Laura Sharman 27 January 2015

Council merger plans rejected by minister

Plans for six councils in Wales to merge have been rejected by minister for public services, Leighton Andrews.

Following the publication of the Williams Commission – which called for the number of councils to be reduced from 22 to 12 – Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent, Bridgend, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Conwy and Denbighshire had put forward voluntary merger proposals.

However, Mr Andrews said while he was impressed by the councils’ ‘willingness to help shape their futures’, the expressions of interest did not set out a ‘compelling’ enough vision for a new authority.

He said: ‘While there were some positive aspects to each Expression of Interest, the Prospectus was clear on what would be required. This included the need for both applicant authorities to set out a compelling vision for the new authority and to provide assurance that post merger arrangements would reduce complexity and increase coherence and coterminosity of public services.’

He also expressed concern the councils would be unable to develop ‘comprehensive’ merger proposals by 30 June 2015.

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