By Dewi Morris
Following a Cardiff Council Cabinet meeting on Thursday September 26, the Cabinet has adopted a proposed street naming policy stating that new streets in Cardiff are to be given Welsh language names.
The policy also states that existing streets in residential areas will remain as they are. Streets in shared, open and public areas such as Cardiff city centre and Cardiff Bay will become fully bilingual, as and when road signs are replaced. This includes some of Cardiff’s most notable and famous street names, such as City Road and Womanby Street, having their signs upgraded to include their historic Welsh language names; Heol y Plwca and Heol y Fuwch Coch.
Stated by the adopted policy, its purpose is to ensure “the naming of new streets in Cardiff reflects local heritage, with names for new developments which are historically, culturally and linguistically linked.” The Welsh Language Commissioner, Meri Huws, echoed the cultural importance of the policy and its importance to Cardiff’s identity as she welcomed the new policy. Meri Huws also pressed on the importance of the policy as a “perfect opportunity to coin forms which will educate users about the rich history of the Welsh language in Cardiff instead of merely translating the English forms in current circulation.”
The policy emphasises a need for parity between Welsh and English language street names around Cardiff. As well as insisting the “monitoring of street names will be carried out.” Cymdeithas yr Iaith, a campaign group for the Welsh language, have welcomed the policy urging the council should ensure “that all new developments have a Welsh only name, including estates and new areas.”
Support for the new policy has been backed by a public consultation of 2,248 respondents. 60.8% of respondents agreed the policy would lead to parity between Welsh and English street names around Cardiff, while 61.5% agreed the policy would have a positive effect on the Welsh language and its status in Cardiff.
Councillor Caro Wild, the Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, believes the policy will “assist our vision of developing Cardiff as a truly bilingual capital city.” Cllr. Wild likens the policy to that implemented in Wellington, New Zealand, which embraces “their own heritage by promoting the Māori language until it has parity with English.”
The policy hopes that the Welsh language, as well as Welsh culture and history, remains a part of Cardiff’s unique identity.