Plaid Cymru’s Gwynedd Councillors have harshly criticised the Welsh Government's National Development Framework which shows a lack of respect, understanding and awareness of the Welsh language, rural areas and economic growth of north Wales.
At a recent Gwynedd Council cabinet meeting, Councillors were left in disbelief over the flaws seen in the Government’s document currently out for consultation with local authorities. The Framework sets out the Welsh Government’s targets for housing, employment and development over the next 20 years.
Deputy Leader, Councillor Dafydd Meurig said: “I initially thought the document was just an April Fool’s joke! This document sets out the Welsh Government's vision for development and land use over the next twenty years. In the First Minister's foreword, there is mention of energy, climate, housing and there is not one single word about the Welsh language.
"There are inconsistencies within the document when discussing three regions of Wales, rather than the usual four regions the rest of Welsh Government departments address when discussing Wales. And within a map of the document, there is no link made between south and north Wales, and it is the Government itself that should be promoting strategic economic growth and development from south to north. It's a joke!
Councillor Gareth Thomas said: “There is talk of economic growth in the Deeside and Wrexham areas. And not one word about economic growth in rural areas. Is an individual expected to travel to a job all the way from Aberdaron to Wrexham, a journey that can take five hours to complete in a day? There are obvious shortcomings in these plans.
“I am also disappointed that there is no word within the Framework on the Government's own enterprise zones. As the one responsible here in Gwynedd for the Snowdonia enterprise zone in Llanbedr and Trawsfynydd, I would expect to see a document on economic development including the enterprise zones as part of that development. ”
Councillor Nia Jeffreys, who has responsibility for the Welsh language at Gwynedd Council, said: “I'm more than disappointed, I'm fuming! The Welsh language is portrayed as traditional and historical language. It's a disgrace. The Welsh language here in Gwynedd and elsewhere in Wales is a living, vibrant form of communication. It's an integral part of our psyche, it's the language of work, the language of play, the language of business. It shows a complete lack of understanding of our nation.”
Plaid Cymru Gwynedd leader, Councillor Dyfrig Siencyn said: “This document lacks ambition for our country, our communities and our people. We see this on many levels from this Government, as individuals, communities and a country, we are being refrained from fulfilling our potential.
“Is there a reasonable explanation why this Government is employing an English University to prepare the research for this document? Is that what has gone wrong here? I seriously question the whole process.
“As Co-Chair of the Rural Forum, it is a huge disappointment that there is no mention of promoting the rural economy here. No word on the market towns that feed our rural areas. It is a completely flawed document and a response to that effect will be shared with the Minister in Cardiff. Wales deserves much much better!”
Local authorities have sent their official response to the Welsh Government.