Plaid Cymru have been criticised for waging a “totally negative” campaign as they attempt to wrest a Cardiff Council seat from Labour.
Canton is due to go to the polls on Thursday to elect a councillor after Labour’s Cerys Furlong vacated her seat at the end of December.
Plaid have since waged an aggressive campaign to win the seat and have launched a series of attacks on the council’s ruling Labour group on issues such as plans for Cowbridge Road East and the locking of parks at night.
In response, Labour have rubbished Plaid claims and criticised them for spreading falsehoods. “I think Plaid’s campaign has been totally negative. They’ve been spreading misinformation, on things like Cowbridge Road East, parking and parks,” said current Canton councillor Richard Cook.
Plaid have distributed leaflets claiming Labour intends to turn Cowbridge Road East into a one-way rapid transit route with double bus lanes as part of the Cardiff Local Development Plan (LDP). Though the road is due to be resurfaced along its Canton stretch, Labour councillors have dismissed those claims.
At a PACT meeting in Canton last month, Councillor Ramesh Patel said he had received assurances from council transport officers there were no plans to make the road bus only.“It’s not true, Cowbridge Road is not going to be one-way,” he said.
Plaid candidate Elin Tudur said both Couns Patel and Cook had twice voted for the rapid transit plan as part of the LDP. She also railed against the council’s planned budget cuts.
“It’s time the Labour councillors came clean about their plans for Cowbridge Road East,” she said. “They need to admit that not only are they planning to concrete over so much of Cardiff’s countryside, after they promised not to, but that Canton will take most of the brunt of their unwanted development.
“Canton needs someone to stand up to the current Labour Council and protect our interests against their savage Tory-like cuts.” Plaid have called for Labour to increase council tax, scrap assistant directors and cut executive pay to help meet the funding shortfall they face.
Though Labour candidate Susan Elsmore was unavailable for comment, Coun Cook said: “We are concentrating on our record in the ward and positive things that we have done and the positive things that the Labour council wants to do for Cardiff.
“We want to tackle the huge problems of housing, transport and economic development. We want Cardiff to be a successful city.”
Meanwhile, Mrs Tudur has been forced to admit a “genuine mistake” after it emerged that Victoria and Thompsons parks in Canton were not among the parks due to be left open at night under Labour budget cutting plans, despite a leaflet being distributed on her behalf saying they were.
Update – Also standing in the Canton by-election are: Matt Hemsley (Liberal Democrats), Pamela Richards (Conservative), Jake Griffiths (Green) and Steffan Bateman ( Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition).