Statement from John Conrad Phillips
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
Hello my name is John Conrad Phillips and I have lived in Pen-y-cae all my life. I have been married to my wife Gaynor for 43 years and we have five children and nine grandchildren some of which still reside in Pen-y-cae.
I have worked at Rhos Radio since the age of fifteen and for the past ten years, I have had the honour of representing Pen-y-cae as the local Independent Councillor. Alongside both of my roles I am also a member of the Community Council in Pen-y-cae, which has provided me with an even greater platform to directly support and address residents concerns. I have also been an active member of the Pen-y-cae Community Group for a number of years and help organise and participate in regular litter picks and clean up events to further enhance the community.
Living in Pen-y-cae, as an independent councillor I am dedicated to working every day to ensure that our environment and residents are supported. In addition to this role, I am a governor at Ysgol Pen-y-cae. Through this role I can directly support the local school, which proudly represents and supports our community. To directly support the education system and the wider community is a key value of mine, which I will always uphold.
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?
One of the main issues in Pen-y-cae, highlighted by residents has been the level of vehicle congestion due to a lack of off road parking, which was one of the main reasons cited for the loss of the bus service, serving a part of Pen-y-cae. It was evident work was needed in order for the operator to reinstate their bus service, to directly support residents with their access to services and to reduce the potential feeling of isolation. To date I have supported many individual hard standings and 3 car parks. An array of examples of where this work has already had a direct impact to reduce the congestion in Pen-y-cae can be seen in areas such as, Ffordd Llanerch, Delfryn and Stryt Isa. Following representation, I’m immensely grateful to the operator for the reinstatement of their service. Work is ongoing to further highlight areas which may benefit from similar schemes to alleviate congestion concerns. In addition residents have voiced concern on no bank holiday and Sunday bus service for outlying villages and I would certainly welcome dialogue to see if this was viably possible. Post pandemic, we have also experienced a backlog in social housing repairs. This is an issue officers are working diligently to resolve. Numerous concerns have already been alleviated and if I am re-elected I will continue to support improvement in this area, to ensure that residents are readily responded to with their issues being resolved in a timely manner and support added where needed.3. A final issue is the high level of litter and dog fouling in the community. Through observations and a residential consensus, it became evident that the level of litter and dog fouling were sadly polluting our natural environment and becoming an eyesore for local people. Since being elected in 2012 I often survey the ward and identify hot spots areas, mainly along the main walking routes, I have therefore, supported and continue to support regular litter picks to ensure the cleanliness of our local area. Alongside the litter picks, there has been an increased number of bins made available for litter and dog fouling with bags available on walking routes to reduce the amount of dog fouling too. This has had a profound impact, which continues to develop. My newsletters and regular updates on social media continues to encourage individuals to engage with litter picks, which means that as a community we work together to grow and improve the area. It is this culture I will continue to harness if re-elected.
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 believe that post-pandemic the Geography of British towns has changed significantly. Therefore, I believe a collective approach would be most efficient in ensuring that all successful strategies are utilised to support Wrexham in its recovery. I believe that directly supporting the local businesses and preserving the culture of Wrexham must be secured so that we can continue to grow successfully. Therefore, I fully support the decision made, for free car parking after 11am in all council owned car parks to reduce pressure on individuals and to encourage shopping within our town. Moreover, the Gateway project which seeks to improve transport and access around Wrexham. This is of paramount importance in supporting Wrexham in its recovery because it will enable Wrexham to thrive and continue to be a town filled with opportunities for local people and visitors. The support I advocate to these projects I believe highlights my dedication to supporting Wrexham in its recovery and long-term growth.
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?
Since being elected in 2012 I have concentrated on my ward I represent and never rushed into anything and continued to gain experience in scrutiny and planning committee and in this time I feel I have gained a wealth of experience, which puts me in good stead for the future. I am always willing to learn and progress, not only for myself but the community I represent.
4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?
I supported the declaration of a climate emergency in Wrexham. I have observed the growing pressures that is being placed onto our natural environment and the need to reduce our pressure and to instead, create opportunities for people and the natural environment to work in unison. As part of the offroad parking scheme I aimed to ensure that the impact on green space was kept to a minimum. This is evident in areas, such as Ffordd Llanerch in which there are trees and green spaces surrounding the offroad parking. Similarly, I supported Pen Y Cae community council street lighting programme, which involved changing the lamps to energy saving LED lanterns. This has had a profound impact by greatly reducing the amount of energy being used daily, while continuing to ensure the safety of our community. More recently I supported a solar and wind turbine lighting scheme for the ward. This is a first in the Wrexham County borough for a scheme of this size, which has greatly contributed to a reduction in our carbon footprint by increasing our reliance on renewable energy. Through these examples I have demonstrated my dedication towards maintaining the safety of our community whilst reducing our carbon footprint. I will endeavour to continue working towards reducing our pressure on the climate in my role as a school governor and as the local councillor because being sustainable is ultimately how we will emerge from the climate emergency in the long-term.
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?)
In the past 5 years we have overcome a series of challenges and have created multiple opportunities for residents and visitors to grow. The last two years have highlighted how despite the issues in front of us we will always ensure that we work together to overcome them. I am proud to say that we were able to maintain key services and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and everyone helping to deliver the key services throughout the pandemic and beyond. On a personal note talking to many residents voicing concern over Wrexham becoming a city, taking their comments and views on board I did not support the bid for city status.
6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?
The pandemic has sadly enhanced the pressure on our NHS. The delays in ambulances and the backlog in appointments are issues that are more evident now than ever before. The build up of waiting ambulances are clear to see and possibly the demise of some cottage hospitals are a contributing factor. Our NHS are indeed stretched to the limit. I would always support dialogue and engagement to find a possible way forward to alleviate the current situation.
7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?
Over the past two years as a local councillor and community council member we have supported the local population of Pen Y Cae with food banks, shopping, and food deliveries to ensure that residents in need was cared for during the pandemic, despite the cost of living. This has and will always be one of my proudest achievements as ward councillor; to see how our community united in the most challenging times has been an honour to be part of. Post-pandemic I will continue to support the provision of resources for those who may need it again. Our community agent would help to signpost residents in the right direction and ensure wellbeing checks on the most vulnerable of our society.
8. How would you improve the local education system?
As a local councillor, a school governor and a father of two teachers at Primary and Secondary level, I believe that the way to ensuring high quality education is that each teacher has the highest level of development and training expertise in order to support our children. I believe that replicating this high level of expertise and sense of community to ensure that the education system continues to adapt to meet the needs of every child, family, and community it inhabits.
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 won’t take anything for granted and would wait to see if I was re-elected. To date, I have not had any discussions with other parties or groups.
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 ?
As the active councillor for Pen Y Cae I have visited homes, delivered termly newsletters and highlighted plans and events on social media. This triad of communication methods is firstly how I have attempted to engage with every resident in my ward because it easily allows individuals to communicate with me or participate in key events in our community. Moreover, I have always aimed to be familiar and approachable by ensuring that I am always in the local area to answer queries or to offer support to individuals. An example of how I have engaged younger people has been through the litter picks that have been announced on a multimedia platform. We have seen a diverse group of people join to tackle an issue at the heart of the community and this has involved individuals from scouts and of a younger age. This is vital because as the local councillor I am here to support everyone, and I want everyone to feel part of the community in which they reside. Alongside encouraging younger individuals to engage with key events in the area, I recognise that one of the biggest concerns for them is employment post-education. I will continue to support local opportunities involving volunteering at events and the provision of a wide range of courses at Coleg Cambria to meet the needs and ambitions of every individual in our community. I will endeavour to uphold this level of support for young people because I believe that increasing opportunities from a younger age will increase their independence and quality of life in the long-term.
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