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SIX candidates will be standing in the May 6 Llantwit Fardre by-election for Rhondda Cynon Taf Council. The by-election for the seat is to take place after former independent councillor Mike Diamond stood down for personal reasons.

The six candidates vying to replace him are Ioan Bellin of Plaid Cymru, Graham Colk of Labour, David Payne of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Tizard-Lee standing as an independent, Sam Trask of the Conservatives and James Williams standing as an independent.

Here is some background about each candidate and why they have chosen to stand.

Ioan Bellin (Plaid Cymru)

Mr Bellin said:

“Plaid Cymru will make politics work again in the post-Covid age, and that starts with making people’s day to day life better at a community level.

“We are putting forward policies in these elections on May 6 that will strengthen our communities by caring for the most vulnerable in our society and protect our children’s future.

“At this election, I’m standing for fairness. I’m disappointed that Conservative councillors including the ward councillor voted against extending free school meals for the most economically disadvantaged children in the county.

“I’m a former journalist for HTV Wales and the BBC, for the last 17 years I have been working for members of the Senedd so I have experience of getting things done for constituents.

“I have lived locally since 2012. I’m pleased to be standing to join the successful Plaid Cymru Pontypridd team on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council including Councillor Heledd Fychan.”

Graham Colk (Labour)

The Labour candidate for the by-election in Llantwit Fardre is Graham Colk who was contacted.

David Payne (Liberal Democrats)

Mr Payne said:

“Liberal Democrats have a strong tradition in this area, which I am proud to have played a part in and I want to continue standing up for causes that matter to local people.

“I have been acutely aware of how our small local businesses have suffered the most this past year, many of which were still recovering from the devastating flooding that hit much of the area back in February 2020.

“As a party, we’re committed to putting recovery first and as such believe that smaller business needs to be put at the forefront of the recovery plan.

“The current government plans seriously overlook the needs of family-owned businesses, which we want to address by calling for a cross-party economic recovery council and supporting self-employed people who have been left out in the cold.”

Nick Tizard-Lee (Independent)

Nick Tizard-Lee, a local community councillor, said:
“At a local level, the voting choice should be far more about the person than the party.

 “From 2017 the Conservative and independent councillors formed a group in so far as councillors would discuss issues and agree on a plan before a meeting.

“Being new to local politics I found this very helpful, especially guidance from the then Councillor Mike Diamond whose seat we are now contesting.”

He said the group helped to

Convert the street lighting to LED; install a new gas boiler and central heating into the Parish Hall; move the chamber to encourage public participation, and reduce committees and their cost.

He said committee paperwork adds unnecessary costs.

“A vote for me is a vote to spend your council taxes wisely and sensibly,” he said.

“You can only spend it once, spend it wisely.”

Sam Trask (Conservatives)
Mr. Trask said:
“I’m 38 and I’ve lived in the area for over 20 years.
“I work as an aircraft engineer at GE Aviation in Nantgarw where I have been since I left school at 16 and I’m a member of Unite the union there, as I believe that people should be able to have representation in any place where they feel someone ought to stand up for them – whether that be politically or at work.
“I’ve been a community councillor since 2017 and enjoy helping local people, I would like to be able to do more, like investing in new equipment for local play areas that are badly run down, pedestrian crossings and tackling speeding vehicles to improve safety, and further investment to tackle class sizes and road congestion at Maesybryn Primary School.”
James Williams (Independent)
Mr. Williams said:
“Hello. My name is James Williams and I live in Llantwit Fardre with my wife and two children.
“I’ve had two very different careers! First, I was a professional golfer and played on the European Challenge Tour for a few years Then, I decided to change career and am now a professional singer.
“In 2008, I entered the X-Factor and reached the judges’ houses stage.
“Since then, I’ve been honoured to travel all over the world singing and I even have my own 10 piece band. I perform in theatres, at private events and at Warner Leisure Hotels.
“I’m a charismatic, ‘people person and love the place where my family and I live.
“When the opportunity arose to run for councillor of Llantwit Fardre, I became extremely excited as I believe that more can be done in the area and am excited by the prospect of making a huge difference in, and for, our community.”

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