Gwynedd Council Leader announces he is to step down next May

Councillor Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd Council Leader

Councillor Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd Council Leader and Leader of the Plaid Cymru Group on the Council has announced his intention to step down from his post at the next County Council election in May 2017.

Councillor Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd Council Leader
Councillor Dyfed Edwards, Gwynedd Council Leader

He will also relinquish his seat on Gwynedd Council as representative for the Penygroes constituency.

He was first elected in 2004 and became Leader of Gwynedd Council in 2008. He was previously responsible for education as a member of the Council Board.

Announcing his intention to stand down Dyfed Edwards said: “I count it a privilege that I have had the opportunity to represent the community of Penygroes and be Council Leader for nearly a decade.

“I have always been of the view that I wished to devote a certain period to the job because I believe it is important to make specific contributions for a certain period and then step aside to allow others make a contribution. I had no intention to become a councillor for life.”

In addition to serving as Leader of Gwynedd Council Dyfed has also been Plaid Group Leader on the Welsh Local Government Association  (WLGA), acting as Vice President and currently spokesperson for Housing and the Welsh Language and previously the arts, culture, sport and the Welsh language.

He said: “The past years have been very exciting, both locally and nationally. With the devolution journey continuing I have put great emphasis on ensuring that we work together with Welsh Government Ministers and representatives of the Wales Office in Westminster. Success is achieved by reaching out and acting positively rather than retreating to an island of negativity. I believe that we still have an opportunity to make a difference despite the financial challenges.

“We can rightly be proud of the fact that we have implemented innovative policies in Gwynedd e.g. with the Welsh Language Schools Charter; in housing, using the financial power of the Council to work with partners on a Community Land Trust plan; in education by ensuring significant investment in our pattern of new schools and creating better conditions for leadership; our bid for a World Heritage Site is unique in that it covers the slate industry throughout Gwynedd and has already captured the imagination both nationally and internationally; in social care we have managed to secure extra care housing developments in Bala, Bangor and Porthmadog whilst supporting others to continue living at home. At the same time we have remembered our responsibility to our fellow man and have welcomed families of refugees from Syria and children who have escaped from violence and war.

“There is a special atmosphere belonging to Gwynedd Council – respected relationships between members and officers and for all our political differences, the vast majority of councillors agree on the priorities and what we wish to achieve.

“I am very grateful to the staff and Council members for the opportunity to work together over the years. Amid the cuts and shrinking of the State we have managed to secure significant investment throughout Gwynedd from Plas Heli in Pwllheli and to Storiel in Bangor and from Pont Briwet in Penrhyndeudraeth to a new school in Ysgol Bro Llifon Groeslon.

“The role of local government is gradually moving from being a provider of everything to being a facilitator and leader in order to work in partnership with others. And it is now time, more than ever, to be clear about our goals and act in a way which ensures a difference for the better for our people.

“It is my passion for social justice and the Welsh language that has driven me and acting in a way that highlights the close connection between the two. I am optimistic about the future and am hopeful that Gwynedd will remain at the heart of building the New Wales.”