Agenda item

Local Democracy & Boundary Commission for Wales: Review of Flintshire Ward Boundaries update

Minutes:

The Chief Executive introduced the report to give the current position on the review of Flintshire Ward Boundaries.  He provided background information and advised that the Minister for Finance & Local Government was expected to pass Orders following a review of the 22 principal councils in Wales in September.  He explained that there were 3 reviews where the Minister required further information before making a final decision with Flintshire being one of them. It was expected that the Boundary Commission’s final report would be approved by the Minister with few or no amendments.

 

The Chief Executive said the Council agreed with most of the proposals in the report, however, there was concern that at the final stage, and without prior announcement or consultation,the Commission had introduced a new recommendation for one three Member ward in Flint.  He explained this may have gone outside the Boundary Commission’s own procedures and conflicted with an objective to try wherever possible to create single member wards.  The Chief Executive said this had been raised with the Minister and he suggested that Members may wish to consider amending the recommendation in the report to support that both the Leader of the Council and himself formally ask the Minister, in considering the final contents of the Order, to specifically reverse the new recommendation for one three Member ward in Flint on the basis that it had been introduced at the final stage and there had been no opportunity to discuss or scrutinise beforehand.

 

Speaking in support of the Chief Executive’s concerns Councillor Ian Roberts suggested that the proposal  to send a letter to the Minister also included the following summary points: that Boundary Commission reports should not be sent out within a year of the normal cycle of elections for a local authority; that in future the Boundary Commission is asked not to include any new proposals in the final version of its report; and that community ties need to be given  greater weight within future Boundary Commission reviews.

 

The Chief Executive explained that the wider issues referred to by Councillor Ian Roberts had been discussed with the Minister and further to the request by  Councillor Roberts, and suggested that the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) be formally invited to support the principles outlined above.

 

The Chief Officer (Governance) summarised that the proposal moved by Councillor Ian Roberts was that a letter be sent to the Minister for Finance & Local Government which challenged the Boundary Commission’s proposals for a new three Member ward for Flint for the reasons outlined by the Chief Executive.  In addition the letter would include the three summary points raised by Councillor Ian Roberts above and a request to the WLGA to support the principles in general.  The proposal was seconded by Councillor Paul Cunningham.

 

Councillor David Healey referred to the unexpected proposal in the Boundary Commission’s final report  to merge Caergwrle Ward with the Llanfynydd and  Treuddyn Wards.  Councillor Healey said this was without any prior indication or opportunity for public consultation and the concerns expressed around the Boundary Commission’s proposals for Flint also applied to the Caergwrle, Llanfynydd and Treuddyn Wards.  He asked that the proposal made by Councillor Roberts above be amended to include a further challenge on the Commission’s proposals for the Caergwrle Ward for the reasons he had outlined.  The amendment was agreed by Councillor Ian Roberts and seconded by Councillor Paul Cunningham and became the substantive motion.  When put to the vote this was carried. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

(a)       That a letter be sent to the Minister for Finance & Local Government which challenges the Boundary Commission’s proposals for a three Member ward for Flint and the proposal to merge the Caergwrle Ward with Llanfynydd and Treuddyn Wards and asks for them to be reversed;

 

(b)       That the letter to the Minister also includes the three principles outlined above for future reviews; and

 

(c)        That the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) be formally invited to support the principles outlined above.

Supporting documents: