Sunday, 29 June 2008

Llafur.

Mwy o newyddion drwg i Lafur, colli yn frawychus o ddrwg yn Henley sef hen sedd Boris J. Llafur yn dod yn bumed a thu ol i'r Blaid Werdd ar BNP. Pethau hefyd yn mynd o ddrwg i waeth yn y gogledd gyda Wendy Alexander yn ymddiswyddo o arweinyddiaeth Llafur yn llywodraeth yr Alban...newyddion da iawn i Alex Salmond dwi'n siwr a gwagle mawr yn rhengoedd Llafur gyda neb amlwg i gymeryd yr awennau. Hefyd mae aelod Llafur Dwyrain Glasgow yn mynd i roi'r gorau iddi oherwydd gwaeledd, felly is etholiad. Daeargryn fasa'r unig ddisgrifiad os fasa Llafur yn colli sedd mewn ardal mor ddosbarth gweithio a Dwyrain Glasgow. Hefyd mae'r bobol sydd wedi bod yn ariannu Llafur dros y blynyddoedd yn dechrau tynnu'n nol a sydd hefo'i dyled anferth yn gneud hi'n llawer anoddach iddy'n nhw ymgyrchu yn effeithiol...bechod de!!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Some New Facts on Housing in Wrexham

Amongst items for discussion at the Executive Board on Tuesday is a report which contains the following (quote):

"It is 8 years since refuse rounds were last reviewed by WCBC. In the intervening years more than 4,000 properties have been built in the Wrexham area, including a number of housing estates with more than 100 new homes in each...

In the next 3 years it is expected that 2,700 residential properties will be constructed. Land availability actually allows for a total of 3,680 with 2,985 on large sites of more than 10 homes and 696 on small sites, but completions will depend on market conditions..."

And the last few words are the hub of the matter, why should young people who pay exorbitant rents in the private sector have to depend on 'market conditions' and more importantly why should actual homeless and threatened homeless people remain in that state whilst we depend on the 'free market.'

Undoubtedly my colleague Cllr Carrie Harper will raise these figures at the next Planning Policy Panel if they don't tally with the current Unitary Development Plan which runs until 2011...watch this space!

Monday, 16 June 2008

Affordable housing "the key to future council plans"

Affordable housing should be at the heart of any future council development plans in Wrecsam.
That's the view of Plaid Cymru councillor Carrie Harper, who today challenged the council's draft Local Development Plan.
She said: "Our last Development Plan overshot its target for housing by 40% and house prices have trebled in the borough over the past 10 years. Wrecsam became a free-for-all for housing developers looking to make a quick buck and local people lost out as a result.
 "We need safeguards to ensure the housing targets are not overshot again."
The Queensway councillor added: "The next Local Development Plan is based on future migrations trends from the north-west of England into the area rather than local need for more affordable housing. So in fact the plan contains nothing 'local' at all."
Carrie Harper said she was disappointed that there seemed to be no alternatives being offered other than to simply continue the same failed policy of allowing more non-local development at the same rate as we've seen over recent years.
She added: "Other areas are using imaginative housing policies such as Community Land Trusts to develop alternative affordable housing. We don't think there's one simple answer to the problem but an imaginative range of policies, such as those adopted in Yorkshire and Powys, can go a long way to our over-reliance on simply building more and more houses."
Plaid councillors on the council are arguing that the Local Development Plan, which will plot the council's strategy until 2021, needs to avoid some of the errors made in the last plan.
 

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Repairs in Goodwood Close

One of the issues raised by voters when I was out canvassing were the holes in the roads and pavements on the Mytton estate off Abenbury Road. 
 
 After getting elected, I discovered that the roads were unadopted as the estate was so new and therefore not the responsibility of the council. However, the developer did have a bond to make good any repairs and in the past week has responded to my request for those repairs to be carried out.

 On the back of this, the council has also identified a problem with cracks in the road on another new estate in Whitegate - possibly due to subsidence. I'll be letting residents know of this potential problem and how they can make sure the developers of their estate have to make good any outstanding snagging or repairs under the council's bond agreement.

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Environmental audit in Whitegate

On Wednesday, I joined the Streetscene coordinator Peter Dines, CMB Dave Sprowson and local residents on an environmental audit of the Pentregwyn area.

 Among the most pressing cases we identified was a dangerously crumbling wall behind Coed y Bryn, which the housing department are now aware of. It beggars belief that this has been allowed to deteriorate to such a state that it could easily fall on a child's head.

 There was also concern about a large pothole on the Queensway pavement caused by water forcing up through the pavement in heavy rain due to blocked drains. Thanks to Peter, the pothole was repaired (as it has been before) but this time the council has also unblocked the drains and is dealing with roots that are causing the underlying problem. All this was done within 24 hours, which shows that council officers can respond at speed when it's required.
  
 I'll be talking to the Housing manager for the area on Monday about the pressing need for more off-street parking on the estate and how far we can stretch the budget to improve things in the area.
 

Plaid councillors from Wrecsam, Denbighshire and Flintshire met with Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones in Rhuthun to discuss concerns over housing, transport and economic policies in North-east Wales.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

United front to save post offices

Councillors have called for a united front to save Wrecsam post offices from closing after the shock revelation that up to one in five could close.

Councillor Marc Jones, who represents Whitegate ward, said:"There are 43 post offices in the borough and Post Office management admits that they have a target of around 18%. In some consultation areas up to 22% gave gone - which means that up to nine could be axed in Wrecsam.

 "In many communities, post offices are the last village shop and losing them would be a terrible blow. Rather than politicians passing the buck on this, we need a united front of communities, trade unions and local politicians to fight the closure programme. We must ensure that as much business from both central government and local councils is permitted through the post office network."

He said the uncertainty was making life difficult for the people running the post offices. Cllr Jones said: "I was speaking to my local sub-post mistress last week and there is obviously a cloud hanging over these vital community assets. They cannot plan for the future and both they and their customers need that security.

"From July we'll know exactly which ones are threatened and that's when this united front will kick into action."

Wrecsam - a Labour town?

Wrecsam has been a Labour town since Robert Richards won the seat in 1922. Admittedly he promptly lost it in 1929 to the Liberals but won it back in 1935. Fans of political coincidence will enjoy the fact that the Liberal candidate was called Aled Roberts!
  On the surface then, we've had three-quarters of a century as a Labour Parliamentary stronghold, coupled with Labour's grip on the local council until 2005. 

 But a closer look reveals Labour's grasp has been slipping dramatically in recent times. Some of this has been internal Labour dissent and factionalism - Tom Ellis defecting to the SDP in 1981, the deselection of many old Labour councillors in the mid 80s, John Marek's deselection in 2003.
 
 Most notable however is the relentless downward trend of Labour council seats over the past 15 years:

1996 - 32 (out of 52)
2000 - 26
2004 - 19
2008 - 11

Labour emerged from the May elections as a marginalised, shell-shocked force on the council. The party's MP Ian Lucas faces a contest to keep his seat in the next Westminster election with resurgent Plaid taking seats in the Labour heartland.

Most interesting of all, Labour AM Lesley Griffiths faces an uphill struggle to keep her seat in 2011. She was elected last year with just 28.8% of the vote - the lowest percentage of all AMs. Given our unexpected (by everyone but us!) breakthrough in the local elections and the thousands of floating John Marek votes to play for, what price on Wrecsam turning to Plaid in three years?

Sunday, 1 June 2008

No Where Else To Dump The Clay...


This picture was taken earlier last week by one of the Hafod protesters as he walked around the Hafod landfill site. Imagine his surprise seeing MWH dumping even more earth on top of the bund on the Johnstown side of the landfill. Seeing the intrepid protester taking photographs, dumping suddenly stopped, and the following day the earth was removed off the bund, probably after a request from the Environment Agency. The landfill site is operated by adhering to conditions, one of which states how high the bund can be built up to. Thanks must go to protesters that survey the site daily to make sure all the site conditions are kept to. If the site was not checked on such a regular basis, then who knows what state the surrounding environment would be in.