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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 08:59 GMT 09:59 UK
Aberfan plans reassure mayor
Coventry Park, Merthyr Vale
The park has been neglected in recent years
The mayor of Coventry has said he is reassured that the name of the city will live on in a memorial to those who died in the Aberfan disaster.

A row broke out after it was revealed that Merthyr Council was considering using a playground, paid for by the people of Coventry, for new homes.

The city raised 4,000 to build Coventry Playground, in Merthyr Vale, following the 1966 disaster in which 116 children and 28 adults died.

But local people say they will continue to fight the plans.

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of Coventry, councillor John Gazey, said he was "reassured" that the name Coventry would continue to be used in a memorial to those who died in the disaster.

Letter

It followed a letter from Merthyr's deputy mayor, councillor Jeff Edwards who had written to Mr Gazey about the proposal to alter the use of the playground.

In the letter Mr Edwards, who was the last person to be pulled alive from the wreckage said: "It has in the last two years become an areas in which youngsters have congregated, discarding beer cans, smashing bottles and discarding needles that have been used for drug abuse."

He said that a 28m investment was being made to improve Merthyr Vale - the neighbouring village to Aberfan - over the next 10 years and suitable housing was being made a priority for the area.

One area that was being considered for the development of new housing was the Coventry playground "on the basis of the site being derelict and subject to anti-social behaviour".

In his letter, Mr Edwards stressed that "the name Coventry and its citizens will always be synonoymous with the site in Merthyr Vale and will be preserved whatever the outcoome of the consultation will be."

But people living near Coventry Park have vowed to continue fighting against any proposals at the site.

Carol Jenkins, who lives opposite the park said that she knew of no anti-social behaviour taking place in the park.

"It is absolute rubbish, I live opposite the park and I haven't seen any anti-social behaviour there," she said.

"It is a safe place for children to play and we want to see the council improve the facilities for the children not take them away.

"We are going to keep fighting this," she added.

A spokeswoman for Merthyr Council said it was "very early days" and that the playground was just one of several sites being considered.


SEE ALSO:
Aberfan play area protest
15 Jul 04  |  South East Wales
Petition to save Aberfan memorial
13 Jul 04  |  South East Wales


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