Housing for Wales or housing for the Welsh?

PLEASE APPRECIATE THAT I GET SENT MORE INFORMATION AND LEADS THAN I CAN USE. I TRY TO RESPOND TO EVERYONE WHO CONTACTS ME BUT I CANNOT POSSIBLY USE EVERY BIT OF INFORMATION I’M SENT. DIOLCH YN FAWR

We are confronted by a paradox. The stock of housing in Wales is growing, yet less and less of it is accessible to Welsh people.

INTRODUCTION

What I’m describing is a bizarre housing system that works against the native population while promoting the interests of strangers. A system too complex and too consistent in its outcomes to be attributed to incompetence or happenstance.

Once the bigger problem is deconstructed and its component parts exposed, then remedies present themselves. All that’s needed then is the political will to implement those remedies.

In this article I shall explain a problem and then make one or more suggestions for tackling it. I’m sure many of you reading this will have your own ideas – so let’s hear them.

PRICES, TOO HIGH AND TOO LOW

When dealing with house prices we find problems at both ends of the scale. On the one hand, houses are being built in many areas that most locals can’t afford – but that’s OK because they’re not intended for us.

Take Newport, Pembrokeshire, a ‘holiday hotspot’. Locals are being squeezed out of the local housing market and this shortfall is then used to justify building new housing . . . that is also beyond the reach of locals!

Such as this modest – and rather ugly – three-bedroom home for £425,000.

While at the other end of the scale, in declining seaside resorts and post-industrial areas, property prices are so low that they attract those who buy in bulk and ship in problems.

Which takes us to Llanelli, and the Ty Isha neighbourhood, by the railway station. Third sector bodies, private landlords and others have moved in, bought up terraced houses and flats, and dumped petty criminals and drug addicts from England.

I’m not sure how to read this without more information, but it’s pretty, and some people enjoy this kind of thing. Blame WalesOnline for ‘Tyshia’. Click to enlarge

Those who profit from trading in undesirables – with the full support and financial backing  of the ‘Welsh Government’ – were initially attracted to Ty Isha by low house prices, and they have succeeded in driving property values down even more!

Some of those interviewed in the report are now trapped in houses they have lived in all their married lives but can only sell at a price below what a house such as theirs would fetch in a normal neighbourhood.

Yet in a system that prioritised Welsh needs the small terraced houses of Ty Isha would make ideal starter homes for young people.

SUGGESTIONS: In the case of Newport, Pembs and countless other such developments, the answer is that we simply do not allow the building of new properties that locals either do not wish to buy or cannot afford to buy.

I’ll explain later how we could both achieve this and forecast local need.

To argue that allowing such properties takes the pressure of the existing stock, thereby making many such properties available for local buyers, is absolute bollocks. The numbers wanting to relocate to Wales is limitless, and the demand for holiday homes insatiable.

As for Ty Isha, funding should be withdrawn from any third sector body importing problems from outside of Wales to any part of Wales. The same should apply to housing associations.

I shall also offer suggestions for achieving these objectives.

Those whose properties have been devalued, and their lives affected by the riff-raff dumped around them, should be compensated by the ‘Welsh Government’.

THE NUMBERS GAME

Let’s now focus on the problem of houses being built in numbers greatly in excess of what Wales needs. And, again, at prices most of us can’t afford. This is particularly noticeable in the eastern parts of the country as English commuters look west for cheaper housing and nicer scenery.

Black-spots are along the A55 in the north and the M4 in the south and, since the removal of tolls on the Severn Bridge, increasingly evident in southern Gwent, including the city of Newport. An example would be the 900 dwellings of the ‘urban village’ planned for Mamhilad, north of Pontypool, towards Abergavenny, but close enough to the M4 for Bristol commuters.

Building in Wales to meet a demand from England has also become noticeable around Wrexham in recent years. It begins with the ‘Welsh Government’ producing absurd population projections to justify building an excessive number of new houses.

Then, when the projections are shown to be exaggerated, the Planning Inspectorate insists on sticking with the original number of new houses. This article explains it well.

I looked into this problem back as March 2014 in a piece I wrote about Denbighshire. The council said, “Look, the latest projections suggest a smaller population increase, so we don’t need to build so many new houses”.

The Planning Inspectorate’s response was, “Yes, you’re right about the population projections . . . but we insist on sticking with the original number of new dwellings”.

Planning Inspectorate insisting that discredited population projections still be used to determine housing provision. Click to enlarge

A response like that sort of gives the game away, doesn’t it?

Back in 2011 the ‘Welsh Government’ was insisting that the population of Wrexham would increase by 20% in the near future, then the projected increase reduced to 10%, and the latest calculation is that the borough’s population will actually fall by 1.5% by 2028! Yet the number of houses ‘needed’ must remain the same as when an increase of 20% was forecast.

Major housing developments planned around Wrecsam. None to the south or the west. Quelle surprise! Click to enlarge

As the map above makes clear, the planned developments are all to the north or the east of the town, in other words, convenient for Cheshire. Or rather, convenient for those who aren’t wanted in Cheshire, in order to preserve property values in Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and the other communities of the ‘Golden Triangle’.

Add to all the new housing the proposed road improvements and the fate allotted to Wrecsam becomes clear. The A483 is of course the road to Chester.

Here’s a late addition about 200 more houses at Rhosrobin, right next to the A483.

What has clearly been happening is that the ‘Welsh Government’ (or others acting in its name) has been producing what it knew to be inflated, contrived, population projections. Done to justify building excessive numbers of new dwellings.

When the population projections were exposed as bogus, and revised downwards, the Planning Inspectorate stuck with the discredited figures in order to push on with building what were now clearly excessive numbers of new houses.

And by so doing the Planning Inspectorate exposed a dishonest system.

SUGGESTIONS: To begin with, calculations to determine how many new homes an area needs must be based on what the people of the area need, not on how many properties developers think they can sell. In fact, I can’t think of any good reason why developers need to be involved in assessing demand.

The Wrecsam area being used to take pressure off Cheshire is part of the wider integration strategy of the Mersey Dee Alliance. A giveaway is estate agents referring to the area as ‘West Cheshire’.

The Planning Inspectorate does not serve Welsh interests, it never has. It must be replaced with a new Welsh body free from political interference and divorced from commercial interests.

Why can’t we have a register of those who think they’ll be looking to buy a new home within an area; something similar to the waiting list for social housing. Once people grasp that contributing to such a database will make it more likely they’ll find the home they need then the more likely they’ll be to participate.

HOLIDAY HOMES

A perennial issue in Wales and the Covid lockdown has highlighted the problem. First, it was people sneaking to their holiday homes for lockdown rather than staying at their usual residence, while more recently it’s been the increased demand for holiday homes.

The latest figures for Gwynedd suggest that 40% of the properties being sold in the county are now bought for use as holiday homes. Take the towns out of the calculation and it’s reasonable to assume that a majority of the properties in villages and in the countryside are being sold as holiday homes.

Gwynedd council is run by Plaid Cymru but it has only imposed a 50% surcharge on holiday homes. Yet another example of Plaid Cymru wringing its hands, “Oooh, isn’t it awful, something should be done”, yet when a roar of defiance was needed Plaid Cymru could only whimper.

This is Plaid Cymru terrified of being called ‘anti-English’. That mauling Glenys Kinnock handed out to Ieuan Wyn Jones on Question Time in February 2001 has left a deep and painful scar.

Swansea waterfront. Click to enlarge

Compare Gwynedd to Swansea, where the Labour-controlled council has imposed a 100% surcharge, (which also applies to properties left empty for a long period). And in case you think this is only a gesture because the city has few holiday homes, there are many hundreds in the waterfront area, and of course, on Gower.

All the arguments used in defence of holiday homes are self-serving bullshit. “Nobody else wanted the place” . . . “But we put so much money into the local economy!” . . . “An essential part of the tourism industry”, etc, etc.

SUGGESTIONS: One simple change in the law would go a long way to easing the misery of holiday homes.

Legislation stating that only 10% of properties in any electoral ward can be registered as holiday homes, with the figure reducing to 5% in 2030 would have a number of immediate effects.

First, in wards where more than 10% of properties are currently registered as holiday homes such legislation would immediately curtail future demand. Knowledge of the change in 2030 would remove the threat of further properties being bought as holiday homes.

Resulting in more properties, at reduced prices, becoming available for locals.

Severe penalties must be imposed for using a property as a holiday home when it is not registered for that use. And the loophole allowing holiday homes to escape council tax by registering as a business must be closed.

To further reduce the demand for holiday homes and increase their contribution to the local community council tax should be charged at a rate of 200%.

Some may think that a 5% figure is too low, others that it’s unduly generous. My belief is that no area of Wales should suffer more than 5% of its housing stock being used by strangers flaunting their greater wealth.

RETIRING TO WALES

An often overlooked factor in inflating house prices is retired and elderly people moving to Wales. The negatives increase when we remember that the older a person is the more likely they are to need medical care of some kind. This is a universal truth.

Which means that this influx will obviously impact on our NHS and other services.

In fact, it’s difficult to think of any benefit Wales derives from people in the older age brackets moving in. But that doesn’t stop some from trying.

Some three years ago I wrote to the ‘Welsh Government’ with a few questions on this subject. What I received by way of an answer contained a paragraph that has caused either mirth, or head shaking, whenever people read it. (For the full letter, click here.)

Click to enlarge

On a planet where all other countries view an ageing population as a ‘ticking time-bomb’ Wales alone sees the takeover by alien wrinklies as something positive. Or rather, the ‘Welsh Government’ wants us to believe it does.

This is the sort of nonsense that officialdom spouts when it’s cornered. I say that because while the letter I received makes highfalutin’ references to “liberty of movement” the truth is that the ‘Welsh Government’ has enacted legislation that encourages retired and elderly people to move to Wales.

Click to enlarge

Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine that Welsh people going into care can hold on to £50,000, I might benefit from such a provision myself one day. But it also encourages into Wales people who have spent their working lives elsewhere. And the cost of looking after these elderly goes into the debit column of our national accounts and is used to prove that Wales is a financial basket-case.

I see a boy at the back with his hand up, “How big is the problem, Sir?”

Here’s a table I compiled using data from the 2011 Census. You’ll see that in some local authority areas only a minority of the population in the 65+ age bracket was born in Wales.

Click to enlarge

With the problem not confined to the north, just look at Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire. There’s a definite correlation between tourism and the numbers of retired and elderly people moving to an area.

Though Flintshire would appear to buck the trend in that it is not a tourism hotspot, but even so, half of the over 65s were born in England. While this can be partly explained by maternity services being located in Chester I can also suggest another explanation.

Let’s say you’re a likely lad living on the Wirral. Aunt Mabel is going to leave you her money, a nice round figure of £100,000. If she goes into a local care home you might only see £23,350, but take her to Mold or Connah’s Quay and you’re guaranteed at least £50,000. More if you can get the local authority to cough up.

And, anyway, is the old girl going to know where she is!

Finally, let’s not forget the political dimension to this phenomenon. It has been proven time after time that the older an English voter is the more likely that person is to be royalist, patriotically British, pro-Brexit, conservative and Conservative.

From a Welsh perspective, encouraging retired and elderly English people into Wales is both an economic and a political disaster. But it benefits England for the same reasons.

SUGGESTIONS: There’s no need to deny Welsh people the £50,000 limit, but insist on 20 years residency in Wales before anyone qualifies.

And let’s stop building retirement bungalows and flats to be advertised over the border. Many of those who move to such properties may be fit and active when they arrive, but Father Time will soon do his work.

Only a country run by idiots drives out its own young people and replaces them with another country’s elderly.

SOCIAL HOUSING

At one time it was so simple – local authorities built and rented council houses. You put your name down on the list and you waited your turn. Obviously there was favouritism shown in certain allocations, but by and large the system worked to the benefit of Welsh communities.

Then came the housing associations and the transfer of council housing stock.

There’s a general and touching misconception that Registered Social Landlords (RSLs), more commonly known as housing associations, have simply replaced councils, and that social housing is universally available for those who cannot afford to buy a home but would rather not rent from a private landlord.

Er, no.

That was the intention, and that may have been how it started under the new system, but things got much more complicated as years went by. Much more complicated.

There are a number of fundamental problems with the way RSLs now operate.

1/ To begin with, social housing in Wales is locked into an Englandandwales system. This was explained to me in December 2010 in a response I received from Nick Bennett, who was then CEO of Community Housing Cymru, the umbrella organisation for housing associations.

He wrote, “There are over 2 million people on waiting lists for social housing”. This figure cannot be for Wales alone, and yet it was provided by the head of the body supposedly responsible for social housing in Wales. And only in Wales.

Bennett emerged a couple of decades ago from under a lily pad in Cardiff Bay as a fully-formed Spad, before becoming a business partner of Labour’s Alun Davies. He then served as CEO at Community Housing Cymru from 2006 to 2014, and since leaving CHC he has guarded the posterior regions of our politicians and civil servants as the Public Services Ombudsman for Wales.

Corruption Bay in mortal form.

Who gets a vacant house may be decided by a third sector body, in contact with a sister body in England, which has ‘recommended’ Chardonnay and her six semi-feral children; the little darlings having been chased out of their last home by neighbours fed up with the thieving and the vandalism.

They get priority treatment, “Cos they is homeless, innit. Little kiddies, look”.

This rehousing of ‘priority cases’ can have catastrophic consequences. As we learnt when Grwp Gwalia of Swansea housed a network of Satan-worshipping paedophiles from London in Kidwelly.

It was never explained why this was done. And no politicians asked . . . because they didn’t want to know. ‘Priority cases’ are still being dumped in Wales, every day.

2/ A more recent problem with housing associations – and there are dozens of them, competing with each other – is that they are now privatised, but still in receipt of public funding.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, nearly all of them have subsidiaries, or private companies that are not subsidiaries but still members of the group. And then there are the partners.

This diversification has led to the mis-use of public funding, an almost complete lack of monitoring and accountability, and RSL group members building private housing for open market sale. Sold to retirees (officially ‘downsizers’), buy-to-rent landlords (officially ‘investors’), and even as holiday homes. While also selling shares in leasehold properties, with the agreements poorly explained and many duped into thinking they’re buying a freehold property.

This, remember, is the hated leasehold system that the ‘Welsh Government’ elsewhere opposes. Yet it is funding RSLs who then slip money under the table to subsidiaries, or partners, to con people into buying a share in a leasehold property.

To explain how confusing it can become, I suggest you read this piece I wrote recently on Cartrefi Conwy and its offshoots. (Scroll down to the section ‘Cartrefi Conwy, Associates, Chinese investors’.)

Brenig Construction, with Chinese investment, is in partnership with Creating Enterprise, which is a subsidiary of RSL Cartrefi Conwy. Wales and West is Labour’s favourite RSL and the only one that operates all over the country. It has a bad record for housing drug addicts and petty criminals from outside of Wales in towns like Lampeter and Fishguard. Click to enlarge

What a system! What a ‘government’! What a country!

SUGGESTIONS: The bottom line is that what Wales needs is social landlords renting decent housing to Welsh tenants. Nothing more.

We don’t need subsidiaries of RSLs using diverted public funding to build and sell buy-to-rents in Pembrokeshire. Nor do we want convoluted arrangements using Chinese money to build more retirement bungalows and flats on the north coast.

Housing associations are past their sell-by date. A root-and-branch reform of the social housing system is needed. Wales must leave behind the mess created by ‘diversification’ and adopt a system closer to the original council housing model.

One big question will be what happens to the housing stock currently held by RSLs. Seeing as almost all of it was either built by local authorities, or built since stock transfer with money from the ‘Welsh Government’, a strong case could be made to bring it back into public ownership.

This twilight zone of private bodies living off the public purse while also taking out commercial loans with banks and behaving like private developers must end.

In the meantime, to avoid the dumping of undesirables, no one should be allocated a social tenancy by a RSL unless that person has been resident in Wales for at least 10 years.

CONCLUSION

We have a housing sector in Wales that has for years been steadily divorcing itself from the needs of our people. The situation has worsened under devolution.

There is clearly a strategy to settle in Wales as many people as possible who are loyal to the UK or England, in order to ‘secure’ Wales. We can expect this assault on Welsh identity to intensify with Scotland looking more and more likely to choose independence in the next few years.

There is one final weapon in the armoury that can be employed to stem the tide of colonisation. That is the Land Transaction Tax (LTT). It replaced Stamp Duty and it’s already in operation.

Below is a table I’ve compiled showing the current LTT rates with higher rates I’m suggesting as a way to curb the invasion. ‘Existing main residence’ is self-explanatory. Holiday homes are covered by ‘Existing higher residential’.

My suggestions are at the bottom, in yellow. What I’m proposing is higher rates all round for those not already living in Wales. Exceptions could be made for key workers, investors and others deemed necessary for the national good.

Click to enlarge

I am also suggesting that LTT kicks in lower down the price scale, and there’s a good reason for this. In the Valleys, post-industrial towns, even parts of Swansea, properties sell at prices buyers from prosperous areas of England find irresistible. Many are being bought for the wrong reasons.

Just think back to Ty Isha, Llanelli.

What’s more, most properties bought by retirees will be below the £250,000 threshold, so why should they be free of LTT?

I suppose one response to everything I’ve written will be, “It all depends on the political will”, and clearly that political will is absent. For the following reasons.

  • Civil servants of the ‘Wales would be better without the Welsh’ mindset ‘advising’ – some shagging! – ‘Welsh Government’ ministers.
  • A zealously Unionist Labour Party containing too many politicians who can dismiss concern for Welsh identity as ‘ugly and narrow-minded nationalism’. And then of course they have their third sector and housing association cronies to think about.
  • A Conservative Party (plus a rag-bag of BritNats) who will never object to English people moving to Wales, or the votes they bring. “All British . . . free to move anywhere . . . God Save the Queen.”
  • A so-called ‘national party’, Plaid Cymru, scared witless of being called anti-English by the anti-Welsh. And anyway, national survival is nowhere near as important as trans rights, BLM, refugees, getting Trump out of the White House . . . 

You’ve read that 40% of the properties now sold in Gwynedd are to be used as holiday homes. I’ll bet that another 40% are bought by people moving from England into Gwynedd permanently. And it’s the same in other rural areas.

Thanks to the refusal of successive ‘governments’ in Corruption Bay to build a rural economy, the forced reliance on ‘shit anywhere’ tourism, the neglect of everywhere other than Cardiff . . . Wales, thanks to the ‘progressive’ parties’ refusal to confront the assimilation agenda, is approaching the point of no return.

To refuse to challenge the assimilation agenda is to accept it.

♦ end ♦

 




53 thoughts on “Housing for Wales or housing for the Welsh?

  1. Dafis

    Your opening comment – “We are confronted by a paradox. The stock of housing in Wales is growing, yet less and less of it is accessible to Welsh people.” – sums it all up.

    A multitude of factors at play all working to deliver assimilation by stealth, or not so stealthy for anyone who’s awake as opposed to woke.

  2. Dafis

    Just been watching the first few minutes of PMQ’s, the weekly comedy show that BBC runs instead of Spitting Image. How people can tolerate this 3rd rate Punch and Judy show and be content to be ruled indefinitely by this institution and its dysfunctional regimes is quite beyond me. Is it madness, or are most of us heavily preconditioned to accept such lunacy ?

    1. Sion Blewyn Coch

      There in lies the problem, the majority of the WA wouldn’t cut the mustard to get into Westminster………so we’ve got even worse problems.

      1. Dafis

        Can’t argue with that. 4 Plaid M.P’s in “The Smoke” are a cut above the Plaid’s lot in “The Bay”. As for the other Unionist parties our Tory lot are no brighter and not visibly thicker than the largely moronic crew that inhabit the Commons. As for Labour, well words fail me. We have a cluster of subservient deadheads in the Bay, while Starmer’s crew are mostly living in a parallel universe living out some protesters’ fantasies rather than confronting real issues and building a platform of credibility.

        Plaid’s Cardiff mob would be ecstatic if the London Labour weirdos got to govern and would abandon any semblance of independence just to exist happily alongside likes of Angela Rayner, Thornberry, Abbott, RLB, et al.

        1. I love, “living in a parallel universe living out some protesters’ fantasies rather than confronting real issues and building a platform of credibility”, which could of course apply just as well to Plaid Cymru.

          1. Dafis

            That’s what I alluded to in the last para.

            By the way that link you had on your tweet feed 31st Aug to Cohen’s shifting sands of tribalism was interesting. Can’t say I buy into all of his analysis but it’s good to see someone having a go at it in a journal which presumably gets read by people with “open minds”. He may be a touch wide of the mark in respect of Wales where Plaid have abdicated their stewardship/vanguard role in Welsh nationalism, but there again he may have foresight that predicts Gwlad and McEvoy’s team cutting through all the bullshit and human dross to get things moving once again.

            1. Sion Blewyn Coch

              Interesting, I would argue that the WA Bay Tories are considerably stupider than their Westminster equivalents, or most of them are. There are, unfortunately, some very sharp people within the Tory Party that ensure their and their supporters ideals/lifestyles are maintained….in a reasonably democratic process.

              Labour continue to disappoint. There are some good people within, but a lot of nutters. Unfortunately, no one moves from the labour (trade union) movements into politics much anymore….you have to be a solicitor. I watched an election discussion involving Adam Price and Angela Rayner (now the Labour deputy) and came to the conclusion that she is just offensive. She was rude, aggressive and totally disrespectful of anyone else’s opinion…dread to think what she’s be like with a bit of power, a defo egotist.

              But these pale when compared with our incumbents at the Bay. A vacuum of intellect/common sense and decency is how they come across. Only today, Vaughan Gething said it was difficult to track people coming back on a TUI flight as they’d given incorrect info. All of these people have ‘kin passports and have to give their details when they book their holidays. I ‘kin despair.

              Smiler and his Black Cat roundabout fiasco. Lesley “clueless” Griffiths….what would she do if she wasn’t an AM, charity shop worker???

              Even good old Carwyn, another narcissist, who now seems to want to compare Carl Sergeatnt to John Prescott. Diawl ifar

              1. I get the impression Carwyn is trying to generate sympathy. ‘What about me – I suffered too!’

                He deserves no sympathy because he’s the author of his own and other people’s problems.

              2. Dafis

                Rayner could be rude to Adam simply because she sussed that he wouldn’t tear her fuckin’ head off cos she is Labour, see, good friends like, so Adam consents because she don’t really mean nuthin’. That’s what you get with these bedfellows. And Plaid is the junior partner.

                As for those oh so smart/sharp Tories, well most of them are not. They are utterly reliant on their networks which have been cultivated since childhood for many of them. They have learnt behaviours, operate well within their own circles and have a gift for talking down. When confronted by a rhino of a different persuasion e.g Salmond or Sturgeon, they rapidly resort to name calling and general bitching with little or no depth to any argument. Typical of “we know what’s good for you” school of social & political thought

                1. David Smith

                  What’s that degree they all seem to read at Oxbridge? The one in which qualification is so renowned as being rife among the Old Boys in the party that it goes by a ‘buzzwordy’ acronym in the Guardian and that. Classics with History or something, in other words a degree largely useless for employment prospects in the ‘real’ world.

                    1. Dafis

                      PPE – which caused an awful lot of confusion early this year. Under-resourced NHS staff cried out for PPE, to which Tory boys ( and girls) with the finest classes of degrees in likes of History, Classics, Greats and Social Anthropology replied “we don’t need any more of those fuckers, look what Cameron did !”

                    2. David Smith

                      Pan troglodytes is the Latin name for chimpanzees but it could also be just as easily a description of the common populace who have been conned by these kinds of people. In orher words, the stupid are everywhere.

  3. Brychan

    On the subject of suggestions. The Energy Performance Certificate was introduced in 2012 by the Department of Energy & Climate Change and covers both England and Wales.

    You cannot buy or sell, or rent a home without an EPC. There is no distinction between native homes and holiday homes in incentives that apply. It’s supposed to be a measure of how energy efficient a residential property is, but is doesn’t, for the following reasons.

    (a) It takes no account of whether the property is detached, semi-detached or terraced, in terms of loss of heat through walls. A terraced home has two external walls, whilst a detached property has a minimum of four. This is a distortion to encourage and falsely add value new build ‘private estates’. There is a higher proportion of terraced properties in Wales.

    (b) It artificailly marks worse if the main heating system is electrical storage heaters and artificially marks better if the main heating system is gas. This is bizarre as not only has there been huge leaps in technology on electrical storage heaters, which of course consume, at lest in part, renewable energy of which Wales generates in abundance, in favour of the oil companies who pipe in fossil fuel, from England.

    Note – There are huge areas of rural Wales not on the gas grid and still using oil fired central heating but connected to the electricity grid. There has never been any incentives to convert these properties most of which are occupied by indigenous communities.

    (c) A property which has photovoltaic panels on the roof is automatically awarded points in the EPC rating, enhancing the property value. This is based on sunshine measures of the SE of England, not a reality in Wales. There have also been grants and incentives to install these. Again, it artificially provides incentives to wealthier detached properties that always have a southerly facing roof.

    Here are the differences explained between EPC certification in E&W compared with Scotland.

    https://www.metrocommercial.co.uk/index.php/energy-in-buildings/energy-performance-certificate/regional-differences

    This is wholly within the scope of devolved responsibility of the Welsh Government and could pass a legislation immediately like the Energy Performance of Buildings (Scotland) Regulations.

    Any incentives to make a Welsh home greener, it would can also exempt holiday homes not used as the primary residence from any incentives (energy efficiency grants, feed-in tariffs etc) to upgrade. This will also remove the ridiculous situation in Wales where properties that could otherwise be occupied by locals currently being used as private power stations installed with a grant, the property lying empty for most of the year yet earning subsidy from a feed-in tariff.

    More Green, more Welsh, less cost.
    Who would oppose?

    PS – The ‘drainage footprint’ is currently ignored. In urban areas there is a catastrophic impact of paving over front gardens for parking and removing green space and natural drainage. This is a particular problem in Cardiff. The new regulations could include this.

  4. Wynne

    Your analysis of the housing market spot on again Jac. You refer to lack of monitoring and control. I have evidence, from my own correspondence, of a subsidiary to a housing group granted planning permission for open market housing with a dwelling subsequently transferred to the parent company and grant funding provided by Welsh Government under the “Shared Ownership – Wales” scheme. My correspondence with stakeholders on the subject is continuing. Will update you on the outcome in due course.

    1. As we’ve both learnt over recent years, Wynne, the ‘Welsh Government’ doesn’t ask the awkward questions because it doesn’t want to know the answers. More importantly, it doesn’t want anyone else to know what a shambles it has made of Wales.

      1. Sion Blewyn Coch

        Reassuring, just like “Last of the Summer wine”. It’s only some old duffers who aren’t doing any harm…..except acquiring property by deception. Por old Foggy (forgot me job title), Compo (where’s me compo from the Assembly..be quick about it) and Clegg (he can be the feckless halfwit they brought to do all their work…for a few scraps of corn and some fermented cow piss). Ahhh the joys of OPD.

        1. BorderDweller

          Fascinating that a Home Counties author bought a farm and founded a commune developed without planning permission then wants the ‘free living’ people to get others to pay £1million for 80 acres for them to buy it from him

            1. Brychan

              Here is a potted history.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brithdir_Mawr

              Julian Orbach now writes books on architecture wearing an arran sweater in his comfortable house in Newport and wants his money back as the owner of the off-grid house. Called Brithdir Mawr.

              https://www.seedfactory.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/Julian-Orbach.jpg

              Emma Orbach got one of the fields in which she now lives, in the divorce settlement. Called Tir Ysbrydol.

              https://positivr.fr/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/emma-orbach-autonome-foret-maison-hobbit-8.jpg

              Mmmm.

              1. Aderyn bach

                There is a long history of colonialism in the Cwm Clydach, but it was when the good life guru, John Seymour moved there in 1964, that the area really began to change. Seymour was an establishment figure and his books on self sufficiency and his various programmes for the BBC, attracted many people to move to the area over the years, including, no doubt, the Orbachs! It is a potted history of environmental colonialism, where wealthy, connected, upper middle class people from the shires, etc manipulated the system and spawned OPDs, they weren’t moving to the area to appreciate and respect Welsh Culture, that’s for sure! The question is, why has the “Welsh Government” allowed them to colonise Wales in this way?

                1. Brychan

                  I was wondering if Susan Virginia Isaac (nee Schumacher) of Black Mountain College is the daughter of Ernst Friedrich Schumacher, he being a friend and co-author with John Seymour in the 1960s, the founder of the Preseli settlements. Schumacher was one of the founders of Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) near Machynlleth.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Seymour_(author)
                  and
                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._F._Schumacher

                  Both Schumacher and Seymour were part of the self-sufficiency romantic’s movement and travelled widely throughout the declining British Empire, places like Kenya and Rhodesia. Coincidently, the same heritage of “Dr” Jane Davidson. All three owe their inherited wealth to the colonies which was in their latter years invested in self-sufficiency land holdings back in blighty.

                  1. Schumacher is a fairly common name in German-speaking countries, less so outside, but for a Schumacher to be involved in the ‘Save the planet!’ (trans: give us your land) movement does suggest a connection. The colonial heritage is a link worth bringing to a wider audience. Which I might do in the piece I’m working on.

                    1. Brychan

                      David Attenborough and John Seymour were both concurrent employees of the BBC ex-colonial old boys network after WW2. A kind of ignore the natives, look over there, some lions. Productions for the BBC.

                      https://www.pantryfields.com

                      John Seymour died in 2004 but the family still have a holding in Pembrokeshire, formerly Fachongle Isaf, which is now called Pantry Fields.

                      http://www.oneplanetcouncil.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/parc-y-delyn-management-plan-2018.pdf

                      This is the recent OPD application for some of this land.

                  2. YBarddCwsc

                    Yes, Virginia Isaac (nee Schumacher) is the daughter of EF Schumacher.

                    In Virginia Isaac’s signed amazon review of the book “Lessons from a Small Country” by the world-famous Harvard faculty member, “Dr” Jane Davidson, we read

                    “….blah …blah … blah … From a personal perspective I was gratified to see reference to my father – E.F. Schumacher (Author of the world selling ‘Small is Beautiful’) in this book. … blah …. blah …blah”

      2. Brychan

        Thing is the BBC in this promo have deliberately edited to hide reality by a method well know as reverse chronology editing, and then did a pan in to start and a pan out to finish give the ‘effect’ of a ‘take a look inside’ sequence.

        At 00:41 we have a vacant just dug vegetable patch yet at 02:19 we see this same vegetable patch now full of instant grow kale with no tillage, then at 02:27 we see a pan of the same vegetable patch now with a lush foliage of instant grow beans. The shots have been edited out of chronological sequence. The drone shot at 00:05 we see all the trees with leaves on. It’s summer, yet at 01:25 we see no leaves on the deciduous trees with the Hawthorn just budding so this bit was shot in March. This is also evidenced by 01:25 with the lambs in full fleece, yet at 02:22 they have been shorn. At 02:18 we see a chap standing in the middle of the field in mid summer giving a piece to camera about growing crops, yet he has no sun tan. All the farmers I know have a substantial tan by mid summer. At 00:25 we have a female with her ring on the third finger of the left hand yet by end of sequence this ring is now on the middle finger. This suggests she was engaged and then got married. These shots have again been edited out of chronological sequence. At 01:24 we see a hen that’s eating out of a bowl, in which three eggs have be “placed” for effect.

        The text to the promo says “they juggle the demands of part-time jobs – three of them are working as carers during the pandemic – while looking after children and running volunteer weeks.” This is was an obvious violation of the Welsh lockdown rules. Volunteers were not allowed to visit separate households, especially that of carers. Also, one strange thing is that at 00:30 we see the main ceiling light on while they light candles, an obvious staged ‘do this to camera’.

        The BBC have staged this production content yet present it as fly on the wall footage. Has this rabble been evicted from the free house they currently squat in and the owner secured possession?

        1. Aderyn bach

          The BBC is such an obvious propaganda machine for the British Government. It is very clear these fluffy, goodlife programmes, encouraging the movement of people to rural Wales, are part of a colonising strategy to erode Welsh identity.

          Obviously, the Brithdir Mawr good lifers have connections, otherwise why are the BBC interested in making a programme about them? It is also very likely that they have finances somewhere and like most people from their backgrounds, will probably be in line to inherit one day, so not destitute at all!

  5. TEPEE or OPD HOUSING in WALES
    We need to clarify some differences between “TEPEE VALLEY” at Cwmdu Llandeilo and today’s “ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS” springing up all over rural Wales. I have not got the precise details but here are the approximate differences – they are APPROXIMATE and could be the subject for a Doctoral Thesis for a real PhD not a bogus one flaunted by “Dr” Edna Mitty “PhD” :-

    TEPEE VALLEY
    Back in the 1960s there was a drift in culture amongst many young people globally to what some refer as the “Flower Power” age. A lot of young people became “New Age Travellers” and set up camps unlawfully and drifted about and organised “Rave Parties”, generally involving trespass onto the lands of others. Most were peaceful and some were no more than aggressive brigands. Many had dropped out of work when jobs were plentiful and claimed Benefits when they could. Many were involved with drugs of sorts. This “Hippy” culture drew a lot of opposition to their lifestyle from many in the settled working population and landowners and farmers. One group of Hippies set up a Camp living in Teppee Tents in a secluded area at Cwmdu Village near Llandeilo. It was to become quite notorious and known as “Tepee Valley”. The local Council then was Carmarthen District which in that area became Dinefwr Council. Both of these Councils had quite a bad reputation for their “relaxed” and also “favouritism” and “nepotism” with regard to rural planning issues – this included incompetence in Planning Enforcement Actions. Tepee Valley grew and became quite a settled community for Hippies and they virtually “ran rings” around the Council. One Hippy actually became a Councillor! The camp is still there today as a “one off” in 2020 firmly settled by established use now over half a century. If you GOOGLE the words cwmdu.org you can find a lot about the community there. It can now say more than many real Welsh Community villages in that it has kept its Post Office and Village Shop and local Pub:-
    Internet says this – Cwmdu is a small but vibrant village in the heart of Carmarthenshire, South / South West Wales just a few miles from Llandeilo, Llandovery and a little further to Lampeter. It has a strong community spirit which has allowed it to punch way above its weight in what it offers to local residents and visitors to the area. At the centre of this picturesque village is the local pub and shop which have been run by the community since the year 2000. These amenities have lead to the village being awarded a Countryside Alliance Award as well as attracting royal attention when Prince Charles visited the village in October 2009.

    ONE PLANET DEVELOPMENTS OPDs
    These seem to be the same sort of settlements on the face of things, but in reality they have little in common. One Planet Developments are enabled to be established quite lawfully under the Technical Advice Note TAN6 of the Wales Government run by the Wales Labour Party supported by the Plaid Cymru Party. They are unique policies to Wales and as such are a magnet to “good lifers” from all over the UK to rural Wales. This is Wales Government Policy that was masterminded by a former Wales Labour Minister “Dr” Jane Davidson “PhD” to encourage young families to settle in rural Wales to learn and gain rural skills and attempt a farming venture and be sustainable and self sufficient living completely off grid. It sounds noble but it is creating ugly unsightly developments that would not be allowed anywhere else in Wales or the UK for any other group of people. Somewhere in the background lurks the reality that they are never completely sustainable. These ventures also rely a lot on “volunteers” – free Labourers, and on people paying to learn useless wood crafts like how to make a Yurt. What is the current business demand for Yurts in Wales? Or how to bong a drum and rattle beads to heal people of illness! This TAN6 Policy has created the future rural slums of tomorrow with families living in sheds and caravans and round houses made of mud and straw. They do not all abide by Building Regulations that quite rightly tie down other developers of standard homes. Some such places having gained established use in planning terms by lengthy dwelling occupancy and are starting to come on the market for massive figures like a £million as in a very recent BBC TV documentary. These are all the reality of Wales Government Policy that Councils and Planning Inspectors are bound to follow. If you live in a Welsh rural area you can expect a OPD to come to your village soon. The only solution to end this mess is for the Wales Government to urgently amend its Policy TAN6 but not one single member of the Cardiff Bay Senedd of any party seems inclined to move a Motion to Senedd on doing so. Remember it is only in Wales, acting like a magnet, to “goodlifers” from all over the UK to build future slums in our heartlands – even Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks are not exempt or proximity to Sites of Special Interest.
    ********************************** .

    1. Brychan

      “Tipi Valley” is between Abergorlech as the village of Cwmdu, although the residents do assist the post office in Cwmdu there and have done for many years cashing benefit cheques. Some kids also now go to the school in Talley.

      It’s been an itinerant camp sine 1976, not the 60s. This when the land was purchased by a wealthy, now dead benefactor. There is no attempt to live sustainably there. Just a collection of tipi’s and yurts with most residents transitory in nature, there is some vegetable growing and although they don’t claim to be self sufficient. Mainly living on benefits, they are actually probably more sustainable than OPDs which are land owning and permanent structure concerns.

      http://www.lifeforcemagazine.com/feb2014/index_11.htm

      The above article best describes the set-up. Just a few additions, Rik was stuck off as a vicar for weed conviction, and the current star resident is Daniel Hooper (aka Swampy) who rose to fame for shacking up in a tunnel near Newbury bypass in the 90s, the most recent arrest being at the power station in Pembroke under an XR banner.

      The population tends to increase in summer as most “campers” squat in empty buildings in cities in the winter months. Theoretically it’s possible for the council to demolish the tents are evict. There’s no attempt to apply for planning. But this may result in the kids and elderly being a homeless responsibility of the council. Although it might be wise to pull down the more permenant huts it they get out of hand.

      As I understand it there are holiday home owners and retirees in Talley welcome them as cash in hand labour to mow their lawns, cut hedges in summer and there’s a maker of wooden benches. Dyn Gwyrdd is correct to highlight the difference between these (honest spongers) and the OPDers (fake colonialists).

  6. Anonymous

    I never had a lot of time for the people who burned second home’s in Wales, however the way that South East Wales is now becoming a dormitory overflow for Bristol, I am fast becoming a supporter of their actions.

    1. Dafis

      See how circumstances change a man’s( or woman’s) perceptions. When Meibion did their stuff the problem was mostly west of a line from Dyffryn Clwyd to Swansea. Now the line is Offa’s Dyke and our tribes in Gwent and adjacent parishes are awakening. Good stuff – if we can arouse the likes of the men of Pooler the Viet Taff may rise again ! Wrecsam shouldn’t need to be reminded as likes of Carrie Harper is creating awareness of our current crisis and as far as I know Jenkins MAC resided there so pay homage to him.

      1. Wrexhamian

        The pro-Wales faction in Wrecsam Maelor represented by Carrie Harper have campaigned heavily against unwanted new-build in the county borough. They recently chalked up a notable success when Cyngor Wrecsam ditched a proposed 600-house development in Holt, right on the the border and perfect for commuters from Cheshire and Merseyside. The message seems to be sinking in among Wrexhamians that their neighbouring villages are being requisitioned as commuter villages, and I hope that Holt represents some sort of a turning point in the council’s previous acquiescence.

        Places like Holt are on the eastern, less-heavily populated, English-speaking side of town — low-hanging fruit for colonialists. My worry is that the builders and the Planning Inspectorate have now turned their attention to the western, post-industrial, Welsh-speaking villages. Even Rhosllanerchrugog has a lower percentage of Welsh-speakers, and a higher percentage of English accents, than a decade ago.

        Flintshire is now getting the same treatment, with villages like Bwcle targetted for unwanted new housing an easyish train-ride from Liverpool Lime Street.

        Jac is right that Wrecsam is an exemplar of the colonisation-through-housebuilding problem facing the eastern third of the country. His proposals should be brought to the attention of any pro- Wales party that has the political will to make it an election issue.

    1. I got as far as ‘Cah-win’, saw it went on for over an hour, and decided there was grass growing that needed to be watched.

      1. Sion Blewyn Coch

        “I thought…who’s going to read it….but lots of people approached me..” fuck off. You did it for the money you narcissistic bastard. Why not invent a title for yourself, whilst you’re at it. Who is paying money to this idiot Davidson to fawn and slurp at the feet of the ego???? Whoever, STOP IT…………it’s going to be a very boring/dry, and short, series of interviews.

  7. Emily Laurens

    What a fascinating thread of comments! For your info Julian Orbach is often in Drefach Felindre as his partner lives here part time, she is my neighbour!

  8. Dafis

    Spate of hand wringing today over a malicious little cartoon in the Telegraph.

    https://nation.cymru/news/offensive-or-just-not-funny-telegraphs-test-for-signs-of-welsh-at-airport-cartoon-divides-critics/

    Critics like those on nation.cymru should come to terms with the fact that D.T is the voice of supremacist Middle England most of whom find it impossible to accept that the benign Mr Drakeford likes to do things a little bit different just cos he’s Labour and they is Tory. Nothing to do with nationalism or independence, sadly. If they really want an identity issue to deal with perhaps a spate of Meibion type “gestures” would meet their needs for tongue in cheek humour. Might even get the more hard nosed Welsh Nats chuckling too.

    1. Anonymous

      Hmmmm, does this qualify as racist? Seems it would if certain changes were made eg tribal effigies & “we are looking for Africans”. However, it’s acceptable in its current format as it’s only the Welsh. No need to be offended but it perfectly illustrates the inconsistency of approach as to what is acceptable to be said/printed about different people. Early 20th Century it was acceptable to rent out rooms but exclude blacks, dogs and last of all Irish. The Irish have experienced some of the worst British racism in the last few hundred years… yet to see them asking for reparations. Is it because they are good old salt of the earth Paddies OR that they think it’s daft to do so?

      1. Dafis

        Probably does, but major obstacle is that we is not black, see. This is where being a “sub set” of the British identity fucks us in the minds of compliant conformists who conclude ” well we are only laughin’ at ourselves” accepting reduction to being an enduring subordinate and funny( to some)little tribe. Well let them fall off mountains and pick themselves up, let them get into difficulties around our coasts and bail themselves out. We can just sit back and have a laff.

  9. Dafis

    A Dafydd Trystan writes on nation.cymru

    https://nation.cymru/opinion/what-does-the-new-yougov-poll-tell-us-about-who-supports-welsh-independence-and-why/

    2 of his comments, by no means out of tune with the rest of his narrative, catch the eye :

    “But for those who list issues such as the environment, housing, welfare benefits; a group of what might be described as ‘progressive’ causes, support for independence is higher than the average – in some cases significantly so.”

    “So who does support independence? The evidence suggests that the strongest support for independence comes from Labour and Plaid voters, Remainers, voters under 50 and those who are concerned about housing, welfare benefits and environmental issues.”

    Well, am I the only one stumbling around in a trance ? Despite these evident priorities among those most excited about “Indy” there is little or no evidence that any of these people recognise the way in which these issues are used to entrench and consolidate the processes of re-colonisation and assimilation. The drug of kindness and compassion is being used to put us to sleep !

    1. Wrexhamian

      Yeh, but I support independence and yet housing would be on my list of three top grievances, for the very reasons analysed in Jac’s article; and I’m sure I’m not the only indy-supporter to want to take hold of Welsh housing and re-factor it so that it no longer facilitates colonisation and demographic change but meets the housing needs of actual Welsh people instead of commuters from Cheshire or Bristol. In fact, a pro-Wales government in Cardiff Bay wouldn’t need to wait for independence in order to right this wrong.

      You’re definitely right about enviro-colonialism, though, Dafis. It’s the ultimate coloniser’s con-trick, and judging by Plaid Cymru’s silence on the issue, they have clearly swallowed it hook, line and sinker. But, on an optimistic note, the OPD programme should be easier to put a stop to through legislation than the housing question, by simply scrapping TAN 6 and taking another look at the Future Generations Act.

      Strange that the Welsh language wasn’t on the list.

  10. Emily

    Oh… my…. god….. I have so many issues with so much that has been said here I don’t know where to start. I will leave this site because I have better things to do than discourse with bigots but here are a few thoughts for you:
    What are your definitions of Welsh people? Does “we is not black” mean that you can’t be Welsh AND black? So Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Colin Jackson are…. what? Do you not realise that this makes you sound like members of the EDL?
    What is your definition of Welsh identity? Is it only defined in opposition to englishness? Is it so flimsy that a few hippies moving in from Lloegr are such a threat? Again, shades of EDL. The Welshness I know, love and am part of is broad, fluid, giving, generous. Not in a paroxysm of fear about an existential and indefinable threat.
    If your version of Welsh identity is so completely tied up with being white, rural and Welsh speaking think about where that comes from – it is a construct created by Iorwerth Peate, Lady Llanover, Iolo Morganwg and the like to sell an idea of Wales to the Welsh and (perhaps more importantly) to the English. Take a look around you – Wales is diverse, vibrant, exciting, evolving.
    OPD’s are open to “Welsh” people and it’s a mystery to me why so few applications have been submitted yn gymraeg.
    Please take a long hard look at the things you have written here, your (mis)use of words like “race”, your othering of people who don’t fit into some very narrow definition of Welshness, your appalling description of poor working class people from english cities, people who may benefit massively from joining functioning communities like those we are lucky enough to be a part of. Please give generosity of feeling a try.

      1. Dafis

        Only just came on here to check out something from a week or more ago and found Emily above. Well,well, what a dull thud. She can’t pick up on a loud note of sarcasm ( we is NOT BLACK….) or is she just wilfully ignoring it because any lament about the difficulty in distinguishing ( as opposed to discriminating) doesn’t fit in with her glossy vision of how we should be. Much of what she writes is so typical of the pro-assimilation brigade ( or more like several armies by now). For instance, …..” a few hippies moving in from Lloegr are such a threat? Again, shades of EDL”…. If she sorted her vision out she would see that most of these people are a proxy for that EDL that so terrifies her. But no it’s easier to pick on some natives and let the colonists have a field day.

        As for Tom Shirley and Colin well they are Welsh but their lifestyles and career choices identifies them more closely with that vanilla globalist Anglo American showbiz community that really can’t give a shit about minorities so long as the cash keeps pouring into their bank accounts. Tokenism maybe ? There again the celeb life style is a precious thing among these modern day revolutionaries. Funny old business innit ?

        1. Rhosddu

          I think we should leave Colin Jackson out of this, Dafis. He’s Kerdiff, he’s learning Welsh, and his actress sister speaks it. No tokenism there.

          As for Emily, Cymru’s colonial status has probably never occurred to her, and if it has then the number of ishoos that she has ingested has caused mental constipation to the extent that the problems arising from colonialism (e.g. housing, poverty, demographic change) are of no consequence to her because they clash with her world view. The result is, as you say, an apologia for BritNat integration and assimilation. She could be Boris Johnson. .

          1. Dafis

            I’ll split hairs with you on that Rhosddu. Colin may be learning, he may indeed be fully fluent by now. That’s not my point about celeb tokenism. Their tokenism arises when these people just occasionally make a thing out of being Welsh when their main community and focus is the celeb sphere – a bubble or series of bubbles that floats aimlessly over us all sucking up the attention of people who should know better. That’s their way of doing things, fair enough, but it doesn’t buy no cred from me ! Poor old Emily couldn’t muster better examples for whatever point she was trying to make and that was in a way an even bigger tokenism gaffe.

            1. Rhosddu

              Point well made. I certainly think tokenism is as much as we can expect if they rely on non-Welsh media for the oxygen of publicity and an income stream.

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