September 20, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

Residents in the Graig ward of Newport will be able to vote for a new councillor on Thursday August 26.

The by-election follows the resignation of  Conservative Councillor Margaret Cornelius, who stepped down due to health reasons in June.

The successful candidate will represent the Graig ward alongside Conservative councillor David Williams.

Polling stations in the area will be open from 7am until 10pm for residents to vote in the by-election.

But who are the candidates?

JOHN JONES – Conservatives

School governor John Jones has been chosen to reclaim the Graig seat for the Conservatives.

Mr Jones moved from Rogerstone to Bassaleg seven years ago.

The father-of-three said: “I want better things for my children and the people of Newport. I am passionate about my village as it is a great place to live. ”

Mr Jones, 57, has always had an interest in politics, but this will be his first time standing in an election.

As a school governor for both Bassaleg School and Pentrepoeth Primary School, he said he is passionate about funding mental health services for school children.

The school drop-off at Bassaleg Primary school has caused health and safety concerns amongst parents and children. Mr Jones said he intends to address the issue and increase the number of buses available to pupils.

He has also said he will fight to “keep Graig green” by tackling the issue of fly-tipping and limiting development on green field sites in the area.

Residents have voiced their concerns over the recent closure of the post office in Bassaleg. Mr Jones said he can sense the fear in the village and he said he is committed to ensuring Bassaleg doesn’t lose its post office.

When looking at the bigger picture, Mr Jones said: “Labour has run Newport for 35 years, it is time for change. The last two years our council tax has risen, but there still doesn’t seem to be investment in Newport.”

Mr Jones, who owns Newport-based company Swift Driver Recruitment, is in full support of Newport Conservatives’ campaign to build an M4 relief road, saying: “Newport is the gateway to Wales and people travelling here are met with standstill traffic. It puts people off coming here.”

From his experience in the transport industry, Mr Jones said  an M4 relief road would be important for Newport.

JOHN HARRIS – Labour

Labour candidate John Harris, who sits on Bassaleg Community Council, has lived in Bassaleg since 1985.

Mr Harris said: “I’ve been a community councillor in Bassaleg for ten years and amongst my achievements is the instigation of the Graig Diamond Jubilee Path.

“Investment in projects like these is vital to improve people’s access to nature, which supports mental and physical wellbeing. I’m continuing to work alongside local community groups to facilitate further improvements and the protection of green spaces in Graig.”

If successful, Mr Harris intends to support the Labour group’s efforts in protecting local environment and tackling climate change.

Mr Harris, a retired physiotherapist, who has worked in the NHS for over 30 years, said: “Improving air quality has been a focus of mine for a long time and I’m really supportive of renewable energy initiatives as part of that, so if elected I’ll continue to push for Newport City Council to get any and all support that it needs to fulfil its aim to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“I am keen to establish a local group involving Newport City Council and key local partners to provide a forum for local ideas and initiatives on how air quality can be managed and monitored.”

Mr Harris said he would like to see public transport in Graig improved, particularly Caerphilly Road, and a post office brought to Rhiwderin.

Mr Harris now wants to take the next step in representing his community. He said: “I’d love to play a role in ensuring that Graig continues to be a beneficiary of the City Council’s investments.”

JEFF EVANS – Lib Dems

Jeff Evans, 51,  is the Liberal Democrat candidate for Graig.

A former Newport City Councillor, he represented the Beechwood ward for eight years between 2004 and 2012.

Mr Evans said he has three main areas he wants to focus on if successful –  planning, transport and recycling.

As a transport planner, Mr Evans stressed the importance of sustainable transport. He said: “We need to start giving people a choice of when they travel and how they choose to travel. The funding for public transport has diminished. Alternatives to driving need to be improved.”

Mr Evans, who is originally from Cardiff, said it is essential that Newport gets another recycling and waste centre.

When referring to council planning decisions, Mr Evans said the council should not be afraid to reject applications. He said: “In the Graig area I want to make sure people’s quality of life is maintained.

“Applications that are submitted shouldn’t be approved to the detriment of current residents.”

Mr Evans said he wants to elevate Newport as a city, adding: “We have so many strengths, but we need to play to them.

“No matter what party you are, we all want to get the right decisions made and the best decisions for Newport. We need to be more open to debate – criticisms should be seen as a step in the right decision.”

 

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