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.