Businessman’s bids for Covid grants landed him in court instead
A POWYS businessman who asked his local authority for financial grants during the coronavirus pandemic has inadvertently brought criminal charges against him.
William Anthony Williams applied to Powys County Council for 19 separate grants on the same day at the height of Covid-19, in spring 2020. It was when the local authority investigated the grant applications that it discovered that Williams, 58, operated as many as 40 separate businesses from a site in Ystradgynlais where only six businesses were allowed to operate.
Williams, of Lynden, Lower Cwmtwrch, was convicted of two offenses for breaching a provision contained in the Building Regulations at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates’ Court this week.
He was not at the hearing, which was held on Wednesday June 8, but was found guilty in his absence – and ordered to pay nearly £3,000 in fines.
Rob Brown, acting for Powys County Council, said: ‘In the spring of 2020 the council received 19 applications from Mr Willimas, all from the same address. They reviewed their own records, which showed there were six individual units present at the address, not 19.
“Building control identified that only one unit was on site. Officers visited on July 3, 2020 to validate the units. Eventually they met with the owner and officers inspected the units.
“They found several units occupied by various companies. There was Swansea Valley Luxury Travel which was owned by the defendant. Swansea Valley Man and a Van was a business he said belonged to his father.
“There was a MOT center which the defendant claimed was his, one unit was part of the MOT centre, while other businesses included Swansea Valley Motors, E&M Williams, Ystradgynlais Self Storage, which he claims was run by his wife and her son.
“Others included Thai food, Travel Inn and laundry facilities.
“After the visit it was clear there were more than six units, in fact building control was made aware of about 40 possible companies. They rechecked the records, which showed that there should only be six units present.
Mr Brown said subsequent visits showed there was a clear lack of protection between the units for fire safety and the defendant was told not to move other businesses into the units.
He said officers subsequently received information in February 2021 that illegal work was taking place at the site, including the removal of asbestos without proper health and safety measures being in place. square.
Mr Brown said the Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service had even been called to the scene on one occasion and the local authority was making a significant claim for the cost of a amount of £6,525.
Magistrates found the case proven absent and fined Williams £1,000 for the first offense and £1,250 for the second. In addition, he was ordered to pay £350 in costs and an additional £190.
They also ordered him to comply with building regulations and his local authority. They said they would give him 56 days to pay the amount and if he didn’t he would be fined £50 for each day he was in default.