Bats get more support than Welsh speakers, claims councillor

The commment was made during a council planning meeting last week

Monday 11th July 2022 4:00 pm
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Llanwrtyd Wells takeaway and Cllr Elwyn Vaughan.
The Llanwrtyd Wells takeaway, inset is Cllr Elwyn Vaughan. (Google StreetView and PCC )

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Bats get more attention and support from Powys County Council than Welsh speakers, a councillor has claimed.

The comments were made at a Powys County Council planning meeting on Thursday, July 7,

The committee were discussing an application by Didar Sing of Premier Stores in Llanwrtyd Wells to allow a kitchen trailer unit to stay at a site near the town centre, for another three years.

Similar applications were approved in 2018 and 2015 and the original planning permission goes back to 2012.

The kitchen unit cooks pizza and fish and chips which is sold at the shop.

Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan brought up the fourth condition that would be attached to the planning consent if the application were approved, as officers had advised.

This condition said: “Within three weeks from the date of this permission a scheme to amend the signing on the trailer shall be submitted to, and shall be approved in writing, by the Local Planning Authority.”

Cllr Vaughan said that the signage should be bilingual and that words to “that affect” should be inserted into the condition.

Cllr Vaughan said: “We’re missing a trick with all new developments as it should be the norm.

“The next condition is about bats, and I sometimes think bats get more attention and support from this authority than Welsh speakers do.”

Planning professional lead officer, Peter Morris sympathised with Cllr Vaughan, but pointed out that it was not part of the council’s planning policy.

Mr Morris also did not think that Llanwrtyd Wells is a “Welsh speaking stronghold,” and that the policy would not be applicable there.

Mr Morris “The policy that’s in the existing LDP is about Welsh speaking strongholds and relates to development proposals for 10 or more dwellings on windfall sites so it’s very specific about what it relates to.

“I suspect all we can do is negotiate and encourage that the sign is bilingual, I’m not sure we can require it as the policy doesn’t support it.”

Cllr Vaughan contested Mr Morris’ comments and believed that the town in the last census (2011) had a Welsh speaking population of “over 25 per cent.”

Cllr Edwin Roderick agreed with Cllr Vaughan and stressed that it was a “Welsh language stronghold” with many fluent speakers living there.

But Mr Morris continued to disagree and told the councillors that the council had to comply with its own policy.

Committee chairman, Cllr Karl Lewis asked whether and advisory note could be added to the permission to “urge them to go down that route.”

This was agreed and Mr Morris said that the replacement LDP process, which is now underway would need to look again at the Welsh language policy framework as it “don’t go far enough”

Cllr Huw Williams proposed moving to a vote backing the officers’ recommendation of approving the application, and this was seconded by Cllr Heulwen Hulme.

The committee voted to approve the proposal , with one councillor abstaining.

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