Thursday, 29 May 2008

A lot more allotments!

There are 50 people on the waiting list for allotments in Wrecsam - and yet there are no allotments in the whole of Caia Park. At a time of soaring food prices, growing concerns over food miles and demand for organic produce, the healthy option of growing your own has never been more popular
 With this in mind, councillors Carrie Harper (Queensway) and Marc Jones (Whitegate) are launching a consultation to find out how many people in the area would like an allotment to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
 We're also keen to involve the local schools and Caia Park food cooperative to make sure a whole new generation grows up eating more healthy and organic food. And it's good exercise!
 If you want to know more about getting an allotment, get in touch on plaidwrecsam @ gmail.com.

UPDATE: After a piece in the Wxm Mail and Leader, we've had a great response so far from Caia and, interestingly, further afield. About a dozen new people have signed up for an allotment and a visit to the Caia Park Food Cooperative got an excellent response.
 If you want cheap fresh food, pop down to Kingsley Circle Community Centre every Tuesday morning 10-12am where you can buy a bag of veg or fruit for just £2.50.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Flexsys closure - new opportunities

North Wales Plaid AM Janet Ryder meets Dave Robinson, Gwilym Jones and Trevor Williams of the Unite union at Flexsys, Cefn Mawr, to discuss the future of the 160 workers there.
 These are well-paid skilled jobs that are once again being lost and we need a regeneration package for the local community as well as the workforce to ensure the site is cleaned up by the owners - it is a case of "polluter pays" and Cefn Mawr has had its share of that over the years.
 One interesting possibility is using the power plant on site - a Combined Heat and Power plant - to power new industries and the local community. This provides work for some of the workers and could be expanded with the use of a local power grid. The workers also had other ideas and initiatives that could be fed into a regeneration package.

Genny Bove

I can well understand Genny Bove's frustrations at being arrested on suspicion of theft of plastic garden chairs from the Local Authority's Recycling Site in Lodge, Brymbo. What better way to recycle!! far better than putting plastics with all their associated toxins in a landfill site. Genny also believes the Police were petty andthe investigation was a waste of time and resources...any rational individual would feel the same, but we are not talking of rational individuals we are talking of an irrational organisation like North Wales Police driven by individuals obsessed by statistics. Take Genny Bove's statistical return for North Wales Police:
  • 1 crime of theft recorded.
  • 1 crime of theft detected.
  • 1 arrest.
  • 1DNA taken.
  • 1 set of Fingerprints taken
  • 1 Drug test carried out.

...........all for plastic chairs whose ownership had been abandoned.

We should first of all ask ourselves whether this was a case in which Genny Bove should have been arrested...of course not, the Serious and Organised Crime Act only allows for arrest if certain criteria are met and those criteria are difficult to meet with minor offences. Secondly freedom from arrest is a fundamental freedom under the Human Rights Act and to exercise the right to arrest the Police should determine that arrest is both reasonable, necessary and proportionate, before exercising the power. I am however reluctant to criticise individual officers knowing full well that they are under an immense amount of pressure to improve crime detection figures. It is the North Wales Police and the Home Office that should be brought to book over this sad episode.

Y Cynghorydd Carrie Harper

I ddarllen portread o Carrie Harper prynwch Golwg (22ain o Fai)

Friday, 23 May 2008

Wrexham County Borough Council

On Wednesday the full Council reconvened after the Mayor Making Ceremony on Tuesday when Cllr David Griffiths was made Mayor for the coming year...we wish David and Denise well.

On Wednesday the Council re elected Cllrs Aled Roberts and Bob Dutton Leader and Deputy Leader respectively. On Thursday the Leader announced the 10 members of the Executive Board, 8 of whom have lead member responsibility (the remaining 2 are the Labour members of the politically balanced board but who no special responsibility). The Plaid Cymru group were given a seat on the Board and I'm grateful to my 3 colleagues for nominating me for that seat and I now lead with Cllr Aled Roberts on the Children and Young Persons portfolio. Joint responsibility for 40% of the Authority's budget is in indeed a daunting responsibility. I also serve on the Environmental Licensing Committee. Cllr Barrie Price is Co Chair of the Finance and Performance Scrutiny Committee as well as being a member of the Corporate Governance & Policy Scrutiny Committee and Environment and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee.
Cllr Carrie Harper is a member of the Planning Committee and Social Affairs, Health and Housing Scrutiny Committee. Cllr Marc Jones is a member of the Planning Committee and the Children and Young Persons Scrutiny Committee. We are also members of other committees...too long to list. Suffice to say that the Plaid Cymru Group have ample opportunity to influence policy within the County Borough over the next 4 years.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Hen Fagi a'i chriw.

Dydy'r Gymru sydd ohoni yn le rhyfedd iawn deudwch... Delwedd tun o'r hen Fagi yn cael ei arddangos ochor yn ochor i Aneurin Bevan yn y Cynulliad...be nesa!! Nifer o aelodau'r Cynulliad yn gwrthwynebu ond mae'r "sosialydd cenedlaethol" Dafydd El yn cefnogi'r arddangosfa!! Yn bersonol dwi'n meddwl y dylsa ni fel Cymru edrych ymlaen a ddim yn ol i ddyddiau drwg 'rhen Fagi a'i chriw. Mae hyn run fatha a rhoi delwedd o Saddam yn ol i fyny yn Baghdad neu Stalin yn Moscow...anhygoel.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Police v The Home Secretary

The Police Federation Conference starts in Bournemouth tomorrow and Wednesday morning will see the keynote speeches by the Federation's chair Jan Berry and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith and this after Jacqui Smith renages on the decision of the Police Arbitration Tribunal decision to pay officers 2.5% backdated to 1st September 2007. It will be interesting to see how Conference reacts, will they give Smith the silent treatment or will they heckle her or even walk out... I doubt if they will jostle her as they did Roy Jenkins when he was Home Secretary in the late 1970's. You can be sure though that she won't receive a warm welcome not after the demonstration by 25,000 Police officers through London. We also await the result of the ballot for the right to strike and the result of the Judicial Review against Smith's decision in the High Court.

Closer to home the six Local Authorities in North Wales will need to make a decision as to who the 9 members of the North Wales Police Authority will be, the 9 need to be politically balanced and as a result of Labour losses across the region we could well see some long standing Labour Councillors fail to be returned to the authority. Could one casualty be Cllr Malcom King, Ex Chair of the Authority?

From a personal perspective and having served as a Police Officer in North Wales for over 30 years I have little time for the Police Authority, I just see them as weak and ineffectual and constantly failing to exercise control over the Chief Constable. To make the Police Authority more accountable we need to have them elected and not appointed.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Housing...How bad the situation really is!!

Here are some statistics which give you an indication of how bad the housing situation in Wales really is:

1. In 1981 there were 300,000 Council houses in Wales.

2. Now there are only 235,000 'social housing' units in Wales.

3. Since 1996 authorities have built 17,500 social housing units in Wales

4. Since 1996 authorities in Wales have SOLD 34,000 social housing units under the Right to buy/Right to Aquire schemes.

5. The Social Housing Grant for Wales in 2005 was £80 million and built 1113 housing units.

6. In 1992 the SHG was £174 million and built 5,200 homes.

The Assembly Government needs to get devolved authority to suspend the right to buy and also to double the Social Housing Grant. The situation needs drastic action.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Council overshoots housing target by 40%


The current slump in the local housing market highlights how we can't rely on the market to provide solutions to our housing needs. Just because developers are waiting to maximise their profits doesn't mean people should be forced to live in inadequate housing or worse.
 
 Plaid's own research in Wrecsam reveals that the council's own 1996-2011 Unitary Development Plan - its blueprint for development - estimated that 5775 dwellings would be provided between 1996 and 2011.

 But by April 2007 5887 homes - 112 more than the target - had already been built in the borough. In addition, a further 3824 have been granted planning permission to be built in the next five years. That's a staggering 40% more than the original plan.

 Was it worth the paper it was printed on?

 Developers have cashed in on Wrecsam over the past 10 years, leaving us with house prices that have trebled in 10 years and many people unable to afford to buy or rent. The next development plan for Wrecsam should reflect the needs of local people not the greed of housing developers.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Housing renewal grant house to be demolished

A house that received substantial housing grants from the council is to be demolished by its owner to make way for more flats.
 The St John's Road/Rutland area of Whitegate - a total of 200 homes - missed out on the Hightown Housing Renewal Area some years ago. Local residents were angry that similar streets had received the home improvements - and even angrier that one house on Kingsmills Road that had received grants is to be demolished by the owner!

 Councillor Marc Jones, of Plaid Cymru, took this matter up with the council on behalf of local residents during his election campaign. Officials confirmed the house had received grants more than five years ago and was now up for demolition. Officials said there was nothing they could do to recoup the grant due to the time lapse.

 Cllr Jones said: "Money is tight in most households as well as the council coffers. That's why we shouldn't be wasting thousands of pounds of taxpayers' money on improvements to houses that then get demolished. That money should have been paid back so that other homes could have benefited.

 "I will be urging the council to look again at its criteria for grants to ensure that we get value for money and a fair deal for everybody."
 

Hafod Quarry landfill site

This is the daily reality of the Hafod Quarry landfill site. For many residents of Ruabon, the stench is becoming unbearable and Plaid councillor Barrie Price will be taking forward the campaign against the continued tipping once in post.

Hafod Environmental Group are still hopeful that no further progress in the landfilling at Hafod will extend beyond the present limit of Phases A and B. The group believes there have been several breaches of EU legislation at the site, which if upheld by the Committee of Petitions in the European Parliament, could result in a substantial fine.
 The present modification order, which is with the Assembly's Planning Inspectorate, should also be restricted to Phases A and B.
 If the landfill is stopped at Phase B, then the remaining Phases C, D and E could in time be turned into a country park or something similar for use by the wider community.

Plaid in power in capital alliance

Plaid has today signed up to a coalition deal with the Liberal Democrats in Cardiff. Unlike the coalition in Wrecsam, it's based on a signed agreement with the following highlights:

• A presumption against privatisation
• No PFI
• Developing Welsh-medium education
• Developing modern languages in primary schools
• Upgrading sports pitches
• A day's holiday for council staff on St David's Day

Plaid is also sharing power on Gwynedd, Caerffili, Swansea, Conwy, Denbigh and Ynys Môn councils - more than a third of Welsh councils.

Plaid Cymru yn y Glymblaid yn Wrecsam.

Mae'n falch ganddom gyhoeddi fod Grwp Plaid Cymru yn rhan o'r glymblaid sydd yn llywodraethu yng Nghyngor Wrecsam. Mae hyn yn golygu fydd un ohonom yn aelod o'r Bwrdd Gweithredol ac un arall yn gyd Gadeirydd un o'r Pwyllgorau. Fe fydd ganddom hefyd sedd ar y 5 Pwyllgor Scrwtineiddio a'r Pwyllogor Cynllunio a Thrwyddedu Amgylcheddol.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Democracy...Flintshire Style!!

I see from today's Daily Post that Flintshire have announced the team to run the council...its a coalition of Independent Alliance, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, who share all the seats on the Executive Board. The Labour opposition with 22 Councillors get no Executive Board seats and there is no mention of where the solitary Plaid Cymru Councillor in Flintshire is? Seems that Flintshire, like Carmarthenshire have a serious democratic deficit in their system of governance where parties with large numbers of councillors do not get any seats on Executive Boards i.e Plaid Cymru with 30 councillors in Carmarthenshire get NO seats on the Executive whilst Labour with 11 Councillors get 3 seats...now where is the sense in that. The Assembly Government need to legislate so that Council's governing bodies are "POLITICALLY BALANCED"

Watch this space...Wrecsam County Borough Council should be making an announcement about their system of governance soon.............!

Monday, 12 May 2008

Democratiaeth yn Sir Gar.

Diddorol iawn oedd darllen Angharad Mair yn y "Wales on Sunday" ddoe am y glymblaid yn Sir Gaerfyrddin lle mae eu cyfansoddiad mor annemocrataidd lle mae clymblaid o 32 Annibynnol ag 11 Llafur yn cymeryd y 10 sedd ar Bwrdd Gweithredol (cabinet) o'r 10 sedd mae Llafur yn cymeryd 3 sedd yn y cabinet. Dydy 30 aelod o Blaid Cymru yn cael DIM seddi yn y Cabinet..mae hyn yn ddiffyg yn ein sustem o ddemocratiaeth a mae angen newid pethau fel fod pob grwp yn yr Awdurdod Lleol yn cael cynrychiolaeth ar y Bwrdd Gweithredol sef cydbwysedd gwleidyddol...ffordd llawer tecach sydd yn cael ei ddefnyddion can Gynghorau fel Wrecsam & Gwynedd.

Friday, 9 May 2008

Martyn Jones on the BNP.

Martyn Jones was recently quoted in the Evening Leader as follows:

"He said: "I am deeply concerned at the results for the BNP displayed in Wrexham last week. The fact that four of the five BNP candidates were able to stroll to victory unopposed is a stain on all political parties for failing to be awake to the reality of the situation, and for failing to put forward enough candidates accordingly."

We should all be concerned at this development but on the other hand if the Constituency Labour Party spent as much time preventing the BNP walking in unopposed on Coedpoeth Community Councils as they did to prevent me gaining a seat on Gwersyllt Community Council then perhaps the BNP would have endured more embarrassing defeats.

There are 17 seats on Gwersyllt Community Council and Labour slated 17 candidates, 15 of whom were standing as Labour and another 2 non aligned (but Labour)...in addition to myself Emlyn Phennah stood as an independent...we were both succesful with two long standing Labour Councillors being defeated...yet another kick in the teeth, I hear you say...will they never learn.

As a matter of interest three BNP Councillors on Colwyn Bay Town Council mysteriously resigned yesterday...anyone know what that's all about.

Not a good advert for democracy

Tonight's meeting of Caia Park Community Council was not a good advert for democracy. The council, which has an annual budget of a quarter of a million pounds and its own purpose-built offices, is currently split 7-7 between Labour and independents with one vacancy.
 Attempts to co-opt a Plaid Cymru member onto the council to fill that vacancy were rejected on the chair's casting vote, after Labour voted en bloc for a Labour community councillor who had just lost in the May 1 elections. Funny old world where you lose an election but still get back on the council!
 There was more squabbling over grant allocations that seem to be going disproportionately to one or two favoured projects. This is something I'll be looking at more closely so that all groups that need funding, especially voluntary groups in my ward, get their share. 
 It was only halfway through the ill-tempered meeting that councillors realised the Evening Leader had sent along a reporter - it'll be interesting to read her take on events.
 On a positive note, both myself and Councillor Carrie Harper had a warm welcome from the majority of the councillors present.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Evening Leader.

I must apologise for casting doubts on the impartiality of the Evening Leader...they published my letter today!!

Blog Cymraeg Cyntaf y Blaid yn Wrecsam!!

Rhaid i fi ddeud mae o'n deimlad rhyfedd ond braf i fod yn un o Gynghorwyr cyntaf Plaid Cymru yn Wrecsam ers 1991 a hyny ar yr hen Gyngor. Mae rhaid cymeradwyo staff Cyngor Sir Wrecsam am ein helpu a bod mor annwyl a ffeind wrthym a mae ambell i Gynghorwr wedi bod reit ffeind hefyd (na chwara teg mae y rhan fwyaf wedi bod yn gyfeillgar iawn) nawch chi byth gesio prun Blaid sydd wedi bod yn anifyr hefo ni...na dydy nhw ddim yn dysgu gwers. (Pwy arall ond Llafur!!)

Diwrnod yr etholiad paranoid braidd 'ron i'n teimlo er fy mod reit hyderus ynglyn ar canlyniad, ar rheswm dros fy paranoia roedd presenenoldeb 'big guns' Llafur yn Gorllewin Gwersyllt...mi ges i Ian Lucas yn canfasio dros fy ngwrthwynebydd ar beth bynnag dri diwrnod, ar olaf am tua 8 noson yr etholiad. Hefyd mi ges i Lesley Griffiths ar dyn sur (Swyddog y Wasg) yn hongian o gwmpas y gorsaf bleidleisio drwy dydd...na wnes i ddim cwyn ei bod yn canfasio tu allan i orsaf bleidleisio (mi 'nath Llafur gwyno fod gen i 2 teller...petty neu be?). Beth bynnag; fasa chi hefyd yn teimlo' n paranoid os fasa chi'n yn y sefyllfa fi...pam fi? mae na 51 o Gynghorwyr eraill yn Wrecsam...pam fy mod i yn derbyn y driniaeth? Hwyrach mi ddylswn ni deimlo'n fod ei presenoldeb yn arwydd o barch neu anrhydedd!

Erbyn rwan be di o bwys mi ennillais i o 412 i 271...cic arall i Lafur, fel mae nhw yn deud yn saesneg, "Labour are history"...hip, hip, hwre.........!!

Press Impartiality

Good Morning...and it is still a very good morning in Wrecsam!!
Dealing with the press is somewhat of an art. I sent a letter to the Evening Leader last Monday morning thanking the electorate of Gwersyllt West for their support and even going so far as thanking my opponent for a clean fight (something a lot of Councillors and Candidates didn't enjoy) and of course I thanked my predecessor Councillor Keith Hett who as a Labour member is something of an anomaly in the Wrecsam Constituency Labour Party...he's one of the 'very, very' few socialists in the party.

Anyway back to the Evening Leader and its impartiality, you can imagine what I thought when Alison Halford's letter had jumped the queue, now no problem with Alison but you would have thought that the electorate of Gwersyllt West were as deserving of being thanked as those of Ewloe...I'm still waiting for my letter to be published! I suppose I'll have to go round with the tannoy tonight.

If you've got any views on the impartiality of the media...feel free to 'have a go' we will try not to censor on this site!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

What the papers said

"Wrexham Labour group took a hammering at the elections losing nearly half their seats. For the first time since the unity authority was formed, Plaid Cymru has councillors - four in total who ousted four Labour candidates."
- Daily Post, 3.5.08

THE STRATEGIC BREAKTHROUGH IN WREXHAM SEATS WAS REMARKABLE
"Winning four seats in Wrexham - previously a Plaid-free zone - was seen as particularly important. Ieuan Wyn Jones (Plaid party leader) described it as "a remarkable achievement... the first strategic breakthrough in North-east Wales."
- Western Mail, 3.5.08

STEADY COURSE FOR PLAID
"Winning four seats in Wrexham is a considerable achievement in a town which tends to look north and east to Liverpool and Manchester rather than to the rest of Wales."
- Wales on Sunday, 4.5.08

PLAID BREAKTHROUGH AS LABOUR ENDURE ELECTION NIGHT DISASTER
"It was a historic day for Plaid Cymru at Wrexham's Memorial Hall as Labour suffered disastrous losses in the local council elections.
 "Gains in Ruabon, Gwersyllt West, Queensway and Whitegate mean Plaid is hoping it is now in a position to push through some of its own objectives.
 Marc Jones, the Plaid candidate for Whitegate, was the first winner to be announced. Speaking to the Evening Leader he said issues over affordable housing had contributed to the party's success and would be the key message they were taking into the council.
 "He said: 'It is a tremendous result as far as we're concerned... we have offered a radical alternative to the Lib Dems, Labour and Conservatives... people have to take us seriously now."
- Evening Leader, 5.5.08

Plaid breakthrough in Wrecsam


On May 1st, voters in Wrecsam elected four Plaid Cymru councillors - the first Plaid representatives on the county borough council.







They are
Carrie Harper - Queensway
Arfon Jones - Gwersyllt W
Marc Jones - Whitegate
Barrie Price - Ruabon

We also achieved good results in Wynnstay (Maurice Jones) and Dyffryn Ceiriog (Eric Evans). 

To contact the new Plaid Cymru group on Wrecsam Council or find out more about Plaid Cymru locally, contact plaidwrecsam@googlemail.com or 01978 366 735