Mike Ash-Edwards: Labour – Heath

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.

Mike Ash-Edwards

Name – Mike Ash-Edwards
Party – Labour
Ward – Heath
Website – heathandbirchgrovelabour.org.uk
Twitter  – @HeathBirchLAB
Facebook – heathbirchgrovelabour
How can people get in touch with you? – By email at mikeae100@gmail.com.

About You

Tell us about yourself

Coming from Cardiff, I have lived in many other places before returning 8 years ago, and making the city my permanent home . A varied career has including being a traffic engineer, a campaigner with Oxfam in the UK and overseas and working for the Co-op taking responsibility for the business’s membership and community programmes in Wales.

I am committed to a world which is a fairer and better place for all, and one in which people work co-operatively together to resolve and tackle problems. I am a volunteer for a number of community focused organisations, and a board member of the Wales Co-operative Centre.

I enjoy most sport, as a spectator, player and until recently as a referee.

What are the biggest issues in your ward?

Overwhelmingly the issues that people are raising in Heath and Birchgrove focus on traffic and parking, though concerns about the Wedal Road waste site, and the future of community facilities and open spaces are also important to people.

All of these issues need to tackled, in consultation with local residents, to arrive at sustainable and workable solutions. Residents groups such as the Heath Residents Association have been worked with to arrive at ways forward for parking schemes, and we hope that formal consultation can be commenced soon. Consultation will shortly commence on a 20mph restriction around Birchgrove School, and we are putting forward proposals for 20mph zones in other areas of the ward where local people wish to pursue.

Commitments have been made on waste and recycling provision in North Cardiff and Wedal Road will not close until local alternatives are up and running.

The Labour candidates in Heath and Birchgrove are working with community organisations in the ward including the Oaks Garden Centre, Maes-y-Coed Community Centre and Friends of Llwynfedw Gardens, to ensure structures are in place that are sustainable and can be supported and allow local people to control and set their priorities.

We are committed to continue the protection and enhancement of our local green and open spaces, particularly Heath Park.

What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?

My two favourite places in Cardiff are Heath Park which is a wonderful oasis of tranquillity and at the same time provides recreational opportunities for people, and the Principality Stadium which has been a location in which I have enjoyed many great sporting days, and which gives the City a real heart.

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

  1. Greater accessibility of politicians to their electorate. Social media helps but politicians also need to be more available to their electorate at times/places that suit voters.
  2. Giving the vote to 16 year olds, and at the same time increasing the time spent on educating people about our democracy in schools and elsewhere.
  3. Ensuring politicians can be more easily held to account for the promises they make.
  4. Ensuring local people are engaged in decisions about their communities in ways that are simple and easy to access, and allow local debate.

What’s your favourite film?

Spirited Away.

If You’re Elected

What will you do to improve your ward?

  • I will focus on supporting the building of strong local community organisations, to ensure that local people have the mechanisms to control and run what’s important to them locally, and have ways of campaigning for the issues they feel to be most important.
  • I will support local businesses particularly in Birchgrove centre to help ensure a vibrant and thriving community.
  • I will work with local people to find agreed ways of addressing the issues people feel most strongly about, such as traffic and parking, and prioritise my efforts to ensure solutions gain political and financial support from the City Council so that they are implemented.

How will you communicate with residents in your ward?

Residents will receive a regular and comprehensive newsletter delivered to all households, and will be able to see more frequent updates via Facebook and other social media. Regular advertised surgeries will be held in different locations across the wards, and frequent street surgeries will allow for issues to be raised easily and directly with me.

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

I would like to contribute to work to address Cardiff’s transport challenges, an area in which I have some background. I am also particularly interested in helping to address the challenges facing young people in the city, once they are outside the school environment. The future of Cardiff depends on them and the need to ensure training, jobs and good, quality accommodation is vital.

Final Comments

What would you change about Cardiff and why?

Cardiff is a great City, but the world is moving on quickly. The City needs to retain a strong vision of how it wants to develop, and it needs to become even better at competing with English and other European cities. There is a continuing need to update the infrastructure, particularly in respect of transportation, and to connect the city more firmly to its surrounding communities, for the benefit of all. The City needs to continue to innovate and ensure that its many communities are involved in the new ways of doing things and feel in more control of their futures.

Any final comments?

Cardiff needs a strong and visionary leadership to address the massive challenges we face. I would urge voters to back Labour as the only party that can deliver a coherent strategy to take the City forward.