A PETITION against the proposed merger of the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff councils has been launched by the Vale's Conservative group leader.

In January a report into the potential merging of Wales' 22 local authorities, into as few as ten, divided opinions among the Vale's politicians.

The leader of the Vale Conservatives, Councillor John Thomas, has spoken out against the Williams report recommendations, which could be in place as early as Easter this year.

Cllr Thomas said that while mergers may be appropriate for other councils, it is unnecessary for the Vale of Glamorgan.

"When the Williams Commission was established we were keen to look with an open mind at what proposals were brought forward," he said. "The cost of politics does need to be reduced and public services must be delivered efficiently and effectively in the best possible way to meet the needs of local residents.

"However, in the case of the Vale, the Conservative council group are clear that we do not believe a merger with Cardiff would be in the best interests of residents.

"The Vale of Glamorgan is a self-sufficient local authority which, broadly speaking, delivers excellent services to its residents.

"The Vale does not habitually under-perform and has never been in danger of slipping into 'special measures' like some other authorities.

"We are clear that there is no local need or desire to take the decision-making process away from locally-elected and accountable councillors.

"Naturally it is a matter for other local parties to make their own views clear on the findings of this report, but I sincerely hope that we get broad support for this petition which strongly rejects any Welsh Government moves to merge the Vale with Cardiff."

The Hands Off The Vale petition is available to be signed online at www.ipetitions.com/petition/handsoffthevale