Statement from Alex Jones

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

I’m Alex and many will know me for running The Bank Wine Bar in our town centre for 12 years.

I’m A husband and father. My children go to Victoria CP where I am a community governor.

I’ve been a community councillor for Erddig Ward now for some time including Chairing Offa Community council. I’ve organised with help, many community events such as the ‘Wrexham Food & Drink Festival’ 2018/2019, ‘Offa Light Switch On’ and also put on a red suit and froze on a back of a float waving for several hours for the last 2 years. I very much have Wrexham at heart and want to continue organising community events and more…

Many members of our family and friends live in Erddig and we are looking to also locate to the area.

I stood in the previous County Council election for Erddig and will not give up as I have strong links to the ward (including my business) and I want Wrexham to prosper. Wrexham has been left for many years by the current administration and with the new media attention, city of culture bid and the opportunity to make changes in the council our town can receive the investment it so deserves.

Erddig Ward now includes several businesses in our town centre including many from the Nighttime Economy. For many years I have been involved in Nightsafe. This group brings together North Wales Police, WCBC and other partners. I have gained lots of experience in dealing with several agencies and this will help me help you in dealing with issues in our ward.

Being independent means to me that I will be a voice in the council that represents the community not a political party. Party politics do not interest me and I will vote for what is best for Erddig and Wrexham. I’m known for not sitting on the fence!

I hope I can count on your vote 🗳

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?

Dog Fouling is a hot topic. As a member of Offa Community council we have written to the Police Constable asking if PCSO's have the powers to enforce fixed penalty notices. Quote:- "The Chief Constables stance in relation to this matter remains the same, the enforcement in respect of dog fouling is that of the Local Authority. The demand on policing is ever increasing and to ask more of Police Officers and PCSO’s at this time would be unfair and would, he feels, result in other areas of their work being adversely effected". Wrexham County Borough Council employ enforcement officers but they have NOT issued one FPN for the offensive of dog fouling. To resolve this, firstly, how many enforcement officers do WCBC employ? Secondly, why aren't wards like Erddig seeing a presence? Challenges like this need to made.. Conditions of Roads and pavements :- In 2020 council tax increased by nearly 7% with £1,000,000 invested into the Environment department specific for highways maintenance. Pot holes on Sontley Road get filled but soon revert back again, temporary fixes are not always the answer. Many roads and pavements in the ward requires attention. I will push the Council to make sure Erddig is part of the planned works and gets its fair share of Highway maintenance. You can also report potholes etc using the following link:- Town Centre:- I'm best placed in the town to see the goings on day in, day out. Wrexham is now featured in the media, thanks to our bid for the year of culture 2025 and of course our Hollywood stars. What a great opportunity to place our town firmly on the map. Our Town is full of passionate people who want to support the town and see if prosper again. I will submerge myself in anything to see the town achieve this. Erddig Ward has increased in its size and now incorporates many of the Bars, Pubs and Restaurants like mine (The Bank Wine Bar). As a member of "Nightsafe", a working group who regularly meet with North Wales Police, Wrexham County Council Officers and others, I have a good understanding of the requirements of an evening to the economy and have built up a good working relationship with these partners. If I can squeeze one more in… Speeding on Salisbury Road. Residents there have had a several near misses. If I get elected I will make this one of my priorities. My hope is that with a new Council I can help Wrexham move forward

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 ?

As a business owner I have had to adapt many times to changing laws/guidance during the pandemic. My business would not have survived unless we diversified and adapted our offer. We have all been hit in one-way or another, and some more than others. We need to bounce back, build confidence in Wrexham. I would like to see incentives for businesses to come back to the town centre. Use our outdoor spaces for community events and markets. I have a record of putting of successful events in the town and will support others who wish to do the same. A thriving town is a happy 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?

One step at a time... Let’s get me elected first! I have been active in many roles over the last 10 years. Nightsafe and Town Centre Forum, Community Council, School Governor. I'm a community person. I'm happy to be given the chance to represent Erddig Ward. If I could sit on a committee that would benefit the ward then of course I will. I don't have my eyes on anything in particular, however I do like to challenge and ask questions, so maybe scrutiny would be a good one.

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

In Erddig we can do our part to help towards the councils work programme on decarbonisation, this includes Buildings, Transport and Mobility, Land Use and Procurement. The street lighting has been upgraded to LED. Any buildings where possible should use materials that will reduce our carbon and emissions. Procurement, are we ensuring that we are using local suppliers to cut back on our carbon footprint and support our local economy. In Erddig Ward we also have St Giles car park. This is a heavily used car park and does not have an electric charging point. I would like to see one installed.

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?)

The big hot potato is City Status... As a councillor I believe you are elected to the council to be a voice for the community you represent. It should not be a decision based on personal opinion. I would of liked to have seen more effort made to engage with the community and businesses on this decision. "A councillor’s primary role is to represent their ward and the people who live in it. Councillors provide a bridge between the community and the council. As well as being an advocate for local residents and signposting them to the right people at the council, you will need to keep them informed about the issues that affect them". I would argue this wasn't done!!

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

The council should take into consideration the impact on our infrastructure when issuing planning permission for big builds. Having recently experienced Wrexham Maelor hospital, I can say how lucky we are to have such a hospital. The staff are incredible. A&E is at bursting point. I regularly count several ambulances outside. As a councillor I would ask our Member of the Sennedd what they are doing to support our Hospital. Are they considering a minors unit to take some pressure off A&E?

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

Cost of living, rise in NI, we are all feeling the pinch. Those who need additional help, I will of course help them get help from agencies and support streams. We have a community support agent in Offa who has already helped many people. Being able to signpost people in the right direction would be a key role I believe as a County Councillor.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

As a School Governor and having 2 children in school, I have gained some knowledge in this. Schools are firstly an education hub, a safe haven where our children can be educated and receive all the tools they require in preparation for the big bad world. Supporting our schools is very important and seeing they are properly funded, maintained, and managed is very important for the teachers and the pupils. Schools also play a big part in our community and by involving our schools to play a part in our community will help learners. In recent years as a community councillor, along with others delivered bollards to stop people parking out side school gates, ultimately keeping our children safe. As a school governor I have supported the development and training of our teachers to pass on to our learners. I would support anything I could to help our education system. Particularly the transition between primary and secondary school. By communicating with our Head Teachers and governing bodies we can develop together.

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 an Independent. I want to be the voice and representative for Erddig. My role as I see it is to challenge and scrutinise the decision to be made. How can I do that if I'm told otherwise? Or "that's not the party policy". Politics shouldn't play a big part in local decisions. We will be a body of people who should come together for the best and what's the best for Wrexham.

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 ?

A Big part of my campaign is social media. I have used multiple platforms to promote my self as a candidate. I have also spoken to friends who live in the ward who's children can now vote. They have spoken to me and told me what they would like. One of them is jobs. Business like mine rely on college students. Building relationships with coleg cambria and ensuring apprenticeships are available in the council for our college leavers would be a good start. Another thing that has come up in conversation is future and what do I see Wrexham's future looking like. Well I can see it looking good. If we invest in our town, support our infrastructure and bring back the pride in our town. Wrexham will move forward, we have so much to offer now. Lets be bigger and better....

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