Statement of Brian Cameron
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I have lived in the Whitegate ward for 36 years with my wife Kerry and our son Lee. For the past five years, I have been both a County Borough Councillor and a Community Councillor.
My aim is to make our ward a safe place, where people can feel secure in their home and local community and I want our streets to be clear of litter, fly tipping and dog fouling.
I am a proud supporter of Wrexham FC and I also chair the local Kings Mills Reds Supporters Group.
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)
Issues in the Whitegate Ward are traffic issues including speeding and parking, dog fouling, drug abuse, anti-social behaviour and the lack of a sufficient police presence.
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
I will, if elected, continue to ask Highways to carry out traffic monitoring to highlight the areas of concern. I will consult with residents where parking is a problem to see if residential parking would help. I would hold regular meetings with the police and other partners to highlight the areas of concern regarding anti-social behaviour and drug abuse as well as also campaigning for a higher police presence in the area.
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 would be to work closely with partners from education and business sectors to bolster economic growth in Wrexham. It is essential that small businesses and local enterprise are given as much support as possible. I believe that a cohesive and focused, Labour run council would be a refreshing and positive step forward for Wrexham businesses.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
I feel it is important that the budgets of the Health and Social Care are pooled together. We should be looking at working with not for profit organisations and social enterprises to help manage our care services. Carers have a vital job and we would be in favour of an ethical care charter to ensure their working arrangements are as good as they should be, thus helping retention.
5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?
It is important that the teachers are supported in raising school standards across the County Borough. It is important that we commit to increasing school places particularly in our Primary Welsh-Medium Schools. I would encourage genuine participation with parents, teachers and carers.
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
The Groves site should be developed into a centre for skills and lifelong learning to help better equip the town to meet the economic challenges ahead and help people access the right knowledge and skills to be able to gain the employment and career they desire. I feel this could be achieved by working with both Coleg Cambria and Glyndwr University along with local business.
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?
First and foremost, a Local Development Plan needs to be established. After five years, the current administration has failed to come up with one. Social and affordable homes are badly needed in Wrexham. We need only look to Flintshire to see how a Labour Council can provide these effectively.
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?
Wrexham Council must review the current contract and amend it to ensure that Welsh Government guidance is followed with regards to its implementation, identical to that which the Police and the Council's own Enforcement Teams have to work to. This will make it a better system that is about keeping our town tidier and cleaner, and not the current situation where people are being unfairly penalised.
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
It’s important that we have democracy and debate. The Current Cabinet Executive Board works well in other Welsh Local Authorities. Alternative to the Executive Board is a Committee driven structure -however this would require monthly Full Council meetings to make decisions. It is obvious that in Wrexham debate has been stifled and too much power sits with the Chairperson, so perhaps this role need looking at to make debate fairer.
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 will not be changing my allegiance. However in the interests of democracy and those that elect us, I feel if any person does change their allegiance, then they should seek a by-election and ask the people who elected them.
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?
Reshaping or what others would call change/lean working is something that will always change but the most important people that can help here are Wrexham Council's employees, as these are the people that drive change.
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
Wrexham Labour Councillors have already suggested several revenue generating streams in the Alternative Budget that we put forward to the Council in February - unfortunately these were voted down by the current administration. These included:- the introduction of a permit scheme where organisations wishing to carry out works in the town pay for permits. This would lead to the Street Works department becoming self-financing and saving £41,202. We could also have fixed penalty notices for substandard work, works that run over time and emergency / short notice permit requests and then re-invest this back into the local road network.
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 would consult with the public on a comprehensive strategy for Wrexham town centre to increase footfall, improve public safety and regenerate the town. It is important to work in partnership with the Town Centre Forum and the business community to create a more vibrant town and evening economy. We should campaign to make Wrexham the Welsh Governmental Centre for North East Wales. Its important to devise a parking policy which works for residents the disabled, businesses and visitors. Work closely with the police and other agencies to seek resolutions to the problems of anti-social behaviour, which blight our town centre. I would support information campaigns to reduce littering, fly tipping and dog fouling across the town and County Borough.
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?
It is important to keep our voters informed of the issues facing Wrexham County Borough Council. I will continue to publish regular News Letters and hold surgeries/street surgeries to meet with residents that need 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?
The Business Plan for the Arts Hub has been continuously challenged by Labour Councillors as it is reliant on 10 years revenue funding of £120k and will also need between £80-£200k subsidies from the Council each year for 10 years. This facility has FAILED to move into a Trust under Mark Pritchard’s Leadership. External funding for the Arts Centre will be more difficult to source by the Council than by a Trust making it difficult to understand the reasons for not creating a Trust in the first place.
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?
Wrexham Football Club is very important, not only for Wrexham Town Centre, the County Borough, but also for North East Wales. It is rich with history, being the second Oldest Football Ground in the World with the Club being established in 1864. Support is needed from Welsh Government. We need to ask them to carry out an open and transparent review. Lesley Griffiths AM has already written to First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM, on this issue. It is important for the Council to build relationships with the fans and the Trust. This can be done by promoting Wrexham Football Club to secure more international games, help with local events at the ground and other functions along with supporting the establishment of a North Wales Football Museum at the Racecourse Ground.
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 key thing here is to work with partners, businesses and the Town Centre Forum. If it’s not managed, there could be an increase in anti-social behaviour and crime with more businesses closing. It’s important to balance the needs of the night-time economy, the needs of residents and the needs of the public 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?
Local PSPO’s are reactive and do not address the root causes of the anti-social behavior. It’s important to work with residents, businesses and all agencies to develop a plan of action to deal with the root causes of the anti-social behavior for the PSPO's to be truly effective.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) are perhaps better known as legal highs. It is important that education around this subject is delivered by medical experts and health professionals as they know the real risks. Awareness needs to be raised through young adult charities ,care workers, Glyndwr/Coleg Cambria, drop in centres, youth clubs, hostels, sexual health clinics, drama groups and substance misuse groups. It could fit in with the secondary school curriculum within the PHSE framework and would also target the right age groups.
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?
As a Councillor, I feel we should lead by example with services being cut. Councillors should pay for parking. Senior salaries should reflect the current period of austerity and be paid at the lowest level. Labour want to introduce the leasing of iPads, which will make future IT provision for councillors self-financing. The Executive Board should be reduced from 10 salary portfolio holders to 8.
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?
Under Wrexham Council, this facility was losing £500k per annum. In cases where community based Trust/Social Enterprises are taking over council services they should be supported during their start-up phase by the Council. The Council should be looking at the longer-term savings and the priority should be the continuation of the service.
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 council we need to lead by example. The council needs to fully support and embrace a bi-lingual policy within Wrexham which in turn improves tolerance for those people who want to learn the Welsh language and also for those who have minimal opportunity to use the Welsh language and perhaps need a confidence boost. We will support this initiative by increasing school places in Welsh medium schools for those parents and children who want to learn the Welsh language.
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?
The simple answer to this is yes, it is important the public have the opportunity to view how all meetings operate.
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?
Welsh Labour have put up 39 candidates across the County our candidates are diverse in age, gender and experience.
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 am a Community Councillor. I actively attend coffee morning in Pentre Gwyn Community Centre. I have held Environmental Cleaning Days throughout the ward that have proved popular. I am on the committee of Hightown Resource Centre and also Chair of Caia Park and Hightown Community First.
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
I feel that I have got to know the residents of our Ward in the five years I have been a Councillor. Using my previous experience as a Senior Trade Union Representative at Airbus UK and the 5 years experience of already serving in the role, I feel that I am the best person to represent the Whitegate Ward.
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.
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OTHER CANDIDATES FOR Whitegate
- Plaid Cymru