Varteg residents petition council over 'Y Farteg' name change

8:08am Friday 13th December 2013

A VARTEG resident’s petition has been submitted to Torfaen council in opposition to the proposed name change to Y Farteg.

A consultation was relaunched last month, reigniting a row started over the village following an initial proposal earlier this year.

It sparked widespread humour and concern at the time, and such was the stink that news outlets as far away as Canada and Minnesota in America picked up on it, while nationals from The Daily Mail to the New York Daily News also jumped on the bandwagon.

But Abersychan ward councillor Giles Davies presented a petition signed by around 120 Varteg residents to the full council Christmas meeting of the local authority yesterday, to make clear their position had not changed.

Speaking at the meeting he said: “The opposition is such that 99.9 per cent of residents do not want this.

“While supportive of the Welsh language generally, in this particular case when you consider the many years the Welsh version of the name has not been used it is redundant locally.

“Residents feel introducing it would create unfortunate opportunities for immature ridicule.”

Residents thought they had seen the back of the ‘insulting’ idea when Torfaen council ruled Farteg was inappropriate earlier this year, but the Welsh Language Commissioner subsequently suggested the alternative, Y Farteg.

Locals fear they would become the butt of jokes, with many adamant that the ancient name Varteg accurately reflects the history of the locality.

Others have said they do not feel the change would represent money well spent in times of biting austerity across the borough.

But others, like the Mayor of Blaenavon, councillor Gareth Davies, have said they do not believe it would make much difference.

Cllr Giles added after the meeting: “We are not against the Welsh language as we have been accused of by some. It’s about representing the people in the ward and how they feel. They don’t want it and we support them.”

Fellow ward councillor Wayne Tomlinson added: “At the end of the day it’s the resident’s opinions that matter.”

The council name-change consultation closed on Monday (December 9).

A Torfaen council spokesman said when the consultation was announced: “If either ‘Y Farteg’ or ‘Farteg’ are adopted it will mean that in the future one of these Welsh place names will be used alongside Varteg.”

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