Hundreds turn out to voice opposition to traveller site
HUNDREDS of residents turned out to voice opposition to any new site for travellers being established in Llansamlet.
The ward's councillors called a general meeting at Birchgrove Comprehensive School on Monday evening to give residents an opportunity to discuss any local issues of concern.
But a large audience of more than 400 squeezed into the school's main hall, determined to discuss what they believed was a new site being considered in Llansamlet by Swansea Council.
It follows the revelation earlier this year that the authority was considering a shortlist of five sites to meet its legal obligation to provide "adequate provision" for travellers.
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Llansamlet already has one permanent travellers' site, while one family is camped temporarily on the Swansea Vale park and ride.
Last week, Swansea Council leader David Phillips, outlined the authority's new approach for looking for a site.
He said the search for a second permanent site for traveller families would be entirely based on expert advice, and that council officers would rank a shortlist based on professional assessments, which would conclude with the ranked sites being considered by full council.
The meeting in Birchgrove was told Llansamlet councillors would not be able to fully discuss the issue with residents, so they did not prejudice themselves when it came for the council to vote on the sites.
But Labour party member Bob Clay told the audience: "Anyone who has researched this will know there is a great deal of circumstantial evidence that the Peniel Green Site may be one of those being considered.
"I belive no other site is being considered, other than that one.
"But it is difficult to say it is wrong if no-one will say they are looking at Llansamlet."
The meeting was also told Newport County Council had also been considering where to locate sites for travellers, and that it had publicised its search on its website, beginning with an original list of more than 200 potential sites, and inviting views from residents, updating them as they produced a shortlist — an approach not adopted by Swansea Council.
And it was also claimed 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.
Swansea Council said that despite the leak of sites said to be on a shortlist earlier this year, there was no current shortlist of potential sites yet.
A spokesman for Swansea Council said: "A member-led task and finish group has been established to look at the provision of a second gypsy traveller site in Swansea. "This work is ongoing and no decisions have been made on any sites that could be included in any shortlist.
"Swansea is among a number of councils in Wales that are looking at gypsy traveller site provision and some are further along the process than Swansea is.
"Any list of sites that is developed will be presented to council for further consideration and could also include public consultation on those sites."