Push to promote Wrexham-Cheshire ties branded 'damaging and subversive'

Reporter:

Phil Robinson

CAMPAIGNERS say they may boycott a meeting over a massive petition against a plan for Wrexham to co-operate more closely with its English neighbours.

Members of the People’s Council for North Wales (PCNW) spent six months gathering more than 15,000 signatures for their petition demanding the region’s withdrawal from the West Cheshire/North East Wales Sub-Regional Strategy.

Already supported by a number of local councils including Wrexham, the strategy calls for closer cross-border ties with Cheshire on major planning and economic issues.

But PCNW is bitterly opposed to the strategy, branding it “ill thought-out, extremely damaging and subversive”.

The petition organised by the group is now being considered by the Assembly's petitions committee whose members will meet in public at Glyndwr University next Monday morning to discuss it.

PCNW had originally welcomed this as a chance to have a proper say on the plan, which it claims it has so far been denied.

But the group is now furious to learn that evidence will also be taken from the Mersey Dee Alliance, the grouping which supports the plan.

PCNW spokesman Pol Wong said members are so angry they are considering whether to boycott the meeting in protest.

He said: “This is an incredible situation and makes us very angry.

“Whenever we have tried to have our say about this plan, such as at meetings of Wrexham Council, we have been shut up.

“We saw the meeting at the university as our chance to put our case but now the Mersey Dee Alliance will be there too and will give its evidence after us, which means they will once again have the last word.

“Did the Mersey Dee Alliance go to the trouble of organising a big petition? No, it did not, so why should it get a say at this meeting which was basically supposed to take evidence only from us?”

A spokesman for the Assembly confirmed that evidence would be taken from both sides at the meeting, with the committee then deciding on the next step.

Options include passing on the PCNW’s demands to the Assembly’s scrutiny committee or direct to a minister for further action, or simply throwing it out.

The committee’s session begins at 9.30am in the university’s Catrin Finch Centre, with members of the public invited to attend.

To book a seat call the Assembly booking line on 0845 010 5500 or email assembly.booking@assemblywales.org.

See full story in the Leader

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