Statement of Peter Jones
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
My name is Peter Jones and I am 52 years of age living with my partner Diane who is a mental health nurse in the Wrexham Maelor Hospital. I am self employed and have two sons. I am a long standing resident of Wrexham and especially the Rhosnesni Ward where I have lived most of my life and both mean a lot to me. I am passionate about helping to improve and maintain what is important to the residents of the community and our town. I have been actively involved for nearly 20 years with Borras Park Albion F.C., at both senior and youth level. I am also on the committee for the Football Exchange trip to Wrexham's twin town in Maerkischer Kreis, Plettenberg. I live on the ward so if elected, it would give me an advantage to be able to deal with any issues that may arise.
I have decided to stand as an Independent Candidate as I do believe that Independents stand up for the people and not a political party who dictate their own agenda.
Make a CHANGE and vote for Peter Jones.
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)
Most of the people I speak to are concerned about irresponsible dog owners not clearing up after their pets and also littering. This can be only helped by education and more notices.
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
I feel that more litter / dog fouling bins etc that would be specially located and definitely more signs.
3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?
I have run my own business so I know the problems businesses have. The main thing is footfall, without people visiting the town, the economy suffers. I would like to see cheaper parking, more restaurants, more major retailers and to encourage more market traders to lift the market Wrexham was once famous for. We need to all stand together as a town and community to try and get Wrexham's identity back.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
As an ageing population and people living longer, I think this is a very serious issue, personally I think that this should be funded by the local authority and also by the local Health Trust. This form of social care should never see cuts to its budget. The government has released a recent Green Paper on social funding and this is an opportunity that must be seized, we must build a long-term, sustainable solution about how we provide and pay for care for years to come.
5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?
All our teachers and support staff are doing a fantastic job considering the budget constraints. I have been talking to one of my friends who is in teacher training and they are finding it hard to recruit new teachers because of increased work loads and financial cuts. It is imperative that we need to look at the education system and ensure that the budget is being spent on teaching and on the welfare of our children as they are our future.
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
Personally I think we are crying out for school places and this site is ideal to turn back to a school. The work required to bring it back to it's former glory would surely be cheaper than building a brand new property. This would benefit the Education system and there is enough space to accommodate educational requirements. This would also cure the problem of the eyesore it is creating with it being boarded up.
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?
We currently have a growing population and more houses are obviously needed. I would be in favour of using brown site developments if possible. I believe sites that are currently derelict should be utilised. I am also aware that some sites have already been earmarked for the Local development plan and if the population increases due to this, funding for Surgeries, Policing, Schools and to extend our Hospital as well will be required as well as improving the general infrastructure of the Town can only be a good thing. It all boils down to funding in the end.
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 for a more hard line attack on people who drop litter and do not pick up their dog fouling. Of course this would be hard to enforce and again it is down to funding. I would not like to see it out sourced to a third party, as they would just fine everyone and I think a more lay backed approach maybe with council backed workers educating people. It again is hard to police, so I would try and get the public to just do the right thing and work together
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
Agendas from the political parties have become a bit of a talking point, talking to people on the ward they seem to be now interested in what councillors are actually doing for their community. Therefore I feel we should have a selection of councillors, whom have the relevant skills, passion and expertise that should be chosen to act in the best interests for and on behalf of the people of Wrexham.
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 am aware that many people vote for the party they have followed and not the candidate, a by-election should be called because this does pose the question of the legitimacy of the councillor and I can assure my community, that if I’m fortunate enough to be elected on May the 4th I would not defect to another party. I feel, especially in the county elections the time has come for the councillors who are voted into office, act for the community and not a political party who have their own agendas.
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?
Speaking to a lot of people in the Rhosnesni area there seems to be a feeling of, there are, in many government departments, there are more management than work force. We need to protect our services and not increase the layers of management. Wrexham council has a budget and we should operating like a business. This means overheads have to be looked at constantly and anything not performing or of no use should be cut.
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
I think we need to look at what asetts the the council own and see if we can utilise these to raise much needed revenue. The more we boost the town to attract more investors, the more people and tourists will visit and boost revenues.
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 have spoken to people in my community and the majority of them are disgusted at the current plight of our Town. A lot of the vacant property is privately owned and has been left to ruin making parts of the town a ghost town. I think we all should support the Town Centre Masterplan and would do all I can to make sure it realizes its full potential. The council need to pressure these owners to keep their properties in an acceptable condition and help make a vacant shop look attractive. I would consider contacting prospective retailers who don't have a shop in Wrexham and ask them what criteria they would be looking at to open in Wrexham. I would then say the council should work together with the owners and prospective retailers. With this in mind we could turn our Historical Market town back into a vibrant place where people would want to visit.
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 have spent most evenings and Saturdays dropping leaflets through doors and speaking with local residents. I have had a great response and nearly all of the people I have spoken to, are pleased that someone is calling and setting out my proposals. Being the new County councillor is something I feel passionate about and I have already given my commitment to work with the community councils. All issues raised by residents will be recorded and acted upon, and the resident will be informed as to what I have done on their behalf. If I´m elected a Councillor, I will not let you down.
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 think WCBC has been supportive of the arts over the years. Wrexham does not immediately spring to mind as an arts hub, however the town is growing as an attraction for the comedian and music scene, more and larger artists are appearing in the area (Stereophonics and Catfish and the Bottlemen) via the Glyndwr University at the Racecourse Ground. WCBC needs to work together with the University to fully understand where they can complement each other going forward, I feel.
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 can only heap a massive thank you to the supporters trust for their fantastic work on keeping our Fantastic club alive. I think successive owners have failed the club leaving it in it's current state. Wrexham AFC has a fantastic fan base and we as a community should stand together to try and bring some investment to the club. Football brings people together, it has no language or race, it can only be good for the Town of Wrexham.
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?
As it states above the night time economy does employ a considerable amount of people and generates a large revenue for the town. Having been on a night out around Wrexham, Myself, my partner and friends went for a meal and a few drinks in the centre and had a very enjoyable evening. I feel the town is a lot safer than it was years ago and would like to applaud the voluntary group of street pastors who look after anyone in distress or have had one too many. The only thing I could think that would help any, would be extra lighting in certain parts.
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 personally think that anti social behaviour is as a result of the local youth having nothing to do, in retrospect perhaps we should have a different approach, by offering the youth of Wrexham, a range of activities via local youth football, boxing clubs, sports centres etc. Personally I think the police currently do a fantastic job and should operate a zero tolerance approach.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
Drugs are a massive problem in every town. My Partner Diane works in mental health in the hospital and see's first hand the problems these substances can cause. These substances should all be illegal, to take or supply and more education is needed to make our young people aware of the dangers.
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?
I have use of a laptop and my own car, so I am not bothered really about expenses as I see that this is a part of the job. Councillors using iPads and phones to conduct Council duties is good for efficiency and is something I think is vital to do the required job. Being a Councillor is a public duty and should not be something you should do just for remuneration, it should be done with passion and meaning to help the community.
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 am all for the Plas Madoc Leisure Centre being kept open and would agree with most people that some funding should be from the local council, but it should also be able to generate some sort of remuneration itself. I believe it has now been taken over locally in accordance to the principles of Together in Wrexham, whilst being supported financially by the Council which can only be a good thing.
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 myself was born in Wrexham and I am very proud to consider myself Welsh, I unfortunately don't speak Welsh but I have a basic understanding. I strongly agree that the Welsh language be promoted to the future children of Wales. It is part of our heritage and we need to be ensuring that there is strong support for the Welsh language and cultural heritage starting in the Primary Schools, because I think that the earlier children learn the better. I believe that the Welsh schools are over subscribed at present and more places are required urgently.
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 agree with the webcasting of meetings where the public have a right to attend as I think the public should have more involvement in what is happening in their area. Whilst talking to a lot of people on my ward, the underlying problem seems to be that no one from the council sends them a newsletter or information and most have had little or no contact with their community councillor. So yes we should involve the public a bit more and maybe use social media as well.
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 all for younger people of both sexes to get involved and to vote, as they are our future. I believe in representing all age groups, young and old and we should actively promote for more younger people to get involved. I am 52 years of age and currently sit as a co-opted community councillor and there are sixteen people representing the Community council, there is only one person younger than me.
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 was co opted onto the Acton Community Council in October 2016 and I have been actively involved for nearly 20 years with Borras Park Albion F.C., at both senior and youth level. I am also on the committee for the Football Exchange trip to Wrexham's twin town in Maerkischer Kreis, Plettenberg.
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
If you think it's time for a change and that you want someone who will represent the community with no hidden agenda or political view then a 'X' in my box would be the best option. I'm a strong character with a strong voice who wants to make changes for the better to Wrexham. Can I also take this opportunity to thank those of you who have already pledged your support. Thank you 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. Where is my polling station? You can pop your postcode into this helpful website WhereDoIVote.co.uk and it will draw you a map! How do I vote? Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 4th May. If you don't have your poll card, you can go to the polling station and give them your name and address. You don't need any other form of ID. Give your name and address
Social & Web links
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.
Where is my polling station?
You can pop your postcode into this helpful website WhereDoIVote.co.uk and it will draw you a map!
How do I vote?
Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on Thursday 4th May.
If you don't have your poll card, you can go to the polling station and give them your name and address. You don't need any other form of ID.
Give your name and address to the staff inside the polling station when you arrive. You don’t have to take your poll card with you.
You’ll be given a ballot paper containing a list of the people, parties or the options you can vote for.
- Take your ballot paper into a polling booth.
- Follow the instructions on the notices in the polling booth and on the top of the ballot paper to vote.
- Put it in the ballot box.