An Anglesey councillor’s comments over the loss of Welsh homes and language, likened to what happened to Native Americans has prompted a lively debate.
Councillor Robert Llewelyn Jones was speaking during a second homes discussion at an Anglesey Council Council planning and orders committee meeting.
Members were considering whether or not to allow planning permission for an extension on a house in the Y Fron estate at Aberffraw.
Bro Aberffraw Councillor Arfon Wyn had made an impassioned speech over the impact of second homes, during the meeting in Llangefni last Wednesday.
It was later followed by controversial comments made by Parc a’r Mynydd representative Councillor Jones.
Cllr Wyn had said he believed that the extension at Dinas Bach, No 5 Y Fron would “undoubtedly” be used as a holiday home and called for the plans to be rejected.
The matter had come before planners three times, had raised 33 objections, but could only be considered on planning policy – which it met.
Planning officers considered the proposal “acceptable,” after working with the applicant for a year.
The house was listed as a C3 dwelling (used as a sole or main dwelling), and the owner had the right to change from a C3 dwelling to C5 (dwelling-houses, used otherwise than as sole or main residences’) or C6 (‘short-term lets) without planning permission.
It could not be assessed on what the property might or might not be used for in the future.
Cllr Wyn had raised concerns at the impact of holiday and second homes at Aberffraw.
He feared the village becoming “another Rhosneigr” empty during the winter months.
Councillor Robert Llewelyn Jones had urged councillors to “look at the bigger picture” in Anglesey villages, and described how they were trying to “…put together a plan to keep these places alive for the Welsh language to thrive for local people.”
He likened the situation to the plight of Native Americans, calling for councillors to consider “…what had happened in America, when the white people went over, and there wasn’t a way the Indians couldn’t maintain their way of life.”
Lamenting the loss of the Welsh language, he said he had lived in Rhosneigr “as a lad during the War.”
“I can’t compare Rhosneigr now to what it was then. I was there three years, it was all local people, things have changed.
“Not much Welsh is heard in the shops there, or anywhere much any more.”
Responding to the story, readers took to social media in their hundreds to air views on the Daily Post facebook page and North Wales Live.
Rachael Smith wrote:
“Absolutely no comparison to the slaughter, greed and war that took the lands and people of Native Americans.”
Referring to the Native American Trail of Tears, which saw the Cherokee people forcibly removed from their homeland and relocated during the 19th century, Kate Johnson said:
“Trail of tears…. Hardly the same thing.”
Terry Wells added ” Robert Llewelyn Jones: liking the Welsh second home situation to the genocide of Native Americans!
“Get a grip on reality!
Dave Hughes posted: “Hardly the same as the genocide of the Native Americans …”
But Pat A Wynbo Griffith said: “I understand the counsellors comments and sympathies however if the owner is within the planning policy then unfortunately there’s nothing they can do as he has ever right as everyone else, and he also has every right to use as a holiday home or holiday let.”
Commenting Nick Bounds said on the topic of Anglesey holiday homes, that Trearddur Bay was now “Way above 50, if not 70% Holiday Homes.”
Gwyn Pritch added: “We are asking second home owners to care which is pointless, because if they cared they would know about the issues and not buy them in the first place.
“So oppressing them is the only answer. NOT welcome them.”
Barry Harrison argued:
“More likely, instead of welcoming newcomers to the area, the nasty, negative and off hand attitude of some stuck in the past die hard locals is what newcomers face on arrival.”
He added that the attitude towards people new to the area “leaves a lot to be desired.”
He argued that “Newcomers are paying top prices for second homes, they also bring new spends and new cash to the local area shops, but from some locals, the new comers get little thanks.”
Peter Collins commented:
“As an ex-second home-owner which was in Rhosneigr, they’re talking rubbish. It’s a lovely place these days – it didn’t use to be.
But he agreed “This though, is an eyesore and the Welsh language needs as much support as it can get as there’s too little interest.
“It’s undervalued and unappreciated but it’s loss would be a tragedy.
“If that means positive discrimination – so be it. Wales without Welsh is like a body without a heart.”
But Glyn Jones pointed out:
“We live in the United Kingdom, it is one main island and people on this Island should have the choice where to live on this Island.”
Comments on the Daily Post North Wales Live web page included:
Alan Dainty1 said: “As someone who has loved Aberffraw since I first went there in 1956 and live on the Aberffraw Gwalchmai road, the changes I have seen over that period breaks my heart.
“I can remember going on the beach in June and not seeing a sole on the beach all day, you were also able to drive into the dunes. (I’m glad that was stopped).
“I do not go down to Aberffraw at all during the summer, there are too many people.
“As an English man, the way Anglesey as been turned into a bigger version of Abersoch disgusts me.”
Bee Lovely added:
“I am English, and I am angered by the arrogant comments towards the Welsh and Wales.
“Stay away if you don’t appreciate this land, its historic language and culture.
“Aberffraw is a traditional Welsh village and we don’t want it ruining further by people who don’t appreciate it.
“I walk through the village and so many empty homes at this time of year. The pub was open for locals every day until more holiday home purchases.
“I will say though, that if local people want to protect their towns and villages then sell local!”
“Are these Councillors on the same planet as the rest of us?
“There are two million Americans with Welsh ancestry and a large colony of Welsh speakers in Argentina.
“Is Councillor Jones saying their ancestors should have stayed in Wales and not annoyed the locals in the Americas by building second homes? I’ve heard that somewhere else recently!!!
“Davy Crockett is alive and well and living in Anglesey!”
And one wag, Barry Summers, added:
“As a native American myself I would like to applaud the councillors concerned for supporting the indigenous peoples of the world.
“I currently reside in a reservation next to Morrisons in Holyhead.
“I for one am fed up of being evicted only to discover later my teepee has been developed as a second holiday tent for the English colonialists … excuse me …I’m off on a bison hunt with the lads …”