Rumours Denied

Wednesday, 5 June 2002, 0:00
5 mins read

Home > Story Index >Council Deny Morfa Rumours

Following on from the discussions, Councillor Bailey has asked that we put their side of the story regards the rumoured reduction in the Morfa capacity and this is what he has had to say.
—– Original Message —–

From: "Bailey, Lawrence (Councillor)" <Lawrence.Bailey@swansea.gov.uk>
Sent: Wednesday, June 05, 2002 5:13 PM
Subject: FW: Morfa

Dear Mr Sumbler, Please see attached, a copy of a reply sent to an enquiry regarding Morfa. I have provided copies to a number of people making similar comments/enquiries via e-mail but I think it would be useful if you were able to post this reply on your site.Many thanks, Lawrence Bailey Leader, City and Count of Swansea

This response from Councillor Bailey was received after he had replied to the following e-mail from Patrick Allen, a Swans fan concerned about the rumours he was hearing. This is the e-mail from Patrick
From: Patrick[SMTP:REMOVED] Sent: 04 June 2002 22:57 To: Lawrence.Bailey@Swansea.Gov.UK Subject: Morfa Dear Councillor Bailey Just a short note to let you know that if the rumours of the Morfa development being scaled down to a 15000 seater stadium is true, there will be a very large backlash by Swansea City and Swansea RFC supporters. The objective will be to have a candidate stand against you in the Llansamlet ward, with the intention of removing you from office. The candidate will have literally hundreds of people helping the high profile campaign to get into office. There will be a very high degree of mobilisation. The last time such a campaign was launched was the removal of Tony Petty as the Chairman and proprietor of Swansea City Football club. The general feeling is that Swansea City council does not believe in the possibility that the Swans will ever need large gates, such as the Cup tie against West Ham, and therefore don’t need a reasonable capacity in the Stadium. The Council also doesn’t believe in the possibility of Swansea Rugby Club playing against European teams, and they also will never require a stadium that will have a reasonable capacity i.e (20-25000). The assumption is also that decent cricket will ever be played at Swansea therefore they do need a decent stadium. The consensus is that the Council is so far out of touch with the people that elected it, that it will be necessary to replace it with people who care. This is the attitude that led to Swansea City being bought out by Swans supporters, ie people who care about the Club. The idea is that if the council was run by people who cared passionately about the City and County of Swansea, then important matters affecting the city such as the Morfa, Castle Square, Wind Street, etc will be given a greater degree of importance. Please do not sell out the Morfa Project by reducing its capacity, sending out the signal that the Council has no faith in either the Swans or the Whites, unlike the tens of thousands of Supporters and electors in the City that believe otherwise, and therefore Swansea City will never need a Stadium of reasonable capacity for either the Swansea or the Whites. It would be a mistake to underestimate the extent of feeling that this issue is generating, and to ignore it will have far-reaching consequences. Please do nit take this as a threat, it is just a statement of the degree of feeling that the issue has to tens of thousands of people in the City and County of Swansea. Yours sincerely, Patrick Allen
Councillor Bailey has also responded directly to Patrick with this response
From: Bailey, Lawrence (Councillor) Sent: 05 June 2002 11:34 To: ‘Patrick’ Subject: RE: Morfa

Dear Mr Allen, Thank you for your note. Firstly let me state, for the record, that there is no intention of reducing the Morfa’s seating capacity from 20,000. I suspect that such rumours come from a recent consultants report to the council and the clubs which I understand suggested a reduction to ensure greater viability. I am informed that this suggestion was rejected. It seems a pity that you did not check this out before sending your note – but now that you have, perhaps you will allow me the opportunity to respond to some of your other comments. It seems to me that people have a combination of conveniently short memories and deep pockets when it comes to Morfa and the survival of the Swans. Firstly, the reason behind the stop-start council involvement in Morfa is the intervention of a succession of Swan’s owners who saw development opportunities with substantial profits. The problem was that they were either under-capitalised or too inexperienced to deliver such a large project which eventually resulted in the council picking up the tab. Secondly, some time ago, during the period of Mr Petty’s ownership, a group of people, which included a member of the then newly formed Supporters Trust, came to see myself and colleagues. We discussed a number of options which included purchase of the lease to ensure the club’s survival into the close season. I should add that a number of the people present at these meetings are the same that were instrumental in buying the club and safe-guarding its future. So your lecture on the background of the purchase is not necessary. Like my colleagues, I am under no illusion over how vitally important first class soccer and rugby are to the social and economic fabric of this city. That is why the Morfa project is going ahead and why public money is being used to finance the deal. But please do not tell me that I am out of touch with public opinion when my weekly postbag has so many letters from people who ask why they cannot have better schools and better roads when the Council is "wasting £22 million of public money on a stadium for two sporting clubs that cannot pay their own way" – their words. You may also be interested to learn that our decision to re-purchase the Vetch lease resulted in the highest number of critical letters received on this office on any single subject since I took on the leadership. Finally, I believe that when it comes to feeling passionate about the City and County of Swansea – in all its many and varied aspects – I can put myself among any group of Jacks and justifiably lay claim to working my damnedest to get the best for my community. I don’t take your note as a threat. I understand it as an expression of frustration over what has been a long and difficult process. But I ask you to accept that there are those who shout about the difficulties and those who tackle them – often for little reward and absolutely no thanks. Therefore, one piece of advice I would give to anyone thinking of standing for public office is to ask which applies to them. Yours sincerely, Lawrence Bailey Leader, City and County of Swansea.

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