Author: mcnjack

One Year as a County Councillor: Joel Williams

 

Joel Williams

We’ve invited all the County Councillors in Cardiff North to write about their first year since being elected in May 2017.

This article is by Joel Williams, Conservative Councillor for Pontprennau and Old St Mellons.


 

Since the Local Elections in May 2017 it has been a busy time I’m sure for all Elected Members, particularly newbies like me. Immediately following the declaration of the election results I was given an envelope with contact details and dates for training sessions. The roller coaster had begun.

The first emotion I recall as an Elected Member was frustration. Like many Elected Members, I find it a privilege to represent my community and the area in which I have lived all my life. Pontprennau and Old St. Mellons is a growing community with nearly 5,000 additional dwellings proposed under the Local Development Plan. Currently, along with Councillor Dianne Rees, my ward colleague, we have around 7,500 electors living in the Ward. There are many complex issues residents ask for our assistance in dealing with and it is frustrating that these requests take time.

As a Councillor there are four key parts to your role.

Firstly you’re elected to represent your community, in my case, Pontprennau and Old St Mellons, to represent the views of those who elected you and those who didn’t elect you. As a Councillor I’m there to represent all stakeholders in my community and that includes those who didn’t vote for me. In terms of representing my community this would include speaking in Full Council debates on issues relevant to Pontprennau and Old St Mellons, such as the need to address anti-social parking and associated congestion, a new primary school for residents in St Edeyrn’s (the new development between Pontprennau and Old St Mellons) and raise individual residents observations and concerns with Council Officers.

Secondly you’re elected to represent our City, Cardiff. This would include city-wide projects such as the recently introduced cycle hire scheme, known as the ‘Boris Bikes’ and speaking on additional funding for Cardiff. Something I raised recently was the fact that Cardiff doesn’t benefit from capital city funding. As a capital city we are the economic power hub of our region, hosting worldwide events such as the Champions League Final and international boxing matches. As a result we should receive, like Edinburgh, capital city funding from Welsh Government.

Thirdly many of us are elected on political party basis and therefore are expected to promote the values and beliefs of our parties. As a County Councillor it is not as prevalent politically as being perhaps an Assembly Member however we have adopted local party policies which we believe serve in the best interests of Cardiff and Cardiff’s communities. An example of this is our opposition to the Council’s mass development plans. Alternatively we want to see positive engagement with stakeholders and developers to improve infrastructure before embarking on mass development, we also believe in developing a regional approach to development so all parts of South Wales can share in future economic prosperity. Recently the Council have published a consultation document regarding transport, something which our group on the Council called for, the document includes the suggestion of a congestion charge and clear air zones. The introduction of a congestion charge in the City risks destroying our local economy, with consumers choosing to shop online as public transport alternatives simply aren’t good enough.

Finally the forth key part of being an Elected Member is your duty as a Councillor to your Local Authority. For example, we are all corporate parents to the children in the care of the Local Authority. We are also expected to sit on committees. I sit on the Standards and Ethics Committee, the Council’s Appeals Committee which sits to determine housing and school transportation appeals and the Licensing Committee which is responsible for granting licenses. All the committees I sit on provide a diverse range of service to stakeholders. It has given me an important insight into how the Council operates and I thoroughly enjoy working with colleagues from across the political spectrum to get the best deal for our City and for my community.

I get real zest from my role as an Elected Member and want to see Cardiff and its communities succeed and reach its full potential. They say a year is a long time in politics, let me let you into a little secret; they’re not wrong!

By Joel Williams (Councillor for Pontprennau and Old St Mellons)

Photo by Joel Williams

Advertisements

One Year as a County Councillor: Jennifer Burke Davies

JenniferBurkeDavies

We’ve invited all the County Councillors in Cardiff North to write about their first year since being elected in May 2017.

The first article is by Jennifer Burke Davies, Labour Councillor for Llandaff North.


 

As I reminisce over my first 12 months as a Councillor, I’m struck by how quickly time moves but Local Government, does not.

Overwhelmingly, my experiences have been positive – I enjoy the wide variety of opportunities that have come my way from being involved in Committees to attending Full Council Meetings but by far, the most rewarding aspect of the role is speaking to local residents.  Whether this is in surgeries or when I’m out walking the dog. I’m always happy to stop and have a chat to residents about local matters, particularly if I can be of some help!

The area where I’ve found I’ve experienced the most frustration is how so slow it can be to get a response, up to 10 working days, or how it can feel like walking through treacle to make progress on a project. I’m sure all Councillors, old and new, will share my dismay at Local Government Funding – ultimately, this comes from the UK Government and is disseminated to Councils through the Welsh Assembly Government. We have been living in a period of austerity since 2010 and councils around the UK have felt the full force of this, some facing cutting their budgets to the bone in order to maintain essential frontline services.

I’m pleased to say that our Labour run Council here in Cardiff have protected library services and continued to put record investment into our Schools but that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been hard decisions, when there’s no money in the budget to work on projects that would benefit or improve the lives of Llandaff North Residents. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been working with some local residents to create a Charitable Trust Fund, it would enable the community to bid for funding that would benefit the wider area and Council Officers have said that they’re supportive of working with the community to achieve the aims of their mission statement.

Rather than concentrate on what we haven’t been able to do (yet!) I’d like to come back round to talk about the positive impact I feel I’ve been able to make! We’ve had Sustrans visit Hailey Park to look at improving the Taff Trail for all users, with feedback due in April 2018. One of my particular areas of passion is to support the park area to become safe and enjoyable for everyone who wants to use it – mainly to improve Taff Trail access. I’m beginning work on a Resident’s Association for the Lydstep Area, I hosted a Great Get Together Coffee Morning in the Llandaff Hyb and raised £250 for the Jo Cox Foundation. Cllr. Ali and I are working on bringing forward a consultation to residents to address parking issues in various parts of the ward and I’ve lobbied Cllr. Caro Wild, Cabinet Member for Transport, to bring some of the new NextBikes to Llandaff North, I’m looking forward to seeing them arrive! By the end of the summer holidays, we will also have not one but two brand new school buildings in the ward for Gabalfa Primary & Ysgol Glan Ceubal, with a massive £8 million of investment, this will mean quality education for both English and Welsh Mediums in our area.

Overall, I’ve enjoyed my first year as a Councillor but I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and achieving more in the next 4 years!

By Jennifer Burke Davies (Councillor for Llandaff North)

Photo by Ceri Davies

Cardiff’s Transport and Clean Air Consultation

20878816630_9884bb2fc8_k

Cardiff Council have launched a consultation to share and gather ideas about the city’s transport system and air quality.

Complete the survey online here – bit.ly/cdftransport

Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, Cllr Caro Wild, said:  “We all know that Cardiff’s transport system has to change – too many of us have been stuck in traffic trying to drop off our children, or late for work because the bus didn’t turn up, and whilst a growing number want to walk or cycle, the facilities to do so are often inadequate.

“Like all major cities in the UK the effects of congestion are being felt on people’s health. Welsh Government has now directed us to carry out a Clean Air feasibility study which will identify the issues in Cardiff and make recommendations on the best way to resolve them.”

The council have produced a report, which contains ideas and proposals for improving the city. They want to hear your views and to prompt discussion.

Read the report – bit.ly/cdfgreenpaper

The report has already prompted lots of discussion and responses.

The report says there will be a series of consultation events for you to find out more. It also suggests organising your own event for local groups and communities.

Image credit – Jeremy Segrott

Julie Morgan Launches Campaign for Deputy Leader

Julie Morgan

Cardiff North constituency Assembly Member Julie Morgan has launched her campaign for Welsh Labour Deputy Leader.

Nominations opened today and Julie says on her campaign website:

“I think it is fantastic that we will have a female deputy leader and that three women have thrown their hats into the ring. I am the only woman who has had experience as a councillor, AM and MP so I think I’m uniquely placed to use that experience to bring people together in Wales. I was a councillor for 12 years, an MP for 13 years and have been an Assembly Member since 2011.

“I would see my role as working to bring together all sections of the Labour movement including trade unions and affiliates and I feel strongly that all voices should be heard and that being a member of our great party should really have meaning for all the thousands of members out there.

“I’m immensely proud that Welsh Labour will have a gender balanced leadership as equality is something I’ve campaigned for all my working life.”

 

 

Julie told Wales Politics, “I think I am in a good position to bring all parts of the party together and to work closely with the members.”

Mark Drakeford AM nominated Julie and she has the backing of 13 AMs and MPs.

You can follow Julie’s campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

The winner will be announced at the Welsh Labour conference in April.

Anna McMorrin MP in the News

Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin
Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin (© My Cardiff North)

Anna McMorrin MP has been in the news recently talking about her first seven months as a Member of Parliament. In the Wales Online article she says, “It can be frustrating being a backbench MP. My experience while in Government in Wales was that our things got done. But it’s the Government who legislate and we know we have got to do everything to ensure that we’re the next Government if we want to enact change”.

The Cardiff North MP was also featured in an article about Welsh MPs who will be in the spotlight in 2018. The article suggests that Anna, who apparently speaks French and Spanish, could “gain a major profile” as the UK’s future relationship with the EU is up for discussion.

If you’d like to keep up to date with Anna, she publishes a regular email newsletter. The easiest way to sign up is by joining the mailing list at annamcmorrin.co.uk.

The next surgeries are:

Friday 12th January 11am – 12:30pm at Anna’s office in Whitchurch

2 Codas House, 52-60 Merthyr Road, Cardiff CF14 1DJ

This is by appointment only so please call my office on 02920 624440 to arrange.

Friday 19th January 9:30am – 11am at Llanishen Hub

11 Station Road, Cardiff, CF14 5LS

No appointment needed so please come along with any issues or concerns.

 

Llanishen to Get a New Community Hub

Llanishen to Get a New Community Hub

Llanishen Library will close next week ahead of the library service transferring to a brand new hub in the community.

The library on Kimberley Terrace will close from 1pm on Wednesday, November 22 in preparation for the opening of the new hub just a short walk away on Station Road.

The exciting new Llanishen Hub will open on Monday, November 27at 9am with more services and better facilities.

The hub is being developed in partnership with South Wales Police and will be situated on the ground floor of the Llanishen police station building.

Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities, Cllr Lynda Thorne, said: “Our hubs are all about bringing more and better services to our communities and making those services more accessible and convenient for people to use them, all under one roof.

“This new hub in the community will be a real benefit for people in Llanishen and the local area.”

While the library is closed before services transfer to the hub, the nearest libraries are Rhydypennau Library and Rhiwbina Library. Recycling and food bags are available at Llanishen Leisure Centre.

Via: Cardiff News Room

Image by Sionk

Velindre Cancer Centre Consultation Ends this Week

Velindre Cancer Centre Consultation Ends this Week

The public consultation period for plans to build the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff North ends this week.

The planning application can be viewed on Cardiff Council’s website. There are over 200 documents and nearly 150 comments.

Cardiff North MP Anna McMorrin has submitted a letter supporting the application but noted her concerns on several issues. She says, “I have looked at the development’s proposals in great depth, as well as having met with constituents and environmental groups throughout this process. It is clear that a number of my constituents remain very concerned by this development, in terms of the environmental and logistical issues this development evokes.”

Julie Morgan, Constituency Assembly Member for Cardiff North, also supports the application. Her letter begins, “At the outset I should recall that in the Welsh Assembly Election May 2016, I pledged to my constituents that I would support a new state of the art Cancer Centre for Velindre but, of course, I have still considered the range of views on the above proposal very carefully. After much deliberation I have decided to support the proposal and i will explain why.”

Charley-Kai John, a reporter from Cardiff University’s “The Cardiffian” website,  interviewed Cardiff North Community Network members and residents who oppose the plans.

Community Coordinator, Pamela Coombes, worries that extensive development around Poplar House could cause disruption for its residents and exacerbate their existing health and mobility issues.

The consultation ends on 9th November.