COUNCILLORS in Blaenau Gwent could be cut from 42 to 33 – one more than the number preferred by the local authority.

The Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales has completed the first stage of its review of the electoral arrangements within the county borough.

All electoral wards across Wales are being reviewed before the next local authority elections in 2022.

Blaenau Gwent council had agreed to drop councillors down to 34, and reduce wards from 16 to 14, in March.

READ MOREBlaenau Gwent council agree to plans to cut councillor numbers from 42 to 34

But a report released this week suggests the council’s proposals represented a “significant departure” from existing arrangements.

“As it splits a number of existing community areas, it increases the risk of breaking local ties,” says the report.

“Whilst the council’s representation and proposals for the area appear coherent and practical, the Commission felt at this stage there was insufficient evidence of support from local residents or town or community councils.”

The Commission has disputed suggested boundary changes of existing wards including Abertillery, Blaina, Cwmtillery, Llanhilleth, Nantyglo, and Six Bells.

They say the changes “are not necessary to provide for effective electoral wards”, noting a “relatively high level of over-representation” in each of them.

A reduction of councillors in Cwmtillery from three to two has been suggested, as opposed to the council’s suggestion of keeping three within the ward.

But both sides have agreed to merge Abertillery and Six Bells wards into a single ward represented by three councillors, as opposed to five in total.

Elsewhere the northern area of Beaufort would merge to create a single Beaufort ward represented by three councillors, instead of two each.

The southern part of Beaufort would combine with Rassau to form a new ward – Rassau and Garnlydan.

Under both proposals Tredegar Central and West would be renamed Tredegar, with its ward members reduced from four to three.

Blaina, Ebbw Vale North, Llanhilleth and Nantyglo will be reduced from three members to two.

Brynmawr, Cwm, Ebbw Vale South, Georgetown and Sirhowy would remain unchanged under both proposals.

In summary the Commission’s proposals would create a county average of 1,545 electors per member, as opposed to the existing 1,214 electors per councillor.

The Commission's review of Blaenau Gwent can be found here.

A public consultation into the proposals will begin on September 18 and will end on December 10.

After this date the Commission will prepare final proposals for Blaenau Gwent and submit them to the Welsh Government.