Statement of Beverley Parry-Jones
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I am very pleased to have been selected as the Welsh Conservative Candidate for Bryn Cefn ward, which includes the communities of Pentre Broughton, Brynteg, Moss and Lodge and the reason I am standing is because I care deeply about our community.
Pentre Broughton isn't just my home, it's been the home of my family for many generations. We had a shop, small businesses, and laboured at the steel works; it's in our blood and we'll always fight for it.
And as a single mother, I've known what it's like to fight to get your rights. My son David- once a keen footballer with Brickfield Rangers - now successfully runs his own painting and decorating business.
Now I face a fresh challenge caring for elderly and disabled parents but a career in Marketing, the NHS and now financial services has taught me how to see through officialdom and get things done.
I have been knocking on doors, and speaking to people in the local community since I was confirmed as a candidate in February – I have taken up many items of case work and as a result writing letters, emailing and phoning different departments, bodies and institutions on behalf of local residents. I´m proactive, and will fight hard to do what´s right and what´s needed for local residents.
If I´m elected as the Councillor for Bryn Cefn in May, my priorities will be the priorities of local residents, whatever anyone´s concerns – as their Councillor I would be eager and proactive in offering whatever assistance I can. Whatever your worries, my door in Pentre Broughton will always be open to you as your Councillor - except on Sunday mornings when you'll find me playing the organ in a local church.
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´ve been knocking on doors, and speaking to local residents since my candidancy was confirmed in February. i've spoken to a large number of local residents, taking down their details, and taking action on their behalf. A common issue people within Moss are experiencing is a three day bus service run by a local taxi firm. I´ve written to Arriva buses regarding this, and if elected Councillor this will be one of my highest priorities. Other common themes include unsafe parking in Pentre Broughton. I have contacted the relevant departments and I´m keeping residents up to date with the progress I´m making.
2. Further to the above issues you have specified, at a ward level what would you do to resolve these problems if elected?
This isn't just about what I plan to do, it´s also about what I´ve already done since I was nominated as the Candidate in February, and what I´m doing at present. Every resident who has raised an issue with me, has had their issue catalogued and dealt with in any way I can, whether that´s writing to the bus company, e-mailing our local PCSO, e-mailing the Council´s highways department.
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 would endeavour to help businesses gain applicable grants and support, Although not not strictly applicable in our ward, parking charges in Wrexham town centre have a lasting and detrimental impact on businesses in the town centre – I´d work with colleagues to ensure that parking costs are reduced where possible, oppose increases in parking fees, and seek further free days – such as on Small Business Saturday and Wrexham Street Festivals.
4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?
I was pleased to hear the Government had committed an extra 2billion to Councils to help further fund social care. These choices are hard, as every government over the last 20 years has discovered — that is why we are still talking about it. Councillors must give their support to help foster rapid action and seek a solution that works for disabled people, and the elderly. The government´s Green Paper on social funding is an opportunity that must be seized, we must build a consensus on 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?
I understand the huge potential our local schools offer, and the pressures schools and teachers are under. As a Councillor I´d be keen to make businesses and schools work closely together to ensure pupils are as prepared as possible for the working environment . Sustainable, responsible and accountable funding is key to delivering a robust education system.
6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?
Grove Park is now a listed building and therefore requires a long term plan, to ensure the building is restored to its former glory. However and equally important it also needs to meet the requirements of modern Wrexham. I´d be happy to add my support in whatever way I could as a Councillor, with experience in Marketing and Public Relations. There will be a sustainable use for the building. Naturally it lends itself to an education establishment, and I found the plans of Coleg Cambria in terms of providing further education facilities for them, and sports fields on the site as something that could be viable and attractive for the community.
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?
Housing is a national problem. It´s encouraging to see the amount of homes being built every year in the country increasing. In order to meet the housing requirements of local communities personally I favour using brown site developments. Housing developments wherever situated should consult local residents, they should be sympathetic to local surroundings and meet the needs of the local area.
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 was shocked to read that Wrexham was the first Council to raise more revenue through fines for people dropping litter than it did from car parking charges. I think the enforcement should be firm but fair – and certainly never heavy handed. Dog fouling is something that blights the local community whenever irresponsible dog owners aren´t cleaning up after their pets, we all deserve, and should have some civic pride in our area. The issuing of fines should only ever be to enforce rules, it should never be about making revenue, as such I´d be skeptical about a third party carrying out these activities.
9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?
The executive board, mirrors the way the government runs at cabinet level and I favour this. I find it makes the executive members accountable for their actions, and provides greater drive and expediency. However, it is not one or the other – all Councillors have ample opportunity to have their voices heard and to act on the issues that are affecting or are important to their constituents.
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 have no plans whatsoever to defect, or to leave my party, let alone join another one – however, I think if a Councillor, or any elected representative for that matter, does cross the floor and join another party or grouping – the Councillor owes it to their constituents to seek a by election to ensure the mandate they received at the election is still valid, this applies to Councillors who have stood for a party and then become an independent.
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?
Executive remuneration and external services.
12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?
A vast array of opportunities exist to secure revenue streams – this can be done naturally. Making Wrexham an attractive place for businesses serves the community well, it creates jobs, it sees greater income received into the Guildhall. Wrexham needs a long term, sustainable, visionary plan.
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 support the Town Centre Masterplan – I would do all I could to make sure it realises its full potential. The priority hasto be in getting more businesses and retailers to return to the centre of town. This may be achieved by helping with business rates, and, as mentioned previously, lower parking charges would likely increase footfall in the town centre – which would make Wrexham an attractive place for new businesses, startups, retailers.
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?
When I was confirmed as a candidate in February, I have spent at least every Saturday knocking on doors, leafletting and speaking with local residents.I have already acted upon the issues raised on the door step. It is both striking and noticeable that before the list of candidates were published no other candidates had made themselves known to local residents – this was something mentioned on the doorstep frequently. All issues raised by residents are catalogued and acted upon, and the resident is informed as to what I´ve done on their behalf. This won’t change. If I´m elected a Councillor, I will be a public servant, I will be there to serve you: your priorities will be my priorities.
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´ve always thought art is something to be fostered and encouraged – that begins in school. It also requires a show place. This should be supported, encouraged and embraced.
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?
Having been an ardent fan of Wrexham Football club and season ticket holder in the 1970s I´d be happy to work with Wrexham Football Club in any way I could to ensure the efforts of dedicated fans are not wasted. A better more joined up offering from the public sector to embrace and encourage one of our local focal points.
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?
Wrexham offers a vibrant and popular night life economy. The Council and the Police do an excellent job, but there´s more to be done. The Council must act in a responsible and expedient manner when complaints are made against establishments in the town centre, we want Wrexham to be a welcoming, friendly and popular destination for people to enjoy their down time.
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?
Anti-social behavior shouldn´t be tolerated at any level, I think our local police do an excellent job in ensuring we all feel safe and I give them my full support. I will work with and support any residents or organisations that are experiencing anti-social behaviour.
19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?
Organisations such as FRANK, Drugs Anonymous and Age Connects offer free, balanced and unbiased advice with regards to drugs. Fundamentally we all want to feel safe and secure on a night out – the police and the council have powers to act on establishments abusing the communities trust and expectations.
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?
Across the country Councils have much to learn from the private sector in terms of productivity and efficiency – just as the private sector has lots to learn from the public sector. Councillors using iPads and phones to conduct Council business is good for efficiency and is something I welcome. Regarding Councillor´s allowances, these are set nationwide – I would however be opposed to any increases in Councillor pay. I see being a Councillor as a public duty – it isn´t something you should do just for remuneration.
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 current owners of Plas Madoc are doing a fantastic job, and hats off to them!! The Council and Councillors should do what they can to support this venture. I.
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 would support businesses having better access to translation services.
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 think all levels of government should be fully accountable and accessible. As such, I would welcome webcasting of meetings where appropriate. All levels of government must be engaged with the people they represent, and all people must be engaged with all levels of government – this makes for better, more informed decision making, and better communication between all parties.
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?
The wider the field, the more varied the candidates and those elected the better the Council is able to represent the whole borough. Help should be offered to younger people to stand as a candidate. The Council should do more to engage younger voters with the political process.
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 I´ve said previously I´ve been knocking on doors and speaking to residents since my candidacy was confirmed in February. I have followed up on every issue raised, informed every resident what I´ve done on their behalf. These activities will continue whether I´m elected or not, I live here, this is my home my community, and I care passionately about it.
In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?
My professional background is in marketing and communications. I have since gained wide experience in management at all levels in both the public and private sector and more recently have become involved with financial affairs. I have become adept at handling difficult issues from the personal to the institutional level and engaging with a wide range of stakeholders. As a result I am capable of making and implementing broad strategic decisions without losing sight of the human consequences. My skills in organising, communicating and negotiating are first class. I am an organised and enthusiastic person am confident in my own judgements and tenacious in achieving my aims. I am flexible where I need to be, and firm where firmness is demanded. I want to bring that experience to the Council, for the benefit of the residents of Bryn Cefn – I hope I can count on their support in making this a reality.
Social & Web links
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OTHER CANDIDATES FOR Bryn Cefn
- Welsh Labour