Friday, 21 April 2017

'Train more doctors' urges Plaid candidate as GPs quit Wrexham practice

The announcement that GPs at the popular Borras Park Surgery are to give up their practice is another warning that Wales needs to recruit and train more doctors.

That's the message from Darren Picken, Plaid Cymru's candidate for Borras, who said:
"The doctors' surgery in Borras has recently become a major concern due to the current doctors issuing notice that their contract is coming to an end in six months. The surgery is assuring all its patients that the two GPs will continue as normal for the next 6 months and all GP services will continue from then on. 
"I've contacted the surgery after many residents expressed concerns and have been reassured. The surgery is safe and will continue as normal. Rumours and scaremongering are leading to many residents assuming the worst but the official letter states there is no fear of closure or lack of the existing services."
The news about the surgery is the latest in a long line of announcements from GPs across the Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board area that they are giving up their practices with no replacement GPs available.

Mr Picken added: 
"In other areas, surgeries have been taken over by the health board and run with directly employed doctors. This is one option for Borras from October.

"However, we need a longer-term strategy to support our GPs and other community health workers. Plaid Cymru has warned about the coming GP recruitment crisis for three years now and have called for 1000 extra doctors to be trained and recruited in Wales. 




"That's why we've argued consistently for a Medical School here in north Wales. The pressures on our GPs are intolerable but the Labour Welsh Government has ignored those calls and the problem has grown."


Betsi Cadwaladr health board has been under direct control of the Labour Government for the past two years now.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Firefighters back Plaid candidate in Rhosddu

The firefighters' union has backed Plaid Cymru candidate Marc Jones after his work campaigning to save one of Wrexham's fire engines and 24 jobs.

A letter from Fire Brigades Union Wales chair Cerith Griffiths says:
“Marc Jones worked tirelessly with local and national representatives of the Fire Brigades Union to keep re ghters' jobs and one of our two whole-time re appliances in Wrexham. He organised a very successful march through town and collected thousands of signatures to challenge the Fire Authority's plans.  "He would make an outstanding councillor for his area." 
Marc Jones said:
"I've worked with local firefighters, who I consider to be friends and neighbours, since they went on strike back in 2003. I edited the FBU's strike bulletin in Wales on a voluntary basis back then.
"The threat to one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines and 24 firefighters' jobs at a time when arsons were on the increase was nonsensical and we got together to make sure that people knew about the threat to this important emergency service.
"The strength of feeling was clear in the response to the petitions as we knocked doors and then in the mass march through town behind the FBU banner. The battle within the Fire Authority was won but we have to remain on our guard for the future."
He added:
"I'm very grateful to Cerith and the FBU for its support and will continue to work with local firefighters to protect jobs and services in Wrexham regardless of whether I'm elected or not on May 4th."


Thursday, 13 April 2017

Former mayor inspires grand-daughter to stand for council

Sarah Roberts - following in her grandfather's footsteps

Council housing pioneer spurs on Plaid Cymru candidate

The grand-daughter of a well-known former mayor of Wrexham has paid tribute to his example as she stands as a candidate in Wrexham's council elections on 4th May.

Sarah Roberts, the granddaughter of Herbert Jennings, is Plaid Cymru’s candidate in Brynyffynon ward where she has lived for 30 years.

Sarah, a local business owner and campaigner on a range of local issues, said:
"My Grandfather, although he is no longer with us, is my political mentor. He was a mayor of our town in 1953 and was responsible for building homes that took Wrexham people out of the slums and into decent housing. He was a man of the people with a strong sense of fairness and honesty and he stood by the people that entrusted their vote to him. Herbert Jennings Avenue was named after a real person!
 "I too have inherited his sense of valuing people and their opinions. I strongly believe that honest and transparent communication builds confidence and trust. I also feel that we should all be allowed to be part of decision making which effects our lives and where we live.
"Plaid Cymru is a party which aligns itself with my political ideals. It is a grass roots party which listens and works for people. It acts on its beliefs and is always at the forefront of campaigning for local issues."

Herbert Jennings was responsible for pushing through a programme of council house building that saw 2,000 new homes built in just three years - ensuring many people had indoor toilets for the first time and raising living standards overnight.

This kind of ambition and vision is sorely lacking today and Plaid Cymru is determined to push for a new generation of council-house building to help meet the demand of the 1800 people on the waiting list.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Failure to regenerate Penybryn 'a scar on the town'

Plaid candidate Phil Phillips stands up for Penybryn and Offa

Plaid candidate speaks up for forgotten part of Wrexham

Plaid Cymru's candidate for Offa ward says the failure to regenerate the Penybryn area is a scar on the town.

Phil Phillips, who has lived with his family in the Offa ward for 35 years, said:
"This is the first time I've stood for the council and I feel strongly that this part of town has been totally neglected by the council over many years.

"Both the Welsh Government and Wrexham Council promised to rejuvenate the Bridge Street area when they demolished virtually the whole street losing historic buildings and many well established businesses. The proposed 'regeneration' unfortunately blighted Penybryn as other businesses moved out in the wake of the development.
 
"That was back in 2004. We are now into 2017 and the situation in Penbryn has just got worse and worse. Not one brick has been laid in Bridge Street and the whole area including lower Bridge Street has been laid to waste. It is not the only part of Wrexham to be regenerated and it is a scar on the landscape. 
"When Wrexham Council was awarded £11m to make the town a vibrant and viable place it spent the money elsewhere. 
"I believe Offa deserves better and we need a change at the top in Wrexham Council so that all parts of the borough get a fair crack of the whip. If elected as the local councillor for this area I will fight tirelessly to regenerate the town centre and, in particular, Penybryn."
Mr Phillips, a former teacher and care worker, is a keen local historian and runs Wrexham Town Trails, which organises heritage walking tours of the town centre.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham candidates unveiled

Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood and North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd with some of  Wrexham's local team of candidates.











Plaid Cymru has unveiled its strongest-ever team of candidates in Wrexham with almost a third of seats in the county borough being contested. 
  1. Gwersyllt W - Gwenfair Jones
  2. Queensway - Carrie Harper
  3. Smithfield - Paul Williams
  4. Cartrefle - Bryan Pritchard
  5. Offa - Phil Phillips
  6. Brynyffynnon - Sarah Roberts
  7. Hermitage - Jamie Hack
  8. Borras - Darren Picken
  9. Acton - Shaun Davies
  10. Whitegate - Iolanda Banu Viegas 
  11. Grosvenor - Marc Jones
  12. Dyffryn Ceiriog - Anne Lloyd Morris
  13. Penycae - Aled Powell
  14. Rhostyllen - Katie Courtney
  15. Ruabon - Pol Wong 
Plaid Cymru's Wrexham chair Marc Jones said: 
"We have a team with a wealth of talent and abilities who are deeply committed to their communities, where they live and work. We've all been working hard in our local communities over the years and this election is just the culmination of that hard work. It's a strong slate of candidates who will do their best for Wrexham."
 Plaid activists have been at the forefront of campaigns to 
• defend public services such as our fire engine,
• protect workers' jobs at Dee Valley Water,
• challenge poor council decisions such as closing Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, Nant Silyn and day care centres
• reject overspending on consultants, the mayor and councillors' iPads at a time of austerity
• oppose fracking and the environmental destruction of our environment with plans for 12,000 homes in Wrexham.
 Mr Jones added: 
"Many of our candidates joined Plaid Cymru through local campaigns and activism. They have seen that the natural home for people who are passionate about their community and town is Plaid Cymru and that's why we've put together the most comprehensive local manifesto possible to outline that vision we have to transform the town. 
"We all realise that the next few weeks will determine the course of how Wrexham is run for the next five years. If we don't get it right and see a drastic change in the way this council is run, then I fear for the worst. It's in the hands of the voters and I'm confident they will make the right decision for Wrexham."
 To read Plaid Cymru's local manifesto go to www.plaidwrecsam.cymru.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Plaid Cymru selects ex-nurse to replace popular Wrexham councillor



A popular Plaid Cymru councillor is standing down from Wrexham council and hoping to hand over the baton to his wife.

Arfon Jones, who was elected as North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner last May, is standing down as Gwersyllt West councillor on Wrexham Council at these elections, having refused to take any council allowance since starting his new post.

Gwenfair Jones will be standing for Plaid Cymru in Gwersyllt West in his place and is hoping to emulate his significant majority in the 2012 elections.

Gwenfair, a recently retired nurse who runs a luncheon club in the local area, said: 
“We’ve lived in Gwersyllt for 32 years and got to know the area well. Our children have grown up here and it’s now an opportunity for me to try to represent the area.
“As a community councillor for the past five years as well as being a district nurse in the local area until retiring recently, I understand the work that needs doing in Gwersyllt and Summerhill. I’m looking forward to being part of a strong team of Plaid Cymru councillors who will be the change that Wrexham needs.”

Arfon Jones added:
“I made it clear I would stand down at these elections and I have every confidence that Gwenfair will continue the good work already done locally. There’s still a lot to do.”

• Arfon was re-elected in 2012 with a crushing 64-36% majority over Labour in Gwersyllt West.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Popular Wrexham councillor stands down due to ill-health

Plaid Cymru's Smithfield candidate Paul Williams (left) with outgoing councillor Keith Gregory.

Smithfield rep passes on the baton to local activist

Ill-health has forced popular Smithfield councillor Keith Gregory to stand down after serving the community for nine years.

Cllr Gregory, of Colwyn Road, made his decision to stand down at this election after a serious and long-standing illness last year, from which he is still recovering.

Cllr Gregory said:
"It's been a difficult decision to take but my illness has taken its toll and I have been advised to concentrate on getting better. The pressure of council work would mean I wouldn't be doing justice to local residents so I've decided to call it a day on the county council.

"However I will be standing again for Caia Park community council and I'm very pleased to be handing on the torch to my fellow Plaid Cymru community councillor Paul Williams. He has my full backing and I'm sure, as a local resident, he will continue to stand up for the community of Smithfield."
Paul Williams, a former Sharp employee, is a community councillor and has lived in Bernard Road with his family for 22 years.

Cllr Williams said: 
"Keith will be a tough act to follow as he's given 100% to representing Smithfield and dealing with problems facing residents. I'm grateful for his support and determined to do my best for my community. 
Smithfield strongly supported our petition to keep the town's fire engine and I was pleased at the reception we received on the doorstep for that. 
"Like other parts of Wrexham, we see the need for a better council that's more answerable and open. I'm sure I'll be calling on Keith's support over the coming weeks as we aim to win Smithfield for Plaid Cymru as part of a strong group of new councillors."
Plaid Cymru's Wrexham chairperson Marc Jones said: 
"Keith has been a great councillor for Smithfield and worked tirelessly to raise awareness about the drug issue for years. We all wish him well as he continues to recover from major surgery and I'm very pleased he will continue as a community councillor. "Stepping into his shoes as Plaid Cymru's candidate in the area will be Paul Williams, a local community councillor who knows the area like the back of his hand. Paul will be a very able replacement for Keith if he's elected on May 4th."

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Our emergency services are stretched to breaking point

Wrexham ambulance crews are being called to deal with emergencies in Flintshire 4,300 times a year - that's 12 callouts a day.

Over the past decade, cuts to our police, fire and ambulance services have caused cutbacks in the services.

Since 2008, public spending cuts imposed by successive Labour, Tory/Lib Dem and now Tory governments in London have led to a reduction in frontline services. These were, we were told, necessary to balance the books as the UK Government looked for savings after bailing out the bankers in the wake of the 2007-8 crash.

Here's where we are today locally:

FIRE
Plaid Cymru is proud to have supported firefighters in Wrexham and led to public campaign to retain 24 firefighters and one of our two whole-time fire appliances. 
 Thousands signed petitions, marched and protested against the proposal because of the undue risk it would have posed for people - especially with the added problem of arson attacks and a new prison on our doorstep.
 The campaign was won because the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority failed to persuade the public and, crucially, their own members that this was a cut that could be justified.
 But the threat to our services hasn't gone away. The NWFRA is still looking for cuts and we must continue to argue the case both locally and centrally for proper funding for our emergency services.

POLICE
Police services have been cut drastically in the past 10 years with fewer and fewer frontline police officer available to deal with problems we face in the town. In 2008 there were five police officers for an area such as Caia Park - one for each ward. Today there are just two with some back-up from PCSOs.
 This cut in frontline services is due to inadequate funding from Westminster, which still holds the purse strings on Welsh policing and criminal justice.

AMBULANCES
For years our ambulance services have been over-stretched due to problems with beds not being available in our district general hospitals and the closure of community hospitals. That's led to many ambulance crews being unavoidably detained outside Emergency Departments as hospital management tries to find spare beds for patients.
 Add to this a plan by neighbouring Flintshire to reduce night-time cover and you have a recipe for further disaster.
 Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd has questioned why Flintshire’s night-time ambulance cover is being cut by 50% on Monday nights and by 25% on other nights when it already has the worst response rate to red callouts in north Wales.
The information is revealed in a Freedom of Information request by the Assembly Member after Welsh Ambulance Service Trust managers denied a plan to reduce night-time cover in the county from April. That claim was made after Mr Gruffydd first raised concerns made to him by ambulance crews.
 The FOI shows that, in addition to answering just 63% of red callouts within the target eight minutes, crews from outside the county have been called out to Flintshire 8000 times in the past year. That amounts to more than four in 10 of the total calls made to the ambulance service in Flintshire.
Analysis of figures show that crews from outside Flintshire are dealing with 22 calls a day from Flintshire – a total of 8,081 in 2016. More than half of those were crews from Wrexham – who dealt with 4,308 calls in a year – followed by Denbighshire’s crews with 2,441.
Mr Gruffydd said: 
“This new information raises new concerns. It confirms that the Trust plans to reduce cover by a half on Monday nights and a quarter for five other nights from next month. I’d like to hear from the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust why they consider cover to be sufficient in Flintshire when they are so over-stretched that crews from surrounding areas and as far afield as Anglesey are having to come to the county to deal with 42% of all calls.“This clearly shows that there is a capacity problem in Flintshire itself as it is drawing on services in neighbouring counties and this, in turn, has a knock-on effect with crews in Denbighshire and Wrexham bearing the brunt. With that in mind, I’m hoping WAST can provide a simple explanation as to why night-time services are being cut in Flintshire rather than playing with words as they did last time.”
The impact of this on ambulance services in Wrexham is becoming acute. If ambulance crews are attending an average of 12 calls a day in Flintshire, that's 12 calls they can't respond to in good time in Wrexham.

Financial pressures on all our emergency services are driving a cuts agenda that is leading to a poorer service and all three working at - or beyond - capacity. It's unsustainable and the Tories have no intention of stopping their crusade to destroy our public services with their salami slicing of public funds.

Wales deserves better - we need to control our own budgets and invest in our most important public services.


Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Labour defector exposes "myth busters", cuts and lies

'Labour ran council in alliance with the Tories'

Labour's latest leaflet being distributed around Wrexham is boldly entitled "Myth busters". The main myth is that it doesn't run Wrexham Council and hasn't done since 2014 when half its group of councillors jumped ship and joined the independent/Tory coalition now running the council.

Labour's vain attempt to wash its hands of all responsibility for the various problems Wrexham faces is undermined by one of those defectors, Gwersyllt S & E Councillor Dave Griffiths.

In a letter to the Wrexham Leader on 21 March 2017 he takes issue with the "myth busters" leaflet.

Now Dave is an experienced former Labour councillor and ex-mayor, someone who was on the executive board from 2012-4. He knows what was going on.

His first statement of fact is that Labour was in an alliance with the Tories between 2012-14. So much for Labour demonising the Tory/independent coalition that currently runs the council... they were in an informal coalition with the same Tories for two years with Cllr Hugh Jones (Tory, Rossett) serving on the Executive Board.

Labour’s short spell in power was a disaster – they ignored public opinion, closed Plas Madoc Leisure Centre, numerous community centres and other local facilities and accepted pay rises and the undemocratic cabinet system. Little wonder they lost power amid huge internal wranglings. Again, Dave exposes their re-writing of history in his damning letter.

Far from opposing pay rises for councillors at a time of cuts, Labour went along with it.

The final myth is that Labour is opposed to the proposed Arts Hub. What it is trying to do in its latest leaflet is ride a wave of populist anti-council resentment and opportunistically claiming to oppose the new arts centre proposed for the People's Market.




Labour’s leaflet amounts to “don’t blame us, we were only in power for two years”. Labour in Wrexham is as divided and divisive as ever, offering nothing locally in terms of making our town a better place to live.There are positive alternatives to the current administration that do not involve a return to past failures.

Plaid Cymru – the Party of Wales will be fielding a record number of candidates in the county council elections and has a detailed programme of action if elected. 

If you want to read our local Wrexham manifesto, please go to www.plaidwrecsam.cymru for a copy.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Care home lies idle at a cost of £7,000 to council

Phil Phillips, Plaid Cymru candidate for Offa ward, with Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood outside Nant Silyn.
A former worker at Nant Silyn care home has hit out at Wrexham Council's failure to make use of the building since closing it 13 months ago.

A Freedom of Information request by Plaid Cymru locally reveals that the council has spent £7,000 on the building on rates and security in the past year but that it has had no contact with the local health board to make use of the building.

Phil Phillips used to work at the care home, which also provided much-needed respite care in the community.

He's now a candidate for Plaid Cymru in the Offa ward and said: 
"Nant Silyn was systematically run down by the council over a number of years and, in the 13 months since it's closed, there doesn't seem to have been any move by the council to make use of the buildings.
"Before it closed, the council said it was in discussion with Betsi Cadwaladr health board to see what use could be made of the buildings, which have been modernised and could provide intermediate care in the community. I'm shocked and disappointed that no discussions have taken place since then."

He added: 
"Since it closed it's lain empty and unused. It's become a magnet for anti-social elements who have attempted to break in. The council needs to make use of its assets and this is a property that is lying idle, costing the council money. I would ask the council what are its plans for Nant Silyn and why isn't it talking to Betsi about making use of this facility?"

Plaid Cymru campaigned against the closure of the home, the last one run by Wrexham Council, and its council manifesto calls for the re-opening of the centre to meet health and social care needs in the borough. 

Read our manifesto in full at www.plaidwrecsam.cymru

Monday, 20 March 2017

People power saves Wrexham fire engine



People power looks to have saved one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines from the chop.

A decision by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority today in Wrexham to approve a plan that would have included cuts to frontline services was amended by Cllr Paul Pemberton to specifically dismiss any proposal to cut the Wrexham pump. The amendment carried 8-4.

Some interpret that as a temporary victory and it's perfectly possible for a new fire authority after the May elections to decide that frontline cuts will have to be made to balance the budget. However this decision, taken after heavy lobbying and mass protests, stops the planned cuts for now.

Plaid Cymru Wrexham chair Marc Jones, who led the Save our Services campaign, said: 

"This is a fantastic victory for people power in Wrexham. Against the odds, the Fire and Rescue Authority has seen sense and decided not to press ahead with plans to cut one of our two fire engines in the coming years. "Despite claims that the plan to cut one of Wrexham's fire engines was not on the agenda, voting through the plan as it was would have meant agreeing in principle to just that. I'm grateful to Cllr Paul Pemberton for pushing through the amendment that struck out the plan for spending cuts on frontline services and to everyone who voted the right way on the day. More than anything, I'm grateful to the people of Wrexham who backed our firefighters and marched, protested and signed petitions in their thousands to oppose this plan."A new fire authority will be appointed after the elections in May and this issue might come up again. But the new authority will know the strength of feeling and will have to look at other options."

• Pictured: Protesters outside the Guildhall in advance of the meeting, including members of the Fire Brigade Union and Plaid Cymru. Ten of Plaid Cymru's council election candidates were present at the protest as they have been all along the way. 

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Celebrating St David's Day in Wrexham





It was great to see local footballers Robbie Evans and Leo Smith join the 1,000-strong parade round town this afternoon on behalf of Wrexham AFC.
 Elin Fflur sang an impromptu Ar Lan y Môr and the Cambria Band led with their customary style and effectiveness.
 Plaid Cymru attended to support, as we have every year, and help a street stall to hand out information, balloons and stickers. We even got a Miss Teenage Wales to help us!

Monday, 27 February 2017

'Scrap plan to cut firefighters jobs in Wrexham' - Plaid AM

Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd has called on the North Wales Fire Authority to scrap plans to cut a whole-time fire engine and 24 firefighters’ jobs in Wrexham in the light of ongoing arson attacks and an increased workload.

Mr Gruffydd said the “epidemic” of deliberate fires in the area couples with news that the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service would face greater demands from April 1st due to flood prevention work meant that cutting services was “dangerous and irresponsible”.

Mr Gruffydd added:
“The Government has today announced £1.8m extra funding to ensure Welsh fire services are able to deal with increased demands on their time for flood prevention. That will mean more staff on call during emergencies and to prevent floods happening in the first place.
“Coupled with the alarming epidemic of arsons in the Wrexham area, it would be dangerous and irresponsible to cut one of the town’s two whole-time fire engines and 24 firefighters’ jobs. That amounts to one in six of the entire full-time firefighters in the North.
“If this is allowed to happen, would there be sufficient capacity within the service to deal with a combination of emergencies?
“Firefighters in Wrexham are already dealing with a quarter of all call-outs in the region yet do not have a quarter of the staff or resources. I have great concerns for the service across the North if these cuts are implemented, especially as response times to emergency call-outs are worsening. Now is not the time to cut this vital service.”
A final decision on the proposed cut is being made on March 20th by the North Wales Fire Authority and campaigners will be staging a last-minute lobby outside Wrexham’s Guildhall from 10am to try to reverse the decision.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Plaid candidate speaks out over plan for "new village" on outskirts of Wrexham


Scrap plan for 12,000 homes for Wrexham

Picture: Plaid activists including Sarah Roberts (third from right) with party leader Leanne Wood (centre) and Llyr Gruffudd, Plaid Cymru's North Wales AM, protest at the Ruthin Road site near Ysgol Clywedog.

A plan for 12,000 new homes - including thousands on green fields and playing pitches - should be thrown out, according to Plaid Cymru.

The party's local council candidates have been campaigning against the council's Local Development Plan for the past year after it was announced that some of the new houses would be allowed on two huge new sites off the Ruthin Road and Cefn Road. The latter would see the town's rugby club disappear under a new housing estate of 1,500 homes.

Sarah Roberts, who is spearheading opposition to a 1,260-house development proposed for farmland between the Ruthin Road and Bersham as Plaid Cymru's council candidate for Brynyffynnon ward, said the high level of housing would stretch schools and health services to breaking point.

Ms Roberts, of the Homestead estate, said: 
"The Local Development Plan (LDP) should reflect local needs but it doesn't. It is plan that has been forced on Wrexham by the Cardiff Labour Government, which is insisting that Wrexham Council allows 12,000 new houses to be built over the coming decade to meet population predictions that have been proved inaccurate by the most recent Census.
"There is a need for housing in Wrexham to meet local need and Plaid Cymru aims to meet that need by ensuring that empty homes and brownfield sites are put to work. We will also build the first council houses in the borough in a generation.
"But these huge proposed developments go way beyond what's needed for the area and will mean that local roads, schools and GP practices will be overflowing. That's the problem with this plan - it only looks at how to enable developers to build homes rather than help communities grow organically and successfully. It's a flawed plan that will create huge soulless commuter estates along the A483 rather than boost our existing towns and villages."
Plaid candidates opposing the LDP were joined recently by party leader Leanne Wood on a visit to the Ruthin Road site.

Ms Roberts added: 
"Latest official figures show that the population for Wrexham is static rather than growing at the ridiculous rate forecast by the Labour Government - 20% by 2038. That's more than any county in Wales bar Cardiff and was 10 times higher than Flintshire. It's time to stop concreting over our green fields to make developers a quick buck. This is about the long-term future of our community and environment."