UK
24/09/2013 10:13 BST | Updated 24/11/2013 05:12 GMT

Welsh Town Vartgeg Could Be Renamed Farteg, But Locals Aren't Happy

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Farteg is a small town of 1,000 people

Residents in a Welsh village are upset at plans to rename the town Y Farteg, claiming it would be humiliating and leave them the butt of people's jokes.

Welsh language campaigners have called for the town of Varteg to be renamed, saying in the local language there is no letter V, making the current name incorrect.

Villager Sioned Jones, 42, told Wales Online: "Just imagine how embarrassing it will be to have the word fart in your village's name never mind being followed by egg.

"I'd be humiliated every time I told someone my address.

"Everyone will be laughing at us and coming to get photographed next to the street signs."

Fellow villager Ray Leyshon, 62, added: "Can you imagine the bus going past and some naughty schoolboy shouting: 'You are going to Fart Egg'? It is just a bad joke."

Many road signs in Wales show place names in both Welsh and English - for example visitors to the country's capital will be greeted with Cardiff and Caerdydd.

However, some Welsh sounding places have had their names anglicised - before eventually reverting back to their proper and more traditional spelling.

And the 1,000-strong population village of Varteg, near Pontypool, is now facing a consultation by Torfaen Council on its name.

If Y Farteg was adopted it would not replace Varteg - with both names being shown on local signs.

But the idea has been slammed by Torfaen MP Paul Murphy.

He said: "Why should people in Varteg be told how to spell their own place name?

"Varteg is not an English word so translating it is totally unnecessary.

"It's a name that reflects our rich history and culture in the Eastern Valley, with its Welsh language and English language influences.

"I'm supportive of sensible steps to help the Welsh language, but this is not the way to achieve that - it will only fuel resentment."

A Torfaen council spokesman said changing the name to Farteg would be "inappropriate".

But the village could still have its name changed to Y Farteg and locals are now being consulted about this.

A council spokesman said: "After discussion with the local councillor the Farteg was considered inappropriate and was not adopted at the time.

"The Welsh language commissioner has proposed the alternative name Y Farteg, upon which the residents of the Varteg community will be able to express their views."

However, the Welsh Language Commissioner supported the change.

In a letter to the council, the commissioner's office recommended Y Farteg should be the standard form in both languages.

Its guidelines for standardising place names says if the difference between the Welsh and English forms was only one or two letters, then a single form should be used - with preference given to the Welsh form.

It also said Varteg should not be adopted as the single form of the name "as this is a corrupt and non-standard spelling of the original Welsh name".

Torfaen council said its consultation came following a three-week public consultation in January, which considered 22 Welsh place names across Torfaen.

The council will start its consultation on the name shortly and an event will be held in the community to gauge local views.