Freya Sykes Bletsoe – Oldcastle Ward

I am pleased to announce that I intend to stand as an Independent Candidate in the forthcoming elections for Oldcastle ward with the support of the Change for Bridgend Group.

I will be seeking to represent the community I live and work in at both Town and Borough level, having already sat as co-opted Town Councillor.

I have long had ties with this ward, opening a shop in Nolton Street over 5 years ago and having lived above the shop too for 4 years. My children have all attended schools in the ward, including Oldcastle, Brynteg and Bridgend College. I know and love the area and would like to think that I have already been working hard for constituents as a Town Councillor, something which I would love to have the opportunity to expand upon as a Borough Councillor should I be fortunate enough to be elected in May.

I have at Town Council achieved the following:
Represented our community on the Planning Committee and the Town Twinning Committee.

The Planning Committee has seen me use my skill set to evaluate the applications that have been presented to us as a Council. It has allowed me to question areas of planning applications such as flood risks, sight lines to prevent traffic accidents, and disability access for individuals who may have otherwise been overlooked. I have attended regular Town Council meetings as well as attending Borough council Planning meetings in the public gallery.

The Town Twinning Committee has afforded me a firsthand look at our relations with our European partner towns of Villenave D’Ornon in France, Langenau in Germany and Hechtel Ekscel in Belgium. Setting up school exchange visits for the children of this borough as well as our Twin Towns. I would love to expand on these links and start to see Bridgend promoted in our twin towns as “THE” place in the UK to visit and do trade with. I have ensured child safety in our borough on a number of occasions, including pressing for the reinstating of the railings which were removed allowing the council to work on the underpass recently.I have highlighted the dangers of some of most dangerous roads in our ward including the A48 that runs along our ward boundary.
I have also raised the fact that playground equipment in our ward is down to bare bones in some places with ropes being worn away to the metal core inside, fences are broken and splintered, and special soft landing matting is often broken and worn away from prolonged use.

I have stood up in chambers and represented a wide range of constituents, from disabled people, the homeless, people in abusive situations and the most vulnerable in our society. I have spoken up for traders in this town and given them an effective voice at council meetings as well as representing residents in their concerns such as rogue landlords, drug dealing neighbours, littering, fly tipping and graffiti, and removal of our local heritage items such as Victorian lampposts from conservation areas. I have pressed for new seating, bins in areas where there previously wasn’t any as well as arranging for planters to be placed in areas of the ward that were often previously forgotten. I already have a great relationship with our local policing team and I’m regular contact with PSCOs Scott and Heather about issues that concern our residents and business owners in the ward and I’m pleased to say that we work effectively as a team to keep an eye out for crime on this patch between us.

So with all this in mind I would love to be able to continue to represent this ward at Town Council level but also to extend my duties to represent our ward at Borough level too.
As an independent candidate I feel I am well suited to represent all my constituents free from any party constraints and I would hope that I have done so fairly up until now. I also have a number of key skill sets that I feel stand me in good stead for becoming a Borough councillor. I have been a business director for a number of years now so I am fiscally able to steward sums of money to the best possible outcome along with a keen sense of what is both morally and commercially right and wrong. I’m a self starter who will roll their sleeves up to “do” what needs to be done.
I have also invested in my own up skilling by attending training with One Voice Wales (the national body who train Councillors) for a number of training sessions. This preparation means I am up to date on a number of areas that affect councillors in how they run our boroughs and wards and I am well versed in new and potentially exciting legislation that we can access to make Bridgend a better borough for us all.

I would love to undertake the opportunity to represent Oldcastle ward further as both a Town and Borough Councillor. It has genuinely been a privilege to be able to offer my help to residents here and I would love to continue to do that after May

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