THE Labour opposition in Carmarthenshire said it was very difficult to examine a £200 million project due to a “climate of secrecy” – but was accused of sabotaging rather than scrutinising it.

Councillors from different parties again exchanged sharp words over the Wellness and Life Science Village – one of 11 city deal projects for the region – which is planned for Llanelli.

The council cut its ties last December with a private sector partner – and its partner Swansea University – on the wellness village project.

Opposition leader, councillor Rob James, presented a motion at full council which called on the authority to endorse two of four recent reviews of the city deal, to accept their recommendations, support the webcasting of city deal committee meetings, and support legally-binding changes to the agreement underpinning the city deal in order to implement necessary changes.

Cllr James said Labour councillors attempting to scrutinise the wellness village and city deal in recent months had been mocked, ridiculed and “even received threats”.

He said the two reviews mentioned in his motion had “completely vindicated” their actions, but that little had been said “in this chamber”.

Labour councillor Deryk Cundy said the wellness village was “a golden opportunity”, but that scrutinising it was the opposition’s role.

Leader of the Plaid-Independent coalition Emlyn Dole said he would not respond to Labour’s “empty accusations” as the answers were in the two reviews which said the council had acted correctly.

Cllr Dole said his opponent would know that the recommendations of the other two reviews were “the immediate priority” of the city deal’s ruling body – the joint committee – because he had attended its latest meeting.

The Plaid leader introduced an amended motion – namely that the council recommended the city deal joint committee accepted and considered all the recommendations made by all four reviews; ensured the webcasting of joint committee and joint scrutiny committee meetings, where such facilities were available; and supported legally-binding changes to the joint committee agreement to implement the necessary changes.

Cllr Giles Morgan said Cllr James voiced his concerns about the city deal in the media but was “nowhere to be seen” in the forums where he should be.

In a further dig at the Labour leader, he added: “If it comes from a blog then it must be true. If it comes from council officers, which I don’t think you even talk to, you don’t believe them.”

Cllr James hit back, saying the culture of Carmarthenshire Council was sometimes “absolutely disgusting”.

He said people said one thing in private, then another in the chamber.

Plaid member Alun Lenny said it was right and proper for the opposition to scrutinise the wellness village and any other matter, but added: “There is a difference between scrutiny and sabotage.”

Cllr Dole closed the debate by reiterating that the administration planned to deliver all elements of the wellness village on time – and his amendment was then passed unanimously.