Statement from Alun Jenkins

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

I’m Alun Jenkins, and I’m seeking re-election as Councillor for the Offa Ward. I was first elected in 1970, and have served continuously since then. In the 1980s, I campaigned for Community Councils to be created within Wrexham Town, and have also served as a Councillor on Offa Community Council since it was established in 1985.

I was born in Colwyn Bay, and was educated at Ysgol Bod Alaw, one of the first Welsh medium primary schools in Wales. I then attended Colwyn Bay Grammar School before gaining an honours degree in Electronic Engineering at the University College of North Wales, Bangor.

I moved to Wrexham in 1967 for a teaching post in the Physics Department at Grove Park Boys Grammar School, and later became Head of Department in Grove Park Comprehensive and then The Groves Schools. Sue and I were married in 1969, and we moved to live in the Ward, initially in Bath Road, then in Court Road, where we have lived since 1972. Our two sons, who attended Welsh medium schools in Wrexham, are now married, and we have three grandchildren ranging in age from eight to twelve.

I am Welsh Speaking, a member of Capel y Groes Welsh Presbyterian Chapel, and have been a Liberal since 1958. Since becoming a Councillor, my priorities have always been for the betterment of the Ward, the Community and the County Borough, and I have worked actively with many local groups and individuals on many campaigns and projects. I have also had the privilege of serving as a School Governor at both Ysgol Bodhyfryd Welsh Primary School, and Ysgol Morgan Llwyd Welsh Secondary School.

Throughout this period, I believe that I have developed a reputation for my detailed knowledge, thoroughness and commitment, and for dealing with matters with honesty, integrity and fair play. The award of a “BEM, for Political and Public Service” in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list this year was unexpected, but is a great honour, not only for me, but for the people of the Offa Ward who have supported me over so many years.

I look forward to being able to continue to work actively and conscientiously for our area for the coming five year period.

All electors in Offa Ward have received detailed information from me through my “FORUM” newsletter and through my election address, and this includes information relating to your ten questions. My answers are summarised below.

Alun Jenkins ydw i, ac ’rwy’n sefyll i gael fy ethol eto fel y Cyghorydd i gynrychioli Adran Offa. , Cefais fy ethol gyntaf yn 1970, ac ’rwyf wedi cynrychioli’r ardal yn ddi-dor ers hynny. Yn yr wythdegau, bum yn ymgyrchu i gael Cynghorau Cymunedol o fewn y dref, ac ’rwyf wedi bod yn Gynghorydd hefyd ar Gyngor Cymuned Offa ers ei greu yn 1985.

Cefais fy ngeni ym Mae Colwyn, a chefais y cyfle i gael fy addysg gynnar yn Ysgol Bod Alaw, un o’r ysgolion cyntaf yng Nghymru i gynnig addysg drwy gyfrwng yr Iaith Gymraeg. Bum yn ddisgybl wedyn yn Ysgol Ramadeg Bae Colwyn, cyn mynd i Goleg Prifysgol Gogledd Cymru ym Mangor, lle yr enillais radd mewn Peirianneg Electronig.

Symudais i Wrecsam, i swydd yn yr adran Ffiseg yn Ysgol Ramadeg y Bechgyn yn Grove Park yn 1967, cyn mynd ymlaen fel Pennaeth Adran yn ysgolion Gyfun Grove Park, ac yna Ysgol y Llwyni. Fe briodais Sue yn 1969, ac fe symudom i fyw yn y Ward, yn gyntaf yn Bath Road, ac wedyn yn Ffordd y Llys, lle ’rydym wedi byw ers 1972. Mae ein dau fab, a gafodd eu haddysg cynnar drwy’r Iaith Gymraeg yn Wrecsam, rwan yn briod, ac mae dau ŵyr ac un wyres gennym, o wyth mwlydd i ddeudeg mlwydd oed.

’Rydw i’n siarad Cymraeg, yn aelod yng Nghapel y Groes, Eglwys Bresbyteraidd Cymru, ac wedi bod yn Ryddfrydwr ers 1958. Mae fy mlaeonoriaethau drwy fy amser fel Cyngorydd wedi bod er budd y Ward, y Gymuned a’r Bwrdeisdref cyfan, ac ’rwyf wedi gweithio gyda grwpiau ac unigolion ar llawer o yngyrchoedd a phrosiectau. ’Rwyf hefyd wedi cael y fraint o fod yn Lywodraethwr yn Ysgol Bodhyfryd ac Ysgol Morgan Llwyd,

’Rwy’n credu fy mod wedi creu enw da trwy gydol fy amser, am fy ngwybodaeth manwl a thrylwyr a’m ymrwymiad i’r gwaith, ac am ddelio â materion gyda gonestrwydd, ddidwylledd a chwarae teg.

Fe ddaeth yr anrhydedd o’r “BEM, for Political and Public Service” yn Rhestr Blwyddyn Newydd y Frenhines yn annisgwyl, cydnabyddiaeth nid yn gymaint i mi, ond i bobl Ward Offa hefyd am fy nghefnogi fi dros gymaint o flynyddoedd.

’Rwyn edrych ymlaen at gael mynd ymlaen yn gydwybodol a gydag egni pellach am y pum mlynedd nesaf fel y Cynghorydd dros ein hardal.

Mae’r etholwyr yn Ward Offa wedi derbyn gwybodaeth manwl gen i drwy fy cylchlythyr “Fforwm”, ac yn fy Llythyr Etholiadol atyn nhw, sy’n cynnwys atebion i’ch deg cwestiwn. Mae’r atebion isod yn cynnwys crynodeb o hyn:

Questions & Answers

1. What are the three biggest issues for your ward, how do you think they need to be resolved, and what will you do to achieve it?

a)To continue to work with the County Borough’s Education Officers and with GwE, the North Wales Regional Improvement Service through the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee to deliver the improvements to education in Wrexham Schools highlighted in the Estyn Inspection Report.b)To push for the long awaited changes to the Council’s Planning Polices and Guidance, and to improve the Standards applied and their enforcement, so as to improve the quality of the worst of the housing accommodation in the private rented sector, and to bring it up to the standards of the best. Wrexham successfully extended the Additional Licensing Scheme for HMOs, which is now in place until 2026. Further additional resources will be needed for the Department, to ensure that irresponsible landlords are held to account for the behaviour of their tenants, so that noise, disturbance and antisocial behaviour, as well as issues such as overflowing bins etc., which spoil the quality of life for the residents of the surrounding locality are brought under greater control.c)To deal with many environmental issues, whether to deliver the intentions of the Council’s Decarbonisation Plan to make Wrexham Carbon Neutral by 2030 in response to the global Climate and Ecological crisis, or to deal with the more immediate issues of reducing waste and increasing recycling, and of potholes, dog fouling, littering and fly tipping which so badly affect all our areas.d)A fourth equally important priority would be to continue to work with Officers in the Economic Development Department with the essential work of recovering the Town Centre following the devastating impact of the Covid pandemic, and working with land and property owners to regenerate their derelict and dangerous sites which have such a detrimental impact on our Town. And to find a solution to Natural Resources Wales’ Flood Plain issues in the Brook Street area which are preventing the regeneration of land at the bottom of Bridge Street.

2. What do you think needs to be done to help Wrexham recover from the pandemic and what hands-on-role can you play as a councillor ?

I would wish to continue as a member of the Town Centre Task and Finish Working Group, working with Economic Development Officers and with support from Welsh Government funding to recover our town centre as outlined in my fourth priority in Question 1. To continue to press for the essential funding from Welsh Government for the improvements to the three junctions along the A483 that form important entrances into our Town Centre, and for the Funding of the Wrexham Gateway project that would see improvements to Mold Road and the areas around Wrexham’s Racecourse Football ground and around Wrexham General Railway Station, and Exchange Station to Bidston and to Liverpool.Success in the “City of Culture 2025” competition would bring much needed investment into the area, and would bring with it new facilities that would match the needs of North Wales’ largest town.

3. As a councillor you may have the chance to take on further roles eg. Lead Member, Audit, Scrutiny. What appeals to you and what skills do you bring to that role?

Until 2012, I was a member of the Executive Board, and had served as the Lead Member for Finance for many years. Since then, I have been an active member of a number of Scrutiny Committees, and of Task and Finish Working Groups and Workshops. I am acknowledged for my detailed knowledge, and understanding of how the Council does and should work.

4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?

This is a very important issue. Please see my answer to question 1, where I set this out as a priority issue for immediate action.

5. What is the biggest thing you would have done differently from the ruling administration over the last 5 years? (Or, if you were part of the Administration - what would you have done differently?)

When set up originally, the Council’s Executive Board was “balanced” in that it had members on it from all the political groups within the Council, whether in the Ruling Group or not, and this gave the opportunity for much more open discussion of all the major issues being considered. The current ten members of the Executive Board are all from the Council’s ruling groups, making it much more difficult for members of other groups to be able to advise and influence final decisions of the Board.

6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?

These are the responsibility of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and of the Ambulance Trust. Regular Scrutiny Committee meetings and Workshops are held to discuss the major issues and concerns with them. The administrative problems with the Health Trust are well known to Welsh Government, who held the Trust in Special Measures for some considerable time. Changes are undoubtedly needed to the structure to make it more effective and efficient..

7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?

At a time when so many families and individuals are feeling the strain of the current cost of living crisis due to excessively high inflationary increases, the need for high quality Council Services is now greater than ever, to support everyone through the crisis.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

This is another very important issue. Please see my answer to my priorities in question1

9. When the public view the Full Council meeting in June, do you envision you could be part of a Party, Group or coalition, and if so, specifically who and why?

I’m standing as a Welsh Liberal Democrat and if elected I will be part of the Lib Dem group.

10. This is a noteworthy election with 16 and 17 year olds now able to vote, what have you done to engage this new electorate and what do you think is the biggest issue for them locally ?

It is good that many 16 and 17 year olds will have the vote in this election. My own political life started in 1958 when I was still at school, and I am very keen to encourage young people to take an interest and an active role in the issues affecting our town and local communities.The period of the pandemic has been difficult for us all, but especially for those still at school, who have missed out so much over the past two years, with impact on their health as well as on their education. I am keen to work with young people as they highlight their needs and expectations for their future lives and employment.

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