community ( Welsh: ) is a division of land in cymuned Wales that forms the lowest-tier of local government in Wales. Welsh communities are analogous to civil parishes in England.
Until 1974, Wales was divided into civil parishes. These were abolished by section 20(6) of the
Local Government Act 1972, and replaced by communities by section 27 of the same Act. The principal areas of Wales are divided entirely into communities. Unlike in England, where unparished areas exist, no part of Wales is outside a community, even in urban areas.
Community councils in Wales are identical to English parish councils in terms of their powers and the way they operate. Welsh community councils may call themselves town councils unilaterally and may have city status granted by the Crown. In Wales, all town councils are community councils. There are now three communities with city status: Bangor, St Asaph and St David's and the Cathedral Close. The Chair of a town council or city council will usually have the title Mayor (Welsh: maer). However, not every community has a council. In communities with populations too small to justify a full community council, community meetings may be established.
As of the
United Kingdom Census 2001 there were 869 communities in Wales. They vary in size from Rhayader with an area of 13,945 hectares to Cefn Fforest with an area of 64 hectares. Barry has the largest population with 45,053 inhabitants according to the 2001 census. Baglan Bay has no permanent residents.
Davies, John; Nigel Jenkins, Menna Baines & Peredur I. Lynch (2008) The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales, University of Wales Press, Cardiff.