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Swansea Labour leader challenged about Facebook post pledging investment in tennis courts

AN election candidate has challenged the leader of Swansea Labour over a social media post in which he said the council would invest in and not sell tennis courts.

Will Thomas claimed the council had subsequently sold a court in Mumbles and was considering the sale of others in Langland.

Mr Stewart’s Facebook post in the run-up to the 2017 council election was in response to comments and claims about facilities in Mumbles.

He said one comment was “absolute nonsense” and that the council “will be investing in tennis courts not selling them”. He said people should “stick to real facts not fake news”.

Mr Thomas, who is a Conservative candidate for the newly-drawn Mumbles ward in next Thursday’s council elections, claimed the tennis court in Mumbles – one of three courts between the Oyster Wharf development and bowling green – had been sold without consultation.

Part of the tennis court area is being used in conjunction with a new three-storey building featuring hotel rooms and a ground floor restaurant and bar. The building replaces the old Tivoli Walk arcade. The public was able to comment on the proposal when it was being considered by the council’s planning department. Two tennis courts remain in use.

There are six tennis courts near the seafront in Langland, and two of them were offered by the council for potential redevelopment. An adjacent court was also sited within the footprint of the area advertised, although the council said this didn’t necessarily mean it would be incorporated in any new scheme.

Expressions of interest in the Langland site, off Alma Road, were received from developers and organisations, but the council decided not to press ahead with any. Instead a new development brief was proposed.

Mr Thomas, who was elected as the councillor for Newton in 2017, said of Mr Stewart’s Facebook post: “This is why people dislike politics. Some people will say anything for a vote!”

He said he would also like to know if a hotel or block of flats could end up being built at the Langland site.

In response to the claims Mr Stewart, who is standing for re-election, said:

“Mr Thomas knows very well that we have gone out during the last five years for ideas to invest in and regeneration Langland.

“He both opposed and supported this at the same time and knows that we have committed to finding the best way to regenerate these facilities.”

Mr Stewart said the Labour-run council had invested £5 million in playground and equipment facilities in Swansea and created a £25 million fund to help all parts of the county recover from Covid.

He said Mr Thomas could have bid for a share of this recovery fund but hadn’t, and claimed this was a “clear failure” on his Conservative opponent’s part. Mr Stewart said Labour would, if re-elected to run the authority, “be happy to do his job for him and offer all communities extra investment”.

Also standing for election in the Mumbles ward are Wales Green Party’s Will Beasley, Plaid Cymru’s Patricia Sanderson, Liberal Democrat Allan Williams, Labour’s Richard Jarvis, Martin O’Neill and Carrie Townsend Jones, and the Conservatives’ Francesca O’Brien and Angela O’Connor.

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