Pontrilas building on the Llanelli coast was to be demolished to make way for future development.

Constructed in the 1960s, the building has been underused for many years and become increasingly dilapidated.

Cuddy were in the process of razing the building to the ground over the next few months.

Cuddy Group Ltd took over the site from Carmarthenshire County Council in December 2017.

Due to elements of asbestos within the building fabric, a controlled demolition programme was necessary using specialist water suppression systems. The precautions were necessary because of strict asbestos removal standards to eliminate danger to the public, including air monitoring to ensure nobody, either on or off site, is at risk.

The council’s executive board member for resources, Cllr David Jenkins said: “Current works at North Dock, Pontrillas, are on stop.

“We have received contact from the administrators. Should the company not be in a position to complete the remaining site works we will engage with alternative contractors to complete what is required.

“No decision will be made until we have received further information from the administrators.”

While supplies, subcontractors, and workers remain unpaid and – in many cases at the end of their financial tether – Mike Cuddy has moved to reassure followers of Neath RFC that the club’s future is safe.

Even though the Club’s main sponsors were the Cuddy Group, the assets of the rugby club are owned separately from the collapsed business, it is understood in the hands of members of the Cuddy family.

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Llanelli bus depot to close after 100 years

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THE LLANELLI HERALD understands that the Llanelli Bus Depot at Inkermans Street will be closing its gates for good. 

The Bus Depot has served the local community for approximately 100 years, Drivers will now be sent to work from depots in Carmarthen, Swansea and Tycroes. 

All services will remain in the the town, this newspaper can confirm, and our reporter was told that there will not be any redundancies. 

One bus driver told us that he and he co-workers were “not completely happy”, but the unnamed source added “At least we still have jobs to go to.” 

Further updates are expected on this developing story.

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Two week national ‘Firebreak Lockdown’ announced for Wales from 6pm on Friday

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MARK DRAKEFORD, The First Minister of Wales has announced a two week ‘fire break’ lockdown from Friday October 23 at 18:00 HRS, to last until Monday November 9 at 00:01 HRS

Mr Drakeford said: “This firebreak is the shortest we can make it. It must be sharp and deep in order to have the impact we need it to have on the virus.”

All non essential businesses, including tourism businesses will be told to close.

Businesses have been told that they will be given £1000 each automatically to help with the economic impact of the shutdown.

Mr Drakeford added that children will be the priority and that childcare facilities will open as normal. Primary schools will open after half term.

Secondary schools will be closed for a week after half term to help control the virus.

Universities will offer a mixture of face-to-face learning and learning via video link. Students must stay at their university accommodation during the lockdown.

Responding to the Welsh Government’s announcement of a Wales-wide lockdown, Paul Davies MS, the Leader of the Opposition in the Welsh Parliament, has called the lockdown “not-proportionate” and is calling on the Welsh Government to be “open and transparent” on the evidence to support a lockdown and if the First Minister is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns every month.

Paul Davies MS said: “Sadly, the First Minster has failed to get public support for this second Wales-wide lockdown, failing to be open and transparent about the evidence to justify this lockdown and what his actions will entail for the future.

“The Welsh Government also has to be honest that this road they are taking us down is committing Wales to rolling Wales-wide lockdowns. This is not a two-week break to solve the pandemic, it is likely that we will see regular lockdowns across the rest of the year. The Welsh Government must be clear what actions they are taking during the lockdown to prevent further Wales-wide lockdowns which will have a significant impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.

“However, the main concern is that this national lockdown is not proportionate. The impact on businesses in areas such as Powys, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion, who have the lowest rate of Covid-19 cases in Wales, will be severe at a time when they are desperately struggling to recover from the pandemic so far this year.

“The First Minister needs to urgently come to the Welsh Parliament and answer these questions, to face effective scrutiny by elected representatives and not run his government by media.”

Preseli Pembrokeshire MP, Stephen Crabb told The Herald: “The evidence to support an all-Wales lockdown is weak and I am sceptical that this so-called ‘fire-break’ will tackle the situation in those parts of Wales where infection rates have been out of control. The key issue for Welsh Government to address is what will be done differently after the firebreak ends in those parts of Wales where infection rates have spiralled out of control. Otherwise the whole of Wales risks being dragged back into a series of rolling lockdowns.

“As we saw earlier in the year, lockdowns come with huge costs in terms of harm to the economy and to people’s emotional and mental wellbeing. With the Welsh Government asking UK Government to fund this lockdown, I hope that as many businesses as possible get support they need quickly. Pembrokeshire’s hospitality businesses will be hit particularly hard by these latest restrictions and I will be fighting hard again to see that they are protected as the lockdown kicks in.”

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Drakeford to make decision on ‘fire-break’ lockdown in Wales by Monday

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WALES is facing a national lockdown lasting at least two weeks in plans described as a “fire-break” by the first minister.

He said a decision was likely to be made on Monday, while talks continue with health officials, scientific advisors and councils over the weekend.
“Doing nothing is not an option,” he said.

Responding to the speculation First Minister, Mark Drakeford, is set to announce a ‘circuit-breaker’ lockdown in Wales, Welsh Conservative health spokesperson, Andrew RT Davies MS said: “I implore the First Minister to think again before heading down this path.

“The decision to lockdown Wales once again will have devastating consequences – from an economic and public health perspective – and should be the last resort.

“Only yesterday, the former director of communicable diseases at Public Health Wales, Dr Roland Salmon, said a circuit-breaker is likely to fail and the Welsh Labour Government should listen carefully to his warning.

“Earlier this week, Welsh Conservatives called for the urgent resumption of shielding in Wales with a substantial package of support to ensure the financial, physical and mental well-being of those most at risk is protected.

“This should be the immediate action taken by ministers along with prioritising PPE and testing in the problem areas in Wales such as hospitals, care home, universities and meat factories.

“It’s not too late for the Labour Government to reconsider and choose a different approach in Wales.”

Mr Drakeford warned that 2,500 people were now being infected with coronavirus every day in Wales, with critical care units in hospitals full.

“A successful fire-break would re-set the virus at a lower level,” he added.

Together with a new national set of rules for the whole of Wales after the fire-break period we would have slowed the virus down enough to get us through to Christmas.”
Plaid Cymru has been calling on Mr Drakeford to introduce the circuit-breaker without delay, while Labour at Westminster says a similar approach should be adopted in England.

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