A controversial redrawing of Wales’ electoral ward boundaries has been deferred after accusations that the work was going too slowly.
Social justice and local government minister Carl Sergeant (pictured) said he was concerned that the Local Government Boundary Commission for Wales “has failed to deliver this programme of reviews consistently and within the agreed timescales”, ahead of the 2012 local elections. It must now complete the work for the subsequent elections in 2016.
Mr Sargeant said the commission had completed boundary reviews of only seven of Wales’ 22 council areas.
“Despite allocating adequate resources to complete the reviews within the timescales specified in the directions the commission has fallen considerably behind schedule,” he said.
The Welsh Local Government Association welcomed the move. Leader John Davies (Ind) said there had been “mounting concern” that the seven completed reports “have seen a number of new artificial communities proposed, merging or replacing existing communities which have geographical or historical identities developed over generations”.
He said some electoral areas would have been so large as to “have undermined the fundamental relationship between locally elected councillors and their communities”.