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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 13:16 GMT
Rural housing control calls made
Building equipment at a new housing development
Controlling the price and who lives in the houses is wanted
Calls for planning rules to be changed in order to protect rural communities are made by Gwynedd Council.

The Plaid Cymru run council has said it wants to be allowed to control the price and who lives in new homes.

It claimed the assembly government's planning inspector concentrates too much on urban developments.

Jane Davidson, minister responsible for housing, said she would not respond to Plaid Cymru's comments, as discussions on policy had only just begun.

The calls came after the council submitted a draft of its blueprint for planning decisions in Gwynedd up until 2016, called the Unitary Development Plan.

I know a lot of people who have left the village because of a lack of housing
Awen Roberts, Trefor

Dafydd Iwan, a member of Gwynedd Council's ruling Plaid Cymru group, said the inspectorate showed a "lack of understanding" of rural issues.

"The most graphic example is that the planning inspectorate does not accept the concept of a rural village," said Mr Iwan.

"A rural village is where, if we allowed houses to be built for local need, they are affordable homes, where the price, and who lives in them, should be controlled by the council, forever," he said

Mr Iwan said the current policy of "drawing lines on maps", where development would be encouraged in the more urban areas, did not work.

"We need a more holistic approach," he said.

"The policy needs to look a every aspect, the community, language, demography, history and geography - everything that affects how we see the communities in the future," he added.

'Working closely'

According to Gwilym Jones and his partner Awen Roberts - who are building a house in their home village of Trefor near Caernarfon - it is important to be able to live in their community.

"I know a lot of people who have left the village because of a lack of housing," said Ms Roberts.

Jane Davidson, the minister responsible for housing said: "It would be premature to comment in any detail on what councillor Iwan has said, as the Unitary Development Plan process still has some way to go before adoption of the plan.

"I am keen to see the plan adopted and my officials are working closely with Gwynedd County Council officers to achieve that," she added.

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