SNP return to power in Angus

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VOTERS in Angus made their voices heard last week at the local elections, but in some areas it was more like a squeak.

Voter turnout in Angus was down nearly 15 per cent from the 2007 local elections, with an average of just 39.4 per cent of the electorate having their say.

In Monifieth that turnout was down from 60.83 per cent to 42.87 per cent, one of the sharpest downturns in Angus, but, voters in Monifieth were still among the most prolific.

The most apathetic voters could be found in Arbroath East and Lunan with just 33.6 per cent of the registered electorate taking the time to vote.

Candidates stood on a variety of platforms, but at the end of the day it was those with core issues at heart or proven track records that tended to be successful.

One of the major upsets was the result for former Angus Council education convener and Arbroath West and Letham candidate Peter Nield.

Mr Nield lost his seat, possibly as a result of his stance on the Westway ‘super-school’ issue which has divided the town and saw his main opponent in this, Ewan Smith, become a councillor.

Councillor Smith said: “This whole school issue has been a driving force. I don’t think it has been done properly.”

The school was also high on the list for returning councillor Sheena Welsh, SNP. She said: “It’s got to be the school, making sure the school improvements are in line with what the people of Arbroath want.

“We need to find the best way of going of getting the greatest good for the greatest number.”

Other issues in Arbroath and the surrounding area were housing, roads and the Common Good Fund.

Councillor David Lumgair said: “Roads and houses are the two main priorities in Angus, especially more council housing. There was extra funding put in for roads this year.”

Councillor Bob Spink was concerned about the future of the town library. He said: “I’m very involved in local issues. I’m opposed to the transfer out of the common good fund of the library, this is something I’ll be following up fairly quickly. That’s a major issue for me.”

For councillors Donald Morrison and Martyn Geddes the town centre were important topics. Councillor Morrison said: “We’ll continue to work on the town regeneration, there’s some things we can do and things we need backing to do to continue working for the benefit of Arbroath.”

Councillor Geddes added: “We need to try and get more jobs into the High Street.”

As a trained accountant Councillor Alex King will hope to see his skills put to good use with a convenership. He explained: “I’m keen to get into administration and hopefully take a convenership. An accountancy convenership is what I had before.”

Councillor David Fairweather was straight to the point. He said: “All I’m going to say is that I will continue in the same vein and I will always be available.

“I will work with anyone who is right for my burgh.”

In Monifieth services were at the top of the list of priorities, with both SNP councillors Rob Murray and Sheila Hands keen to address existing issues.

Councillor Murray said: “The first thing we need to do is consult with the voters and tackle the various issues that there are in Monifieth and Sidlaw.”

Councillor Hands added: “The main issues are speeding and bus services.”

Councillor Margaret Thomson, the last remaining Labour representative in Angus Council said: “I’m mostly concerned about affordable housing, this is something I’ll be pushing. Also as a teacher I’m pretty interested in education and how it’s going with the Curriculum for Excellence.”

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Councillor Craig Fotheringham is also concerned with bus services and also a proposed relief road which would bisect the town. He said: “There’s also the Dundee North relief road. That might come up again, I’m definitely against that.”

In Carnoustie existing issues are top of the list for the councillors, Helen Oswald said: “I’m looking forward to working with Brian [Boyd] and Bill [Bowles] on Angus Council and the three of us will work for the good of Carnoustie and just carry on with work we’ve been doing.”

Councillor Brian Boyd said: “The people of Carnoustie have put their trust in me and I promise to do my best to ensure Carnoustie gets the best possible services in these challenging times.”

Councillor Bill Bowles has set his sights on a topic close to his heart, the provision of quality sports facilities which will enhance the town’s prestige. He explained: “The sports fields are top of the list, we need to get that ball rolling as soon as we can.”

In Broughty Ferry, which forms part of Dundee City Council, long-standing Conservative councillor Rod Wallace fell victim to new SNP candidate Kevin Cordell who joined returning councillors Ken Guild, Laurie Bidwell and Derek Scott on the council.