THE Labour leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council Philippa Marsden has lost her seat in a landslide result.

Despite the loss of its leader Labour has retained its majority on the council.

Marsden recorded just 213 of the 2,707 votes (or 7.9 per cent) which were cast in the Ynysddu ward.

Independents Janine Reed and Jan Jones took both of Labour’s seats in the ward, with 1,150 and 1,162 votes respectively.

Both were involved in a community campaign against construction of a waste processing plant in the ward.

The Lower Sirhowy Valley Residents Group has been fighting for more than six years, against the plant at the Nine Mile Point Industrial Estate in Cwmfelinfach. 

There had been a dispute over how planning permission had been granted but Caerphilly council had sought to assure residents the plant would be regulated by Natural Resources Wales.

The loss of a Labour appears to buck the trend of results for the party across the south of Wales today but also underlines that these are local elections with many voters motivated by local issues.

Ynysddu ward has the highest percentage turnout in any ward in Caerphilly – with 45.78 per cent.

You can follow results from across Wales via our live blog.

With Labour’s John Ridgewell not standing for re-election, Phoebe Marsden stood to replace him, but received 183 votes.

“We both would like to thank all those who supported us,” said Janine Reed and Jan Jones, following the announcement of the result.

The National Wales: The new Independent councillors for Ynysddu Janine Reed and Jan Jones (L-R).The new Independent councillors for Ynysddu Janine Reed and Jan Jones (L-R).

“It was wonderful to drive through the valley to see all our Vote Independent posters and banners displayed in the gardens and windows throughout the ward. We enjoyed speaking to people on their doorsteps and are proud that it has been a victory for positive campaigning.

“We are pleased to have been chosen to represent all the people in the valley and pledge to listen to people and continue to work hard on their behalf.”

“We are amazed by the turnout,” said Cllrs Reed and Jones. “People have come out for us.

“It was because people are angry. They supported us and now we are just overjoyed.

“People in the valley felt they were not being listened to. It showed in the turnout and in the vote.”

Following changes made to ward boundaries in the Caerphilly council area, the number of councillors has been reduced from 73 to 69.

That means that, in real terms, both Plaid and the Independents have made gains on their pre-election situation, despite having the same number of councillors as before.

Labour has lost four seats, but still maintains a majority of 21.

Among those to hold their seats was deputy leader Jamie Pritchard, of Labour, in the Morgan Jones ward, and the leader of the Plaid Cymru group Colin Mann in Llanbradach.

 

When approached by the Local Democracy Service, Mrs Marsden declined to comment.

If you value The National's journalism, help grow our team of reporters by becoming a subscriber.