Statement from Luke Meyers

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

I'm Luke, I live in the New Broughton ward, and have done for most of my life (excusing a brief period where I moved away to study at University)

I am a freelance actor and writer, and have worked up and down the country, but my heart has always remained in Wrexham.
When I am not working I enjoy spending time in Moss Valley park, I find walks around the lake, and spending time amongst the trees to be very inspiring, I am also a great fan of board games, and ancient mythology.

I am standing for election because I want to see improved services from our Council, and fight for the protection of our green spaces.

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?

Making sure that Wrexham gets a Local Development Plan in place as soon as possible. this shows which areas will be developed for housing, which areas will be reserved as traveller sites, where new schools, retail or leisure facilities will be placed, and which areas are protected. For 10 years, Wrexham has been without such a plan, making it easy for developers to build houses in unsuitable places, an approved Local Development Plan will stop this. Both Berse and Gatewen Road have few streetlights, are busy roads, and yet are the only real choice for pedestrians to head into town, it is unsafe to use these roads that cars often speed along in, especially in dim light, which makes journeys into town perilous in winter. The cut in bus services doesn't help, and with the expanding number of houses along Gatewen Road, the traffic will only get worse. Installing street lights and brightening up the pavement will make walking a safer travel option, and will hopefully help to alleviate some of the traffic issues in the area, and help New Broughton become a greener area too, New Broughton has an issue with bins not being collected on the correct day, and half the time the council don't even seem to know what day they are supposed top collect, sometimes leaving residents with an overflowing bin for a fortnight or more, which is an eye (and nose) sore for neighbours, and can be a health hazard if the rubbish starts to attract pests. I will make sure everyone is on the same page where bins are concerned.

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 ?

Education has been one of the biggest casualties of the pandemic. There are young people sitting public exams this year for the first time in their lives, after their previous 3 school years have been disrupted, having not had GCSE's and other exams to prepare them some A/Level students are really being hit by the stress. The mental health of young people has suffered greatly in many cases because of this. If elected, I would play an active role in the Council's education responsibilities, to make sure that all young people are supported to overcome problems caused by the pandemic. I will endeavour to introduce mental health awareness events to the ward, and the town, in a hope to help people understand those who have been affected by the pandemic. It is obvious to all that Wrexham town centre has suffered from the effects of the pandemic. I accept that Wrexham Council is in a difficult position, as many of the empty commercial units are owned by private landlords who continue to receive rent even though the property is no longer occupied. The Lib Dems have some radical proposals in this area which I would like to see introduced. Wrexham Council could give incentives to new businesses by offering concessions on business rates. I strongly support the Council's plans for reviving the town centre and I am very much in support of Wrexham's bids for UK Capital of Culture and city status. We need to be ambitious for our town - both of these initiatives will help to raise the profile of the town and will help to create new job opportunities.

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?

If given the opportunity I would very much like to join the children and young peoples committee, I grew up in a family that fostered children, and have been around social workers, children in care, and Wrexham social services for most of my life. There are many ways I have witnessed these things improve over the years, but I feel that children and young people in care are some of the most vulnerable people in the town, and I would like to do what I can to help improve life for them, and for the amazing people who care for them.

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

Green spaces, These need to be protected, yet are vanishing all around Wrexham, and with several large patches of supposed 'greenbelt' land being lost to housing estates, (and other developments) in New Broughton over the past few years, that can be seen here in a horrible way. We need to protect green spaces, and move to prioritise building on unused but already developed land. not popular where developers are concerned, since it limits their profits, but protecting the climate should come first! Also, all of these new houses aren't being provided with public transport links, so people are forced to use their cars for travel, whether they want to or not. we should be encouraging the use of buses, not restricting it.

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?)

I think the failure by the Council to approve the £50m ‘Eco Greenhouse’ project in 2020 was an avoidable mistake and a missed opportunity. If it had gone ahead, this proposal would have created over 100 high quality jobs for local people, whilst growing almost half of Wales’ consumption of tomatoes in a carbon-neutral and sustainable manner using waste gas and heat from the Five Fords water treatment plant. Sadly, it was rejected without even going in front of the planning committee.

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

The major responsibility for hospitals and ambulances lies with Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and the Ambulance Trust, but they are subject to pressure from local authorities such as WCBC. If elected, I would play my part in contributing to this pressure. The Council can also have a direct impact on treatment waiting times by investing more to improve social care, so that patients who are medically ready to leave hospital can be supported in their own homes rather than taking up valuable hospital beds. Care workers play an essential and highly skilled role in the system and need to be paid and valued accordingly, whether in Council or private employment.

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

The way things currently stand, the cost of living crisis is only going to get worse on a national level, and with my previously mentioned issues meaning people often find they have no alternative to using their cars, the ever rising fuel prices are a large problem, finally finishing the cycle path from Moss Valley to moneypenny, an properly connecting it to town will go a long way towards helping people feel safe using an alternative method of transport, at least for some journeys, and lobbying Arriva to provide a better bus service, particularly one down Gatewen Road, would also go a long way to helping that. I recognise that the cost of living crisis isn't only due to fuel costs though, and as an elected member, I would do my utmost to help any resident of New Broughton to identify sources of help and to successfully claim any relief to which they are entitled.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

I would like to work with schools to help encourage a greater array of extra curricular activities to be made available, many residents of New Broughton are unhappy with anti social behaviour exhibited by some of the young people in the community. I feel like an increase in the options of extra curriculars made available through schools would help to engage young people, keeping them off of the streets, and helping them gain skills, experience and opportunities that will help them later in life. I hope to introduce the idea of creating a culture of collaboration between schools in Wrexham, where resources can be shared to ensure the most options possible are available to the young people of Wrexham.

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 I’m elected I look forward to being a part of the Lib Dem group on Wrexham Council.

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 ?

Our newest voters have had their education disrupted over the past three school years. Their main concern now is that this should not harm their future prospects in education and/or employment. I will help in any way I can to repair the damage done to their education and mental wellbeing by the pandemic. I am very keen to encourage all voters, young and old to make use of their right to vote, and try to encourage this wherever I can.

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