The expected cull of Ceredigion councillors for the 2012 elections will be less drastic than once thought but the number of councillors will almost certainly be reduced from 42 to 37 following the publication of draft proposals by the Boundary Commission for Wales.
As suggested on this blog in December, the Commission’s proposals, designed to produce more equal numbers of residents across wards, will significantly change the balance of power between the north and south of the county as all the five losses are south of Tregaron. The Commission’s conclusions demonstrate the extent to which the population of the Aberystwyth area has been under-represented in the county in recent years.
Although the loss of a seat in the Aberystwyth area was half-expected in the report, in the event the only significant change at this end of the county is that Padarn and Faenor wards will be amalgamated into a two-seat ward in order to equalise their numbers which had become unbalanced. Gareth Davies (Plaid) and John Roberts (Lib Dem) can therefore both retain their seats.
The main changes proposed in the document are:
* Llangeitho, represented by David Evans (Plaid), is being lost with half going to Tregaron and half to Llangybi.
* Llandysiliogogo, represented by Gareth Lloyd (Ind), is being split between Llanarth and New Quay.
* Capel Dewi ward, represented by Peter Davies (Ind), is being divided between Llandysul and Troedyraur.
* Lampeter and Llanwenog wards are to be amalgamated. Lampeter currently has two councillors and Llanwenog one. The two wards will become a single two-seat ward – a loss of one member overall. If they all decide to stand again, Haydn Richards (Plaid), Hag Harris (Labour) and Ifor Williams (Ind) will contest for the two seats.
* Aberteifi/Cardigan – The current three wards within the town will be amalgamated into a single, two-member ward. If they all decide to stand again, Catrin Miles (Plaid), John Adams-Lewis (Plaid) and Mark Cole (Lib Dem) will contest the two remaining seats.
Looking at the Council’s political balance, this means two certain losses for the Independent/Lib Dem alliance and one loss for Plaid with interesting, difficult-to-predict contests in Cardigan and Lampeter.
The Boundary Commission's draft proposals are open to amendments submitted by 9th November but they're now thought unlikely to make significant changes.