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EDITIONS
 Friday, 10 January, 2003, 15:42 GMT
Cautious welcome for village scheme
Llandarcy village
Residents do not want their village to change
People living in the south Wales village of Llandarcy have given a cautious welcome to plans to build 2,500 new homes on a nearby industrial site.

Residents have said the scheme, at a former oil refinery site near Neath, could be advantageous for the area.

Mervyn Phillips
Mervyn Phillips worked at the refinery for 45 years

But they were keen to hear more details about the 1bn proposal before making up their minds.

The Llandarcy Urban Village Project, which has been backed by Prince Charles, claims to be the most ambitious redevelopment of its kind.

The scheme is expected to create at least 3,500 jobs over a 25-year period.

Mervyn Phillips, 83, who used to be an area plant engineer at the oil refinery, backed the project.

"I think it's a good thing personally, but nothing has come through to the residents to comment on," he said.

"I've seen the plant grow up and seen it shut down.

"No one thought we would see the end of BP at Llandarcy, but we must move on," he added.

Their first priority has got to be preserving this village as it is

Eira Phillips, local resident

Eighteen-year-old college student Ryan Hayes said the village needed the investment.

"It is very quiet and boring for people my age and younger, but it will be a lot better to bring more people in," he said.

"There will be more jobs available, so I think it will be a good idea," he added.

"I think some residents might be against it because of the noise and construction, but most will be for it," he added.

Industrial history

Eira Phillips, 56, said she did not want Llandarcy village to be damaged by the development.

"Obviously if it is going to fetch jobs, then fair enough, providing the jobs are for local people.

Ryan Hayes
Ryan Hayes: "Welcome jobs boost"

"Their first priority has got to be preserving this village as it is," she added.

Neighbour Mrs Shepherd also hoped Llandarcy would remain the same.

"The site has had heavy industry since the 1920s - the area is starting to clean up and then they want to stick other things there," she said.

"There has been rumour and speculation about what is going to happen, but you can't envisage what 1,000 houses will look like.

"We have got our reservations about what is going to happen, because we just don't know," she added.


More from south west Wales
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27 Nov 02 | England
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