This is a guest post from Julie Morgan, the Labour candidate for Cardiff North in the 2010 General Election. This opportunity to post, answering the question ‘What is your vision for Cardiff North?’ has been offered to all the candidates standing in the constituency.
A vision for the constituency that I have served and represented in Parliament for the past 13 years goes something like this.
I would like to see our area continue to keep its very special character as a technical powerhouse for new and better employment opportunities, especially those which fit in with our exceptional green environment.
At the same time, we need to see our education system continue to improve the life chances for all our young people, from 3-4 year olds enjoying the benefit of our wonderful new Scandinavian-style nursery education curriculum, right up to those who come to Cardiff to study at the Medical School, the Dental School or who stay at the Student Village at Llys Talybont.
I see Cardiff North as having some superb schools already. That is why I want to see Whitchurch High School continue to develop, not merely as Wales’ largest comprehensive, but arguably as one of the very best as well. I can’t see why the Council is so determined to ‘muck it about’ when the school produces such outstanding young men and women who go on to achieve so much after leaving (and I don’t just mean Gareth Bale!).
I am looking forward to seeing the completion of the new medical teaching block at the Medical School at the Heath Hospital. This huge new project will enable the 350 medical students who come here every year to get their medical education in purpose-built premises. I am proud that Labour has doubled the intake into the Medical School and this new block will bring the facilities for teaching students into the 21st Century.
The new facility will fit in alongside the new PET Scanner which is about to be commissioned and the new Renal Unit, which will take the number of kidney transplants up by 50% to 130 a year. The £50 million second phase of the new Children’s Hospital will be a fantastic facility when it opens in a couple of years.
The environment of Cardiff North is very dear to my heart after the titanic struggle to prevent the development of Llanishen Reservoir. We still await the Minister’s decision. The battle continues! We won’t rest until it’s won!
We have so many other ‘hidden gems’ in our area. Think of the Taff Trail through Hailey Park and up through Forest Farm. Think of the wonderful views over Cardiff from the Traveller’s Rest and the Wenallt. Think of the Glamorganshire Canal from Melin Griffith northwards, one of the best places to see a kingfisher you could wish for. My vision is that every youngster and every pensioner should have the chance to enjoy these hidden gems, as well as the more well-known wonders of Wales like Castell Coch.
Last is the question of jobs of real quality, the kind you want your children to aspire to. We do have some lift off, but it is still fragile.
Yes, GE Healthcare are spending £10 million expanding laboratory equipment manufacture at Forest Farm. Yes, SWALEC are expanding their contact centre at Cardiff Gate. Yes, Pelican Heathcare are spending millions on their stoma products plant at Llanishen. Yes, Barclaycard are bringing 250 jobs to Pontprennau. Yes, Amadeus have reopened their baby cup factory in Llandaff North.
Perhaps though the most encouraging news for my vision of the future of Cardiff North is that GE have a small unit at Forest Farm which is growing stem cells to make new heart valves and arteries.
That’s the kind of exciting new technology where Wales’ future lies and where Cardiff North leads the world!
There’s a lot to look forward to.
For more information on Julie Morgan you can visit her website – www.juliemorgan.org