Gwynedd Council

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Gwynedd Council

Cyngor Gwynedd
2nd unitary term
Coat of arms or logo
Chair of the Council
Cllr Annwen Hughes, Plaid Cymru
since 3rd May 2018
Leader of Council
Cllr Dyfrig Siencyn, Plaid Cymru
since 18th May 2017
Chief executive
Dilwyn Williams
since 1st May 2014
41 / 75
23 / 75
6 / 75
3 / 75
2 / 75
First past the post
Last election

Gwynedd Council (Welsh: Cyngor Gwynedd) is the governing body for the principal area of Gwynedd, one of the subdivisions of Wales within the United Kingdom. The Council administrates internally through the medium of Welsh.[1] It is also the first county council in Wales to support Welsh independence.

Creation of the Authority[edit]

The present local government area of Gwynedd is made up of the ancient counties of Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire. These counties alongside Anglesey were merged in 1974 to create a much larger local government area called "Gwynedd" after the medieval kingdom of the same name. The governing body of this area was called Gwynedd County Council.

The present governing body was formed following the local government reorganisation in Wales in 1996 which recommended the separation of Anglesey, the abolition of Gwynedd and the creation of the new "County of Caernarfonshire and Merionethshire". This proposal was clearly unpopular because one of the first acts of this new authority was to rename itself Gwynedd Council. The first elections were held in 1995

Second home controversy[edit]

Controversy erupted in mid-winter 2001 when Seimon Glyn, Gwynedd Council's housing committee chairman and Plaid Cymru member, voiced frustration over "English immigrants" moving into traditionally Welsh speaking communities.[2] Glyn was commenting on a report underscoring the dilemma of rocketing house prices outstripping what locals could pay, with the report warning that '...traditional Welsh communities could die out..." as a consequence.[3]

In 2001 nearly a third of all purchases of properties in Gwynedd were by buyers from out of the county, with some communities reporting as many as a third of local homes used as holiday homes.[4][5] Holiday home owners typically spend less than six months of the year in the local community.

The issue of locals being priced out of the local housing market is common to many rural communities throughout Britain, but in Wales the added dimension of language further complicates the issue, as many new residents do not learn the Welsh language.[4][6][7][8]

Concerned for the Welsh language under these pressures, Glyn said "Once you have more than 50% of anybody living in a community that speaks a foreign language, then you lose your indigenous tongue almost immediately".[9] His comments attracted strong criticism of Plaid Cymru from other national parties.[9]

By spring 2002 both the Snowdonia National Park (Welsh: Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri) and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park (Welsh: Parc Cenedlaethol Arfordir Penfro) authorities began limiting second home ownership within the parks, following the example set by Exmoor.[10] According to planners in Snowdonia and Pembroke applicants for new homes must demonstrate a proven local need or the applicant must have strong links with the area.


In 2014, the council passed a motion which called for a trade embargo with Israel and was subsequently accused of Anti-Semitism by the organisation Jewish Human Rights Watch. Jewish Human Rights Watch won the right to a judicial review of Cyngor Gwynedd's decision, but their claim was dismissed by the High Court in June 2016.[11]

Emergence of Llais Gwynedd[edit]

In 2008, Llais Gwynedd or Voice of Gwynedd, a previously unheard of regionalist pressure group won several seats on Gwynedd Council. It demanded an end to cutbacks in rural areas threatening schools, a relaxation of planning controls, action to provide rural employment and calls for more to be done to protect Gwynedd's "unique cultural, linguistic and social fabric".


Since July 2011, Gwynedd Council has been governed by a Plaid Cymru administration. As of 5 May 2017, Plaid currently have the largest grouping of councillors within the council followed by independents, Llais Gwynedd, the Labour Party, and the Liberal Democrats. Plaid Cymru councillor Dyfrig Siencyn is currently the leader of the Council.[12] The Liberal Democrat and Labour Councillors sit within one group named 'lib/lab' as a result of only one seat for each party.

Full council elections take place every four years.

Current composition[edit]

As of May 2018:

Group affiliation Members [13]
Plaid Cymru 41
Llais Gwynedd 6
Gwynedd United Independents 3
Individual Member 2

The May 2017 election in the Hendre ward resulted in a "historic" tie, with the Plaid Cymru and Independent candidates each winning 132 votes. The Independent candidate was declared the winner, after a name was drawn from a pot by the returning officer.[14]

Historic results[edit]

Year Plaid Cymru Independents Llais Gwynedd Lib Dem Labour
2012 37 18 13 4 2
2008 35 16 12 4 5
2004 41 17 0 10 7
1999 43 22 0 12 6
1995 45 26 0 9 3

A by-election for Diffwys and Maenofferen was held in July 2010 and Llais Gwynedd narrowly held the seat.

Further by-elections in the Bowydd a Rhiw, held in September 2010, and Seiont, held in October 2010, led to a Plaid Cymru gain from Llais Gwynedd and a Llais Gwynedd gain from Independent respectively.

A by-election for the vacant Arllechwedd ward was held in June 2011, resulting in a Plaid Cymru gain from the Liberal Democrats.[15] The Glyder ward was also vacant at the same time, after the death of the Plaid Cymru councillor. Plaid Cymru held the seat in the by-election held in July 2011,[16] allowing the party to gain full control of the council with 38 seats, one seat being vacant at the time.

By-elections held for the Diffwys a Maenofferen and Penrhyndeudraeth wards in September 2011 resulted in a gain for Plaid Cymru over Llais Gwynedd and a Plaid Cymru hold respectively. This ensured Plaid Cymru's control of the council, with no seat vacancies.[17]

Electoral divisions, areas and committees[edit]

The council operates a decentralised system of administration, with three area committees:

Electoral divisions[edit]

Since 2004 the county borough has been divided into 71 electoral wards returning 75 councillors.[18] There are a number of elected community councils in the region. The following table lists council wards, communities and associated geographical areas. Communities with a community council are indicated with a '* ':

Ward Communities (Parishes) Other geographic areas
Bethel Llanddeiniolen* (Bethel ward)
Bontnewydd Bontnewydd*
Cadnant Caernarfon (town)* (Dwyrain ward)
Cwm y Glo Llanrug* (Ceunant and Cwm y Glo wards)
Deiniol Bangor (city)* (Deiniol ward)
Deiniolen Llanddeiniolen* (Clwt y Bont, Deiniolen and Dinorwig wards)
Dewi Bangor (city)* (Dewi ward)
Garth Bangor (city)* (Garth Ward)
Gerlan Bethesda (town)* (Gerlan and Rachub wards)
Glyder Bangor (city)* (Glyder ward)
Groeslon Llandwrog* (Dinas Dinlle and Groeslon wards)
Hendre Bangor (city)* (Hendre ward)
Hirael Bangor (city)* (Hirael ward)
Llanberis Llanberis*
Llanllyfni Llanllyfni* (Llanllyfni, Nantlle and Nebo wards)
Llanrug Llanrug* (Llanrug ward)
Llanwnda Llanwnda*
Marchog Bangor (city)* (Marchog ward)
Menai (Bangor) Bangor (city)* (Menai ward )
Menai (Caernarfon) Caernarfon (town)* (Menai ward)
Ogwen Bethesda* (Ogwen ward)
Peblig Caernarfon (town)* (Deheuol ward)
Penisarwaun Llanddeiniolen* (Brynrefail, Penisarwaun and Rhiwlas wards)
Pentir Pentir*
Penygroes Llanllyfni* (Penygroes ward)
Seiont Caernarfon (town)* (Gorllewin ward)
Tregarth and Mynydd Llandygai Llandygai* (St Ann's and Tregarth wards)
Y Felinheli Y Felinheli*
Ward Communities (Parishes) Other geographic areas
Aberdaron Aberdaron*
Abererch Llannor* (Abererch and Y Ffôr wards)
Abersoch Llanengan* (Abersoch ward)
Botwnnog Botwnnog*
Clynnog Fawr Clynnog*
Criccieth Criccieth*
Dolbenmaen Dolbenmaen* (Bryncir, Garn, Golan, Penmorfa and Treflys wards)
  • Buan*
  • Llannor* (Efail-newydd and Pentre-uchaf wards)
Llanbedrog Llanbedrog*
Llanengan Llanengan* (Llanengan and Llangian wards)
Llanystumdwy Llanystumdwy
Morfa Nefyn Nefyn (town)* (Edern and Morfa Nefyn wards)
Nefyn Nefyn (town)* (Nefyn ward)
Porthmadog - Tremadog
Porthmadog East Porthmadog (town)* (East and Ynys Galch wards)
Porthmadog West Porthmadog (town)* (Gest, Morfa Bychan and West wards)
Pwllheli South Pwllheli (town)* (South ward)
Pwllheli North Pwllheli (town)* (North ward)
Tudweiliog Tudweiliog*
Ward Communities (Parishes) Other geographic areas
Barmouth Barmouth (Town)*
Bala Bala (Town)*
Bowydd and Rhiw Ffestiniog* (Bowydd and Rhiw and Tanygrisiau wards)
Brithdir and Llanfachreth/Y Ganllwyd/Llanelltyd
Diffwys and Maenofferen Ffestiniog* (Diffwys and Maenofferen ward)
Dolgellau (North) Dolgellau (town)* (Northern and Rural wards)
Dolgellau (South) Dolgellau (town)* (Southern ward)
Dyffryn Ardudwy Dyffryn Ardudwy*
Harlech and Talsarnau
Bryncrug / Llanfihangel
Teigl Ffestiniog* (Conglywal and Cynfal and Teigl wards)
Tywyn Tywyn*

2018 boundary review[edit]

A report by the Boundary Commission for Wales was put to the Welsh Government for approval in November 2018. If agreed it would reduce the numbers of county councillors to 69, elected from 65 wards. It would particularly affect the city of Bangor, blamed on the low voter registration of the university students.[19]


  1. ^ Morris, Delyth (2010-07-01). Welsh in the Twenty-First Century. University of Wales Press. ISBN 9781783164110.
  2. ^ "Plaid bids to defuse 'racism' row". February 21, 2001 – via
  3. ^ "'Racist' remarks lost Plaid votes". September 3, 2001 – via
  4. ^ a b "Apology over 'insults' to English". January 19, 2001 – via
  5. ^ "BBC News | Wales | Plaid calls for second home controls".
  6. ^ "BBC News | SCOTLAND | Double tax for holiday home owners".
  7. ^ "Controls on second homes reviewed". September 5, 2001 – via
  8. ^ "Gwynedd considers holiday home curb". April 9, 2002 – via
  9. ^ a b "Plaid plan 'protects' rural areas". June 19, 2001 – via
  10. ^ "Park to ban new holiday homes". March 6, 2002 – via
  11. ^ "Anti-Semitic councils claim dismissed". June 28, 2016 – via
  12. ^ Crump, Eryl (2017-05-09). "Plaid Cymru in Gwynedd choose new council leader". northwales. Retrieved 2017-05-12.
  13. ^ Owen, Geraint (July 2018). "Council's Political Balance" (PDF). Gwynedd Council. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  14. ^ Arron Evans (5 May 2017). "Local Elections: Arfon results". North Wales Chronicle. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Arllechwedd By-election: 16 June 2011". Gwynedd Council. Archived from the original on 31 March 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Plaid candidate in narrow Glyder by-election victory". Bangor and Anglesey Mail. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  17. ^ Bodden, Tom (1 October 2011). "By-election wins hand Plaid Cymru overall control in Gwynedd". Daily Post. Retrieved 14 October 2011. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ "The County of Gwynedd (Electoral Changes) Order 2002 - Schedule". The National Archives. 6 December 2002. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  19. ^ "Gwynedd set to lose councillors in ward boundary shake-up". North Wales Live. 10 November 2018. Retrieved 20 April 2019.

External links[edit]