Katy Jenkins, Local democracy reporter
Promoting the use of Welsh and encouraging homeowners to use Welsh names in Ceredigion has seen ten addresses changed back from English over the past year.
A report outlining the work of the address management officer in reference to the council’s street naming and numbering policy stares: “We find there is no trend in applicants of these types, but we have examples of English residents, who have recently moved to the area, applying to change the name of their English property to the Welsh Language.
“Their reasoning for this is to support the local traditions and to from a bond with the local community.”
Ceredigion County Council’s language committee noted the report at its meeting on December 7
Anyone wanting to name or rename a house must apply to council, at a cost of £55, and if it is for an English or non-historic Welsh name a standard letter is sent back asking the owner to reconsider but ultimately the final decision is theirs.
The report states that in January to December 2020 one application Welsh to English received, that was done following the letter from the council asking to reconsider, due to a similar property name in the area.
Ten English to Welsh applications were made in a number of areas including Aberystwyth, Cardigan and Llanybydder.
Ten Welsh to Welsh applications, and two English to English as well as an increase in applications for new properties with 241 in 2020, up from 176 last year. Of those 230 were for Welsh names, and 11 for English.
Four official applications to name new streets were received and council policy is that they can only be named in Welsh, and community councils are consulted.
The council committee also welcomed innovative work to keep use of the language up during lockdown but accepted it will have resulted in reduced opportunities for some.
It received a report to its meeting on December 7 on the use of opportunities to use Welsh during lockdown, created by the Ceredigion Bilingual Futures Forum.
It highlighted some of the ways promotion of Welsh use continued during lockdown, moving to online teaching and support, and the sharing of good practice.
There are also concerns that the reduced socialisation enforced by lockdown had an impact on the use of Welsh.
“It is very possible that many people will not see, hear or speak Welsh for long periods and this could have a detrimental effect on the Welsh language,” the report adds.
Encouraging the increasing numbers of people moving from English speaking areas to learn Welsh was also something to focus on in future, the committee said.
Carys Morgan, the council’s Welsh language policy officer said that the use of digital technology to learn Welsh increased during lockdown and there were 63 staff learning at different levels during that time.
The CLIC online service continues to be fully bilingual with staff and customers as had council communication with the public via social media and other channels.
A standard set of covid terminology was created to ensure consistency of key messages.
Access to translation technology was highlighted by Cllr Keith Evans who asked if supported could be requested from Welsh Government for community councils to buy software or products to allow bilingual meetings.
Council leader Cllr Ellen ap Gwynn added: “Although we are a stronghold here there still work to be done to ensure equal opportunities.”