Swansea Council leader: "We have a moral and legal obligation to build second traveller site"
THE leader of Swansea Council has made it clear that a second travellers' site will be build in the county.
In his column in today's Evening Post, David Phillips says the authority has a moral and legal obligation to build more provision for gypsy and travellers families.
The long-running saga over where a second site should be build took an unexpected turn this week when a meeting of the full council rejected a proposal that planning permission be sought for two possible locations — one at the former dog track in Fforestfach and one on land off Peniel Green Road in Llansamlet.
Instead councillors passed a motion calling on the council's cabinet to "adopt a whole Swansea approach and consider all land options" within the county.
The cabinet will meet next month to consider its response.
In today's column, Mr Phillips says that finding a suitable second site "was always going to be difficult" but that it had to be done.
He says: "My message to anyone who thinks this means there will be no second permanent gypsy traveller site is this — we have a legal and moral obligation to provide one and we shall."
The search for a second site to meet growing demand from traveller families began in March 2010.
More than 1,000 plots of council-owned land were looked at during the search, with a shortlist of five drawn up — the former Leo's site in Penderry, Parc Melin Mynach and next to the Toyoda factory in Gorseinon, and Fforestfach and Llansamlet.
This list was then whittled down to the final two, which council officers said were the most suitable.
Proposing the alternative motion in the council chamber on Monday night, Morriston ward member Robert Francis Davies said the search should include privately-owned land as well — and suggested that the council could allocate cash from selling off some of its plots to pay for the purchase of any suitable site.
Several councillors — and representatives from the five short-listed sites who spoke at the meeting — questioned the process which had led to the five possible sites on the original shortlist being identified.
The idea of extending the current travellers site — on Pant-y-Blawd Road on Swansea Enterprise Zone — was also raised during Monday's meeting, but the councillors were told the riverside site was in a flood zone and that any proposed development there would likely be objected to by Natural Resources Wales.
David Phillips: Process had to be followed — page 17