A housing development in North Wales has been blocked over fears it would ‘harm’ the Welsh language. 

The six family homes would likely be unaffordable for locals who speak it as their native tongue, planning chiefs said.

Inspectors also listed effects on neighbours in their rejection of the proposal. 

The homes were set to be built on the site of an old church in the seaside village of Morfa Nefyn, near Mount Snowdon. 

But the upmarket properties, each promising a balcony, garage and an open-plan kitchen and lounge, were rejected by local authority Gwynedd Council.

The Planning Inspector backed up the decision following an appeal by developer Commercial Development Projects Ltd. 

Inspector Vicki Hurst said: ‘I have insufficient information before me to conclude that the proposal would genuinely be accessible to meet the identified need for family homes in the area and would fail to make a contribution towards affordable housing.

‘Equally, in the absence of information in relation to local wages and the likely market price of the houses I am unable to conclude that the proposal would be accessible to those within the local communities that speak Welsh.

‘In the absence of such information I am unable to reach a view that the impact of the proposal on the Welsh Language would not be harmful.

‘Furthermore, as set out above the proposal does not provide for the delivery of affordable housing.

‘Therefore, the potential for any contribution towards the Welsh language as a result of such housing cannot be taken into account.

‘I note the intention to provide Welsh names for the dwellings, the proposed local marketing strategy and the associated benefits to the local economy during the construction phase, but I do not find these to be sufficient to outweigh the potential harm to the Welsh language through the housing not being genuinely accessible to those in the local communities.’

The developer had carried out a Welsh Language Statement which said the homes would have a neutral impact on Welsh.

A 2015 law requires public bodies – such as councils – to build resilient communities, culture and language.

At the planning meeting, Councillor Gareth Jones said: ‘Morfa Nefyn is a coastal village with too many holiday homes, and policy states that only affordable homes should be approved.

‘This would undoubtedly harm the Welsh language by leading to even more incomers moving in.’

The Welsh Government wants to have a million speakers of the native tongue by 2050.

Currently around 30% of the population speaks Welsh, with fairly steady growth over the last decade.

Language app Duolingo said Welsh was the UK’s fastest growing language.

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