Senior Swansea councillors in gypsy site U-turn?
SENIOR Swansea councillors are on the brink of leading a stunning revolt over where to house the county’s new travellers’ site, the Evening Post can reveal.
It has emerged that council leader David Phillips and his cabinet colleagues want to throw out an officers’ report recommending two potential sites.
In a private email to Labour councillors, leaked to the Evening Post, Mr Phillips states he has “significant and fundamental” concerns over where the new site should be.
He has subsequently told the Post these views are shared by all other cabinet members.
Earlier this month the council announced it had chosen two "preferred sites" from a shortlist of five - the former greyhound racing track in Fforestfach and land off Peniel Green Road in Llansamlet - following a long consultation and years of debate.
A report by officers concluded they were the most suitable sites and it recommended seeking planning permission for both, with a decision on which one was to be used made at a later date.
In the leaked email Mr Phillips, who is also Labour group leader, stresses the need for the right decision to be made.
But he admits to doubts as to whether the process should continue as has been recommended by officers.
Swansea already has an official site for travellers in Llansamlet, and another unofficial one in Swansea Vale. But it needs to create another to meet demand and its legal obligations. The plans are for an additional 11 pitches on the second site, with room to expand up to 20 in future years.
The report prepared by officers will go before a full meeting of Swansea Council on Monday - a meeting that is expected to be well attended.
But the Post can reveal the Labour group is to meet today to discuss whether to reject it.
Last night Mr Phillips said: “I am concerned that my confidential email to council colleagues has been leaked to the press as I wanted to have an open and frank discussion with my group on the recently published report in advance of the meeting next Monday.
“The views expressed in my email were my personal views arrived at following careful consideration of the report going to council next Monday.
"But following a cabinet meeting this week, I now know my concerns are shared by all my cabinet colleagues."
He added: "I do not want to comment further until I have had an opportunity to discuss this with my group.”
A spokesman for Swansea Council said Monday's extraordinary meeting is due to take place as planned.