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.Follow @mycardiffnorth
Name – Joel Williams
Party – Conservatives
Ward – Pontprennau and Old St Mellons
Website – joelwilliams.net
Twitter – @JoelTory
How can people get in touch with you? – firstname.lastname@example.org, Telephone, Social Media.
Tell us about yourself
Cardiff born and bred I’ve lived in Pontprennau and Old St Mellons all my life. I was educated at the local Village Primary School and at St Teilos Church in Wales High School. I first became interested in representing the views of others when I was asked to stand for the School Council when I was 11 years old. I was unhappy with the School’s uniform and the lack of practical work in science lessons!
I am passionate about improving public services that work for all, coming from a family of teachers I understand the importance of education and delivering sustained teaching and learning for all children. When I was 18 I was appointed a governor of a local primary school, since then I serve the School as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Finance & Estates Committee.
My interests in law and the planning system in Wales led me to become an active campaigner against unsustainable forms of greenfield development. In 2014 I led a legal challenge against a major development between Pontprennau and Old St Mellons. Cardiff needs homes, but these homes must be sustainable, with improved infrastructure and roads links- currently we lack this approach.
I’m a member of the local church in Old St Mellons and Old St Mellons Village Association (OSMVA). OSMVA organise social and sporting activities in Old St Mellons and hold regular events throughout the year that bring the community together. I have a keen interest in acting and am a member of a local amateur dramatics group in Cardiff.
Since 2012 I’ve run a small local business in Cardiff which publishes a magazine twice a year- the directory contains contacts for local businesses and groups in the area and has enabled me to listen to the views of others.
What are the biggest issues in your ward?
Parking and congestion is by far the biggest issue that comes up on the doorstep in Pontprennau and parts of Old St Mellons. There’s no point in highlighting an issue unless your prepared to do your best to do something about it. Linked in with congestion is greenfield development. We can’t build thousands of homes between Lisvane and Pontprennau unless we have the road network and infrastructure arrangements in place.
That is why local residents fought against the development between Pontprennau and Old St Mellons- the Pentwyn Link Road is already over capacity with neighbours spending hours in lost time waiting to get onto the M4 or Eastern Avenue.
Unless we address greenfield development from a strategic position the operational fallout on our streets will be continued and worsened parking problems and congestion. Let’s get it right for Cardiff, let’s get it right for Pontprennua and Old St Mellons. It would be wrong for me to promise a quick fix but I will fight tooth and nail for one!
What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?
For me it has to be Roath Park.
For the last couple of years its been a privilege to volunteer at Cartref Care Home on Lake Road West- after our meetings I often go for a walk round the lake and ‘clear my head’. Its funny how many people you meet there too!
What do you think should be done to improve engagement in politics?
Politics has become a dirty word and its the job of politicians to do something about it. When people ask me on the doorstep why I got involved in politics my answer is always the same: Once I was shouting on the sidelines for action, in this case I contacted Cllr Rees (my running mate for the Elections in May) about 10 years ago because of speeding traffic and pavement conditions, it was Dianne who challenged me to get involved and help improve our Community.
Politics must mean something, it impacts our lives in a good way and a bad way. Improving turnout in elections can only be achieved if residents can see that voting will make a difference. Local elections arguably have the most visible influence over our lives. For example our councils control our schools, our planning system, care for elderly residents, environment, parking and local roads. These examples can influence our wellbeing and effect the areas in which we want to live.
What’s your favourite film?
The best films are the films that make you laugh, for me ‘White Chicks’ is in my top 10.
If You’re Elected
What will you do to improve your ward?
Teamwork is needed to improve the issues our Community faces. Working as team, Dianne Rees and I will do what we can to get the job done when it comes to parking and congestion challenges in Pontprennau and parts of Old St Mellons.
Let’s be honest, if 4,500 homes is given the green light on Greenfields between Lisvane and Pontprennau, our roads will become completely gridlocked.
In Cardiff there is united opposition to Cardiff Labour’s 40,000 dwelling plan for Cardiff. Ask yourself: Where are the roads? Where are the school places? Where are the hospital beds?
It would be wrong to promise that if elected all greenfield development will go away but we must revise down mass development and ensure infrastructure arrangements and roads are in place before we embark on mass schemes.
Flytipping and the speed of traffic continue to cause concern for local residents. The Council must be tough on flytipping and use cctv footage to detect and prosecute offenders.
There are a number of issues that impact a small number of people and we are committed to working with individuals and groups to mitigate any local issues or concerns and act for our Community.
How will you communicate with residents in your ward?
Since 2012 we have been keeping residents informed through our regular newsletters. We also send our targeted letters to areas that are affected by a particular issue.
Since 2015 the Pontprennau Community Facebook page has been a great way to highlight local issues and respond to concerns raised by residents. Hopefully we have proven to the Community that we work well as a team and can do much more if both elected in May 2017.
Social media has become an important way of communicating quickly with residents and this must continue.
What issues that affect the whole city would you like to get involved in?
Delivering a robust education plan for our City that aims to educate and work with parents, staff, teachers and governors to get the best deal for all stakeholders in Cardiff School’s.
The Local Development Plan needs to be revisited to take account of the views of local residents who are overwhelmingly against mass green field development. Residents were ignored when the Plan was passed in 2015.
What would you change about Cardiff and why?
Cardiff is in a critical part of its development. We must get it right because we can’t afford to get it wrong.
The best people to deliver change in Cardiff and its Communities are local people who know the issues that Cardiff faces. That should also apply to local Communities who should be represented by those who know the issues and are committed to fighting for a solution that works.
As far a possible, party politics should be put to one side and Cardiff and its resident’s prioritised.
Any final comments?
These elections are crucial for Cardiff and for Pontprennau and Old St Mellons. In many ways the election is a local referendum on the issues that matter to residents. Parking. Greenfield development. Congestion.
It is a privilege to fight for our Community and for our City.