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Torfaen councillor predicts more changes to Opposition in New Year as councillors agree committee memberships following break up of the Independent Group

The leader of the Torfaen Independent Group has predicted that there would be more changes in the New Year when councillors from a recently disbanded group decide “what they want to do with themselves”.

Yesterday Torfaen’s councillors agreed who will sit on its committees following the news that the Independent Group had broken up.

Extra info: Ten councillors were voted in as Independents in May’s county council elections. They all decided independently to form into two groups. Being part of a group entitles the group to representation on various council committees inline with local government guidance.

There are three councillors who make up the Torfaen Independent Group and there were seven councillors who made up the Independent Group.

Six councillors (a seventh councillor in the group who resigned from the council in November) told Torfaen Council they will no longer be the Independent Group and will instead be Individual Independents. It now leaves three councillors in the Torfaen Independent Group as the largest opposition group.

Nansi Salkeld, the council’s head of democratic services, presented a report to the Council meeting to ep

Council officers worked with councillors and followed local government guidance to alter the membership of the committees to ensure the political balance of each one. There are 90 seats available and Labour group are entitled to 80 and the Torfaen Independent Group are entitled to ten.

But to ensure wider scrutiny of the council’s work the two groups have given some seats to the Individual Independents who wanted to sit on some committees.

‘Let’s wait for the new year’

Chair Rose Seabourne, chair, asked if any councillors had any questions or comments and the only hand that went up was Cllr Ron Burnett, Two Locks Ward and leader of the Torfaen Independent Group.

He said: “Thank you Nansi for your report and for the work you’ve had to put into this once again sorting out the chairs and committees and political balance. Once again there has been a change in the Independent group. They’ve split up due to whatever differences they have and some of them have thrown their toys out of the pram leaving other members to come and pick it up.

“We the Independent Group of Torfaen, the original independent group have and will always have our feet firmly on the ground. We work for the people of Torfaen and not to boost our egos. I wonder what the people of Torfaen are thinking, after such a short time when this other group was formed, in such a short time down the road they’ve split as they have their differences between them and are unable to work together as a team.

“Sad really. I thought they had big aspirations there but let’s wait for the new year. I’m sure there will be some more changes when they decide what they want to do with themselves or what they’re going to call themselves and it’s just watch this space until after the New Year. And I thank Nansi once again for her patience, and she clearly does have some patience. And I’m sure the changes will come in the New Year when they can make their minds up and in the meantime, everybody else has to pick up the pieces like we had to before.”

Following Cllr Burnett’s response, the chair asked councillors if anyone else wanted to speak but all hands stayed down.

An election will be held in Llantarnam following the resignation of Independent councillor Nick Jones.

Here are the memberships for each committee.

Planning Committee

This committee has 12 members

Labour

Norma Parrish (Chair)
Stuart Ashley
Alfie Best
Steven Evans
Karl Gauden
Jon Horlor
Gaynor James
Jon James
David Williams

Torfaen Independent Group

Janet Jones

Individual Independents

Chris Tew
Alan Slade

Licensing

Labour

Giles Davies (Chair)
Lynda Clarkson
Liam Cowles
Steven Evans
Karl Gauden
Jon Horlor
Jon James
Norma Parrish

Torfaen Independent Group

Ron Burnett

Individual Independents

Elizabeth Haynes
David Thomas

Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny

Labour

Steven Evans (Chair)
Stuart Ashley
Lynda Clarkson
Gaynor James
Norma Parrish
Colette Thomas

Torfaen Independent Group

Nick Horler

Individual Independents

Mark Jones
Chris Tew

Healthier Communities Overview & Scrutiny

Labour

Alfie Best
Lynda Clarkson
Steven Evans
Rose Seabourne
Jayne Watkins
Lucy Williams
Vacancy

Torfaen Independent Group

Janet Jones (Chair)

Individual Independents

Mark Jones

Education Overview & Scrutiny

Labour

Rose Seabourne(Chair)
Alfie Best
Liam Cowles
Caroline Price
Colette Thomas
Jayne Watkins
Lucy Williams
Vacancy

Torfaen Independent Group

Janet Jones

Prosperous Communities Overview & Scrutiny

Labour

Nick Bryne
Liam Cowles
Karl Gauden
Sue Malson
Caroline Price
Nick Simons
Nathan Yeowell

Torfaen Independent Group

Nick Horler (Chair)

Individual Independents

Dave Thomas

Democratic Services Committee

Labour

Giles Davies
Sue Malson
Rosemary Matthews
Norma Parrish
Rose Seabourne
Colette Thomas
Jayne Watkins

Torfaen Independent Group

Ron Burnett (Chair)

Individual Independents

Catherine Bonera
Elizabeth Haynes

Cross Cutting, Resources & Business Overview & Scrutiny

Labour

Stuart Ashley (Chair)

All Non-Executive Group Members

Governance and Audit*

Labour

Stuart Ashley
Nick Bryne
Peter Jones
David Williams

Torfaen Independent Group

Vacancy

Lay members

*Lay members (Mrs Kathryn Pegington, Professor Michael Kelleher and Mr Mark Rees) appointed by Council – will sit as committee member for the remainder of the local authority term (May 2027).

Pensions

Labour

Nathan Yeowell (Chair)
Karl Gauden
Jon Horlor
Nick Simons
David Williams

Torfaen Independent Group

Vacancy

Appointments

Labour

Richard Clark
Liam Cowles
Anthony Hunt
Joanne Gauden
Susan Morgan
Rose Seabourne
David Williams

Torfaen Independent Group

Ron Burnett

Individual Independents

Elizabeth Haynes
Alan Slade

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Posted inNews

Torfaen councillor predicts more changes to Opposition in New Year as councillors agree committee memberships following break up of the Independent Group

The Civic Centre in Pontypool
Torfaen Council's Civic Centre