CYMRU: SUB REGION PLAN OPPOSED BY LEAGUE SCRAPPED
It has emerged that an artificial economic sub region crossing the border between Wales and England has been finally scrapped with campaigners welcoming its timely demise.
The proposed cross border `alliance’ aimed to create a region between Wales and England, which was intended to make the north east of Wales suburban to Cheshire and Merseyside. Particularly worrying for campaigners was the intended aim of the project to create a cross border area that had “its own distinct identity”, and had seemingly no regard for the distinct national Welsh identity, culture or
language or the territorial integrity of Wales. The Deffro’r Ddraig campaign, which was run by the People’s Council of North Wales, succeeded in putting together a petition of 24 000 people, which was presented to the Welsh Assembly’s Petition Committee calling for the Sub-regional Spatial Strategy to
A Spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly told the media this week that:
“A decision to no longer pursue the Sub-regional Spatial Strategy and end its use as a strategy document was taken by the Mersey Dee Alliance Board on January 21 2011”
A leading campaigner of the Deffro’r Ddraig campaign, Carrie Harper – who is now a Plaid Cymru candidate for the forthcoming elections – said:
“We have our own identity here in north east Wales which we’re very proud of and we will not have a new one inflicted on us by councils, the Welsh Assembly or anyone else.”
Between 2008 and 2009 the Celtic League wrote several times to the Welsh Assembly Government raising its concerns about the proposed Spatial Strategy and was originally in contact with Carrie Harper to discuss ways on how the strategy could be best opposed.
The League questioned the accountability of the way the strategy was set up and taking effect with stealth after hearing that some Welsh Assembly Members and many residents in north east Wales knew nothing about the plans. The League was also very concerned that even though it was a non statutory strategy, it seemed to have influence over the town and country planning system in Wales and that strategy had seemed to bypass the validation process.
In response to concerns raised with the Welsh Assembly Government, Andrew Davies AM who was the Minister for Finance and Public Service Delivery at the time, wrote to the League to argue the case for the Spatial Strategy, saying:
“The Mersey Dee Alliance (MDA) was reconstituted in 2007 as the key delivery body for the SRSS, and was born out of the recognition of the shared economic and community interests across the West Cheshire, Wirral and North East Wales
However, unconvinced by the arguments put forward by the Minister, the League passed a resolution at its 2009 annual general meeting (AGM) calling for opposition to the creation of the sub region. The full text of the resolution can be found below:
Opposes the existence and functioning of the North East Wales and West Cheshire economic sub region, which has culminated in a non statutory sub regional spatial strategy for the area. The League calls for the territorial integrity of Wales to remain intact and for no further developments in the strategy to take
place without widespread public consultation, with the public and their representative institutions in the North East of Wales.”
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209315884
J B Moffatt (Mr)
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