Meifod farmer Jonathan Wilkinson is the Powys County Council chairman for the next year.

At the council’s annual meeting on Thursday, May 16 Conservative Cllr Wilkinson was unanimously supported to take over the role from Cllr Beverley Baynham.

She now goes on to become a joint leader of the newly formed Powys Independent group.

Cllr Wilkinson spent the last year as the council’s vice chairman.

Cllr Wilkinson said: “Thank you all for putting your confidence in me for the next 12 months.”

He paid tribute to Cllr Baynham for providing “stewardship” to the council in a “most accomplished way.”

Cllr Wilkinson said: “I think Cllr Bev is a very hard act to follow.

“I will attempt to treat everybody fairly and respectfully from whatever political group to ensure that we deliver the best for the residents of Powys.

“That’s why I joined Powys County Council almost eight years ago.

“I cut my political teeth in the National Farmer’s Union (NFU) and went on to become chair twice of my local community council and developed an interest in politics through that.

“I was encouraged very much by my predecessor Cllr Eldrydd Jones to succeed her as county councillor for Meifod and what is now Meifod and Llangyniew and I’m very proud to do that.

“I know we’re all here for the same reasons and that’s to serve not only our communities but Powys and deliver the best possible services for them and I take that very seriously.

“What I’ll try and do is run this council as efficiently as possible to deliver exactly that and you can be assured, I will put every bit of effort into this role to achieve that goal.”

Earlier outgoing chairman, Cllr Beverley Baynham recalled the highlights of her second stint in the role.

This included presenting Brian “Coggy” Davies with his nuclear test medal at a ceremony in Llanfair Caerenion.

“A medal he waited 70 years to receive,” said Cllr Baynham.

Cllr Baynham had welcomed and started the Severn Valley Stages rally in Llandrindod Wells where she met popstar Shane Lynch of Boyzone fame.

Cllr Baynham said: “For those of you who don’t know, Google him, as my children had no idea who he was.”

“A huge highlight was Presteigne and Norton becoming the first dark skies community in both England and Wales,” she added.

She was also council chairwoman from May 2019 to November 2020, a stint that was lengthened by six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cllr Baynham said: “Just last week I attended the King’s garden party in Buckingham Palace which was a wonderful afternoon in glorious sunshine.

“For those of you who don’t know, the last time I was chair I never got to go to the Queen’s garden party.

“So, it was a real treat for me to finally get there.”

She added it had been a “privilege” to offer the chief executive’s post to Emma Palmer.

“It can be sometimes difficult juggling everything, but I can honestly say it’s been a great year,” said Cllr Baynham.

At the meeting Liberal Democrat, Cllr Williams Powys was confirmed as the council’s vice-chairman and Powys Independents Cllr Geoff Morgan was voted in as assistant vice-chairman.