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Saturday, 8 September, 2001, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
Cymuned backs homes clampdown
Bethlehem, Carmarthenshire, west Wales
Cymuned says Welsh communities are threatened
Welsh-language pressure group Cymuned has supported plans by an English local authority to prioritise local housing for local people.

The group, which campaigns against the erosion of Welsh-language heartland communities, said it welcomed plans this week by Exmoor National Park authority to clamp down on buying a second home.

Cymuned meeting, Mynytho ,July 200
Cymuned gathered support in July
Cymuned - which means 'community' and numbers several prominent Welsh academics and literary figures - held its second gathering in Pembrokeshire on Saturday.

Executive member Simon Brooks - editor of the Barn magazine used by former Welsh Language Board chairman John Elfed Jones to compare English incomers to the effect of foot-and-mouth - welcomed the lead set by Exmoor.

At the meeting in Crymych, he said Cymuned was a "classic anti-racist movement" because it aimed to protect a minority culture.

Chairman Emyr Hywel said the group was "anti-swamping" rather than anti-English - he said Welsh-speaking communities could be wiped out within 10 years.

Wealthy outsiders

Earlier, Mr Brooks, said Exmoor resembled rural Wales, where "demand for housing is largely dictated by the purchasing powers of wealthy outsiders, rather than the wage packet of local residents."

He added: "In the Lleyn Peninsula, for example, local people are being systematically priced out of the housing market.

Local people are being systematically priced out of the housing market

Simon Brooks, Cymuned
"We welcome this new initiative by a National Park Authority in England as striking an important blow for social justice.

"It is sad that politicians in Wales have not had the maturity to tackle this issue in a clear-headed fashion like Exmoor National Park Authority."

Second meeting

Plaid Cymru MP Elfyn Llwyd had also earlier welcomed the decision to clamp down on second homes in Exmoor.

He shared the view of Cymuned and several campaigners that the problem was "the gradual erosion of community" and, in Wales itself, "the dilution of the Welsh language and culture."

Farmers's Union of Wales deputy president Glyn Powell and folk singer Tecwyn Ifan also attended the meeting, while singer Meic Stevens entertain members.

The group's inaugural meeting at Mynytho on the Lleyn Peninsula attracted over 500 people and packed out the local village hall.

They heard outspoken Gwynedd councillor Seimon Glyn brand Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones a "coward" over the issue of protecting Welsh communities.

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