On Thursday, October 24, voters in Powys County Council’s Newtown South ward will be going to the polls.

They will be electing a new councillor to represent them.

This follows the resignation of Neil Morrison, who stepped down from the role in early September triggering the by-election.

Voters have three candidates to choose from – Richard Edwards (Plaid Cymru), Kelly Healy (Liberal Democrats) and Les Skilton (Conservatives).

The Local Democracy Service has spoken to all three.

Richard Edwards – Plaid Cymru

County Times:

“I’ve lived in the area since a child – educated at Hafren Primary and Newtown High School and I’ve worked in various businesses across Newtown, and currently manage the Cultivate Shop at the Market Hall— as well as working on projects to tackle food poverty.

“I’ve been an active member of the community here in Newtown for years—I’m a school governor at both Maesyrhandir and Ysgol Dafydd Llwyd—and I am a dedicated member of the Newtown Town Council, having previously served as Town Mayor.

“People tell me they want to see more events in Newtown and better promotion and marketing of the town to encourage more people to visit our town centre and keep our local shops and businesses going.

“As a town councillor, I have in 2018 developed the tourism plan for Newtown, which aims to make Newtown somewhere great to live, learn, work and visit, promoting Newtown as a place to come to.

“I’m proud of my track record of working hard for our community.

“So far I have helped secure a new Town Hall Play Park, a BMX pump track and mountain bike trail on Trehafren Hill and canoe access points on the river.

“If elected I will continue to work on bringing more investment into Newtown and seek to be a strong voice for residents.”

Kelly Healy – Welsh Liberal Democrats

County Times:

“I have lived in Newtown all my life, firstly in Treowen for 30 years and then Mochdre for the last six years.

“I was a pupil of Treowen Primary School and then Newtown High School before attending Coleg Powys.

“I now work at Quartix in Newtown as a senior sales and telesales team leader.

“I spent time in Guatemala volunteering in an animal sanctuary and then set up a cat rescue in Newtown – Kelly’s Kat Rescue to help homeless cats. 

"This has also led to helping people in the community.

“I am also involved in community work and  in fundraising and local campaigning.

“I believe that it is very important that Newtown South has a hard-working, experienced councillor to make sure we are not forgotten and this area receives the help and resources that it deserves.

“I have experience as a town councillor.

“Many people know me for my work as Kelly’s Kat Rescue, helping with issues of neglected and abandoned cats, and trying to find solutions to problems that this brings to our community”

“I will hold regular surgeries and keep residents informed with newsletters”

“I enjoy hard work, and I will be working to change the council and improve the county.”

Les Skilton – Welsh Conservatives 

County Times:

“I’ve lived in the Newtown South ward all my life.

“I care deeply about our community and as the only candidate standing that lives in the ward, I’m keen to be a county councillor that is close to the issues that matter to people.

“I’ve been very grateful to the many people that completed my recent survey and have spoken to me when I’ve visited homes.

“One of the most important issues to me is ensuring that we have more police officers in our area to make people feel safer.

“I care very much about Newtown and I want to see a thriving high street and town.

“I’ve got a raft of ideas to improve Newtown South; like tackling litter problems on the Garth Owen, Maesyrhandir, Maesydail and Glandulas estates.

“And I believe we need to sort out the basic issues like fixing potholes, resurfacing some of the pavements and roads and getting more litter bins in the right places.

“As someone who lives right in the middle of the ward, I’ll be an accessible councillor for local people.

“I think it’s important that residents know that if they need me, I’ll be there to help.

“When it comes to taking decisions, I’ll always put Newtown first.

“At county hall , I’ll be a strong voice for local residents and above all; I promise to champion Newtown and Newtown residents’ interests first every time.

“As someone who is a member of a number of local charities and organisations in the town, I feel I’m aware of the issues that matter to people.”