Mid Wales

Powys council coalition in doubt over differences between independent groups

Plans for a council coalition between two independent groups in Powys are in doubt after one party said there were "fundamental differences" between them.

Powys Independent Alliance, which previously led the council in coalition with the Lib Dems, said it was seeking talks with Shires Independent Group.

But the Shires group said no talks had been agreed between the parties.

No political group has a majority on the council, but 48 of Powys' 73 councillors are independents.

Fifty seats were contested in Powys at the local elections on 3 May, but the council is currently under no overall control.

Avril York, chair of the Powys Independent Alliance, said councillors were making plans that would "open the way to an independent administration with a sound working majority".

She added: "I can confirm that the Powys Independent Alliance seek to have discussion with the Shires Independent Group in order to find a way forward and to progress in a positive way, decisions that we all know have to be taken for the benefit of all our residents.

"The time is right at the start of a new council, for the two independent groups to come together.

"There will need to be give and take, but I am confident we can resolve any issues and work together."

'Megaphone diplomacy'

Ms York said voters had given a clear mandate for an independent-led council, by voting for 48 independent councillors.

But David Jones, leader of the Shires Independent Group, said he was "shocked and concerned" by Powys Independent Alliance's plans to form a coalition.

He added: "No talks have been agreed. There are fundamental differences between the two independent groups as the electors were aware at the time of the election.

"Megaphone diplomacy does not work. There would need to be a change in their approach before any negotiations could take place between the two independent groups."

The Conservative Party gained one seat in the local elections taking its overall tally in Powys to 10.

The Liberal Democrats lost three councillors, including their group leader Leslie Davies and fellow cabinet member Ken Harris, reducing their overall number to eight.

Labour increased its number by one, taking its seats to six.

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