FLINTSHIRE councillors have launched a staunch defence in the face of planned cuts.
At a meeting to debate the electoral review programme being carried out across Wales by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission (LDBCW), councillors voiced their doubts about a reduction in councillor numbers.
The LDBCW plans to cut the number of councillors in Flintshire from 70 to 61.
But speaking at yesterday’s full council meeting, Cllr Robin Guest warned of the danger of “attack after attack” on local government.
He said: “That relationship between elector and representative will be damaged very seriously.”
Cllr Guest said he feared a situation where genuine lay people acted as community representatives.
“We are losing the amateur end of the local representative because people are being turned into part-time professionals,” he added.
Cllr Richard Jones said: “If these changes do occur, we should not lose sight of the level of service we have in Flintshire.
“We have worked hard to get to that level.
“One of the challenges for us here is because we are a well performing county, we don’t want any factors to drag us down to the level of other councils. We must ensure that services improve for the residents of Flintshire.”
Cllr Alex Aldridge called for the council to stand together in the face of change.
He said: “There is, as the leader said, on the horizon, the biggest single challenge that we have faced.
“I am not against change. I would be a fool to argue the potential changes on the horizon.
“This council needs to be united.”
Council leader Cllr Aaron Shotton, said: “I think that we are all very much aware that the LDBCW will be completing their review of Flintshire.
“There is an elephant in the room. There are some big unknowns in terms of what that will mean.
“We have got to keep that in our mind and be very much aware of the potential cause for confusion.
“There is a danger that some of the services we provide across the county, there is a threat to those services.
“It is about ensuring that we do all we can to make sure that this council is sustainable.
“We do have sufficient capability providing we work together.”
The LDBCW’s review of Flintshire is due to start in 2015 and final proposals should be ready by mid 2017.
A community review carried out by the council to bring the number of councillors into line with the LDBCW s recommendation is currently undergoing a nine-week consultation phase before final proposals are submitted.