Statement of Gwenfair Lloyd Jones
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I am 56 years of age, married and we have 2 daughters and 4 grandchildren. I have lived in Gwersyllt since 1985. I am a retired district nurse and have been a Community Councillor on Gwersyllt Community Council for the last 5 years. I am a community activist and a school governor at Ysgol Bro Alun and Ysgol Plas Coch. I was instrumental in the original stakeholder group that drew down the EU Urban II funds with which the Gwersyllt Community Resource Centre was built and I am still a member of the Management Committee and involved in activities there, in particular and with others running the Luncheon Club since 2008. I am also involved with running a Welsh Playgroup (Ti a Fi) at the Summerhill Institute as well as campaigning for parents who are struggling to find places in Welsh Medium Education for their children. I have recently got involved with a focus group to look at establishing a health based social enterprise to deliver community based services around Penymaes Health Centre.
If I am elected I would seek to see improvements to roads around the ward as housing developments are granted planning permission on greenfield sites will nilly. I would also like to see brownfield sites developed for much needed two bedroomed affordable homes. My other interests would be in environmental improvement, cleanliness and making the ward a more pleasant place in which to live.
Wrexham people need strong voices to represent them and to improve the quality of like for both the community and individuals. I hope you see me as that strong voice.
Dwi yn 56 oed, yn briod, yn fam i ddwy ferch a phedair o wyrion. Dwi wedi ymddeol o fod yn nyrs yn y gymuned ac wedi byw yng nghumuned Gwersyllt ers 1982 ac yn nabod yr ardal a'i phobol yn dda.
Dwi’n credu fod fy record o gefnogi pobol a chwarae fy rhan i wella yr amgylchedd ac i neud Gwersyllt yn lle braf a chynwhysol i fyw ynddi yn profi fy mod yn ymgeisydd cryf a chredadwy.
Dwi yn Gynghorydd Cymyned yn Gwersyllt ers 2012 ac yn lywodraethwr yn ysgolion Bro Alun a Phlas Coch. Roeddwn hefyd yn un o’r rhanddeiliaid gwreiddiol a ffurfwyd i dderbyn arian Urban II i adeiladu y Ganolfan Adnoddau Gymunedol a dwi’n dal yn aelod o’r Pwyllgor Rheoli y Ganolfan. Dwi hefyd yn cefnogi amryw o weithgareddau yn y ganolfan, yn arbenig y clwb cinio a gychwynais hefo eraill nol yn 2008.
Os caf fy ethol, bwriadaf ymgyrchu i wella ffordd Brynhyfryd sydd ddim yn ddiogel a mae’r perygl yn cynyddu hefo mwy a fwy o foduron o ddatblygiadau tai newydd. Hoffwn hefyd ail ddefnyddio tir llwyd yn y pentref i adeiladu tai fforddiadwy dwy lofft sydd ei gwir angen. Fel cyn nyrs yn y gymuned yn Gwersyllt dwi hefyd am edrych ar ffyrdd o wella iechyd a gofal yn y cartref. Dwi hefyd am weld meddygfa Penymaes yn ffynnu a dwi ar grwp rhanddeiliad sydd am ddatblygu model o fenter gymdeithasol gydweithredol i ddarparu gwasanaethau iechyd allan yn y gymuned.
Mae angen lleisiau cryf ar Gyngor Wrecsam i newid pethau yn gymdeithasol er gwell, a dwi’n gobeithio’n fawr y pleidlesiwch i fi fel y gallaf fod y llais cryf sydd ei angen.
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)
A lack of two bedroomed affordable social housing is desparately needed in this ward. Major improvements are required to Summerhill Road to make the road safer and in light of increasing traffic as a consequence of housing developments. Establishing a sustainable model to deliver primary health care around Penymaes Surgery. Protect older and more vulnerable people from being exploited by cold callers.
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
Identity 'brownfield sites' which are publicly owned and to start building council houses again. Influence and change the Local Development Plan to ensure that housing are built in areas with good road links and infrastructure. Work with local GP's and other stakeholders to establish a social enterprise to deliver health care in the community. Work with the Police to support people to establish the ' No Cold Calling' zones.
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 believe that if we had more leisure facilities in the town that would increase footfall, there is an opportunity with the re development of the Bodhyfryd site to encourage leisure companies like the Snowdome in Tamworth to locate here. We should also try to funds to influence a big anchor store to locate in the old TJ Hughes shop, depending which shop it is then other smaller shops would also locate here. Carmarthen is a smaller town than Wrexham but they have a wider choice of shops, why is that? Having big concerts at the Racecourse will also be a massive boost to the town and we should encourage more. We should utilise iconic buildings like the Old Library to be re developed as a business like a restaurant. Finally we need more play parks for smaller children in Queens Square similar to what is in Eagles Meadow.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
Social Care and Health should be combined under one department so that nursing and care are seamless and we don't end up with 'bed blocking' issues that we have now. There is for more funding to ensure that providers are secure and sustainable. I believe that funding should be from general taxation and personal contribution depending on means.
5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?
Less inspection and give schools some more freedom to teach rather than deal with the burdens of inspection and bureaucracy. Extend the use of the Pupil Deprivation Grant to improve outcomes by pupils from the most deprived areas. Continue to challenge and scrutinise performance. Change the admission criteria so that siblings have a priority to attend the same school as their older brother's and sisters (This causes many parents concerns and heartache and needs to change) Increase places in Welsh Medium Education to meet what is currently unmet demand.
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
Use it as an educational establishment, a school or college as was originally planned with Coleg Cambria.
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 of all we should bring empty homes back into use. Secondly, we should challenge the housing figures, 12,000 houses seems a large number. We certainly need more housing to address the increasing problem of homelessness in the town and all the associated problems. The type of housing that we need are various sized social housing and affordable homes and they should be built on brownfield sites like Air Products and Monsanto.
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?
Dog Fouling is a massive problem throughout the County but Kingdom seem to be going for the easy results like cigarette end and not the more difficult problems like dog mess, syringes and large scale fly tipping. I feel that response to litter should be proportionate which it isn't at the moment as Kingdom are paid on results and take a cut of the fine.
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
Politically balanced as it allows ALL groups representation, the current system concentrates too much power in the hands of the very few and decisions are made behind closed doors with very little scrutiny or challenge.
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?
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?
A lot of savings have already been squeezed out of the business and a lot of staff have retired or have been made redundant. Perhaps the best place to start would be with the Reshaping Consultants themselves, why employ consultants, why not use our own staff. There is scope for a lot more collaboration with others and regional working for example the response to problematic drug users.
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
Many council services like social care are statutory and those are the priority areas for us. I don't believe that taxpayers money should be used to create businesses that compete with the private sector, for example, Sprouts Nursery. We should use our resources to facilitate economic development not to undermine it. There is probably little scope to increase revenue streams through planning fees etc, as the Reshaping Partners will have squeezed out all that can be done.
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 want to see a thriving town centre and we need to learn lesson from places like Warrington who are in the centre between Cheshire Oaks, Liverpool One and the Trafford Centre and is thriving. What are Warrington doing which we should be doing. Skipton is a thriving market town just like Wrexham used to be and hopefully will be again, but why is Skipton thriving and Wrexham is struggling.
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?
Newsletters Surgeries. Generally being seen around the ward and accessible. Responding to calls and email promptly Going that bit further and being a powerful advocate for all but in particular the most vulnerable.
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 never did support the Arts Hub but we are where we are and I hope it will be a success. Wrexham should be the location for a 'Welsh Football Museum' this is the home of Welsh football. We should develop more around coal, iron. steel and lead and find locations to display the heritage that made this town and its villages. This County is full of history and we should exploit that further.
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?
My husband is a member of the WST and part owner of the club and I was pleased that the Trust have taken over the running of My Racecourse and all the income goes back into the club. The Kop should be re developed to bring it up to international standards and that some of the money for that should come from the Sports Council and Welsh Government. The new Welsh Football Museum should be part of the Kop development.
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?
I have to declare an interest here as I am a Board member and investor in the Saith Seren. The Council should facilitate the night time economy rather than regulate it and the cost of licences etc are expensive. They also place rules on the licences which cost money i.e. charges for outside street furniture and being pedantic around planning permission for flags flying. The council could me more helpful frankly
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 the PSPO has addressed the problem of anti social behaviour, all it has done is push the problem elsewhere from the town centre into Rhosddu. If I am elected one of the first things I will be asking for is an evaluation of the PSPO and whether it has delivered on what it was supposed to.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
There is no doubt that NPS or what used to be called Legal Highs are a massive problem at the moment and as with all problematic drug use it is a public health problem and the Area Planning Board should use their considerable budget and expertise to address the problem The initiative to meet the users at Trinity Church to understand the underlying causes of the drug use is a step in the right direction and is to be welcomed.
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?
It is our party's policy not to support the issue of IPAD's to Councillors as it is possible to access the council emails etc remotely on our own computers at home. We will also not be accepting any increase in our member's allowance.
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?
The disposal of Plas Madoc was a public relationship disaster and it should have been retained and all credit to those who are now running it and campaigned to save it. Plas Madoc is a valuable asset and well liked by users. Personally I believe that non statutory leisure facilities should be funded through taxation and the value of keeping fit reduces demand on health services and as such is good use of taxpayers money.
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 first language Welsh speaker I support the government's efforts to increase the number of speakers and the law that ensures that those who seek to receive public services through the medium of Welsh are not treated less favourably. To encourage growth I will continue to do what I am doing now by being a governor of both Ysgol Bro Alun and Ysgol Plas Coch and also supporting social events through the medium of Welsh at Saith Seren and elsewhere. If elected I will seek to ensure that the council adopt the standards and improve their service to Welsh speakers. We must also seek to meet the currently unmet demand for Welsh Medium Education and ensure that the Welsh in Education Strategy is achievable. "O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau"
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 all meetings should be broadcast. The Council should be more open and transparent and publish more publicly and then there would be less use of the Freedom of Information Act. Also there should be less decisions made on reports discussed in secret.
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?
Both I and my party support reducing the voting age to 16 years. Plaid Cymru is an inclusive party and our party leader our MEP and one MP are women. Ellen ap Gwynn is also leader of Ceredigion Council. 7 of our council candidates are women and Iolanda is a Portugese national.
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?
Together with others I run a fortnightly Luncheon Club at the Resource Centre and I am a Community Councillor and I raise issues constantly through that forum, I have already been re elected to the Community Council and I represent the council as a school governor at Bro Alun and Plas Coch. I am also on the stakeholder group looking at establishing a Social Enterprise to organise community health services around Penymaes Surgery.
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
I believe that my past record in supporting people and playing my part in making Gwersyllt a pleasant place in which to live in makes me a strong and credible candidate. I am currently a Community Councillor, and I represent the council as a school governor at Bro Alun and Plas Coch. I was also on the original stakeholder group for the Urban II funding to build the Gwersyllt Community Resource Centre and I still sit on their Management Committee. I also support many things that go on in the Resource Centre, in particular the fortnightly Luncheon Club which with others I started in 2008. Strong voices are required on Wrexham Council to bring about the social change that is required to improve people’s lives and I hope you will vote for me so that I can be that strong voice. Thanking you in anticipation of your support
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