By Sarah Atherton

MP for Wrexham

Welcome to 2022! I hope you had a relaxing, enjoyable, and safe Christmas and New Year with friends and family. I certainly enjoyed the festivities that took place across the community, from the Gresford Christmas Tree Festival, to the outdoor carol service at Bellevue Park and the re-enactment of the Christmas story at the Llay Community Church of the Nazarene. I was also pleased to be able to see in the New Year with friends and family, reflecting on the successes of 2021 and the opportunities of 2022.

However, on New Year’s Eve I am sure that I was not the only one in Wrexham to have seen, or heard about, the exodus of revellers from Wrexham to Chester. With many hospitality businesses in Wrexham closed on December 31st due to a lack of trade, and with businesses now struggling under the increased restrictions, I would now like to see the evidence that has underpinned decision-making in Cardiff. Unfortunately, the Welsh Government have been reluctant to release this information which, given the impacts these decisions have had on our local economy, should be publicly available to all.

In more positive news, before Christmas I had a very constructive meeting with the North and Mid Wales Trunk Road Agency (NMWTRA). During the meeting the A483 resurfacing project was discussed, alongside the NMWTRA’s plans for tree planting and environmental work along the road, following my ongoing campaign on the matter. During the meeting it was explained that further resurfacing work would take place in the Spring of this year to rectify issues with the road surface following the resurfacing work that took place in 2021. It was also explained that a number of environmental schemes, including tree planting, will take place along the A483 to replace trees that have been cut down.

The environmental projects that have been agreed represent a win for Wrexham residents who have been affected by increased noise and visual pollution following the cutting down of roadside trees. Nonetheless, I am aware that some residents would like to see the NMWTRA go further, which is why I have written to the Welsh Government Minister responsible, Lee Waters MS, alongside the NMWTRA to ask them to consider these additional concerns.

In further good news, at the end of last year it was announced that Wrexham Council’s budget would increase by 9.4% for the next financial year – the seventh best settlement in Wales out of 22 Council areas. Last year, the Welsh Government gave Wrexham the third lowest settlement in Wales, a decision that was met with concern locally, so I am pleased that this time the settlement is more generous. In addition, I also welcomed the recent announcement that an additional £1.3 billion will be spent on the NHS in Wales: this is an important step in improving healthcare across Wales. Given my ongoing healthcare campaign, this funding announcement is also particularly important to me too. To let me know what you think about healthcare access in Wrexham, add your name to my campaign:

What must not be forgotten either is that all this has been possible thanks to the UK Government’s substantial funding offering to Wales in recent months. At the Budget last October, the Chancellor announced the most generous funding settlement for the Welsh Government since devolution in 1998 and this has been topped by further spending commitments, such as the recent £270 million recently announced to support Wales’ Covid-19 recovery and vaccine rollout.

As always if you are resident in Wrexham and need my assistance with any local or national issue, please make contact with me by emailing