If being the Member of Parliament for Gower for the last 14 months has taught me anything, it is to expect the unexpected. I have held regular surgeries across the constituency and have been asked to assist constituents with every kind of problem you could possibly imagine.
However, Monday’s advice surgery at the Ostreme Centre was not a typical affair when I was greeted by over 50 constituents, nearly all with the same concerns surrounding Mumbles Pier and the proposed foreshore development.
The attendance was extraordinary compared to my previous surgeries, yet I was assured that there would have been a larger number attending had the meeting been outside of working hours.
Once those that had attended had been given an opportunity to express their views it was evident that the clear majority of those in attendance were there to express their opposition to the development proposals at the foreshore.
It’s heartening to see community activism like the Mumbles Action Group, making sure residents views are heard on important issues such as this.
This is wholly a decision for Swansea Council, but what I promise to do, as I said to those at my surgery, is to represent the concerns of my constituents.
I will be raising constituent’s objections and comments regarding the proposed plans and I would request constituents that wish me to do so on their behalf, contact my office at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have been speaking at length to Mumbles Community Council, and I have written to them, suggesting that they use the powers at their disposal to raise residents’ concerns through the channels open to them.
I am aware that my Assembly colleague, Rebecca Evans AM has also sent representations to Swansea City Council and to the Welsh Assembly. I will be following up on this and will be writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffith AM, to ask her to consider the objections raised.
It is clear that emotions within the community are running high and that the relationship between the developers and the community is strained.
Tension such as this is seldom good for a community, and I believe communication is key to the resolution of this situation.
I spoke to residents quite candidly and explained that communication with AMECO is key to improving the situation.
In my capacity as MP, I have visited the Pier to look at the plans for its redevelopment and to speak to AMECO in order to gain a balanced view.
I believe that the protection and restoration of Mumbles Pier and a suitable development of the headland will ultimately be beneficial. The Pier is an important part of Mumbles’ and Swansea’s heritage and its protection must be a priority.
I would like to see a forum where the views of the community in Mumbles is reflected in the development, and that relationships between all involved are more cohesive. As MP for Gower, I will work with everyone to deliver that outcome.
Mumbles is truly an iconic and beautiful place with a vibrant community and with a shared vision, the community can work as one for the prosperity of Mumbles.
Tonia Antoniazzi MP has called for the Chancellor Phillip Hammond to freeze beer duty in his next budget to support pubs in Gower.
Tonia Antoniazzi said “Pubs are at the very heart of Gower communities and we need to take decisive action to protect them.”
30 Million adults visit the pub every month in Britain which supports 900,000 jobs and bring in £13 billion in tax revenues.
At the 2017 Autumn Budget the UK Government froze beer duty. However, this followed an increase at the Spring Budget which added 2p to the cost of a pint of beer and, together with increases in other alcohol duties, will have cost pubs around £125 million in the last year.
“I believe the 2p increase was the wrong decision and posed a risk to pubs in Gower, particularly coming alongside increased inflation,” said Tonia.
“I am pleased that the Welsh high street relief scheme is helping shops and pubs pay their business rates, but we must to more at Westminster to protect the local pub.”
“At the last election I campaigned for a national review of local pubs to examine the reasons for their large-scale demise and to establish a joint taskforce to consider their future sustainability.”
"Our pubs provide a focal point for communities to come together, promoting community cohesion so I implore the Chancellor to listen to the demands of publicans and pub goers to freeze beer duty.”
"I am currently taking nominations for parliamentary pub of the year and I want constituents to keep sending their suggestions in until the 20th September. I'll then be conducting a poll via social media to decide the winning nomination."
You can nominate your favourite Gower pub at http://www.toniaantoniazzi.co.uk/updates/enter-your-favourite-gower-local-into-the-parliamentary-pub-of-the-year-competition