PLANS to merge an affluent village into a community deemed  to have ‘high crime, high unemployment and countless social issues’ have been slammed.

Residents from the historic Hale Village have described plans to ‘lump’ it with the neighbouring area of Ditton, Widnes, as ‘an act of vandalism’ in a lengthy list of staunch objections.

The shake-up has been proposed as part of a review of the ward boundaries in Halton and – if passed – will see Hale, currently its own ward with one elected representative, become part of a larger ward spanning the industrial areas of Halebank and Ditton.

But proud Hale residents are concerned the planned merge will have an adverse effect on the  'cultural character' of their distinct  village, described by many as the 'jewel of Halton' and a ‘rural oasis’.

One objection said: “To further degrade this township by anonymising it into a mini conurbation with Halebank and Ditton would be the act of a vandal. If that were to happen, I can envisage that, before too long the original township would be swallowed up into a blob at the south end of Liverpool although, save for the wholly incorrect postcode.”

Another said: “Could you explain why it’s been proposed to force a thriving community in Hale to join an area with high crime rates, high unemployment, low levels of health and countless social issues? This proposal is unfair and unwanted by the people who live here.”

A third person said:  “These three areas have little in common and the uniqueness of Hale Village with its historical heritage is in danger  of being swallowed up in urban sprawl.”

The objections have been submitted to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England (LGBCE) , who have proposed to re-draw the electoral map of Halton so that each ward contains roughly the same number of voters.

One objection was submitted by a resident of Hale who claimed he had been attacked by a gang of youths from Ditton, and accused the population of Ditton as having ‘no respect for the police.’

Luke Trevaskis, Chair of Hale Parish Council said: “The new proposed ward pattern would serve as a direct conflict to the effective representation of Hale, proving unmanageable, disordered and incoherent for Councillors and residents alike.

“Driving past two miles of unrestricted farmland and marshes, over Rams Brook and into the village, provides a clear sense of arrival into Hale’s community and it is difficult to understand how Hale can adjoin Ditton and successfully realise community solidarity with such a distance present.

“Personally I have a number of ambitions to see Hale continue to prosper and thrive as a vibrant ward and I would  ask the Commission to consider how important Hale’s identity is to its current economy and the predisposition of its parishioners.”

Over 50 objections were submitted to the boundary commission regarding on the Hale/Ditton proposals alone.

While the majority of objections have been sent in by residents of Hale, some from Ditton also had their say and don’t appear too thrilled by the prospect either.

One said: “It is not a place where people are made to feel welcome and its a nightmare to get to unless you wait hours for the bus or walk down dangerous raods with no pavements. ”

The Boundary Commission has decided to hold a second consultation regarding the draft proposals between May 7 and June 3.

A final recommendation for how the new map of Halton should look will be published by July 30.