Eryri National Park Authority will support Gwynedd Council’s Buy to Let scheme.

The authority agreed on Wednesday, 7 January that they would support the scheme by partially funding the purchase of up to five residential properties as they become available on the open market. Upon completion of any necessary restoration work, the properties will be let by the council at an affordable rent to locals, with Adra managing the properties.

Under the scheme the council has bought 20 properties with plans to purchase 80 more. These homes will be let to people who meet the Tai Teg criteria.

The money for purchases will come from the authority’s commuted sums fund. ‘Commuted sums’ is the term used for a financial contribution payable to a Planning Authority by a housing developer when they do not provide affordable housing on a site. Instead, the funding is allocated for the construction or provision of affordable housing in other locations. The authority is expected to make the best use of the sums received in terms of the provision of affordable housing that meets local need within the National Park area.

The authority also decided to support a request by Menter Iaith Conwy on behalf of the Penmachno Housing Partnership for financial assistance to fund a part-time Affordable Housing Officer. The Bro Machno community is facing grave challenges in terms of affordability and access to the local housing stock, and as such the viability of the Welsh language in the area is under threat. The Affordable Housing Officer will look at options to facilitate the purchase of empty properties by the community for local use. The model whereby local communities take ownership of houses is becoming more commonplace and are considered a practical response to the challenges they face.

Cllr Elwyn Edwards, Chair of the National Park Authority’s Planning and Access Committee, said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to support these important schemes to bring residential dwellings back into long term, local occupancy. Such schemes are essential to help safeguard the future of the language and culture of our communities, and the viability of Eryri’s rural economy.”

Housing and Property Cabinet Member Cllr Craig ab Iago said: “I’m extremely pleased to hear about the additional financial support from Eryri National Park towards the council’s Buy to Let scheme. Affordable homes are not just bricks and mortar, but a lifeline to keep our communities in Gwynedd alive and thriving. By combining resources in this way we can go a step further in supporting communities in areas where a very high number of Gwynedd residents have been priced out of their homes, such as those in Eryri.”