Last year we delivered a unique Q&A to all 138 local election candidates.
Out of the 52 council members elected, 12 kindly participated and provided responses to our questions.
Now, with over a year of the current term elapsed we caught up with them to find out what they had been up to, and how much they had achieved so far.
Each Cllr was issued with the same Q&A format, and 7 out of the 12 Cllrs answered our questions within the time frame requested.
Below are the responses from Brynyffynon Cllr Phil Wynn.
1. What was your first priority / aim for your ward prior to being elected and have you managed to achieve it?
To deliver a solution on reducing the inconvenience created for Maesgwyn residents by the influx of fans parking up their vehicles in the side streets off Mold Road on a matchday.
The Council’s Highways Dept have indicated a match day residents parking scheme would be too costly to introduce so further talks with the stadium manager are planned.
I have meet with club officials who have agreed to remind fans by way of tannoy messages to refrain from parking in the local side streets and for match day stewards to do likewise.
I have also leafleted the area on the policing arrangements for the recent Chester derby game and the impact this was likely to have for vehicle owners planning to use Mold Rd at the end of that game.
2. Since the election have you found your ward members engaged in your work, and if so what has been the main engagement tool?
From experience residents only feel motivated to engage when faced with problems on a personal level or collectively as a street or neighbourhood. For some reason the younger generation feel less willing to take an interest in their neighbourhoods compared to those individuals of an older age.
My main tool of engagement is attending the five resident groups which operate in Brynyffynnon. I also leaflet streets, as and when issues of concern arise.
Having recently attended a workshop on the use of social media this is a matter I need to give my attention to.
3. A post on the Wrexham.com forums stated that local democracy is healthy when councillors are pushed on issues affecting their ward members. Some have called for an open forum discussion. Do you feel you are pushed enough by the people you represent and could an open forum be a tool to achieve this?
I am open to the suggestion of using Internet forums as a useful forum for elected members to enter into dialogue with fellow Wrexhamites. My only concern is everyone faces time constraints, myself included, so would my time be better spent dealing with issues affecting the residents in Brynyffynnon than providing immediate responses on issues which a relatively small number of contributors on forums such as Wrexham.com crave.
4. What one thing you have achieved over the last 15 months are you most proud of?
Challenging the planning application for the old Brother site on Croesnewydd Rd, which if had been accepted as presented to the Planning Committee back in July 2013 would in my opinion of totally undermined the Council’s Affordable Housing aspiration.
This challenge is on-going so the outcome of this debate has yet to be decided but I am certain without effective challenge by elected members we will end up with less than prefect housing estates being built in Wrexham.
I have also challenged the authorities policy on handling complaints upheld by the Public Ombudsmen, following dealings with a couple who felt badly let down by the system. Following a review of the situation new systems have been discussed and approved by elected members via the Scrutiny Committee system.
5. What do you see as the long term future in terms of Wrexham’s identity and how do you think it will be achieved?
Wrexham has historically out punched its weight, which has helped deliver a bigger profile for the town. This has been based on our heavy industries, the ability to brew one of the finest lagers in the world, to providing the home for the third oldest football club in the world, Wrexham AFC.
In the 21st century we need to continue to promote Wrexham as the capital of north Wales. In doing so we all need to embrace change, ensure we maintain institutions such as Glyndwr University and Wrexham County Borough Council (rather than returning to the days of being ruled from Mold) to helping local businesses prosper (that includes Wrexham AFC), whilst championing our rich cultural heritage.
6. Your current term in office is one where the council are implementing cuts. If you had to pinpoint one area the council should spend more in, and one area where they should spend less, what would they be?
The prosperity of the residents of Wrexham and by association the well being of the town is best served by ensuring we maximise the opportunities for those residents wishing to find work, which is fulfilling and pays well. As such Wrexham Council ought to be spending a bigger portion of its budget on making Wrexham open for business.
As for the Council spending less, calls for the demise of the role of our Mayor is tokenism when faced with making cuts of £34 million plus. The cuts are going to result in the loss of services which have been valued by many and taken for granted by many others, myself included. My only hope is such savage cuts are delivered fairly, so no one community feels it has taken the brunt whilst others have been treated more favourably by the council decision-makers.
We should not lose sight that these cuts have a human price tag which is being paid for by loyal council staff losing their jobs.
7. Where are your current efforts focused and what visible improvements would you like to achieve between now and the end of this term in your ward?
Having witnessed the deficiencies of planning in delivering well designed housing estates in Brynyffynnon over the last five years my biggest challenge is to ensure our planning officers deliver estates which residents are happy to live in.
If as a county we get this wrong then there are going to be building many thousands of new houses over the next fifteen years or so on estates which are dreamt up for delivering profit margins for developers rather than harmonious communities.
Over the summer I have been actively involved in ensuring our local youth football club Brickfield Rangers FC relocates to the site of Ysgol Clywedog. A joint venture which I and fellow school governors believe will serve the school and Brickfield well.
8. What do you think has been the best decision taken by the council since the election?
To pursue the location of a prison in the County.
9. What do you think has been the worst decision taken by the council since the election?
Not to engage with residents sooner on where service provision cuts are to happen, which will deliver the forecast savings of in excess of £34million.
10. In our Q&A at election time we asked for your best memory of the town, so would like to ask you this time around what have you been most proud of in terms of the town since you were elected?
Seeing the town’s football club appear at Wembley for the first time in its 149 year history. The saddest moment was seeing them lose to Newport County FC at their second Wembley appearance in the play-off final.