1,200 brave elements to attend housing crisis and second homes protest rally
1,200 people braved the elements in Aberystwyth at a rally to call on the Welsh Government to act on second homes and the housing crisis.
Addressing a crowd of 1200 at the Tynged yr Iaith (Fate of the Language) Rally, the Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, Mabli Siriol, thanked everyone who came to Aberystwyth, despite the poor weather.
She said it shows how determined people are to stand up and fight for our communities.
The rally took place days before two Welsh Government consultations close on Tuesday. One is on planning legislation and policy for second homes, and the other is on Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan.
The Cooperation Agreement between the Government and Plaid Cymru also includes commitments to cap the number of second and holiday homes in communities, introduce a tax on tourism and consider rent management.
Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that they recognize that these plans address some of their concerns, but called for a Property Act that would provide a home for everyone and strengthen communities and the Welsh language in all parts of the country.
“Following pressure from people from all over Wales, the Government launched two consultations, one on creating a new use class and the other on the Government’s Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan,” Mabli Siriol Jones, Chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, said.
“It is vital that people respond to the consultations, and we have templates on our website that people can use.
“Pressure has had an effect, and today’s intention is to keep the pressure. We need an effective Property Act that will take the housing and planning system out of the free market and put it under the democratic control of our communities.
“We held the rally today, on the 60th anniversary of the broadcast of Tynged yr Iaith, a lecture which inspired the founding of Cymdeithas yr Iaith later that year. We have won several campaigns since then, thanks to the work of ordinary people, and we are confident that we will win this fight as well. ”
Cymdeithas had called for a Property Act to include:
- Ensuring that vacant and existing houses are brought into use before any new development
- Giving local people priority when buying or renting housing
- Amending the definition of affordable housing and controlling rent prices so that they are affordable for people on local wages
- More robust and clear instructions on conducting language impact assessments
- Devolving planning powers, including setting housing targets, to the most appropriate level, and make language planning mandatory to ensure that developments have a positive rather than a negative effect
- Provide specific support for young people to stay in their communities.
One of speakers at the rally was Gwenno Teifi from Llandysul, who is looking for a home in the area.
“As a family we are looking for a house in Llandysul, the area where I grew up,” she said.
“Although we have saved money for several years, it is not enough to afford to buy a house in the town. We could compromise and move to a nearby area, but all the schools are closed, there are no shops, and the houses are even more expensive. ”
Also speaking were Bryn Fon, Heledd Gwyndaf, former chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith and Mared Edwards, President of Aberystwyth’s Welsh Students’ Union (UMCA).
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