Councillors agree to disagree about merger plans

First published in Penarth news

A VALE councillor told fellow councillors he was voting against Vale-Cardiff merger proposals because he despised politicians and was wary Assembly member numbers could increase.

Vale Sully independent councillor, Kevin Mahoney told colleagues, at a meeting of full council in Barry’s civic offices, on Wednesday, that he supported the reduction in local councillor numbers, but did not want to see politicians increasing by 20 or more in the Senedd.

Cllr Mahoney made his comments after Tory opposition leader, Cllr John Thomas and Cllr John Bird submitted a motion calling on the Vale Council to reject the recently published Williams’ Commission proposal to merge the Vale with Cardiff City Council and consider the Vale a viable and successful authority which should continue in its current form.

Cllr Mahoney said: “I despise the political class. I would like to see less politicians. If that means me, so be it.”

Plaid councillor, Ian Johnson said the Vale needed to retain its own identity and Llantwit First Independent councillor, Gwyn John said he remembered the South Glamorgan authority where the Vale had 19 representatives out of 80.

Cllr John said he believed the person who drew up the report had made a “pig’s ear” of it.

He said: “I dread to think what would happen to the Vale of Glamorgan and the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan. I don’t think anyone in this room would put themselves before the residents they represent.”

Vale Council leader, Cllr Neil Moore added: “This is a slaughter of local government which is not necessary.

“There are so many things in this report which need to be looked at.”

Lone dissenter, Rhoose councillor Phil Clarke said he would be in favour of a merger with Cardiff.

Cllr Clarke said: “We are a very pro-active council and we are quite happy to work with others when there’s benefit to others.”

Councillors voted by an overwhelming majority to agree the motion and set-up a cross party delegation to meet with Welsh Government First Minister, Carwyn Jones to outline their objections to a proposed Cardiff-Vale merger.

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