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 – Fenella Bowden
Party – Independent
Ward – Heath
Website – heathandbirchgroveindependents.co.uk
Twitter – @HBIndependents | @FenellaBowden
Facebook – Fenella Bowden
How can people get in touch with you? – firstname.lastname@example.org; via website; Twitter; Facebook.
Tell us about yourself
I am currently the Independent Councillor for Heath Ward & have been a councillor for the past 9 years. I have been interested in politics all my life & follow in the footsteps of my maternal grandmother. I have had a life in public service prior to having to accept early retirement in 1999 because of disability. I have a passionate belief in equality & education; and am a campaigner for the disabled. I am currently the Chair of Governors at Birchgrove Primary School and have been a mentor for the Welsh Government’s Diversity in Democracy programme which aimed to encourage more under-represented groups to stand in this year’s local elections. I won a Business Wales Award for this work in 2017. On a personal level, I have lived in Cardiff North since 1980, and in Birchgrove for over 20 years. I am married to Steve, have 2 children & 2 grandchildren.
What are the biggest issues in your ward?
- Parking – arising from the lack of a Park & Ride in the north of Cardiff, & which clogs up our streets with UHW staff parking.
- Congestion & air pollution – arising from the volume of traffic which is passing through the Ward daily.
- The lack of school places to accommodate demand.
- The lack of a nursery school for Birchgrove School which means that pre-school children are not accessing nursery provision before entering Reception.
- Ensuring that Birchgrove & Heath communities are given equal treatment by Cardiff Council.
- Business survival within the Ward.
- The appalling state of our highways & pavements though lack of maintenance.
- Litter & street cleansing.
What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?
My own garden. This is where I spend time being creative with plants & indulging my passion for gardens.
What do you think should be done to improve engagement in politics?
Improving engagement starts with the politicians themselves. Being honest in communicating with the electorate; being willing to listen to new ideas; addressing & changing the tribal behaviours of the main parties; being local, reachable, & understanding the communities that we represent. Demonstrating our values & not forgetting that people are more important than ideology. Providing mentoring for those who would like to learn more about politics & subsequently get involved.
What’s your favourite film?
Carry on Campaigning – yet to be written or produced!
If You’re Elected
What will you do to improve your ward?
My pledges have been published at www.heathandbirchgroveindependents.co.uk & on Twitter.
- I shall be putting people before politics.
- I shall continue to campaign for Park & Ride facilities in the north of Cardiff to reduce congestion & local parking problems.
- I shall continue to campaign for better access to the city centre & locally for the disabled & less mobile, including transport.
- I shall campaign for a better balance between investment in the city centre & the suburbs including Heath Park & our highways & pavements.
- I shall continue to support the need for more investment in schools, including a nursery for Birchgrove School. I also want to see improved education outcomes for young people.
- I shall continue to provide active support for the residents within Heath & Birchgrove in what ever way I can – including campaigning to keep an HWRC at Wedal Road.
How will you communicate with residents in your ward?
I shall continue to communicate with residents through my regular newsletters; consultations; councillor surgeries; PACT; our website at www.heathandbirchgroveindependents.co.uk; Twitter; Facebook; by phone; by making appointments with residents; holding meetings when needed; & by being visible in the Ward.
What issues that affect the whole city would you like to get involved in?
As an Independent I shall need to be involved in most issues, but I shall highlight: HWRCs & waste management issues; transport planning; Highways issues; LDP; Park & Ride facilities; the Metro; Bus Station; Education; Equality; Homelessness in the city.
What would you change about Cardiff and why?
Cardiff is still a difficult place to access & I would like to see it become the best accessible, integrated, city in the UK & Europe. I want to see Cardiff being the best place in the UK to be educated, using the models of excellence that are available & to secure major investment in our schools. I want to see much greater parity in investment across the city of Cardiff & much more investment in our open spaces – including Heath Park – and an emphasis on well-being.
Any final comments?
There is no full job description for being a councillor & I know that the electorate is my interview panel. Finding answers to problems that residents confront can have a profound impact upon the quality of an individual’s life – however simple the issue. It may be getting a bin emptied, or it could be supporting a resident through housing & social services issues. I believe that working as partners within a community can ‘make things happen’ & I am delighted to have been able to do this in my Ward – an example of which has been the transfer of the Maes y Coed Community Centre from Council control to a group of volunteers.
This is what I would like to continue doing if I am re-elected on May 4th, but the electorate of Heath will judge my performance of the past 9 years & make its decision.