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Our town council turns 50!

Today, Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council marks a significant milestone as it celebrates its 50th anniversary since its formation, tracing its roots back to the establishment of the Newtown Local Government District in 1866.

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Today, Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council marks a significant milestone as it celebrates its 50th anniversary since its formation, tracing its roots back to the establishment of the Newtown Local Government District in 1866.

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The council's journey began as a local board governing the Newtown Local Government District, covering parts of the parishes of Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn. Over the years, it underwent transformations, becoming the Newtown and Llanllwchaiarn Urban District Council under the Local Government Act 1894, where it built and occupied Newtown Park Offices jointly with the Newtown and Llanidloes Rural District Council.

Under the Local Government Act 1972, the urban district council was abolished, and Newtown became part of the Montgomery district of Powys on 1st April 1974. The newly formed community adopted the name Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council which ushered in a new generation of local governance.

Since its inception, the council has seen thirty one chairpersons or 'Mayors' at its helm, with W. G. Davies MBE serving as the first Mayor from 1974 to 1976. Notably, the first women Mayor was Mrs Doreen Owen, elected in 1977. In 2021, Richard Williams, who is thought to be the youngest, became Mayor at the age of 26. The current Mayor, John Byrne, was elected in May 2022 and re-elected in 2023.

Over the past 50 years, the council has been supported by seven town clerks, with Norman Morris serving from 1974 to 1981 and the current Town Clerk, Ed Humphreys, appointed in 2015.

The council's powers have evolved significantly, expanding from its original focus on public health, burial, memorials, and public infrastructure to encompass broader responsibilities such as borrowing, tourism, climate change, community buildings, crime prevention, and more.

In 2023, the Town Council achieved 'eligible council' status for the purposes of the general power of competence, allowing it to undertake any action an individual may. Additionally, a legal requirement to host remote meetings was established in 2021, enhancing public accessibility to council proceedings.

Throughout its 50 year history, the council has called Sarah Brisco House its home, a building gifted to the people of Newtown by Sarah Brisco herself. Situated at the corner of The Cross at the end of Broad Street, the building now houses the Robert Owen Museum, a tourist information point and the town council offices.

The power to precept, or raise money from local taxpayers, a long-established practice, has seen significant growth. According to local newspapers at the time, in 1909, Newtown Urban District Council collected £439, 14s, and 2d - equivalent to about £34,372 in 2017 purchasing power.

In 2024, the town council has agreed to precept £896,002, demonstrating how it's powers and responsibilities have grown over the last 50 years.

As Newtown & Llanllwchaiarn Town Council looks back on five decades of dedicated service, it stands as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of local governance, evolving to meet the changing needs of its residents.

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