ABERYSTWYTH PUBLIC MEETING 24/04/18 – DYFODOL’S MESSAGE

Dyfodol i’r Iaith looks forward to seeing the Welsh Government establish an independent body to promote the Welsh language. This body will prioritise language schemes based upon the acknowledged principles of language planning. This was Cynog Dafis’s message to a meeting held in Aberystwyth at the end of April.

Although steps have been taken over the past five years in terms of individual rights, it is important to ensure that the use of the Welsh language is promoted within the home, community and the workplace. This is not an area for legislation; but rather, positive government action at grass-roots level.

We need to consider how the counties of west Wales can work together to implement policies for the benefit of the language. This focus would include economic growth and the planning of housing, in addition to increasing the use of Welsh as an administrative language within local government and other bodies.

Although progress has been made in raising the status of the Welsh language over the years, there remains a pressing need to strengthen the language in the home, community and within education. These three areas form the cornerstones for ensuring growth in the number of speakers, and in the use of the language for the future.

REASONS FOR REJECTING THE ADOPTION OF THE LOCAL JOINT DEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR GWYNEDD AND MÔN

In partnership with the following language organisations; Cylch yr Iaith, Canolfan Hanes Uwchgwyrfai and Cymdeithas yr Iaith,  Dyfodol i’r Iaith is part of the Gwynedd and Môn Housing and Planning Campaign Committee. This Committee was established to challenge and oppose the Local Development Plan, which is about to be decided upon by both authorities.

If you are also concerned about the impact this Plan will have on the Welsh language, then we would ask you to write to your county Councillor, and demostrate your objection by joining the gathering arranged outside the Gwynedd Council Offices in Caernarfon at 1.15 on 28/07, and Cyngor Môn’s offices, Llangefni ar 9.15 on 31/07.

Our objections to Plan can be summarised thus:.

  • TOO MANY HOUSES 

The Plan states that the number of houses; 7,902 between the two authorities, provides for population growth. This growth is based upon in-migration, and in preparing for this, promotes it. The process was based upon allocating county totals for Gwynedd and Môn, and distributing these to communities. This is totally unacceptible. The totals should have been based upon supplying the local needs of each of the communities.

 

  • FLAWED LANGUAGE ASSESSMENT

In contrast to assessements of other aspects of the Plan, the Joint Planning Policy Unit did not commission an independent assessment of its language sustainability. This work was undertaken by the Unit itself, despite its admission that it had no expertise in this area. The language organisations decided to commission an independent assessment from the language consultancy, Hanfod. This study concluded that the Plan proposed too many houses, and that as a result, the situation of the Welsh language would be weakened. The independent assessment was ignored by by the Unit.

 

  • FLAWED LANGUAGE POLICY

The Plan’s Strategic Policy 1 (The Welsh Language and Culture) does not support the Welsh language. The policy allows for damaging developments if it is possible to lessen the damage to some extent by ameliorative measures. Siân Gwenllian AM and Llyr Huws Gruffydd AM have stated that this policy is unacceptable.

 

  • FLAWED SURVEY

As part of their evidence base for the Plan, both local authorities conducted the ‘Gwynedd and Ynys Môn Housing and Language Survey’ between September and November 2013, but the statistician Hywel Jones (Statiaith) demonstrated that the methodology adopted was seriously flawed. His assessment of the survey concluded that it was statistically invalid and its conclusions unreliable.

 

  • PERCENTAGE OF AFFORADLE HOUSING TOO LOW

The percentage of affordable housing within a development is set as low as 10%. Evidence of need shows that this percentage should be much higher. This policy means that open market housing will constitute 90% of these housing developments.

 

  • NUMBER OF LOCAL HOUSING MARKET POLICY COMMUNITIES TOO LOW

Only in a very limited number of communities will the policy of limiting housing to local people be implemented.

 

  • FEWER AREAS ALLOCATED CLUSTERS

Fewer small villages and rural areas will be allocated clusters, leading to a low number of houses. This will negate the opportunity for many communities to ensure their sustainablity and natural growth by supplying local need.

 

  • NO GRADUAL DEVELOPMENTS

It will not be possible to impose conditions upon developers to build gradually; that is, to build a specific number of houses at a time, according to an agreed timetable.

 

 

DYFODOL CALLS FOR A ROBUST SYSTEM TO ASESS THE IMPACT OF HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS ON THE WELSH LANGUAGE

Dyfodol i’r Iaith have again highlighted the need for more attention to be given to the Welsh language when deciding on planning applications.The organisation is aware that Redrow Homes, which is responsible for the Goetre Uchaf development in Bangor, is marketing new homes directly to potential buyers outside Wales. One of the English advertisments encourages buyers to “move to North Wales”, while endorsing the areas’ natural resources.

Heini Gruffudd, Dyfodol’s Chair said:

“This marketing strategy clearly shows who the target buyers are for such developments, and confirms our anxiety over the The Environment and Rural Affairs Secretary’s approval of a similar development of 336 houses in Pen y Ffridd.

A small number of homes in Goetre Uchaf have been designated as affordable units, but until we have a satisfactory framework for assessing the linguistic implications, this can only be seen as a token gesture. We would therefore again emphasise the pressing need for a a robust and powerful framework and methodology to assess the true impact of such developments on the Welsh language.”