Delight as controversial boundary changes to neighbouring Flintshire villages are rejected
Community leaders say they are “delighted” after controversial boundary changes which could have split two neighbouring villages were rejected.
The long association between Caergwrle and Hope in Flintshire has given rise to a well-known local saying: “Live in Hope, die in Caergwrle”.
However, a review published by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission (LDBC) proposed that Hope should be paired off with Higher Kinnerton to form a new ward area on Flintshire County Council.
It also suggested Caergwrle should be merged with Llanfynydd and Treuddyn in a bid to provide “more effective” local government in the area.
But the move attracted widespread opposition amid claims it would “throw a spear” between the villages, with almost 300 residents signing a petition against the changes.
And Rebecca Evans MS, Minister for Finance and Local Government, has now decided not to proceed with the recommendations, although changes to other council wards will go ahead as planned.
The news has been welcomed by married couple Dave and Gladys Healey (pictured above) who represent Caergwrle and Hope respectively on the county council.
Gladys said: “All political parties were opposed to these recommendations which flew in the face of common sense.
“I am delighted that Welsh Government has gone against the boundary commission on this – community links are vital.”
The LDBC had recommended Hope and Higher Kinnerton should be combined to form a single electoral ward represented by two councillors.
The commission also said a ward should be created by joining Llanfynydd, Treuddyn and Caergwrle, again represented by two members.
However, Ms Evans confirmed all of the communities mentioned would remain separate and have a single councillor each.
Dave said: “I thank the 282 residents who signed the petition which was debated in the Senedd Petitions Committee.
“We can continue to work together as a community and this is important for our well-being, especially after the pandemic.
“The decision respects our heritage which is also important.”
In a written statement, Ms Evans said she had chosen not to follow some of the commission’s recommendations for Flintshire after considering the feedback received.
It means the number of county councillors will be reduced by three, one less than originally proposed, taking the number of members down from 70 to 67.
The amount of of wards will also be reduced from 57 to 45, as opposed to 42, under the modifications.
The minister said: “The previous Minister for Housing and Local Government sought additional information from the commission because of significant numbers of representations received relating to particular recommendations.
“I have now considered all of the information available to me, including the additional information.
“I have decided to implement the commission’s recommendations with modifications.
“I consider these modifications are in the best interest of effective and convenient government.”
A total of 21 current wards will see no change under the review.
Shereen Williams MBE OStJ, chief executive of the LDBC, said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government has accepted the majority of the commission’s recommendations.
“These changes will mean greater electoral parity for the people of Flintshire.”
Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter (more here).
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