Statement from Steven Vale

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

Hello, my name is Steven Vale and I am standing to be the next County Councillor for Offa Ward on May 5th. I work in the family shop Caroline’s in the town centre along side my wife Christine. I have lived in Offa Ward for over 30 years since retiring as a soldier with the county regiment 1 Royal Welch Fusiliers. I am already involved in local matters as a Community Councillor for Offa Ward. I also serve as a Justice of the Peace and have in the past been involved in School Governance at Ysgol Clyweddog and Victoria CP.
Having a small business I have a vested interest in how our county council operates, and I am all to aware of the impact that decisions made in our council chambers have on the residents of Wrexham. The regeneration of our Town Centre, provision of key services and keeping council tax low are all important issues that I will fight for. The lack of regeneration of Bridge Street is an example of how Offa has not been best served and this needs revisiting to make our gateway into town centre and the area a welcoming experience for all those who come to enjoy what we have to offer. As the final covid restrictions are lifted I look forward to my business and family life returning to some sort of normality, and, you can rest assured that if elected I intend making the voice of our residents of this wonderful and historic community not only heard but understood. All I ask is that on Election Day you give me the chance to put Offa Ward back on the map.

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?

The issues differ in different parts of Offa Ward. Those in the area surrounding Victoria CP School are concerned about parking and the safety of children crossing Victoria Road. Having three grand children in this school and having had three of my own children go through Victoria and whilst living in Empress Road I am all to aware of the challenges school times bring. There is no silver bullet to this problem, but with the goodwill and co operation of the School, Parents and the local authority I feel the situation could be greatly improved. Those living around the area of the Brickfield have a particular issue with dog fouling. Dog Fouling is arguably the worst type of littering and whilst those responsible are in the minority the impact affects the majority. We are working hard with stakeholders to raise the profile of this nuisance and bring those responsible to order.Protecting Public Services is another concern, whilst council tax is on the increase services are on the decline. This is simply unacceptable, these services need to flourish, they should be made more effective and efficient, ensuring those managing such operations are held accountable for such improved services as part of wrexham councils overall strategy for ongoing development.

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 ?

When the pandemic struck my shop in the town centre, like many others was forced to closed. I did my bit by staying at home and became part of the Vaccine Trial taking place at Wrexham Hospital . My Business and staff were kept afloat by the various grants, schemes and loans made available by the UK Government. Now things are returning to some level of normality the best thing our Councillors could do would be to encourage people to stay up- to- date with the latest vaccine guidance; thereby protecting the NHS, keeping restrictions at bay and ensuring a return to normal shopping habits. Making myself available, approachable and an understanding of personal issues, and being able to offer practical advice are going to be key to getting back to normality.

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?

My career in the Military and connections with local veterans is something I would be keen to put to good use. I have undertaken senior management rolls in global companies and more than once helped organisations improve by participating in the Investors in People Programme. From my experience this is something the employees of the Wrexham Council would benefit from.

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

Climate change is happening now, but sadly the climate seems to be changing faster than our habits. If we are to influence our communities to change then funds must be made available for changes to take place at grass roots level, better insulated homes, energy efficient boilers and the infrastructure for electric cars are all things that could be influenced by the council and should be happening now. I would like to see Wrexham use some of the 9.4% increase in this years funding settlement to ensure grants are made available to allow people to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient.

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?)

Wrexham Council has spread itself too thinly over the past 5 years. Whilst ambition is healthy for the town I feel the approach to City Status or City of Culture has impacted negatively on other areas. I put forward the neglected area of Bridge Street/Pen-y-Bryn as a case in point.The Council needs to set out the Objectives and ambitions for our town, make a plan with measurable targets and ensure that every council employee has the same objective and is measured against it’s progress

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

Staying up to date with vaccines, consulting with the local pharmacy are things we can all do to give our hard working NHS a much needed breather. We need to be encouraging home grown doctors and nurses, carers and care assistants, we need to ensure these careers are advertised and encouraged in our schools as a career path worth choosing. Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and the Welsh Government has failed it’s staff and patients time and time again. This is an issue that is not going to be resolved until all the relevant responsible bodies are held to account, acknowledge their failures and look to other health boards to adopt and embrace best practices.

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

I will make myself approachable and available to those in need. I have and will continue to put those in need in touch with those who can help. Having a business in the town gives me a first hand appreciation of the daily struggles people are facing, there is only so much of a pound people can give and I understand that.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

I have been a School Governor at differing levels for many years. The key to success is a motivated head with motivated staff. A Governing body who understand the Estyn Inspection Standards and measures themselves and the school against them will find standards are automatically driven ever higher in their pursuit of excellence.

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 am standing as a Welsh Conservative, I have no intention of changing allegiance and will use to the best of my abilities all. My influence to ensure that the voices of my constituents are not only heard but considered and understood.

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 ?

I have an 11 year old daughter in Ysgol Clyweddog and 3 grand daughters in Victoria CP. I hope I have the understanding of the younger generation to understand their issues and campaign on their behalf for what matters to them.

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