Statement of Ray Floyd
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I have been a member of the Labour Party for 30 years, and for 25 of those years I have lived in Gerald Street, Rhosddu. I live here with my partner who has two grownup children and who works as a nurse in Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
I have worked as a construction site foreman for most of my career, a job I have loved, but I am retiring at the end of April.
Should I be elected I will be in a position to devote all my time to serving the constituents of Grosvenor ward.
I have some experience as a councillor as I have previously represented Maes y Dre ward on Wrexham Borough Council.
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)
I feel that the biggest issue in the Grosvenor ward is the large presence of drugs. This is an issue that affects the whole of Wrexham, but is particularly concentrated to the Grosvenor ward. Residential parking in the area is also a huge issue for local residents, who regularly have to park away from their own homes.
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
When I am elected I will hold regular meetings with residents to see if there can be any improvement in the parking issue. It may be as simple to solve as additional signage or warden patrols in the area, or it could be that a more robust and increased response is necessary. Regarding the larger issue of drugs use and it’s concentration in this ward, I would do my best to force this issue to the top of the council agenda to repeatedly highlight the problem to all, whilst continually working closely with local policing teams, the health board and any other relevant agencies.
3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?
My priority initially would be to move some of the substance misuse services away from Wrexham town centre – specifically Grosvenor ward to a more medical based environment which would dramatically reduce the threat residents feel walking through this area. In achieving this it is my belief that businesses would be more inclined and eager to invest in our town.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
It is incredibly important to realise that well funded and suitably managed adult social care is vital to the well being of residents within the Grosvenor ward. This would in turn reduce the ever increasing pressure on our local medical settings. I feel this issue requires a multi agency response in order to provide the best possible facilities for you, as well as stay within realistic means of the budget.
5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?
The local education system is of utmost importance if we are to see a successful Wrexham in the future. I feel supporting the Welsh labour government policy to deliver 30 hours free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds is the first stepping stone for this.
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
The original Groves school site should be redeveloped into a central hub for skills and lifelong learning.
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?
Firstly it is my priority to ensure the right to buy scheme is suspended in the borough. Further to this I feel new social housing should be built using smaller developments equally spread throughout the whole of Wrexham so as not to ‘flood’ local services. This new social housing should be used to ensure people are in the appropriate houses and giving residents the opportunity to not be financially punished for having an extra bedroom through no fault of their own.
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 aware of issues within Grosvenor ward relating to littering and also dog fouling. It is an issue I feel needs to be kept on top of as not doing so will have negative implications for our residents. I feel enforcement of these issues should be made on an individual basis. If someone honestly and genuinely doesn’t realise they have dropped litter – make them aware of this and ask them to pick it up. People would have greater respect for these enforcement officers if they were more respectful and not intimidating as unfortunately sometimes that is how they are viewed.
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
I feel within Wrexham we would benefit from a committee led system. On too many occasions Wrexham council executive board have been in the local media – often it is criticised on social media. I feel by changing the day to day running of the council structure this would in time slowly increase residents confidence in their elected candidate. Having a committee led system would mean all councillors needing to attend monthly meetings to vote on any decisions etc. I feel again, this is important. As an elected representative councillors should be prepared to attend regular meetings to ensure they are standing by what they have pledged in their campaign.
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 very aware of councillors changing allegiance in the past. Although I cannot answer for them, I can assure you I have been a lifelong labour supporter and have no plans nor have I ever felt the need to veer away from the Labour party.
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?
By exploring opportunities to work together with other nearby local authorities to provide services thereby benefiting from economy of scale and services
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
By keeping enforcement officers roles within the council and it being strategically managed this could create a steady stream of income for the council, whilst also keeping Wrexham streets cleaner and tidier.
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?
The town centre master plan needs to start now. The first point of call is to address the anti social behaviour. As you may be aware Grosvenor ward does include some of the town centre, so this is a particularly important topic for me. My vision starts with a multi agency response addressing the blight on our town centre including substance misuse, homelessness, crime – just to name a few. Once this is being addressed, I then feel it important to encourage an increase in visitors to our town, by encouraging new business, making sure both residents and visitors feel safe and comfortable in the area. Once Wrexham is on its way to being the town we all want I then feel it needs to be widely advertised Wrexham is the place to be. All too often it’s South Wales that is mentioned positively in the media – we need Wrexham to break this cycle. A way of ensuring this is to campaign for Wrexham to be the Welsh Governmental Centre for North east Wales.
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?
As this is my first time standing for councillor of Grosvenor ward I have not previously had a wide variety of contact with residents. It is my plan to be available to residents both face to face and through media and other communication. I plan to hold regular street surgeries, be available for ,1-2-1 meetings, make myself available via Facebook, Twitter, email, phone and text. I am happy to converse in both English and Welsh, and also accommodate those who may be deaf or visually impaired. I feel it is important to be a voice for all the residents of Grosvenor ward no matter their age, race, religion, sexual orientation or disability.
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 feel it is important to support the arts and music in Wrexham. I feel an arts hub in Wrexham is a great idea, to encourage our young people as well as increase footfall into our town, however the way it is funded needs to be closely looked at and a fair and decisive plan be put in action. As many of you will be aware, last summer was the first concert held at the Racecourse ground for many years. This was a huge success and feel time and planning needs to be put into encouraging more acts to use the Racecourse as an outdoor stadium, this will ensure Wrexham is on the arts and culture map of the UK.
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?
As a Wrexham AFC fan I feel this is a crucial part of our town. Since fans have taken over running of the club there have been some huge successes, including last year’s outdoor stadium concert. I feel continuing with plans and events like this is key to ensuring the viability and success of the Racecourse as a venue and in turn financially supporting Wrexham AFC. You may be aware Lesley Griffiths labour AM for Wrexham has made contact with first minister Carwyn Jones to make Wrexham AFC and the Racecourse become a topic of conversation at a higher political level.
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?
Without a doubt, the nightlife of Wrexham town centre has a positive effect on employment, revenue, and footfall into Wrexham. This should be encouraged but also addressed when it comes to the unfortunate connection to crime and anti social behaviour. A multi agency response is required to ensure all can enjoy a night out in Wrexham whilst also feeling safe and comfortable. The local council, police and voluntary sectors need to come together to ensure the success of Wrexham as a hub of nightlife.
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?
As a resident living in the area of the PSPO I myself understand the frustration many of us feel with how our area is going downhill. I agree the current amount of people congregating in our ward needs addressing, however the matter of just ‘moving them along' is not solving the issue, it’s moving it to the next street. I feel the council, health board, police and crime commissioner, third and voluntary sectors need to come together to tackle this issue head on, not just discuss in meetings and push responsibility from one organisation to another. We need to work together, pro actively in order to start sorting this issue. Its my feeling that the sheer volume of services within 500ft of each other is detrimental to our ward. As councillor for this ward I would have this issue at the top of my agenda.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
This new breed of psycho-active substances is a worrying development that is threatening to be a blight on our town and many young lives. I don't think any one person has the answer to this problem. It needs a determined, multi-agency approach, with educationists, healthcare professionals, police and social services, and community leaders all involved.
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?
Councillors should lead by example. The recent iPad upgrade caused much frustration in the online forums. Although I appreciate we should be open and adaptable to the growing information technology era, I also feel in a time of austerity money could be better spent elsewhere. As a councillor I feel we should pay toward our parking, our expenses and our costs. Much of our working population have to pay for their transport to work, or parking fees at their place of work, they have to pay for their own lunches during days away from their office for training or meetings. I feel to honestly connect with our constituents we should pay for these things ourselves and not misuse the benefits of expenses.
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?
My first thought when it comes to Plas Madoc leisure centre is how, under Council, this facility was losing £500k per annum yet as a community led facility it is managing to cover costs. As a new venture – this should be initially supported financially by the local council, to ensure a successful and long term facility is there to use for residents in years to come. From what I understand and know about the facilities at Plas Madoc, it appears to be working well and is supported by residents, if this is the case and can be continued in this way then I feel the way forward for the council is at an advisory level, giving staff at the facility the opportunity to access free support and guidance from the council’s finance and HR departments, in turn this would save plas madoc money by not having to seek advice from outside agencies which could charge extortionate amounts.
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 a Welsh speaker myself, I want to encourage the Welsh language in our town. I feel the Welsh language should be used more at an official level, whilst also being aware not to segregate non Welsh speakers. I am aware the Welsh medium primary school places in the county are much sought after, even to the extent of people sending their children to two different Welsh medium schools due to the demand and way in which places are offered. I would advocate as a councillor for non Welsh speaking parents of these children to be offered free Welsh classes in order for their children to be given the best opportunities. I also feel council staff should be encouraged to attend Welsh classes, and make initial contact with the public in a bilingual manner, but starting with Welsh.
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, Welsh Government provided funding for Council’s to source the technology to enable all Welsh Council’s to webcast meetings. I agree all meetings should be accessible online to residents, including the scrutiny meetings. This would open the council meetings up so people can fully understand the running and decisions councillors make, and also give them first hand opportunity to listen to the reasoning behind decisions made instead of relying on third party opinions that may be conflicted.
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?
Out of the 39 Welsh Labour candidates for Wrexham, I am typically in that category of older and male! However I am aware other ward candidates are diverse in age, gender and experience. For myself, I feel I can represent all age groups in my ward as unfortunately due to the ongoing anti social behaviour in our ward we are all in agreement, no matter age, race or religion that these issues need addressing. Although I am reasonably new to social media, I am very aware that in particular the younger generation will head to the online forums in order to seek the answers they need, therefore I am actively working on setting up my online availability so as to ensure I also hear the voices of the younger people in our ward, our young people today are our future, it is vital to include their voice and opinion in the future of our ward, our borough, and our government as a whole.
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?
The recent meetings held with the health board and police were a very important topic I felt compelled to attend. Although I have not been actively involved in local activities, it is my plan as councillor to get more involved in bringing up the positive things about our ward. Encouraging more family fun days, help support local businesses and charities on any fundraising missions. If something will be a positive action for residents of Grosvenor ward I am keen and adaptable to ensure these plans are put in place. In financially difficult times, and with the current ASB in our ward, I feel now more than ever it is important to make more effort to encourage and support positive activities, bring our community together as one for a positive action.
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
I believe I have the experience, the time and the determination to fully represent this community. As a long-standing resident I understand the concerns of the people of this area and will whole-heartedly dedicate my time and energy to ensuring their voices are heard.
Social & Web links
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