Travellers turn up at Milford Way protest against new site for them
PROTESTERS against a second travellers' site in Swansea had a surprise when travellers dropped by to check the rally out.
A couple of members of the traveller community got out of their vehicle and cast their eyes on leaflets being handed out by Leo's Community Action Group.
The travellers said they had to live somewhere — but took a dim view of the Milford Way site, opposite Penlan common.
It is one of five short-listed potential sites currently put out to consultation by Swansea Council. The large patch of land was formerly home to occupants including Leo's Supermarket and the Penplas Inn — both later destroyed by fire.
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Louise Bolam, on behalf of the action group, said: "We want something that will create jobs and benefit the area."
Asked if she had anything against travellers, she replied: "I have got nothing against them, but it is not the right area for them."
Mrs Bolam said she had not been convinced by an article — entitled Gypsy and Traveller mythbuster — in the January edition of the council's newspaper, Swansea Leader. The article dealt with issues such as fly-tipping, tax and crime.
The article also pointed out that Gypsies and travellers had fought and died in both world wars.
The action group's leaflet said somewhere suitable was needed for travellers, but claimed "cultural clashes" might arise if the Milford Way site was chosen, due its proximity to "diverse housing types".
It also claimed there would be a "dramatic loss" in the value of the homes close by.
The action group favoured a new community centre instead, plus commercial and residential development.
The leaflet said: "The council needs to look at the needs of the whole community and look at what would benefit hundreds of people rather than just a few travellers."
Penderry resident Bill Hughes, who was at Saturday's protest, suggested a children's play area.
"This is an expanding community," he said.
The consultation on the potential sites runs until the end of March.
The other four sites are the former greyhound stadium, in Cockett, the rear of Parc Melyn Mynach and proposed cemetery, both in Gorseinon, and Swansea Vale, Llansamlet.
Penderry councillor Terry Hennegan said he felt the Milford Way site would suit affordable housing or an amalgamated Portmead and Blaenymaes primary school, should the need ever arise.
He added: "The travellers should have a say in it themselves."