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Town and community councils could merge due to new minimum size requirement

25 Apr 2024 3 minute read
Bridgend town centre

Lewis Smith Local Democracy Reporter

Nine town and community councils could be abolished or forced to merge in the future following a report published by a council.

The move, which was approved to go to consultation by members, could see the introduction of a size policy when it comes to smaller councils across Bridgend County Borough – with proposals for a new minimum electorate size to be put in place.

It would mean that in the future there would be no community councils in the area where there are less than 5,000 registered voters and no town councils with less than 9,000 voters.


Those in attendance at a full council meeting in April heard how Bridgend currently has 20 town and community councils across the borough, which are made up of four town councils and 16 community councils.

Officers said while they understood that there was no “ideal fixed size” for a town or community council they would need to be “of a large enough size to make it viable as an administrative unit of local government”.

The plan comes in the wake of massive budget pressures seen in recent years with town and community councils now expected to collaborate with the county borough council on the management of services such as parks, community facilities, cemeteries, and other local amenities.

However a report said with some smaller organisations having smaller budgets, and a large number of uncontested seats at the 2022 local elections, they would likely not have the capacity for this.

“Economies of scale”

The report read: “With council budgets being under considerable pressure for the foreseeable future the role of town and community councils is likely to become more important in delivering local services in this collaborative approach and therefore having a clear policy on the size of a community council would assist the current review.”

It added: “In order to raise sufficient funds from their precepts to maximise economies of scale and have a collaborative approach with the council it may be beneficial to set an approximate electorate size. This will mean that smaller community councils may need to be merged with others to create larger community councils.”

Some councillors recommended removing the upper limit of 10,000 voters which was suggested for community councils to avoid continuously reviewing the plans as population levels in certain areas changed with the creation of new housing.

Councillor Jane Gebbie also asked if the Local Development Plan had been taken in to account when the proposals were drafted as well as asking if the opinions of town and community councils would be listened to.

Officers responded by saying the consultation would take all views in to account though noted the Boundary Commission would have the final say on any decisions.

The councils that could be set to merge under the proposals are Merthyr Mawr, Llangynwyd Lower,  Coychurch Higher, Coychurch Lower,  Cefn Cribwr,  Llangynwyd Middle, Ynysawdre,  Newcastle Higher, and St Bride’s Minor.

Members unanimously approved the proposals with an amendment to remove an upper electoral limit of 10,000 for community councils. The plans will now go out to consultation before a further report is brought back to council for a final decision.

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