July 25, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

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Local authority to make summer decision on boundary changes

A FINAL decision on local authority boundary changes will be made this summer, the Welsh Government has confirmed.

Each of Wales’ 22 local authorities has been subject to its own boundary review by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.

The review aims to even out the wards within each local authority so that they are more democratic.

The changes would come into effect in time for the 2022 local government elections.

However, they haven’t been without controversy in Gwent.

In Caerphilly, proposed changes to the Blackwood ward were scrapped after residents voiced their concerns, while a councillor in Monmouthshire has raised concerns about the proposed changes in the town of Chepstow.

The Welsh Government’s minister for finance and local government, Rebecca Evans, said she hoped for decisions to be made about all the local authority reviews by the end of September.

A Welsh Government statement said: “A variety of factors have contributed to the current situation where some boundaries have not been reviewed for far too long and I do not want to wait another 25 years before changes are made again.

“I will, therefore, put in place a regular rhythm of reviews which requires that each local authority area is reviewed at least once every 10 years to ensure democratic representation is fair.”

The process for reviewing the electoral arrangements started in 2016 when the then cabinet secretary for finance and local government, Mark Drakeford, asked the commission to restart its 10-year programme.

The programme had previously been suspended due to the possibility of local government reform.

The first set of final proposals, for Ceredigion and Gwynedd, were sent to the Welsh Government in mid-2018 and the final proposals were for Monmouthshire, which were submitted earlier this month.

The chief executive of the boundary commission for Wales, Shereen Williams, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have completed this major programme of reviews which provide greater parity of representation to people at local government level across Wales.

“The fact that this 10-year programme has been completed in five years despite the difficulties of working through a pandemic is a real testament to the hard work of the Commission’s staff and of course the Commissioners themselves.

“I’d like to personally thank everyone who has been involved in these reviews for the way they engaged in the process.

“The proposals we have sent to the Welsh Government have been strengthened by the brilliant engagement we’ve had from local communities, councillors, and wider local government partners.

“I’d also like to thank all our other stakeholders for the part they have played in making this programme such a success.

“We’re now looking forward to seeing the Welsh Government’s decisions as they are made.”

The recommendations made by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales will take effect if and when the Welsh Government makes Orders to that effect.

Any Orders may contain slight modifications to the recommendations, if deemed necessary by the Welsh Government.

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