THE number of councillors representing Swansea will rise from 72 to 75 at next year’s local Government elections.
And some the wards they represent will look different to now.
For example a new area representing Swansea Marina and SA1, called Waterfront, will be carved from the current St Thomas and Castle wards.
Further north the largely rural Mawr ward will be no more, with a new area – Pontlliw and Tircoed – absorbing some of its voters.
There will be 32 wards, rather than the current 36, with a more equal voter-councillor representation than currently. At the moment, Gowerton councillor Susan Jones represents 3,969 voters while Mawr councillor Brigitte Rowlands has a 1,390-strong electorate.
The changes were recommended by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, following a lengthy review, and have now been approved by First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Changes to other counties in Wales will be announced in the coming weeks.
While the commission said it had sought to maintain community ties wherever possible, some Swansea councillors aren’t happy with next year’s layout.
The three wards of Killay South, Killay North and Dunvant, which have four councillors between them, will become a three-councillor ward called Dunvant and Killay.
“We fought against it,” said Killay North councillor Mary Jones. “The communities are different.”
A petition opposing the changes, she said, received hundreds of signatures.
Dunvant councillor Jennifer Raynor said she felt the combined new ward was a “short-sighted” decision.
“I think it fails to recognise that they (Killay and Dunvant) are two separate communities, and have been for some time.
“They are densely-populated, with a lot of additional building in the pipeline.”
Another new but familiar-sounding ward will be Mumbles, eked out largely from the Oystermouth and Newton wards, which will both cease to exist.
Newton councillor Will Thomas said it would be a shame to lose Newton.
“It’s such a great community, and I have worked hard on lots of projects,” hesaid. “If I’m lucky enough to get elected next year I would relish the chance of doing the same for Mumbles.”
A total of 15 wards won’t have any boundary changes. They are Bishopston, Bonymaen, Cwmbwrla, Fairwood, Landore, Llansamlet, Mayals, Morriston, Mynyddbach, Penclawdd, Penderry, Penllergaer, Sketty, Townhill and Uplands.
The names of three of them, though, will be changed to Bon-y-maen, Pen-clawdd and Mynydd-bach on the recommendation of Welsh Language Commissioner Aled Roberts.
The new Waterfront ward coming into being next year will shrink the area currently covered by St Thomas councillors Joe Hale and Clive Lloyd.
Cllr Hale said he could see the logic in unifying SA1 and the marina.
“It’s starting to seem like its own community,” he said.
Cllr Lloyd also said it made sense, but regretted what he felt had always been a clear division between the traditional working class areas of St Thomas and Port Tennant and the newer SA1 across Fabian Way.
“I think Fabian Way is a massive barrier,” he said.
Shereen Williams, chief executive of the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, said he was delighted the modifications for Swansea had been approved, and thanked all those who contributed to the review.
“These changes will mean greater electoral parity for the people of Swansea,” he said.