Monday, 8 July 2019

Fair play for the North: Fund the Racecourse regeneration!


Support for funding the redevelopment of the Racecourse has snowballed over the weekend with more than a thousand people supporting a petition to Welsh Government.

Plaid Cymru Councillor Carrie Harper, who launched the petition on the back of an announcement in principle last week, said:
"The news last week was a step forward both for the Racecourse and the wider area of Crispin Lane and the railway station. But at the moment they are just aspirations and plans - to make them a reality will take money and a political commitment to invest in this part of Wales.

"It's clear from many of the comments on the petition that many signatories want to see investment from this Labour government more equally spread throughout the country. Time after time, people comment that this would not have taken so long to happen if it had been 'down South'. There's a clear perception, something that's backed up by facts, that the North isn't getting its fair share when it comes to capital spending.

"Whether it's the South Wales Metro, the new convention centre at Newport or funding for yet more conferencing facilities in Cardiff, there's a real danger we are seeing an overconcentration of funding in the south-east corner of Wales. We need some 'chwarae teg', some fair play for the North."

Fellow councillor Marc Jones, who represents the Grosvenor ward surrounding the Racecourse, stressed the need to find the funding after years of broken promises:
"As far back as 2006, we had Labour minister promising 'the Millenium Stadium of the North' and nothing came of it.  
"The purpose of the petition is to ensure this scheme is delivered - for the good of the club, the stadium, the town and the wider region. If this scheme is to work it needs proper funding and that's where the Welsh Government has to step up to the plate. I'd urge people to sign the petition HERE to get the job done. 
"We'll also be collecting names for the petition outside the friendly against Stoke and the opening match of the season on 3rd August."




'Some days I take sleeping pills to get through the hunger'

The plight of Welsh families and Universal Credit



by Carrie Harper

This is a difficult piece to write. It's about the people I grew up with, people who live in my community and went to school with. They're not just statistics to be trotted out.

I'm currently collecting food donations for a family, people I was in school with, as they're completely penniless due to Universal Credit failures that have supercharged levels of poverty in my community.

Representing Queensway, one of the most deprived wards in the country, I see first hand what poverty looks like day in and day out. In the area where I grew up, Caia Park in Wrexham, almost half of children in three of the five Caia wards are living in poverty according to the latest figures. The stories behind these cold stats are often heart breaking but the political ideology driving these increases is quite simply hateful.

Universal Credit in particular has had a major impact. Wrexham went live with Universal Credit in 2017 and 5734 local families are currently on the benefit. Just over a third of those are in work. Over the last two years I’ve seen families lurch from crisis to crisis having to navigate the cruel system designed by the Tories to rip to shreds the welfare safety net that was once in place. It's meant people are falling through the holes in the safety net and hitting the ground hard.

The most recent case I dealt with involved a family who had been through tough times and found themselves in temporary accommodation after losing their home. The woman involved told me what it was like living on next to nothing and having to transfer to Universal Credit. For several weeks at a time, she didn’t have a penny in her bank account and explained how she would take sleeping pills to try and get through the day because she couldn’t afford anything to eat and couldn’t stand the hunger.

I’ve also worked with a local working mum who described her experience of Universal Credit as ‘the worst thing that had ever happened to her and her family’. She described mistake after mistake, which meant she lost hundreds thanks to wages being miscalculated by the DWP, who then refused to reimburse her for the errors. The botched calculations resulted in the family relying on food donations to survive.

Food bank usage locally has risen by 20%, with almost 5000 emergency food parcels being handed out last year, the local foodbank attribute the rise directly to the introduction of Universal Credit.

And that's just the official food bank. Other charities have also emerged to help with the crisis - a volunteer-led scheme called Given to Shine collects surplus food from local supermarkets and shops and re-distributes it along with free sanitary products to families in Wrexham and Flintshire. Again, they tell me Universal Credit is directly responsible for poverty rises.

One of the saddest experiences I have ever had was volunteering for this charity on Christmas Eve and seeing local families queueing at the church in the dark with their children to collect food donations. Given to Shine now delivers more than 8000 food parcels a year, including 500 at Christmas.

Unless you’re directly involved, much of this poverty goes unseen. I often hear people ignorantly claim it doesn’t exist at all but I see it all the time. The bottom line though is that it shouldn’t exist in Wales or anywhere else in the UK in 2019.

The fact that Wales is seeing a rise in child poverty while countries like Scotland are heading in the other direction makes it clear that we need to break free of the shackles of the UK Government’s failing welfare policies and this vile Tory ideology, which is plummeting people into the abyss. I want to see welfare policy devolved so we can start to improve the lives of the next generation rather than condemning them to poverty.

As things stand, I have no faith that this current Labour Government in Cardiff will make a difference and we all know Westminster Tories couldn’t care less. That’s why we urgently need to see a change in government and put Plaid Cymru in power, so that we can tackle these issues head-on and take Welsh communities in a new direction. The Wales I want, the one we all need to build, won’t let anyone slip through the net.


Friday, 5 July 2019

Support the Racecourse Regeneration - back our petition

Plaid Cymru has launched a petition to ensure funding to develop the Kop end of the Racecourse as part of a wider masterplan for the Mold Road Gateway.
The petition expresses support for the Racecourse Regeneration to create a 5,000-seater stand with appropriate conferencing and exhibition facilities on Crispin Lane.
But this will come to nothing if it's not properly funded. Similar projects in the Cardiff and Newport areas have been supported by the Welsh Government, which recently spent £22 million on a 50% stake in a Conference Centre near the Celtic Manor Hotel.
Cllr Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's councillor for the area surrounding the Racecourse, said:
"As a season-ticket holder and local councillor for this part of Wrexham, I want to see this development succeed. If done properly, it will transform the derelict area behind the Kop and provide additional income for the football club for years to come. 
"To make this a reality, Plaid Cymru is calling on the Welsh Government and other parties to stump up the necessary funding to regenerate the Racecourse and build a 5,000-seater stand with new conferencing and exhibition facilities." 
Please support our petition to the Welsh Government to ensure it's funded properly and is not another project that gathers dust on the shelf:

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Racecourse regeneration - let’s see the money

In response to the unveiling of a Gateway Masterplan for the Mold Rd and Crispin Lane, Cllr Marc Jones, local councillor for the area, said: "This is the major route into town both by road and rail. It's also an opportunity to regenerate the Racecourse and develop derelict land behind the Crispin Lane end of the ground as well as providing an integrated transport hub.

"That all costs money and we need to see the Welsh Government and others investing substantial amounts in the capital of the North. There's been enough talk of a millenium stadium for the North - well, we're 19 years into the millenium and we've still only got a three-sided Racecourse. Together with new club facilities, conferencing, food and accommodation as well as a national football museum that would attracts tens of thousands of new visitors to the area, it could be a transformational project if we are ambitious.

"Vision and ambition is also important with the transport hub - I'd struggle to see how that could be justified with the poor level of bus and train services as they are. Wrexham and its surrounding areas need regular, reliable and connected public transport to ease traffic congestion and encourage more sustainable green travel. A transport hub will help that but bus services also needs revenue funding over the medium and long-term.

"The cancelling of the M4 project means there is capital available for investment. Let's use a proportion of that to regenerate this gateway to Wrexham but we also need to improve the year-on-year funding pot for public transport. The funding for the Bus Subsidy Support Grant for the whole of Wales has remained static at £25 million for the past six years under this Government.

"The Welsh Government and others need to show the colour of their money now if this scheme is to move from an aspiration to reality.

"It's vital that the people behind the masterplan get it right and I will give my full support for it if they do." 

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Council u-turn on town-centre protection order

This morning, seven town-centre councillors including Plaid's Marc Jones had a meeting with the lead member on Community Safety and various council officers.

It was to raise concerns about growing signs of anti-social behaviour in our community and the town centre and the potential loss of the Public Space Protection Order from the town centre.

The lead member Cllr Hugh Jones said proposals to scrap the PSPO had now been pulled because he didn't support them and he would be submitting a plan for new PSPO (which could include Rhosddu) in a meeting in September.

Despite the gap (the current PSPO runs out on July 31st), this sudden u-turn is welcome news.

A new PSPO gives us the chance to make sure it works better for the community and there was also a welcome apology that Rhosddu had not been properly consulted over the withdrawal of the park/cemetery PSPO in March 2019.

The wider issue that needs tackling is the rise in illegal drugs and anti-social behaviour on our streets. The PSPO alone won't do that.

What is needed is a more comprehensive strategy to ensure people who want detox and rehab do not have to wait weeks and months but can access immediately; that adequate housing is available to get people off the streets and we have a functioning mental health service to tackle the problems many of those on the streets have.

We also need a grown-up discussion about stopping criminal gangs from profiting from drugs. Other countries such as Switzerland and Portugal have shown that decriminalisation can work for the benefit of all. The sooner we grasp that nettle, the sooner we will see the benefits on our streets.

• This morning's Leader highlighted Plaid Cymru Cllr Marc Jones and Rhosddu Community Council's opposition to losing the PSPO - seems the pressure paid off!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

We want a successful Glyndwr University - but not at the expense of the wider community

by Councillor Marc Jones, Grosvenor ward


PLAS COCH HOUSING PLANNING APPLICATION - P/2018/0671

Glyndwr University have submitted plans to re-develop its campus, which will have a significant impact on the surrounding area.

The university plans to finance these developments by gaining planning permission for various parcels of land it owns in the county borough. These include the Dean Road playing field, land in New Broughton, the Art College, land behind the Racecourse and land off Plas Coch Road.

The last two are in my ward and will have an impact on local residents. Now I'm off the planning committee I can speak freely in advance of the July 1st planning meeting about these proposals.

This meeting will be a marathon as there are nine planning applications by Glyndwr alone - most of which are highly contentious.

Because of their size, I'm going to take the ones in my ward one by one. So first off is the most problematic.

The proposal is to demolish the old student village adjacent to the Tennis Centre and build 410 new flats in a series of four-storey blocks.

These are intended for workers, not students, so there are inevitable consequences in terms of additional congestion and parking.

Parking

The proposal does not provide one car parking space per flat. Given the evidence we have re car use and the lack of adequate public transport, it's highly likely that residents in this new development will park in nearby areas. This will increase the existing parking problems we have in Rhosddu, where many residents already have trouble parking outside their own homes.

Congestion

The proposed exit and entry to this new mini-village is the Plas Coch roundabout opposite the pub. This is already a highly congested area due to the retail park, school and commuters trying to access the A483. The problem is clear to anyone who lives on the road in the mornings and evenings with long tailbacks.

The recent approvals for a hotel and drive-thru coffee shop on Plas Coch will make the situation marginally worse. However this proposal will mean hundreds of additional cars trying to access this road daily at various times of the day.

The plans - which can be viewed by going to Wrexham Council's planning portal and typing in P/2018/0671 - are opposed by the council's own Highways Department on the grounds of congestion and inadequate parking. For this reason alone they should be refused by planning committee.

Over the coming days I'll be sharing information about the other elements of the Glyndwr planning proposals.

I want Glyndwr University to succeed - it's a huge asset to the town. But I don't want that success to be at the expense of the wider community.

Opposition grows to scrapping town centre Public Space Protection Order

The main PSPO sign in Rhosddu Park was taken down without comment but the smaller signs are still in place.
Opposition to proposed scrapping the Public Space Protection Order in Wrexham town centre is growing.

Next month’s Executive Board is being recommended to scrap the Order, which expires on July 31st after being in force for three years.

Councillor Marc Jones is Plaid Cymru’s councillor for Grosvenor ward, which covers a large part of the town centre as well as Rhosddu. He said: 
“The original PSPO wasn’t enforced properly by the council and was widely seen as ineffective in dealing with anti-social behaviour. But that’s not a reason to scrap it - we need to make sure it's used effectively. 
“As the councillor who hears daily from local residents and businesses trying to make a living in the town centre, I believe abandoning the PSPO sends out the wrong signals both to the small minority engaged in anti-social behaviour and the vast majority of frustrated residents.

“That’s why Rhosddu Community Council has written to oppose the removal of the PSPO and indeed wants it extended to include Rhosddu Park and cemetery. That's a move I proposed at last week's community council meeting and it was unanimously supported. 
"The previous PSPO covering the park and cemetery expired in March and it’s disappointing that the county borough council failed to consult with the community and its elected representatives about this decision.

“The Executive Board has a simple decision to make next month. Does it provide additional support and protection for its own staff, local residents and small businesses in tackling anti-social behaviour or does it give up the ghost?

“PSPOs in themselves are not the solution, they’re a reaction to a problem. But they can be a useful tool in dealing with specific circumstances and frontline staff need to have the options the PSPO offers to deal with specific problems.
“If any Executive Board member wants to understand my community’s frustration at this ongoing situation, I’d welcome them to visit my ward at anytime. I’m sure a number of town centre traders could also explain the impact this anti-social behaviour is having on their businesses.”
Below is the letter from Rhosddu CC:
I understand that the Executive Board is considering the renewal of the PSPOs in the Town Centre and on locations off Rhosddu Road in Wrexham.
First of all, I would say that it is disappointing that the Rhosddu Community Council has not been consulted on such an important issue.
Since the introduction of the PSPOs the situation improved. The Bus Station and King Street became usable without fear by the general public, and no longer were drunks and drug addicts on the Children's Play Equipment on the John Jones Playground on Rhosddu Road, for example.

You will be aware that an increased Drugs Centre is being established by the Health Board at the Elms on Rhosddu Road. Has this additional facility, and the problems it will bring, been taken into account when considering the future of PSPOs?
You will be aware that Coleg Cambria is close to The Elms and the PSPO areas. Has the potential detrimental effects on these young people been taken into account in considering whether or not to renew the PSPOs?
 
Rhosddu Community Council wants a comprehensive approach to the problem of ASB and illicit drugs in our community. It is frustrated and disappointed that, despite the multitude of agencies and public bodies that exist to deal with the matter, the issue is intensifying rather than reducing.  
Rhosddu and the Grosvenor ward in particular has more than its share of the problem. This is leading to anxiety, stress and community anger from local residents towards this vulnerable group of people, which is not helping either side.
We believe that non-renewal of the PSPO in Rhosddu was a mistake. Only last month. It meant that a young man in a tent went for four weeks without being moved on from a Wrexham Council Playing Field, because the powers of the Council to take action under the PSPO were not available, and similar problems are bound to arise over the summer if nothing is done to replace the PSPO in Rhosddu and the town centre.
 
I understand that the removal of the PSPO is opposed by all town-centre councillors as well as the Town Centre Management Team who have to deal on a daily basis with the problems they encounter. A beefed-up PSPO should be seen as a complementary tool to tackle ASB alongside a number of other interventions. We recognise that a PSPO alone is not an answer to the problem but in some cases will assist in ensuring the council's officers can help individuals access the right services. 
We therefore call on the Executive Board to approve the renewal of the town centre PSPO and for its boundaries to be extended to cover the now defunct Rhosddu PSPO. We call on the council and police to work together to ensure this is adequately enforced for the community's benefit, both residents and local businesses. Both have been badly affected by the ASB of a small minority. Removing the PSPO will mean town-centre wardens will have no powers to deal with ASB and the recent removal of town centre PCSOs is also noted as having a detrimental effect on perceptions of community safety. 
Nigel Hodges
CLERK
Rhosddu Community Council

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Who benefits from Island Green car parking charges?


“Who benefits?” Is the first question to ask in light of any new charging scheme.

In the case of Island Green’s new controversial car parking charges, where people have been fined £90 for just driving in to drop off relatives or friends, there are two clear winners:

1. The Tuckers
Barry Tucker and his wife Rita own Euro Car Parks Ltd and its holding company ECP (Holdings) plc.

I’m choosing my words very carefully because Mr Tucker is also a very high-profile criminal lawyer who founded Tuckers Solicitors in 1980.
















He and his wife took a dividend of £1.6m in 2017 (the last audited accounts) from their car parking business on top of an undisclosed directors’ emoluments (payments).













I’m sure Mr Tucker would not want his reputation sullied by association with such unpopular tactics.

2. The Teachers insurance and annuities association
This is an enormous insurance firm based in the USA. Through a string of companies right down to TH Real Estate, it owns Island Green Shopping Park. It’s unclear how much it makes from this one single asset as it is a trillion-dollar operation.
However, ECP make it clear that a significant amount of their revenue (some £11m of £37m in 2017 - see below) is transferred to owners of the sites they manage. It’s reasonable therefore to assume that a proportion of people’s fines in Wrexham are going to fund teachers’ pensions in the USA.


This is private land but it’s doing damage to the reputation of Wrexham town centre as a whole. As such, the council leader and chief executive should prioritise contacting the Tuckers and TIAA as a matter of urgency.

Plaid Cymru locally is supporting the planned protest against these unjust charges and will also be making representations to both parties who are benefitting from the fines being imposed on local people.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Why is Wrexham Council planning to 'gift' land to Glyndwr University?

https://www.facebook.com/153578641833348/photos/a.153582855166260/564845547373320?type=3&sfns=mo

News that Wrexham Council plans to "gift" land to help Glyndwr University push forward a housing development on Dean Road in the town has been described as "incredible" by Plaid Cymru spokesperson Carrie Harper.

She said: 
"The matter was raised by local councillor Mike Davies at Acton Community Council last night. The piece of land at Dean Road is publicly owned by the people of Wrexham, the council's Executive Board has a duty to act in all of our best interests and it's very difficult to understand how giving away a public asset to facilitate a private housing developer fulfils that duty in any way, shocking. It's incredible that, at a time when the council leadership says it's got no money, the council is proposing to give land away to Glyndwr University to help it make money from this housing development.  
"I'd like to know more about this gifting and wonder whether the council's Executive Board, which will discuss the matter next month, has managed to get any concessions from the University in response. As ever, the Executive Board is running the show and failing to keep elected members in the loop."

Glyndwr University is bringing forward plans to build 70 houses on playing fields at Dean Road later this summer. It does not own all the site, which is currently accessible via council-owned land, and local objections spearheaded by local Rhosnesni councillor Mike Davies to the loss of playing fields have already been made.

Cllr Harper added: 

"The Tory-Independent Executive Board is effectively throwing its support behind this housing development if it gifts the land to the University. Rhosnesni, like many other parts of Wrexham, suffers from a lack of Public Open Spaces and building on one of the few remaining playing fields - which is well used - would go against the Wellbeing and Future Generations Act as well as the council's own policy on Public Open Space."

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Scandal of Wrexham's child poverty

Three of worst four wards in Wales in Caia Park

Three of the worst four wards in Wales for child poverty are in Wrexham.

Almost half the children in the Queensway, Wynnstay and Cartrefle wards in Caia Park are in child poverty, a fact that local Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper said needs urgently addressing.

The shocking statistics reveal Wales as the only nation in the UK to see a rise in child poverty - the overall figure has risen to almost 30%. However three of the five wards in Caia Park estate are at 47.9%

Cllr Harper, who represents the Queensway ward, said: 

"Employment levels are at their highest in a generation so a lot of this is in-work poverty. Low wages, zero-hour contracts and insecure employment through agencies and temporary contracts is contributing to this scandal of child poverty.

"There's no doubt that Universal Credit, which has been a disaster introduced by the Tories, has contributed as well. It makes my blood boil when I see that the Department of Work and Pensions are about to embark on a PR campaign to promote Universal Credit. The disconnect between the policy spin and the reality on the ground is infuriating. 

"I think we've all had enough of slick marketing campaigns by clueless politicians trying to gloss over the misery they are creating with their policies. I'm sick and tired of seeing families suffering while billions of pounds are being wasted on ferries that don't exist, nuclear weapons we don't need and high-speed trains of no benefit for Wales.

"The fact that Wales is seeing a rise in child poverty while countries like Scotland are heading in the other direction makes it clear that we need to break free of the shackles of the UK Government's failing welfare policies. I want to see welfare policy devolved to we can start to improve the lives of the next generation rather than condemning them to poverty.

"As things stand, I have no faith that this current Labour Government in Cardiff will make a difference. That's why we urgently need to see a change in government and put Plaid Cymru in power, so that we can tackle these issues head-on."

Help make a difference -  click here to take action

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Wales Comic Con relocates to Telford - a failure of vision and ambition

Time for Labour Welsh Government to invest in Wrexham

In response to news that Wales Comic Con was relocating to Telford, Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's spokesperson for Wrexham, said: 

"This is more than disappointing - it's a disgrace.
"Wales Comic Con was an incredibly popular event and brought thousands of people to Wrexham. It's now re-locating to Telford.
"It emphasises the need for Wrexham to have better facilities to attract similar events in future. Better conferencing facilities for example.
"The Welsh Government and Wrexham Council should reflect on this failure... where is the ambition to make Wrexham the capital of north Wales? Where is the vision to build on these sort of unique events?
"Contrast this with the support given by the Welsh Government for a project in Newport.
"The International Convention Centre near the Celtic Manor is 50:50 partnership with the Welsh Government, which pumped £42m into the build. On top of that it has provided £2m in grants and loans to improve a nearby hotel.
"On top of that it has provided £2m in grants and loans to improve a nearby hotel.
"Show me a similar investment by the Welsh Government in the capital of the North. For 20 years this Labour Government has mouthed bland platitudes about investing in The Racecourse and creating 'the Millenium Stadium of the North'. The reality is that we've had no investment and The Racecourse remains a three-sided ground with no conferencing or additional facilities.
"We're getting crumbs rather than a fair share of the loaf. That's why Plaid Cymru would legislate to make sure that every part of Wales got a fair share of capital funding."

Monday, 13 May 2019

'No nukes is good news' for Wrexham

Petition pressure persuades Wrexham Council to oppose nuclear dumping

A petition signed by hundreds of local people has helped persuade Wrexham Council to oppose any nuclear dumping in the borough.

The petition was launched last month by Plaid Cymru due to concerns that the council had failed to state its views on dumping nuclear waste in the area, something the Welsh Government is actively seeking support for in local communities. 

Cllr Marc Jones, leader of the Plaid Cymru group, had written to the council's chief executive six weeks ago seeking assurances on the matter before launching the petition. Hundreds of local residents signed the petition and Cllr Jones has now written to them thanking them for their support.

Cllr Jones said: 
"As a party we had concerns about Wrexham being used a nuclear waste dump and failed to get assurances from the council's leadership. There were strong views expressed by those signing the petition and I'm therefore delighted that the Executive Board on Tuesday will be recommending that the council does not 'host' a geological waste repository for radioactive material.  

"It seems it has now been persuaded by our pressure to take a strong stance on this matter. No nukes is good news for Wrexham."

Friday, 10 May 2019

The pot hole plague

Prince Charles Rd - Caia Park
Wrecsam’s pot hole problem is escalating as are residents complaints. With council leaders struggling to tackle the issue, Plaid Cymru are calling on the Labour Welsh Government to recognise the scale of the problem and provide more funding, and for the council to look at a new strategy focusing on more cost effective repairs.

Plaid Cymru councillor for Queensway ward in Caia Park Carrie Harper said: “We have some stretches of road in the borough that are disintegrating at the moment and several substantial pot holes that simply keep opening up despite many temporary repairs. I’m getting complaints from local residents about the damage these are causing to cars, as well as safety concerns raised by cyclists”

“We all understand that money is tight and that a decade of cuts have decimated the overall road maintenance budget along with the staff resource the council has to tackle this. The most recent estimate is that there is currently a £36m backlog for road maintenance across Wrecsam which is eye watering.”

“In a nutshell, funding is the root of the problem and we need to put pressure on the Labour Welsh Government to recognise the seriousness of the issue and to make it a priority going forward.”

“The council has a statutory duty to ensure the road network is safe and with insufficient funding to do that effectively, I am sympathetic they’re in a no win situation as it stands.  I also understand that temporary patching is one way to try and meet the statutory duty given there isn’t enough money for more substantial repairs but let’s be honest, it is only firefighting the problem."

" At a recent meeting about this we heard that one Cllr has had the same pot hole filled 37 times. That simply isn’t sustainable and ultimately can’t be cost effective either, we need a different approach with a focus on more longer term repair work ”.

Wrexham residents can report pot holes to the council at: contact-us@wrexham.gov.uk, or ring 01978 298 989.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

A 21st Century vision for the oldest international stadium in the world

Labour politicians should stand up for Wrexham - or stand aside


Plaid Cymru AM Llyr Gruffydd is calling for greater action from the Welsh Government to secure land behind the Kop to ensure the regeneration of the Racecourse ground.

The land is also a vital part of Wrexham council's emerging masterplan for the railway station / Mold Road area. It would be unforgiveable to allow the land in question to be lost, when it is so strategically important. It would also be a huge waste of the consultant's time and money.


The Welsh Government has been less than open about its part in this debacle. It has had opportunities to take ownership in recent years but squandered them, often because one department didn't know what the other was doing.

It is not the fault of Glyndwr University that it is having to consider a higher bidder when offers were made to the Welsh Government. It would be unfair to pin the blame on them.

Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM, has challenged minister over this - urging them to invest in the North in the same way as they have done in projects along the M4 corridor.

We know that political pressure from Plaid Cymru is one clear way to get this Labour government to do the right thing in this case. It was a Plaid Cymru initiative that persuaded the Labour government to even consider a National Football Museum and we argued successfully that it should be here in Wrexham. Plaid Cymru secured funding for the museum and we will continue to push for this to be opened in Wrexham as part of the regeneration of this key gateway area to the town.

Wrexham as a town deserves far more from the failed Welsh Government. Wrexham AFC deserves far more too... and a redeveloped Racecourse with modern facilities (including conferencing, meeting rooms, food and drink facilities, a bigger club shop, a museum and retail outlets) would provide more income for the club year-round.

The oldest international stadium in the world needs a 21st Century vision. 

If those in power - whether in Government in Cardiff Bay or Wrexham Guildhall - don't share that vision, they need to get out of the way and let people who have vision and ambition for the club and the town get on with the job.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Plaid gain seat from Labour in Caia Park

Plaid Cymru has gained a council seat from Labour on Caia Park Community Council in Wrexham.

Keith Gregory won a by-election in the Whitegate ward last night with 47% of the vote against two other candidates. The by-election was called after a Labour councillor resigned from the community council but the party failed to field an official candidate.

Cllr Gregory, a former county councillor and well-known community campaigner, said: 
"I'm delighted to have won and would like to thank the Plaid Cymru team who helped me during the campaign. I'll do my best for all the residents of Whitegate and make sure they have a voice on the community council."
Cllr Carrie Harper, who leads the Plaid Cymru group on Caia Park Community Council, said: 
"It's great to have Keith back on the community council. He has a wealth of knowledge about the local area and knows how to get things done locally. It was striking how many people in Whitegate ward knew him personally and, now he's been elected, I'm sure they'll hear much more from him."

Among the people attending the count was Cllr Malcolm King, the Labour chair of the community council, who was there to support one of the other candidates Phil Owen.

The result means Plaid Cymru now has four councillors on Caia Park Community Council.

Keith Gregory     116 (47%)
Phil Owen             98 (40%)
Dorothy Mitchell  33 (13%)