Call for Neath Port Talbot and Swansea councils to work together to help Swansea Valley
POLITICIANS in the Swansea Valley have called for greater co-operation between local authorities in order to boost tourism in the area.
At a recent Question Time- style public meeting, several community leaders called for Neath Port Talbot and Swansea Council to work hand in hand to help improve the fortunes of the valley.
Swansea Council has responsibility for the lower part of the valley up to the village of Trebanos while Neath Port Talbot is responsible for the upper region up to Ystradgynlais.
Linet Purcell, a Neath Port Talbot councillor for Pontardawe, said: "We need joined-up thinking. We have this terrific opportunity but we need to get Neath Port Talbot and Swansea councils working together, cross- border collaboration, to develop the tourism potential of the Swansea Valley. It would be inspired thinking.
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"It can be done, it needs people to think outside the box and it needs vision."
Alex Thomas, Neath Port Talbot's Rhos councillor, said: "I have friends living in Manchester where they got together as Manchester Greater Council."
Mike James, also a Neath Port Talbot Pontardawe ward councillor, said: "You have got to get Swansea to say yes. Everything we suggest to them they say, 'We will get back to you.'"
And Byron Davies, South West Wales AM, said: "Twenty-two local authorities is quite an imaginable thing. It's becoming quite a big argument that we should be reducing the bureaucracy on cross- border issues.
"It's something that we should be looking at in the future but that's a Welsh Government issue."
Both councils however said that they already co-operated.
Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Councillor Nick Bradley, said: "I am quite surprised and disappointed at the comments raised by the local councillors as we collaborate well across authorities and we have undertaken this joined-up destination marketing approach with colleagues in Neath Port Talbot over many years.
"The main holiday guide and website both cover accommodation and attractions in both areas. This cohesive and quality product offer is extremely complementary to visitors, who are rightly not interested in local authority boundaries."
And Gareth Nutt, Head of Property and Regeneration for Neath Port Talbot Council, said: "Neath Port Talbot Council works closely with neighbouring local authorities to support regeneration and economic development within the local area."