The council seat no-one wants to represent

By Twm Owen in Local People

NO-ONE has come forward to stand for election in a council ward in Powys - leaving its 1,000 residents without a voice in County Hall.

Councillor Gill Thomas is stepping down after more than 18 years representing Yscir on Powys County Council.

But from May 4 the rural ward, on the north western outskirts of Brecon, will have nobody to speak for it at County Hall.

Nominations for the local government elections closed on Tuesday, April 4 and by the deadline not a single person had put their name forward as a candidate to represent the area.

If only one person comes forward, before nominations close, they take a seat on the county council unchallenged. Elections are held in all seats where there are more than one candidate.

Across Powys there are only 16 wards going uncontested this year with elections being held in 56 of the 73 seats.

A council spokesman admitted the situation in Yscir is unusual but not unprecedented. It’s thought the last time no-one came forward as a candidate for a Powys council ward was at the 2008 elections.

The spokesman said a by-election will be called, after the new council is elected on May 4, and the vacancy will be advertised. If more than one candidate comes forward then the voters of Yscir will finally get their chance to elect a councillor.

The Conservatives are seeking to win control of the council, from the independent groups, and are standing 44 candidates across Powys. One Conservative has been returned unopposed. 37 seats are needed for a majority.

Independents and candidates who’ve not given any description make up 50 candidates.

The Liberal Democrats are standing 25 candidates with another already returned unopposed.

At present Labour are guaranteed to be the best represented political party after the election with all five councillors from the Ystradgynlais area returning without facing a contest. The party is contesting nine further seats including two it already holds.

The Green Party is standing 17 candidates in an effort to win its first ever seats on Powys council while Plaid Cymru is contesting 12 seats all in Montgomeryshire.

The Christian Party is fighting two seats, both in Radnorshire.

Powys council is currently controlled by the three independent groups, the Powys Independent Alliance, the Independent Group and the Non-Political Group who hold 40 of the council’s 73 seats between them.

The Liberal Democrats, who had run the council in coalition with the Powys Independent Alliance for a year before the last council elections in 2012, are the main opposition, and largest political party group, with 11 councillors.

The Conservatives have nine members as well as one independent who is aligned to the group.

Labour holds seven council seats and four councillors are not aligned to any of the groups.