South West Wales

Swansea council faces £90,000 travellers' camp bill

A council may spend £90,000 on supplying water and power along with portable showers and toilets at an unauthorised travellers' camp.

The Children's Commissioner for Wales has asked it to provide facilities for a family, which has been living on a Swansea park and ride site since 2007.

Swansea Council, which failed in a bid to evict the family from the land, is considering his request.

It says it is obliged to do so to meet Welsh Assembly Government guidelines.

The family moved on to the Swansea Vale Park and Ride site in Llansamlet in March 2007.

The council attempted to evict them but a court ruled a possession order could not be executed until suitable alternative accommodation was found.

The council's existing official traveller site is full and it is currently looking for a suitable location for a second.

The family will then be offered accommodation there.

In the meantime one of the children living at the park and ride site has written to children's commissioner Keith Towler saying the lack of basic facilities was affecting the family.

He has taken up their case with the council.

A report going before the council cabinet next week recommends providing water and electricity supplies, portable toilets and showers plus sewage disposal facilities.

Officers estimate the total cost would be around £90,000.

It states they are needed to comply with assembly government guidance for traveller sites.

Local councillor June Evans said the council's hands were tied.

"We can't do a lot about it," she said.

"It went to court and we were told they could stay there until we find an alternative site. We are hoping to do so soon.

"If they are going to be there they [the facilities] must be provided."

A spokeswoman for the Children's Commissioner said they did not comment on active cases.

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