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Swansea Tory councillors want parking charges scrapped with pubs and restaurants using outdoor spaces

PARKING charges should be scrapped and pubs and restaurants should be able to use their outdoor spaces to trade, Swansea Conservatives have said.

They fear many hospitality businesses will not survive the impact of the coronavirus unless the council takes matters into its own hands.

They want the Labour administration to follow the Conservative Government’s lead on easing lockdown measures in England from July 4, and claim the Welsh Government is dithering.

Cllrs Lyndon Jones and Myles Langstone, leader and deputy leader of Swansea Conservatives, said allowing pubs, restaurants and hotels to use their outdoor areas could be achieved by “non-enforcement against use of these spaces” if need be.

Car parking charges in Swansea, they said, should be scrapped until the end of the year.

They added: “If there is any more delay by the Welsh Government, not only will local pubs be shutting their doors for good but they will close down our local tourist industry, resulting in huge job losses.”

Council leader Rob Stewart said Conservative councillors “know full well” that the authority had provided businesses with more than £80 million of Government-backed support.

He added: “Tory councillors may not be aware but the Welsh Government has already indicated tourism could reopen in early July.

“Businesses are already preparing for this and we are supporting them so tourism can reopen safely.

“But we are not there yet. As the First Minister said, England is not and should not be taken as a template for the rest of the UK. We must remember we have not dealt with the virus and significant risks still exist.”

The Welsh Government has not set a date for when pubs can reopen.

The hospitality sector in England is due to open on July 4, pubs and hotels can open in Northern Ireland on July 3, and beer gardens can open in Scotland from July 6.

Speaking on Thursday, June 25, Wales’s Finance Secretary Rebecca Evans said about pubs: “I can’t give you a timetable or a date but I want to reassure you that the work is actively ongoing with the hospitality sector.”

Swansea Conservatives also called for the reopening of public toilets in their statement on June 24.

This has been a particular issue for seaside areas during the recent heatwave.

On June 25, the council has announced that public toilets at Langland, Caswell, the city centre bus station and Oystermouth Square, Mumbles, would open on June 26, with other council toilets opening in a phased manner.

Gower councillor Richard Lewis said the situation in his ward was far from pleasant.

“In Horton and Port Eynon, we have adults using the sand dunes as toilets, in full view of families,” he said.

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