Council told to ask for power to stop Welsh place names being changed to English
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
A council has been told to ask the Welsh Government for the power to stop Welsh place names from being changed to English.
Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, the cabinet member for culture, sport and tourism at Carmarthenshire County Council made the suggestion after councillors agreed that all new house and street names in the county should be in Welsh, councillors have said.
They approved a motion brought by Cllr John James to adopt a policy for new developments.
The motion said the policy would introduce the language to more of the county’s residents, and align with one of the objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
Cllr Griffiths invited Cllr James to work with him because he said the council already had a naming framework in place.
The framework, said Cllr Hughes Griffiths, had been very successful regarding new streets. But he said council could not legally enforce it.
He recommended that the council asked the relevant minister, Jeremy Miles, and the Welsh Government to give the council statutory enforcement powers.
Cllr Hughes Griffiths also said the council had no power to stop Welsh farm names being changed to English.
‘Rich Roman history’
Cllr Alun Lenny said his Carmarthen patch had a rich Roman history with Welsh names, and that the motion was “an excellent opportunity to put that history literally on a map”.
Deputy leader Mair Stephens said the council also had a draft policy which, if amended, might have an effect on the language enforcement element referred to by Cllr Hughes Griffiths.
Cllr Alan Speake said the changing of names from Welsh to English was “a very, very huge concern”.
Summing up before the vote on the motion, Cllr James said he would liaise with Cllr Hughes Griffiths.
He added: “I think it (the motion) gives people who come into Carmarthenshire the chance to learn Welsh.
“If they put their minds to it, they will get round it.”