COUNCILLORS have branded proposed changes to the ward boundaries in Powys “bonkers”.

At the next election the number of Powys county councillors will drop by five, from 73 to 68.

At a meeting of Full Council on Friday, May 3 councillors discussed the changes recommended by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales.

Plaid Cymru group leader, Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, Glantwymyn, said: “In the original recommendations there was discussion that Llanbrynmair and Carno should be put together. By now the idiotic recommendation, and I believe there is a cross-party consensus on this, is to put Llanbrynmair and Trefeglwys together. Geographically the ward will extend from Brigands Inn (Mallwyd) to Dylife, over the mountain to Trefeglwys. It’s about 30 miles from one end to the other with a big mountain in the middle – it’s bonkers on every level.”

Education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, wished councillors could have come up with their own map. “This is a desktop exercise, we could have come up with something that was acceptable and meet the criteria,” she said. “Everyone might have stood up for their own interests but I do think there’s enough sensible people in this room to have come up with a sensible solution.

Council Solicitor Clive Pinney, said: “The reason we have not been able to discuss this is simply a matter of timing and council has found it historically difficult to agree with regards to these issues.”

Mr Pinney explained that he had written to all councillors on March 23 indicating that they could make individual comments. “I was hoping that members would have done that and it was open to groups to put in submissions,” he said. “Or at least tried before we had someone from Cardiff carving up our communities in this way.”

Council chairman Cllr David Meredith urged councillors who wanted to send their comments to the commission to do so as soon as possible.

Under the proposals eight wards will be deleted while others are amalgamated and redrawn, saving £68,000 a year. The wards which will be deleted are: Llanbadarn Fawr, Newtown Llanllwchaiarn North, Newtown Llanllwchaiarn West, Brecon St David Within, Brecon St John, Brecon St Mary, Tawe-Uchaf and Ystradgynlais.

Eight two councillor multi-member wards will be created. These are: Abercraf and Ystradgynlais, Knighton and Beguildy, Crickhowell with Cwmdu and Tretower, Llandrindod South, Llanidloes with Llangurig, Newtown Central and South, Brecon East and Brecon West. Proposals for a three-member electoral ward for Brecon have been dropped.

The commission said: “It is now for Welsh Government and its ministers to decide how to proceed.”