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Swansea Lib-Dem says Labour push ahead with projects without consulting properly

SWANSEA Liberal Democrats have claimed there is a lack of consultation about projects in the city which are being pushed forward by the Labour administration.

This has been rejected by Labour.

Lib-Dem leader, Cllr Chris Holley, said the feeling among his group was that projects like new cycle routes were “a job done” because the Welsh Government grants which paid for them had to be spent that financial year.

Cllr Holley said Lib-Dem colleagues representing Killay and Sketty were told at the end of last August that new cycle routes would be created in their wards before March 31, 2021.

He said these Olchfa and Sketty Park cycle routes had been “mooted” in 2017.

Cllr Holley said details of the Olchfa scheme were provided, following requests, on October 2. More than 650 people have signed a petition opposing the 2.5km project, which mostly runs through the Clyne Valley.

According to the former council leader, a Welsh Government minister has said in writing that officials have alerted the council to the need to improve their consultation and engagement practices.

Cllr Holley also claimed Parkland Primary School in Sketty Park had not been “properly consulted”.

And he said he felt there has been a lack of consultation about a pavement being created on a railway bridge on Pentre Road, near Pontarddulais, which will result in a single file rather than two-way traffic.

He alleged this has resulted in a long detour while the work has been carried out, but the detour has been in place for months because Network Rail is strengthening the bridge.

Cllr Holley also said he felt proposals for new seating and an exhibition area in the centre of Swansea Market was “a ludicrous idea”.

He claimed that, following discussions with market traders, there has been “little or no consultation about the future of the market”.

In response, council leader Rob Stewart called Cllr Holley’s comments “misleading” and said he should retract them.

The Labour leader said the new cycle route proposals which were outlined in 2017 involved a “city-wide consultation” and was followed up by offers of further meetings “more recently”.

His cabinet colleague, Cllr Mark Thomas, who has the environment portfolio, said councillors in Sketty and Killay were written to “well in advance of the scheme being progressed”, and that only one Labour councillor responded.

Cllr Thomas said the requirement for Welsh Government grant funding for cycle route projects to be spent that financial year was not new, and that “we have consulted and done everything that we have to do even with a tight timescale”.

He said the council has not been informed by any minister about a lack of consultation.

Cllr Thomas said the Pentre Road detour was nothing to do with the council, but he didn’t address Cllr Holley’s comment about a lack of consultation about the pavement being installed there.

On the Swansea Market proposal, Cllr Stewart said “a small number of traders have voiced minor concern” over the central area seating, which is aimed to increase footfall, but that it was not a majority view.

Cllr Stewart claimed Cllr Holley and his Lib Dem-led administration didn’t have a great record of listening to consultations when they were in power, and that Swansea Labour was now attracting investment and funding into the city “in record amounts”.

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