Welsh local government boundaries to remain the same until after 2012 elections

A press release from the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales explains,

The Minister for Social Justice and Local Government [Carl Sargeant] has announced that he will not be making any changes to the present electoral arrangements for any local authorities in Wales until after the 2012 local government elections.

However, despite this, the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales is pressing ahead with some of its boundary reviews, with draft proposals for County Borough of Caerphilly published on Monday and feedback requested by 22 March. The reviews for Wrexham are also continuing, but those for Swansea are on hold after their proposals were referred back before Christmas by Carl Sargeant.

As that hints, not all is harmonious with the boundary review process for, as the Commission’s statement goes on to say:

Directions to commence the reviews were received from the Welsh Assembly Government 8 months later than previously indicated and, from the outset, the timetable was far more challenging than in previous reviews. We will be happy to discuss with the Minister the reasons for further slippage, some of which lie with the Commission and some with other bodies.

We believe that the substance of our reports remains sound. It is true that there have been administrative errors and the Commission takes responsibility for these. We have put in place measures to reduce such errors in the future.

Finally, we would welcome an independent, constructive review with terms of reference which take account of all the factors and bodies involved in the review process. We will be writing to the Minister with our suggestions.

The impact of the delays has led to protests from Liberal Democrat councillor Delme Greening:

A Liberal Democrat councillor last night launched an attack on the Assembly Government over the fact there are more than twice as many residents of his central ward for every councillor as in any other part of the city.

Delme Greening said it was “fundamentally unfair” that residents of Butetown and Cardiff Bay – who already live in an area that tops tables for economic, social and medical deprivation in Wales – were under-represented at City Hall…

He spoke out after social justice minister Carl Sargeant delayed implementing the findings of a report that would have resolved the situation by doubling the number of councillors in Butetown.

The report was delayed because the recommendations of the Boundary Commission for Wales in other parts of South Wales had been controversial and needed further work.

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