Fears for Welsh language, if more land earmarked for development in Pontarddulais
Provision for a possible housing development in Pontarddulais would threaten to ‘marginalise Welsh in one of its heartlands’.
AM Byron Davies has raised the concern if land to the north of the town is allocated in Swansea Council’s new Local Development Plan, which
will be used to allocate land for housing and businesses over the coming years.
Mr Davies estimates up to 250 houses could be built to the north of the town if the site being considered by the authority is included in the LDP, which would be in addition to sites already granted consent but not yet developed.
Mr Davies says he is representing the views of people already living in the town.
He said: “People are saying that enough is enough. Pontarddulais has seen hundreds of new houses built within the past decade and residents fear being swamped by outsiders. They say that the character of the town is under threat.
“There is also the Welsh language to consider. Swansea Council says itself that Pontarddulais is a language sensitive area which at the moment has 40 per cent of its population able to speak Welsh. If a lot more people move in, the percentage of Welsh speakers within the population as a whole will naturally fall and will drop below the level at which the language is viable.
“At the moment, people can conduct their business in Welsh as staff in shops and post offices can speak Welsh. That would change. The language would become marginalized in one of its heartlands.
“Pontarddulais is on the front line in the fight to keep Welsh alive so large scale house building on top of what has already been permitted could be very damaging.
Mr Davies said he would be urging Swansea planners to delete Pontarddulais from its list of communities where more housing is to be permitted.
A Swansea Council spokesman said: “No decisions have been made on the future of land at Pontarddulais north. Although it’s been identified as an area that could potentially accommodate housing in the future within the LDP, feedback from the consultation will be taken on board and detailed assessments will be taking place that will include the full consideration of potential effects on the Welsh language. The next phase of the LDP will see all of the sites considered suitable put into what’s called a Deposit Plan. If Pontarddulais north is included then people will once again have the chance to submit their views in future. Any proposal for housing would also be subject to normal planning application procedures.”