COUNCILLORS in Caerphilly county borough have voted to oppose the Welsh Government’s plans to merge the council with neighbouring authorities.

Under the proposals of local government secretary Alun Davies the council would merge with Newport, with the overall number of Welsh local authorities reducing from 22 to 10.

But in their response, the council maintain their stance that working as a standalone authority would result in the “best outcome” for its communities.

Speaking at full council on Tuesday, leader Councillor Dave Poole said: “We don’t want to move away from our communities and become a larger organisation.

“The proposal is that we merge with Newport, a city organisation that has vastly different problems to this council.

“We’re 80 per cent rural and I cannot see how this merger would be of a benefit to the residents of Caerphilly.”

Cllr Poole also believes the £1.2billion Cardiff Capital Region City Deal between the 10 local authorities in south east Wales could be put in jeopardy.

“We continue to argue and demonstrate that the answer is regional working,” he said.

“You’ve got to keep [the City Deal] moving. If we’re not delivering what we promised, the will not have met our targets, therefore UK government, Welsh Government and European moneys will be withdrawn.”

The leader of the Plaid Cymru group, Councillor Colin Mann, said the council was capable of surviving without merging.

“The way its run at time obviously, as an opposition, we would question but it’s certainly capable of surviving, and even better when we run it better of course,” he added.

“I resent every minute we waste on this issue. It’s nonsensical.”

The Welsh Government green paper estimates reorganisation costs at more than £200 million, the council say the proposed savings for Caerphilly are “no longer there to make this viable”.

Labour councillor Eluned Stenner said the cost of reorganisation would come at a time when residents were facing “unprecedented” cuts to services.

But independent councillor Graham Simmonds argued that there was a need for an “effective” change in management across Welsh local government.