Carmarthenshire County Council

Carmarthenshire County Council (Welsh: Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin) is the local council for the county of Carmarthenshire, Wales, providing a range of services under the control of elected county councillors that include education, planning, transport, social services and public safety. The council is one of twenty-two unitary authorities that came into existence on 1 April 1996 under the provisions of the Local Government (Wales) Act 1994. It took over local government functions previously provided by Carmarthen District, Dinefwr Borough, Llanelli Borough councils and the Carmarthenshire area of what was Dyfed County Council.

Carmarthenshire Sir Gaerfyrddin
- Total
- % Water
Ranked 3rd
2,395 km²
? %
County Town Carmarthen
Largest Town Llanelli
ISO 3166-2 GB-CMN
ONS code 00NU (ONS)
W06000010 (GSS)
- Total (2017)
- Density
Ranked 4th
Ranked 18th
79 / km²
Ethnicity 99.4% White
Welsh language
- Any skills
Ranked 3rd
Carmarthenshire County Council
Control TBA (council NOC)
MEPs Wales

Carmarthenshire County Council

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin
Chair of the Council
Cllr Kevin Madge, Labour
since 16th May 2018
Leader of Council
Cllr Emlyn Dole, Plaid Cymru
Chief executive
Wendy Walters
Seats74 councillors
Political groups
     Plaid Cymru (38)
     Independent (13)
Other parties
     Labour (17)
     The New Independent Group (5)
     Independent (Unaffiliated) (1)
Length of term
5 years
Meeting place
County Hall, Carmarthen

The council is based in County Hall in Carmarthen.


It is the second body of this name; the previous Carmarthenshire County Council was formed on 1 April 1889 by the Local Government Act 1888 and was abolished on 31 March 1974 by the Local Government Act 1972.

The first election to the original council were held in January 1889 and the majority of the seats were won by the Liberals.[1] This pattern continued until the 1920s from which time most rural seats were held by Independents while the Labour Party dominated the industrial part of the county.


The authority has adopted the Cabinet system of running the county, and since 2004 ran by the Independents and Labour groups. Currently there are 37 Plaid Cymru councillors, 19 Independents and 18 Labour. The Leader of the Council is Cllr Emlyn Dole (Plaid Cyrmu).[2] The Chief executive, Mark Vincent James, was awarded the CBE for services to Local Government in Wales in the 2012 New Year Honours. James was forced to step aside temporarily in 2014 after a criminal investigation was launched into his affairs.[3][4]

Mark James

In 2013 Chief executive Mark James was sued for libel by Jacqui Thompson, a local blogger and trenchant critic of the council. He brought a counterclaim against Mrs Thompson; his legal action was funded by the council.[5] Although he won his action,[6] this indemnity was ruled unlawful by the Auditor General for Wales, on the grounds that councils cannot sue for libel nor indemnify others in private defamation actions. It also found that the payment of his pension contributions to him in cash was unlawful.[7][8] In July 2013 Thompson initiated the process of appealing the ruling on a point of law.[9] Local AM Peter Black commented that 'The way that the Council has handled this whole affair has been a public relations disaster from start to finish. These latest claims do not help.'[10]

In February 2014, a criminal investigation was launched into these payments by Gloucestershire Constabulary: Mark James stepped aside for the duration of the investigation. The episode led to criticism of senior councillors, including the council leader, Kevin Madge, who had agreed these financial arrangements and supported James in his actions.[3][11] Local politicians Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Jonathan Edwards both called for Mark James' full and final resignation, along with that of Kevin Madge.[12] Madge survived a vote of no confidence by 41 votes to 28. However, the council accepted the findings of the Wales Audit Office on the illegality of the payments, and Madge admitted that the council's reputation had been damaged by the episode.[4]

In 2019, Mark James announced his intention to retire as the Council's Chief Executive after 17 years in the post.[13] Wendy Walters took over as Chief Executive in June 2019.[14]

Change of leadership

Madge resigned as leader of the Council in May 2015 having lost the leadership of the Labour group. Two days later it was announced that Plaid Cymru would form a new coalition with the Independents.[15]

Political makeup

Elections take place every four years. The last election was held on 4 May 2017.

Current composition

Group affiliation[16] Members
Plaid Cymru 38
Labour 17

Historic results

Year Plaid Cymru Labour Liberal Democrats Conservatives Independents
2017 36 22 0 0 16
2012 28 23 0 0 23
2008 31 12 1 0 30
2004 16 25 0 1 33
1999 13 28 1 0 32

Electoral divisions

The county is divided into 58 electoral wards returning 74 councillors. Most of these wards are coterminous with communities. Most communities in Carmarthenshire have a community council. For each ward, councillors are elected to sit on Carmarthenshire County Council. The following table lists council wards, community councils and associated geographical areas. Communities with their own community council are marked with a *.

Ward Community Council Councillors
Former district
Population (2001 census)
1 Abergwili Abergwili*, Llanllawddog* 1 Carmarthen 2,271
2 Ammanford Ammanford Town* (Iscennen and Pantyffynnon wards) 1 Dinefwr 2,664
3 Betws Betws* 1 Dinefwr 1,834
4 Bigyn Llanelli Town* (Bigyn ward) 2 Llanelli 6,347
5 Burry Port Cefn Sidan (community) (Burry Port ward) 2 Llanelli 4,209
6 Bynea Llanelli Rural* (Bynea ward) 1 Llanelli 3,091
7 Carmarthen Town North Carmarthen Town* (Carmarthen Town North ward) 2 Carmarthen 5,291
8 Carmarthen Town South Carmarthen Town* (Carmarthen Town South ward) 2 Carmarthen 3,526
9 Carmarthen Town West Carmarthen Town* (Carmarthen Town West ward) 2 Carmarthen 4,313
10 Cenarth Cenarth*, Newcastle Emlyn* 1 Carmarthen 1,995
11 Cilycwm Cil-y-cwm*, Llansadwrn* and Llanwrda* 1 Dinefwr,
12 Cynwyl Elfed Cynwyl Elfed*, Bronwydd*, Llanpumsaint*, and Newchurch and Merthyr* 1 Carmarthen 2,743
13 Cynwyl Gaeo Cynwyl Gaeo*, Llansawel* and Llanycrwys* 1 Dinefwr 1,554
14 Dafen Llanelli Rural* (Dafen ward) 1 Llanelli 3,433
15 Elli Llanelli Town* (Elli ward) 1 Llanelli 3,156
16 Felinfoel Llanelli Rural* (Felinfoel ward) 1 Llanelli 1,948
17 Garnant Cwmamman* (Pistillwyd and Twyn wards) 1 Dinefwr 1,965
18 Glanamman Cwmamman* (Grenig and Tircoed wards) 1 Dinefwr 2,261
19 Glanymor Llanelli Town* (Glanymor ward) 2 Llanelli 4,888
20 Glyn Llanelli Rural* (Glyn ward) 1 Llanelli 2,032
21 Gorslas Gorslas* 2 Dinefwr 3,742
22 Hendy Llanelli* (Hendy ward) 1 Llanelli 3,039
23 Hengoed Llanelli Rural* (Hengoed ward) 2 Llanelli 3,829
24 Kidwelly Kidwelly Town* 1 Llanelli 3,829
25 Laugharne Township Laugharne Town*, Eglwyscummin, Llanddowror* and Pendine* 1 Carmarthen 2,924
26 Llanboidy Llanboidy*, Cilymaenllwyd* and Llangynin* 1 Carmarthen 1,982
27 Llanddarog Llanddarog* and Llanarthney 1 Carmarthen 1,833
28 Llandeilo Llandeilo Town* and Dyffryn Cennen* 1 Dinefwr 1,937
29 Llandovery Llandovery Town* and Llanfair-ar-y-bryn* 1 Dinefwr 2,870
30 Llandybie Llandybie* (Llandybie and Heolddu wards) 2 Dinefwr 3,738
31 Llanegwad Llanegwad*, Llanfihangel Rhos-y-Corn* and Llanfynydd* 1 Dinefwr,
32 Llanfihangel Aberbythych Llanfihangel Aberbythych* and Llangathen* 1 Dinefwr 1,716
33 Llanfihangel-ar-Arth Llanfihangel-ar-Arth* and Llanllwni* Carmarthen 2,727
34 Llangadog Llangadog*, Llanddeusant* and Myddfai* 1 Dinefwr 1,951
35 Llangeler Llangeler* 1 Carmarthen 3,222
36 Llangennech Llangennech* 2 Llanelli 4,510
37 Llangunnor Llangunnor* 1 Carmarthen 2,282
38 Llangyndeyrn Llangyndeyrn* 1 Carmarthen 2,953
39 Llannon Llannon* 2 Llanelli 4,999
40 Llansteffan Llansteffan*, Llangain* and Llangynog* 1 Carmarthen 2,209
41 Llanybydder Llanybydder* and Pencarreg* 1 Carmarthen 2,543
42 Lliedi Llanelli Town* (Lliedi ward) 2 Llanelli 5,036
43 Llwynhendy Llanelli Rural* (Pemberton ward) 2 Llanelli 4,276
44 Manordeilo and Salem Manordeilo and Salem*, and Talley* 1 Dinefwr 2,121
45 Pembrey Cefn Sidan (community)* (Pembrey ward) 2 Llanelli 3,374
46 Pen-y-groes Llandybie (Penygroes ward) 1 Dinefwr 2,429
47 Pontamman Ammanford* (Myddynfych and Wernddu wards) 1 Dinefwr 2,629
48 Pontyberem Pontyberem* 1 Llanelli 2,829
49 Quarter Bach Quarter Bach* 1 Dinefwr 2,933
50 Saron Llandybie* (Saron Ward) 2 Dinefwr 2,467
51 St Clears St Clears Town* 1 Carmarthen 2,820
52 St. Ishmael Llandyfaelog* and St. Ishmael* 1 Carmarthen 2,529
53 Swiss Valley Llanelli Rural* (Swiss Valley ward) 1 Llanelli 2,434
54 Trelech Abernant*, Llanwinio*, Meidrim* and Trelech* 1 Carmarthen 2,092
55 Trimsaran Trimsaran* 1 Llanelli 2,533
56 Tycroes Llanedi* (Tycroes ward) 1 Llanelli 2,156
57 Tyisha Llanelli* (Tyisha ward) 2 Llanelli 3,995
58 Whitland Whitland Town* and Henllanfallteg 1 Carmarthen 2,066

See also


  1. "County Councils. The Carmarthenshire Elections". Carmarthen Journal. 1 February 1889. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  2. "Executive Board". Carmarthenshire County Council.
  3. Shipton, Martin (14 February 2014). "Council boss steps aside from post for police investigation". Western Mail (Wales Online). Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. "Carmarthenshire council leadership no confidence vote lost". BBC News. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  5. "Blogger and Carmarthenshire council in High Court libel fight" BBC News 14 February
  6. "Carmarthenshire blogger loses libel case against council chief". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  7. "Carmarthenshire blogger row: Council libel costs pledge 'unlawful'". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  8. "Rotten Boroughs". Private Eye (1350). 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  9. "Carmarthenshire blogger files appeal bid over High Court judgement". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  10. Black, Peter. "Council criticised for 'unlawful' payments". Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  11. Lewis, Ian (14 February 2014). "Carmarthenshire Council chief executive Mark James steps down during police investigation". Carmarthen Journal. Archived from the original on 18 April 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  12. "Carmarthenshire County Council chief Mark James must go – Jonathan". South Wales Guardian. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  13. "Carmarthenshire chief executive Mark James to retire". BBC News. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  14. "Welsh council appoints first ever female chief executive - but she will earn £30k less than previous boss". Wales on Line. 2 May 2019. Retrieved 19 October 2019.
  15. "New coalition takes over Carmarthenshire council". BBC Wales News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  16. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 June 2010. Retrieved 22 May 2010.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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