South West Wales

Ystalyfera landslip street residents 'in the dark'

The row of houses stand on a hillside in the Swansea Valley
Image caption The row of houses stand on a hillside in the Swansea Valley

People on a street hit by a series of landslips have said they are scared and "in the dark" about the future of their homes.

People living in 10 houses on Cyfyng Road, Ystalyfera, were ordered to leave last week by Neath Port Talbot council.

But neighbouring residents said they had been given no advice and were worried they too could be evacuated.

The council said it was liaising with them but had no further information.

Thousands of tonnes of rock, soil and trees first slipped down the hillside behind the houses in 2012, with a further two landslides this year, causing some gardens to drop away.

Council bosses said there was no immediate solution to the issue and there was a high risk of further landslips.

Image copyright John Emery
Image caption Residents say eight of the 10 affected properties are now empty

It has rehoused most of the affected people, but people remaining on the street said they had been given little support or information about the long-term.

Lazarus Carpenter, who has started an action group, said: "There's an air of depression and despondency here now.

"People are scared and frightened and all you hear is a lot of council speak and little action - people are just in the dark.

"For a long time villagers have said the council needed to look at the drainage of water from the mountain.

"Pipes have not been maintained property and people have been reporting it for years. Why now should they be the ones to suffer?"

John Emery, 65, who lives opposite the row of evacuated houses, said: "There are all sorts of rumours going around about them wanting to knock the houses down.

"People are panicking and scared and that is made worse by the fact we are not being told anything.

"The two remaining own their homes and they don't want to leave as they believe their houses are safe. There has been no mention of compensation."

Image caption The first landslip happened in December 2012

He said he was worried about the value of his own home, which he and his wife moved into six years ago to enjoy their retirement, living near their grandchildren.

He added: "It's a complete shambles. You phone the hotline the council have put out but you're not really told anything - if you actually get through."

Debbie Pain, 62, who also retired to live in the street a year ago, said: "It's very worrying. I live four doors down from the houses affected on the same side of the road.

"Not that I ever intended to move, but if I did want to, nobody would touch my house now."

A council spokesman said: "All of the residents have been offered advice and support and we are doing this on a case by case basis.

"Council officers are speaking to residents to identify individual requirements and we have set up a dedicated telephone number so those residents directly affected can continue to receive ongoing support whether that is in relation to alternative housing, education or other issues."

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