Category: Life of a Councillor

Councillor Survey: Gareth Holden

What are the biggest changes in your ward over the last 5 years?

Alley gating the back lanes.

Describe three achievements that you were instrumental in implementing and that benefited the community.

Improvements to the allotments.

Saved Wedal Road recycling centre by campaign and calling the decision in to be scrutinised again.

A proposed 20mph scheme ready to be implemented for the ward including green elements to improve street scene.

Councillor Survey: Dr Ed Bridges

What are the biggest changes in your ward over the last 5 years?

I have been particularly delighted by the transformation of Whitchurch Road into a bustling and increasingly trendy location for high-end restaurants and bars. Places like Society Standard, the Mint & Mustard and Cocoricos have given a new lease of life to Gabalfa and residents are now spoilt for choice with a range of interesting independent local businesses on their doorstep. I’d like to think I’ve helped by supporting some of those businesses to come to the area and pushing for investment in the district.

Describe three achievements that you were instrumental in implementing and that benefited the community.

Securing gating of back lanes, as supported by around 80% of residents affected, helping to reduce fly-tipping and crime.

Ensuring that plans for a Cardiff Metro include an aspiration that Mynachdy will have a rail station. The area has had no public transport since their bus was axed, and although there’s still work to be done to make things definite, I think we’re closer than we’ve ever been to having a station serving the ward.

Persuading the council in principle to increase resident-only parking provision. Parking has always been a challenge locally, and I have been campaigning on for my entire 13 years as a councillor. I very much hope that after the elections in May, the plans for 75% resident-only parking in the streets closest to UHW will be taken forward in order that more spaces on residential streets can be used by the people who live there.

Councillor Survey: Eleanor Sanders

What are the biggest changes in your ward over the last 5 years?

A stronger feeling of community evidenced by the very many groups of people meeting together regularly right across the ward. Increases in younger, particularly families, moving into the area. Sadly, council service provision has declined, many pavements and roads need repair, schools need 20 miles per hour speed limits and the beginnings of some fly tipping probably linked to reductions in waste collections.

Describe three achievements that you were instrumental in implementing and that benefited the community.

As chair of the organising committee Rhiwbina Village Events I have seen our community festivals go from strength to strength. The numbers attending has grown substantially each year, those wanting to take part has also increased. The by products of such events is the bringing together of our community, bringing more business into many of our independent shops in the village centre as well as putting Rhiwbina ‘on the map’ across the region. And we all have a great time!

When our library was threatened with closure, as the Local Councillor I led a campaign to challenge that proposal. I chaired the residents’ meeting that voted to run a Community Poll to gauge public opinion on that proposal on this proposal that would be used to challenge the council administration. There was a clear message to keep our library and – We won! It stayed open and has gone from strength to strength

As the Local Authority school governor in Llanishen Fach primary school I work very closely with the school to improve standards and ensure children leave the school having reached their full potential. As the nominated ‘Wellbeing’ governor my role is to make sure both families, children and or staff see me as a sounding board that they can come to chat to in strictest confidence.

Councillor Survey: Dianne Rees

What are the biggest changes in your ward over the last 5 years?

The proposed massive development of houses on greenfield sites in the east and west of my Ward as a result of the Local Development Plan. Nearly 8,000 additional dwellings are planned. The St Edeyrn’s development has begun with alterations to the highways, closure of access roads and issues of development traffic creating congestion and havoc in rural country roads unsuited to HGV traffic.
Another major change is the growth of parking congestion in Pontprennau and Old St Mellons, a major headache for local residents from all day parking on residential roads of employees of adjacent business parks and commuter parking of car share workers who make on local streets before joining the M4 at Junction 30.
The huge increase in volume of traffic along St Mellons Road and Heol Pontprennau and the congestion on Eastern Avenue and Newport Road which brings the eastern side of the City to a standstill.

Describe three achievements that you were instrumental in implementing and that benefited the community.

Pontprennau Primary School. I was instrumental in achieving the funding for the school and its inclusion in the 21st Century Schools Band A funding program which allowed the school to be built after years of campaigning. I am also proud that after years of campaigning the lack of playing field and ancillary space at St Mellons Church In Wales Primary School is finally being addressed.

Getting local playing fields included in the Fields In Trust Queen Elizabeth 2nd Jubilee in Pontprennau and Old St Mellons. In fact I was instrumental in getting Cardiff Council to include any fields at all in the project as Cardiff had been one of the only Welsh Councils not to propose having any of its playing fields in the scheme. It protects the fields from development for generations to come. I am also proud that I have taken a special interest in projects on public open space and ensuring funding from 106 agreements have been used to improve our parks and green spaces. Beechtree Park Pond, path , benches and green areas in Old St Mellons have been improved along with Greenacre Drive Pond and Butterfield Park play equipment in Pontprennau. I am also pleased to have been the local councillor who assisted Police and Council officers in dealing with the sensitive removal of unauthorised encampments on playing fields and green areas in the Ward and the installation of environmentally friendly measures to prevent further incursion, enabling local children and families to promptly resume games on the pitches.

I am proud of raising awareness of safety and environmental issues in the ward having campaigned and finally achieved a 20 mph zones near the school, a school safety crossing officer, the cutting back of overgrown hedges along footpaths to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety , litter and reporting of fly tipping on footpaths and country side. Having campaigned consistently some schemes have been implemented to address the undoubtedly difficult issue of parking congestion. I was able to present a petition signed by hundreds of local people to the Council calling on the Council to acknowledge the problem and address their concerns, which has at least raised awareness in the Council, although parking remains a serious concern which the next Council must address.

Councillor Survey: What have You Achieved in the Last 5 Years?

abstract image of wooden people representing community

With an eye on the upcoming local elections, we began thinking about the achievements councillors have made in the last 5 years.

Unfortunately, this information is hard to find. Lots of councillors have social media accounts but very few have dedicated websites that record their activities.

So we decided to create a survey and ask all the current Cardiff North councillors to tell us how their ward has changed since 2012 and what achievements they’re most proud of.

We’ve had five responses so far from the 20 councillors.

Gabalfa

  • Ed Bridges (responded)
  • Gareth Holden (responded)

Heath

  • Lyn Hudson
  • Fenella Bowden (responded)
  • Graham Hinchey

Lisvane

  • David Walker

Llandaff North

  • Dilwar Ali (responded)

Llanishen

  • Andrew Graham (responded)
  • Garry Hunt (responded)
  • Julia Magill
  • Phil Bale (responded)

Pontprennau and Old St Mellons

  • Dianne Rees (responded)
  • Georgina Phillips

Rhiwbina

  • Adrian Robson (responded)
  • Eleanor Sanders (responded)
  • Jayne Cowan (responded)

Whitchurch and Tongwynlais

  • Ben Thomas (responded)
  • Chris Davis
  • David Groves (responded)
  • Jonathan Evans (responded)

If you’re interested in finding out about your councillor(s), please get in touch with them and ask them to complete the survey. You can find their details on our site.

If you’re a councillor and missed our email, please get in touch and we’ll send you the link.

Photo credit: Laura Billings

Cardiff North Councillor of the Year 2016

Inspired by #WPOTY, we’re launching #CNCOTY – Cardiff North Councillor of the Year 2016 – to crown the best Councillor in Cardiff North for 2016.

All you have to do is get in touch and tell us which Councillor has gone above and beyond the call of duty this year. It could one amazing act of selfless dedication to their job or a solid, consistent commitment to serving their community. Tell us who’s stood out and stood up!

 

Fenella Bowden – Day in My Life as a Councillor

Fenella Bowden profile picture

So what does a typical day in my life as a councillor look like? Busy!

By 9am on any morning I will have read all the emails that have come into my email accounts overnight; read the new relevant posts on social media; checked out Twitter for new posts & current news, commenting as I go; listened to any phone messages that have been left since the previous evening & scheduled in call-backs; checked the diary & sorted the priorities for the day.

Of one thing I can be absolutely sure: that however well I have planned my day, it will invariably change as the day progresses. The huge range of issues that affect residents within Heath & Birchgrove which will cross my path during the course of a day is astonishing, and needs me to jump from issue to issue in the space of minutes; and I shall be responding to them all day as I go. I’m prepared for anything: a school admission refusal; uncollected bins; a parking problem; a planning application; a new transport project; a request for help from a local organisation; or it may be a vulnerable individual who needs significant support while services are identified to help them. There will never be a ‘groundhog’ day; every day will be different & I thrive on that. And I’m reachable for over 14 hours a day!

Fenella Bowden litter picking

For me, being out & about in the Ward every day is essential to understanding what’s happening & allows time for meeting residents & catching up on their news or problems. A cup of coffee at a local café can be a lengthy affair – depending upon how many residents are doing the same thing & want to chat!

Being pro-active & keeping residents informed of what is happening in Heath & Birchgrove is essential to me as a councillor. Writing leaflets, street letters, posting on social media, & updating my website all take time but as an Independent, I stand on a platform of putting people before politics – and that means listening to residents’ views.

A day will rarely pass without needing to fulfil the other roles that come as part of the councillor ‘package’. Being Chair of Governors at my local school is an honour but also a big responsibility, requiring hours of work or attendance at the school every week. Preparing for Full Council; attending meetings such as PACT or Planning Committee; arranging local resident meetings; meeting & speaking with journalists ; & mentoring potential councillor candidates, are just some of my daily activities and all require preparation.

Do I ever switch off as a councillor? No, not really. In these days of being able to contact your councillor at any time of day (or night!) there is always something to work on. This is the role that I chose, and I am thankful that I don’t have the additional burden of full or part-time employment. It’s a big role, and certainly not a job for the faint-hearted!

Cllr Fenella Bowden
Heath & Birchgrove

Website

Twitter

We invited all Cardiff North Councillors to submit an article for this series during Local Democracy Week.