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Plans for six family homes in North Wales are blocked over fears they could be ‘harmful’ to Welsh

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Plans for six family homes in North Wales have been blocked over fears they could be ‘harmful’ to the Welsh language.  

Planning chiefs say the houses, worth up to £800,000 each and located in the seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, will likely be unaffordable for locals who speak their native tongue.

They are concerned that outsiders who do not speak Welsh could move in and harm the language.

Planning inspector Vicki Hirst explained that the impact of the homes on the Welsh language was one of the reasons for blocking it.

She said: ‘I note the intention to provide Welsh names for the dwellings, the proposed local marketing strategy and the associated benefits to the local economy during the construction phase, but I do not find these to be sufficient to outweigh the potential harm to the Welsh language through the housing not being genuinely accessible to those in the local communities.’ 

Planning chiefs say the houses, located in the seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, will likely be unaffordable for locals who speak their native tongue

Planning chiefs say the houses, located in the seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, will likely be unaffordable for locals who speak their native tongue

They are concerned that outsiders who do not speak Welsh could move in and harm the language

They are concerned that outsiders who do not speak Welsh could move in and harm the language

This has been given as one of the main reasons to block the plans, along with affordability and the effect on neighbours.

The development of three and four-bedroom houses was proposed in 2019, on the site of an old church.

The upmarket family homes would have a balcony, garage and open-plan kitchen and lounge.

The site is in the picturesque seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, not far from Mount Snowdon in North Wales.

However the local authority Gwynedd Council turned down due to a lack of affordability.

Ms Hirst added: ‘I have insufficient information before me to conclude that the proposal would genuinely be accessible to meet the identified need for family homes in the area and would fail to make a contribution towards affordable housing.

‘Equally, in the absence of information in relation to local wages and the likely market price of the houses I am unable to conclude that the proposal would be accessible to those within the local communities that speak Welsh.

Planning inspector Vicki Hirst explained that the impact of the homes on the Welsh language was one of the reasons for blocking it.

Planning inspector Vicki Hirst explained that the impact of the homes on the Welsh language was one of the reasons for blocking it.

The development of three and four-bedroom houses was proposed in 2019, on the site of an old church

The development of three and four-bedroom houses was proposed in 2019, on the site of an old church

‘In the absence of such information I am unable to reach a view that the impact of the proposal on the Welsh Language would not be harmful.

‘Furthermore, as set out above the proposal does not provide for the delivery of affordable housing.

‘Therefore, the potential for any contribution towards the Welsh language as a result of such housing cannot be taken into account.’ 

The developer, Commercial Development Projects Ltd, carried out a Welsh Language Statement which said the homes would have a neutral impact on Welsh.

A 2015 law requires public bodies – such as councils – to build resilient communities, culture and language.

The site is in the picturesque seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, not far from Mount Snowdon in North Wales. However the local authority Gwynedd Council turned down due to a lack of affordability

The site is in the picturesque seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, not far from Mount Snowdon in North Wales. However the local authority Gwynedd Council turned down due to a lack of affordability

At the planning meeting, Councillor Gareth Jones said: ‘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.’ 

A Gwynedd Council spokesperson said: ‘A planning application for a residential development of six dwellings, access and associated works for St Mary’s Church, Lôn yr Eglwys, Morfa Nefyn was refused by the Gwynedd Council Planning Committee on 1 February for a number of reasons as outlined in the report.

‘An appeal was lodged by the applicant, which has subsequently been refused by the Planning Inspectorate.’ 

It comes just two years after a planning application for 366 houses was rejected for the same reason. 

Gwynedd Council first refused developer Morbaine’s plan for the homes at Pen Y Ffridd in Penrhosgarnedd, Bangor, in April 2016.

The upmarket family homes would have a balcony, garage and open-plan kitchen and lounge. Pictured: Plans for the houses

The upmarket family homes would have a balcony, garage and open-plan kitchen and lounge. Pictured: Plans for the houses 

Campaigners argued the development would cut the number of Welsh speakers in the area by at least 10 per cent. 

The Welsh Government wants to have a million speakers of the native tongue by 2050.

Currently around 30 per cent of the population speaks Welsh, with fairly steady growth over the last decade.

Language app Duolingo said Welsh was the UK’s fastest growing language. 

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Homes near Elizabeth Line see asking prices double in a decade

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Asking prices for properties for sale near stations on London‘s new Elizabeth Line have more than doubled in a decade, new research has revealed.

Many areas near stations on the capital’s new high-speed line were previously less well connected to key commuter hubs, such as Liverpool Street or Paddington stations.

But they have seen a surge in property asking prices amid new interest from homebuyers and tenants due to the better transport links that the Elizabeth Line provides.

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London's Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London’s Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

The new figures from Rightmove revealed the extent to which asking prices have risen in local areas around Maryland, Abbey Wood and Stratford stations.

Maryland Station in Newham, which provides an additional option for those commuting near well-connected Stratford, has seen the biggest jump in asking prices.

They have more than doubled compared to ten years ago, rising 108 per cent from £233,480 to £486,235.

This compares to the London average increase over the past ten years of 55 per cent.

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Meanwhile, Rightmove revealed that total buyer demand has risen the most in western areas, while prices and competition has risen most in eastern areas.

Twyford, at the end of the western section of the line and the next stop along from Reading, has seen the biggest jump in the number of buyers contracting estate agents.

Numbers have more than tripled compared to 10 years ago, up 245 per cent.

Those looking to buy near Abbey Wood station, at the end of the South East section of the line, face the stiffest competition from other buyers.

Competition in that area has soared more than nine times and is up 869 per cent.

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

It is a similar story along the Elizabeth line for tenants as many look to balance their commute into London with where they can afford to rent.

Average rents in London have reached a new record of £2,195 a month, up 14 per cent compared to this time last year.

Southall has seen the biggest increase in the number of tenants contacting letting agents compared to ten years ago, more than quadrupling, up 372 per cent.

However, asking rents near Southall station are lower than nearby Hanwell or Ealing.

Asking rents have increased the most in western stations Slough, up 44 per cent, and Burnham, up 43 per cent, while those looking to rent near Custom House station face the most competition from other tenants.

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line - Custom House - has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line – Custom House – has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

Custom House, one of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line and benefitting from significantly lower travel times into Central London, has seen competition increase by a staggering 33 times, up 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘As the Elizabeth Line opens, it does so with a backdrop of record rents in London, a rising cost of living and a shortage of available homes.

‘Areas further out from central London that have lower asking prices or rents, but are now more easily commutable will be attractive to new buyers and tenants in search of somewhere affordable to live near the capital.

‘Not only this, but new working from home patterns since the pandemic started two years ago will have many people weighing up whether they are prepared to commute from further away if they need to do so less often.’

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National Maternity Hospital decision is a welcome sign of the Government’s backbone

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The Government’s decision to proceed with the building of the new National Maternity Hospital is a welcome sign that the Taoiseach and his Ministers are willing to face up to the Opposition, the social media mob and assorted objectors on an issue of major national importance.

One of the weaknesses of the Coalition since it took office in June 2020 has been a tendency to run scared in the face of contrived outrage, usually fomented by a combination of Opposition politicians and vested interests, often mistakenly portrayed as representing public opinion.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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