ANY plans to merge the Vale council with Cardiff must be preceded by a public vote, say the Welsh Conservative group.

The Conservative group, who launched an online anti-merger petition in response to the proposals, have said that residents must have their say. They added that the group fears that local representation will be diluted in the event of a merger leaving the Vale marginalised by a wider "Greater Cardiff" area.

The Conservative Group last week secured cross-party support for a motion opposing the proposed merger with Cardiff, with just one councillor voting in favour of the controversial plans.

Conservative group leader John Thomas said: "This issue was not in the Labour Party’s manifesto for the Assembly elections in 2010 and the first minister has no mandate to force authorities to merge.

“If the Welsh Government is serious about these proposals then I believe the public has a right to have their say. Any fundamental change in the representation of the Vale should be preceded by a public vote.

“People also need to hear from their local Labour AMs, Jane Hutt and Vaughan Gething. Where do they stand on this issue and will they be fighting to support the Vale?”