September 13, 2017 at 2:09 pm #137132
Open letter to councillor Hugh Jones, Deputy Leader WCBC
12 September 2017
Councillor Hugh Jones – we need to talk.
We need to talk about homelessness in Wrexham. We need to talk about the Groves school. We need to talk about the people who are living in the grounds. We need to talk about homelessness generally. We need to talk about the scale of the problem. We need to talk about the impact of the problem. We need to talk about what actions are currently being taken, and how effective they are. We need to talk about what your plans are for the homeless in the future, and we need to talk about how you will measure how effective those plans are in reducing the problems.
Councillor Jones, we’ve tried. We’ve rang your office. We’ve sent you emails. Now nearly 600 of us, including the shadow chancellor, have signed a petition asking you to talk. You haven’t answered us. We don’t believe that you want to talk about it, but we do. We know that this issue isn’t going to be resolved without talking.
We’ve tried to make you talk. We used existing democratic process to submit our questions to you, and the other members of the executive committee, so that they could be asked at your executive meeting today. Our options were limited by process to a maximum of 5 questions. We thought long and hard and put them to you. 4 of these questions were hand delivered, by us, last Wednesday at 11.30am. Two of those questions were also submitted by email on Wednesday morning.
Councillor Jones, that’s within the parameters of your protocol.
Your officer replied in writing to one of us, explaining that the question was received too late. We emailed back with proof that it wasn’t. Your officer acknowledged that it was received in time. Councillor Jones, 4 of the questions were delivered at the same time. The receipt says 4 letters. It’s timed at 11.29.
Your officer emailed a response to one of us. He acknowledged that it was received in time.
For the record, these were the questions submitted.
Could this council please advise how many individuals who were previously sleeping rough or living in insecure accommodation have been rehoused in secure long term social housing accommodation by this council over the past 3 years?
Could this council please advise. How many individuals are currently sleeping rough and/or using night shelters, bed and breakfasts or any other insecure accommodation within the Wrexham County Borough?
Could this council please advise what is the allocated budget to tackle homelessness for the year 2017/18, how that compares per homeless individual to previous years and how many estimated homeless individuals will be rehoused in long term accommodation by using this budget?
Can this council please outline the services and initiatives in place to tackle the issue of homelessness moving forward, and what outcome measures will be used to ascertain the success of these initiatives? ie how will this council judge how effective the measures taken are?
Could this council please advise how many individuals with no fixed abode, or who were sleeping in insecure accommodation (to include shelters, bed and breakfast etc) have died of any cause over the past 3 years?
Councillor Jones, at commencement of the executive committee meeting this morning, you were sat next to councillor Mark Pritchard. You will have heard him say, as we did, roughly 1 minute into the meeting, that no public nor member questions had been submitted. This is a lie councillor Jones. Did he know he was lying? Did you? Was this a deliberate attempt to shut down the debate?
We tried to raise our objections – tried to stand up and challenge the lie. Councillor Jones, the chair ruled out of order and silenced us.
Councillor Jones, those aren’t our only questions. We thought long and hard before deciding on our 5 questions – we wanted to be sure we addressed our main concerns, but those aren’t all our concerns. We have others.
We have many others. Like ‘why are there no services available to supply food between Thursday morning and Friday evening?’ or ‘how will this council fill the void left when the salvation army are no longer able to provide shelter?’ and ‘why are the old county court buildings, which this council owns, lying 90% empty when they could easily be converted to sleeping accommodation and an integrated service hub in line with the council’s expressed philosophy?’
But after this morning maybe the pertinent questions are why has this council expended so much energy to divert the democratic process? And what has this council got to hide?
Councillor Jones, we were then subjected to the spectacle of the chair closing down questions of councillor Dana Davies and Councillor Carrie Harper.
In a flagrant display of arrogance and misogyny we watched the chair close off any reference to the Groves school by these two councillors, claiming that discussion around the Groves would ‘lower the tone of the debate’. This, despite the fact, obvious to all present, that the lead officer Councillor Phil Wynn, had not been prevented from discussing the Groves.
Councillor Jones, we left the public gallery in disgust. Disgust that what is clearly the matter of most pressing public interest at this time was disregarded so blatantly. Disgust that the chair had manipulated the agenda in order to avoid difficult issues and difficult questions.
Councillor Jones, you have our petition. We need to talk, because winter is coming and these issues aren’t going away.
And neither are we.
On behalf of Help Wrexham’s HomelessSeptember 13, 2017 at 11:15 pm #137193
Read on my Facebook tonight that Hugh Jones wasn’t even able to resolve a parking in a cul-de-sac (the new piss up in a brewery) issue in Rossett. Leaving a number of residents alienated and annoyed.
Needless to say, he finds it perfectly at his liberty to annoy the rest of the town too. Moral of the story, never leave a Tory in charge of the homeless.
As for Mark Pritchard telling lies, now that doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Thick as thieves.September 13, 2017 at 11:24 pm #137194
It was an awful display – I have no words for how it made me feel.
Tories in charge of homelessness, Tories in charge of poverty.
They might as well set up a department for manslaughter.September 14, 2017 at 12:17 am #137197
Just need to keep making more noise about this until the council listens. I’ve just tweeted a link to this open letter on the forum and did summary tweets of the 5 questions so everyone gets a rough idea of what people want answers about.September 14, 2017 at 12:34 am #137202
Thank you Matt!September 14, 2017 at 3:36 am #137203
Just read Wrexham.com’s latest article on the lengthy explanation on the absence of the questions and Mark Pritchard’s shocking use of bureaucracy to dismiss the questions on technicalities is bordering on passive aggressive and shows extreme contempt for the general public.
I can now see how this talent has him firmly planted as Exec Board Leader. Shameless, blame shifting bureaucracy that pretty much stifles and prevents anything from happening in Wrexham unless on his say so.
If you take what he says about the petition you can see what ridiculousness we have all been forced to deal with when people’s welfare and the public’s very real concern gets dismissed in such a shameful manner.
“Referencing the petition Cllr Mark Pritchard said: “We have received the petition but it did not contain any signatures, and some of the names listed were clearly fictitious, and postcodes outside of the area were also listed.”
1. It did not contain any signatures – come on Mark it’s an online petition, the person’s entry represents a digital signature. Is he a councillor from the 1700s? Fetch me the fastest rider who can read and get the signatures from the discontented villagers with this here quill & parchment.
2. Some of the names were clearly fictitious – is he saying he scoured the entire list of 600 names and decided beyond reasonable doubt that there definitely is no-one in the UK with these names. This is where he is bordering on Donald Trump logic & dismissing something as Fake News.
3. Postcodes outside the area were also listed – Sorry I didn’t read the specific rules of this free country where people from outside of an area are banned from having any level of opinion or concern about elsewhere. Ever heard of people who might commute to work in Wrexham? Students? People concerned for their relatives who live in Wrexham? People just concerned about homelessness? Sorry guys, Mark says no.
Seriously needs to climb down from his Ivory Tower and treat the people of Wrexham with the respect they deserve.
#RantOverSeptember 14, 2017 at 6:57 am #137204
Mat do you seriously think that this is Mark Pritchard putting this block in place – I think you need to look further along the Executive table! Also who are the legal advisors that are putting forward such spurious reasons. Mark P may be the deliverer of the message but the originator – I don’t think so..
A report to the Council Standards Committee should be made
September 14, 2017 at 8:21 am #137207
- This reply was modified 9 months, 1 week ago by 99DylanJones.
I haven’t seen the piece but the postcodes outside the Wrexham area are from neighbouring counties like Chester and Rhyl.
Oh and London – one of them is the shadow chancellor John McDonnell.September 14, 2017 at 10:25 am #137210
How is it that in this day and age we still have the dog and pony show in this council democracy no longer exists whilst the council leader and his cronies rule the roost.
Come on you councillors its time to step up.September 14, 2017 at 10:34 am #137211
It’s very easy for the council to fudge the issue and pass it from pillar to post.
In the meantime, a minimum of 11 people were sleeping in tents during last night and this morning’s torrential downpour! It’s rained for a week – do they have any idea what it feels like to be in a tent in this weather?
They make me sick!
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