Anglesey’s multi-member wards to gain additional five councillors in boundary shake-up
Gareth Williams, local democracy reporter
The Welsh Government has approved the new electoral map of Anglesey, which will result in boundary changes and an additional five councillors.
In an announcement on Friday Rebecca Evans, the Minister for Finance and Local Government, announced that proposed changes to the island’s electoral wards were being rubber-stamped in time for next May’s local elections.
The new map will see the current 11 multi-member wards become 14, after it was acknowledged by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales that the island’s electorate as a whole is under-represented.
As a result, Môn – which currently has the fewest county councillors in the whole of Wales – will undergo the second change to its electoral map in less than a decade and see its membership grow from 30 to 35.
Until 2013 the island elected 40 county councillors, but that was reduced by a quarter after becoming under the control of Welsh Government-appointed commissioners who approved major boundary changes including all multi-member wards.
The move faced accusations at the time of “gerrymandering” by former council leader, Bryan Owen, with a feeling that the proposals would favour political parties after years of political infighting under the control of various independent factions.
Merthyr Tydfil, despite having 10,000 fewer residents , currently has 33 members while Blaenau Gwent, which has almost the exact same population as Anglesey, has 42 councillors sitting in its chamber.
With the 14 wards made up of seven two-member and seven three-member electoral units, the 2022 local elections will also set new firsts by becoming the first where 16 and 17 year old’s will be permitted to vote.
While six wards will remain unchanged, the redrawn boundaries mainly impact upon the west and centre of the island:
The community of Llangristiolus being moved from Bro Rhosyr to create a new two member ward known as “Cefni,” including the town of Llangefni which would be taken out of Canolbarth Môn .
The remaining Bro Rhosyr ward renamed “Bodowyr” to reflect local geography, rather than the proposed “Braint” name which had been earlier proposed by the commission.
Splitting the existing three-member Holyhead town ward into two new two-member wards to be known as “Caergybi” and “Parc a’r Mynydd.”
Scrapping the two-member Llifon ward, replacing it with a new two-member unit known as “Crigyll,” consisting of Trewalchmai, Bryngwran and Llanfaelog and another two-member ward including the communities of Caergeiliog, Y Fali and Bodedern, known as “Bro’r Llynnoedd.”
Approving the Boundary Commission’s proposed changes as a whole, the only exception was a decision to name one of Holyhead’s wards as “Caergybi” rather than “Tref Cybi.”
The seven three member wards will be Aethwy, Canolbarth Môn, Lligwy, Seiriol, Talybolion, Twrcelyn and Ynys Gybi with the remainder electing two councillors each.
The Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales noted that the move would result in “a marked improvement in the level of electoral parity across the county of the Isle of Anglesey.”
Chief Executive Shereen Williams MBE OStJ, said: “I’m delighted that the Welsh Government has accepted these recommendations with only minor modifications.
“These changes will mean greater electoral parity for the people of Anglesey.
“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the review, the members of the public, councillors, Isle of Anglesey Council, and everyone else who sent us a representation or contributed in any other way.”
The move follows recent confirmation that Ynys Môn will retain its own Westminster seat despite widespread boundary changes across the rest of Wales, resulting the nation’s representation in the House of Commons drop from 40 to 32.
This is due to the island being afforded protected status, such as the Isle of Wight, Orkney and Shetland and Na h-Eileanan an Iar (the Western Isles of Scotland).
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