Tag: fenella bowden

Councillor Survey: Fenella Bowden

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

A significant increase in traffic coming through the Ward; the increase in UHW parking around Heath & the increase in the number of services being brought into UHW; less cleansing of the roads; less maintenance of roads & pavements; changes to the sizes of black bins & reduced collection of both black & green bins; more fly-tipping & litter; increased pressure for school places for local children; lack of investment in Heath Park; the planned closure of Wedal Road HWRC; the installation of more bus lanes which have caused even more problems; and councillors now being more accessible to their residents through social media.

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

Working with residents to oppose the opening of a Tesco store on the former Majestic site in Birchgrove Road.

Working with volunteers to enable the transfer of the Maes y Coed Community Centre from Council ownership into the voluntary sector under Community Asset Transfer. The journey began in 2010 & was finally completed in 2016.

Resolving issues which mattered to residents whether they be large or small. These include supporting residents with: social housing problems ; social services needs; school admissions; getting waste management issues resolved; highways problems; parking problems; fighting to keep Wedal Road HWRC open; campaigning for a Park & Ride in Cardiff North; campaigning for a 20mph zone in Birchgrove Road (and to have the railings restored); calling for better security for the derelict site on Caerphilly Road to be demolished & secured; and simply being available to help wherever I can.

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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

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