Statement from Paul Williams

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

I am 54 years old and have lived on Bernard Road in Smithfield ward for 27 years. I have been a member of Plaid Cymru since 2005 and have been a Caia Park Community Councillor since 2015. I have also been chair of Smithfield Residents Association for the last two years. I am also a proud and active participant in the Wrexham Litter Pickers group, having currently collected over 580 bags of litter from around the Smithfield area with my wife Julie.

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?

1) Litter – as a ward directly connected to the town centre we face a constant battle with it. I will be increasing my own litter picking activity as I feel that keeping the ward clean is a key priority for any councillor. I will also continue to quickly report any fly-tipping I come across. We also have a big problem with dog fouling that really needs to be addressed.2) Anti-social behaviour – unfortunately this is a problem in many areas around the town and we have got to liaise with the police and ultimately try to get to the root causes of the problem. People deserve to feel safe in their own homes and streets and we have to do better to make this happen.3) State of roads and footpaths – some of our roads and paths are in a bad state and this has to be addressed urgently. I recently spoke to a resident who had an accident by tripping in a pot hole and clearly this is unacceptable. We also need to look at parking problems for residents – as our ward is adjacent to the town centre many of our streets are being used by people who park their cars and go off to work in town.

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 ?

More local procurement by the council would certainly help to pump more money back into the local economy and help Wrexham's businesses. Sadly the pandemic has of course led to more people suffering with mental health problems and it is vital that as councillors we help everyone to get any help they may need in this regard.

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 elected then I would dearly like to get involved with something on the environmental side – I have studied what other towns and cities UK-wide have done to improve their areas in this regard. As I said earlier I have a passion for litter picking and keeping our area tidy and I would particularly enjoy the opportunity of improving the quality and availability of our green spaces.

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

We are definitely going to have to do something to lessen the effects of climate change in the very near future. As this is a global problem it can sometimes seem overwhelming and impossible to make a difference at a local level but this is not the case. It is ridiculous that 74% of our council's carbon footprint is caused by procurement and easy to see that this could be improved dramatically by buying more locally. I also think the wildflower meadows that have been springing up around Caia Park over the last couple of years is a fantastic initiative and I would really like to see this continued and expanded upon.

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?)

It worries me that the council gives the impression of being out of touch with the wishes of the people of the town. I don't think we should have put in a bid for city status when it was clear that it was not what the majority of the people wanted and especially when they had commissioned a report that failed to show any real economic benefits. The council must be more transparent and start listening to people because sadly the impression is that the Executive Board are doing their own thing regardless of the wishes of the residents of the area.

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

Unfortunately our NHS has been badly underfunded and mismanaged and there is no quick fix for this. Plaid Cymru have a national policy of recruiting more doctors and nurses which is something that is going to have to be done to ease the pressure on already overworked staff. We also believe that Health and Social Care should be merged into one seamless service.

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

We have to help people as much as possible which is why all Plaid Cymru councillors voted against a 4% increase in council tax this year. We really are in a situation where every penny counts and it is important that we inform residents about any assistance that may be available to them in these tough times.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

Plaid Cymru have helped to ensure that all Primary School children in Wales will receive free school meals as from the next school year and we hope this can be extended to all Secondary School pupils as well. Hopefully our local schools can also be supported to ensure that there are enough teaching assistants and support staff.

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 am a proud member of Plaid Cymru – The Party of Wales. If elected I will be working closely with our other councillors.

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 a big believer in the importance of using social media to engage with people on my ward and this is something which I think gives me a better chance of reaching these young people. As a party we are standing some younger candidates so we are certainly in touch with a young age group. A huge issue for young people in the 16/17 year age group of course is employment as many of them leave school and enter the job market for the first time so they need as much help and support as possible.

Social & Web links

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You’ll be given a ballot paper containing a list of the people, parties or the options you can vote for.

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