Election 2011: Morgan versus Morgan in Cardiff North

April 20, 2011 1 Comment »
Election 2011: Morgan versus Morgan in Cardiff North

terry williams

It may boast some of the city’s most affluent areas, but the tough economic climate is taking a hold of local businesses in Cardiff North.

With its high-profile candidates, Cardiff North is expected to be one of the most keenly-fought battlegrounds in the upcoming Assembly election.

Merthyr Road, Whitchurch, has for decades buzzed with an array of independent shops, though many of these now face uncertain futures.

And these doubts could prove to be integral in the Assembly elections.

Terry Williams (pictured above), 73, has worked at Terry’s Barber Shop since he was in his teens. The Whitchurch resident says these testing times are unprecedented.

“My family have owned the shop since 1937 and things have never been this tight,” he said.

“I’ve had to open the shop on a Monday for the first time because business is so slow,” added Terry, who lives above the shop on Merthyr Road.

“I can’t afford to have two people working at all times because there just aren’t enough customers.”

Terry, whose daughter also works at the shop, has retired as a barber but continues to run the business.

“The business rates are a big issue,” he added. “I’ve already been to a tribunal to fight high business rates – they have to be cut.”

Business rates are a common cause for concern on Cardiff North’s high streets, and the butcher Richard Evans is another who is feeling the strain.

“The business rates keep going up and up,” said Richard, who owns RC Evans Family Butcher, also on Merthyr Road.

“I voted for [current Conservative AM] Jonathan Morgan last time and I will probably do the same again.

“I would like to see politicians lower the business rates and improve the parking situation,” the 47-year-old added.

The outlook is not entirely gloomy, however, with new businesses springing up in the area.

Tom Champ opened Tom Thumb’s Sweets and Fancy Dress Shop on Merthyr Road in September.

“Business has actually been very good,” said Tom, 40. “Children love coming here to spend their pocket money and parents are glad to get them out of the house.

“With the Royal Wedding just over a week away, we’re expecting to be busy with the sale of flags and bunting.

“I don’t have any particular political affiliations, so I’ve got quite an open mind going into the election.”

This is expected to be a closely-fought constituency, with Conservative AM Jonathan Morgan looking to hold on to the seat he won from Labour in 2007.

Labour candidate Julie Morgan is hoping the support from her husband, former First Minister Rhodri Morgan, can boost her campaign. Mrs Morgan broke a Tory stronghold in the area to win this Westminster seat in 1997 and the Labour candidate will need to overturn a 14.4% Conservative majority.

You can view all the candidates standing for Cardiff North on our Assembly Election 2011 section, and also let us know who you’ve seen out and about campaigning in Cardiff North with the Welsh Watch crowdmap campaign.

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