Latest Public Sector News

25.06.18

Cardiff council leader backs merger as capital is ‘running out of space’

Plans to cut the number of local authorities in Wales have been welcomed by Cardiff City Council’s leader because the city may need to expand space.

Speaking at Cardiff City Council’s meeting last week, council leader Huw Thomas said he was open to merging with the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

“I'm very open to merging with the Vale of Glamorgan. I fully recognise and respect the very different views the leader of the Vale has,” Cllr Thomas told the full council. “That's a conversation that should be had in a grown-up manner.”

He argued that “the old South Glamorgan footprint is a good footprint for a local authority,” adding that cooperation could be achieved with suitability and compatibility of the two authorities.

The Cardiff leader said he did want to put on record the “excellent cooperation” that exists on a regional footprint between the two authorities.

Thomas noted: “When I look our local development plan, and the need for a future local development plan, and the rate at which Cardiff is growing, there comes a point when there's no further land for the Cardiff authority to expand into.

“In that regard I think there is a case, perhaps not enough for a full merger with the Vale, but for expanding the borders of Cardiff.”

Earlier this month Denbighshire County Council warned that the plans to cut the number of councils from 22 to 10 was not in the interest of residents, arguing the plans would “undermine their ability to deliver services.”

The council added: “Most local authority spend is targeted at services such as education and social care, which are unlikely to produce significant cost savings as a result of having larger merged authorities.

“Many other services from waste collection and recycling to leisure facilities will not see obvious opportunities for savings that cannot be delivered by the existing local authorities either by themselves or through collaborative efforts.”

Denbighshire isn’t the first authority to reject the green paper, with Anglesey telling outgoing first minster Carwyn Jones to “stick his green paper in the bin where it belongs.”

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Image: Leonid Andronov, iStock Images

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