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Storm in a T-cup rumbles on as Mid Wales village name row is reignited

By Dominic Robertson | Mid Wales | News | Published:

The row over a village place name in Mid Wales could be reignited after a recommendation from the boundary commission.

A sign vandalised to obliterate the 'T'

A long-running saga over the name of a Montgomeryshire village Llansantffraid was settled back in 2014, after years of debate over whether it should include a 't' or not.

The issue still causes consternation with some, and in recent months more than ten signs in the area have been vandalised to remove the 't'. Police have been alerted to the damage and replacement signs are being considered but would cost several thousand pounds.

In a fresh development, the Local Democracy Boundary Commission for Wales now looks to go against the 2014 decision, with a recommendation for a change to the electoral ward name.

The recommendation, which still has to be agreed by the Welsh Government, is only for electoral correspondence for the ward to carry both versions of the name – Llansantffraid, and Llansanffraid.

The final report also includes a note which says the Welsh Language Commissioner had recommended going with only the name without the 't'.

Preference

It states: "The Welsh Language Commissioner considered the electoral ward should have the single name of Llansanffraid, commenting that If the difference between the Welsh form and the 'English' form consists of only one or two letters, the use of a single form is recommended, with preference being given to the Welsh form."

However, the commission rejected the suggestion and has instead called for both to be used.

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Gwynfor Thomas, county councillor for the ward of Llansantffraid, has written to the commission calling for it to abandon the proposal, but a spokesman said representations would need to be made to the Welsh Government.

Councillor Thomas wrote: "I have received representation from the local community council and residents in Llansantffraid, and they have asked me to write to you to request that our electoral ward should retain the name 'Llansantffraid' which we believe has the stronger claim to be regarded as the 'Welsh' or 'correct' name in this regard.

"There has been much debate on the subject in previous years and the outcome of those discussions was that there was overwhelming support for the spelling of Llansantffraid with a 'T'. There is no acceptance that there is a Welsh and English spelling of the village name. With all due respect to the Welsh Language Commissioner, we believe that long historical precedent and wide public acceptability should prevail in this instance.

"I would be grateful, therefore, if you would accept our proposed modification to the recommendations."

The row originated when Powys County Council changed the spelling as it said a mistake was made in the mid-1800s when Llansantffraid – named after the female Celtic Saint Brigit – wrongly described her as a man.

Dropping the 't' from the name correctly identified her as a woman, said the authority.

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