‘Wales is not for sale’ rally calling for housing controls to be held on Tryweryn dam
A rally will take place on the Tryweryn dam in order to call for local authorities to be given the power to control the housing market in rural areas.
The Welsh language campaign group Cymdeithas yr Iaith announced the protest as the Senedd Petitions Committee prepare to discuss a petition calling for the change.
The ‘Wales is not for sale’ rally will be held in May along the Tryweryn dam near Bala where Capel Celyn’s Welsh rural community was drowned 55 years ago.
Osian Jones, the spokesperson for Cymdeithas yr Iaith’s ‘Wales is not for sale’ campaign, said that 5,380 people had signed their petition in a month.
“For a generation we have the loss of more of our housing stock on the open market as wealthier individuals buy them as holiday homes, second homes and commercial investments, a problem which has been further exacerbated by the Covid crisis,” he said.
“As a result, it is impossible for most residents in communities such as Abersoch, Nefyn and a growing number of other places to buy homes in their own communities, and this is having a devastating impact on the Welsh language.
“It is clear that the economic system does not work for the benefit of our communities or our language. The Welsh Government needs to prioritise communities, not capitalism – our ‘Wales is not for sale’ petition provides the Government with a golden opportunity to do this.”
Some of the steps that Cymdeithas expects the current Government to take include:
* Varying the Land Transaction Act scales so that houses are more expensive to buy as second homes or for commercial use
* Raising the council tax premium on holiday homes and closing the gap to prevent tax evasion
* Instructing Local Authorities to identify areas of high housing market pressure – accepting that compulsory purchase powers will be required by legislation in these areas. It should be part of the process of creating the new Local Development Plans.
Ffred Ffransis of Cymdeithas yr Iaith said that the solutions to this problem had been known for decades, but government after government had shown a lack of will to act.
“Our rally will be held a week and a half after the election, and we expect that acting for our Welsh-speaking communities will be one of the next Government’s urgent priorities,” he said.
“We accept that a Property Act will be needed to fully solve the problem, and that new legislation will not be possible before the election, but we have stressed to the Petitions Committee that there are urgent steps the current Government can take NOW to enable Local Authorities to begin to manage the housing market for local communities.
“However, Housing Minister Julie James’s initial response to our calls has been grossly inadequate.”