PENYRHEOL councillor Lindsay Whittle has been appointed as the new leader of the Plaid Cymru group on Caerphilly County Borough Council.

Cllr Whittle, who takes over from Llanbradach councillor Colin Mann as leader of the opposition, said it was a “privilege” to be chosen by his fellow Plaid Cymru councillors.

Cllr Whittle has led the council on two previous occasions has also served as a regional Senedd Member for South Wales East.

At this month’s council elections, he received the highest amount of votes of all the candidates standing –  with 1,975 votes.

He said: “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and I’m determined we knock a lot more doors and listen and take account of the concerns of people across the county borough.

“I also want to see more young people involved in the party locally as they are the future, as well as encouraging many more women to become involved.

“Although we did not win the election, I still intend to focus on some of the issues brought up on the doorstep, such as campaigning for at least some street lights to be switched back on in the early hours, including around pensioner complexes.

“In addition, I hope Labour can be persuaded to spend a chunk of the £180 million they have in reserves to benefit communities at this very tough time for everyone.”

Cllr Whittle thanked Cllr Mann for his “sterling work and commitment” as group leader.

Cllr Mann said: “I was privileged to lead the group for ten years, including the difficult period of the pandemic and I thank my colleagues for their support during that time.  I wish Lindsay all the best in his quest to take things forward – not an easy task.”

Cllr Charlotte Bishop, who was first elected to represent Aber Valley in a by-election in May 2021, has been named as the group’s new Deputy Leader, taking over from fellow-Aber Valley councillor John Taylor.

Cllr Mann said he believed that Cllr Bishop “represents the future”.

Plaid Cymru retained its 18 seats at the council elections.

Cllr Mann said: “Although we didn’t increase the number of seats on the council, we had excellent results in some areas.  At the same time, there is plenty of work to be done to increase our representation and I look forward to seeing Plaid Cymru progressing.”

The leader and deputy leader of the ruling Labour group are yet to be announced.