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Ath and Brugelette considering town merger

23:00 17/07/2017

The Walloon towns of Ath and Brugelette, in Hainaut province, are considering a merger - the first of its kind in French-speaking Belgium since 1977.

The two towns' mayors believe coming together will improve policing and other emergency services, employment and culture.

Traffic management is another motviating factor - the towns suffer heavy traffic due to the popularity of Pairi Daiza wildlife park - and they believe this can be better solved together.

Brugelette has a population of 3,600 - a tenth that of neighbouring Ath. The mayor of Brugelette says no official discussions have yet been held and that locals will be consulted.

It is a long adminstrative procedure and will require approval from the Walloon government. Earlier this year saw the merger of two Flemish towns, Aalter and Knutselaar.