To present the findings of the research for members’ information.
· To accept the report and to note the observations
· Refer a request from Committee members to the relevant Cabinet Member to consider updating the information in future
The Research and Information Manager submitted the results of the research. It was reported that this research was work commissioned by the Council's Leadership Team in 2018 to gather evidence in the field so that information would be available for various Council functions in the fields of housing, planning, the Welsh language etc.
The research involved visiting every new house that had been built in Gwynedd within a specific period, asking some questions about who lived there, where they had moved from and their reasons for choosing a new house in that area. They were also asked about where they had lived previously to gather evidence of the housing supply chain before moving to a new house. It was noted that there were two versions of the results - a concise version and a complete version detailing the findings. It was explained that the intention was to submit the information as part of a large group event on housing issues during 2020, however, in light of Covid, holding such an event would not have been practical. It was reiterated, because the local housing market had been transformed during the Covid period, that the research results had become dated earlier than expected.
It was highlighted that all Council elected members had received an opportunity to receive a presentation on the work at a briefing session in December 2021.
Some of the main findings were discussed elaborating on the research results on Language issues
· That the proportion of new housing residents who were Welsh-speakers (namely 68%) was very similar to the proportion for the general Gwynedd population at the last Census (namely 65%).
· There was a pattern for every age group that indicated that younger new housing residents were more likely to speak Welsh than older residents, with 91% of 3-11 year olds and 68% of 25-44 year olds able to speak Welsh. The lowest percentage (47%) belonged to the 65 - 84 year old age group.
· That residents of new housing in "small" developments (four houses or less) were slightly more likely to be able to speak Welsh than the residents of larger developments (74% as opposed to 66%). Also, a slightly higher percentage of new social rented housing residents spoke Welsh compared with the residents of other types of new housing (74% compared to 68%)
Gratitude was expressed for the report
An opportunity was given for committee members to ask further questions - and the Officers answered those questions
When would the results of Census 2021 be published?
Some results were to be published during May / June and then in phases until the end of October 2022. It was reiterated that no specific timetable had been published.
The Department was congratulated on completing very interesting research. Was there a need for a third option in asking what the main language of the home was? It was asked whether the finding reflected the general trend?
It was accepted that there was a need to consider an additional question, however, the questionnaire followed the pattern of the census for consistency. The questionnaire asked about the main language of the home, but by holding a conversation more information was provided. The research reiterated the general opinion.
It was noted that a request for this information had been made some time ago following concerns about the impact of the Local Development Plan. This important information about planning matters was welcomed. Was it intended to update the information and review the situation? Suggestion that new houses built in light of the Local Development Plan could be monitored. This had set the foundation - it was proposed that it was timely to update the information.
It was noted that this research had only considered new housing and it was expressed that a number of departments had expressed an interest in the research and therefore there had been many requirements on the work. It was noted that informal conversations had been held with the Planning Department, the Language Unit and the Housing Department and for the time being, it was not intended to carry out research using the same pattern - as it was possible to obtain the information from other sources.
Would it be possible to refer the matter to the Communities Scrutiny Committee?
A presentation had been given to all Council elected members on 14 December 2021 - it was suggested that the documents should be circulated again and to consider the best way forward.
That the work encouraged discussion - it was an important piece of work that needed to be updated and kept alive.
· To accept the report and to note the observations.
· Refer a request from Committee members to the relevant Cabinet Member to consider updating the information in future.