NEATH Port Talbot has little affiliation with Bridgend, and should merge with Swansea when boundary changes come into force — that’s the view of some members of the local authority.
Cabinet members and the scrutiny committee met this week, to discuss a report which had been put together by chief executive Steve Phillips on the Williams Commission.
He gave members an overview of the recommendations —which includes two options fro Neath Port Talbot to merge with Bridgend alone or Swansea and Bridgend — of the commission and its implications and asked members to allow him to write to the Welsh Government identifying the need for an all-Wales timetable of reorganisation.
He also asked that the report go to full council to be discussed but did not ask members to formulate a council position on a preferred option as yet.
Speaking about the options, he said there were numerous arguments both ways, but a Swansea Bay authority seemed more sensible.
“In economic, social and environmental terms there is a close affiliation between the areas of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot,” he said.
“One example of this is the very significant developments along Fabian Way at the border between the two authorities.
“More widely, this is represented in the recent establishment of a Swansea Bay City Region.
“The links with Bridgend are less obvious.”
Speaking at the meeting, councillor Lella James said she recently met with 42 members of the Townswomen’s Guild, who had questioned her over the plans.
She said: “They were asking when are we going to join Swansea, are we going to join Bridgend?
“So I asked them what they would rather, and they said only Swansea, we never go to Bridgend.
“That is something we have got to take on board.”
Councillor Linet Purcell added that she had spoken to people in the Swansea Valley who also felt far more affiliated with Swansea, adding: “They are saying they are more comfortable with Swansea and are asking why can’t we have a Neath Port Talbot and Swansea option?”
All members agreed that the sooner a timetable was available, the better in order to move forward with merger plans.