Welsh-speaking village ‘doesn’t want to be another Abersoch’ as half a million pound homes rejected
Dale Spridgeon, local democracy reporter
Plans to build “half-a-million pound homes” in a Llŷn seaside village have been rejected again amid calls to stop it “becoming another Abersoch”.
Cyngor Gwynedd’s planning committee turned down an application to ‘erect seven dwellings and associated works’ at the former Eglwys Santes Mair at Morfa Nefyn.
The plans were submitted by Commercial Development Projects Ltd through agent Sioned Edwards of Cadnant Planning. The scheme, on the Lôn yr Eglwys site, would see two, three bedroom houses allocated as ‘affordable’ and five open market dwellings, of mainly three bedroom, and one, four bedroom homes.
The plans were an updated version of a previous proposal refused last year.
In 2021, the planning inspectors had upheld a decision by Cyngor Gwynedd to refuse plans for six open market homes at the site – citing the development’s possible impact on the Welsh language.
The plans had followed Gwynedd’s approval in 2019 of 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 three years earlier.
Concerns were raised at the houses being “out of the reach of local people,” there was a narrow access, traffic flow issues and potential impact on residents and users of Lôn yr Eglwys and Ysgol Morfa Nefyn.
Amended plans were again considered by Cyngor Gwynedd’s planning committee, yesterday (Monday November 7.)
Planning officer Aneurin Rhys Roberts outlined the application saying it was on a brownfield site within the development boundary.
Access was proposed from an existing private road leading from Lôn Yr Eglwys, by the primary school.
The main considerations concerned if the new plans met local housing needs and would support and promote the Welsh language.
However, Mr Rhys Roberts said the five open market units would add to an “over-provision of housing in the village”.
Although the strategic housing unit had confirmed there was a local need for houses of the scale proposed.
But, Mr Rhys Roberts said: “There’s no certainty it will be local families occupying the homes.”
The houses “were likely” to sell at prices above those afforded locally, according to the area’s average income
“The Welsh language unit also believed they would be beyond the reach of most local people to buy,” he said.
He concluded the housing failed to meet local housing policy requirements, and “would likely have detrimental impact” on the Welsh language, and he recommended refusal.
Agent Sioned Edwards spoke for three minutes saying it was “not viable” for the applicant to provide 100 per cent affordable units, but they had provided 30 per cent more.
The applicant was also “committed” to a local marketing strategy and units would not be marketed nationally until local people had first refusal.
She said there was strong local demand for this size and type of home by families in the area.
The local member Councillor Gareth Tudor Jones, then spoke for ten minutes.
He described the site as “a small parcel of land, less than acre, not suitable as place for seven large houses, with driveways and parking.
“There’s no suitable access, no means of widening the access, it is impossible for two cars to pass, never mind an ambulance refuse vehicle or fire engine.”
He also highlighted the busy road, nearby Lôn Eglwys – Church Road, where cars parked either side, adding there was a “real risk to safety of parents and pupils,” if the site was developed and had concerns over two footpaths in the area.
He added there was an “impact on the amenity” of local people, as the proposed dwellings would look onto back gardens and living rooms.
“If there ever was an over development, this is it, there is no demand for five of the houses,” he said.
“The agent said there was ‘strong local demand’ but not for the prices given, at maybe half a million a time. I speak on behalf of the residents of Morfa Nefyn, no-one local can afford them.
“It was also “contrary” to policy, as only affordable housing units were permitted. A lot of residents in the village are against the plans, no wants to see Morfa Nefyn turn into another Abersoch – a place where houses are empty half of the year.”
“People are struggling financially, there are at least 15 houses on sale in the village out of the reach of anyone local. It would certainly cause significant harm to the local community and Welsh language.
“The original application was refused – and that was refused on appeal. This one is more or less the same, just an extra house has been turned into an affordable.”
Councillor Gruff Williams proposed to go with the officer’s recommendation to refuse the application, and Cllr Huw Wyn Jones was “more than happy” to second,
Cllr Wyn Jones added “I remember this being submitted to us some years ago.” he said. “I remember thinking how completely unsuitable the roads to this was. What will the people do drag their bins down the road?”
Cllr Gareth Coj Parry added the scheme made no sense, “if bin vehicles and fire engines can’t get through”.
A short debate ensued over the adopted road status and aspects of policy. A vote to accept the officers’ recommendation to refuse the application was then carried unanimously.
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