Carmarthenshire County Council

Cyngor Sir Gaerfyrddin
Founded1 April 1996
Preceded byCarmarthen District
Dinefwr Borough
Llanelli Borough
Dyfed County Council
Chair of the Council
Cllr Eirwyn Williams, Plaid Cymru
since 19 May 2021
Leader of the Opposition
Cllr Robert James, Labour
Chief executive
Wendy Walters
Assistant Chief executive
Paul Thomas
Seats75 councillors
Carmarthenshire County Council
Political groups
  Plaid Cymru (38)
Opposition (37)
  Labour (23)
  Independent (14)
Length of term
5 years
First past the post
First election
4 May 1995
Last election
5 May 2022
Next election
6 May 2027
Meeting place
Carmarthenshire County Hall from across Towy.png
County Hall, Carmarthen

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 Plaid Cymru Majority

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 between 2004 and 2015 it was run by Independent and Labour groups. Currently there are 38 Plaid Cymru councillors, 23 Labour and 14 Independents. 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.[2][3]

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.[4] Although he won his action,[5] 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.[6][7] In July 2013 Thompson initiated the process of appealing the ruling on a point of law.[8] 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.'[9]

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.[2][10] Local politicians Rhodri Glyn Thomas and Jonathan Edwards both called for Mark James' full and final resignation, along with that of Kevin Madge.[11] 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.[3]

In 2019, Mark James announced his intention to retire as the Council's Chief Executive after 17 years in the post.[12] Wendy Walters took over as Chief Executive in June 2019.[13]

Change of leadership

Kevin 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.[14] After the 2022 Council elections Emlyn Dole, the leader of the council, lost his seat in Llannon. His joint Plaid Cymru candidate, Llinos Mai Davies, won more votes and was announced the new councillor in Llannon in addition to the Labour incumbent Dot Jones being returned.[15] On 7 May 2022 Plaid Cymru Carmarthenshire announced it had voted in favour of Darren Price (Gorslas) to be the next leader of Plaid Cymru on the Council.

Political makeup

Elections take place every four years. The last election was held on 5 May 2022.

Current composition

As of 5 May 2022.

Group affiliation[16] Members
Plaid Cymru 38
Labour 23
  Independent 14

Party with majority control in bold

Historic results

Year Plaid Cymru Labour Independent Liberal Democrats Conservative Notes
2022 38 23 14 0 0 Plaid Cymru majority controlled
2017 36 22 16 0 0
2012 28 23 23 0 0
2008 31 12 30 1 0
2004 16 25 33 0 1
1999 13 28 32* 1 0
1995[17] 7 37 32* 3 1

Party with the most elected councillors in bold. Coalition agreements in Notes column

Electoral divisions

The county is divided into 51 electoral wards returning 75 councillors. In July 2021 Welsh Government accepted a number of ward change proposals by the Local Democracy and Boundary Commission for Wales, the changes gave a better parity of representation. Thirty-four wards remained unchanged.

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 Returned Former district council Electorate 2022[18]
1 Abergwili Abergwili*, Llanllawddog* 1 Carmarthen 1,960
2 Ammanford Ammanford Town* (Iscennen, Pontamman and Pantyffynnon wards) 2 Dinefwr 4194
3 Betws Betws* 1 Dinefwr 1,896
4 Bigyn Llanelli Town* (Bigyn ward) 3 Llanelli 4,986
5 Burry Port Pembrey and Burry Port Town (Burry Port ward) 2 Llanelli 3,440
6 Bynea Llanelli Rural* (Bynea ward) 2 Llanelli 3,229
7 Carmarthen Town North and South Carmarthen Town* (Carmarthen Town North and South ward) 3 Carmarthen 6,822
8 Carmarthen Town West Carmarthen Town* (Carmarthen Town West ward) 2 Carmarthen 3,767
9 Cenarth and Llangeler Cenarth*, Llangeler* and Newcastle Emlyn* 2 Carmarthen 4,539
10 Cilycwm Cil-y-cwm*, Llansadwrn*,Llanwrda*, Cynwyl Gaeo* and Llanycrwys* 1 Dinefwr,
11 Cwarter Bach Cwarter Bach* 1 Dinefwr 2,232
12 Cynwyl Elfed Cynwyl Elfed*, Bronwydd* andLlanpumsaint* 1 Carmarthen 2,028
13 Dafen and Felinfoel Llanelli Rural* (Dafen and Felinfoel ward) 2 Llanelli 4,064
14 Elli Llanelli Town* (Elli ward) 1 Llanelli
15 Garnant Cwmamman* (Pistillwyd and Twyn wards) 1 Dinefwr 1,627
16 Glanamman Cwmamman* (Grenig and Tircoed wards) 1 Dinefwr 1,879
17 Glanymor Llanelli Town* (Glanymor ward) 2 Llanelli 4,649
18 Glyn Llanelli Rural* (Glyn ward) 1 Llanelli 1,758
19 Gorslas Gorslas* 2 Dinefwr 3,788
20 Hendy Llanedi* (Hendy ward) 1 Llanelli 2,364
21 Hengoed Llanelli Rural* (Hengoed ward) 2 Llanelli 3,270
22 Kidwelly and St. Ishmael Kidwelly Town* and St. Ishmael* 2 Llanelli 4,080
23 Laugharne Township Laugharne Town*, Eglwyscummin, Llanddowror* and Pendine* 1 Carmarthen 2,231
24 Llanboidy Llanboidy*, Cilymaenllwyd* and Llangynin* 1 Carmarthen 1,744
25 Llanddarog Llanddarog* and Llanarthney 1 Carmarthen 1,710
26 Llandeilo Llandeilo Town* and Dyffryn Cennen* 1 Dinefwr 2,148
27 Llandovery Llandovery Town* and Llanfair-ar-y-bryn* 1 Dinefwr 2,121
28 Llandybie Llandybie* (Llandybie and Heolddu wards) 2 Dinefwr 3,334
29 Llanegwad Llanegwad*, Llanfihangel Rhos-y-Corn* and Llanfynydd* 1 Dinefwr,
30 Llanfihangel Aberbythych Llanfihangel Aberbythych* and Llangathen* 1 Dinefwr 1,549
31 Llanfihangel-ar-Arth Llanfihangel-ar-Arth* and Llanllwni* 1 Carmarthen 2,282
32 Llangadog Llangadog*, Llanddeusant* and Myddfai* 1 Dinefwr 1,646
33 Llangennech Llangennech* 2 Llanelli 4,122
34 Llangunnor Llangunnor* 1 Carmarthen 2,194
35 Llangyndeyrn Llangyndeyrn* and Llandyfaelog* 2 Carmarthen 4,073
36 Llannon Llannon* 2 Llanelli 4,263
37 Llanybydder Llanybydder* and Pencarreg* 1 Carmarthen 2,137
38 Lliedi Llanelli Town* (Lliedi ward) 2 Llanelli 4,009
39 Llwynhendy Llanelli Rural* (Pemberton ward) 2 Llanelli 3,297
40 Manordeilo and Salem Manordeilo and Salem*, Llansawel* and Talley* 1 Dinefwr 2,216
41 Pembrey Pembrey and Burry Port Town* (Pembrey ward) 2 Llanelli 3,544
42 Pen-y-groes Llandybie (Penygroes ward) 1 Dinefwr 2,363
43 Pontyberem Pontyberem* 1 Llanelli 2,229
44 Saron Llandybie* (Saron Ward) 2 Dinefwr 3,405
45 St. Clears and Llansteffan St Clears Town* Llansteffan*, Llangain* and Llangynog* 2 Carmarthen 4,321
46 Swiss Valley Llanelli Rural* (Swiss Valley ward) 1 Llanelli 2,199
47 Trelech Abernant*, Llanwinio*, Meidrim*, Newchurch and Merthyr* and Trelech* 1 Carmarthen 2,374
48 Trimsaran Trimsaran* 1 Llanelli 1,968
49 Tycroes Llanedi* (Tycroes and Llanedi wards) 1 Llanelli 2,182
50 Tyisha Llanelli* (Tyisha ward) 2 Llanelli
51 Whitland Whitland Town* and Henllanfallteg 1 Carmarthen 1,841


Coat of arms of Carmarthenshire County Council
Arms of Carmarthenshire County Council.svg
Granted on 28th August 1935.
On a wreath of the colours a dragon passant Gules gorged with a collar flory counterflory and resting the dexter foreclaw on a harp Or.
Quarterly indented Or and Gules in the first and fourth quarters a dragon rampant and in the second and third quarters a lion rampant all counterchanged.
On the dexter side a dragon Gules gorged with a collar flory counterflory attached thereto a chain reflexed over the back Or and on the sinister side a sea horse Argent the piscine parts Proper gorged with a collar flory counterflory attached thereto a chain reflexed over the back Or. Granted 1997.
Rhyddid Gwerin Ffyniant Gwlad (The Freedom Of The People Is The Prosperity Of The Country)[19]

See also


  1. ^ "County Councils. The Carmarthenshire Elections". Carmarthen Journal. 1 February 1889. Retrieved 27 April 2015.
  2. ^ a b Shipton, Martin (14 February 2014). "Council boss steps aside from post for police investigation". Western Mail (Wales Online). Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Carmarthenshire council leadership no confidence vote lost". BBC News. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Blogger and Carmarthenshire council in High Court libel fight" BBC News 14 February
  5. ^ "Carmarthenshire blogger loses libel case against council chief". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  6. ^ "Carmarthenshire blogger row: Council libel costs pledge 'unlawful'". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  7. ^ "Rotten Boroughs". Private Eye (1350). 4 October 2013. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  8. ^ "Carmarthenshire blogger files appeal bid over High Court judgement". BBC News. Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  9. ^ Black, Peter. "Council criticised for 'unlawful' payments". Retrieved 4 October 2013.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ "Carmarthenshire County Council chief Mark James must go – Jonathan". South Wales Guardian. 30 January 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  12. ^ "Carmarthenshire chief executive Mark James to retire". BBC News. 10 January 2019. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ "New coalition takes over Carmarthenshire council". BBC Wales News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  15. ^ Dalling, Robert (6 May 2022). "Leader of Carmarthenshire Council loses his seat". WalesOnline. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Local Elections 2022". Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Election Centre".
  18. ^ "Carmarthenshire Boundary review 2018" (PDF). Boundary and local Government Commission.
  19. ^ "Wales". Civic Heraldry of Wales. Retrieved 22 March 2021.