Anglesey Homes say they have not changed holiday let name to English after online backlash
The company Anglesey Homes have said that they have not renamed a holiday let from a Welsh to English name after an online backlash.
The company had put out a message on social media yesterday saying: “We’ve renamed our Gwel-yr-Wyddfa property! It is now known as 9 Sandy Retreat.”
The post prompted an angry response online, including by the island’s Senedd Member Rhun ap Iorwerth, with many questioning why Anglesey Homes had changed the Welsh language name of the property near Llanfaelog and seemed to be celebrating doing so.
But in a further message today, Anglesey Homes, which is registered to an address in Chester, said that the house had been “privately sold to a third party” and that they had decided to change the name.
“On Jun 20th, 2022, we released information on our social media channels that we have re-named our Gwel Yr Wyddfa property. We would like to address this in the below statement,” Anglesey Homes said.
“The development of Gwel Yr Wyddfa was completed by Anglesey Homes in 2019. Working with Anglesey Council and the local official parties/groups the “Gwel Yr Wyddfa name was agreed upon and implemented as the name of the development and street. We are very proud of the name and of the development, we have created.
“To address the above misunderstanding, all 9 properties on the Gwel Yr Wyddfa development were sold to third parties and the house in question was also privately sold to a third party.
“The owners of this property have independently decided to attach a plaque to their house ‘Sandy Retreat’ in addition to their official address, this remains the same and will always be ‘Gwel Yr Wyddfa’.
“They have given their house this name as they feel with the amazing views of Snowdonia, a stone’s throw away from beautiful beaches, the wonderful community and the environment means they feel the house is a retreat to them.
“As the owners of the property, they are entitled, like anyone else, to put a plaque on their property and give it a name. But this does not have any effect on the address of the development or the road which is proudly named and will remain ‘Gwel Yr Wyddfa’.”
We’ve renamed our Gwel-yr-Wyddfa property! 🏡
It is now known as 9 Sandy Retreat – available for 8 guests, pet friendly, and in the beautiful village of Llanfaelog 💛
— Anglesey Homes (@AngleseyHomes) June 20, 2022
The company’s website includes details of how to claim tax relief on holiday properties by letting them out as part of the year so that they are classed as businesses.
The main shareholder of the company is Erraji Capital Ltd, which is owned by Riad Erraji, who is a former husband of one of the Atomic Kittens.
Since the post went up yesterday the housing developer has been the target of hundreds of negative reviews online. Over 300 1-star reviews were left for Anglesey Homes after they posted a message on social media
The company at first attempted to respond to those leaving the reviews, asking one user “have you purchased or rented a property from Anglesey Homes?
“Your review seems to be about a name change to a property that we own, rather than about a purchase or a personal experience you have had with us?” they asked.
However, the reviews continued to flood in, with almost 400 people having now left a review, the majority in the one-star bracket and many with messages criticising the renaming. Google does not verify reviewers as having used the property.
The original online message, which has not been deleted, attracted a backlash on social media, with users including politicians accusing them of “shocking disrespect”.
Ynys Môn Senedd Member Rhun ab Iorwerth responded to ask them whether “erasing the Welsh language” was part of their “business plan?”
“Hi Anglesey Homes. Perhaps you could explain what’s happening here. This is a property at 9 Gwel yr Wyddfa, which you’ve now changed to 9 Sandy Retreat, yes? Is erasing the Welsh language/culture a part of your business plan?”
Anglesey Council Deputy Leader Carwyn Jones also responded to ask “Why on earth would you want to do that?”
Historian of Wales, Martin Johnes of Swansea University, responded to the message to say: “Most Welsh Twitter storms are overreactions to a nobody saying something stupid. This is different.
“Erasing Welsh placenames is wrong and should be illegal. It’s vandalism on a fragile heritage and culture and the anger is justified.”
The company has previously been criticised for the way it has marketed the properties on its website and on social media.
This included a message on their Facebook page in 2019, that read: “Owning a UK holiday home can be a great investment, and a reliable source of income.
“That’s why Anglesey Homes are building apartments and innovative new houses across coastal areas of North Wales that are perfect for new and experienced investors.”
Cymdeithas yr Iaith criticised the company at the time, telling the Daily Post: “This website is clearly focused on selling holiday homes to people from outside the island. The housing market needs a complete overhaul.
“We’re glad that the Welsh Government has allowed local authorities to increase council tax on second homes, but they need to go much further.
“We need a package of measures such as a Property Act to ensure that prices of homes reflect what is affordable to people on local wages.
“Local people should have the first chance to buy homes when they go on the market and they should only be marketed locally.”
A spokeswoman for Anglesey Homes said at the time: “It is not our intention to market the site purely to second home owners.
“We apologise if that is the impression you have taken from our website.
“You will also see that the site is registered with Help to Buy Wales, to assist local people to buy as homes. “
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