Rhys Taylor: Liberal Democrats – Gabalfa

We’ve invited all the local election candidates to complete this questionnaire so you know more about the people asking for your vote on the 4th of May. We’re also compiling a list of their websites and social media accounts so you can follow them and get in touch if you have any questions.

Rhys Taylor

Name – Rhys Taylor
Party – Liberal Democrats
Ward – Gabalfa
Twitter  – @syhrtaylor
Facebook – gabalfafocusteam
How can people get in touch with you? – rhystaylor892@gmail.com

About You

Tell us about yourself

I grew up in Pontypridd before moving to Bangor to complete my undergraduate degree. I’ve since lived in Cardiff with my partner and our seven month old golden labrador retriever. I’m currently studying a part-time masters at Cardiff University and work as a Policy and Communications Officer. As a Welsh speaker I applied to become a School Governor at Ysgol Mynydd Bychan, and I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know teachers, parents, and the wider school community. I also been a Trustee for a University Students’ Union for three years and was previously President of my Students’ Union. I enjoy travelling and have been known to let Eurovision decide which city I visit. When I’m not busy in work, campaigning, out walking with the dog, or in a meeting, I enjoy a good book, a good film, and gin. Education was one of the issues that got me involved in politics in the first place. I’ve been involved in politics since I was around 16 years old after getting involved in a campaign to save my secondary school. I felt that young people weren’t being listened to and that decisions were being made without engaging with the people that they would affect. Since then I’ve been involved in campaigning to make it easier to get young people onto public transport, to improve standards in rented housing, and to improve community mental health services.

What are the biggest issues in your ward?

The biggest issues facing Gabalfa are the state of our streets, parking, local transport, and support for local businesses. We’ve seen our streets get progressively dirtier over the years – lanes are left unswept, fly tipping is left for weeks on end, and the closure of Wedal Road stands to make the situation worse. More and more people are commenting on how dirty our area can get at times, and it doesn’t reflect what a lovely area Gabalfa and Mynachdy is to live in and to visit. Parking for residents, shoppers and local business owners is a real problem. I’ve spoken to many residents who are thinking of moving or are in the process of moving due to the parking situation. This is completely unacceptable. Earlier this year I ran a Love Whitchurch Road campaign to celebrate local businesses and to highlight the issues that local business owners face. One of the key issues raised was that the lack of parking for shoppers and business owners is having a detrimental affect on trade. We have a great business community and a great deal of businesses in the area who bring so much to Gabalfa. The council should be doing all it can to support and enable small local businesses to grow.

What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?

As a dog walker I enjoy visiting different parks and green spaces across Cardiff. As great and lovely as Maitland Park is, my absolute favourite place to take my dog is Bute Park and onto the Taff Trail.

What do you think should be done to improve engagement in politics?

We need to make voting fairer, have representatives that reflect the communities they represent, make it easier to vote, and make our elected bodies more accountable to the people they represent. That means introducing fairer voting so seats reflect the number of votes cast by voters, introducing early voting, introducing same day registration, encouraging people from diverse backgrounds to stand for election – including young people – and get involved in politics. All elected representatives need to be constantly in touch with the people they represent so their work is transparent and accountable. Too many representatives are elected and aren’t seen until the next election – how can people expect to engage if they don’t know what their representative is doing? I also believe that we need to introduce better citizenship education, to include non-partisan political education, so young people are able to understand politics in the UK and the world and are able to use, and want to use, their vote. We should also lower the voting age to 16 for all elections in the UK.

What’s your favourite film?

Lord of the Rings (Return of the King)

If You’re Elected

What will you do to improve your ward?

I will be in constant communication with residents in Gabalfa to make sure that I know and understand what people’s concerns are and make sure that they are represented to the council. I will work proactively to find solutions to the issues facing residents in our area to make sure that we do everything we can to find solutions to the problems we face. I also want to work closely with local businesses so we can find ways of supporting them to grow and develop and to attract shoppers and visitors to Gabalfa. I also want to celebrate the local businesses our area has to offer. What’s more, whichever party is running Cardiff Council to stand up for our area and demand the best for the people of Gabalfa and Mynachdy. Our area has been let down over the last five years and we’re lucky to have had a councillor who has worked constantly to get the very best for our area. I want to continue that hard work.

How will you communicate with residents in your ward?

We pride ourselves on communicating and engaging with local residents all year round, every year, not just during elections. Gabalfa and Mynachdy Lib Dems distribute a monthly Focus newsletter which gives an overview of issues in the area and what our local campaigners and elected representatives are busying themselves with. We also deliver letters to residents when planning or licencing applications are made so residents are able to make their views known on the development. We also have an active Twitter and Facebook account which we use to keep residents posted on the latest issues and what we’ve been up to. We also attend all PACT meetings in Gabalfa to hear from residents and to speak directly with residents. We also regularly run petitions and knock on residents’ doors so we hear directly from residents what their concerns are.

What issues that affect the whole city would you like to get involved in?

I’m worried about the growing number of people who find themselves homeless on the streets of Cardiff and would like to see more done to build more affordable homes and prevent homelessness. I also want to support our local businesses across Cardiff so our business owners can succeed and grow. I also want to make sure that children and young people have access to the best education, the best services, and the best support whenever and wherever they need it.

Final Comments

What would you change about Cardiff and why?

Transport and housing. Public transport doesn’t work for local people and their needs, and areas like Mynachdy have lost local bus routes over the last few years. We need to make buses more responsive to the needs of community, and make sure that we link up public transport to cycling routes so people can better make their way around the city. I also want to see more affordable homes and more accommodation for young professionals that isn’t over priced or doesn’t have the necessary infrastructure to support new homes and accommodation.

Any final comments?

Thank you to My Cardiff North for running this survey and engaging with the elections so local people are aware of who wants to represent them on the council and the issues they are campaigning on.