Statement of Kevin Hughes

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

I have lived within the Ponciau Ward all my life and have been privileged to represent you at Wrexham County Borough Council for the last five years and Rhosllanerchrugog Community Council for over twelve years.
I am married to Tracey, who is employed as a Carer for Wrexham County Borough Council. Her time is shared caring for the remaining residents at Plas y Rhos and being part of the Community Re-ablement team. I have two children and two grandchildren.
I am employed within the Education Department at Glyndwr University.
I am a hardworking member of the Community and an active fund raiser. For the last five years, I have been a Local Authority appointed Governor at Ysgol y Grango and I am currently Vice-Chair of Governors at Ysgol Maes y Mynydd. I am also a member of the Wrexham County Borough Council Planning Committee.

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)

There are two main issues that are raised with me including speeding vehicles and dog fouling.

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 request that highways carry out traffic speed monitoring to highlight areas of concern. This information can then be shared with the Police. I will request that enforcement officers visit the ward on a more regular basis with a view to making dog fouling a priority.

3. As a councillor and as a member of the council what would be in your power, and your priority, to help local businesses?

This year will see business qualify for rates relief following re-rating. The Council has a part to play in informing businesses how they may claim this.

4. How do you think adult social care in Wrexham should be funded?

With a significantly increasing elderly population it is essential that social care is adequately funded. The notion of pooling Health and Social Care budgets is an interesting one and is worthy of further consideration. Clearly, Wrexham County Borough Council has a significant part to play in this process.

5. What do you think is the most urgent thing, in the power of councillors, required to improve the local education system?

There are two main issues that need to be addressed 1) raising education standards in the County and 2) review Primary school places in the English and Welsh medium schools Teachers should also be supported in raising school standards across the County.

6. What do you think should be done with the Groves school building, and the site?

I have always advocated that the Groves School building should be used for Education purposes and not torn down. A Labour Administration will work in Partnership with the FE/ HE sector to bring back this building to its former use.

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?

Due to a lack of a Local Development Plan, there has been a lack of co-ordinated planning for the future. The changes to Local Government regulations will mean that the Council, in partnership with other partners, will once more be able to build houses. This will also lead to additional apprenticeships and jobs for local people. I would dearly love to be part of an administration that delivers on this. Housing is required across the County.

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 and Littering has been outsourced to Kingdom Enforcement. When this provider was appointed, I assumed that fines for dog fouling would increase. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case. The company appear to be preoccupied with issuing fines for littering, while this is antisocial it does not have the same health risks associated with dog fouling.

9. Do you favour the current Executive Board system or a politically balanced system? Why?

I do not have any particular preference for either system. However, there has been an issue with the stifling of debate with the non-politically balanced system in use by the current administration.

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 do not intend changing my political allegiance. I stand by our Manifesto and have played an active part in developing it. Would I trigger a by-election if I changed my allegiance? Certainly,Yes.

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?

It is getting more and more difficult to identify further savings/ cuts from departmental budgets. I believe that we need to think outside the box and bring on board suggestions for income generation.

12. With the 'Reshaping' programme, which specific areas would you look to grow and create revenue streams in?

A street works permit scheme is an example of income generation and this was included in the alternative budget proposals put forward by the Labour Group.

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?

Almost everyone I speak to is concerned about the appearance of the town centre. Working in partnership with the Town Centre Forum and the business community, a Labour administration would strive to ensure that Wrexham is a more vibrant town.

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?

I am accessible to all residents at all times. I have regular Environmental walks. I also walk around the ward on almost a daily basis and regularly meet with police representatives at Rhos Community Council and Aberoer Community Council.

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 believe that the Arts is a vital part of the County. Locally, I have supported the STIWT to ensure it is on a secure financial footing. However, I believe that the business case for the Arts Hub in Wrexham is flawed and will cause a drain on Council finances.

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?

I believe that securing the future of Wrexham Football Club, one of the oldest football clubs, is absolutely correct. I have followed the history of the club more recently with interest. If promises made to the club have been broken, necessary enforcement action should be taken to ensure liabilities are met.

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?

People need to feel safe in the town centre during the evening and there should be zero tolerance to drugs.

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?

PSPO’s tend to deal with a person committing anti-social behaviour. However, they do not address the route cause of the problem which may be complex. Anti-social behaviour should be dealt with by the police and ultimately through the courts.

19. New Psychoactive Substances are a recent well documented problem in and around town, what do you think is the solution?

This issue will need further police resources to deal with it. There is also a need for raising awareness at schools in the County.

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?

I do believe that Councillors should make a contribution towards their IPADS and the Executive Board members should be reduced from 10 to 8 to save money that can be spent on other budget areas.

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?

Plas Madoc Leisure Centre was running at a loss in excess of 500K per annum. Clearly this could not be sustained. However, I do NOT believe that we should be closing such facilities. I believe that we can learn so much from the Community Trust that set up Splash Magic. To turn a deficit into a profit situation in less than three years is incredible. Long may this continue. Contrary to what you may have heard, the current Labour Group of Councillors have backed the Trust from day one. Indeed, we would have provided even greater financial backing to support the Trust year on year. This is cost effective from a Healthy perspective alone.

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 natural Welsh speaker, I always promote the Language wherever possible. The Council should promote and encourage the Welsh Language at ALL its meetings.

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?

Simple. I would like to see ALL meetings webcast to ensure complete transparency.

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?

Candidates should be encouraged to stand regardless of age, gender or 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?

Some of the Community events I have helped organise include: Band in the Park, an event that I initially suggested; Fun Day and Christmas Night I am involved with gardening projects at the two sheltered accommodation units I meet regularly with police representatives to discuss residents issues Resident parking schemes are being developed at Campbell Street and Maesenion in partnership with another local member I am an active member of the Community and will continue to be involved regardless of the election result.

In a few hundred characters to wrap this up, why should people vote for you?

I promise to: Continue to represent you and your views to the best of my ability Continue to listen to residents concerns and act on them Having lived in the Community all my life, I believe that I have the knowledge and experience to represent the electorate of Ponciau Ward at both County and Community levels Deliver on the Labour Group Manifesto. Many thanks for your support/ Diolch am eich Cefnogaeth Kevin

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