Community Council by-election this week in Dinas Powys
9:00am Sunday 20th January 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY Council by-election is to be held in the Twyn Ward, Dinas Powys, after Conservative councillor Nigel Streeter stood down.
Cllr Streeter made the decision to leave the council for what are understood to be personal reasons, having been elected in May 2012. As a result a by-election will be held on Thursday, January 24.
The two candidates standing to replace him in the Twyn Ward - which has 1,343 voters - are Brian Morgan (Plaid Cymru) and Andy Robertson (Conservatives).
Mr Morgan has a background running computer software companies, and now chairs an established South Wales business while volunteering for humanitarian aid charities.
Mr Robertson has lived in the village for 30 years, and is a former local business owner who has semi-retired to work on the family farm.
Chair of Dinas Powys Community Council Cllr Val Hartrey said it was 'a shock' when Cllr Streeter stood down.
A dispute has subsequently broken out between the local Plaid and Conservative groups, over who is responsible for voters facing what has been termed by both parties as an 'unecessary' by-election - which will cost the community council between £2,500 and £3,000.
Plaid ward member Cllr Hartrey said: "What is a shame is that this situation has cost the council tax payers of Dinas Powys around £2,800. Such expenditure in these difficult times is regrettable.
"The usual practice is to co-opt a replacement but the Conservatives called an election.
"Councillors often have to stand down for health or family reasons but it is surprising to have forced an expensive election in the circumstances."
Cllr Chris Franks, who represents the Murch Ward on the community and Vale Councils, added: "This is large sum for the community council.
"Plaid tries very hard to use council taxpayers' money very carefully and we maintain a decent level of services. This massive bill, thanks to the Conservatives, has nothing to do with improving services and is all about boosting their political interests."
But the Conservative party contests this, and suggests Plaid 'engineered' the by-election.
Conservative candidate Mr Robertson said: "The previous councillor stood down for personal reasons.
"It is deeply regrettable that Plaid Cymru have taken advantage of this situation for petty political point scoring by refusing to co-operate on co-option discussions, leading to a costly election.
"Instead of engaging in cynical dirty tricks, Plaid Cymru councillors should spend a bit more time doing their jobs representing the people of Dinas Powys."
* Some local residents have also raised a concern that Mr Morgan was already listed as the councillor for the Twyn Ward on the 2013 Plaid Cymru calender distributed within the village - although the party says this was 'a simple misunderstanding' and 'poor presentation'.
One resident said: "Plaid's calendar for Dinas Powys shows their candidate Mr Brian Morgan as the actual Member for Plaid for the Twyn Ward!
"The first of these calendars were distributed in December - when were the printers given instruction, and did Plaid determine that reasonable democratic processes and traditions should be thrown to one side, because as the ruling party they could have their own way? An interesting point for Plaid to clarify."
Responding to this, Cllr Franks called it "poor presentation" by Plaid.
He said: "This is a simple misunderstanding. The names are there as contacts."