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.

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."