Wales politics

Bridgend leaders back merger with Vale of Glamorgan

Bridgend council headquarters Image copyright Jaggery
Image caption Bridgend council's leader says the local population looks east rather than west

Bridgend council's ruling Labour group has backed holding merger talks with the Vale of Glamorgan.

The issue will go before the full council on 24 November, and is likely to be passed as Labour has a majority.

Such a merger would go against a principle of a key report on council re-organisation published in January.

The Williams Commission recommended new authorities should be within existing health board boundaries, but the two councils come under different boards.

Bridgend is served by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, while the Vale of Glamorgan is covered by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

Looking east

The report, by former NHS Wales chief executive Paul Williams, proposed that Bridgend should merge with Neath Port Talbot council, and possibly Swansea.

But Bridgend council leader Mel Nott said people in the area "look to the south east" of Wales rather than to the west.

The Vale of Glamorgan council has rejected the idea of a merger with Cardiff, fearing it would be swallowed up by Wales' biggest council.

Vale of Glamorgan leader Neil Moore has argued the council should remain a stand-alone authority, but he regards Bridgend as a better option than Cardiff "should a merger become inevitable or desirable".

Public Services Minister Leighton Andrews has urged councils to submit plans to merge voluntarily by the end of November, rather than be forced to.

The Williams Commission has recommended the current 22 county and county borough councils in Wales be cut to 10, 11 or 12.

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