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.
Name – Mike Phillips
Party – Conservatives
Ward – Whitchurch and Tongwynlais
Website – wandt2017.wales
Twitter – @MikeP_WandT2017
Facebook – whitchurchandtongwynlais2017
How can people get in touch with you? – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tell us about yourself
I live with my wife and two daughters in Whitchurch and my business is also based in the village.
Living and working in the ward I have great interest in maintaining and improving the facilities and enjoyment of the area. Although I grew up in Porthcawl I have long links to Whitchurch; my father originally undertook his apprenticeship at Edgefield Engineering on Norman Road in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, my grandmother used to work a little shop out of the back of The Plough and the village has been my home for almost 20 years.
This is the first time I have stood as a candidate in council elections although I have however been active in the local community for many years. In particular I worked with the school community for a few years before becoming a parent governor of Whitchurch Primary School in 2012, then a local authority appointed governor in 2016.
I have also been involved with the Whitchurch & Tongwynlais Festival including hosting the schools concert and I’m working with the committee to help make the 2017 another great success. I like cycling up hills and ride out with the Caerphilly Cycle Club, which usually starts with a climb up through Tongwynlais to get over Caerphilly mountain, have supported Cardiff City all my life and enjoy spending as much time with my family.
What are the biggest issues in your ward?
Our recent online survey showed that the things we notice most of the time are the things that everyone else does too. Congestion is a massive issue for most people, which affects how we get our children to school, travel to our work and generally get about. Our parks and green spaces are really well used and need improving in many cases and maintaining over time.
We need to find a way to help our area, and others across Cardiff, to keep their character and culture and not just become the outer part of a busy, growing city or a thoroughfare to pass through either end of the day.
This ranges from how we manage our service like waste and street cleansing to how we take an holistic view of development of all kinds and their impact on roads, schools, the high street and everyday lives.
We need to look after out local issues in the context of a growing and vibrant, exciting city.
What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?
So many great spaces but it’s easy to choose one. Anywhere alongside the Taff; it’s beautiful, green, the views move from hills in the north of the city to green spaces, the city and the bay. All walks of life can be seen enjoying it, I loved teaching my children to ride their bikes along the trail and the cafes along side it in Bute Park are a superb place to relax and watch life meandering.
What do you think should be done to improve engagement in politics?
It should be easy and anyone who has had a lesson in customer service knows the answer. Listen, be courteous and deliver what you promise. In our case as potential councillors that means representing everyone equally, fairness and reliably supporting our residents.
If we get that right and regularly communicate to the electorate, show them how we are listening and working for them and the results that are being achieved we may be able to get interest in local politics.
What’s your favourite film?
I’d like to say Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, aged seven I was hooked on the trilogy from the start. However re-watching the old Disney classics with my children has strangely put A Sound of Music at the top of my list.
If You’re Elected
What will you do to improve your ward?
We have to listen to what our residents are saying so looking at the use of and condition of roads and pavements, making the place cleaner and make it more pleasant to move around and enjoy has to be high on priorities. We can do a lot to properly join up the active transport network over time too.
I’m also keen to look at how we can improve our schools. There is pressure on them all, running at capacity and yet with more housing planned for the ward. It is essential that we do all we can to help raise standards across the board.
How will you communicate with residents in your ward?
We will communicate frequently using a mix of face-to-face meetings, leaflet updates, via our website and social media pages. As we live and work in the ward we will also have a lot of everyday opportunities to speak to people.
What issues that affect the whole city would you like to get involved in?
We have some cultural aspects that we need to preserve. On the doorstep one voter noted the old lantern on the entrance pillars to Whitchurch Hospital. One pillar has been knocked down and the intern lays damaged otter side. A small thing maybe but important to many.
The current Save Womanby Street campaign is a good example of where we need to ensure technically correct planning developments don’t adversely affect something that makes Cardiff an interesting city to be in.
Bigger issues are education, business development and transport.
What would you change about Cardiff and why?
It’s already a great city so we just need to change our focus a bit. We must continue projects that bring jobs and growth and improve the value of investing here but we need to include how the current residents live and interact in these plans so that more people perceive an improvement in their lives in Cardiff.
Any final comments?
Canvassing has been enjoyable and it’s been interesting to learn some of the common and specific issues people have. What has come across loud and clear is the interest in the communities of Whitchurch and Tongwynlais and the respect that hard working councillors have earned in the past. I’m lucky to be standing in my first election with some of those respected people who are looking to be re-elected to roles they held before. If we all get in we’ll have a great team.