Eryri’s National Park Authority to support Cyngor Gwynedd’s Buy to Let scheme, and a Community Housing Officer for Bro Machno.
At today’s meeting of Eryri’s National Park Authority, it was agreed that the Authority would support Cyngor Gwynedd’s Buy to Let scheme by partially funding the purchase of up to 5 residential properties as they become available on the open market. Upon completion of any necessary restoration work, the properties would be let by Cyngor Gwynedd at an affordable rent to local people, with Adra managing the properties.
Under the innovative Buy to Let scheme, Cyngor Gwynedd has purchased 20 properties, with plans to purchase a further 80 over the next three years. These homes will be let to local individuals who meet the Tai Teg criteria. This scheme is part of the Council’s wider Housing Action Plan, which aims to provide over 1000 homes to the people of Gwynedd in the years to come.
The financial contributions for purchases will be made available from the Authority’s commuted sums fund. ‘Commuted sums’ is the term used for a financial contribution payable to a Planning Authority by a housing developer when they do not provide affordable housing on a site. Instead, the funding is allocated for the construction or provision of affordable housing in other locations. The Authority is expected to make the best use of the sums received in terms of the provision of affordable housing that meets local need within the National Park area.
Today, the Authority was also pleased to be able to support a request by Menter Iaith Conwy on behalf of the Penmachno Housing Partnership for financial assistance to fund a part-time Affordable Housing Officer. The Bro Machno community is facing grave challenges in terms of affordability and access to the local housing stock, and as such the viability of the Welsh language in the area is under threat. The community partnership was established to address the community’s concerns for the housing situation. Under the guidance of Menter Iaith Conwy, the Affordable Housing Officer will look at options to facilitate the purchase of empty properties by the community for local use. The model whereby local communities take ownership of houses is becoming more commonplace and are considered a practical response to the challenges they face.
Councillor Elwyn Edwards, Chair of the National Park Authority’s Planning and Access Committee stated:
“As an Authority we are extremely pleased to be able to support these important schemes to bring residential dwellings back into long term, local occupancy. Such schemes are essential to help safeguard the future of the language and culture of our communities, and the viability of Eryri’s rural economy”.
Councillor Craig ab Iago, Cyngor Gwynedd Housing and Property Cabinet Member, stated
“I’m extremely pleased to hear about the additional financial support from Eryri National Park towards the Council’s Buy to Let scheme.
“Affordable homes are not just bricks and mortar, but a lifeline to keep our communities in Gwynedd alive and thriving. By combining resources in this way we can go a step further in supporting communities in areas where a very high number of Gwynedd residents have been priced out of their homes, such as those in Eryri.”
Meirion Davies, Menter Iaith Conwy’s Development Director said:
“We’re delighted that Eryri National Park supports this scheme. We have been working with the Penmachno community for years to strengthen the use of Welsh in the community. But local people are feeling increasingly that the language is being undermined by the housing situation. By submitting this application to the Park, our hope is to give the community additional competence to address the problem and to start buying properties in the area. We hope that this will strengthen the Welsh language’s situation by reducing the number of empty homes and holiday lets which account for approximately 37% of the area’s housing stock and provide opportunities for young people to live there.”
Owen Davis and Siân Rhun Morris, on behalf of the Penmachno Affordable Housing Partnership stated:
“The idea of employing a Community Housing Officer to work with the local community in Penmachno is very exciting, especially given it’s a parish where almost 40% of the housing stock are second homes, holiday lets or empty.
Enabling the community to buy houses to let would be an extremely practical and valuable contribution to secure homes for local people who are unable to compete with the open market.
We, as a group, wholeheartedly support this application.”
Notes to Editors
- No specific properties have yet been identified for purchase. This approval by the Authority to allocate funding for this purpose places Cyngor Gwynedd officers in a stronger position to act promptly when a suitable property comes on the market.
- ‘Commuted sums’ payments by planning applicants are a common practice amongst Planning Authorities across the country.
- More information about the schemes is available in the Planning Policy Officer’s report within the Committee Agenda here (page 35)
- For more information about Cyngor Gwynedd’s Buy to Let scheme or to arrange an interview with a Cyngor Gwynedd representative, contact Lowri Nansi Roberts on email@example.com
- For more information or to arrange an interview about the Penmachno Affordable Housing Partnership’s scheme contact Meirion Davies, Development Director on firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you would like to request an interview with a representative from Eryri’s National Park Authority, contact Gwen Aeron Edwards, Planning and Land Management Communications Officer on email@example.com or 01766 770 274