There is a great deal of concern about the joint Local Development Plan for Ynys Môn a Gwynedd. The two counties are proposing to give outline permission for almost 8,000 houses in the next 15 years. Dyfodol i’r Iaith has been corresponding with the authority questioning this development and outlining the negative impact on the Welsh language as a community language in the north west. On July 9th a delegation from Dyfodol, Seimon Brooks, Meirion Davies and Gwion Owain, met Councillor Dyfed Edwards (leader of Gwynedd Council) and Councillor John Wyn (planning portfolio) to discuss the matter.
There was a constructive discussion about how we could work together to influence the Planning Bill to ensure the Welsh Language is included on the face of the bill.
- This led to concern that the present language impact assessments are not of any use and of a low quality and do not show any understanding of language sociology. The authority agreed that the assessments need to be standardized and become independent. A suggestion was made that it would be more appropriate to contact Alun Ffred Jones AM to take the matter further to influence the planning bill.
- The delegation also outlined the need for the authority to invest in creating a central system to assess the demand for new housing in order to reduce the Goverment estimates, a course of action that the Government has declared local authorities are able to do. The authority agree that this was a good idea but they said they lacked the resources to do the work. The delegation pressed the councillors on the need for the authority to invest, as the future of the Welsh lnaguage as the main language of the north west was in jeopardy. The delegation also suggested it would be worth asking the Government or the Welsh Language Commissioner for funding to help with a study of this kind as the Welsh language was central to the plan. The authority agreed to pursue this action.
- The final point raised by the delegation was the recent change in legislation regarding holiday homes (which means the council can charge 100% more council tax on holiday homes). This would have an impact on the number of houses on the market. Also the number of caravan sites that are now open all year round should be take into consideration. The authority agreed to look at this and consider the issue with regard to the final number of houses in the LDP.
- The authority was ready to acknowledge that it was possible the final number of houses in the LDP would change as the LDP went through the consultation process. Dyfodol will continue to call for a lower number and the resources to be able to prove the true local demand.