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​ Lampeter business closures hit town

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​Black Lion: SA Brain claim planning refusal caused closure ​

THE BLACK LION H​OTEL, situated in Lampeter’s High Street​,​ is to close with the loss of ​17 jobs.

The closure is another blow for the University town, following the closure of the Spar on College Street on August 27.

SA Brains, which owns the Black Lion, has blamed the closure on the rejection of a planning application to construct nine houses on land to the rear of the premises and claims that the venue had become unprofitable.

The closure of the Black Lion follows a tide of business closures in Lampeter over recent years.

Both the King’s Head and the Royal Oak were closed for extended periods, with the former reopening after almost two years as a vacant premises when a new tenant took up its lease after the former licensee was stricken by ill-health.

Hag’s Record Shop ceased trading, unable to compete with online competition; the town’s bookshop went the same way; many businesses are either up for sale or running extended closing down and stock sales

A sharp decline in student numbers has also led to a decline in footfall within the town. In the academic year 2016/17, around 170 students started campus study at the University. While the presence of the University has been a bulwark of town trade for many years, the dependence of some businesses on student trade has proven a double-edged sword. And with UWTSD continuing to run down the campus while concentrating on its Swansea SA1 project, the more-or-less managed decline of the campus is likely to continue.

With the removal of key health services from the town on a supposedly ‘temporary’ basis, the town of Lampeter runs the risk of becoming another Welsh market town and small local centre left twisting in the wind as customers shop elsewhere or online and with little to attract shoppers or visitors other than custom and habit.

Dinah Mulholland, Lampeter Town Councillor for the Labour Party, told The Herald: “Along with many other people, I am very concerned at the growing number of empty shops in Lampeter.

“Rather than have empty shops, it might be an idea for landlords to allow those premises to be used as ‘pop-ups’ for young and growing businesses and, in that way, try and help towards Lampeter’s regeneration.”

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Aberystwyth: Driver on drugs hits lorry and causes ‘road chaos’

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A DRIVER high on drugs caused 15 miles of chaos as he approached Aberystwyth on the A44.

Brian Pitts hit an oncoming lorry and road signs as he drove on the wrong side of the road.

A car passenger filmed him because she was sure a serious accident was about to happen.

Pitts, aged 57, of Delmont Close, Tipton, west Midlands, admitted dangerous driving and driving while unfit through drugs he had taken.

Dean Pulling, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that on June 16 last year Pitts had been driving his Rover MGZR, towing a trailer full of wooden fencing posts, towards Aberystwyth from his home.

Richard Brooks followed the car through Llangurig and became so concerned he telephoned the police while his wife Victoria filmed Pitts on her mobile.

The Rover collided with a 13 tonne lorry driven by Andrew Paxton but failed to stop.

Pitts failed to take a roundabout and hit road signs and an embankment but still carried on.

During the 15 miles, said Mr Pulling, oncoming traffic had to swerve off the carriageway to avoid a collision.

Several motorists telephoned the police to report what they were witnessing, he added.

Pitts came to a stop in the middle of the road and another motorist snatched the keys out of the ignition–and noticed that Pitts had been driving with a dog on his lap.

Mr Pulling said police officers could tell there was something wrong with Pitts, but an alcohol text showed he was below the limit.

“He was clearly unfit,” said Mr Pulling, although it was still unclear what drugs he had taken.

Pitts was taken to Aberystwyth police station and then to Bronglais hospital, where he appeared to recover after treatment. But he soon deteriorated and had to be taken back to the hospital.

Pitts developed pneumonia and had to be kept in for nine days.

His barrister, Tom Scapens, said when Pitts had been shown the mobile telephone footage he felt physically sick.

Judge T Mervyn Hughes jailed Pitts for 10 months and banned him from driving for four years.

He told him, “If you had not been stopped I am quite sure you would have caused serious injury if not death.”

Pitts was told to pass an extended driving test before getting his licence back.

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Motion to support the reduction of plastic use in Ceredigion approved

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In a Full Council meeting on 22 February 2018, the Council unanimously supported a motion to reduce the use of plastic and to support plastic reduction initiatives in Ceredigion.

The motion was proposed by Councillor Mark Strong and was seconded by Councillor Gethin Davies. The motion calls on Ceredigion County Council to support the various ‘Plastic Free’ campaigns throughout the county by reducing single-use plastics within Council facilities and offices and to promote the use of sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics at all Council supported events.

Councillor Mark Strong said, “I’m delighted that the Council unanimously supported the motion. This is an important step for the Council but we must carry on to reduce plastic use. Everyone has a responsibility to reduce the environmental damage caused by plastic. Carrying out small acts such as buying milk from your local milkman supports the local economy but in turn also supports our environment by using reusable glass bottles.”

The motion also calls on the Council to encourage local businesses, organisations, schools and communities to move away from single-use plastics and use sustainable alternatives as well as to support beach cleans and other events which aim to raise awareness of the issues of single-use plastics under the “Plastic Free”, Caru Ceredigion, Tidy Towns or any similar initiative.

The motion was amended in the meeting to include the establishment of a Members’ Task and Finish group to support measures to reduce the Council’s use of plastic and to support initiatives in the county that reduce plastic use.

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Richards-Keegan cleared of sending underage girl nude pictures

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A BOW STREET man has been cleared of charges that he sent an underage girl photographs of his penis.

Paul Robert Morgan Richards-Keegan, aged 21, had denied two allegations of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Richards-Keegan, of Tregerddan, said the only messages he sent her via the internet were in response to approaches from her and did not include photographs of his private parts.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, had told a jury at Swansea Crown Court that the 14-year-old girl had shared messages with Richards-Keegan via Snapchat.

At one stage police issued to him a child abduction notice, which he signed, instructing him not to contact the girl

In 2016 she told her mother that he was again sending her unwanted photographs of his penis attached to messages.

Richards-Keegan was arrested, and told police he had obeyed the order apart from messages he had sent after being contacted by the complainant.

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