The Welsh Liberal Democrats Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has hit out at Neath Port Talbot Council for their appalling lack of consideration and their failure to consult residents before authorising four weeks of overnight resurfacing work on Fabian Way, just yards from people’s homes.
The work is the final stage of an 18 month programme of works on Fabian Way, the main route to Swansea, to build Swansea University’s second campus and create a new entrance for it. It has caused major inconvenience for residents of Elba Crescent and Baldwin’s Crescent with periods when they could not access their homes without a major detour past Amazon, structural damage to some homes from pile-driving and one incidence of being kept awake to 1.30am in the morning due to work overrunning.
Now signs have gone up announcing that from 23 February there will be four weeks of overnight working from 8pm to 6am. Despite that neither the University, their contractors nor the council have sought to formally consult residents, or to discuss with them alternative ways of working that will minimise nuisance.
A public meeting was held in Crymlyn Burrows on Monday, which was packed out but the Council and the contractor refused to send anybody to talk to or listen to residents’ concerns. The University was represented by their Director of Student Services, but he has no involvement in the building work and was not able to speak for the university on the issue let alone negotiate with residents.
There is a meeting organised for Wednesday 25th February but this is a public relations meeting to introduce residents to the campus and crucially, takes place two days after the overnight work starts.
“The way that the Council and the university has treated residents in pursuing this work is a disgrace”, said Mr. Black. “They have consistently refused to engage on the timing and the nature of the work, they have refused to answer valid questions and they have effectively acted as if they cannot care less if the residents suffer or not.
“It is little wonder that Neath Port Talbot came bottom of all 22 authorities for customer satisfaction in Welsh Government figures published yesterday. Basic courtesy and good customer relations would dictate that they should at the very least have attended the meeting with residents to talk them through what they are proposing and to listen to their views.”
The Welsh Liberal Democrats Parliamentary Candidate for Aberavon, Helen Ceri Clarke, who attended the meeting on Monday, said: “Residents living in Elba Crescent and Baldwin’s Crescent have lives and jobs to go to. At least one works in intensive care. They need their sleep if they are able to live their lives and carry out their jobs safely. There are children living there who need to be awake and alert for school. There should be alternatives to the way this work is being carried out which will avoid the disruption that people are going to suffer. However, the council will not even discuss it with us.”