Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Wrexham council re-affirms opposition to cutting fire engine

Wrexham Council has re-affirmed its "vehement" opposition to proposals by North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to cut one of the town's two whole-time fire engines and 24 firefighters' jobs.

Plaid Cymru councillor Marc Jones asked two questions of the new council executive board in advance of the fire authority reconvening to discuss this proposal.
1. Can the council exec board re-affirm its opposition to proposals to axe 24 full-time firefighters' jobs and one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines, noting that the consultation incorrectly describes the town as having three when one is currently off the road due to insufficient part-time staffing?

2. What steps is the council taking to work with the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to ensure it has sufficient funding to continue the level of service in the Wrexham area - will it insist that the NWFRA re-examines its own senior staffing arrangements and spending commitments prior to any cuts to frontline services?
The response from Cllr Hugh Jones on behalf of the executive board re-affirmed the council's opposition to the planned cut and also confirmed that the council would be holding a workshop on the matter for all councillors next month.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Marc Jones said he was glad the council had expressed its opposition so clearly and unequivocally: 
"It's clear that this would be a dangerous and retrograde step, especially in light of the Grenfell disaster in London and the need to ensure we have an emergency service that has the capacity to cope with the worst possible scenarios. 
"As the Fire Authority is financed by the six local councils across the region, I felt it was important that our council challenges the Fire Authority to explain why it is cutting this vital frontline service when it is top-heavy in terms of senior officers and has transferred funds from its revenue account to its capital account in the last budget. This is money that could be spent on retaining the current level of service.  
"However, I would also point out that years of Tory cuts and austerity have created a situation where our emergency services are struggling to deliver what is needed. Any opposition to this immediate threat to our fire service has to be seen in that context and we need to broaden the campaign to challenge the ideology that's destroying important public services."

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Challenge to fire engine cuts plan

Plans by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to consult again on cutting one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines are being challenged by Plaid Cymru.

The original bid to cut the fire engine was shelved in March 2017 because of public opposition. Thousands signed petitions, protested and marched through the town to oppose the cut.

Now the new fire authority is coming back to consult again on the matter, which would lead to the loss of 24 full-time firefighters' jobs.

Councillor Marc Jones, Plaid Cymru's leader on Wrexham Council, led the protests last year against the cuts. He said:
"The fire authority is looking to cut services despite huge public opposition. Wrexham's public, together with the Fire Brigades Union and the help of councillors, fought them off once. If we have to do it again, we will.
"Wrexham's firefighters are very much part of the community, we value their service and we won't lose that service without a hell of a fight.
"I want us to fight this proposal locally and in Westminster. It's clear the Tories don't have a mandate for ongoing cuts to public services here in Wales. Our emergency services, whether it's fire, police or ambulance crews, don't come cheap. These are well-trained, experienced experts doing a great job under very difficult circumstances."
Cllr Jones is to ask the council's new executive board at its meeting next Tuesday to continue to back opposition to the proposed cut. He added:

"The council made it very clear last year that it was opposed to the cut and it would be good to re-affirm its opposition to proposals to axe 24 full-time jobs and one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines in light of this new consultation.
"Given that the six councils also provide the funding for the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, we as elected members need to ensure it has sufficient funding to continue the level of service in the Wrexham area. I'd like our council to insist that the NWFRA re-examines its own senior staffing arrangements and spending commitments prior to any cuts to frontline services."

Monday, 12 June 2017

Anger over HMO plan for busy Wrexham street

A planning application to allow a terrace house to be converted into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) has been deferred by councillors angry at the problems caused by Wrexham's booming private rental industry.

The house at 10 Talbot Rd had already been turned into a two twin-room home and the owner has since sub-divided once more to fit in a total of seven people. The retrospective planning application was to approve this further sub-division.

Plaid Cymru's representative on the planning committee, Councillor Marc Jones, said Talbot Road was part of Wrexham's busy inner ring road, where parking is so bad that cars straddle both pavements. There are regular jams on the road due to this problem. More people in this area will inevitably mean more cars and more problems for residents.

He added:
"One objector to the application had stated that the street of 45 homes only had 10 families living there. Despite this, the council's own statistics suggested only four HMOs within 50 metres of the house."
Councillors heard that the size of the rooms in the house did not meet licensing guidelines. There were also concerns about the tenant's amenity space.

One main obstacle to the feeling among councillors to reject the planning application was the knowledge that the Planning Inspectorate had already overturned a similar objection on the grounds that there were too many HMOs in the area.

That view was challenged by Cllr Jones. He said: 
"The retrospective planning application puts the council in a difficult position. Despite the Planning Inspector siding with the landlord in the past, this council should not roll over, otherwise I'd question the point of having this committee at all.
"There's no thought been given here for either the tenants who have to live in this house or the neighbourhood as a whole."
Cllr Jones moved a motion to defer the application on the basis that more work was needed to assess the density of HMOs in the area, which could form the basis of a legitimate grounds for refusal.

He was supported 9-5 by the planning committee. The application will come back to the planning committee next month.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Regenerating Wrexham - trying something new isn't an option, it's essential

Plaid Cymru's manifesto for Wrexham included a call to pilot free parking in the town to improve footfall.
 This pilot would enable the council to assess its effectiveness and finesse any issues with the system being abused by those who normally pay for parking in the town anyway. It could start at 9.30am, for example, and end earlier than the average working day. Or it could be in distinct blocks to enable shoppers to have enough time in the town.
 It's clear from this that free parking, which is in effect for special events, street festivals and Christmas, DOES improve footfall and the economic viability of town centre shops and businesses.
 The current council's reluctance to offer free parking is largely based on a concern that it would lose £587,000 a year in income. That's understandable when further budget cuts are being faced but it misses the point spectacularly... the council's over-arching aim should be to create a vibrant and prosperous town centre that boost the economy. Just looking at things from the silo of car parking and income generated from council car parks is too narrow a worldview.
 It also contradicts the council's stated aim of creating a masterplan for the town centre.
 What's needed now is a cross-cutting approach that looks at every opportunity to maximise footfall and boost trade. That also means tackling anti-social behaviour and the drug problem blighting some areas of the town.
 Small but significant steps are being taken but giant strides are needed to transform Wrexham town. Trying something new isn't an option - it's essential.

Read more of Plaid Cymru's local manifesto at PlaidWrecsam.Cymru 

Friday, 9 June 2017

Election reflections

A presidential election focussed on UK issues was never going to be easy for Plaid Cymru. We were squeezed as many of our supporters lent their vote to Labour to "keep the Tories out".
 Despite that, in Wrexham - a constituency bombarded by Tories and Labour as a key marginal - our vote held up well and Carrie Harper stood out as a candidate in the few hustings that were held.
 It was heartening to see the increased turnout - especially among young people who it's clear were inspired to vote by a manifesto of radical change. That was Corbyn's manifesto, not Welsh Labour's.
 Of course, Welsh Labour will claim the credit for those successes but this was very much a British election where concerns over what the Tories would do to the NHS were prevalent.
 And, for all the talk of Labour success in north Wales, it should be remembered that they only succeeded in keeping their seats and regaining one of the most marginal Tory victories in 2015. Ian Lucas's majority remains a slender 1800. The Tories, with their new-found extreme right Unionist chums in the DUP, continue to rule. This was not a victory for Labour, it was making up some of the lost ground against a Government run by some of the least talented people to have graced public office.
 The youth vote was inspired into action largely via social media. It seems this may be the election where social media did play a role, despite many pundits claiming that for the past few years.
 The next Assembly elections, where the spotlight turns on Welsh Labour's performance in charge of health, education, transport and other key policy areas, will be fascinating. Labour's failure to seize opportunities to defend Wales against Tory attacks - e.g. in legislating against zero-hour contracts or devolving policing and greater tax-varying powers - will be in focus.
 Two visits by Theresa May to Wrexham didn't do the local candidate much good. It'll be interesting to see where he goes next.

 What of the other parties? It was good to see the back of the Kippers, who combine terrible politics with laughable incompetence. The Lib Dems have finally disappeared as an elected body in Wales - despite their proud history and some decent individuals, they have proved themselves to be as nasty and underhanded as ever. Neither party will be missed.
  What's clear is that politics in Wrexham as in Wales is in complete flux. People are abandoning previous tribal loyalties and that can only be a good thing.
 Plaid Cymru has had a difficult election, despite the wonderful win in Ceredigion to the hugely able Ben Lake. We have to consider how we work for Wales against huge odds in terms of the UK party machines with their millionaire backers and a media (including a BBC that seems allergic to mentioning Plaid Cymru) that regularly airbrushes Wales out of any debate.
 A night without sleep doesn't lend itself to any profound revelations but the weeks and months to come will see Plaid activists continue to build and campaign in our communities, as we look to transform our nation.
 Finally, a word of thanks to the Plaid Wrecsam team - many are new to politics and have thrown themselves into campaigning on the streets in recent months. We had a tenth of the spending power of Labour and the Tories but 100% of the commitment. We'll continue to build Team Plaid Wrecsam as the best way to achieve the change Wrexham needs.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

New bid to scrap Wrexham's fire engine

Plans by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Authority to consult again on cutting one of Wrexham's two whole-time fire engines have been condemned by Plaid Cymru.

The original bid to cut the fire engine was shelved in March 2017 because of public opposition. Thousands signed petitions, protested and marched through the town to oppose the cut.

Now the new fire authority is coming back to consult again on the matter, which would lead to the loss of 24 full-time firefighters' jobs.

Councillor Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's candidate for Wrexham in the General Election, said:
"The Fire Authority is claiming that Wrexham has got three fire engines. In fact it's got three pumps but only two are on the road and crewed because the other is crewed by retained staff and they can't get enough retained firefighters. So it's off the road and Wrexham only has two operational pumps.
"Getting rid of one of those will HALVE the capability to respond to road accidents, industrial accidents, incidents at the new prison and ongoing arsons. Wrexham's crews also cover as far afield as Cerrigydrudion, Ruthin and Bala. Our loss would also be their loss because the retained crews there rely on Wrexham's full-timers.
"When we talk about austerity and Tory cuts, this is the sharp end of those cuts. There have been years of underfunding that have led to this drastic decision. The money being taken out of public services is hitting frontline services and our normally talkative Tory candidate locally is silent on the matter.
"Well I and my Plaid Cymru colleagues don't intend to be silent on this matter. We will fight for a properly funded fire service and do all we can - both locally and in London - to defend our public services and keep jobs in our town.
"This is why we have to defeat the Tories in this election - another five years will see many more public services disappear and disintegrate as they starve them of funding. Our emergency services, whether it's fire, police or ambulance crews, don't come cheap. These are well-trained, experienced experts doing a hell of a job under very difficult circumstances.
  
"I pledge that if I'm elected as Wrexham's next MP I will be their champion in London and stand up for our public services."
Plaid Cymru's councillor Marc Jones, who led the protests last year against the cuts, said:
"Here we go again - the fire authority is looking to cut services despite huge public opposition. Wrexham's public, together with the Fire Brigades Union and the help of councillors, fought them off once. If we have to do it again, we will. Wrexham's firefighters are very much part of the community, we value their service and we won't lose that service without an almighty fight.
"This should be at the forefront of people's minds when they vote next Thursday - do you want investment in our town and our public services or do you want another five years of ever-more damaging cuts? It's a very stark choice."


Sunday, 28 May 2017

Support Plaid Cymru's Wrexham campaign



Plaid Cymru in Wrexham doesn't have millionaire backers or trade union barons to bankroll it. We will have less than a tenth of the finances the Tories and Labour will throw at this campaign locally.

We rely entirely on our members and supporters to pay for our leaflets, posters, garden posts and other campaign materials. That's why we're asking if you can donate some cash to our Crowdfunder appeal to raise £500.

 If you want to show your support for Carrie Harper, Plaid Cymru's candidate in Wrexham, please go to Crowdfunder and donate to the cause.

 Every penny will go to ensure that give Wales and Wrexham a say in this election. The big London parties think they can buy democracy with their big money backers. Prove them wrong by putting your money behind a party and a cause that will always speak out for Wales and Wrexham.

Friday, 26 May 2017

3,000 Wrexham women affected by pension age changes

“Pressure works – let’s keep it up”
Carrie Harper vows to continue to fight for fairness for WASPI campaigners

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham candidate Carrie Harper has backed the 3,000 Wrexham women fighting Tory changes to pension ages.

Plaid Cymru's leader Leanne Wood has vowed to continue to fight for fairness for the women affected by the changes to state pension age.

Speaking at a WASPI (Women Against State Pension Injustice) campaign event in Cardiff Bay, Leanne Wood said that the UK Government must put fairer transitional arrangements in place so that women can have the retirement that they planned for.
Addressing the rally, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said:
“It is an outrage that in the 21st Century, women are still having to demonstrate for a fair pension. In Wales 139,000 women are affected by the way in which the pension age has been equalised. It is arbitrary that women born in the 1950s have had their planned retirement taken away just because they were born in that particular decade. One year difference in birthday can cost someone three years without a pension.“That is why the WASPI demand for fair transitional arrangements has to be put in place by the UK government. Without this transitional help, many women will face financial hardship.”
Leanne Wood urged WASPI campaigners to use this election as an opportunity to put their cause firmly on the political agenda:
“Pressure works – just look at the Prime Minister’s U-turn on pensions. During elections, you have a chance of politicians championing your cause who may have otherwise been quiet. 
“Use this election to get pledges from your candidates to support the WASPI campaign. Make sure pensions and pensioners needs are on the political agenda. And make sure those who are elected as MPs are held to account for the promises they are making to you now.
“I will pledge to you that Plaid Cymru MPs will continue to work with colleagues like Mhairi Black from the SNP who has championed the issue of pensions justice. Plaid Cymru MPs will defend pensioners. 
“We will defend those women born in the 1950s. And we will not let up on the pressure we put on the Tories so that they U-turn on WASPI like they have on so much to date.”

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Sticking to our manifesto pledges

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham councillors are sticking to their manifesto pledges and have refused to take the pay increase for councillors.

The group of three have also had discussions with the council's IT department about using iPads to access council papers and restricted documents. The council was insistent that these papers would not be accessible without the council's own iPads rather than any other device.

After amicable discussion, the group has decided that it will make a voluntary financial contribution to the council to effectively pay for (but not own) the iPads for the extent of the five-year term. Our pledge was to refuse the free iPads and - if every councillor followed our lead - thousands of pounds could be saved by the council each year.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Only Plaid can defend Wrexham from the Tories

Plaid Cymru's Wrexham candidate Carrie Harper with party leader Leanne Wood.
The General Election on June 8th is an opportunity to defend Wales and our communities here in Wrexham.

That's the stark message from Plaid Cymru's candidate in Wrexham, Carrie Harper.

Councillor Harper, who last week won a second term as councillor in Queensway ward in the heart of Caia Park, said Wrexham cannot continue to vote Labour to stop the Tories: 
"With 82% of all MPs being based in England and polls showing a likely Tory landslide across the border, the simple maths mean that voting Labour to keep the Tories out in Wales is a nonsense. It seems there will be Tory Government in London whether we vote for it or not.

"That, combined with a weak Labour party intent on pulling itself to pieces, leaves Welsh communities vulnerable and at the mercy of an emboldened Tory Government in Westminster.

"Wales now faces the dual threat of the economic fallout from a hard Brexit and ​Teresa May
​being given ​the green light to destroy the NHS in England and continue to batter working-class communities like ours with cuts for the poor and tax cuts for the rich.
​ We must defend ourselves.​

​ "The Tories will be speaking for England, the SNP for Scotland. Where is the voice of Wales? We cannot afford to be the forgotten nation under this cloud of economic and political uncertainty.​

"Wrexham has voted Labour for almost a century and we've got precious little in return in recent years. It's time for change. It's time to stand up for ourselves.

"Only Plaid Cymru can defend Wales and our communities from the Tories. Only Plaid Cymru will put Wales first. I'm asking you to elect your local candidate Carrie Harper as Wrexham's next MP and play your part in defending our nation."


Councillor Marc Jones, another newly elected councillor for Plaid Cymru in Wrexham, added: "We've seen a surge in support for Plaid Cymru - our vote in the Wrexham constituency was up 17% in the council elections and it's clear from the growth in members and supporters that people see us as a credible opposition to the Tories.

"Labour and UKIP's vote collapsed across Wales in the council elections last week, while Plaid surged to its best-ever result bar one. We now have 202 councillors compared to the Tories 184 in Wales. Carrie Harper deserves our support because she will stand up for communities that the Tories will trash if they are returned to power."


Plaid Cymru's Westminster election campaign will be officially launched in Wrexham town centre at 11am this Saturday by the Horse and Jockey pub on Regent St. 

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Plaid Cymru calls for end to backroom deals and stitch-ups on council

Plaid Cymru's new group of councillors have pledged to work to make Wrexham Council more open and democratic, criticising the previous culture of backroom deals and stitch-ups.

A statement by new councillors Marc Jones (Grosvenor), Gwenfair Jones (Gwersyllt West) and Carrie Harper (Queensway) said:
"We're very proud to be elected to serve our communities and grateful for the support Plaid Cymru has received across the borough. 
"Our task now is to implement as much of our manifesto as we can and work with everybody who wants to change Wrexham for the better. 
"People have felt in the past that the council doesn't listen, isn't responsive and is happy to do deals behind closed doors. That's got to change if the council is to win back confidence from the people who elect them. 
"One specific problem we have is that Wrexham now has two groups of independents who effectively act as political parties but don't declare that in their leaflets. They divvy up jobs on the council behind closed doors and will be deciding on who will get the top jobs. How many people voted for independents believing that was the way forward? 
"Independents should not be able to act as secret parties unless they're willing to sign up to an agreed set of policies in advance. With a few honourable exceptions, the so-called independent councillors are already in the pockets of one of the two independent groups that operate on the council. 
"We want to shine a spotlight on how the council is run. We want greater democracy and for residents to have a greater say.

"During the election campaign, we distributed thousands of copies of our detailed manifesto to voters. It's online at www.plaidwrecsam.cymru and we'll be using that as a plan of action over the coming weeks and months to highlight ways to involve the people in decision making."

Friday, 5 May 2017

Plaid makes progress in Wrexham

Plaid Cymru has continued to make progress in Wrexham as part of an upsurge in support across Wales.

The Party of Wales stood more candidates than ever in last night's council elections in Wrexham.

Three were elected - Gwenfair Jones in Gwersyllt West, Marc Jones in Grosvenor and Carrie Harper in Queensway - and two missed out by just 10 and 30 votes respectively.

All gained respectable votes - see full results here.

Plaid Wrexham's chair Marc Jones said: "I'm delighted to be part of a strong team of Plaid Cymru councillors that will be pushing our agenda for change on the new council.

 "I'm disappointed that we weren't joined by more, especially given the tight margins in some seats, but we have the momentum going into the UK election to show that Plaid Cymru is offering Wales a shield, defending the people of Wrexham from the worst excesses of a Tory government hell-bent on slashing public services, attacking the poor and endangering jobs with a Hard Brexit."

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Born in England. Made in Wales.

A personal journey

by Louis Goodier

Born in England, made in Wales.

Not because I was conceived here, but rather the fact that when I moved here in 2011 my eyes were opened, wide. 

Now I’ll make this clear, I’m not ashamed to be English, why should I? Everyone should be proud of their country of birth.

I’ve travelled the world watching England, taking in the culture and giving my football shirts to kids who had no shoes on their feet. What I am ashamed of is the way I had my eyes closed for so many years to the politics and how we are led to believe that we are in control because we live in a democratic society, but in actual fact we are controlled by the media and Westminster. Much more than we realise.

In 2011 I announced to my family and friends I was moving from Cheshire (where I had grown up on council estates and had lived for 26 of my 28 years), and that I was moving to Wrexham. The response, as you could probably imagine, was mixed.

 “What are you moving there for” said one. “You know that Wrexham is in the biggest county in England don’t you” said another laughing as he muttered something about sheep.

 I’ll be honest, I also had my own doubts. I didn’t know anyone except my girlfriend (now wife), and Wrexham after all had a reputation of being a tough, hard working-class town, the riots in 2003, the infamous Frontline, numerous TV trash programmes such as “Britain’s hardest pubs” and “Cops UK".
The picture painted wasn’t appealing.
Moving here was a personal challenge and in all fairness those first two years trying to settle
in Wrexham were pretty tough. This told me that the people of Wrexham are protective,
either that or they didn’t like me!
During the run up to the 2012 local elections, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to learn
more about the town and often used it as a conversation starter. I’ll always remember a
conversation with a taxi driver who was wearing a Wales rugby shirt. It was the last round of
fixtures of the Six Nations which Wales had won. 

“Plaid should do well in May,” I said, “don’t you think?” 
“Plaid? I’m Labour always have been mate, Plaid don’t have a chance” 
“But you’re a proud Welshman and Labour don’t really give a dam, not really they don’t” 
“My vote wouldn’t count mate, they’re all the same anyway and it’s better the devil you know”. 

He turned his radio up to listen to Welsh fans in Cardiff on the radio phone-in and to signal the end of the conversation but not before turning to me and saying: “I’m glad you lot didn’t win the Six Nations, I can’t stand you English”.
 Needless to say I waited for my 30p change.
Around this time I took an interest in Welsh history and educated myself on Welsh politics. Naturally I got around to Tryweryn valley, Aberfan, Owain Glyndŵr and of course the significance of the song “Men of Harlech” to name a few.

It was only then that I realised how much Wales and her population had been systematically shafted by England repeatedly. That the United Kingdom was in fact a farce and a massive cover up to mask the abuse. My political views changed, primarily because of where I now called home but also dictated by my social conscience and integrity.

Why would I now vote for a party or an individual who has no interest, care or regard for the town or country that I live in? Why would anyone vote for that? We are all essentially interviewing individuals and then deciding on the best person for a job.

The people of Scotland have woken up and have turned their backs on Labour and have embraced the SNP with phenomenal support. And just like the British Empire, which was eventually dissolved 1997, the break up of the Union is imminent and will effectively make Wales the largest county in England and no one to represent it or protect its best interests.

The people of Wrexham are proud to be Welsh, and rightly so. They are also loyal and protective and will fight for what they believe in. Most don’t know how lucky they are to have a viable alternative to vote for in Plaid. 

A vote for Labour or Conservative is a vote lost for Wrexham and Wales and instead it becomes a vote for London and England.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Labour's porky pies over Plas Madoc

Labour's attempts to re-write history over their council's decision to close Plas Madoc Leisure Centre are reaching epic proportions. And no wonder given their pathetic role in closing the popular pool and leisure complex.

Back in 2014 the Labour-run council voted to close the centre after an expensive consultants' report recommended a drastic cut in funding for leisure services.

Public protests were ignored by both Labour, Tory and some Independent councillors who voted for the closure.
Plaid Cymru and some independents voted against the closure, arguing that leisure centres were an important resource and service that should be supported.

Now the election is upon us and those councillors who made the decision are in the firing line from campaigners, who vowed to remind voters how their councillors voted over Plas Madoc.

Among those copping flak was Plas Madoc's own councillor Paul Blackwell, who abstained on possibly the most important issue the ward has faced for a decade.


His leaflet was equally bizarre, claiming the leisure centre was closed to save other vital services being cut. Ah, so that's alright then. 

Vital services such as the mayor, councillors' iPads or perhaps the £2.1m paid to consultants?

Cllr Blackwell apparently had the foresight to see that closing the centre would result in it being re-opened by a community-run venture.



Retiring (in the sense of standing down) Labour councillor Andrew Bailey then stepped in... 
Andrew Bailey So Marc you would cut £1/2m elsewhere - please let us know. ,
LikeReply120 April at 21:05
Marc Jones Let's see... £100,000 from cllrs pay rises per year, £138,000 from the mayor, a small slice of the £2.1m spent on consultants and throw in a few iPads for good measure.
LikeReply720 April at 21:07
Marc Jones You were happy enough to give £100,000 to the trust, so that's £400,000 a year savings to find.
LikeReply220 April at 21:08
Andrew Bailey absolutely happy to give the trust £100,000 loan over two years to get them going. The painful truth is that Plas Madoc had been ignored by the coalitions in charge of WCBC for years including the one you served on 2008-2012 and was costing the council...See more


Cllr Bailey wasn't giving up and attempted the re-write history by blaming Plaid Cymru councillors... for keeping it open!

In another Facebook comment he claimed: 

"Plaid, as part of the 2008-12 coalition did nowt then to 'save our services' as Plas Madoc was in a poor physical state and losing £500k when they lost their seats. On a much better path now!"

A devastating critique. Except that the coalition, of which Plaid was a part, kept it open.

How fortunate that he, like his fellow Labour councillor, had the foresight to close the centre in order to save it.

The centre was finally closed in March 2014 and only opened in December 2014 after a huge effort by community campaigners. It could all have been so different had the Labour council listened to campaigners and looked to make savings while keeping it open. 

Of course, there was money available for some people - Capita, a notorious consultancy firm, was paid £140,000 for its report advocating the closure of Plas Madoc.

Can you ever trust Labour councillors who'd rather listen to consultants than the community?


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Safer playground success for Plaid councillor

Gwenfair Jones with local mums and their children looking forward to a safer playground.


A Gwersyllt community councillor is celebrating after years of campaigning to make a play area safe for toddlers. Gwenfair Jones has been campaigning for years to make the playground at New Road, Summerhill, safe by fencing the area off and putting a new gate in.

The delay had been caused due to protracted negotiations between Gwersyllt Community Council and the trustees of the adjacent Summerhill Institute.

The play park is well used by both local children and those that attend the Cylch Meithrin and Ti a Fi Welsh playgroups at the Institute

Gwenfair, who is also the Plaid Cymru candidate for the Gwersyllt West ward in the council elections, said: 
"I have been concerned for a long time about the security of the park. Whenever we take the children there we have to have one parent on the gate to make sure children don't run into the road as New Road is a bus route. I am very grateful to the community council for supporting this and to the trustees of the Institute for permitting us to build the fence.

"The fencing will also separate the play area from the field used by dog walkers and there is a lot of dog mess on there."
She went on to say: 
"I very much hope that parents will now feel that their children are safe and secure whilst playing there."

Monday, 24 April 2017

End to Ruabon housing blight welcomed

News that houses dubbed an eyesore on Ruabon High Street will be knocked down with affordable houses built in their place has been warmly welcomed by community campaigners.

A row of houses were built on the old garage site on the High Street 15 years ago, but were never completed or occupied. Over the years the land became overgrown and the houses vandalised.

Plaid Cymru and community campaigners Mabon ap Gwynfor and Pol Wong launched a campaign to resolve the issue two years ago. Their campaign was inspired by the work of the late Cllr Barrie Price who had fought for many years to tackle the problem before his untimely passing in 2011.

Pol Wong, who runs a gym in Ruabon and is Plaid Cymru's candidate in next week's county council elections, said:
 “Barrie fought tirelessly for Ruabon. He was a true champion of the village. He worked hard to try and resolve the issue around these derelict houses and I'm so glad that it appears they have finally been resolved.”
Mabon ap Gwynfor who launched the petition two years ago said:
 “These houses have been a blight in Ruabon for many years. I remember discussing the issue with Barrie Price as far back as 2010, which is why we re-launched the campaign two years ago. Credit must go to the local community council for keeping the issue alive.  "The people of the village were keen to get something done and signed the petition in their hundreds. We now look forward to seeing these houses knocked down and affordable houses built so that local people have the option of staying in their community.”

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.