VALE Royal will officially end all its links with twin town Rychnov-nad-Kneznou in the Czech Republic next year.

The new Cheshire West and Chester Council has decided it doesn’t want any more cultural tie-ups and free holidays for councillors.

Instead, CWAC will look for business links and commercial opportunities abroad.

A new ‘international framework’ will concentrate on research, manufacturing, finance, food and drink, tourism and regeneration.

But former twinning associations, in Vale Royal, Chester and Ellesmere Port will be given £2,000 to meet their obligations until 2010.

And CWAC will be setting its sights further afield, looking for links outside Europe, especially in the Far East.

Clr Herbert Manley, who will chair the international framework group said: “The traditional twinning links that the former district council established did good work in the area of cultural and civic exchanges.

“However, we now have one large strategic authority which needs to compete and promote Cheshire West and Chester’s interests on a larger stage, not just in Europe, but also with the emerging economies of the Far East.”

Earlier this year, CWAC leader Clr Mike Jones hit out at cultural twinning, labelling it a ‘gravy train’ for councillors.

He said: “Councillors like to have cheap and free holidays and I don’t think it’s morally correct to be supporting that level of expenditure when reorganising a council with £30m to save and making staff redundant.

“Various councillors go off on their jaunts. It’s a gravy train and I think it’s unacceptable in the current climate,” he added.

Local twinning arrangements remain unaffected by CWAC’s decision, include Northwich and Carlow; Hartford and Mornant; Northwich and Dole; Winsford and Deuil-la-Barre.

Have your say about twinning on our forum at north