Statement of Andy Williams

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

I'm Andy Williams a 45 year old local resident who has lived in Garden Village for twenty years, I'm standing to represent my ward for a second term. My occupation is a Fire-fighter with North Wales Fire & Rescue Service based at Wrexham Fire Station with 24 years service. During my first five years as County Councillor for Garden Village I have been very proactive in sorting issues out and actively rectifying problems that have occurred. I strongly believe a Councillor should be a person that is seen in the community for the duration of the term of office and not just a pop up Councillor that appear before an election, promise the earth and deliver nothing. I also strongly believe candidates should be honest with the public both on the door step and also in the literature they post through peoples doors. I am standing this year by exactly the same principles I did five years ago and these are
* To be visible and easily accessible to the community I serve on a daily basis
* Listen to residents concerns and do my best to assist them
* keep everyone in the ward up to date with what's going on in the village and tell them about projects I have completed. This is always done through many different streams of communication to allow me to reach every household no matter how old or young.
* I have many new and exciting projects I want to deliver to the residents of Garden village, if re elected some will be challenging, some will be new concepts and others will be extensions to the good work I have already completed
* I Stand to represent the people who have voted me in and not a political party that would make me tow the party line, this allows me a true vote for the majority of people I serve.
* I also feel it is crucial that elected Councillors live in the community they serve not live miles away and be less accessible in dealing with issues that may require an immediate response or visit
* Wont promise anything I cant deliver
* And I will always do my best and give 110%

Questions & Answers

1. Often we are told that highways, street lighting, bin collections and anti-social behaviour are some of the issues people care most about. Aside from those what are the key local issues in your ward? (The question below will ask what you think should be done)

Burglaries are high on the list of issues at the moment, together with litter and dog fouling

2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?

I have already organised a residents meeting about burglaries in the ward with North Wales Police, and it was very well attended by the community and allowed all to express their views and receive feedback from officers. This has now resulted in monthly police surgeries being set up in the village. Dog fouling problems are being dealt with by 'kingdom enforcement Officers who have been requested to attend the area and issue tickets if required. litter problems is being dealt with by more structured litter picks covering the problem areas of the ward by staff

3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?

The VVP programme (vibrant and viable places) is a good example of working to secure additional funding to invest in the town. Its important we work hard to continue to secure this type of funding stream to make Wrexham a better place. We need continue to support our retailers and businesses both large and small. Id like to see more local family run businesses flourish in the area, which in turn will bring more jobs and more footfall to the area. We also need to invest more into our indoor markets bringing them up to a high standard and enhance their beautiful architecture

4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?

Adult social care should be funded by more investment from Welsh Government, as it is the Welsh Government that have imposed the financial restraints on councils in North Wales. Perhaps if less money was poured into Cardiff Airport, more would be available for struggling councils

5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?

This has to be to continue to invest in the 21st century schools programme by modernising and rebuilding our aging schools to allow our children to flourish and learn in a well equipped modern learning facility which will give our children the best possible start in life. We also need to lobby the present labour led Welsh Government to make funds available to renovate the Groves school to allow it to be add to the 21st Century portfolio after their decision to list the building with CADW which comes under their control.

6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?

I have partially answered this in the question above but the Council needs to lobby Welsh Government to provide the cash to convert this listed building into a school again. After all it was Welsh Government that listed it, so they are wrong to now turn their backs on it and not help with its conversion.

7. What are your thoughts on the housing supply in Wrexham, and if you feel more housing needs to be created in volume, where would that be sited and who would it be targeted at?

I feel this is being forced on us by Government, and developers are trying to take advantage of the situation. The Council needs to stand strong for our communities and only allow development in areas that lend themselves to it. These sites should not encroach on village settlement areas and boundaries and shouldn't cause two villages to almost merge into one and lose their individual identities. Sites should be brown field and on much smaller scale than some we have recently seen. Large developments impact on schools, doctors surgeries and also effect our aging sewage systems and surface water run off which causes flooding issues. Our infrastructure and road networks locally cannot handle these large new settlements that are normally built to cram as many as possible houses in to make maximum profit for the developers.

8. On litter and dog fouling enforcement, do you think this should be provided via a third party, and should it be enforced to the letter of the law or in a more lenient manner?

I am happy with a private company carrying out this work on behalf of the council but agree there should be a level of leniency. I do feel that if litter is dropped or dog fouling is left, then tickets should be issued. On times I feel a very small amount of our refuse collectors fall foul of these rules and should make more of an effort to have 'Pride in our Streets' however on a whole they do a very good job and have strict routes and timescales to follow and work extremely hard.

9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?

Yes I do as it follows all other Councils in Wales

10. As has happened in Wrexham recently - if you change political allegiance from what you are currently seeking election for (eg. resigning from, or joining another party) will you trigger a by-election? If not, why not?

I was one of the Councillors that decided to leave the Labour Party, and I didn't put myself forward for a costly by-election as I only had a small handful of residents from my ward contact me at the time. After visiting them and discussing my reasons, they where happy with my decision to become Independent. A lot of residents actually applauded my decision and where happy for me to continue my work. The up and coming elections will be a true reflection of what my community think of me, and the work I have done in my ward over the last three years since leaving. I would never go back to a political party and have never been happier since I left the labour party. This has allowed me to fulfil my role as a County Councillor much more effectively than if I had stayed, and has allowed me to have a free voice for the people I represent and not be told how to vote or tow the party line.

11. 'Reshaping' Wrexham Council is a major theme impacting all areas of the local authority. What areas do you think could see deeper savings made and why?

I think the Council has been cut to the bone, but sometimes it is not about deeper cuts but about more agile working and cross department thinking. Some of the best cost effective saving ideas for departments may actually come form ideas of our hard work staff/ employees.

12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?

The Council is a public sector organisation and as such doesn't have a cost recovery programme to have revenue streams. However meaningful Annual consultation on the budget may improve this issue

13. The Town Centre Masterplan is an aspirational document which could shape and transform the town centre over the next ten years. What is your future vision for Wrexham town centre, and how will you help achieve it?

I've had views off many people from turning Eagles Meadow into a state of art family entertainment venue and hotel, to putting glass walkways over parts of the old town centre to encourage more big name shops back. The night time economy is very important but we need more restaurants to complement this. People have mentioned going back to allowing vehicle access to high street to encourage its use. What has become apparent is low cost parking is vital to the day and nigh time economy couple this with more specialist markets in the town, event and shows

14. Many politicians are accused of being out of touch with voters and only surfacing before elections. What will you do to ensure you stay in touch through the coming years if you are elected?

I will do exactly what I have done for the last five years, worked hard, speak out, make changes for the better, not just for the sake of it, try hard to represent everyone in the ward and give 110%. Be honest, reliable and listen to peoples concerns and try my best to help

15. What are your thoughts on the current provision and support for the arts in Wrexham, and what would you do to support the arts?

I am in favour of anything that brings more economic growth to Wrexham and brings people into the town, the Art hub is just one way of drawing people in and having a positive effect on the changing face of the town. Hopefully this will kick start other local and family business in the area to profit from the Art hub

16. Wrexham Football Club had been let down greatly before being taken over by the fans themselves. As a councillor what action would you champion to help the club?

I agree that the club has been let down and valuable revenue streams lost, as a council we should be embracing the racecourse and its facilities and help market them further to the allow high profile games and concerts to use the venue, generate income and also bring people into Wrexham in the hope of adding further to our economy

17. Wrexham's Night Time Economy employs a large number of people and generates revenue for the town. As a councillor what action would you like to see from Wrexham Council to improve that sector?

The most important thing is its well lit and safe to walk without the fear of violence, easy to leave the area at the end of the night by well maintained licenced taxis. Cleaning by our excellent street scene team is maintained. Encourage a far more diverse night time economy with more restaurants, incorporate and promote our arts and theatres, encourage and promote the William Aston Hall big name events. Bring back high profile events like the children in need concert, encourage the growth and expansion of the food festival so it develops every year and offer new experiences for its visitors.

18. Wrexham Council currently has two Public Space Protection Orders (PSPO) in place in the town centre and Rhosddu area. How should anti social behaviour be tackled?

I think the PSPO's work well and could be expanded further to allow Police better powers to deal with anti social behaviour, this shouldn't be tolerated in any community not just in the town centre and Rhosddu areas.

19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?

I believe the millions of pounds of investment that is due to be spent by Betsi Cadwaladr NHS into improved services at the Elms on Grosvenor Road area doesn't help. The Maelor Hospital already has an onsite building called CAIS Hafan Wen, I would much prefer the NHS to invest their money to introduce new services and improve their own onsite facility to help resolve the problem

20. Councillor pay, iPads as tools for the job, and allowances have all been topics of debate over the last few years. What is your view on this?

For the last five years I have worked hard in my ward and an Ipad has been an invaluable tools as part of my work and allows me to be more swift in dealing with problems. It also provides the benefit of not requiring paper copies of agendas and documents for meetings. The cost of this vast amount of paper would be greatly cheaper over a five year term cost of an Ipad.

21. The ownership and operation of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre has been debated over recent years - where do you believe the responsibility for funding and running such public amenities should lie?

I think Plas Madoc went through a difficult time under Council ownership and wasn't profitable, under the new Community ownership Splash Magic can apply for grants to assist with projects around the facility to enable it to grow further. Wrexham Swimming baths being under private ownership also seems to be a success

22. What actions would you take, or support, as a councillor to encourage Welsh language use growth? Or, if you are against this, why?

I am at present learning Welsh to engage with my community further and would encourage others to do the same even if this is at a basic level

23. Currently Wrexham Council webcast their Full Council, Executive Board and Planning meetings, and some Scrutiny. Would you like to see the webcasting system rolled out to cover all meetings and how else do you think the local authority could involve the public more in the democratic process?

I have no issues in any meeting being covered by webcasting to allow the public to view meetings, as this will give them more access to council meetings. Members of the public can sit in the public gallery during most meetings and the public can also take part in online consultations

24. This will be the first time some people are old enough to vote, with that age limit possibly dropping in future. Candidates are on the whole older and male. What will you do to represent a more diverse viewpoint?

I am in my ward on a daily basis and engage and represent all ages and groups within the village to the best of my ability, this will continue if I am re elected

25. What local activity have you taken part in over the last few months to improve your ward? Regardless of if you win, will you continue any such action that benefits your ward?

I'm heavily involved in many village activities, the biggest being the Annual village festival. Planning and preparation for this takes 12 months and I will continue to be a part of this committee

In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?

It has been a privilege to represent Garden Village and I have worked hard over the past five years to try and make a difference and I truly believe the people of Garden Village know this. Everyone has received various updates on my work and projects that I have completed. I can only hope residents will spare me five minutes to come out and vote for me to allow me to continue my good work making our village a better place to live and visit and building on giving the village a real sense of community.

Social & Web links

Map of Garden Village

The above is a ward map screenshot taken from the OS Map - if you click the map itself it will show a slightly bigger version.
If you click here it will open this map on the OS website itself, allowing more options to zoom and move around.

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