A RALLY has been staged on a Pembrokeshire beach to highlight the impact of Wales’ housing crisis in the area. 

The popularity of holiday or second homes is helping to drive the increase in house prices in the county that is one of Wales' top holiday destinations and pushing up rental costs for local residents, making the area unaffordable say campaigners who called the rally to “declare an emergency”. 

It’s estimated between 150 to 200 people gathered on Parrog beach in Newport, or Trefdraeth which means town on the beach in Welsh, to demonstrate their concern and listen to speeches at the event dubbed ‘Rali ar y traeth’ (rally on the beach) 

Today’s rally was held in north Pembrokeshire, the part of the county where the Welsh language is traditionally at its strongest, and supported by the Welsh language society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, which is holding a Nid yw Cymru ar Werth (Wales is not for sale) rally at the Senedd in Cardiff in November. 

The National Wales: Some of the crowd at Parrog beach Picture: Martin CavaneySome of the crowd at Parrog beach Picture: Martin Cavaney

The society has long highlighted the impact of second homes on the housing market and the Welsh language. The continued increase in house prices has seen the issue rise up the agenda this year, especially in traditionally Welsh speaking areas. 

READ MORE: Welsh Government needs to help buck the ‘brain drain’

A group also walked the more than 20 miles, from St David’s, to the rally - and were greeted with cheers on their arrival. 

Bethan Williams one of the organisers of the rally said the walkers from St David’s highlighted how the issues of housing affordability, and holiday homes, are impacting the whole county. 

The National Wales: Messages on placards, in Welsh and English, say 'Where will our children live?' and 'Housing Need B4 Greed' Picture: Martin CavaneyMessages on placards, in Welsh and English, say 'Where will our children live?' and 'Housing Need B4 Greed' Picture: Martin Cavaney

She said: “It was a very good atmosphere especially when the walkers arrived and it was nice to have representation from the south of the county. 

“It is an issue that affects communities as a whole, it's maybe something that’s seen more obvious when it affects the language but this is about lost communities. The Welsh language is a huge concern but this is also about young people who can’t afford to live in their local area.” 

The impact on Newport has been highlighted in a new song by singer Lowri Evans, who was born and raised in Newport where she still lives. 

The single ‘Hwylio gyda’r lli’ (Sailing with the tide) was released yesterday and co-written by Hedd Ladd-Lewis another of the organisers of today’s rally. You can read more about the single here.

The National Wales: Hedd Ladd-Lewis addressing the crowd Picture: Martin CavaneyHedd Ladd-Lewis addressing the crowd Picture: Martin Cavaney

Hedd said: “I was brought up in Newport and the town has changed completely. There is a real concern about the future of Welsh as a community language as house prices deprive local people of the right and ability to live in their communities and as more houses are bought as second homes and Air BnBs.  

“There is more rent poverty as families have to pay unreasonable rent in the private sector, and which local person can afford to pay £400,000 for a terraced house? So what will the future of primary schools be? We've seen what's happened in Abersoch recently."  

READ MORE: Unregulated holiday accommodation owners 'making fools of' government

According to the organisers the average house in the county is on the market for £227,000, but three-bedroom homes sell for nearly £400,000 in areas such as Newport while they say the average annual salary in the area is £26,466 making buying a home very difficult for many. 

The National Wales: This group walked from St David's, in south Pembrokeshire, to the rally Picture: Martin CavaneyThis group walked from St David's, in south Pembrokeshire, to the rally Picture: Martin Cavaney

Heledd Evans, from Moylegrove, who has been looking for a home in the area where she grew up, told the rally about her experience of the local housing market. 

She said: "With a huge rise in house prices this year, the future of our area's youth and the rest of the Welsh countryside is more uncertain than ever. No youth, no future for our rural Welsh communities." 

Mabli Siriol, the chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith, also attended and encouraged people to come to the rally in Cardiff on Saturday, November 13 saying that it was time to take the message directly to Cardiff.  

READ MORE: Government slammed on second homes consultation

This summer the Welsh Government announced a consultation on measures it intends will address the issue of housing affordability and concerns over holiday homes. 

Bethan said Pembrokeshire County Council has acknowledged action is needed by agreeing a 100 per cent council tax charge for a second, or empty homes, but said further action is required by the Welsh Government. 

“The government is holding a consultation, we know there is a problem it is time for action now.” 

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.