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Update 21/12/17

Appeals by four people challenging Neath Port Talbot Council’s decision to evacuate them from their homes in Ystalyfera following landslides have been adjourned until early 2018.

The four, all of Cyfyng Road, Ystalyfera, appealed to a Residential Property Tribunal held in a Cardiff hotel on Monday, December 18, against Neath Port Talbot Council’s decision to impose Emergency Prohibition Orders (EPOs) on them in August 2017.

After hearing evidence on Monday, the tribunal panel decided one or possibly two more days will be needed to hear all the evidence so the hearing was adjourned until dates to be fixed early next year.

The authority imposed the EPOs after being told by independent engineering and geological consultants who investigated the landslips (Earth Science Partnership) there was “an immediate danger to life” concerning a terrace of properties in the Cyfyng Road area – including the appellants’ homes.

Most of those served with EPOs in August 2017 have now been relocated.

Several expert consultants have been employed by the council over the years and a Hazard Risk Map has been developed to establish the risk to residential properties.

The map places residential properties within high, medium and low risk zones.

The council has also been using LiDAR (aerial drones fitted with laser scanners) surveys, tree and vegetation clearance, drainage work and the sinking of boreholes and trial pits to assess conditions underground on what is largely private land.

Since a fresh landslide in February 2017, the cost to the council has been £309,000 and expenditure is expected to reach more than £500,000 by March 2018.

A public meeting at Ysgol Gyfun Ystalyfera will now be held on January 29, 2018 where the latest geological information relating to the area will be made public.

The January 29 date was fixed to ensure the authority had comprehensive data from its consultants relating to local ground conditions.

Earth Science Partnership is progressing in line with the council’s agreed programme in readiness for the public meeting, repairs are underway to one of the retaining walls in Cyfyng Road and tree surgery is on-going.

There will be a temporary road closure from the 15th of January 2018 for around five days to remove trees above the concrete retaining wall on Cyfyng Road. A property has been demolished on Graig y Merched and a bore hole sunk and results of this are now awaited.