Statement from Glenda Kelly

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

I'm Glenda and have lived in the Wrexham area, with a short break, since 1977. I now live in Coedpoeth with my husband Graham, but lived in Rossett for 7 years while my children were growing up. I have close family ties and many good friends in Rossett.

I grew up in north Liverpool, where I attended school, before studying Economics at Cardiff University. I then trained as a teacher and made it my lifelong career, until I retired in 2013 after teaching at Yale College (now Coleg Cambria) for seven years.

I am a very keen amateur musician and play piano and recorder. My greatest pleasure is choral singing and I sing in two local choirs. I love walking the North Wales hills and am a very keen (but quite cautious) skier. I have recently achieved my amibiton of skiing with my grandchildren.

I grew up with very strong Welsh roots and have been a Liberal supporter all my life, although I did not become active in politics until 2015, when my husband and I joined the Liberal Democrats. I have been a Community Councillor and school governor since 2016 and stood for Rossett ward in the WCBC elections in 2017.

I'm standing for the election this May because I want to see improved services from our Council and would like to be a strong voice for all residents in Rossett.

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?

The main issues for Rossett have not changed greatly in the last 5 years, when I previously stood for election. Traffic through the village is problematic and I would hope to put pressure in the right places to ensure that the traffic restrictions already in place are more effectively enforced. The issue of local property development is especially concerning, since a new development, which is totally unsuitable for its location, has received planning permission for Rossett. I am totally behind the pressure group which is working hard to have this rescinded. I will do my utmost to make sure that Wrexham gets a Local Development Plan in place as soon as possible, which will go a long way towards preventing the building of houses in unsuitable places. One of my particular concerns is the isolation and loneliness of many people and not only in old age. I admire the community-centred activities in Rossett and, if elected, will give wholehearted support to new initiatives, such as the Rossett Hub, which will bring more opportunities to provide facilities needed by Rossett residents.

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 and there are children sitting public exams this year whose school career has been disrupted over three school years. Children's mental health has suffered. If elected, I would like to play an active role in the education responsibilities of Wrexham Council, to make sure that children are supported to overcome problems caused 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 that I would like to see introduced, but at the Council level, I'd like to see incentives given to new businesses by way of offering concessions on business rates. I support the Council's plans for reviving the town centre and I am very much in support of Wrexham's bid for UK Capital of Culture and its bid for city status. We need to be ambitious for our town and both these initiatives will help to put Wrexham more firimly on the map as the Capital of North Wales.

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?

As a school governor and former teacher, Education would be a main choice for me. As a community councillor, I have also had some involvement with planning and would welcome an opportunity to contribute in this area. Social care and wellbeing are also major concerns of mine.

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

Flooding has been an issue for areas of Rossett over many years. Some flood protection has already been put in place but this is an issue which is likely to increase in future years. Ultimately, the best way to minimise flood risks is to slow down the flow of storm water so that it is released more slowly into our rivers, at a rate they can cope with. This needs long-term action from the Welsh Government to encourage the planting of more trees and other vegetation on hills and mountain areas upstream to trap water on the hillsides for longer, releasing it into the rivers more slowly. If elected, I will investigate the introduction of Environmental Days to raise the profile of recycling and re-use in the ward. I support what Caru Cymru is doing to make our villages cleaner and tidier places to live.

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 failure of the Council to support green initiatives in the Wrexham area has led to the loss of opportunities to create good quality local jobs and also help Wales improve its sustainability. Public transport has also deteriorated over the past five years, affecting those on the lowest incomes most and having a negative effect on levels of pollution. Potholes are a perennial problem and the condition of local roads is dire in parts of the ward. This is a major problem for vehicles and a severe danger to cyclists.

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 in the hands of Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board and the ambulance trust, but they are susceptible to pressure from local authorities such as Wrexham Council. As an elected member, I would play my part in contributing to this pressure. The Council can also have a direct effect 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 cost of living crisis is set to worsen considerably as the year progresses and not all needs in the community are obvious. If elected, I will do my utmost to help any resident of Rossett to identify sources of help and successfully claim any relief to which they are entitled.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

As a school governor, I have seen that funding is often received towards the end of the financial year and requires immediate spending in order to avoid losing it. I would put pressure on funding bodies such as GwE and the Welsh Government to release these funds in sufficient time to enable them to be included in schools' financial planning more effectively.

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?

As a member of the Liberal Democrats, I will form part of the Lib Dem group in Wrexham Council. Lib Dems have a long history in Wrexham Council of being local champions and getting things done. I want to live up to this reputation.

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 and their main concern is that this should not harm their future prospects in education and employment. I talk to many young people and see how serious they are about making a success of their lives. I will help in any way I can to repair the damage done to their education and mental wellbeing by the pandemic. We also have a duty to make sure that future generations inherit a world fit to live in. As a County Borough Councillor I will play my part in this responsibility.

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