Tourism and hospitality businesses in Powys will be allowed to extend opening times to help them during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Any business in the sector whose operating licence is usually restricted will be able to apply for an extension - meaning that caravan parks which usually run between March and October, for example, would be able to apply to stay open later in the year.

The news has been welcomed by Welshpool County Councillor Graham Breeze who had called on fellow Cabinet member Councillor James Evans to relax the rules.

“The news is a real boost to the county,” said Cllr Breeze.

“It’s a win-win situation for the caravan park and hospitality sector and visiting holidaymakers and a real boost for the troubled economy in Powys.

“I am really grateful that Cllr Evans has responded so quickly to the call to find a way of supporting the sector.”

The tourism and hospitality sector is of significant importance to the Powys economy, contributing over £1billion in 2019 and the council's planning department will look to relax certain conditions such as limiting periods of occupation and will act proportionately in taking enforcement action following suspected breaches of planning control.

Cllr Evans, Portfolio Holder for Economy and Planning, said: "The council appreciates the extreme challenges currently being faced by businesses due to coronavirus, and that is why we are committed to helping them in as many ways as possible.

"We are particularly aware of the huge challenges faced by our hospitality and tourism sector. The planning department needs to take a positive approach to supporting these businesses.

"It is hoped the offer of free planning advice and proportionate enforcement action will be a welcome reassurance to those hard-pressed businesses.

"We need to ensure that our business sector can operate into the future and we will do everything within our power to assist.

"I have written to Wales' Minister for Planning, Julie James MS, outlining further support that Welsh Government could provide to help Powys on the road to economic recovery.

"We will also be raising this with the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority to ensure that no part of Powys is left behind."

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