Thousand back petition against traveller site in Swansea
MORE than 1,000 Swansea residents have signed a petition saying 'No' to a new gypsy traveller site in their community.
The Penderry ward residents, who handed the names over to the council yesterday, claimed that such a facility — on the site of the former Leo's store in Milford Way, Penlan — would make their ward a "no-go area".
The council is set to build a new site somewhere in the city in order to fulfil its legal obligation to provide "adequate provision" for travellers.
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The Milford Way site is on a shortlist of five possible sites alongside two possible locations in Gorseinon and one each in Fforestfach and Llansamlet.
Swansea Council leader David Phillips has promised 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.
Louise Bolam, a spokeswoman for the Leo's Community Action Group, set up to oppose any travellers site in the area, said: "We had a rally in May which was very well attended and now we have put a petition together with over 1,000 signatures of local residents."
Explaining their stance she called for the land to be used for something that would provide jobs.
She said: "Our area is affected by poverty and anti social behaviour and we want to see something coming in that is going to improve the area and not make it worse.
"We want the area used for a positive development."
She added: "We fully expect the council to take into account our views."
A statement from the Leo's Community Action Group said: "The Penderry area is already ranked highly in the Welsh index of multiple deprivation and the area is already subject to high levels of crime and antisocial behaviour. The traveller site may well increase these levels further and increase the strain on policing, making the area a no go area. The community will not stop in its fight to stop the travellers site being located on the former Leo's site.
Council leader David Phillips, has previously gone on record as saying: "The council will be totally open and transparent in its search for a second permanent site."