Tories make biggest gains across Powys in county elections

Reporter:

Jonny Drury

No overall majority came out of the county council elections, but the Conservative group made the biggest gain across the county.

They more than doubled their seats in Montgomeryshire and overall gained another nine seats to finish with 19 places at County Hall.

The independent group lost 15 seats, with a whole host of members standing down prior to the election.

However the group still holds 30 seats, the most of any political party.

The Liberal Democrats claimed a lot of early seats at Friday’s count in Builth Wells, ending with 13.

Labour added two seats on the day to their five uncontested wards, with Plaid Cymru gaining their first seats, two in total, and the Green Party gaining one seat.

The Conservatives boast new candidates throughout the county, one being Llanidloes Mayor and new County Cllr for Blaen Hafren, Phyl Davies.

He said: “I have been brought up in the town, and I want to thank everyone for their support.

“The town and county council can work together as things will be very hard over the next five years, but I want to work with neighbouring areas and deliver the best for the area.”

Stepping down, former Cllr Graham Jones said: “I want to thank everyone who voted for me over the years and congratulate Phyl Davies on winning the election.”

Peter Lewis retained his seat in Llanfyllin and said: “It is great news I have another chance to represent Llanfyllin.

“It is an important time for the county council with all the cuts we’re expecting, I hope others are elected and we can look forward to representing Powys again.”

Four new councillors have been elected in Newtown, replacing councillors who have vacated. They are joining Joy Jones (Independent) who was returned unopposed for Newtown East.

Former Lib Dem seat Newtown Llanllwchaiarn North was won by the Conservatives’ Daniel Rowlands, while Russell George’s (Conservative), seat Newtown Central was claimed by Lib Dem David Selby.

The Conservatives also took over Newtown’s other two seats, both formerly Independent, with Alan Neil Morrison and Mark Barnes winning in the South and West wards respectively.

Cllr Selby said: “I am hoping by being on the town and county council, it gives us a stronger voice and Newtown and Powys can both work together.

“We can work together on street cleaning and Potter’s, which is one of my main priorities.

“It is disappointing today for other colleagues, but personally I am delighted to have been elected.”

There was no change in Welshpool, with Independents Phil Pritchard and Graham Breeze, and Lib Dem Francesca Jump, all retaining their seats.

Cllr Pritchard said: “I am delighted to have been supported to get back in.

“We’ve got extremely tough times ahead where we need to bite the bullet and decisions need to be made, sensible decisions.”

Cllr Breeze added: “There was a question of if I would be the shortest serving county councillor, but luckily that hasn’t happened.

“Obviously I am very pleased with the result and I am delighted to be representing the people of Welshpool again.”

Plaid’s Elwyn Vaughan claimed the seat of Glantwymyn, one of the party’s two seats, and said: “It is the first time we’ve had seats, we now have two which is fantastic and everything was positive.

“We started from nothing and now we have two which is great and we want to build on that for the future.”

Four Montgomeryshire seats were uncontested –  Newtown East (Joy Jones), Machynlleth (Mike Williams), Churchstoke (Michael Jones) and Meifod (Jonathan Wilkinson).

Conservative MP Glyn Davies was delighted with the gain the Tories made on the day, saying: “I am hugely pleased to have 14 seats in Montgomeryshire.

“It is sensational, unheard of really, and is a fantastic result for us.

“Discussions will of course have to take place about the future of the council.

“There are a lot of young councillors keen to get stuff done for the party, and it is about striking up relationships with the independents now.” 

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