ONE of Swansea’s largest wards, Llansamlet has a population of more than 15,000 and four councillors serving it. The ward includes Glais, Birchgrove and Trallwn and is bordered by Clydach to the north, Bonymaen to the south, Morriston to the west and Neath Port Talbot to the east.
Llansamlet used to be a coal, copper and zinc heartland but is now home to Swansea Enterprise Park.
According to Welsh Government data, it has a slightly higher proportion of manual and professional workers than the Swansea average, and slightly fewer long-term unemployed, people with a long-term health problem or disability, and people born outside the UK.
A deprivation index that breaks Swansea into 148 areas ranked the Lon Las area within Llansamlet 17th out of 148.
The four candidates are –
Ioan Gruffydd (Plaid Cymru)
Ioan is 21 and was a history student at Swansea University, and because of the coronavirus pandemic has had to put his studies on hold.
Ioan said –
”My desire to be a councillor ultimately boils down to the political work I’ve done so far, as, at every turn, I’ve seen just how hard it can be for regular people to effect the change that they need in their communities.
People have been telling me about the things which would make life in Llansamlet easier, from bus shelters to new pedestrian crossings, to litter bins and anti-social behaviour; and being able to fix these issues is definitely my inspiration.
Disability is probably the main driver of inequality and social troubles in our communities, and on the doorstep, disabled people have told me that they’ve been left behind when the council has had opportunities to make Swansea more liveable for them.
In many parts of Llansamlet, people who are infirm struggle to cross the road for example, due to lack of suitable crossing spaces and dipped curbs near their homes and workplaces, which is something which would be easy to fix. It’s the same with bus shelters and services, which would help the most disadvantaged in our society.”
David Jones (Welsh Liberal Democrats)
David is 56, grew up in Swansea and after many years working in London and overseas returned where he currently works as a consultant to an international software company and also spend about 20 hours a week on community projects, delivering training and employment support to local people and writing community books and magazines.
David said –
”I’m standing because I’ve seen Swansea people have their livelihoods and futures threatened by Brexit and coronavirus over the past year.
I believe the toughest social and economic challenges are still to come and I believe that as a Liberal Democrat councillor I would be in a position to help people meet them and stand up for their interests.
Steadily rising council taxes with no corresponding rise in the quality of services provided. Not enough police protecting people and their property. Not enough support for small business. Not enough support for people trying to find a path into work. Not enough childcare support for parents, particularly mothers, trying to get back into work.
I have a track record of success in the private sector and over the past year in particular I’ve applied that expertise to community projects, attracting commercial sponsorship for community activities, supporting small businesses and delivering free training that’s helped people build a bridge to the job market.”
Matthew Jones (Welsh Labour)
Matthew is 45 and married to a history teacher, Melanie. They have two sons who both go to Glais primary.
Matthew said –
”I have worked for Neath Port Talbot Council since 1996 and have been in my current role as a waste enforcement officer for five years. My duties include investigating fly-tipping, littering, dog fouling, waste-related issues and abandoned vehicles.
With 25 years of experience working in a local authority, I feel I have a really good knowledge of how they work. I am passionate about the area where I live and would love to be able to represent the residents and businesses.
I have already been dealing with issues such as off-road motorbikes using public parks – but flooding, vehicle speed in built-up areas, antisocial behaviour, dog fouling, littering and fly-tipping are also regular issues the current councillors have to deal with.
I have been a proud member of the Labour Party for a number of years and am passionate about what the party stands for.”
Rhiannon Wall (Wales Green Party)
Rhiannon is 38 and has lived in Swansea all her life, brought up in Llansamlet and now living in Birchgrove with her partner and youngest who is 7.
Rhiannon said –
”I love getting out and having adventures in local woodlands or exploring lesser-known beaches around Gower. I’m passionate about the Welsh language. My son attends a welsh medium primary and I have been taking Welsh lessons during my spare time.
I’m standing as I want to help resolve and raise awareness of all issues affecting the Llansamlet ward, including poverty and the increase in flooding in Birchgrove over recent years.
The key issues in Llansamlet are the multi-faceted ways in which poverty is increasing, plus traffic management especially around schools, and increased flooding.
As a Green candidate, I stand for social, economic and environmental justice. I want to be a driving force in achieving this in the local area and making positive changes for all residents.”