A TORY parliamentary candidate for Wrexham has been slammed by a senior member of her own party after she wrote a critical letter, which described the state of the town centre as ‘depressing’.

Earlier this week, a letter was published in The Leader newspaper in which Sarah Atherton highlighted anti-social behaviour issues in the town following a visit where she encountered a man in a ‘zombie-like’ state.

Ms Atherton, who was chosen in April to represent the Conservatives at the next general election, also claimed to have called in on a travel agency where staff leave the doors locked because of concerns about homeless people.

In her comments, she criticised the town’s ruling administration, which is run by independents and Conservatives, for failing to address the situation and warned businesses could move away.

The Leader:

Sarah Atherton will be the Conservative party candidate for Wrexham at the next general election

The Tory deputy leader of Wrexham Council has now hit back at her remarks, accusing her of ‘political opportunism’ and not offering any solutions.

Cllr Hugh Jones said: “The recent contribution from Ms Atherton on her views on Wrexham town centre smacks of political opportunism of the worst form.

“In criticising the ‘current administration’ she fails to take account of the significant investment by the current administration approaching £500,000 in improving the street scene, (as well as) the investment by this administration of over £1m in Ty Pawb, thus creating a market and centre recognised on the world stage.

“Turning to the issue of homelessness and the visible vulnerable, no city or town in the UK and beyond has eradicated this problem.

The Leader:

Cllr Hugh Jones

“However in Wrexham, by working in partnership, this administration has led on a unique problem solving approach that is being recognised across Wales and the UK.

“I note that Ms Atherton offers no solutions and appears to have no ideas.”

Cllr Jones said rough sleeping had dropped by half in the town centre as a result of initiatives to help people living on the streets.

In response, Ms Athertone has reasserted that she believes the town is moving backward and said Cllr Jones was ‘shooting the messenger’.

She said: “It is completely reasonable that someone that seeks to represent the people of Wrexham should raise concerns about the state of our town.

“Repeatedly, people are telling me they are worried about the town centre.

“We can’t bury our heads in the sand or in statistics.

“Having made some good progress, the situation now appears to be going backwards.

“It cannot be acceptable for shops in the town to have to lock people out – don’t shoot the messenger.”