There’s a by-election taking place this week in the Bronglais ward of Aberystwyth Town Council. The election has been caused by the stepping down of Cllr Chris Griffiths due to illness.
Plaid’s candidate - one of three contesting the election - is Lucy Huws, pictured above in the Buarth area of the ward where she lives. Lucy was brought up in the area and is a gifted language teacher, being fluent in Welsh, Mandarin, German, French and English
Already a community activist, this year she has been spearheading the campaign to save St Winefrides Church in Queens Road and has spoken out against Royal Mail privatisation. More recently, as part of her election campaign, she has distributed survey forms to every house in the ward in support of an hourly rail service to Aberystwyth. The returned forms have contributed to the record 6,500 that have been completed across the central Wales region.
Town and Community Councils are the lowest level of government in Wales and, in contrast to similar sized communities in much of Europe, have very little power. Nevertheless they do have a voice. In recent years Aberystwyth Town Council has campaigned successfully for tighter regulations on HMOs in order to help both their tenants and neighbouring residents. It was the first organisation to install recycling banks around Aberystwyth and was successful in registering Aberystwyth as a Fair Trade town, eventually leading to Ceredigion becoming a Fair Trade county. The campaign for the Rheidol and Ystwyth cycle paths we're now used to also started in the Town Council. All these campaigns were led by Plaid Cymru councillors.
Aberystwyth Town Council makes scores of donations each year to local community groups, many of which would be greatly restricted or not survive at all without this help. It’s also been a starting point for local activists who have gone higher in the political process, most notably our Assembly member, Elin Jones.
Lucy Huws says:
“As someone who lives in Bronglais ward, I know many of the issues that concern us locally such as parking, hospital services, improving student housing, protecting our green spaces and maintaining the unique character of the area. This election campaign has allowed me to knock on every door in the ward, talking to people and sharing ideas about how to improve our fantastic community.”
The Town Council By-election in Bronglais ward takes place on Thursday November 7th in the Buarth Hall, Stanley Road 7am-10pm. Voting cards have not been distributed by the Council as a cost-saving measure but anyone on the electoral roll can turn up and vote.