Statement of Beryl Louise Blackmore

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

I joined the Welsh Liberal Democrats in 2005 and stood for Election on Wrexham County Council in 2008 winning the seat from Labour. Aled Roberts was Council Leader at the time and, as a member of the Welsh Liberal Democrats,he impressed me as did the rest of the Liberal Democrats group , they were all very caring people with a hard working ethos, putting people first.
I followed the example of my Lib Dem colleagues as a Councillor by engaging with the residents of Gresford- one example was the poor state of the roads on the estate off Pant Lane which all needed resurfacing . The Press came and there was a Radio report featuring residents and myself talking about our ' Pot Hole Estates' . This was aired around Wales and I believe helped towards getting action from Wrexham Council.
In 2012 I stood again for the Council but lost my seat by 3 votes giving it back to Labour. I was very disappointed BUT did I disappear ? No I did not . I have continued as a Community Councillor and been seen around Gresford supporting various Activities and Community Organizations. I set up two Luncheon Clubs which eventually merged and now continue as one meeting every Wednesday in Mario's tea Rooms. Another of the organisations that I set up is the Gresford / Marford Theatre Group this continues and h as spread to Rossett and Garden Village. Local Activities like these help people l e to socialize, especially if living alone, participation in such groups is known to improve Mental health- by joining we feel wanted and valued.
On the Community Council. I have taken your issues to meetings, many coming to light recently from my Focus Survey , I produce a Community Newsletter in Gresford called Focus- it is a great way of keeping in touch and in a recent edition I included a survey asking for people's views. I have addressed the issues raised by people as quickly as possible.
At the entrance to Gresford near the Traffic lights is a prominent piece of land known as the ' Old Antique Shop' which is surrounded by metal fencing and looks like a Builders yard. As readers of my Focus newsletter will know I have been campaigning for over a year to get this land cleared and left reasonably tidy . Initially Wrexham Council were not interested but I managed to get it raised on Wrexham Council's Planning Committee and this resulted in an Enforcement Order being served on the owner. The Liberal Democrats work all year round and you can guarantee that, if elected I will use my position as a Wrexham Councillor to tackle this issue- like all Gresford Residents I am concerned to get the ' Gateway' to our lovely village sorted out.

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)

From my recent Focus survey the following are issues in my Ward ; # Overgrown Hedges # Cars parking on the pavement # Lighting ...or lack of # Lack of Bins # Speeding # Poor road surfaces and pavements # Unsightly land # 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?

At Ward level a Councillor has all the knowledge needed to sort out these issues when my Focus survey was returned I answered every one and immediately started contacting the necessary people such as Arrive Alive to do a spot check on speeding, Street Scene to address overgrown hedges especially on Hillock Lane , the enforcement group came and did a spot check on Pant Lane and Gresford Community Council contacted Lighting to sort out dark is possible to get jobs done I promise ud83dude1c

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

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

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

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

This is a very emotional topic , I can understand why many ex pupils wanted to save it and their dedication appears to have worked . I actually think these very same people should be consulted and it must be top of the Agenda to once and for all develop the site.

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 believe very much in the building of more Council Houses and Affordable houses in every village , Young people need to be able to access housing, the Older generation who may need to downsize or find their capital is being used on supporting family members may need to consider a move . Builders need to be made to cater for everybody there are far too many luxury houses being built there needs to be better balance.

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?

A the moment the company Wrexham are employing appear to be too harsh not giving people the chance to engage with them. I do wonder why Wrexham need to bring in other resources they should have their own plan to deal with these issues and reap the rewards from persistent offenders.

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

The current Executive Board system seems to give too much power to too few people A better balance is needed to ensure the best outcomes are reached.

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?

Quite simply if you change your political allegiance once elected you should stand down and trigger a by- election

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?

If Elected I would hope that the whole new Council will just get on with the job of Reshaping Wrexham Council looking at all areas and prioritizing , it would be wrong of me to say deeper savings are to be made ,just how much more can be cut ?

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

Again the Town Centre , this is a major project lets get going , stop talking, stop constantly doing Consultations and do something !!!

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?

My vision is to see the Centre of Wrexham have a variety of quality shops again, there is no heart to the Town , shops are all over the place . It would work to have designated leisure areas , shopping areas and a seating area / outside entertainment park to bring together the Community spirit that happens on the Wrexham fun days.

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?

Yes it really annoys me to see people standing in a Ward when they do not support much that goes on in the village ,as a Resident I want to see people who are out and about helping every day to build a safe , happy Community I already stay in touch with my local Focus and this would continue, alongside being seen daily in the Village at Village activities and regular Surgeries in convenient places in the Village, I did these when I was last a County Councillor .

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?

The Arts are very important ,as a member of a local Choir and Theatre Group I know the enjoyment I get from taking part in these projects, again it is known that to be part of a social group improves Mental Health. Wrexham has a wide variety of Leisure venues Councillors need to be aware that these need support, they are vital in our communities

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?

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 someone who tries not to frequent the the Town Centre after 10pm , if elected I will be interested to know from the Town Center Forum what issues need addressing and then engage and improve that sector .

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 don't think a PSPO is always the answer as we have an ongoing problem in Wrexham due to a lack of Housing without some sort of support these people pleading guilty are just sent out of Court with a fine and victim surcharge that they cannot pay and are back to square one !

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

As a local Magistrate I am fully aware of the problem and believe the answer lies in more support to find Accommodation , the Council is closing down buildings which could be used in so many ways , one could be to provide this care, it is not the answer to fine people and send them back out on the streets.

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 do believe that any necessary IT equipment should be paid for from Allowances not become that 'extra perk ' if Councillors agree as a whole Council that No rise is required then they should be able to enforce that decision. If those in higher offices insist on a raise in allowances then it should be possible for those Councillors who wish to, to donate their increase to their local 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?

As has happened in the villages of Gresford and Marford the Community have taken over facilities such as the Library and the Community Centre. A wonderful job is being done by the Volunteers and a sense of Community ownership gives that good feel. BUT as a Council we must support these groups by offering Grants, Reduced Rents with access to affordable contacts to offer ongoing repairs .

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

As someone who arrived from Liverpool 40 years ago I fully support the Welsh Language and it's Culture . Working in local Primary Schools over those years I have engaged as a member of staff promoting Welsh Culture especially through Welsh Folk Dancing , as a parent and grandparent I continue to support the schools at their St. David's Day celebrations encouraging all to enjoy local customs.

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?

Yes I am more than happy for the Webcasting system to be fully used but we need to remember that there are many residents not interested in Computer skills and we need to be sure we engage with them ,that is very much the job of the local County Councillor and Community Councillors.

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?

Having been involved with Children over the last 50 years and still running an Out of School Club and Guides I am in a good position to engage with the Younger Element and I will continue my role on the Community Council looking at Youth Provision and engagement.

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?

As in my profile I am very busy in my Ward and wether I win or not my record of engaging in Gresford is proven , and in the wider area of Wrexham I play an active part so YES you will not get rid of me !ud83dude02

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

I hope Gresford residents will vote for me as I am approachable , care for my Community, really enjoy the Challenges a Councillor meets and whole heartedly work to meet those challenges and resolve issues.

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