Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
Plans to build six new homes on the site of a Gwynedd catholic church have been unanimously refused by planners because they would “harm the Welsh language”.
Cllr Gareth Jones, said that the “expensive” homes that had been proposed would have been “out of the reach of most local people.”
In 2019, Gwynedd Council approved the demolition of the Resurrection of Our Saviour church in Morfa Nefyn after it fell victim to a sweeping closure programme announced by the Bishop of Wrexham in 2016.
The church was built in 1967-68 in light of the increasing number of summer visitors to the area, but was one of 22 Catholic churches closed across north Wales.
However, meeting on Monday, members of Gwynedd Council’s planning committee unanimously refused an application by Commercial Development Projects Ltd to build six open market homes on the site after being informed that the plans would contravene existing policy.
With four of the houses set to have three bedrooms and the remaining two built with four bedrooms, the officers’ report cited opposition from the local community council who said that the Local Development Plan encourages the provision of only affordable housing in such “coastal villages”, and would have a detrimental impact on the privacy of existing houses on Lôn Uchaf.
Officers also felt that due to the narrowness of the access route and the detrimental impact on the flow of vehicles, it would affect local residents and users of Lôn yr Eglwys, including those attending Ysgol Morfa Nefyn.
In a pre-recorded video during the virtual meeting, a spokesperson for planning agent Cadnant Planning said they were “disappointed” at the recommendation to refuse and did not feel it would lead to a major traffic impact and would help meet a demand for larger sized housing in the area.
But local member, Cllr Gareth Jones, referred to Capel Pab – as known locally – that while many were expecting a development of two or three affordable homes at the site, it was a “shock” to see plans filed for six “expensive” homes “out of the reach of most local people.”
He added: “Morfa Nefyn is a coastal village with too many holiday homes, and policy states that only affordable homes should be approved.
“This would undoubtedly harm the Welsh language by leading to even more incomers moving in.
“I would urge you to follow the recommendation and refuse these plans.”
Cllr Simon Glyn added: “I’m so pleased to read the officers’ recommendation and thank the local member for the explanation as to why we should refuse this today.
“I second Cllr Louise Hughes’ proposal that we should follow the officers’ recommendation.”
The plans were unanimously refused.