Plaid Cymru and Labour make inroads in Wrexham
Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
No party gained an overall majority at the Wrexham local election as independents still held the most seats with 23.
However, both Labour and Plaid Cymru, who were in opposition during the last administration, made inroads, with the former gaining three seats and the latter four.
It takes their total number of councillors to 14 and nine respectively, with the Conservatives also winning nine seats, an increase of one, and the Liberal Democrats standing still on one.
It leaves question marks over who will rule Wrexham Council for the next five years following the election count held at the Glyndwr University sports hall in Wrexham today (Friday, 6 May).
Power previously lay with a coalition of two independent groups run by incumbent council leader Mark Pritchard and deputy leader David A Bithell, alongside the Conservatives.
But before polling day on Thursday there were rumours of friction between the two independent groups, meaning a new alliance could be in the offing.
Cllr Pritchard, who was re-elected in Esclusham after his seat was uncontested, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service talks would be held over the next few days over the future composition of the council.
‘Open to discussions’
Meanwhile, Labour group leader Dana Davies, who faced a scare in Ruabon after winning by just four votes, also said she would be open to discussions with other groups.
Several changes were made to ward boundaries in the area ahead of the election following a review by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission.
It saw the overall number of councillors in Wrexham increase from 52 to 56 and the number of wards from 47 to 49.
One of the shocks of the day saw Liberal Democrat Alun Jenkins lose his seat in Offa by just six votes after holding it for more than 50 years.
He was defeated by Plaid Cymru’s Katie Wilkinson who gained 212 votes compared to his 206.
Independent executive board members Sonia Benbow-Jones, lead member for children’s services and David Griffiths, lead member for housing, were also beaten.
Mr Griffiths, who has been a councillor for the last 23 years, was defeated by 37 votes by independent Tina Mannering.
Before the boundary changes, the two had represented different wards in Gwersyllt.
Ms Benbow-Jones lost by just six votes in Cefn West to Labour’s Stella Matthews, who is the mother of Labour leader Dana Davies.
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