TWO independent candidates who deposed of a council leader at this month's elections have said they plan to continue asking questions.

While Welsh Labour was seen as having had a successful local election campaign in Caerphilly it lost its leader Philippa Marsden despite it maintaining its majority on the borough council.

The two women who booted Marsden into the long grass were Janine Reed and Jan Johnes, who had previously been a Labour councillor for the Ynysddu ward.

Both had been active campaigners against the controversial Hywel NMP waste plant in Cwmfelinfach.

That had seen a local resident launch a legal challenge, which was ruled as out of time, against the council over the planning permission given in 2015.

Residents had been angered as the original applicants hadn't been required to produce an environmental impact report.

Marsden had previously said as a local resident she understood the concerns and had instructed an investigation by council officers into the decision to grant planning permission.

READ MORE: Labour leader of Caerphilly Council loses seat in landslide

She said she had also met with Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government's environmental body which is involved in regulation.

But the waste plant, and other local issues, are said to have played a significant part in the success of the independent candidates.

Residents had formed an action group against the waste plant in the ward represented by the Labour council's previous leader. Picture: Russell ProtheroPhilipa Marsden, left, had been the Ynysddu ward councillor and Labour leader but she lost her seat with independents Jan Jones (centre) and Janine Reed elected.

Cllr Jones, who once served the Ynysddu ward as a Labour councillor before re-standing as an independent, said: “We will be questioning everything and we’re not just going to accept what we’re being told. Although we don’t have the power of the party in charge, we still have the power of asking questions.”

Cllr Reed said it was “business as usual” for the newly elected councillors and said they are continuing the work they have been doing over the past few years.

She added: “There are a number of concerns in the valley, and our aim is to do what we can to address them.

“We have got a spreadsheet of about 35 to 45 concerns that people raised on the doorstep, and we’re still tackling the bigger issues that haven’t been tackled by previous councillors.”

Cllr Reed said she has recently reached out to Natural Resources Wales asking for a meeting about the waste plant site, but has not yet received a response.

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Cllr Jones said the councillors were continuing to put out regular leaflets to keep residents informed.

She added: “We have put the spreadsheet of concerns on Facebook to check with residents that we haven’t missed anything.”

Cllr Sean Morgan, the new leader of Caerphilly County Borough Council, said: “I hope the new councillors will work with us to reduce the anxiety of the residents in that valley.”

He added: “The results in Ynysddu are not a reflection of Philippa Marsden as a Leader, because of Labour’s successful results across the county borough.”

Cllr Jones said she is awaiting contact from the leader.

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