Green Party hoping for Monmouthshire breakthrough in May’s local elections
Saul Cooke-Black, local democracy reporter
The Green Party is putting more candidates forward in Monmouthshire in the forthcoming local elections than ever before.
There are 17 candidates standing for the party in next month’s elections for the county council.
Ian Chandler, a candidate for Llantilio Crossenny, said the group is ‘confident’ of making a breakthrough, and having at least one councillor elected to the council.
“From our experience in other areas, even just that one Green on the council actually just changes the approach of the council, because that voice in the room gets a focus on issues that sometimes get neglected or ignored by other parties,” Mr Chandler said.
“Just having a Green in the room means they are thinking about issues that they had not necessarily thought of.”
But depending on the results of the May 5 election, Mr Chandler says the group would also be willing to work with other parties if there is not an overall majority.
“That’s not to be ruled out, that we might be working with other parties,” he says.
“Our style across the country is we work with parties from both the right and the left in order to come up with the best deal for local residents.”
Mr Chandler says the group is “focussing on local issues and listening to residents”, but there are some broader policies it is also supporting.
One of these is improving the state of the roads in the county, particularly in rural areas.
Mr Chandler says the roll-out of new 20mph speed limits has been focussed on towns, but that residents in rural areas also want to see speed limits lowered.
Action to make roads safer, with traffic calming measures, better enforcement and signage, is also being called for by the group.
Pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and runners are currently choosing not to use roads because it is ‘dangerous’, Mr Chandler says.
“We want the council to take action so that other road users can start using those roads again,” he said.
Improving bus services is also on the group’s agenda, particularly in rural areas, to ensure people without access to a car have independence.
The second big issue being raised by the party is flooding, and calling for more action on flood prevention.
While Mr Chandler has praised the council’s response to previous flooding in the county, he says there now needs to be a joined-up plan between Monmouthshire council and Natural Resources Wales.
“The actual emergency response was excellent, but what is not happening fast enough is joined up action to stop it happening again,” he says.
As well as a more explicit focus on flood prevention in Monmouthshire’s new Local Development Plan, the group also want to see action on resilience, such as how communities can be protected from flooding and other climate events such as heatwaves.
Mr Chandler says the council needs to look to help communities adapt to future events caused by climate change, helping groups such as the elderly and the farming community who may be impacted.
The group also wants to see more affordable housing provided, as well as homes with community facilities nearby.
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