Statement from David Metcalfe

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

My name is David Metcalfe, and I am 63 years of age. I consider myself as working class although I do not condone a class system. I believe that all people are equal and try to talk to people with the same respect that I would like in return.

I believe in the freedom of speech and that everyone has something to say and something to bring to the table. I believe in listening to people and taking their point of view forward for the benefit of our community, our nation, and our environment.

When I was a teenager attending Oswestry Boys Modern School in the early 1970’s I was lucky enough to be introduced to many of the skills I would later use in my working career, however my favourite subject was and remains Environmental Studies.
At the age of 14 I signed up for the Royal Navy which eventually lead to my main working career offshore as a Commercial Diver, Diving Supervisor and eventually Client Rep. My career enabled me to expand my basic education of 4 CSE’s to even include an MSc in Offshore & Subsea Engineering. I have enjoyed an extremely interesting and rewarding working life all over the world and would like to see our young people have similar opportunity.

My partner in life, my wife Iona, whom I love dearly is also my guide. She believes and reminds me that we should all act with virtue as our guiding principle. I intend to continue to do so with what ever I do in life and that would include working as a Councillor on behalf of our community. Both my wife and I work full time and will continue to do so, even if I am elected as a County Councillor.

We have five children and seven grandchildren and firmly believe in family life. We are proud of our children all of whom are now adults with children of their own. Our main aim is to help them as best we can and try to ensure a better future for them, as we also wish for all.

I have served on our local Community Council since 2017 as a Community Councillor representing members of our community on various subjects and have been pleased to do so. I am now entering at the County Councillor level in order to have more influence in the way our Community Council works and better representation for our community at county level.

I am not a member of any trade union or political party. I often see good points in most parties’ manifestos but have not been dedicated to any political party. Hence, I enter as an Independent Candidate. The most important lesson is to listen to the people, and I intend to hold regular weekly surgeries for our residents to make their views known. I want to empower our people.

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?

•Economy & Employment•Transport & Infrastructure•Health & Fuel PovertyI am more than willing to work with all public and private bodies and companies to bring about much needed change. Our economy is the weakest in the Pontcysyllte WHS by far with Chirk and Llangollen streets ahead of us. This is despite having a visitor count (only to certain sections of our area) that most destinations can only dream of! This is wrong and needs to be rectified through a practical application of Sustainable Tourism Development. This would then improve our employment opportunity through more jobs becoming available locally. This concept fits well the Welsh Governments Active Travel for Wales Policy which advocates jobs close to home that can be walked or cycled to. Unfortunately, our community was an industrial community, and we lost the last of our remaining industry over ten years ago now and our community remains locked into post industrial depression. Transport & Infrastructure, with the B5605 still closed after over a year this is slowly destroying the Bont Bridge on the B5434 as it now carries over three times more traffic than it has ever seen. And this is a bridge built in the 1600’s. Every time the A483 is closed our community is plunged into traffic chaos and we have seen the worst grid locks ever during the past 12 months. We see a further £2.8M has been allocated towards repairing the B5605 but I fear that this will be insufficient. I have yet to see any news reports about the River Dee Retaining Wall that needs to be rebuilt BEFORE the road is repaired. If this is not done the road will just be undermined again and a further landslide will occur. This will take millions of pounds to do, before road repairs can be completed and I think our community needs to be given more information on this. This is something I will be following up on if elected, so that our community has a better understanding of the situation. Many of our other roads remain riddled with potholes and are probably in the worst state we have ever seen, despite some recent road surfacing works on some of our roads. Storm drains and Gullies, many remain blocked and unserviceable. We see regular flooding in certain parts of our community despite being no where near a flood plain! A revue of the bus services is required so that a wider section of our community has public transport. Unfortunately, since the arrival of Tesco many parts of our community have been left without. Bus routes have been altered to serve Tesco along an unclassified road, leaving King Street and Cefn Mawr village centre, the main commercial centre for the whole area, without public transport. How this situation was ever allowed to come about really needs question. Furthermore, the concentration of current bus routes on an unclassified road (Hill Street) has caused a major road safety concern (black spot) in the centre of our community. Again, this needs question and rectification along with other road safety hazards in our community. Rail Transport, the Marchers Line runs right through our community and our community including all the villages within a 2-mile radius circle of the Cefn Community Council offices in the George Edwards Hall numbers 10,000. This is the largest population outside Wrexham Town in the county. Therefore, we should have the best case for reopening a station of all, such as Rhosymedre Halt. Both Central and Welsh Governments are pushing for more people to move away from cars and back onto public transport and significant funding is available for reopening stations. So why not one for us? Improvements to our Transport and Infrastructure will have a positive effect on enabling our people to access work in other areas as well, so reducing one of the highest unemployment rates in NE Wales. Furthermore, reopening Rhosymedre Halt could assist in another much-needed facility, New Medical Facilities. The ideal site for such for our community remains the ex-Co-Op Supermarket site that over 2000 of our people signed a petition for years ago. Combining the two facilities would enable a very large catchment area for the Medical Centre making the case for a new medical centre for Cefn Mawr and surrounding villages that much stronger. So yes Health, we need a new Health Centre that should superseded both Chirk and Llangollen. Our population 10K is greater than the combined populations of Chirk and Llangollen at only 9K and yet what we have is pitiful in comparison to both Chirk and Llangollen today. For Fuel Poverty please see following.

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 ?

Wrexham needs to move on from a one-way economy that produces vast amounts of waste to a Circular Economy that the Welsh Government is promoting. We are now anticipating reopening the Ebenezer as a Climate Crisis Mitigation Centre to help with this locally in Cefn Mawr. Wrexham County’s biggest asset remains the Wrexham Industrial Estate and a key piece of infrastructure on that estate would be a new ERF, Energy Recovery Facility similar to that of the Veolia Unit at Shrewsbury. This would enable vast amounts of low-grade plastics currently going to land fill to be incinerated to produce electrical power.Councils also need more business minded people on their committees that are interested in working with local businesses that benefit the local community rather than favouring large multinational outfits and supermarkets that are just big business rate payers. If we are going to move away from a wasteful economy, we need to empower local business that is environmentally friendly, i.e., produces little waste. This is highlighted by comparing the local café that washes the dishes as opposed to the fast-food retail chains that produce high volumes of the litter. In our case The Holly Bush Inn, Cefn Mawr has an extremely good Environmental Policy whilst the results of the retail chains and supermarkets can be seen everywhere, just try counting the beer cans!

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?

I am not sure on this but am willing to be an active participant.

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

Mian problems our community has experienced already. •The B5605 Land Slide.•Major flooding in areas that are not in flood plains.•The Dee River now rates as the most polluted river in Wales.•The rising levels of litter in our community and countryside. •The rising cost of fossil fuels.•The rising cost of electricity.•Ever increasing fuel poverty. To help address what is the largest problem that the human race has ever faced we want to reopen the Ebenezer Chapel as a Climate Crisis Mitigation Centre. For more information on this please refer to The Ebenezer Chapel.

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 Ebenezer Chapel should have stayed in public ownership until at least 2026 in accordance with third party agreements. The Cefn Mawr Conservation Area and the Townscape Heritage Initiative has failed despite an investment of approximately £2 million pounds by our community. Better solutions should have been sought to link up our area in accordance with Welsh Government Planning Policy, but these have not been followed. WCBC should have worked more closely with local business rather than National Consortiums, Retail Chains and Supermarkets. However, to be fair to WCBC, this seems to be a national problem where local business is decimated by outside commercial interests and most towns etc around the UK are surrounded by retail parks which are the death of town centres. Wrexham town is no different to many others up and down the UK. But now with the arrival of Tesco in Cefn Mawr and the new Aldi at the Ruabon roundabout development (?) we see yet again further reductions in local business. Eventually all local business will be removed (that tends to be circular economy based) for linear economy-based business that is responsible for all the litter we see. Please just ask your self when looking at litter the next time, not who has dropped it but who has made money out of it. Then ask yourself, who is paying the bill to clean it up, and that is for the small amount that is being cleaned up. The great majority of this waste from the supermarkets and retail chains still lies around our communities and countryside and is ever getting deeper, soon our roadsides will all look like landfill sites. Please have a good look the next time you drive along the A483.

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

Our community out numbers both Chirk and Llangollen combined in the Pontcysyllte World Heritage Site and yet we have just about the worst of everything including Medical Facility Provision. WCBC and the Health Board must work with our community to find a solution that is suitable for a community of our size.

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

We are in an ex-mining area and have already been in touch the Coal Authority regarding Mine Heat Recovery which could be a real possibility for our community to offset the horrendous increases in utility costs that we are seeing. Community wide schemes such as these hold real possibilities for addressing fuel poverty for large numbers of people in the light of the spiralling costs of gas and electric.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

I do not know enough about this subject at present, however listening to local input from the schools could go a long way to addressing our needs locally which I am more than willing to do. I will then use this information to present the best case I can for our schools, all of them. Having read RACHEL ALLEN’s post, the candidate for Llangollen Rural as a Plaid Cymru Member, her contribution on Education is excellent. As a teacher this is a subject she knows a lot about, and it shows in her post, Well Done.

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?

Not really, unless asked.

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 am glad that the electorate has been expanded to include 16- and 17-year-olds. What needs to happen now is for economic regeneration and subsequent employment opportunity to be brought forward which I seek actively on behalf of our community. Furthermore, we should actively support all sporting activity within our community. At the Holly Bush Inn we have previously sponsored many activities such as Cefn Albion and are firm supporters of the Level 2 Pitch Upgrade at Plas Kynaston FG. We were extremely glad to see the reopening of Plas Madoc Leisure Centre. A personal favourite of mine, Martial Arts from Submission Wrestling & Grappling, Judo, Jujitsu and Boxing. I firmly believe our young people deserve the same chances I have had in my lifetime and will do what I can to see they get them.

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