North West Wales

Welsh language concerns block new Bangor homes

Plans for a 366-home development in Bangor have been rejected Image copyright Morbaine
Image caption Plans for a 366-home development in Bangor have been rejected

Plans for hundreds of homes in Bangor have been refused because of concerns over the effect on the Welsh language.

The application for 366 houses in Penrhosgarnedd - the biggest considered by Gwynedd Council - was refused using new planning rules designed to protect Welsh.

Developer Morbaine described the decision as "frustrating".

But the Welsh Language Society said housing developments should "put communities' interests first".

Planning officers had recommended the Pen y Ffridd development go ahead, on condition that Morbaine made 30% of the homes "affordable" and paid £1m for the development of local schools.

But Gwynedd Council's planning committee blocked the application on Tuesday using new Welsh Government rules introduced on 4 January.

Petition

Residents had organised a petition against building at the 35.36 acre (14.3 ha) site raising concerns about overdevelopment and lack of infrastructure.

Councillor Gareth Roberts, who was part of the campaign group, said: "As well as our concerns about the language, local schools are at breaking point and the roads are clogged up."

Bethan Ruth of the Welsh Language Society said the status of the Welsh language in the planning system has been strengthened adding: "Any housing developments should reflect local need, rather than the interests of developments," she added.

According to the 2011 census, 52.6% of residents in the Pen y Ffridd area speak Welsh, compared to 65.4% across Gwynedd.

'Positive impact'

A 245-home development is being constructed nearby and planners have said Bangor needs another 802 new homes.

Keith Nutter, planning director of Widnes-based Morbaine said he had not decided whether or not to appeal the decision.

He said: "We provided a report that said the development would have a positive impact on the language.

"A third of the development was designated as affordable homes, and the majority of affordable homes are sold to Welsh speakers."

He added that Morbaine had been prepared to install Welsh street signs and advertise the homes locally.

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