In Our Opinion: Blaenau Gwent’s complex views

From Clifford Hay on the back of a bus to a 1970s street party, Welsh Cup parties have been a traditional fixture on the calendar in Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent. The sea of joy…

In Our Opinion: Blaenau Gwent's complex views

From Clifford Hay on the back of a bus to a 1970s street party, Welsh Cup parties have been a traditional fixture on the calendar in Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent. The sea of joy and festive bunting that lined the streets can often be attributed to a rare event – the Blaenau Gwent public deciding it wanted more be a home town instead of a holiday resort. Many local fans like the idea of having more normal members of the community around and asking local people to pay more attention to the town.

You’ll probably agree with me that one thing local people should have more choice of is more affordable housing, especially in areas that have high house prices. But not everyone agrees – some people think new homes should just be built next to existing houses rather than in wider areas – it would be easier for them to commute.

Watch the debate in the video player below or read the full text below to see what others think of a more relaxed attitude to housing in Blaenau Gwent.


Last week Cymru AM Jane Davidson published a letter in which she backed the proposal for the area to be converted to condominiums.

But those backing the move said they were keen to give Blaenau Gwent the chance to evolve and show that other people had plans for the place too.

Even those who had supported condominiums in the past could see that they weren’t the best solution for the future of the area and questioned the relationship between now and then.

A referendum at the end of the referendum closed with a majority for maintaining the town’s identity as a Gwent town rather than a holiday resort.

After our interview with Judith Jones, who is one of the big-hitters of local politics, it’s clear many people don’t agree with the idea of condominiums and are reluctant to lose the extra space they think their homes would provide.

As a historical community, there’s always been an argument that they’ve become too expensive and that letting them run up on properties would just further gentrify the town.

Some suggested people who want to develop or buy a property should show that in a letter before they then decide to go ahead and build there.


I appreciate you might not have been getting the ‘home town or holiday resort’ question asked but here we are more than 100 words in and yet no mention of Blaenau Gwent changing over the course of the referendum or the fact it could go either way.

I was one of the people who did not think changing the designation would make a difference. I thought it would be different from the Llanelli referendum when it reached a similar milestone.

So now we are past the 100th word I wanted to give a shout out to everyone who voted ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Please read on and let me know how you made your decision!


Councillor for Blaenau Gwent Cllr Keith Alansworthy is the head of the council’s policy and resources department. He was one of the big-hitters in the debate over the coastal city’s future.

Councillor Alansworthy opened the first column on the topic by saying the committee “would be remiss” to consider just a suggestion to change the town’s status when that option was not up for debate.

“Cranleigh and Gower have posed an interesting proposition, but I would hope that they’re only one part of the puzzle,” he added.

“Rather than push the button which would represent the very first time the council has considered something that has not been brought up as a matter of course.”

When he opened the second column on the issue, he described the area as the reason for the “London tradition” – a favourite line of Cllr Alansworthy throughout the debate – which he claimed was the result of a lack of housing on the coast.

But he also said the beach wasn’t going to change.

“If you’ll pardon the pun, the beach is for getting drunk on and soaking up the atmosphere after a hard day’s work on the

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