Voluntary merger would be a “foolish leap of faith” says Wrexham Council Leader
At a full council meeting on Wednesday evening Wrexham Council opposed plans recommended by the Welsh Government for it to merge with neighbouring Flintshire County Council.
The meeting was broadcast live on the Councils’s website for the first time – we’ve included the links.
In what were described as “passionate calls against merging” Councillors said they fear the town would lose its identity and become a ‘ghost town’ as the political and administrative base of a merged council would shift to Flintshire’s County Hall in Mold.
Pleased to support @Cllr_Pritchard for @wrexhamcbc Leader tonight. Excellent discussion and passionate calls against merging with Flintshire
— Paul Rogers (@cllrpaulrogers) September 24, 2014
Cllr Bob Dutton said:
“I would not wish to see us change to a situation which we were amalgamated in a much larger organisation included with Flintshire County Council, Wrexham county borough is more than capable of standing on its own”.
Cllr R.J. Dutton Webcast
Cllr Andrew Bailey called for the people of Wrexham to be consulted on any possible merger saying it was “imperative we consult with the public”
Cllr Andrew Bailey Webcast
Councillor Malcolm King said the Council needed to see “clear evidence of the financial impact of any possible merger” and echoed the sentiment that the people of Wrexham need to be consulted.
Cllr Malcolm King Webcast
The newly elected leader of Wrexham Council Cllr Mark Pritchard was slightly critical in his appraisal of other unnamed county Council’s (Flintshire) and their willingness to peruse a voluntary merger, he said:
“We need to send a clear a message to the Welsh Government that Wrexham is not for merging”
“Why would you do a voluntary merger if you don’t know what you are going to get out of it, you wouldn’t.”
“I’m surprised at other authorities which i wont name, who have come out publicly saying they want to do a voluntary merger, its a leap of faith, its a foolish leap of faith”
Cllr Mark Pritchard Webcast
In a vote 36 Councillors rejected the merger plans 11 abstained while there were no votes in favour of the proposed plans.
Flintshire County Council Leader Aaron Shotton said last week:
“This Council (Flintshire) seeks an urgent meeting with both the Welsh Government Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Finance to discuss what transitional finance and support is available to assist the Council in its quest to protect Local Government services now and into the future, in return for an early adoption merger of Flintshire County Council and Wrexham County Borough Council.”
Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery (The Williams Report)
Feature Image Wrexham.com