I spent the morning, in my civic capacity at the joint “Meet Your Community Council’s” Event. It was good to get out in public and meet the people (if that doesn’t sound too pretentious) but it was a privilege to help highlight the great work that Cwmbran Council does, and also good to link up with our neighbouring councils (Pontypool & Croesyceiliog & Llanyrafon Community Council’s)
I got what amounts to a promotion Today. After Two years of being Jessica’s consort when she was deputy and then Mayor, I’ve decided to give it a go myself as Vice Chair (Deputy Mayor) of Cwmbran Council. After the Councils Annual General Meeting I was unanimously vote into office. I also found out that I’m the youngest person to ever hold the role, and the first person under the age of 30 to be in the position.
The position comes with a snazzy new chain of office courtesy of Thomas Fattorini (Manufacturer of insignia, honours and awards, By Appointment of Her Majesty The Queen), which is actually the second honour I’ve received from Fattorini’s in less than a fortnight.
I look forward to undertaking my civic duty for the year and as a personal aside I must take this opportunity to say how proud I am to serve my community, and how grateful I am for this chance.
Its been almost three years since I moved from Newport to Cwmbran and in many ways I still feel like a new comer, I’m still discovering the best shops, which pubs serve the cheapest pint, which clothes shops carry things in my size etc. And while there is a lot that I’ll miss about living in Newport, like the more active nightlife, I do feel that I’m settling into Cwmbran, especially since I’ve taken a more active role in my new community.
Some impressions I’ve made since making the move are:
The Best Pub – Has to be the Queen Inn on Upper Cwmbran Road its a nice neighbourhood pub with a reasonably priced pint, a quiz that’s only a pound a team, and although I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet, I hear they do excellent meals.
The Best Shop- Until recently I would have said that it was Sin City Comics, but then they moved to Newport, so I’m at a loss for what to pick now, especially as Cwmbran Centre offers such a wide choice of shops, both established national firms as well as smaller independent traders. It was a bit of a shock moving from Newport to Cwmbran, because although Newport’s town centre has undergone something of a renaissance over the last few years, when I left it was on life support, with something like 40 odd empty shops on the high street so it was nice to come to a place where there were no empty units in the town centre.
The Best Restaurant- In terms of an actual sit down restaurant has to be Page’s fish bar, its a chip shop with a restaurant as well and the I find the restaurant to be far superior to the take away. In terms of take away I have to give the award to the Croesy Chinese and Fish Bar for their Chinese cuisine.
Nicest Park- Its gotta be the boating lake, no question.
Today I attended (as yet another civic duty) the Raising of the Red Ensign flag to commemorate Merchant Navy Day, at the offices of Cwmbran Community Council.
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘Island Nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including much of the food we eat, most of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted!
It was a nice little service that with a short speech from the chair of the council (Cllr Bob Jones) and then followed by refreshments.
One of the biggest problems facing Northville (The area that I am lucky enough to represent on Cwmbran Community Council) is the plague of abandoned shopping trolley’s that festoon the estate. Living so close to the Town Centre with seven supermarkets within a quarter of a mile radius, coupled with low car ownership in the area (a problem likely to increase with the number of people set to lose access to motability vehicles) bringing a trolley back when laden with shopping is a sensible thing to do. The problem is people aren’t taking them back, and it really makes the estate look untidy, and really goes against the hard work that many in the community are doing to make Northville a great place to live.
To that end, this morning myself and my colleagues on the borough council, as well as a team from Bron Afon Housing (The main local social housing provider) went out distributing posters to many houses on the estate so that residents can show their dissatisfaction with the current situation and hopefully guilt the culprits into returning their trolleys to the town centre.
And whilst more plans will be coming to tackle this problem in a more lasting way, hopefully this is a good first step that the community will get behind.
I never miss an opportunity to plug the good work of Cwmbran Community Council and am very happy to announce that the council have won the award for best annual report in Wales by One Voice Wales (The collective body of Town, Parish and Community Councils in Wales) at their Larger Councils and Innovative Practice Awards on the 5th of July.
It comes from a report highlighting the successes of the council in several areas, which are
Promoting A Prosperous Cwmbran
Promoting A Resilient Cwmbran
Promoting A Healthier Cwmbran
Promoting A More Equal Cwmbran
Promoting A Cwmbran of Cohesive Communities
Promoting A Cwmbran Of Vibrant Culture and promoting a thriving use of the welsh language
Promoting A Globally Responsible Cwmbran
Promoting A Competent Council
The report was heralded as one of the finest examples of large community council (Cwmbran being the fourth largest town in Wales) implementing the Well Being of Future Generations act 2015, and it really is a testament to the hard work of officers, members and staff in making Cwmbran an award winning council.