Subdued start to the new year for Swansea Valley landslide residents
SWANSEA Valley residents forced from their homes after a landslide have had a subdued start to the new year.
All the Panteg residents who were evacuated from their homes because of a landslide before Christmas have now returned.
The residents of 13 properties who were directly affected say they are trying to carry on as normal, despite the tens of thousands of tonnes of mud, debris and vegetation which still block the road and the unknown effect it is having on their homes.
The residents have returned home, and after their Christmas Day plans were thrown into disarray after the landslide on December 22, they tried to salvage their New Year's Eve.
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Resident Kain Scott said news from Neath Port Talbot Council had fallen quiet over the festive period but that affected residents were trying to get on with their lives.
"We have just got to get on with it at the end of the day," he said.
Residents have been told the results of a survey about when they can return home will not be available until February but they say the uncertainty has meant a difficult start to the year and worry for the families.
Some residents said they had been forced to return home, despite the potential danger, because burglars were targeting their empty properties.
Mr Scott said he was reluctant to leave his two children, aged 9 and 13, and wife inside the house alone in case there's further movement.
"We can't go out as individuals, we go everywhere as a family. I don't want to leave anybody in here, just in case," said Mr Scott.
He said the recent improvement in weather had also helped ease their worries. "New Year's Eve was one of the best days we've had because the weather has calmed down," he added.
"It's just a worry. It's the not knowing which is worst. You get up in a morning and wonder if we'll get out into the front garden. You find yourself wondering if anything has moved, if each rock was there the morning before," he said.
The council said the road drainage system has been cleaned out and electricity reinstated but said that bad weather had delayed the start of a survey.
Bus routes have been diverted by the council and families have been given alternative arrangements for the start of the new term.
The council's director of environment, John Flower, said the ground had been moving for more than 60 years but said recent bad weather had reactivated landslide activity.
He said the unstable ground had meant engineers could not enter the area.
Residents had spoken out to the Post at the beginning of December saying the council had not done enough to help prevent further landslides.
They said they had noticed the land moving for months before this latest slip.