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Welsh council planning departments face the chop

Published: Friday, 19th June 2015

Welsh public service minister Leighton Andrews has published proposals for the future shape of local government in Wales.

The proposals could mean the present 22 local authorities would be reduced to either eight or nine depending on what happens in North Wales.

His blueprint envisages the return of historic counties such as Dyfed and West Glamorgan. Dyfed would be brought back by re-merging Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion. West Glamorgan would return by joining Swansea once more with Neath Port Talbot.

Cardiff would merge with the Vale of Glamorgan, while a merger between Caerphilly, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Newport and Monmouthshire would create Wales’ biggest council, with a population of nearly 600,000. Bridgend would join Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil.

The minister will consult further on whether to move to two or three councils in North Wales. In the eight-council model, Ynys Mon, Gwynedd and Conwy would merge, as would Denbighshire, Wrexham and Flintshire. The alternative would see Conwy and Denbighshire merging.

The minister insisted: “The case for fewer local authorities in Wales is compelling and widely accepted. We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to reform and reshape our councils to drive funding into improving frontline services. We will drive down the cost of politics and administration in local government.”

He added: “The case in North Wales is finely balanced between two or three local authorities. We therefore feel that there is a case for a further debate and would welcome views.”

Andrews signalled there would be a draft ‘Mergers and Reform’ bill in the autumn. This will include further, formal consultation on proposals for local authority mergers and include a Regulatory Impact Assessment.

View the written statement

Roger Milne