Aberystwyth Town Council Election Results

These are the full election results for Aberystwyth Town Council. Those elected are in bold

North (3 seats)
Mark Strong  (Plaid) 346
Talat Chaudhri  (Plaid) 240
Sara Hammel  (Plaid) 227
Bryony Davies  (Lib Dem) 225
Niall Daly (Lib Dem) 149
Julies Parker  (Lib Dem) 109                      Plaid +1, Ind -1

Bronglais (4)
Endaf Edwards - Elected Unopposed
Lucy Huws - Elected Unopposed
Sue Jones-Davies - Elected Unopposed
Alun Williams - Elected Unopposed                   No change

Central (3)
David Lees (Lib Dem) 174
Emily Price (Lib Dem)  164
Michael Chappell (Lib Dem)  154
Jeff Smith (Plaid)  138
Paulina Kubala (Plaid)  135                     Lib Dem +1, Plaid -1

Rheidol (4)
Mair Benjamin (Lib Dem)  297
Claudine Young (Labour) 243
Rhodri Francis (Plaid) 234
Mari Turner (Plaid)  222
Martin Shewring (Ind)  207
Brendan Somers (Plaid) 193
Marise Lloyd-Evans (Ind)  175
Matthew Woolfall-Jones (Plaid)  147             Plaid +1, Labour +1, Ind -1, Lib Dem -1

Penparcau (5)
Steve Davies  (Plaid) 474
Dylan Lewis  (Plaid) 372
Charlie Kingsbury (Lib Dem) 326
Alex Mangold (Labour) 274
Brenda Haines (Lib Dem) 258
Elliot Alker (Lib Dem)  225
Dafydd ap Ffranc (Plaid) 221
Kevin Price (Plaid) 217                          Lib Dem +1, Lab +1, Plaid - 2

Overall Totals
Plaid Cymru 11 (-1)
Lib Dem 6 (+1)
Labour 2 (+2)
Independent 0 (-2)

Plaid Cymru continue to have an overall majority on the Town Council with 11 out of the 19 seats. The result in North Ward means that Plaid now have all elected representatives for the north and east sides of the town, at both town and county level, for the first time. 

The other ward entirely controlled by one party is Central where the Lib Dems have all councillors, although the turnout here was very low. In contrast, Rheidol and Penparcau have three parties represented in each. Plaid were disappointed to lose two of their previous four councillors in Penparcau but they now have half the representation in Rheidol ward where they also won the county council seat in a close contest.

Labour will be pleased to have re-entered the Council with two new members and there are no longer any Independents on the scene. 

At county level, Plaid have four out of the six seats in the town -  North, Bronglais, Rheidol and the first Penparcau seat - with the Lib Dems holding Central and the second in Penparcau.


County Council elections in Ceredigion - Summary of Results

The political picture in Ceredigion is relatively unchanged following the local elections. Plaid Cymru won 46% of the vote and have a net gain so far of one seat, having gained four and lost three. The main Independent group lost a net two seats and the Lib Dems also gained one. Full results here.
The Llandyfriog seat is still to be decided following the untimely death of one of the candidates.

The new gains for Plaid were:
  • Endaf Edwards in Aberystwyth Rheidol from Independent Aled Davies
  • Gethin Davies in Aberporth from the Independent/UKIP councillor Gethin James
  • Clive Davies in Penparc, near Cardigan, who won the seat of the recently retired Independent Haydn Lewis.
  • Maldwyn Lewis in Troedyraur, who was unopposed. He had been an Independent councillor in the previous administration but stood for Plaid Cymru in this election.
Losses for Plaid were:
  • Peter Evans in Llandysul to former council leader Keith Evans
  • John Lumley in Ciliau Aeron to an Independent
  • The second seat in Penparcau, where new Plaid candidate Dylan Lewis only fell short by four votes against the Lib Dems. Dylan had been selected to stand by Plaid several months ago instead of the sitting Plaid councillor Lorrae Jones-Southgate. She then left the party to join the Independent group on the Council and then came fourth in this election. Penparcau’s other seat was held by Plaid’s Steve Davies who finished top of the poll for the second election running. 
One of the results most celebrated on Twitter feeds across Wales was the win by Plaid's Gethin Davies in Aberporth who knocked out UKIP’s Gethin James. James actually had ‘Independent’ against his name on the ballot paper but is strongly identified with UKIP, having stood for them last year in the Welsh Assembly elections and been working as a research assistant for UKIP Assembly Member Nathan Gill since then. Previously a Ceredigion Cabinet Member, he had been sacked from that post by Council Leader Ellen ap Gwynn when he announced that he'd joined UKIP. There are now no UKIP councillors in Wales.

The Ceredigion councillor numbers now look like this:
Plaid Cymru 19 (+1)
Independents 11 (-2)
Lib Dems 8 (+1)
Llais Annibynnol 2 (-)
Labour 1 (-)
The figures are provisional pending the outcome of the delayed election in the currently Plaid-held Llandyfriog seat.

With no group having an overall majority of the 42 council seats, the Council’s new administration will be decided in negotiation between the different groups in the next few days.


Ceredigion - achieving despite austerity cuts

This is my speech to the Plaid Cymru Spring Conference in Newport on some of the things achieved in Ceredigion in the fields of transport, waste and carbon management:

One year into Ceredigion’s first Plaid Cymru-led administration (which began in 2012),  the Conservative & Lib Dem austerity cuts hit us. And, like every other council, we were faced with devastating cuts in our core grant from the Welsh Government - in fact over 25% of our revenue budget.

So it’s been tough - very tough - as it has been for all councils. But, from the ashes of those cuts imposed on us, we’ve managed to do some useful things.

It’s easy to be gloomy. So we started an initiative called Caru Ceredigion which encourages our residents to think positive, love where they live, take responsibility and do their bit to contribute.

For example we’ve encouraged people to get out there and do a spot of litter-picking with equipment provided by the Council. And maybe it’s no coincidence that, this year, Ceredigion has the tidiest streets in Wales, according to the latest report by Keep Wales Tidy on behalf of the Welsh Government. 

Transport’s been more difficult. Because, on top of the core cuts  to council budgets, local bus services have been subject to additional cuts to their grants from Welsh Government. Despite that, we’ve worked co-operatively with them where we can, like on the T1 and T5 Trawscymru long-distance routes through Ceredigion and the innovative Bwcabus, which provides a service on request for areas that lack the population to sustain regular services. At a time when buses are thought to be declining in popularity, all of these services I’ve mentioned have shown an increase in passengers every year.

With rail, Ceredigion took a lead, amongst others, in the successful campaign for a peak-hourly service on the Cambrian line between Aberystwyth and Shrewsbury. Since this started in 2015 we’ve seen an increase in passenger numbers of an astonishing 41%. 

All this shows that if you provide quality public transport services, and properly market them, people will use them. And that’s what I expect to happen when we get an Aberystwyth - Carmarthen line.

However the thing we’ve become best known for in Ceredigion is our high recycling rate. We’ve achieved this by maintaining a simple collection system that people like and by educating and encouraging our residents to recycle rather than penalising them if they get it wrong. And the result of this is that we’re the top recycling authority, not only in Wales, but in the whole UK, with 70% of our waste being recycled. 

Early on in the administration we took a decision to invest in renewable energy and energy conservation. And we put together a carbon management plan which had a target of reducing the council’s carbon emissions by 15% within five years. 

We invested in a biomass district heating scheme in Aberystwyth whereby a single boiler using wood chips heats four large buildings. We installed hundreds of photo-voltaic cells on the roofs of our buildings around the county - 200 on one building alone. And we’ve invested in scores of smaller energy conservation measures. And so far, in the fourth year of the five-year carbon management programme, we’ve already exceeded our 15% target and we’re now aiming to go higher. 

This has saved almost 3,000 tons of carbon and, in terms of austerity, it’s on schedule to save £2.7 million pounds worth of tax-payers money - quite a feat for a small authority. That money can now go into maintaining other services that might otherwise have been lost.

There’s no question that much of what I’ve mentioned wouldn’t have happened without Plaid Cymru leading the Council and using our core values to direct council policy. That’s the difference that Plaid Cymru can make, even at the most challenging time that local government in Wales has ever known.

So the message is that despite the appalling austerity cuts that are continuing to come down from Westminster, Plaid Cymru-led councils are still finding ways to deliver exemplary services and progressive initiatives in innovative and imaginative ways. Because, despite everything we’re faced with, we’ve got the vision to take Wales forward. And we can take another big step on May 4th.


EU membership worth £57 million a year to the Ceredigion economy

In recent years the Ceredigion economy has been directly benefitting by an average of £57.6 million a year from our European Union membership, according to Ceredigion Council officers and based on figures from the Centre for European Reform.

£44 million of this is CAP payments to farmers and the rest is structural funds and research grants to our universities. The figures equate to £768 per person in the county per year. The more indirect benefits, like trade and hosting EU students are not included in these figures

Ceredigion is unusual in that our economy is much more dependent than most on a combination of agriculture and higher education, two sectors that receive considerable money from Europe. In addition we receive structural funds due to our status within the EU as a ‘less developed region’. This combination makes us particularly vulnerable if our present EU funding is not directly replaced to the same level when (if?) Brexit happens.

With the nature and economic conditions of any future Brexit in a state of extreme uncertainty at the moment, the idea of the Westminster government being in a position to simply replace all of this money - even if it wanted to - seems highly optimistic. Even if they agreed to replace three quarters of it, that would still amount to a loss of over £14 million a year to the Ceredigion economy.