Ex-councillor's surprise over travellers shortlist
A FORMER councillor claims she was surprised to learn Llansamlet was on a shortlist of potential sites for travellers, moments before they set off to view them.
June Evans, who until the last election represented the ward, was a member of Swansea Council's task and finish group, set up to identify potential sites for travellers.
A list of five potential sites being considered by the authority was leaked to the Evening Post earlier this year. And Ms Evans, who was on the task and finish group to consider potential sites, said she only learned Llansamlet was on the shortlist when she got on the bus with colleagues to visit each site to consider their suitability.
Llansamlet already has one permanent travellers' site, while one family is camped temporarily on the Swansea Vale park and ride.
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The former councillor said: "I was of the understanding that Llansamlet was not going to have another site.
"So when we went on the site visit, and we saw Llansamlet was on the list, I was amazed.
"I am sure it was added onto the list — we were all surprised."
Oystermouth councillor Tony Colburn said, however: "My recollection is that we were aware which sites we were going to visit before getting on the bus."
Last week, around 400 residents turned up to a meeting at Birchgrove Comprehensive School to voice their opposition to a new travellers' site in Llansamlet.
The meeting was told that during the mid-1980s, the former West Glamorgan County Council had formulised what became known as the West Glamorgan Agreement, which meant there would not be another travellers' site in the Llansamlet area.
The same agreement was cited by Llansamlet Labour councillors in the run-up to May's local county elections. In an election leaflet, Labour candidates, now councillors, Ryland Doyle, Dennis James and Penny Matthews said they would be "reminding the council of its duty to honour the agreement made by West Glamorgan County Council in the 1980s that there would only be one travellers site in Llansamlet".
The new administration has promised to look again at potential sites. But it has yet to reveal the sites currently being considered, or whether they are the same as the ones on the shortlist from the previous administration.
A spokesman for the authority said: "The work of the previous task and finish group resulted in a number of potential sites being identified. Part of this work also included site visits and the councillors included in the group were fully aware of all the sites they would be visiting.
"It is inaccurate to suggest additional sites were added in to the process prior to the visit.
"The current task and finish group has been reviewing the work of its predecessor and no decisions have been made in relation to any potential sites."