Politicians united and divided over merger

POLITICIANS from two parties have united against proposals to merge Cardiff and the Vale local authorities, but also argued about them.

Conservative Vale councillors said they were concerned following the publication of the Williams Commission report, last week, which proposed Wales’ local authorities be reduced from the current 22.

Vale-based South Wales Central AM Andrew R T Davies, Conservative, said proposals to merge Cardiff and the Vale into one local authority would create further uncertainty and at great cost to the taxpayer.

The Vale Conservatives said they believed the Vale would be swallowed by a new Greater Cardiff region – with disastrous consequences for local identity, future investment and public services.

Both they and Mr Davies called on Labour Vale Council leader Cllr Neil Moore to stand up for Vale residents while Mr Davies also said it threw the LDP (Local Development Plan) into question.

Conservative group leader John Thomas said a merger would be bad news for Vale residents adding that the Vale delivered “excellent services” which were envied by larger local authorities, including Cardiff.

He said: “If the Vale of Glamorgan was to become part of Greater Cardiff there would be a great deal more residential housing development throughout the Vale. This would affect Barry and Penarth, as much as it would the Rural Vale.”

He said highways, schools and social service infrastructure would suffer and other council facilities because in the old days of the old South Glamorgan County Council hardly any money was invested in the Vale as it was all spent in Cardiff.

“Barry would be largely irrelevant,” he said. “Penarth would become a mere suburb of Cardiff and the Rural Vale would be completely ignored. Councillors and more importantly council money would be focused on Cardiff and not the Vale, as Cardiff councillors would hugely outnumber Vale councillors.

“We face a grim future, with poorer services, more housing, a lack of investment and little influence.”

“I am taking this opportunity to call on Neil Moore and the Labour leadership in Barry to stand up for the people of the Vale. He should make it absolutely clear that this takeover by Cardiff Council is completely unacceptable, as he knows that it will lead to a significant deterioration in the quality of life for Vale residents.”

Cllr Neil Moore slammed the comments.

He said: “Where on earth have the Conservatives been for the last week? I do not accept that a merger with Cardiff would be in the interest of the people of the Vale of Glamorgan.

“The fact that the Conservative group has been silent is the real issue here. They should explain where they stand on the recommendations.

“I do not agree with the recommendations and I consider them to be neither reasonable nor justifiable.

“If these recommendations are agreed by Welsh Government, it will have a severe impact on the community, not least in terms of jobs; the cost of reorganisation and service disruption caused as a result. I cannot understand why a full scale structural reorganisation is necessary, affordable or required at this time.”

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