Latest Skirmish in the Battle to Save the Welsh Language from the ill effects of Property Development

Earlier this year Transceltic reported on a new Welsh law that had come in to effect to counter the impact on the Welsh language heartland caused by property development.  “The Planning (Wales) Act 2015”, requires an assessment of the impact of new property development on the Welsh language.  Prior to planning permission being granted any perceived degradation to the Celtic tongue caused by an inflow of English speakers connected to the real estate venture must be made a “material consideration” as part of the process of obtaining planning permission for new constructionAt the time the Welsh Language Society made the following statement: "We are glad that the Welsh language will be a consideration when it comes to housing developments and planning the future of Welsh communities. Cymdeithas yr Iaith has been campaigning for over a quarter century for a new planning system that give the Welsh language status." Welsh Language Society

Concerns about disruption to traditional Welsh speaking areas by residential development and the in-migration of English speakers began reaching a boiling point in late 2013. Mounting concern over the threat to the Brythonic tongue by property development in Welsh speaking areas spilled over into political conflict in the Welsh Assembly with charges of corruption against local planning authorities. Pressure began to build in late 2014 for statutory requirements that planning permission include assessment of the impact on new construction on the Welsh tongue as this development is often extremely disruptive to centuries old welsh speaking communities. This all led to the 2015 Law.

The latest salvo in this battle to preserve Welsh through controls over property development comes with an encouraging story being reported by the South Wales Evening Post. A resident of the village of Craig Cefn Parc, near the Welsh City of Swansea, has submitted a letter of objection to Swansea Council to plans for a house in the village. Currently one in five villagers, which has a population of 852 according to the most recent census, speaks Welsh.

The eloquence of the letter of objection reflects the intent of the Welsh Assembly when they passed the “The Planning (Wales) Act 2015”.  “"The site has been part of the land of a Welsh speaking family for a century or more, and is situated in an area which used to be entirely Welsh speaking. Any development such as this will very likely be sold to monoglot English speakers, who have the wealth to buy such land at the expense of young Welsh speakers. This is illegal, a violation of human rights, the right to speak one's own language, and the right to self-determination. This process quickly destroys small Welsh speaking communities."

The letter of objection to the grant of planning permission for a single house appears to have flummoxed the Council, “A spokesman for the council's planning committee said that the Welsh language could be an issue to consider in some cases but each case was judged individually.”

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