Statement from Trevor Raymond Bates

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

I am Trevor Bates, married with 3 adult children, worked 40 years in a bank, fortunate to keep a few sheep and some bees on a small holding. I have planted hundreds of trees and created a pond and wildlife area. My past roles include Youth Club Leader, Group Scout Leader and School Governor. I am presently a Community Councillor in Glyn Ceiriog and treasurer of the Ceiriog Valley Sheepdog Society, Canolfan Ceiriog Centre and Lockdown Lunches. I enjoy participating in local events that bring people together to promote togetherness and harmony. I enjoy listening to most kinds of live music.
The Dyffryn Ceiriog (Ceiriog Valley) Ward is the largest of all Wrexham Wards with nearly 20% of the area of the whole County and a Guild Hall meeting means a 40 mile round trip. I have no political ties so I can act simply in the best interests of my constituents. I will work with the present MP or AM whatever their party in order to help the Ceiriog Valley and my electorate.

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?

Being a rural ward we are always hit by high fuel costs as few people can rely on public transport to get to work, School sixth form classes, or the shops, doctors and hospitals. Parts of the Ceiriog Valley have brilliant broadband whilst others have next to zero, parts have an adequate mobile phone signal whilst large parts have absolutely no mobile signal whatsoever. The threat to remove old analogue phones is quite an issue a power cut will take away the means to call emergency services on 999 and similarly those residents with "Care Call" will not be able to summon help in a "Power Outage". Most residents complain of potholes whilst others are concerned about lack of home care, there is a lack of housing for young families and first time buyers and "Off-roading" often reaches "plague levels" at peak weekends. A problem for me is limiting the answers to three issues.

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 ?

COVID-19 has decimated our tourist industry which really needs a boost, as does Agriculture in order to produce more food in the UK and reduce imports. The Countryside is seen as a play ground for urban dwellers and undervalued by our two Governments. During Lockdown I have been involved in a project to provide lunches to isolated and vulnerable people as much to help their mental health as meet nutritional needs. I have been successful in applying for grants and I have helped others with grant applications during lockdown.

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 experience in banking helps my role in Audit Committee and after serving on the Safeguarding Scrutiny Committee for 5 years I have engaged a great deal with the police, the Welsh Ambulance Service, our local PCSO's, the local Doctors Practice and our Community Agents in the Ceiriog Valley. Visits to the North Wales Police Control Room and the North Wales Ambulance Control Room have given me an insight to the problems faced by our Emergency Services.

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

I feel that we are missing the bigger picture with climate emergency, yes we need to take personal steps but the UK is a fraction of the earth's landmass. We need to lobby the larger Country's governments to do more. Tree planting needs to be "in the right place" and we need a balanced approach in order that we have enough productive land to produce our own food to reduce imports and make the UK more self sufficient and less vulnerable to world shortages caused by war, floods droughts and fire which are becoming more frequent. Public transport needs to be improved in order to encourage more people to use it. Residents in rural areas are penalised by high road tax on the vehicles needed to live in the hills.

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 last five years were my first as a Councillor and the state of the roads in my ward of the Ceiriog Valley has proved one of the biggest challenges. This is something I am desperate to change but the limited funding for Local Authorities means we would have to take money away from Education of Social Services to improve roads and that's a hard call given the needs in those other areas. The limited funding to Local Authorities is making it almost impossible to provide the basic and compulsory services creating ever more reliance on the Third Sector and further increases in Council Tax would make more residents have to chose between heating or eating.

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

There are no quick fixes or easy answers to the problems faced in health. Ambulance response times are affected by A&E's limitations. Councillors have little influence on staff shortages in the NHS. What we can do is support our own Social Services department at Wrexham which is doing its best under difficult circumstances. The shortage of care staff is a National issue but one that our Social Services department under Alwyn Jones is already working hard to resolve.

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

We haven't yet seen the worst of the effects of increases in fuel costs and NIC increases. Council houses in the Ceiriog Valley have been given improved insulation but our Air Source heating systems are a matter of concern. I have directed residents to "Warm Wales" and I am one of the volunteers of the Ceiriog Valley Food Cupboard collecting surplus food from supermarkets and distributing it locally. I have recently obtained a food poverty grant for the food cupboard project.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

School Transport is complicated and expensive for residents in my ward of the Ceiriog Valley particularly for sixth formers or those over 16 years old since Welsh Government decreed that they do not qualify for free school transport. If I had the power I would change this. Karen Evans (Chief Officer for Education & Early Intervention) is moving her department in the right direction and we have seen investment both in my ward and the rest of Wrexham in the last five years. .

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?

In my next term of office I need to be more selective in where I spend my time and energies, focussing more on the areas I can add most value. The role of Councillor can be very demanding and can easily cause one to fall asleep in some of the long boring meetings! I see my first duty as to the Ceiriog Valley and the people I represent but the role also has a heavy workload for policy and procedures affecting the whole of the County. I am grateful to be returned unopposed and intend to continue to promote the Ceiriog Valley/Dyffryn Ceiriog with the pride that I feel for the area and for the people that make it a special place to live.

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 feel that the majority of 16 and17 year olds likely to vote will be those influenced by parents with strong political views. I try to engage with all age groups equally and have no intentions of engaging with any particular age group simply to attract their vote. Outside sport there seems little to engage the 14 to 18 age group. In Glyn Ceiriog the Community Council has a well equipped play ground and we are currently in the process of constructing a bike track and a pavilion to create a place to hang out and meet. This is being done in partnership with Wrexham Youth Services. Last year I secured grants to hire a "pump track" for the day as part of the research into such provision. The event was supported by North Wales Police, Wrexham Youth Services, Glyn Ceiriog Community Council and our local MP.

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